Friday, September 25, 2015

Go Sheesha!

Back in August when Acacia was still 12, she and Nick went on a three-day, four-mountain hike to finish off her 14ers.

Mt Yale (14,199ft / 4,328 m)

Mt Shavano (14,234 ft / 4,340 m) 
Still sleeping and cozy in Mom's (favourite) jacket (and my boots as well, I see). 

Tabeguache Peak (14,163 ft / 4,316 m)
More awake by this time.

And then, because Mt Antero has a rough road that goes way up it, Michel, Ilona, Cayenne & I surprised her for her last summit push. :)

Mt Antero (14,275 ft / 4,351 m)

(I love this pic.)

Yay! Let's celebrate!

 Welcome to the club, sis!

But that was way back when she was just 12. She's 13 now, as of yesterday. 

Happy Birthday Amazing Girl!

(She's at a surprise birthday party right now that her friends are throwing for her. 
Life is good.)

Friday, September 4, 2015

... and about That Photo...

I'm a good Mom, I swear. A damned good Mom, actually. And like all good parents, sometimes I suck, but this isn't one of those times:

We were driving over the 32nd Street bridge when one of the girls commented on the orange Animas River, and how it looked mildly clearer (for why it's orange, please see post below). I turned onto E 4th, parked, and we walked down the path to the water.

Cayenne and Acacia are teenagers now so I didn't have to worry about them jumping into or swallowing any of the river. I grabbed a stick and showed them how the surface of the water was clearing up, but it still appeared yellow because of the heavier metals lying on the sand. There was a clear disconnect between the upper flowing water and the unmoving sediment, so with the stick we made waves to see how strong a current it was going to take to move this sludge downstream, through New Mexico and into Lake Powell where it will sink to the bottom. Hate to say it, but there's some truth in "the solution to pollution is dilution."

We spoke about what percentage of the city's water comes from the Animas, why we switched off our sprinkler system, were taking shorter showers, and the collective impact it will have. We talked about what was in the water, how it got there, how the best intentions can go horribly wrong, and how we have the choice to stand around blaming people, or to help. The girls asked questions about mining, minerals, the Superfund, etc.

That was when Jerry McBride of the Durango Herald snapped this photo:

Nicolas saw it on the BBC (wha??)... and then Googled it, finding out it had been published on every continent. Huh? On the front page of loads of US papers. It's not even an interesting photo, but on the Herald site, among many other threads below the photo discussing the actual situation and not my parenting, there was this line of character skewering (bearing in mind that the water was not radioactive, looking at it or breathing it was not going to harm, and neither the path to the river nor the sand bank was closed):

Chris Sickich ·  
I was a little concerned about the kids in the picture that were playing with the contaminated water. Is that a good idea?
Like · Reply · 4 · Aug 8, 2015 10:21pm

Philip Powell
Absolutely not a good idea, why would u risk yourself, or your own children around such a highly toxic pollutant to human health. Wtf? Stupid!
Like · Reply · 5 · Aug 9, 2015 8:06am
Denita McCoy
If the parents are dumb enough to allow them to play in that mess.... Maybe it is ok in the long run for the community. The gene pool of stupid people will be taken care of.!! Sorry, guess I was having a Trump moment!
Like · Reply · 1 · Aug 9, 2015 10:52am
Kim Cofman · 

We were not playing in the water; we were next to the water, using a stick to see how strong a current it will take to lift the sediment and move it. Will it take until the next snow melt? Not a drop of water touched my children, but they did learn first-hand the magnitude of the situation, the apparent weight of the metals, and through our discussion, the possible long-term implications on our community. You know, parenting time.
Like · Reply · 8 · Aug 9, 2015 11:56am
Philip Powell
wow! If playing with toxic wast with your children is parenting? Then I totally missed something about being a father.
Like · Reply · 2 · Aug 9, 2015 12:34pm
Philip Powell
I know the banter is not progressive, but I can't help my self.
Like · Reply · 1 · Aug 9, 2015 12:36pm
Gwen George · 

Teaching your children to go on the river(that is closed)i s real parenting there Mom. Playing in that water and not getting a drop on you???? Teach them to go around closed signs??? Only in Durango!!!!!
Like · Reply · Aug 9, 2015 12:46pm
Kim Cofman · 

We weren't on it or in it. Our bodies did not touch it. Seeing it like we did for 5 minutes made my children understand why we were restricting water at home, how the collective actions of individuals make a difference, and how sometimes good intentions go horribly wrong and we can either spend our energy blaming people, or doing what we can to help solve the problem. We were down there trying to understand how hard it's going to be to solve. In the meantime, we're doing what we can as citizens to lower our water use. Having seen it in person, my girls - who are teenagers now, not toddlers who may have touched or stepped into the water - who are daily Herald readers, now have an even better understanding of what we're facing.
Like · Reply · 2 · Aug 9, 2015 1:54pm
Ted Johnson · 

Gwen George is the world's best mom everybody. Congrats Gwen.
Like · Reply · Aug 9, 2015 2:05pm
Jill Southworth · 

These comments make me so sad in an already sad situation. Being hateful to a mother who was showing her children the effects of this horrible crisis and giving them an explanation as to how it is affecting their family right now, in my opinion, was a smart choice. As Ms. Cofman stated, her kids neither touched the water nor stepped in the water. 

Pointing fingers, I suppose, can be a very easy thing to do in any horrible situation but it is a helpful one? Making hurtful comments to a mother who used this opportunity to teach her teenage children about consumerism and its possible outcomes, 
helps no one.

Additionally holding the EPA as the only accountable party is egregiously political and misses the point entirely. There are thousands of abandoned extraction sites in Colorado, and when you have that many land mines lying around, someone is going to step on one. 

On a personal note.... in my position as school liaison between the parents and the school ( P.I.E.), at one of our local Elementary Schools, the Cofman family were one of the most progressive in helping our beloved community both in a volunteering capacity as well as being generous donaters. Ms. Cofman is a wonderful mother and a highly respected business woman in our community.

Please be kind in this time of grief.
We all need to remember that we all want the same thing, which is to have our beautiful river healthy again.

Like · Reply · 


(Thank you Jill. I love you!)

So I showed the girls, and at first they laughed, because they saw how ridiculous it was. But then Cayenne said, "Wow. That's pretty mean-spirited. Did their parents teach them to be so rude?"

"I wonder if that's what they are teaching their kids. Great parenting!" Acacia added, busting out laughing again.

"I guess their parents didn't teach them never to write something about someone they wouldn't say to her face."

"Maybe their parents forgot to explain to them that that's an actual person they're talking about."

"It's just mean."

And that's when I knew I'm doing just fine.

(And so is the river.)