So I was a little crabby (read: dramatically depressed and angry all rolled in to one) when Daddy said he had to work on Mother's Day. I was all, "But it's MY day! MINE! I need pampered and loved and the WHOLE DAY OFF, dammit!"
It is entirely possible that I sulked. My feet may have been heavy to the ground too. I also plead no contest to the accusation that I was putting the dishes away loudly. Ok, fine, I deep sighed a lot too. But then, moments later I was given the perfect reminder that I needed to zip my lip and get a hold of myself.
Mr. Pants had been doing what he does best (getting into things he's not supposed to) when he sauntered on over to me with something in his hand. He gave it right to me the first time I asked. It was an old CD. One that was very important to me.
Seven years ago I went to Grand Central Station with my best friend. We wanted to be a part of StoryCorps
, an awesome living history project that began recording stories of survivors after 9/11 and eventually expanded to become an oral history project filled with the voices of any and all Americans who wanted to record an interview. Preserving life, one hour at a time. Below is an excerpt of the interview I did with Jessica, my best friend of over 20 years now. There were three of us in the room that day. Jessica was pregnant with her amazing daughter. After talking about what it felt like for her to be pregnant, she asked me a seemingly simple question. Have a listen...
I can still feel that turn in my stomach as I fought those tears. The flush in my cheeks. The feeling of my breath leaving my body and not coming back quick enough. The pause of my heart. I remember it like it was just yesterday. What if I never become a mother? I remember when my heart started to beat again. It sped up too fast. When my breath came back it hurt. This moment in my life was so powerful. It's one I will never forget.
I want to go back and give that girl a hug and tell her to take a deep breath. And that there are two babies waiting for her. That belong to her. They are already a part of her. She just doesn't know that yet. And it is even better than she thought it could be. It's harder too. A much bigger job than she thinks it is right now.
I want to tell her all about her kids. That her first born will be a son. That he is an awesome ball of energy that will challenge her to be better. He will help her find her way with him. All she has to do is let him. I want to tell her that her daughter will come 21 months after her son. And that her emotions are sometimes bigger than she is and it overwhelms her. But she knows how to help her through that. After all, she knows the feeling.
I want to tell her that it's coming. It's just a few years away. To hang in there and not worry. But I know that she will worry for years. Waiting. Hoping. Loving her future babies. Almost giving up hope so many times.
But I cannot go to her and tell her. So instead I tell myself that the holiday I so desperately wished would someday be mine to celebrate, is not about a day in May to run away from them. Maybe next year I will spend the day at the spa being pampered. But this year is a reminder that my dreams have come true. I waited a long time for sticky fingers and slobbery kisses. I have waited what feels like a hundred years to hear those sweet words come out of the cracker filled mouth of my toddler. I wuv you, mommy.
Oh, My loves, I will love you forever.
So this Mother's Day I'll be at home soaking up the gift I have been given, the love of these babies that are mine. Finally. And I can't think of any spa that can compete with that.
Happy Mother's Day. Especially to those of you still waiting for your babies.
May you find them. Keep believing.
I've been a bit lazy in the way of blogging this week. Forgive me. I am sore and am painfully aware of muscles I had no idea existed thanks to my the ruthless commands of a totally hot trainer that I didn't want to disappoint. I mean I was sore before he made me plank and do crazy things yesterday morning but that's a whole other post.
Going back through my phone for #iPPP pictures I noticed that in the last few weeks, I have made some big decisions about my health. I have a new attitude and resolve. But my kids could care less that mama's legs feel like wet noodles or that picking them up feels like someone is stabbing at my arms with a heated screwdriver. Nope. They are continuing on with their little lives oblivious to my pain and my plans. Little egoists. But I forgive them their childish ways. I mean there's a video at the end of this post where Plum tells me she loves me. So it's all gold. I'm easy to win over even when my body feels like I was trampled by bulls.
Here's what's been happening the least few weeks on the Pants Ranch. First I got screened. Because of my history of cervical cancer, I have to go every year. Other ladies can go longer between appointments. No matter your category, pretty please go get your paps, ladies. They saved my life.
So sweet of them to place a sock on the stir-ups, don'tcha think?
