Farewell, Captain!

There are so many heroes in this world. When I was growing up, my heroes ranged from my parents to Sandra Day O’Connor (as I became older). Then it was my brother as he fought leukemia. When I was always asked about my heroes, I can’t ever recall turning to fictitious characters, but I also can’t recall ever having a celebrity, be it athlete or actor, as my hero.

When my dad was growing up, heroes were the men and women who fought during World War II or the Joe DiMaggios and Hank Aarons of the world. Heroes were people who were strong and brave, people who fought for others, and people who did their job with a higher standard in mind. My husband and I have tried to instill the same beliefs in our sons where heroes are concerned. We ask that they not look to Thor or Captain America or Justin Bieber or anyone unreal or superficial. Heroes are few and far between these days, but there is still one left even if he is no longer a participant in his sport. That hero is Derek Jeter.

Derek Jeter is more than just a baseball player. Sure, his stats speak volumes. A .310 batting average. A .377 on base percentage. 3465 hits. 260 homeruns. 1311 RBIs. Clearly, this man was a hero to many on the baseball field, but it’s off the field that I’m excited about.

Derek Jeter played the sport with integrity. He is admired by many and respected by all. It’s very rare to hear about Derek Jeter outside of baseball, at least personally. In a day when so many young celebrities allow their newfound fame to tear them down, Derek Jeter practiced the lost arts of humility and grace. He created his Turn 2 Foundation to help youth steer clear of drug and alcohol use and to reward those with exemplary academic standards. He understands the value of community service.

My husband is a native New Yorker and for him there is no other team than the New York Yankees. He grew up a Yankee fan and can remember the stories of Babe Ruth and Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio. In his youth, my husband admired the likes of Bernie Williams, a mentor and teammate of Derek Jeter’s, so it was easy to transition to Derek Jeter as his all time favorite baseball player. Now, we have two young boys of our own and while I grew up an Atlanta Braves fan, I’ve come to have a certain level of love for the Yankees and Derek Jeter. I’m content to have my boys sporting their Derek Jeter jerseys. I’m happy my son has a “hero” like Derek Jeter to look up to. Davey’s even attempted to learn how to announce Derek Jeter’s name like Bob Sheppard.

It was sad in our house to watch Derek Jeter’s last All Star game, his last game in Yankee stadium, and his last game EVER at Fenway Park. We had lumps in our throats when we watched the Gatorade commercials. Our chests swelled with pride as we watched opposing teams tip their hats in respect to the 2nd ever Pride of the Yankees.

Davey watched one of Derek Jeter’s last games on television and at one point, he stood to hold 2 fingers in the air…a gesture of support and admiration for the one and only #2 of the New York Yankees. My husband is sad that we never took the opportunity to take Davey to NY this past summer to see Derek Jeter play. It worries him that there will never be another hero like Derek Jeter. For now, we’ve had Yankeeography: The Captain’s Collection, on replay in our house. Davey’s learned more than most other children about Derek Jeter.

So, from the Doser household we’d like to say:
“Thank you, Captain, for holding your head high, for playing the game with integrity, for maintaining a humble persona, for your charitable works, and for helping to shape the lives of so many. You will be missed.”

First season in the new stadium.  Our chance to see Derek Jeter in action
First season in the new stadium. Our chance to see Derek Jeter in action
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On This Date in 2011

This is the story of Davey’s birth as told by me, his mother, to Davey. We do this every year on his birthday.

Once upon a time their was a young lady named, Mommy. She was married to a man named, Daddy. For a long time, Mommy and Daddy prayed hard for a little baby. One day Mommy went to the doctor. The doctor told her that she was going to have a baby. She was so excited especially when she heard the baby’s heartbeat. It made her cry.

After a few months, Mommy’s belly began to grow as the baby she carried grew bigger and bigger. Finally, it was time for the baby to be born, but he didn’t want to come out. He liked growing inside Mommy’s belly.

Three days passed and the doctor told Mommy and Daddy that the baby was going to be born today! Mommy and Daddy were so excited.

When the baby was born, he came out crying. Daddy brought him over to Mommy and Mommy began to cry as she stroked the baby’s hair. They decided to name him David Brian, a strong name, but a name with a lot of family to it. David was Daddy’s name and Guh Guh’s name, and Brian was Mommy’s brother’s name.

