- Birth: 7 lbs 1 oz
- Three Days: 6 lbs 11 oz – 50%
- Two Weeks: 7 lbs 5 oz – 50%
- One Month: 8 lbs 6.5 oz – 50%
- Eight Weeks: 10 lbs 10.5 oz – 50%
- Four Months: 14 lbs 10 oz – 50%
- Six Months: 16 lbs 2 oz – 40%
- Birth: 20″ (we think this was .5 off)
- Three Days: 19.5″ – 50%
- Two Weeks: 20.5″ – 75%
- One Month: 21.75″ – 75%
- Eight Weeks: 22.60″ – 75%
- Four Months: 24.50″ – 75%
- Six Months: 26.5″ – 60%
- Birth: Unknown
- Three Days: 13 7/8″ – 75%
- Two Weeks: 14″ – 75%
- One Month: 14.5″ – 75%
- Eight Weeks: 15 3/8″ – 75%
- Four Months: 16.25″ – 75%
- Six Months: 17″ – 60%
This is a long time coming and a little more difficult that I imagined it would be just a short while ago. The Boy Scouts have provided my family and me a lot of good, ranging from my Grandfather working for them after getting out of the military, to my Uncle’s extreme success, to my Cousin’s World Jamboree trip, to no less than five Eagle Scout achievements in the last 50 years – including my own. I completely understand all of the good that comes from the BSA, and because of it’s influence on my life, I feel completely ashamed of the organization today and embarrassed by any affiliation that I still hold.
For almost 15 years, I have been advocating – sometimes publicly, mostly privately – for the Boy Scouts to drop it’s anti-homosexual policies…and it’s even cost me personal relationships. Recently it appeared that there would be a breakthrough, lead by massive corporate sponsorship departures, where the policy would be reversed. Then, just prior to the potential game changing vote, the BSA delayed the decision due to pressures from the Mormon and Catholic churches, along with conservative politicians. During the delay, the Boy Scouts promised that they would poll the current membership (interesting how no polling was done of any former members, like lifetime Eagle Scout members) to see what the direction should be. The results came in and the BSA announced yesterday the vote that they will put out on a policy change: all, repeat: all, kids can join. No, repeat: no, homosexual adults can join.
Times up. Game over. The Boy Scouts went against nearly all of it’s core teachings – not doing what is right, but rather what is most likely not going to piss off the overly religious. While any child may join, there are kids who will have to face the questions about why their parents would be unable to participate. The presumption here is that openly gay parents are somehow harmful to the kids and therefore should not be able to participate. Let’s call it what it is: a gigantic pile of steaming conservative minded bull shit.
In an article on Slate.com, the writer describes the perspective of a gay youth now being open in the Boy Scouts looking towards the leaders of the troop for inspiration and mentoring. Unfortunately, there isn’t someone that he can look at and see his future self. A strong gay role model for boys is not something to fear, rather showing how a man has left a secret closeted life behind and found new purpose as an open leader in the community is a position to be celebrated. This is a time where society is rejecting the notion of secret sexual orientation, yet the Boy Scouts are hardening it in stone.
The Boy Scout Oath requires being a good citizen. The Boy Scout Law says that you will be – among other things - Friendly, Courteous, Kind, and Brave. The Boy Scout Slogan tells you to do a good turn daily. Having these instilled as a youth, and seeing how that very organization ignores them is a betrayal on a grand scale.
This policy change isn’t even guaranteed as there is still a vote that needs to happen. Assuming that it passes, or at least the policy eventually changes to reflect allowing gay youth, the BSA has reaffirmed it’s policy of bigotry and slight (and not just in the realm of sexual orientation: atheists and agnostics are also forbid to join).
There is a great aura that surrounds the Boy Scouts in the public eye. It’s perceived as some sort of pure, innocent, good teaching, fundamental instilling, do-gooder organization. It’s still widely accepted in schools, in cities and communities, and in neighborhoods. Local retailers still allow them to stand in front of their business to do the latest fundraiser, and fire departments and city sponsored gathering spaces still allow them to occupy space for events. There isn’t another openly discriminatory organization that gets a pass like this one, and it’s time that it stops. As I have said prior, the courts have affirmed the BSA’s opportunity to teach discrimination to it’s youth – that’s not currently in question - but it’s time for society to finally turn a blind eye to this group just like it would to any other group that has the same policies.
And for me? I’m done with them. I’m done supporting anything that they do or stand for. There are other ways to give children the opportunity to learn the positive skills that the BSA has taught me, without having bigotry instilled as part of them. As Ezra is only a few years away from Cub Scout age, we will seek those other avenues and walk away from an organization that is fundamentally unwilling to be accepting. It’s a sad and embarrassing moment for me.
Recently, I was in the basement looking for something and stumbled on all of the things that I have kept from my Boy Scout days….good memories of good times came flooding back…but I was almost ashamed to still have most of that stuff in my possession. The stuff felt dirty, not because of my time in the scouts, but because of how the organization has pushed a non-inclusive agenda. While I will still keep some of those things, as that time is part of who I am, there will be a purging of all BSA related materials because it’s time to move on.