I hate waiting for results, as you can imagine, so we took the kids to bounce house heaven. You think this is a blurry picture. I would argue that this is just what he looks like as he runs by. He makes me tired just watching him.
A few days later, still waiting on the status of my girly parts and contemplating big changes in my life, I had a moment with my kids. It was the moment. The moment when things became so much clearer. They just sat with me. As though they knew I needed it. I had to capture a picture of it. It was the moment I decided to care for myself. We were still and quiet and everything just opened.
A few minutes later Woody and Buzz turned on the TV and came to plead their case for watching Kipper the Dog.
Just a normal day.
More time went by. A week, actually, and I am still waiting to hear from the doc. I can think of no better thing to do than go to the Mother-Son dance at Pants' school. I think he looks pretty damn excited. Don't you?
A few minutes before the phone rang, I took this picture. A picture of my beautiful girl with the sun coming through the windows as though it shined just for her.
Exhale. All clear. I can breathe again. Seven years now. I spent a few minutes crying happy tears with myself as is my tradition when I get the all clear. Then it was time to get outside and live. It's finally spring. Our windows are finally open. The sun is shining. And good gravy if I didn't get Plum on video saying she loved me.
"You can cut all the flowers but you cannot keep spring from coming" ~Pablo Neruda
Linking up with the awesome Greta and the fabulous Sarah for #iPPP
September 9, 2012 "So here is where I try and force myself out of the gate. By laying my heart here. And also my brain. I need to introduce the two of them since they seem to work on opposite schedules and rarely mingle. My heart wants health. My brain tells me I can't possibly get there. It tells me to give up. To not even try because I will fail. My brain lies and tells me that I'm just fine the way that I am. It says that the cookies on the counter will make me feel better. It tells me that my back injury will be aggravated if I exercise. My heart wants badly to beat the shit out of my brain." ~ Me (from my post Motivation.)
It's been seven months. I never got those new shoes. I tried for a few weeks to feel out an exercise plan and new diet plan. Then a flood of excuses came. Hurting back. Sick kids. The holidays. Winter. Blah blah blah. Yap yap yap. Mama didn't get very far. But you know what they say (who are they?) , keep on keeping on, try try again, don't quit, nobody likes a quitter and all that jazz.
Yesterday I went to a gym to look around.
There is something incredibly scary about gyms for a girl like me. It's what has kept me from ever stepping into them. The mean girl on the inside starts to whisper in my ear that I'm going to embarrass myself. That people will make fun of me as I sweat and jiggle on the equipment. She's an asshole, that girl in my head. She says that I will fail. I don't like her. So I held her in a headlock yesterday and forced myself into the car and across town to check out the gym. She almost gave me a panic attack in the parking lot. She tried to make me turn around. She made me shake. She encouraged me to hit Burger King for breakfast instead. But I held her tight and turned off her volume. I didn't listen.
Instead, I walked in.
And something kind of crazy happened as I sat across the table from the dreamiest personal trainer you have ever seen. I wasn't intimidated by him. Mostly. I mean, there will always be a twinge of fear. That shit has been building up for 37 years. I'm not gonna get rid of it overnight. But as I sat there talking to him about what having back to back babies and years of not caring for myself did to my body, he didn't look disgusted. He didn't even look like he was pretending not be disgusted because it was his job. Nope. Instead he looked... excited. Excited for me. When he said that he was excited to get started I actually believed him.
And that gave me the ovaries to hand over my card and sign the hell up. Despite the fact that I wanted to vomit on the table. I drop-kicked the asshole voice inside my head. And she went away. Her voice replaced by the amazing voices of those that support me. I have women in my life who have my back and inspire me. They are who I heard in my head. They said, "You can do this. This will feel good. Do it. Do it. Do it."
So I was sitting there watching Plum flirt with the trainer when it hit me like a freight train and I felt like Jimmy freaking Dugan, man.
I joined a damn gym, you guys. And I mean business. No more excuses. I'm gonna win. It's new. I'm still scared but I'm getting out of my own way. I going to do it scared. I am excited and might shart myself all at the same time. But that's what locker room showers are for right?
Anyway, I gotta go. I'm off to the store to finally buy those shoes.