He was a big baby, weighing 8 pounds, 15 ounces, and 21 inches long. Mommy and Daddy were very happy and they thanked the Lord for answering their prayers and they all three lived happily ever after.

The Day of his Birth

I’m not that great at creating my own stories for Davey, but this is one that I love to tell him every year on his birthday. This year was the first year he knew to actually ask for it. “Mama, tell me my birthday story,” he said as I put him down for a nap.

I look at my baby everyday and count my blessings for the graces the Lord has bestowed upon me and my husband. We wanted Davey so much and we thought we’d never get him. The last three years of my life almost feel like a whirlwind. I’ve become disoriented at times, forgetful, impatient, loving, empathetic, happy, and sad. I’ve literally experienced every emotion on the wheel of life and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it. I can’t wait to see what the “threes” have in store for us.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAVEY!

Truly Brave

If you haven’t heard about this latest song/music video then you’ve possibly been living under a rock for the past two days, or perhaps you’re just out of touch. In this world, when we’re constantly inundated with so much negativity and miserable things within our society, two of the pop music world’s most prolific singer/songwriters have gotten together to mesh their two remarkable songs into a new anthem for children suffering from cancer. Sara Bareille’s “Brave” and Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors”.

I first saw the segment on the Today Show yesterday. I usually have the program on in the mornings while I’m getting me and the boys ready. All year, the anchors and reporters have participated in a “Shine the Light” project which serves to highlight or bring recognition to the programs and charities nearest and dearest to them. Hoda Kotb, a cancer survivor, decided to highlight the plight of children who are diagnosed with cancer and to find a way to cheer them up.

Being a mom with two small boys and the sister of a young man who died from leukemia, I am immediately drawn to anything that brings attention to the suffering, the cures, the laughters, the heartaches, and the all around love and support of anyone who is or has suffered from cancer. So, yesterday I dropped what I was doing to watch the segment and then to watch the video. It was poignant. It was beautiful. It was emotional and heart wrenching, but mostly it was magical.

I watched these children, heads shaven, tubes in their noses, ports in their chests, hooked to machines giving chemo. I listened to them talked and watched them smile. I didn’t see a single tear, nor did I ever once hear, “why me?” A lump formed in my throat and tears slowly began falling down my cheeks. I was immediately transported back to 10 years ago when my younger brother was diagnosed with leukemia. He wasn’t a child, but he was my mother’s child, her youngest, her baby. I thought about his diagnosis, watching him day in and day out as he fought the horrible disease, and how he did it with his head held high. In his final four years on this earth, he only asked once, “why me?”

No child, especially the smallest and youngest of the world, should ever have to face such an ugly disease. It breaks my heart when I see them going through things that most adults wouldn’t be able to handle. I’m sick at my stomach as I think about what they should be doing with life, out playing with their friends, getting into mischief, participating in school and sports, anything other than being in a hospital bed. As a parent, I’m terrified of my one of my children suffering with the disease. While I have faith both boys would handle it well, it tears me up to think this is something I really can’t protect them from, nor can I take it away from them.

It’s always saddened me to see anyone who suffers with cancer, but never hit me quite so hard until my brother was diagnosed with it. It hit home. It became real. And all of those years of me protecting him, were completely changed when he became my protector the day he told me, “it will all be alright. We’ll make it through somehow.” A child shouldn’t go through that and neither should a parent have to see their child suffer through it. Unfortunately, it’s a reality and the fact that so many are eager to find a way to not just cure the disease, but to also ease the suffering of those who are stricken with it, just helps to restore my faith in humanity.

If you haven’t seen the video, please go to this website and watch it.

https://www.crowdrise.com/hoda

And give thanks for the healthy children in your life and find a way to give to those less fortunate. – Marlo Thomas, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

This was my brother, 8 days before he died.
This was my brother, 8 days before he died.

I Am THAT Soccer Mom

I embarrass myself. I embarrass my husband and I’m sure if my son understood the emotion of embarrassment, I would embarrass him as well. It’s not intentional, but it just happens. Almost like losing my patience isn’t intentional…it just happens, but stand by for a moment as I pat myself on the back after last night.