I still believe that the Boy Scouts could have a place in modern society, but they are unwilling to participate. Sure, there is a good chance that when enrolled homosexual boys grow up, that the policies towards adult will change, but that’s potentially a generation away…and that’s presuming that the BSA will get out of bed with conservative religion. Those are two things that I’m not willing to hang my hat on.
So, goodbye Boy Scouts. I hope that someday you will awake from this stupor of discrimination.
ed. note: this was written just after the anniversary of Liam’s death in February
Ezra’s understanding about death has made another evolutionary leap. This time, the next level of understanding of permanence has begun to take hold along with an ever growing understanding of the human body. We were told that Ezra would have an always changing comprehension about what happened with Liam, and that the questions would come and go as his relationship to the world grew. But what I wasn’t entirely prepared for was that the questions would come in the style, bluntness, and timing of (in this case) a 4/5 year old. There is no couching the question, or beating around the bush, or waiting for the ‘right time.’ Because with a 4 year old, now is always the right time.
We constantly mention and talk about Liam, so the occasional statement or simple question from Ezra has become expected. He will ask “Liam died right?” Yes. “Why did he die?” Well his heart stopped working. “Ok.” And that would be basically the end of it. Although, we have noticed that his facial expression and word inflection has indicated a change in what he is asking. And that is how it has gone for the better part of the two years since Liam died. Until recently.
Both of us noticed that the questions and comments started coming on his own fruition. Previously, the questions would basically hinge on us talking about Liam, but now his mind is thinking about life and death a lot more on his own. Ahna would get a question in the morning while getting ready for work. Then two weeks ago, I got my first taste of the new thought patterns. We were well into his nighttime routine (which includes getting ready for bed, reading books, and some snuggle time) and laying on our bed quietly for a few minutes. Ezra then broke the silence with a comment that nearly took my breath away. I was headed to work the next morning for my shift at the firehouse, and he said “Daddy, I hope that you don’t die at work.”
I was paralyzed with fear of the question, fear of the answer, and fear of where this might be going. One of the only pieces of parenting advice that I unequivocally adhere to was given to me by my Grandfather not long after Ezra was born: always give honest and truthful answers to every question. Following that advice has led down some awkward conversations in public places about nearly every topic you can imagine (yes, that topic too), and it has forced me to answer him at times when I honestly would rather have not told him the truth. As I laid there digesting what he had just said and trying to formulate an answer, I felt like the wind was knocked out of me. I couldn’t answer that we would be okay at work, because stating that would be an outright lie. But I had to tell him something that would dissolve the worry…argh….might have been the toughest intellectual moment between the two of us ever. I settled on “Thank you, Ezra. We will do our best to be as safe as possible.” And in lieu of all of my worry, of all of my fear of how this would go; he turned right back into a 4 year old: “okay” he said. And for him, that was that.
Fast forward a few days to February 18. If you don’t know, February 18 is the anniversary of Liam’s death, and February 19 is the anniversary of Jonathan’s (my brother) death. This year was the 13th time that we have recognized February 19 this way. These are proving to be a tough set of days as we have now navigated uneasily through two years like this. As you can imagine, February 18 raised the conscious thought of Liam for Ezra rather significantly. That evening, Ezra and I ran to pick up some food and just as we parked the car, the questions began. “Why did Liam die?” “My heart is working ok, right?” And just as we got through that moment, I mentioned that just like that day was the day that he remembered his brother’s death, the next day was a day that I remembered my brother’s death.
This correlation brought a turn that I didn’t prepare for. He looked straight ahead in the car, starring into the distance, thought for a moment, and brought out the next level. “Are you going to die?” “Is [xxxx] going to die?” “I don’t want to die.” “Is your heart ok?” Then the question that I haven’t heard before in this new understanding: “What happened to Liam?” Well, he had brain damage when he was born that lead to his heart not working anymore. “What is brain damage?” “Does Elia have damage?” “Is her heart working okay?” “I don’t want Elia to die.”
The answers followed logic (as best as possible) and included a lot of ‘we are all okay’ and ‘that’s why we got to the doctor’ and a hint but general avoidance of the realities that everyone’s life ends. I could see that broaching that subject would not have been healthy for him – but I tried my best not to lie or to be dishonest. This is the difficulty of these discussions: finding the balance between knowledge, understanding, and emotion. Ezra is starting to carry a lot of thoughtful weight on this matter and I can see it in his actions on the subject. His questions are reaching into areas that are hard to address, but need to be hashed out – in a way that doesn’t cover anything up while not crushing the spirit of a 4 year old. Ezra is smarter and more experienced on this than a lot of adults that I know, and while these conversations will continue for the rest of our lives, I’m not sure that they will ever become easier.
It really is amazing what happens when you can bring together a rested, fed, and non-stuck (read: went poop) baby with a camera, decent lighting, and a moment of parental energy. Pressing the shutter button on the camera way more than in the film days resulted in a series of photos that does really capture Elia at her finest. Enjoy!