I had the chance to talk with Albert and ask him some questions about his run. Dudes, I was blown away by him. His answers made me smile and cry. And cry and smile. And sob.
He runs to cure his wife. The love of his life. The mother of his son. His best friend and love. And dudes, I want to help him reach his goal. He wants to raise 5000.00 dollars. Every penny will go to the PKD foundation. Every cent. Every donation is secure. He's halfway there
But enough from me. Let's hear from Albert. Below are some excerpts from our email conversation...
<- This is Albert and Nolan. Albert is training for the San Diego half marathon on June 2nd to raise money
to cure his wife, Hillary. Their son Nolan, 5, is helping dad train. These two dudes love the amazing woman in their life and could use a hand reaching their goal. That's where we come in.
This is a chance to help someone meet a goal. This is a chance to help ONE person. Maybe by helping just one person, we can help many.
So what the heck is PKD? It's Polycystic Kidney Disease. And it has no cure. Yet. Hillary was diagnosed almost two years ago. Check out this graphic from the PKD Foundation.
Click to enlarge. [source: PKDcure.org]
I asked him to tell me about his wife...
Hillary is the strongest person you will ever meet. You have to be to make it through what she had to in her life. She has been to hell and back and you wouldn’t know it by talking to her. To say her Childhood and adolescence where tough is an understatement. Murder, suicide, fraud, physical abuse, and foster homes are not something that a child should have to experience first-hand. You would have to earn her trust for the details, but some way, somehow through a life of immense struggle a loving wife and mother developed. My wife INSPIRES me! There is a quote from the movie The Count of Monte Cristo” that to me sums up how she lives her life. "Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine!"
She attacks life’s moments that would make anyone else crumble. Moments like my cancer that left me with debilitating fear and shattered my confidence are where Hillary thrives.
I asked him about when his wife was diagnosed...
The PKD diagnosis was a shock in many ways. I remember thinking, “Gosh, hasn’t she been through enough ?” I didn’t and still don’t want her to be afraid like I was. Pain, Pain, and more pain is what polycystic kidney disease is about. For Hillary the seemingly constant back pain and nausea are a constant reminder that her kidneys are losing their function. Constant chronic pain makes you irritable, short-tempered, depressed, and tired. Part of the depression comes from knowing that your body is going to change because the kidney never stops growing.
I asked him why he runs...
Running is a way for me not to feel helpless. If I could physically take the pain away I would. It also allows me the forum to remind people about the importance of becoming and organ donor. It saves lives. People forget because it is not important until it happens to you or someone you love.
I asked him what it was like to live with PKD...
Living day to day with PKD is tough. It affects your kidneys which in turn affects your body and your mind. My job is to be whatever Hillary needs me to be at any given moment. Listener, Problem solver, handy man, cook, waiter, punching bag, caresser, babysitter, masseuse, homemaker, and so on. Sometimes it is multiple things at once. She gave me an amazing son and I will do anything for her. I love Hillary Garibay my hero and complement.
I asked him about the future...
I think I can speak for Hillary and I when I say that all we want is to watch our 5 year old son grow up happy and loved. He is all that matters to us. He looks like me but has tons of personality and charisma just like momma. I want to grow old with Hillary, watch my son set off on a career and marriage one day, and spoil some grandchildren.
Albert and Nolan at the end of last years run for Hillary.
So let's do this! Let's help Albert reach his goal. Let's spread some love around.
LET'S HELP SOMEONE! To help the Garibays reach their fundraising goal, just go to
Albert's personal fundraising page.
Give what you can. Even if it's just a few dollars. It all adds up. It all helps. It's all important.
Are you in?
The PKD Foundation leads the fight against PKD through research, education, advocacy, support and awareness. Our goal is simple - to discover and deliver treatments and a cure for polycystic kidney disease. One way we’re doing this is through the Run for PKD. Learn more about the PKD Foundation at pkdcure.org. ~ [source: http://www.kintera.]
For more information about PKD please visit pkdcure.org or check out this Youtube video.
Let's spread the word! Would you be so kind as to share this post?
I didn't have a chance to write a post about our year. We were in the thick of germ warfare in this house as the ball dropped in Times Square. But I can't not recap. This blog is nothing if not a chronicle of our life together. Had I not been washing puke towels and bleaching my house, my year end post would have gone something like this...