Ugh, groan, reaching… with… my… left… hand… while… typing… with… my… right, eek, oh, there we go. A good pat on the back. Now, back to full speed typing as I explain why I’m giving myself a pat on the back.

Before we go any further, I should preface this blog post with the following statement: I am a competitive person by nature. I compete against others who are better than me and others who are worse than me. I compete with myself. I compete with the opposite sex. The only person, or type of person, I don’t compete with is a child. I’m a realist and I think that would be doubly embarrassing on all fronts as most children can beat me (even mentally). SMH.

Davey’s first soccer game, I realized that I came off as a bit too pushy, maybe a bit too competitive. I was the only parent, not mom, but parent, who was yelling (yes, yelling) at her son to kick the ball, to get into the game, to do something! When I say “yelling” I don’t mean that I was berating Davey, kicking him around, or mentally brow beating him. My yelling consisted more of, “come on, Davey! You can do it. Just kick the ball. No, don’t kick it that way. Go get the ball. Don’t just stand there.”

Kicking the ball

I can only imagine what the other parents thought of me. I know what my own parents thought of me. They were there at the game to watch and were quick to put me in my place. “It’s just a game,” they said. “He’s only two,” they remarked. And they’re right. What do we, or I, get out of Davey winning a soccer game at the age of two? NOTHING! So, I decided to attempt to “86” my competitiveness for his next game, which was last night.

Refusing to play

Now, here’s why I’m patting myself on the back. Even though my child sat down in the middle of the field while others kicked the ball around him. I didn’t yell. I sat in my chair and took pictures. When Davey wanted to run onto the other field to play. I didn’t yell, although I did hide my face in embarrassment. When he refused to “share” with others, I just rolled right along with the flow. I tried my best to mimic the behavior of the other moms and parents by just sitting back and enjoying the comical entertainment known as 2 & 3 year old co-ed soccer.

Sitting on the field.

I don’t want to be that mom and I’m working hard to change my perspective. So what if he Davey wants to run away onto the other fields? He’s two!!!!!! His behavior in that respect is not indicative of my parenting abilities, which has been my true worry. He’s two!!!!!! He’s a boy. He’s going to run and explore.

Hanging out in the goal

We didn’t win the game last night, but who cares! And Davey’s behavior seemed to rub off on another little boy, but who cares! The thing I should be and am most concerned with is did my child have fun? YES! He’s a happy boy, a sweet boy, an intelligent boy, and a loving boy. Once again allow me to pat myself on the back.

Adios, Summer 2014

At 10:29 last night, Fall 2014 officially came into town. Since I’ve been a bit slack this summer with posting photos, adventures, and writing blogs, I thought what better time to give a quick rundown of our summer than with this “Goodbye to summer” and “Hello to Fall” blog!

June 21st, at 6:51 am, was this year’s Summer Solstice…otherwise known as the first official day of Summer! Fortunately, or unfortunately depending upon your view, summer in the Deep South seems to start in mid to late April. We’re hit with hot and humid days, sweltering heat and the occasional thunderstorms that only seem to make breathing worse instead of better. This year was no exception, but we won’t start with when it felt like summer, but instead the actual day. So, without further adieu, here is how we spent our first summer together as a foursome:

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Davey got his first official bicycle and began learning to ride. He was a quick learner at it and we ended up taking it every where with us this summer including Mimi & Pop’s who have a much longer driveway to ride it on.

Bike Riding Davey

We also took a field trip of sorts to our local free “waterpark” located in beautiful downtown Greenville, SC, outside the Lazy Goat. It’s nothing more than water fountains and spouts all along a fake train track, but Davey thoroughly enjoyed it.

Water Park Davey

July 4th we were in Rochester, NY visiting family for the week. We enjoyed everything from go kart racing to miniature golf, fireworks to parades, live music to horse races, and even had a cook out complete with our personal bouncy house. Another first was Henry’s plane ride and Davey now officially getting his own seat. We had a love/hate with Davey having his own seat. It was nice to NOT have to hold him, but ridiculous to pay for his seat.

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July 4th

Davey became a more advanced swimmer this year as we spent 3 days a week usually at Mimi and Pop’s house in their pool. Henry was introduced to his first pool experience and while he eventually came to enjoy it, it was a bit of a labor to get him in.

