Journal For My Kids #2

Dear Kids,

The past week has been an exciting one. There have been 2 major events that have grabbed our country’s attention. One was quite exciting and thrilling. The other was and is…scary. I’ll get the scary one out of the way first and then end with a high note.

On Memorial Day, a black man was killed in Minneapolis by a cop. He was being arrested and the cop had his knee on his neck for 9 minutes. The man later passed away. Kids, you need to know something. I hope things are different when you’re older, but I fear it won’t be so. This world is filled with racism and prejudice. It isn’t pretty, but I hope I’ve raised you to look past differences and to celebrate and love them instead. As a result of this latest death, protests and riots have erupted all over the country. And, yes, we are still in the middle of a pandemic.

Protests and riots are nothing new. They’ve been happening for years. For decades. There was one less than a decade ago because a black man was killed by cops. Brother was about 7 weeks old. We were moving across the country and stopped to visit my aunt in Illinois. She and my uncle cautioned us to keep going once we left their little town and to not stop until we left the state because things were quite tense back then.

Kids, I grew up about a half hour away from Downtown LA. When I was turning 5, the LA Riots occurred. Because a black man had been beaten by cops who ended up being acquitted. Are you sensing a theme here yet? I was young, but I’ll never forget the images on the TV. Papa must have turned on the news while he was home and, since we didn’t have cable, every channel was pretty much only airing footage of the riots. Our little TV looked like it was on fire with all the blacks, oranges, and reds on the screen. There were people yelling and screaming, fires everywhere, fighting in the streets. It was terrifying for a 5 year old child. Those images haunted me for years.

And now you’re 5 and 3 and images of people yelling and shops being destroyed and things on fire, all while some people wear masks because of the pandemic, fill our TV screen because Dad loves the news.

I don’t want to shield you from the injustice in the world. When you were young while I’m writing this, yes, I did very much want to because I was scarred by what I saw and I didn’t want that for either of you. Whenever there are riots and protests, I flash back to that TV screen filled with rage and fire. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and makes me wonder why people can’t have bigger hearts.

No, I want you to grow up aware. I want you to learn to look past prejudice and intolerance to see people. Just people. They may be different. They may look different. The may act differently. They may believe different things. They may speak a different way. But, underneath, we are all people and we just want to live our lives. I hope I’ve raised you to be tolerant, to celebrate differences, to be curious about others, to care about your fellow human beings. To be kind, considerate, compassionate, caring, gentle, loving. Accepting. Whether that means going out and protesting, that’s up to you. But I hope you learn to see people as people and not as anything else. I hope you can pass that on to your children and, over time, maybe we can finally raise a generation that celebrates differences instead of holding prejudices. I just hope I’ve raised you well enough. It’s one reason why both of you are and will be attending a diverse elementary school right now, so you can meet and befriend children who are different from you and be able to learn of and from them.

It’s scary right now. Yesterday the rioting and protesting in LA was close to Dad’s work. Fortunately, it was Saturday and we’ve all been home, safe. Still, we’re now under a curfew (8 pm to 5:30 am) for who knows how long. The 1992 riots lasted 6 days. We’ll see how long this one lasts. But our mayor has called out to the National Guard for help. And my heart breaks a little more every minute.

But…on to happier news now.

SpaceX and NASA launched the rocket! Dad put NASA TV up on the TV yesterday morning and we were sort of watching the footage. We do our family Zoom hangouts at noon every Saturday, so, really, the best thing about both the delay in the rocket launch and the pandemic is that we are “spending” more time with family, so we were actually all watching the coverage together, virtually.

On Wednesday, the launch was scrubbed at a little over 16 minutes until launch. Today, we were waiting anxiously for the last 16 minutes to see if it would actually happen. An hour before, the weather was looking good, so they were going ahead with the launch, but it could have been scrubbed right up to the last second.

Brother was playing with blocks on the floor and Sister was watching some toy videos on her tablet. We were trying to get your attention, but Brother’s wasn’t captured until the verbal countdown began. Then he sat on the coffee table and started counting down, too.

It was quite a sight to behold. I had never paid much attention to launches when I was a kid because I think I was either too young to care, too busy to notice, or believed it was a routine thing that would continuously happen throughout my life. Then all space missions from American soil ceased in 2011. So, this was quite an event. The first launch in almost a decade from American soil in a commercially-made space craft. I have to say, though, those space suits looked really nice!

This morning we watched it dock to the ISS and then it felt like we waited hours until the astronauts finally entered the ISS. It was kind of fun to watch all the preparations, but, honestly, none of us really knew what they were doing. Though it did turn out quite a few cameras were being set up so officials could increase the odds of getting that one perfect photo. Still, it was fun, and hopefully by the time you get to read this, travel into space will be more commonplace. Maybe.

Anyways, Kids, that’s it for now. This past week has felt a little crazy with the pandemic, reopening happening slowly, protests and riots, and a rocket launch. But at least we’ve been together, safe and healthy.

Love, Mom

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