My Dearest Husband, Pants and Plum,
2012. Oh, it was a year. It was all at once brutal, beautiful, hard and amazing. It taught us that we can weather anything. But we already knew that, didn't we? As I went through the pictures of what 2012 brought us, I sat and stared and cried. In awe of us. Remembering. Photographs can do that. They take us right back to a feeling. A thought. A memory.
We've made so many memories.
Relaxing on Thanksgiving morning. Bellies so very full. Or the day that the two of you brought your mama comfort because I was so so sad. Sad that my friend had died.
There was the day that we played in the mud and the day that Plum turned One. The day that broke our hearts when Pants had his tonsils out and the day that we rode on a real train for the first time.
So many days. So many moments. But if I had to choose just one, it would be that this was the year you two became inseparable. This was the year you found each other.
I remember every single moment in each of these pictures. The second it occurred to me, Mr. Pants, that you would be ok because you spoke a sentence to me for the first time in your life.
Plum, you started walking and talking this year, baby girl. And you were such a champ when we went camping. I can't believe that you know all of your alphabet and shapes and numbers. You are so crazy (and almost scary) smart.
Pants, you started pre-school and you are r.u.l.i.n.g. it. And Mama cried when I gave you your first short haircut. You loved it but I hope you will choose to grow it out again. You always tell me, "I got you, Mama" as you hug me tight. It melts me.
Daddy, remember when we sat in the driveway and watched our babies play? Do you remember that moment we realized that we were becoming parents to bigger kids?
We've played in the hay, sandboxes and on swing-sets. We snuggled so close every single night. We played dress-up, got fat lips, shared all of our viruses and jumped on beds. We turned 36, 37, 3 and 1.
Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Life moved forward. Life happened. Life was so beautiful.
And it still is, my loves. I cannot wait to spend 2013 (and all the years to come) loving you. You have made my life full. You bring me a joy that I had no idea existed. You are my heart. All three of you.
You mean everything.
Here's what The Family Pants was up to last year...
And close your fingertips and fly where I can't hold you. Let the sun-rain fall and let the dewy clouds enfold you. And maybe you can sing to me the words I just told you. If all the things you feel ain't what they seem. Then don't mind me 'cos I ain't nothin' but a dream.
Every time I try to sing this song to them, I have to stop. I can't get more than a few lines in before the lump forms in my throat, I feel the salt water hot in my eyes and my voice begins to shake.
I cannot look into their eyes or I don't even get that far. I've come a long way from singing about the paint colors in the house when Mr. Pants was new. But I still can't sing this one.
Sometimes we cannot speak or write words that actually mean what we want them to. Sometimes music can take those words and string them raw and real into the world. Sometimes a song gets inside of you. It's those songs that I cannot sing to my babies just yet. Because those songs lay bare my soul and it would seem I am not yet strong enough for that.
That's usually when I close my eyes and listen. I pull them in. I let the music play. Sometimes I hum and I get the courage to try a few lines. I stop when the tears come and listen. I watch them and dance with them. Hoping that they know how magnificently they are loved.
Music can bring me to my knees. It can make me feel everything at once. It can bring my heart to the outside of my body and move my emotions like waves. It brings me to such an important place when I let it. This place of pure love. A place of freedom. A place of stillness. A place of knowing how fast these days are leaving us. How fleeting these years are while they are young.
And I hold them tighter when I am in this place. I hold them longer. I soak them in. I feel the love I have for them in my bones. And I never want to let them go. It's knowing that I will have to un-knot my fingers from around them someday that brings the swell of my heart and my tears.
I'm sure there will come a day when they think that's weird. But there will also come a day when they understand. When they know this place I am taken to. Because they will be taken there too. And they will know in their bones how fiercely they are loved.
If I had the chance to write a song for my children it would sound an awful lot like this one...
Let the river rock you like a cradle. Climb to the treetops, child, if you're able. Let your hands tie a knot across the table. Come and touch the things you cannot feel. And close your fingertips and fly where I can't hold you. Let the sun-rain fall and let the dewy clouds enfold you. And maybe you can sing to me the words I just told you, If all the things you feel ain't what they seem. And don't mind me 'cos I ain't nothin' but a dream.