Swimmer Davey

Swimmer Henry

We threw in some zoo trips with friends and adventures at the Children’s Museum before finally getting our opportunity to enjoy the beach in mid August. We visited aquariums and battle ships. We built sand castles and rode the waves on boogie boards. Henry had his first experience with a crashing wave and quickly learned he didn’t like the taste of sand. Davey hunted for seashells and played miniature golf.

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MB 2

MB 1

We managed to find some time to take Davey to his first movie experience where he saw “Rio 2” and “Planes: Fire and Rescue.” We had amusement park rides and outlet shopping. I found time to participate in 2 triathlons with Davey finishing both of them with me.

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Finally, we closed out summer with Davey’s first season of soccer, some apple picking, backyard shenanigans, and 1/2 price ice cream cones.

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To Summer 2014, we’d like to say, “thank you for the memories, the adventures, and the heat. You were not a disappointment.”

And to Fall 2014, we’d like to say, “Bring on the pumpkins and leaves, the bonfires with s’mores, college football Saturdays, chili, and the smell of apple pies baking. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!”

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I’m Henry the 8th I Am…

Well, he’s actually Henry the First, but we’ve become a huge fan of Herman’s Hermits in our house. It’s a daily ritual to sing “Henry the 8th” to our own little Henry. Davey’s even learned all the verses, once even breaking into song at the grocery store when a lady asked Henry’s name. It melted my heart and we all got a good laugh out of it.

We used to sing a version of Davy Crockett to Davey when he was a baby, substituting different words in to fit our circumstances. We still sing it to him occasionally. I love doing that…taking old songs and turning them into songs to fit our daily life. For example, when trying to get Davey to potty train, I took the Four Seasons “Big Girls” and turned it into a little dity that made him laugh and even encouraged him to use the potty. I even went so far as to sing Frankie Valli’s high alto voice! I know!

These days music plays a huge role in our house. I try to encourage everything from classic rock and roll, to gospel and blue grass. I’ll even throw in the occasional Top 40 and Alternative (my favorite). What I’ve come to discover is that my second little man has an even bigger love for music than my first.

Getting ready to dance

Henry can drop everything and bounce up and down on his knees, clapping rambunctiously when he hears a song. At times, he even pulls himself up into a standing position, arms stretched out in front of him as if he’s conducting his own orchestra, and starts bee-bopping away. I mean that literally, as today I heard him say, “bee bop”.

Henry getting his groove on

He’s become wonderful at keeping pace with a song even using his hands to tap out the beat on the table. What does this mean? Nothing more than my child has an amazing way with enjoying music. I don’t recall Davey getting as into it as Henry does. Davey is quick to memorize verses and entire songs, though. Of course, I couldn’t expect that from Henry right now.

I suppose what’s really tickled my fancy the most is how the other day I found Herman’s Hermits singing “Henry the 8th” on YouTube. Once I pushed play, Peter Noone’s (yes, I know you are all so surprised that a mere 39 year old knows this music…another post for another day) voice began bellowing out the infectious lyrics, “I’m Henry the 8th I am, Henry the 8th I am I am. I got married to the widow next door. She’s been married seven times before…” Henry’s face lit up, he laughed and pulled himself up into a standing position before clapping his hands and bouncing along to the song. Davey even managed to join in!

I take a somewhat non-traditional approach with my children. We don’t know a lot of nursery rhymes, but we do know a lot of Bible songs. We do listen to a lot of music every day. I like to incorporate modern takes with old classics especially with hymns I grew up on. For example, “It Is Well with My Soul” is a favorite. It’s one we can listen to sung as a hymn or a modern day Christian rock. We love Bob Seger, Lionel Richie, Darius Rucker, and George Strait. And not to be outdone by all the moms out there with little girls who seem love Taylor Swift, we do know all the words to “Shake it Off” and love to hit the replay button.

What about the rest of you? I’d love to know what gets your little ones moving and maybe you moving along with them. I’ve always said that I’d gladly give up a television for music. There’s so much more to the imagination, after all “Henry the 8th” could really be imagined in so many ways.

The happy boy

The Importance of English

I get a lot of gripe these days from random folks. I hear things like, “he’s only two,” or “poor kid, he’s just trying to express himself.” I’ve been told I need to lighten up. To these people I say, “it’s never too early to teach your child the importance of speaking properly.”

