There are times when things are stressful and it can seem like everything that can go wrong has or will soon. I’ve definitely not been as perky and upbeat as I usually am since Matt started working. I’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating. Taking care of the three kids all day every day with essentially no help since Matt’s constantly at work is very difficult and can really wear you out.
But there are moments, little tiny moments that can make even the darkest of days turn a whole lot brighter. As we were in the car on Friday night heading across town for the hockey game, the kids spotted an American Flag outside the window of the car. For no reason that I can explain my kids all get a huge kick out of seeing flags, any flags, flying outside of buildings.
That night was no exception. They all stared out the window oohing and aahing until the flag was out of sight. Then Brendan asked Cameron if he had learned the Pledge of Allegiance yet. I knew they still said the pledge every morning in our elementary school, but wasn’t sure how much Cameron had picked up of it yet. It turns out he knew it fairly well. As we drove along he recited it for us, and it went a little something like this:
I pledge allegiance to the flag,
Of the United States of America
And to the repugnant
From which it stands
One nation, under guard
For liberty and justice for them.
I was really quite impressed with the amount of the pledge that he had gotten correct, though I wondered where he came up with some of the things he got wrong. Like repugnant. I’m not even sure I know the correct definition or way to use that word. I know he just mis-understood the word Republic but the fact that the word he substituted was an actual factual real word was quite impressive.
More amusing to me was the under guard. Again he just mis-heard under God, but he was quite insistent that he was correct on this one because America needs guarding after all. After that one I didn’t even bother to correct him on liberty and justice for them. He’ll get that one straightened out eventually.
Brendan, in a brief moment of niceness directed toward his brother began to slowly walk his brother through the correct words of the Pledge of Allegiance. And for once Cameron took the direction well. The boys, without arguing, actually went through the entire Pledge together. It was wonderful to hear them cooperating for a change instead of fighting.
I’m very happy that our school still believes in saying the Pledge of Allegiance. I know that a lot of schools have moved away from it, but I feel like it’s one piece of a larger puzzle which teaches our kids to have respect for the flag of the United States (and in extension respect for all flags). It’s also why I’m glad the kids get to go to hockey with me so often because it’s taught them all to stand quietly and respectfully during the national anthem. One of the few times I can get them to be still and quiet.
Even little Kaylee is learning to be respectful during the national anthem. She still has her moments when she’s wiggly or loud, but at three she’s still young enough that I can accept that she’s going to make mistakes and just work to remind her to be quiet and listen to the song. And those times when she does get it, and stands straight and tall with her tiny little left hand across her heart (well, no ones perfect) it makes it all worth while.
The boys too have learned to have great respect during the national anthem. It’s about the only thing that will get them to put their video games down. But when the lights dim and the announcer asks us to stand, both boys quietly shut their video games, and set them under their seats before turning to face the flag (which hangs behind our seats in the arena) and standing quietly for the song.
The one thing I do still need to work with them on is when there is an honor guard presenting the flag. Our hockey team has an honor guard out a few times during the season, and the most common time is around Veteran’s day. The kids happened to be with me at that game and I had forgotten to warn the boys that there would be an honor guard.
That night they were seated across the aisle and one row back from me. They stood for the National Anthem and turned their back to the ice, which is standard operating procedure. I caught sight of them out of the corner of my eye and quickly turned and told them to face the ice. They did so and we got through the anthem with no further incidents.
However, as soon as the song was finished they were seated and had their video games back out on their laps. Meanwhile the honor guard were still slowly marching the flag off the ice. We had a talk afterward about it and I let the boys know that in situations like that they should wait to be seated until the flag has been taken off the ice completely. For the next few games after that Brendan asked each time if the flag would be on the ice or behind us.
At least they’re trying, even if they don’t have the proper procedures down quite yet. I’m proud to be an American and to live in this Repugnant.