Is there a song that speaks to your heart? Is there a place that the music takes you?
I don't do New Year's resolutions. Because I never keep them. So why set myself up for failure, right? But it seems I already made two and it's not even 10 am yet. I'm not in trouble though. I'm not wishing for the moon. I just whispered a few small promises into the air this morning. No life altering stuff. Just life stuff.
New Year's Eve didn't start out well. In fact it started out downright sucky sucktastic. Double ear infection was the word on the street and Mr. Pants wasn't feeling a celebration. On the way to the doctor he asked me, "Mama? I go a doctor? I go asleep? I scared, Mama" My heart broke into a million pieces as he began to cry a very throat punching cry. You know the one. Silent. Wide eyes. Fearful. "Mama, I scared." he said again. All my wishing for him to forget his surgery
didn't seem to do the trick. He remembers. And the memory is scary. So as I drove my boy to the doctor on New Year's Eve, I began to quietly cry for him. "No one is going to hurt you today, bud. You don't have to go to sleep at the doctor today, baby. Mama will stay with you and it won't hurt. I promise." "Ok, mama. I go to sleep?" "No bud, no sleep at the doctor today. She is gonna look at your ouchies in your ears so we can get medicine to make them feel better. Just like we looked in Buzz's ears at home, remember?" "Ok, Mama. I scared" as his lip and chin began to quiver again.
Being a mom is just heart ripping sometimes, isn't it?
It didn't go well at the doctor. Mr. Pants began to panic almost immediately. It was brutal and I won't describe it because he and I don't need a play by play. Instead I have made my first New Year's Resolution in years and years. Resolution number one is for you, Mr. Pants. I promise that starting right now, I will work with you in safe and stress-free ways to help you become less afraid of the doctor. I promise. You and me, buddy. Let's do this.
Chocolate milk helps at the end of a stressful doctor visit
So by the time we got home, Mr. Pants was whooped
. I tried to coax some dinner of frozen pizzas and chips into him. I mean it's New Year's Eve! Junk food is the rule for sickies on a holiday, right? But he wasn't into it and was in bed for the night at five. FIVE. You know a 3 year old is sick when he puts himself to bed at five
That left Plum and I to celebrate alone since Daddy was at work making fancy food for the masses. Here at home we had our own fancy feast. Side note: when your allergies
are milk, eggs and peanuts, good desserts can be hard to come by. But I was prepared. There isn't a lot of junk food that passes the "safe for Plum" test but there is one we can always count on. The classic Oreo. Throw in some So Delicious chocolate ice cream and we had a straight up party. Just the two of us.
We played dress-up and danced to our favorite tunes. We ate our junk food and sang some songs. Basically we partied pretty hard by toddler standards. So hard that we needed to make some costume changes half way through. By the time seven-thirty rolled around, Plum was plum tuckered. She told me it was time to go to bed and have some nucks (milks). She was out cold by 7:40 pm on New Year's Eve.Resolution number two is for you, Plum. I promise to play dress-up with you more often than not. We are gonna get super crazy fancy up in this house this year, baby girl. Oh, yes. Yes we are.
The house was quiet. Too quiet for New Year's Eve. I mean there was a day when this night brought all kinds of mayhem and tomfoolery. Even hijinks. Lots and lots of shenanigans and, well, you get the point. Drunk and stumble-y, I kissed many many strangers and not strangers at midnight, you guys. I wore sparkling sequins and danced for hours in shoes that tortured my feet at parties where the liquor flowed like water. Sparklers and fireworks. Sweaty glittery skin. Foil covered walls. Velvet pants. Wigs and tiaras. People passed out in the yard. All very glamorous, really. And I had so much fun. Too much fun, maybe. But SO much fun. For years.
But it doesn't hold a candle to coconut milk ice cream and old dance costumes. It doesn't touch the awesomeness of digging into a bag of Oreos and watching YouTube videos of Yo Gabba Gabba tunes and miscelleneous other bits of awesome (What what, Whitney Houston! I knew you would blow Plum's mind. OOOOH! I wanna dance with some-bod-ay!!) while your baby dances and sings along. It doesn't compare to getting the medicine your sick kid needs to get better finally and knowing that he is sleeping peacefully in the next room.