One of the three degrees I have is an Associates in English. I love to read and I love to write. I always have. That’s part of the reason I studied English post high school. At that point in my life, I had not a clue what I wanted to do, but I loved the English language.

Once I entered Clemson, I transitioned my major into Speech & Communication Studies and Political Science. There was a fascination on my end with the spoken word and how just one small slip of the tongue could turn an extremely intelligent person into what could be construed as an illiterate moron. I put a lot of effort into how I speak, even now, even though I don’t necessarily need to for a job. I do it now because I don’t want either one of my sons to sound un-intelligent.

I’m amazed at the effort put into NOT focusing on grammar or spelling or speaking properly. I suppose we’ve become dependent upon computers to help “fix” any of our errors. These computers have become our crutches in the world of the spoken and written word. I’m guilty of relying on them a lot more than what I should. I try to be cognizant of what I write and say and how I convey myself, and I’m trying to instill that in my boys, even little Henry who just turned 9 months old.

My pet peeve these days with Davey is when I ask him a question he responds with, “huh?” I cringe each time I hear that word spill out of his mouth. It’s almost like the sound of nails scraping down a chalkboard. It’s taken a while, but I don’t hear “huh” quite as often and should it slip, I raise my eyebrows and refuse to answer Davey until he corrects himself.

I try to convey the importance of tense to Davey when speaking and the correct use of pronouns. I’m simply appalled at the number of children older than Davey who say “her is coming”. Are the parents just not listening to their children or do they not care?

I don’t discipline him and I don’t scold him. I just simply take the time to correct him and explain the importance of speaking correctly. And the funny thing is that Davey gets it. He truly gets it. It makes me chuckle when he says with perfect alliteration, “Mommy, I sound intelligent.” Yes, my son, you do.

These days a lot of effort is placed upon the Common Core method of learning. The method has its pros and cons and I’m not interested in turning this blog into a forum about whether or not Common Core is best. What really shocks me; however, is the number of people who are in support of Common Core yet they can’t even understand when to use “which” vs. “that” or “whose”, “who”, “who’s”, “whom”. These same people spout out their so called “intelligence” on the matter and yet they can’t even write properly. Instead they use acronyms and short cuts in order to convey their message. It’s sad. There are run-on sentences, phrases, and comma splices. Heck, I know I’m guilty of the occasional one, but I do try to proofread whatever I’m writing in the hopes to NOT make the constant and common mistakes I see within our society.

What’s even sadder is the fact that so many children these days come out of school without being able to write the appropriate business letter, or type, or even draft a proposal using proper English. For people like me, it’s frustrating to see our children this way.

How many of you spend the time actually speaking to and with your children? How many of you put forth the effort to make sure your children are speaking correctly? It’s never too early or too late to start, and it’s definitely a nice “ace” to have in their pocket.

Technology, How I Love Thee…

Let me count the ways.

1. You provide me with easy access to my weather 24/7. Yes, I’m an old lady now. I live and die by the Weather Channel, or in the name of the 21st century, the Weather Channel App.

2. You provide me with NFL, every game, and with multiple ways of viewing.

3. You enable me to continue writing my blog. Well, actually, you allow it to be viewed by so many. With out you, technology, there wouldn’t be a blog.

4. You make it easy for me to take pictures at any given point and to edit those pictures to make me look like a real photographer.

5. You allow me to not only make phone calls, but to also check my email or surf the Web while on said calls. How wonderful you are.

6. You make it easier for me to be a female. Since the majority of us seem to be directionally challenged and almost incapable of reading a map, you provide a nice little voice to walk us through our routes. *I said majority not ALL*

7. I can now officially keep track of the distances I run without having to drive the route in order to calculate said distance.

8. I no longer have to actually “talk” to someone when I want to ask a quick question…I can just text. Er, well, I can text those who choose to embrace technology (not my parents). This is a true lifesaver as I really just don’t have the time to sit down and talk anymore.

9. I can pack multiple “books” when travelling and only take up an inch or so in my bag!

And finally, the true reason I really LOVE technology are for moments like tonight, when my husband is not able to be home to enjoy a family dinner with us.

