Thursday, March 15, 2018

Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream

Each morning, you stand by the window watching your boys until they're on the bus or picked up. You watch them leave your circle of safety and hope for the best. You can't know what that day will bring. Nothing, maybe. Or maybe a bomb threat. Maybe a math test. Maybe a lockdown drill. Or maybe a real lockdown.

But on this day, there is something different.

A rally. A walk-out. A demonstration.

Your oldest son asked if you'd call to have him dismissed and bring him downtown to attend the demonstration. You want your voice to be heard, and even more, you want your son's voice to be heard, so you call the school, you pick him up, you drive downtown.

You don't know what to expect, but the reality makes you weepy. A crowd of teenagers, many carrying hand-drawn signs stand gathered in front of the church, chanting. Adults congregate around the edges. A band plays, keeping time for the chants. Horns honk as their drivers show support. One man in a truck wags his finger in dissent at them. Local politicians chat with the group.

You chant and cheer until your throat hurts, even though you realize that you're the only adult in that part of the crowd standing with the kids doing so. You're enveloped in the courage of these kids. You wish you could squeeze them all, imbue them with strength and with courage, with hope and with love. Instead, you walk over to the coffeeshop and buy as many hot chocolates as you can carry in two trays.

"Whipped cream?" the barista asks.

"Yes," you say.

You load up the trays and hope you don't slip on the snow outside. When you make it back to the crowd, you worry that no one will want any--after all, you're a stranger, even if your intentions are good.

"Hot chocolate?" you ask, and before you know it, the cups are received with gratitude and delight, and the trays are emptied. Of course. Teenagers. March in New Hampshire. It's cold and many of them are not dressed for the weather.

A woman drives by, honking her horn and blowing kisses.

Steady on, my friends. We're behind you all the way.


  1. Ginger, so glad to read this! While I won't go into my own beliefs and thoughts on the matter, I am so proud of gingerbread boy the eldest and his willingness to stand for something he believes in and for you supporting him and teaching him the importance of his voice and the willingness to use it. We've had many conversations around the topic at our home as well and as I've read what you guys have been up to I've wished for the opportunity to walkd down the road and have a front room or porch gathering with our families and sons to share, discuss and explore. I have been amazed and hunbled at the thought and insight my boys have put into this...makes me not worry so much for them or us in the future! Thanks again for sharing :) -B

  2. Brent, how we long to have a front room gathering with the Waddoups too! (BTW, we still call your house down the street "The Waddoups' house." :) I'm hoping to come to your neck of the woods in the fall for some book events. Maybe then?