Emotions can be a minefield for anyone. But for Mr. Pants they are still pretty confusing. I don't talk about his sensory processing or development here on the blog much anymore. Not because his struggles are gone, but because they are just normal for us now. If you are new to reading this blog you may not know that hisexperience of his senses
is different from yours and mine. His processing and integration of them is different. Unique. Designed for him, by him. And I gotta say, he's kind of nailed it. He is mostly a very comfortable kid.
Recently, though, he has become increasingly stressed by new, loud or busy situations. The upside to his discomfort is that he is finding ways to deal with it. It's an upside because life is big and noisy and change-y. So he needs to discover for himself how best to cope with it. And as his parents we need to allow for him to explore the possibilities without pushing too hard. Instead we gently nudge him out of the comfort zone so that he can do the work he needs to do. We don't force him into uncomfortable situations that don't matter in the long run. Ya know, like a monster truck show. I'm not gonna take him to one of those. Because there are plenty of uncomfortable situations that he does have to figure out. Like gym class. Or coffee hour between church services (see below).
At his I.E.P. meeting
last week they once again told us that he is a solitary little guy and won't initiate play with the kids at school. And I know why. It all comes down to those pesky emotions. It's because he likes the predictability of playing alone. Playing alone allows for him to control the environment and for him to feel safe. Playing alone is not confusing. See he needs to be able to predict as much as possible especially if he is away from his comfort zone (our home). He is still trying to read our emotions and fully understand them so it's too much for him to try and read the kids at school all at once, too. Heck, he's still figuring out his own
emotional responses to life. He needs alone time and he takes it whenever he needs it. He's amazingly self aware for an almost 4 year-old.
But don't get me wrong, he is not disconnected at all. In fact he is all kinds of attached to his family. He expresses his emotions beautifully to us and others he is close with. I just think that he is not ready to share that part of himself with too many other people (and he may never be).
So emotion is still confusing for him. But he's on the case. He attempts to discover how our feelings are working several times a day. "Mama, you happy?"
he will say when he sees that I might not be. "Mama is frustrated right now, bud. But it's ok." "Mama, you be happy soon? You be happy tomorrow? You be fusstated now? You feel hot?"
If I'm reading something and I laugh out loud. "Why you be funny, Mama? You get tickle? You happy? Why, you be funny? Why?"
If he does something funny and I laugh. "No be funny at me, mama. You be happy. No funny!"
If I stub my toe and cry out he will come running (as long as it's not actual crying. That makes him run and hide. Hands over ears). "What happen? You get so mad?" "No bud, I hurt my toe. But I'm OK." "So you get happy now, mama? Oh, you sad? You not happy. You scared, mama?" He's not upset when he asks these questions
. He's even keel. He's almost clinical. Investigating. Like he is socking away reasons, gathering information on how long it takes to be happy again. Then he will go on his way, returning in a few minutes to see how I'm feeling and ask more questions. Often he even stays to quietly observe the change in emotion if it's a new emotion he has yet to get a handle on. It's kind of amazing to watch, really. I call him the research scientist. He is always thinking. Taking notes. Comparing outcomes.
This kid. I used to be afraid for him but I'm not anymore. He shows me every single day that he can figure this life out as it unfolds. It may take him longer. His methods may be unconventional. But hey, if coffee hour between church services is too loud and crowded, who am I to force him out from under that chair? He knows what he is doing.
Coffee hour is too busy and loud for this dude.
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.
A note from Mama: I wasn't going to publish this. But he told me to. Life is messy. Love is hard. I like being honest. So here's your Pearl. Even though this one might just be for me.
The Mister and I went on a date yesterday. It was long overdue. So very long overdue. We had dinner at a wonderful Mediterranean restaurant where I took one of those pictures of my food like people seem to always do. It looked like this.
That was the last picture I took. Even though I had planned to document the date (I can't help it! I'm a blogger). But to my surprise the camera never came back out. We walked around downtown after dinner and checked out a few stores and then sat at a bench for a few minutes right in front of a popcorn joint. Our conversation came after a few moments of silence. "Man, we have been through some shit this year, huh?" "Marriage! It's freaking hard, man!" "Oh and parenting? It's so hard!" "I'm proud of you" "I'm proud of you, too" "I think we can do this" "Me, too." "Let's go shopping" "OK!"
Something very interesting is happening to us. We are finding our way back to each other. <needle scratches off the record> Say what? You were lost?!
Yep! Yepper! Yup! Lost like Jack and Kate
. Poor poor dead Jack and Kate.
My tendency to hold the kitten too tight until it suffocates is well documented. His tendency to dive inward is too. There is no such thing as a marriage without issues. I'm not going to detail ours here or anything because that's not your business even though I love you and usually have no problem barfing out all of the information here on the webternet. No, I'm not going to detail them because they are ours. Mine and his. The important part is that we have them and I know
we are not alone. Because, and I might have said this before but, marriage is freaking hard
Recently I eased up my grip on our fuzzy kitten of a marriage. I am learning that I cannot control it all. That sometimes, it will suck. That's life. It's not real to never have a bad day. It's not real to be shooting rainbows from your face 24/7. But what was very real
was my vice grip on that precious kitten. What was very real
was our disconnect.