10. FACETIME!!!!! Thanks to this lovely little invention, we are able to have “dinner” with daddy even when he’s not here. A true lifesaver for me since Davey doesn’t eat well and my husband ALWAYS gets him to eat.

dinner with daddy

Gesundheit

No, I didn’t sneeze and unfortunately, I’m unsure if you sneezed either, plus I’m not German. When you sneeze, I use the good ole “God Bless You”. My husband’s side of the family has German ancestry, but they don’t speak German. I can only assume the term was used in place of “God Bless You” in the name of “political correctness” and that’s the reason Davey has given his first ever imaginary friend the name, “Gesundheit”.

The first we ever heard of this “friend” was the weekend of the UGA/Clemson game. I was down in Athens with friends, getting my much needed R&R while Dave stayed home with the boys. Dave called me mid-morning to ask what I knew about Gesundheit. My response, “isn’t it German for health or bless you or something?” Apparently, it was more than just that.

I listened as Davey ran to the bathroom to potty and yelled for Gesundheit to come along. That’s when I was informed that Gesundheit was the imaginary friend. My husband asked how I felt about this “friend”. I replied, “fine.” I’m not sure what he was looking for.

I don’t recall if I ever had an imaginary friend. My husband claims he never had one. I think it’s adorable and imaginative to have the friend. I find it humorous the name he was given, but what I also find to be comedic is how much Davey puts into his “friendship”.

For example, Davey was quick to tell his daddy to move out of the way because he was standing on Gesundheit. Then he likes to tell Gesundheit “secrets” and of course, there’s the infamous blaming it on Gesundheit. I enjoy listening to his adventures and places he goes with Gesundheit. It’s just a bit bothersome at times when we leave the house and we’ve apparently left Gesundheit behind. When I ask where he is, Davey becomes frustrated that I don’t “see” Gesundheit. How frustrating, indeed.

For the most part, Gesundheit has been one of the easiest additions to our family. He doesn’t cost us anything, but yet for some reason he’s really good at destroying things. I once asked Davey how long Gesundheit would stay with us.

“He’ll be here forever, Mommy!”

Great! I’m ecstatic with the idea of what else Gesundheit can do.

9/11…Another Year

We all remember where we were when the planes hit the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the field in Shanksville, Pa. We all spend 9/11 every year thinking back to that day. I was two months into my first “real” job out of college in Charleston, SC. I worked for a country music radio station and my boyfriend did network security for the DOD at SPAWAR in North Charleston. I put him on a plane September 10th to fly across the country to San Diego. I was grateful that his flight was the day before.

At first, we all thought it was an accident, but then the second plane hit and we knew it was never an accident. This was an intentional act of terrorism. I watched news coverage upon news coverage that day. I cried. I became angry. I was sympathetic and I had an intense sense of patriotism to get the SOBs who slaughtered so many innocent people.

Yesterday was a bit different as I decided to take the opportunity to “teach” my son a little about our nation’s history while encouraging his patriotism.

I dressed Davey in his American flag t-shirt for preschool.

“Mama, it’s not fourth of July. Why I wear this?” he asked.

“We’re showing our patriotism for a dark day in our nation’s history,” I replied.

As a matter of fact, I dressed Henry in his USA, red, white, and blue romper and I donned my own red, white, and blue. Off we went, listening to the radio as the newscaster was reporting live from the World Trade Center Memorial. Davey listened as the trumpet played Taps and the bag pipers followed. He told me he like the sound of the bag pipes could I play them again.

A few hours later, I picked him up from school. On our way home, we passed two different fire departments. Each one had their ladder truck parked down by the road with the ladder extended high above and an American flag attached to the end waving in the wind.

“Mama, why all these trucks have flags on them?” Davey asked.

“Because they help us to remember the people who were hurt,” I said.

“Why they hurt?” Davey asked.

“Because bad people always want to hurt us,” I replied.

“Oh no, Mama, we got to stop them,” he said.

Then he asked me to turn around and go back to the last fire truck, so I did. When we arrived, I pulled over so he could look at the flag and I watched my son, my heart swelling with pride as he put his right hand over his heart and said,

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America. Indivisible under God. Amen.”

It’s the only part he’s managed to learn of the pledge, but it was perfect. He asked me how he did, and I said better than 90% of Americans. And then I thanked him before driving home.

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