Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Project and a Serious Discussion

I have two totally unrelated things to share and I won't try and pretend I can link them together somehow.  I'll start with this project we finished up today because it's a Smart Summer Challenge submission:

My sister Rachel forwarded me this link from The Imagination Tree with instructions for a DIY rain stick forever ago and I've been chomping at the bit to make one.  First, though I had to collect all the materials, which proved more difficult than I thought it would be.  Well, actually the only thing that was hard to get my hands on was a nice strong tube, since we don't ever receive anything in the mail this shape.  Thankfully, Nathan's Mom remembered me mentioning it at some point and thoughtfully hung on to one for me and brought it with her to Colorado when she visited a few weeks ago.  At that time, I constructed the actual rain stick after Zoe went to bed since I knew she'd insist on "helping" with it.  Although she is very capable in a lot of ways, and often times surprises me with how much she actually CAN help, I thought this part of the project was better left to an adult:

First, I hammered in as many nails as possible

A view of the inside of the tube with all the nails in it

To keep the nails in place, I covered the whole outside of the tube with contact paper and then I poured a bunch of barley and then some beans into the tube.  The beans seemed to work better but I just kept the barley in there.

After sealing the ends with the contact paper, I covered the whole tube with white paper so I could just let Zoe have at it however she wanted to decorate it.

After a few weeks of being totally disinterested in it, she finally decided today that she wanted to decorate it with me so I dragged out a bunch of stuff and we covered it...at one point she said "This is fun, Mommy!"--yay!

The finished product from the back...the green roving at the top is "hair" and....

She made a face at the top there so it almost looks like a little person...can you see the eyes, nose and mouth?
 Cute, right?  Thanks for the idea, Rach and The Imagination Tree!

Okay, so now the story....

Depending on how well you know me, you may or may not know that I'm agnostic.  Even back when I was being raised Catholic, I think I was agnostic at heart because I just never bought into all of the stuff they were telling us in church.  Now that I'm an adult and continue to learn more and more about other cultures and religions, I find that although I completely respect and, in many ways understand people's religious beliefs, I am personally a "I'll believe it when I see it" kind of gal.  It's caused me to think a lot about how I might one day put my feelings about it all into words so that when Zoe and Owen start asking me questions, I won't find myself tripping over myself in my quest to say just the right thing.  I hope to raise my children to respect all people and to have enough curiosity to learn about all the religions out there and to feel comfortable settling on what they feel in their own hearts. I strive to be open and honest enough to let them know what I believe but that if they choose to believe something different than I do, I'll be totally cool with it.  It's a great theory in my head, but the thought of achieving the reality of it seems nearly impossible to me and I break into a sweat and pour myself a glass of wine just thinking about the conversations. 

The first, most obvious question to come up has been about death.  She's brought it up lately in light conversation and the moment always passes with a simple, fairly non-sweat inducing explanation, but today it went further than that and I found myself in the middle of what I thought would be my worst nightmare, but actually turned out pretty...okay.  We were quietly sitting in our living room, playing board games during a thunderstorm while Owen took his afternoon nap.  When I told her I could teach her a card game I used to play with my Grandmother, the following conversation happened:

Zoe:  What did you call your Grandma?
Me:  Babcia (Polish for "Grandmother")
Zoe:  Where is she now?
Me:  She died a while ago.
Zoe:  (Visibly a little shaken) She died?
Me:  Yes, she lived a very long life and was very old when she died.
Zoe:  (squinting her eyes, holding up her hands in front of her face and making the space between them smaller and smaller as she said...) Did she just get smaller and smaller and smaller?
Me:  No, she just got very old and actually got to where she couldn't remember very much.
Zoe:  (sighing) I wish I could meet her.
Me:  Me too.
Zoe:  But, she's still real, she's just not with  us.  She's in another land.
Me:  Oh yeah?  What does it look like there?
Zoe:  Let's look it up on the computer and see where she is!
Me:  Well, you know what?  We can't because no one knows for sure what it looks like.  You know just as well as anyone else does.
Zoe:  Oh.

That was pretty much it!  Not too bad, I must say...the conversation sort of petered out as I told her that I used to have 2 Grandmothers and 2 Grandfathers and that they all died a while ago.  She thought that maybe my Grandmothers were in one land and my Grandfathers were in another land and by the end of it all didn't seem all that disturbed by it (which is my worst nightmare--that sharing my personal beliefs on the matter with my kids will scare them senseless).  I know it's just the beginning and that there's a lifetime ahead of questions but it felt like a good start.  Phew!  Now, where's that glass of wine?


  1. awesome. especially that she's still real, just not with us. bingo. love the rain stick too... xo, m

  2. The rainstick is awe inspiring. I can't wait to try it out with my kids (my son is five and i'm thinking the hammering might be something great for him to help with a bit)! And, secondly, but maybe most importantly, congrats on surviving a parenting hurdle! :)

  3. It turned out really well! Thanks for linking back to me :-) I just stumbled upn your post by accident through the summer smart challenge linky!

  4. Oh good! Thanks for the awesome idea!!