Ryan & Ally Gerken
All Aboard The Polar Express!
The Polar Express is one of our most cherished Christmas movies. A little slow for the girls but they enjoy the soundtrack! Spoiler Alert: the basis of the movie is about a boy who is challenged with his belief in Santa Claus and so on the Eve of Christmas the young boy is taken on a wild ride to the north pole (perhaps in a dream, perhaps not) where his belief in Santa Claus is rejuvenated when Santa gives him a Christmas bell from his sleigh. The next morning when the young boy awakens in his bed at home, he and his sister run to the tree and the boy's gift from Santa is the bell from his sleigh and when he rings the bell he can hear it jingle and so can his sister, but their parents can not. The jingle of the bell can only be heard by those who BELIEVE.
Another Spoiler Alert: Ryan has gone back to work, which he has been posting pictures of his drive to and from so maybe cats-out-of-the-bag already!
Our family was blessed to be able to spend so much time together while the girls are little. Eleven months of just us, and Ryan has been with them full-time sense Madeline was born in October 2017.
I remember when I had to go back to work from my maternity leave and Ryan and Madeline became thick as thieves! When she started to talk and communicate non-verbally I couldn’t understand and it drove me insane. I would have to have Ryan translate so I could understand her and get her what she needs - bringing on a lot of unnecessary mom-guilt!
Ryan has been back at work now for about a month. Our littlest will be two next Friday, and she is developing more and more everyday. When Ryan is home on the weekends, I now have to translate because he can't understand her attempts at new words. I didn’t understand when I was going through it, what I was going through, but now that I am on the other side of it - I can so clearly see. He can’t hear the bell… And it is so sad, I am brought to tears every time I realize that he can’t hear his little girl's bell - figuratively speaking of course.
I know that part of being in a community is working and I am grateful for Ryan and this new job - we were literally a few months away from losing our farm due to financials. We are lucky, our daughters have had ample time with both of us, thank you to 2020, and our families' strictest boundary which is always family first. But this whole ordeal got me thinking.
Having just finished a Global Marketing class, one of the week’s discussion topics was to cross compare country policy to one another. One thing I found was that America has no mandatory paternity leave - we are the only first world country to not have this. Moreover, many second and third world countries also have paternity leave policies!!!
Long story short, you can’t want school violence (and many other youth issues) to stop and still support policies that don’t allow for moms and dads to hear their children’s bells.
Ryan being back at work is both a blessing and curse - we miss him and the girls don’t quite get this new routine! But he’s promised to load us up with farm work in the coming weeks as we get set to plant for our second year - yay 2021!
Be Kind. Be Positive.
*Fitting title given half the country is buried under snow!