Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A dose of humility

The kids and I had a little sit-in today. We stopped for a break at the Thompson Lane branch library. Its children’s collection has its own room and an energetic, friendly librarian. We settled ourselves in the carpeted loft used for picture books and story time. The baby crawls contentedly, quietly. Andrew begins reading aloud in what I would call a moderate, conversational level.
As soon as he finishes the first book, I see a middle-aged, mustachioed man walking up the steps toward us. He’s been working on a laptop in the lower level, children’s reference area. He shakes his finger for emphasis.
"How much longer is your son going to be reading out loud? It’s very distracting."

At this point the Mother Bear in me rumbles. “Well,” I gesture around, “you are in the children’s section.” The shy, Southern girl in me fights not to apologize. I hold my ground.

“Well,” he harrumphs, “I just can’t concentrate.”

Now, remember we are in the picture book loft of the children’s room of the library itself. This is the same place we heard the African drum concert a couple of months ago. “There are tables in the adult room,” I harrumph right back.

We spend the next forty-five minutes reading aloud. Ordinarily we would have left in fifteen minutes. I’m all for quiet voices and respect for others, but where else is reading aloud appropriate if not in the story time alcove of the children’s library?

So we drive home, flushed with rebellion and laden with books. I read through my email while nursing the baby. There’s a homeschool cooperative group inviting prospective students to a picnic this week. It sounds interesting, until I get to the part where the organizer says that “single, straight and polyamorous parents” are welcome. I know it’s an inclusive group, so I forward the invitation to a local friend. Does she know this group? What do they mean by the phrase “polyamorous”?

Only I didn’t forward the email to my friend. I forwarded my personal note to the entire GROUP.

Oh, the embarrassment.
I quickly compose an apology and send it right back.
I can feel all the blood in my body flowing right to my cheeks.

God really knows how to knock me off my high horse.
Be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.--1 Peter 5:5


Anonymous said...

Oh . . . all I can say is "bless your heart!" This so sounds like something I might do.

And I don't know what "polyamorous" means - but I don't think I want to!

Jeana said...

I've done that before! I mean, not the polyamorous, I don't know what that means either--I mean the group thing. They're tricky!

Something tells me it's not like Pollyanna.

MommyLydia said...

Yikes. I must have hung out with the wrong crowd or something because I do know what polyamorous means (though not why they would put it as specifically welcome in a homeschool activity).

However, I do wonder at "straight" and "polyamorous" next to each other. I'd expect to see a different word there.

Carrie J said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Sounds like a worthy enough group but not your cup of tea, Meredith !

It sounds like a group where you would end up feeling the need to "apologise" for YOUR noraml lifestyle.

There must be other groups, good for you for standing up to Grumpy in the library ; )


Shannon said...

How sad that children aren't even really welcome in the children's section these days. Great job sticking up for Andrew's right to read!

Carrie J said...

I'm sure you are familiar with polygamy, it has been in the news quite often recently. Polyamorous is usually, in my experience been used to describe relationships that involve polygamy, in one form or another. Certainly an interesting group, but I don't think that would be my choice for a homeschool group.

Anonymous said...

Oops. Forwarding stuff from groups can be dangerous!

Whichever homsechooling group sent that out, is not one I've run across.

Chrissy said...

Good for you for standing your ground at the library! It never ceases to amaze me how people just say whatever they want without thinking first - and to complete strangers.

I don't lose my temper very often but rudeness just flies all over me. I had someone once approach a friend and me in a nearly empty restaurant and say my 15 month old was too loud. (He wasn't, and how could Mr. Grumpy distinguish between the sound of my son and the awful sound of Michael Jackson's "Beat it" that was blaring in the background, I wonder? I didn't see him complain about the volume of the music, either).

He probably wouldn't have approached me if I'd been with my husband rather than another woman. There are some people who just don't like children.

Anonymous said...

"Sounds like a worthy enough group but not your cup of tea, Meredith!"

Do you not associate with single or non-traditional parents??

Meredith said...

Anonymous, I'd like to point out that another reader made that comment, not me.

On the whole, I am politically and religiously conservative. I *would* feel most comfortable putting a child in classes taught by a group of likeminded parents. However, I've never said or inferred that I refuse to associate with single or non-traditional parents. We have a mix of people in our own families. That's life!

Meredith said...

I'm not sure the group was referring to polygamy, which was the first thing that came to mind, also. On further reflection, I think she meant "polyamorous" as a generic term to mean parents who practice whatever/all kinds of love. Who knows?

Anonymous said...

Merideth, I did a quick check on and the definition of polyamorous is:

pertaining to partipation in multiple and simultaneous loving or sexual relationships

I am also pretty conservative religiously and politically, and have been a part of a homeschooling group that was "open" to "all" religions; however, the majority of the members were pagan and did not respect my beliefs, so I left.

You did the right thing -- you need a group that is comfortable while stimulating and challenging. :-)

Anonymous said...

My two cents--good for you for defending Andrew's reading aloud, sounds like a very reasonable use of the space, and if the librarian disagreed she would have let you know before ol' Mr. Grumpy showed up.

As for the homeschool group, if there is another homeschool group more aligned with your religious and political values, then skip this one. But if this is the one that appeals to you for its educational possibilities, then I suggest attending just one meeting (without kids if at all possible...can Grandma stay with them if it's during the day?) to scope it out. Perhaps they will be really "out there" but then again you may like it and be involved for quite a while before figuring out "who is who" as far as that initial description went. You never know, that description may have come about because of a nosy parker type of person being involved who thought it was her (or his) business to figure out everyone's personal life and judge it instead of leaving the judging to God.

Anonymous said...

Just remember, God chastens those He *LOVES* !