Because my dream all along was to have a family. And sometimes that means sick kids and husbands working on a holiday. I'll take it anyway. So this year I rang in the New Year with this. It happens to be Pants and Plum's favorite song right now. And I think it's pretty rad.
And then I rang it in proper with this. Like I always do. And a grin sat knowingly on my face in my quiet quiet house of sleeping kids and I remembered (or had foggy ideas of blurry possabilities of) my younger days. Because they were great, too. They were really freaking great. And I danced by myself. And I laughed. I just cracked up. Remembering. Damn, we had some fun.
Mommy's alright. Daddy's alright. They just seem a little weird.... Surrender...Surrender...
Happy New Year ! Here's to a fan-freaking-tastic year loving your families be they biological or chosen.
Spread the love around and Surrender to 2013!
It's gonna be great.
Every night before bed, I lay with my baby boy and tuck him in. We say a simple blessing that I wrote for us. It's a modified version of the prayer that my mom said with us as children before bed. And just a few weeks ago, Mr. Pants began saying it with me.
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the world will soon know peace. If my dreams should bring me fright, take me safe to morning light."
We ask for blessings for the people that we love and wish goodnight to the ones we can no longer hold or see. He tells me he loves me and I kiss his forehead. It's all very precious until he starts his list again. Goodnight cookies! Goodnight Hulk! I love you, apple juice! So on Friday evening as I tucked him in, I spent a whole lot longer than normal just staring at him and telling him that I love him. He eventually looked up at me and said, "Its ok, mama. You go out. I go night-night now"
He kicked me out. He didn't know that the day was a horrible day. To him it was any other night and I was lingering. I was breaking the routine. He goes to bed by himself now. So I left knowing that I'd return once he was asleep to kiss him again and watch him breathe. His adorable belly rising and falling. I knew I'd come back to soak up my living breathing loving baby boy as he slept. Just like countless parents across the world did that night.
When I returned to his room, I was overwhelmed with my love for him. My tears were hot on my cheeks as I tried not to wake him but was not ready to stop seeing him just yet. I silently said the blessing in my head. "I pray the world will soon know peace" and I added blessings and love to those suffering the unimaginable horror of losing their babies be they 6 years old or 56.
I prayed hard. For peace. Mostly for peace to come to hearts of those whose lives are now irrevocably changed but also for peace for all of us. Peace in our hearts to send our kids to school this week. Peace to calm our fears.
I prayed for answers. Please help them come before he is old enough to understand that gunmen sometime step into schools and carry out nightmares and bring despair. He has no understanding of such heart tearing things. He is unscarred. Beautifully unaware.
I want to freeze time and never allow that to change. Never allow the darkness to touch them. I want to change the world. I want to fix all of this. And I want to cry. Because my babies are becoming more aware of the world around them with each passing day. There is so much to do. So so much to do that it feels impossible.
But I can do things. I can use my life to help. To try. And the only way I know how to do that is to simply start. To begin. To build community and to love other people. To be that for my kids so that they learn it from me. To go beyond my yard and help. There was a quote circulating on Friday as news broke of the sheer horror inside Sandy Hook School. It was from Mr. Rogers on talking to children about tragedy.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world." ~ Fred Rogers
He is so right.
If we look around the helpers are everywhere. I found one recently in the website HopeMob
. I will write more about them this week and I hope to bring their message to this blog regularly. I am joining up. Not just for now but for the long haul. HopeMob gives every single penny
that you donate to exact person or persons you donate them to. They raise money to feed the hungry or to pay people's medical bills. They raise money to help families grieve without worrying about funeral costs. Right now they are raising money for the first responders
to Sandy Hook Elementary school. They are providing meals to them as they navigate this painful time processing the things they've witnessed. They are helpers. They are changing the world. Check them out. And if you are able to help, please consider sending a few dollars to one of their campaigns if it speaks to you. They take no overhead and they are verified and audited. They are the real deal.
Real people helping real people.
Well it's late and I need to go slip into bed next to my baby girl and whisper our blessing to her. I'm sure that I will spend more time than usual staring at the beauty of her breathing and the twitch of her pinky finger as she dreams. I will say a prayer for her and for everyone that the world will soon know peace. I will say a prayer for all of us.
