Friday, January 10, 2014

Secret Subject Swap; A Choice

Welcome to another Secret Subject Swap. This week, 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

Secret Subject Swap - Baking In A Tornado

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup and check them all out. See you there:


My subject is I can’t believe I allowed this but. . . 
It was submitted by Follow me home . . .

I can’t believe I allowed this but I let my kids take over a limo. At a funeral.

Death is such a difficult subject. How and when you broach it with a child; the depths of your explanation, your personal beliefs, I honestly don’t know how you prepare for these conversations.

I have longevity in my family. We’re descendants of strong Russian peasant stock. I really didn’t deal with death until much later in life. I was in my late twenties when I lost my great-grandmother.

My kids had great-grandparents too. But when the boys were 9 and 10, I lost my grandpa in the 9th month of his 99th year.

We were all packed to go to Marco Island to my mom’s winter home. It was a vacation we took every winter and we just couldn’t wait to go. It was cold in the Midwest and we had our shorts and bathing suits in our suitcases ready for the next morning.

My mom called the night before we were to leave to tell me that her father had died. She was heading back to her home in Boston and we’d meet her there. As I unpacked the bathing suits and replaced them with sweatshirts and dress clothes, my thoughts were scattered. I thought of my grandpa, my nana back in Boston, my mother who had lost her dad, and my kids.

My sister called from Boston to say that she had made arrangements for someone to watch her kids and mine at her house during the service. We’d sit shiva (observe the mourning period and receive well-wishers) at my Uncle’s house through the week. So plans were made, the tickets exchanged, conversations were had with the kids and we went home to bury my Grandpa.

Chocolate Raspberry Pie-tini - Baking In A Tornado 
Chocolate Raspberry Pie-tini

Before we arrived in Boston I had a change of heart and spoke with my sister again. I had come to terms with a few things and had decided that my children would go to the funeral.

I wanted my boys to know that they are a part of a family in good times and bad. I wanted them to know that death is a part of life; that there are traditions in association with death and they’re meant to bring us some level of closure and of peace. There are ways to show respect when there’s been a death and we’d be doing that, but we’d also be on the receiving end as well.

I did not want my boys to fear death or funerals. I knew that this was going to be a short grave-side service filled with stories and memories, not a funeral of sobbing and wailing. There would be sadness and loss, but not at a level that I felt could scar young children. They would be there with me. They would follow my lead. This would be their introduction. I didn’t choose the time, it chose me, but I was going to go with it.

When it was time to leave for the service, they boys saw the limo and their eyes lit up. They wanted to ride in it and told me so. My first instinct was “no”. The limo was for specific people, we were going in a car.

But then I thought again. I decided to leave it up to them. I told the kids that this limo was not a toy or a ride at a carnival. If that was what they thought they needed to come in the car with me. But if they understood that riding in this limo would be a woman we love going to say good-bye to her husband of 75 years, and another woman we love who had lost her dad, then they could go. And they did.

My boys did so well. Not just that day but all week long. They participated in all of the traditions associated with our religious beliefs. To say that I was proud of them is an understatement. And although I can’t believe I allowed this, I did let my kids take over a limo. At a funeral. And I’m not at all sorry I did.

Baking Signature

Chocolate Raspberry Pie-tini
                                                                      
©www.BakingInATornado.com
 
 
Ingredients (per drink):
1 squirt of chocolate syrup
1 shot coconut flavored vodka
1 shot whipped cream flavored vodka
1 shot of chocolate cake flavored vodka
2 shots Chambord
Opt: whipped cream and chocolate shavings to garnish
 
Directions:
*NOTE: this drink needs to be served cold. Either make it in advance and allow to cool in the refrigerator or put the alcohol in the refrigerator for a few hours before making the drink.
*Put one squirt of chocolate syrup into the bottom of a martini glass. Add all of the liquors in the order named. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate shavings if desired.

40 comments:

  1. I say good for you. Your kids needed both things. They needed to be able to say goodbye and they needed the coolness of the limo to help them get through.
    You are so right about them needing to see it and be there and learn how to deal with it by watching you.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks, Stacy. It turned out to be the right thing to do.

      Delete
  2. Good for you. I agree, kids often grow up fearing death because we protect them from funerals. They need to grieve and understand as well. WOW longevity in your family for sure. That is wonderful. Thanks for sharing this!
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

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    Replies
    1. That really was my main motivator, that they not grow up fearing death, or even not knowing what to do or say when someone dies. It's difficult for sure, but kids don't know what to do if they're left behind.

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  3. This was so beautiful.
    I am so glad you did what you felt was right. Usually it is.
    The process of loss is so difficult but you gave those boys the tools by example that will be with them ALWAYS.
    You are a fantastic mama.
    Thank you for sharing this with us.

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    1. Thanks, Meg. I have to admit that it was a different direction to take this prompt in, but I'm glad I did it and I'm glad I wrote it.

      Delete
  4. That was absolutely the right choice. Just as children need to see parents argue, come to an agreement, and still love each other, they need to see that people can lose someone, suffer the pain and sadness, and pick up their lives again. Life is a learning experience and death is an important lesson. Good job, Mom.

