Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Do something!

So I have gotten myself into a little bit of a state these past couple of days because I read this article about our local food pantry. I must say I feel a little overwhelmed with sadness and frustration and a modicum of angsty rage that this food pantry -- which for many people in our neck of the woods has been the only resource standing between their family and a kitchen filled with nothing -- has been forced to temporarily close its doors.

In our family the ACTS Food Pantry holds a special place because we have been participating in food drives to support it for over twenty years. The sunny girl and the girl in charge have both helped sort food during the food pantry's annual Operation Turkey drive in November. And the tall boy organized a neighborhood food drive for this food pantry as his Eagle Project. To prepare for the food drive he spent quite a few hours at the pantry, shelving food, helping to organize donations, and talking to the pantry director about his goals and dreams for the food pantry.

Of course for all of us, the dream is clearly that we can live in a community where an emergency food pantry is no longer necessary. But until that day arrives, the Food Pantries, Community Kitchens, Bread For the City drives and SOME (So Others May Eat) programs are nothing more or less than a rope that we can throw to our drowning neighbors.

We all MUST support these programs.

Please. My friends. Go to your community's food pantry right now. Yes, now. Get up, go to your cupboard. Grab that can of beans, that Top Ramen, that peanut butter, those pasta noodles. Get in your car right now and go to your food pantry. They need it so very badly -- they won't even care that you are still wearing your pajamas and bunny slippers.

My mother would tell you you are earning stars for your crown in heaven.

Thank you so much.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Sister love

Here are my beautiful girl urchins,beautifully lit by the television. I adore these two chicks so much, and I find it such a cool trick of genetics that I gave birth to two people who in many ways could not be more different. One is logical, literal, and organized -- while the other is creative and poetic, with a lovably goofy sense of humor.

The girl in charge is a terrific time manager, and guards her precious free moments zealously. Among the many things I admire about her is her embrace of the afternoon nap. I'm not kidding; this girl has always known when she's had enough.

True story: Last January, she starred in her high school's One-Act Play, which is a district-level competition, and she rocked it totally. After every school performed, all the performers were manic in their adrenaline-fueled excitement, so while they waited for the judges to return and give out awards, one hundred high school drama geeks stormed the stage and spontaneously started playing improv games. Well, the girl in charge was right in there with them, pretending to be an angst-filled cactus or whatever -- until she was done. Just . . . done. She politely excused herself and went to an empty classroom to take a nap. The best part is -- she planned for the nap! She brought a pillow and a blanket with her and staged them in the empty classroom. Do you see what I'm dealing with here, people?!

In contrast, the sunny girl wants to cram everything into every day. She is always trying to figure out how to add one more dance class or club or movie date into her schedule. And nap? Please -- she would skip sleep all together if it were biologically possible.

Actually, when the sunny girl is approaching the end of a hectic day, she gets a little frenzied -- hurrying, hurrying, hurrying to get everything in. I have seen her literally spinning around in circles as she tries to prioritize all the things she wants to accomplish, before her dad and I loom menacingly, glaring meaningfully at our watches and saying, "What time do you need to get up tomorrow, sunny girl?" We have plans to go see a swanky play at the Kennedy Center, and the sunny girl is so looking forward to it. But when I told her she would need to miss a dance class so that we can get to the theater on time, her face fell two stories: "Can't I at least go to half the class? Can I change clothes at the theater? Can we skip dinner?" It's classic sunny girl: "I don't want to miss a thing!"

But as these two totally fabulous and totally different girls have grown up, a totally cool thing has happened along the way: they totally dig each other. And in a weird way, they complement each other perfectly. While the sunny girl is quick to crack with the jokes, the girl in charge is her biggest fan -- laughing like a hyena at the sunny girl's antics. If you know the girl in charge you'll understand that this is a miracle; the girl in charge is more of a Mona Lisa smile kind of person -- it takes some work to crack her up. And as the sunny girl has started high school, she has really turned to her big sister for advice and guidance.

They bond over "Doctor Who" and "A Very Potter Musical;" the girl in charge defends her sister's right to the front seat, even when another senior is in the car; they roll their eyes at their mother's failings as a housekeeper. And I am not even kidding when I say that any mention of a tyrannosaurus rex makes them weep -- weep -- with laughter.

Sisters are so cool.