Goodnight, my friends.
My heart hurts and I know yours does too. I know in my bones that you ache the same way that I do for the mommies and daddies and families of the precious babies killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. You are stuck, like I am, on the horrifying moments at the end of their precious lives. Hoping beyond hope that they were not scared and that right now as I type this, they are in a better and more beautiful place than this hard and cold and uncivilized world. You want to hold their parents and tell them that it will be ok. But you know in your skin that it is not. That it cannot be ok. You want to take some portion of the their pain and absorb it for them. You want to scream into the air "WHY!?!?!? Why babies? Who fucking does this???" But there is nothing we can do. Nothing can change the horror that blew up our news feeds yesterday. Nothing can be done to fix it. It is done. And the pain rippled through the entire nation.
Last night I tucked my hearts into bed. I sang them songs and we said our nightly blessing. I spent a really long time just looking at them and touching them and kissing them until they became annoyed with me. I stepped away from all electronics yesterday because my urge was to play with and just be
with my children. And for yesterday, for me, it was all
I could do. It was how I could help. But that was yesterday. And now here I am, they are still sleeping this morning and I need to write out my heart. Now
I need to talk about what we can do. How can we heal? How can we stop this from happening ever again? And why haven't we figured this out yet?
I've written about this before.
Because yesterday is not the first day that children have been killed in their schools. And it takes my breath away to say it out loud, but it won't be the last.
Friends, it won't be the last.
So what do we do? How do we stop the next mass killing? If we knew that we would have done it, right?
The White House issued a statement yesterday along the lines of "today isn't the day to talk about gun control" and while I have deep respect for our President and rallied for him all year to be re-elected, I disagree. Strongly. To me, it is the exact right time
to talk about what can be done to prevent babies from being killed in their schools by raging lunitics. Don't get me wrong, I'm not syaing that gun control will fix everything. There are factors and factors and more factors and questions and answers and what ifs and strategies and policies and basic human unpredicatability all sitting at the table on this one. But at the head
of that table sits a mentally ill person with weapons. Specifically guns
. And that guy
, is the guy that walked into Sandy Hook school yesterday and into the movie theater in Aurora and onto the Virginia Tech campus and in that MacDonalds in California and that cafeteria in Texas and into Columbine High School and the NY imigration office. And on and on and on. We have to start with THAT GUY
because he is the problem.
So we have
to talk about guns. We just have to. We need to put aside our bullshit positions on the far left and far right and meet at the table. We have to make the representatives of our government sit down at the freaking table. What kind of people are we that we see these things happening over and over again but resign oursleves to not talking about guns because well, wait, what are the reasons?
We have to start. And we have to start because we have all had enough.
I'm not saying it's possible to end violence, although I have some ideas on that too, but I am
saying that we can end children being murdered in their schools. We start by opening our front door and stepping out. We start by picking up the phone and calling our senators and representatives in Congress. We start by reaching out and connecting with people who are hurting. We start by genuinely giving a shit about our neighbors and their kids. We start by being present enough in our own life to be present in the lives of others too. We start by demanding the government to hear us.
We start by supporting agencies that reach out to the sick and mentally ill.
We start with these things and then we don't STOP
. That is the key. We are angry now. We are horrified and sick to our stomachs over what happened yesterday. We are tearful and raw and we want to DO something. But we cannot stop doing them
. We cannot forget to keep working the problem even when the news cycle has moved on.
So here are some ideas. Places to start. Places to place your energy or your money. I have contacted my representatives through email. I will call them today. I will also use this blog regularly to discuss and advocate that we never leave the table. Instead of gifts for me and the husband, we will be giving money to organizations that can help. That's what I have so far for us.
Now what about you?
Below there are agencies that need your money or your time or your influence. There are people to call and letters to write. There are things to do. We can change lives and heal broken hearts. And while none of us are big enough to do it alone, we are
big enough to change one life. We can help. And we are
big enough to spur our government into action. No more sitting back. We cannot sit back anymore.