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    1. I think so too. I think when dealing with young children you have to take into account the tone of the funeral. This one was just the right place to start.

      Delete
  5. This is definitely a mom WIN! I love how well thought out your decision was and the reasons why you made it. Dealing with death is hard enough but when your kids are involved, well that's a whole different story. I hope I don't have to deal with this any time soon but, if I do, I hope to handle it as well as you did.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. The truth is, I never thought about it until it happened. I think parents should, I just never did. So I had to make a decision at the moment and I'm glad I made the one I did.

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  6. Kids have great instincts, and I KNEW that they would ride that limo with the appropriate amount of respect. Thank you for giving them the opportunity to be part of the saying goodbye process. As much as we would like to protect our children from the unpleasant things in life, we really can't. They will fall and bump their head. They will be late for school, forget their lunch box, might not make a sports team or get accepted to their school of choice (well, yours are an exception to the rule) fall in and out of love, and sooner or later they have to face sickness and death.

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    Replies
    1. You're right, of course. But we really do instinctually want to protect our kids from unpleasant circumstances. It's often hard to realize that it's best for them if we don't.

      Delete
  7. I'm really glad you let them go. I guess it may depend on ages, right? I would be so new at this. You know I only have a 20 month old and a baby on the way so I wouldn't know. But your thinking seemed to be right in my mind. At some point, my kids would go just like yours because I feel the same way as you. I guess as soon as they are old enough to comprehend, it should be ok :) So sorry for the loss of your grandpa. :-(

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Brittnei, it really is a tough subject. In the end I do believe I made the right choice for my kids at that age.

      Delete
  8. Our family had a similar issue with the funeral we had last month. There was lots of discussion as to whether my sisters kids needed to attend the funeral (they are 6 and 10) but it was decided in the end that they needed to see what happens in a funeral, and keeping them away would just make it mysterious and scary when it really isn't. I had to go to my first funeral at 6 years old, it's just a part of life sadly.

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    Replies
    1. That was my main intent, honestly, to keep funerals from being a scary thing. I think the more (age appropriate, of course) life lessons children learn young, the better.

      Delete
  9. "I wanted my boys to know that they are a part of a family in good times and bad." This is perfect. I agree with you whole-heartedly. There's no cookie-cutter answer to these kinds of decisions we have to make as parents. We do what we think is best for OUR children in OUR particular circumstances. Nice job mom <3

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    Replies
    1. I completely agree with you, it was the children, their ages, the tone of the funeral, so many things went into making the decision, but it did turn out to be the right one.

      Delete
  10. I think it's awesome that you let them do that.
    I was 9 when my Grandma passed and I can tell you, there was sobbing and wailing and that was from me. I threw myself on the casket because I didn't want to let her go. My own kids have been to 2 viewings (I think......one that I know of for sure), but they've never gone inside to pay their respects. I was worried they'd be too scared.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. We don't do viewings, In fact, we really did a graveside service with prayers in stories. It was mostly led by my mother's brother. It was the perfect time for them to go.

      Delete
  11. A mother's instincts are usually correct. Score 1 for Mom; Score 2 each for the young men for living up to Mom's expectations.

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    1. They were amazing. I really was proud. And within the next few years we lost my Step-Father and my Grandmother. They knew exactly what was going to happen and how to behave.

      Delete
  12. I'm glad you allowed them to go to the funeral because death is a part of life and children should know this at a young age too. Yes, they were fascinated by the limo but who wouldn't be? At my age, I still stop in the street when I see a huge limo go by. You made the right choice Karen.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for saying so. It was iffy then but feels right in retrospect.

      Delete
  13. What a great story of commendable parenting, unadulterated love, and just plain old awesome boys. ♥
    I love feel good moments!

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    Replies
    1. It really was mostly just plain old awesome boys. They did so well, and that was all them.

      Delete
  14. You are such a great momma and role model for your kids! I really adore this post. xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Beth. It's not something I had thought through ahead of time, nor something I advocate for everyone but it was the right thing for us.

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  15. What amazing kids you have. Because you're an amazing mama.

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    1. Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's less me and all them. I AM a proud mama.

      Delete
  16. Is this the first time you've ever had my subject? Maybe… This was one of my favorite posts by you Karen. You gave your children so much by letting them attend that funeral. They learned loss and respect, reverence and allowance of their feelings. WHat you gave them in all, was a gift to share that kind of experience. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. I love you :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Michele, that means a lot. Love you back.

      And no, this isn't the first time I've had your prompt.

      Delete
  17. I really love chambord! I'll take a tray of those Chocolate Raspberry Pie-tini's for sure!

    Your kids reacted and behaved properly because of the great job you did as parents. Truth.

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    Replies
    1. Chambord is my favorite as well. Hope you love this drink.

      Delete
  18. Great story. Parenting win!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. One of those situations where I hadn't thought it through ahead of time and had to hope my instincts were good.

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  19. a mom always knows what;s best for her kids...a truly great mothering moment...way to go babe...

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    1. Thanks, Karen. We all have to do our best, even in difficult times.

      Delete
  20. You always seem to know what's right for your kids. Having a balance of happy and sad makes an event like a funeral, seem not so bad.

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    1. Thanks, April. All we can do is our best in any given situation.

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