Category Archives: Family

Why this 50 year old woman plays Pokemon Go!

As soon as the Pokemon Go app launched I immediately downloaded it and began looking for Pokemon in my neighborhood when I walked my dog in the morning. I was so excited about catching Pokemon! However, when I shared my excitement with other adults I know I received comments such as:

“What a waste of time.” and”That is for kids.” and “Really?”, and some even laughed at me.

There were a few adults who were joining in the festivities as well, and with them we talked about what we had caught, and where, and which Team we were on.

pokemon go

When I talked to kids about it, we discussed the best Pokeballs to use, or the proper way to spin the Pokeball to catch the Pokemon. We also talked about where we were finding them, and which were our favorite Pokemon.

So I am going to tell you Why this 50 year old woman plays Pokemon Go.

I have had a blast playing Pokemon Go, but I will tell you a little secret: there is a much more compelling reason for me to play: my boys.

So when Joe Cool and The Genius were boys they were avid Pokemon players. They played the games on their Gameboys, they watched Pokemon on TV, and we even played the Pokemon card game together. We spent quite a bit of time in the car together, going to daycare, driving home from daycare pickup, doing errands, etc. I was a single mom for quite a few years of their young lives, and the boys and I were together a LOT. Pokemon was an integral part of their lives (and mine because I was always looking for new card packs for birthday, holiday, etc gifts for them).

The Genius

The Genius

Joe Cool

Joe Cool

As they got older Pokemon in our lives went to the back burner because girls, and school, and jobs, and life replaced our Pokemon phase. However, I will say that even into their teens they would play Pokemon on their iPOds and devices.

So when Pokemon Go Launched I felt like it would be a fun thing to do with my boys who are now 19 and 17. Because they are 19 and 17 I don’t see them much. They work, hang out with friends, and spend a LOT of time in their man caves (bedrooms). I thought, this could be fun to do together. And boy was I right!!!

Last week we all got into my car and drive 45 minutes to go to Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach to hunt Pokemon together. We were at the park for about 90 minutes together and then had a 45 minute ride home. It was fun, but what was even BETTER was that I spent over an hour in a car with my kids, and we TALKED!!  Nit just about Pokemon, but about other stuff like their jobs, and friends, and relationships, and their goals, etc. (I slipped as much mentoring in as I could without being too “mom-ish”).

AND I walked enough to hatch a 10km egg and received:

Aerodactyl

Aerodactyl

Oh, Joe Cool was so jealous!!  hee hee

Yesterday I spent ALL day with The Genius. It didn’t start out that way. In the morning we dropped his car off to have the headliner (the upholstery on the roof of the car) fixed. Then we wanted to go to Norfolk to play Pokemon for a bit.

We walked around together, took a couple of gyms together (GO TEAM MYSTIC). HE will do anything to take a Valor gym…..(if this is greek to you, just ask and I will explain). Then we found the MOTHERLODE of Pokemon.

We came to a place called The Pagoda and Oriental Garden . It was a beautiful place right on the water, which was nice because it was HOOOTTTTT and there was a breeze. Anyway, there were 4 Pokestops there (places where you can get Pokeballs, revive potions, healing potions, and other cool stuff), and TONS of people playing Pokemon because there were modules on (a lure someone can turn on for 30 minutes to attract rare Pokemon).

OMG!!!!  We stayed there for at least an hour…maybe more. We caught Squirtles, and Magikarps, and Poliwags, and Seels, but the most exciting catch of the day was a Dratini

Dratini

Dratini

That is super exciting because it evolves into a Dragonite which is one of the most powerful Pokemon!

Isn't Dragonite cute???

Isn’t Dragonite cute???

I was especially excited to catch a Clefairy because they are special Pokemon, but I REALLY REALLY want a Pikachu!!!!

The boys and I have made plans to hang out next week in Norfolk catching Pokemon together! Maybe we will catch a rare one!

So you can scoff at my Pokemon Go playing, but I will stick to my belief that not only am I catching rare Pokemon with my boys but I am catching RARE quality TIME with my boys that I probably wouldn’t otherwise get without spending lot of money on a vacation. And even on vacation I don’t always see them all the time.

Thank you Pokemon Go!!

The Genius and his bestie D came up with my name...apparently that is what they call me  LOL

The Genius and his bestie D came up with my name…apparently that is what they call me LOL

 

 

Families: more the same than different

Last year on June 1st I wrote a blog about how my son wrote a paper for English when he was 15  that said he thought his “gay mom was cool”. Although I wrote the blog last year, the event happened when my son was 15 which was three years prior. A LOT has happened since he was 15. He is 19 now.

When my partner Karol and I first decided to join our families together it was not without some concerns and worries. Worry about what the kids would think, worry about Karol’s job (she was on Active Duty in the era of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), worries about what the community would think, worries about what our families would think (her family didn’t know), and others. What we found were that some of those concerns were very valid, and some weren’t as big a deal as we thought they would be.

Where it all started

Where it all started

When we came together as a family our kids were 13, 11, 8 and 6. Our main concern was the oldest, as she had already started rebelling and was NOT happy about another adult in her life “telling her what to do”. The boys were not as complicated and didn’t seem to care at all.

First family vacation 2007...the girl refused to get in the photo....

First family vacation 2007…the girl refused to get in the photo….