Let's change the world. One person at a time.
| |Volunteer GuideGreat site to get started on volunteering your time either in person or online for community building, anti-bullying, health and safety, poverty and child welfare. | |
Call or visit these programs, sites or agencies and see where they need help.
*Boys and Girls Club of America
is an online fund raising site. They have started raising money for the families of those killed. They are respected and well organized. This is just one site doing this. Choose one and give money if you can.
*Your local mental health agencies to find out where they need help. They will be able to identify a volunteer position for you. Be it an art program for at risk youth, making hot meals or childcare for support group meetings etc. They will be able to find you somewhere to help because they need you. They also need your money.
*Your local school district to find out where they need help and help them for free.
*Your local police. Ask them what programs they need help with. Police stations often have programs that help the homeless, hungry and mentally ill. They might need you to lend a hand.
And then call or write your representatives in government. Not just today and this week. But regularly. Tell them that this is a priority. This is more important. This is ALWAYS the day to talk about these things. You can find who represents you here.
I never respond to chain mail. Mostly because I'm lazy. And I never share those Facebook posts that tell you that you suck if you don't share them. You know the ones that say that only one percent of people will share them because they are the only decent human beings in existance? Well except for this one. I totally did share this one...
"PLEASE put this on your status if you know someone or are related to someone who has been eaten by dragons. Dragons are nearly unstoppable, and in case you didn’t know, they can breathe fire. 93% of people won’t copy and paste this, because they have already been eaten by dragons. 6% of people are sitting in the shower, armed with fire extinguishers. The remaining 1% are awesome, and will re-post this.
Anyhoo, it would seem I have been caught.
See, Lillian over at It's A Dome Life
tagged me in a chain blog. Dun dun duuuun.
I love her. She's an amazing painter and a mama and an all-around awesome person. We've become bloggy friends. So when she tagged me in her recent post listing her five wishes for Christmas, I knew I'd do it. It's kind of right up my alley. My sappy, dreamy spread-the-love alley. I cannot help who I am, friends. It is what it is. So I'm "it" and Lillian wants to know what my five wishes are for this holiday season.
Truth be told I have more than five but for the sake of time I will pare it down.
But instead of tagging five other blogs, if you are so moved to do a five wishes blog of your own, consider yourself tagged. I would love to know what your wishes are too. I really would. Because I believe that when you speak your heart aloud, you create the possability.
So with that, here are my wishes...
[Image Source: My Messy House. Pants. Com]
I wish for a maid. Just a maid, you guys. Someone who will come once a week and clean the ever loving hell out of my house. What good are wishes if you can't shoot for the moon, right? And speaking of shooting for the moon...
I wish for health. I want Daddy and I to live long long lives. I want to be with my family for as long as I can see straight and think coherently. I never want to leave these these crazy people but when I do, I wish for it to be when we are all old old old and peeing ourselves and ready to clock out. Until then, I wish for our health. All of us.
[Image Source: http://www.ecouterre.com/]
I wish for slippers, underwear and bras. Because if my feet are cold, and my parts are all willy-nilly freestyle, the day is a loss before it begins. Also I just need undergarments with a badness and Daddy Pants reads this blog (Hi baby!) and might need ideas for me for Christmas. So there's that.
[Image Source: wallpapers.com]
I wish for snow. A white Christmas. Because I am a romantic and it is supposed to snow for Christmas Day. Lights are supposed to reflect off the snow and the night moon is supposed to make the ground sparkle like a million diamonds. And I am supposed to stay warmly inside making my new vegan hot chocolate recipe (safe for Plum) while watching Daddy play with our babies in the powder. Then, when they all come in, we will wrap ourselves in blankets and I will kiss their chilled cheeks and wipe their drippy pink noses as they sip the their hot chocolate and we watch a Christmas movie.
Ok, maybe I have planned this out a bit too much...
And finally, I wish for healing. Not for me but for you. So many of those that I love are hurting right now. And if only one of my wishes could come true, it would be this one. I wish that all the pain in the hearts of those I love would disappear and be replaced by calm, strength, laughter and joy. I wish for you to find solace. I wish for peace for you. I wish for your heart to be healed of its wounds. I wish above all else that you are ok. That you will find rest. That life will treat you kindly and that love will shine up through you and keep you well.
Those are mine. What about you? What are your wishes?