Fast forward 11 years. The kids are now 23, 21, 19 and 16. Looking back on the way our family has evolved I can tell you there were good years and not so good years.  Our daughter did end up moving out to go live with her dad for a few years to avoid “a new adult telling her what to do”, and that ended up being a disaster. Her father was a very ineffective parent and Karol still ended up doing more of the parenting but now she was fighting against her ex husband AND his wife as well as a rebellious teenager. Those were some of the not so good years. Then she ended up having to come live with us her senior year because her father “didn’t want to deal with her crap anymore”, and that was another not so good year.

All the kids Christmas 2008

All the kids Christmas 2008

The boys never really gave us the same problems, and living with them was not perfect, but definitely not as problematic as the oldest.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

All of us in 2010. Photo courtesy of Leila Wylie.

However, even in all of that drama and family conflict we had lots and lots of fun! We vacationed together, and laughed and played, and went to high school graduations, and proms, and all of the things many many other families do.

As I have talked more with other parents about our family struggles I have come to realize that LOTS of other families had trouble with one or more of their kids. And not gay families, but straight families. And not just step families, but also all biological families. And not just girls or the oldest, or the whatever.

ALL families have some complications, or stress, or a kid that acts out, or fails a grade, or smokes weed, or gets in trouble at school, or cracks up the car, or rebels, or a million other things that kids do and families deal with. Death, divorce, drama, fights, sorrows, joys, etc.

I guess my point is that ALL families are essentially more the same than different. So on this LGBTQ Family Day I want to say that what I have learned in the past 12 years of raising my family, is that we are the same as a million other families out there, and the fact that this family has two moms only adds to the ways in which we are the same as many many other families out there. Because when you drill down to what makes a family it is love, and overcoming obstacles and dealing with “stuff”, and in the end being there for each other. A family is not about biology, but about love!

And to be honest, my “family” is much more than my partner and kids! I have people in my life I call my “chosen” family. Women I consider sisters, men I consider brothers, and many kids I love to pieces!!

They are my family, and I am so blessed to have them!!

What I did about “Openly Gay Leaders” in my Boy Scout Troop

Last Monday night this happened:

zackeagle cakeAnd this:

zack eagleceremony

And the next day I received an email to all Troop leaders about a meeting to discuss how to deal with the BSA policy on allowing openly gay leaders.  I decided that since my son was finished, it was time to “out” myself, and since at the ceremony Zack gave a mom pin to each of his moms, and said, “I love these two, they are my moms”, he had already “outed” us to the people in attendance.

I decided to address the Troop leadership and give them some food for thought as I was not able to attend the meeting.  So I hit reply all (Something I NEVER do) and sent this email:

Hello all,

I cannot be at the meeting tonight as I have another meeting in VB at 6:30. I usually stay quiet on these issues, and have for many years. It may have come as a surprise to those of you in attendance at the COH on Monday that Zachary has two moms. It may not have. But if it did that is because we were very quiet about Zachary having two moms so he would not incur any prejudice or bias based on the fact that he lives in a two mom household. Those of you who know Zachary know that he has an excellent character and is a kind, compassionate, smart, and honest young man. I never wanted him to be judged on his character based on his parents but instead on his own actions.

If I had been open about being gay I believe I would have had a hard time finding a troop willing to accept my son, and he would not now be an Eagle Scout, which was VERY important to our family. Those of you who know me may also have been surprised about who my partner is. If you know me or have worked with me then you know that who I choose to spend my life with has not diminished my ability to effectively parent, or serve in the military for a 20 year career, or be an effective medical assistant, or an effective cub scout leader. My choice of partner has not affected the content of my character or my patriotism. It has not affected the way I interact with or care for and about the boys I have known in Troop 16. If you are a parent of a boy who is friends with my Zachary then you know that my choice of life partner has not affected my ability to care for or be as best a mentor as I can be to your own children.

My point in saying all of this is that who we choose to spend our lives with does not diminish from our ability to lead or care about, or mentor young human beings. I do not need any of you to agree with my life, but I urge you to look into your hearts and see if someone’s choice of partner causes them to be unable to lead young people effectively. If you are a Christian I would also urge you to remember that Christians are supposed to love their neighbors as themselves and not cast judgement or throw stones. I am Jewish and these are tenets I also grew up learning.

I do not require anyone to respond to me unless you feel compelled to do so. I just cannot be at this meeting tonight and I wanted to share my thoughts and words with you regarding this issue that is close to my heart!

Thank you for taking the time to read this email. I LOVE Troop XX. I have immense respect, admiration and care about every one of the leaders that has given so much of their love, energy, time and care to the boys of Troop XX. I would not want to think that this group, who I care for so deeply would be willing to turn people away, when as long as I have been involved with the Troop, I have seen boys and men of all races, ethnicities, and intellectual abilities be welcomed with open arms.

With Kindest Regards,

Carol Rood

I did receive a few emails back that were very supportive, and that was nice.  It was good to know that I wasn’t the only one who is okay with openly gay leaders. I would urge any of you to respond similarly to this if your Boy Scout Troops are concerned about the new BSA policy. I also want to say that our Troop is AWESOME and I did receive an email from the “faith Liaison” who expressed to me that sexuality shouldn’t even be an issue because all leaders should keep it about the boys, and not about them.  That was MY thought exactly

The bottom line for me is that Boy Scouts is not a place we should be worried about sexuality.  We should be worried about the BOYS and MERIT BADGES, and CAMPING TRIPS, and CANOEING, etc etc etc.  So it shouldn’t matter what anyone does in their bedroom at ALL!!

I am happy my son has finished his BSA career as a “boy”, and can now take his open, inclusive attitude into the BSA if he chooses to be a leader.

zackeaglewithcake