I am learning that hard times do not signal doom. Hard times are not a reflection of me. Of him. Of us. Hard times are just that, hard times. We go through them. We go through them working our hardest to be our best self. We go through them hoping for the outcome we want. We go through them. We can get
So he's proud of me because I have been working hard. I am proud of him because he is too. We had crawled into a cave when we became parents. Our lantern burned out while we were in there. We are awesome parents (what!what!). But the darkness made us unable to see each other. To see the marriage. The awesome, exhausting and enormous job of raising people gave us an excuse
to stop caring for it, too. But recently these two crazy kids lit up that cave for us, held up a mirror and showed us our reflection. And it's because they did, we could see each other again (How's that for an off the hook metaphor? Nope, it sucked. I'm tired).
We are working on us. And the faith in my heart for us is gigantic. Gigantic. Basically it's Gigantor
So your Pearl is this...
Marriage. It's so freaking hard. But nothing worth doing is going to come easy. Somebody, somewhere said that better than I just did. But it's late and I don't have any more time to write. The Mister is coming home from a well deserved night out and I am excited for him to come home.
*Sunday's Pearl is something kind of like wisdom wrapped up in an idea or random bit of something or another. It might be something awesome, something awful or a lesson that I learned during the week. Every Sunday I put that lesson here. Let my wisdom words inspire or frighten you. xoxox, Mama Pants *
Dear Parents of Older Children,
I've been wondering some things. Well, a lot of things but I have pared them down to avoid being here for days. Nobody has the time to answer my original 268 question post. So here are the top twelve. Thank you for your wisdom in this matter as I am at a loss on some of these.
When do you stop picking your children's boogers? And for that matter, why does it come so naturally that I might even grab snot from their nose when there is a tissue box within reach? What is my problem?
4. I need to know when the exact day
is when I know that the children are awake but I get to stay in bed and keep sleeping. I will know this because no one will empty the contents of the fridge onto the floor or climb in the washer and dryer. I need to know so that I may start a countdown calendar. 5.
When do you stop worrying that they are going to starve to death? Does preparing food for them become more or less stressful as they grow? Follow up question: When will they just cook for themselves? 6.
When do they stop letting you hold them? Obviously this answer is "never" but I thought I'd check. 7.
When do they actually clean something? Anything. Anything at all.
When do they actually participate in the ritual of getting dressed? Specifically do they ever stop using "fish-flop foot" and "noodle leg"? What about the phenomenon of them forgetting how to hold up their own bodies while the pants are getting pulled up? Follow-up question: Is there a time when they actually get dressed the first time you ask? 9.
When do they actually hand you things instead of throwing them at you or dropping them and running? (Example: When will "Please bring me the wipes" no longer sound like "Please pick up the wipes, chuck them at me as hard as you can and then run to your room"?) 10.
When do I get to close the bathroom door? When does taking a poop become less of a family affair? Follow up question: When will my toddler stop trying to escape the bathroom stall at Target while I'm still peeing? Asking for a friend. 11.
When will I be able to stop hiding my deodorant, the sugar, salt, raisins, mustard, shampoo and body wash due to the fact that the children no longer find them to be perfect artistic mediums? Related: When will they enjoy using actual art surfaces that do not include the walls, floors, their beds, windowsills and their own bodies? 12.
Finally, please be specific, when is the exact day
I will stop busting out into the Dora the Explorer song"We Did It"
and doing that ridiculous dance? It's beginning to cause some social anxiety for me.
Thank you kindly for your answers. Have a wonderful day.
xo, Mama Pants
"Go away, mama, pweeeeese! No grabby me, Mama. No grabby me." ~Mr. Pants (today)
I wasn't trying to grab him. I was trying to hug him. To help him off the floor where he lay after falling. I wanted to hold him in my arms and kiss his boo-boo. But that's not what he needed. So I walked away but not until I told him I'd be in the next room if he wanted my help. Walking away is mega-tron hard for me. It almost feels like I'm trying to walk through a protection spell on Buffy. Every cell in my body is screaming at me to go scoop that baby off the floor and smother him with my love. But my brain pushes me forward reminding me that it isn't what that baby wants or needs. "There is no blood. There is no broken bone. He asked you to leave him be. Stop being an exposed nerve of weepy feelings and do what your kid needs you to do. Get gone, mama."
The trainer becomes the trainee...
Before I was a mom, I worked with moms and their kids. I also trained staff on how to interact with children. So, if I had a dollar for every time I said the words "Every kid is different", I'd be living in a penthouse overlooking Central Park. It's so very true and logical and obvious and all that. But you know what? I could kick myself in the shins for not developing that idea further. But that knowledge would have come from experience. An experience I was yet to have. Until now.
My kids couldn't be more different. Plum, a social butterfly. Pants, a solitary man. This in and of itself is no trouble at all. I want my kids to be who they are. I respect them for who they are and I actually love that they are so very different yet care so much for each other. So what's the problem? Well, it's me.
I'm an extrovert. I'm huggy and touchy and feely. I talk a lot. Even to people I don't know. I'm a hasher-outer when things get tricky. I wanna discuss and get to the bottom and take care of things. And if my words can't help crate a solution, well, then my loving arms will start a-hugging and I will kiss it all away. Closeness and soft whispers of my love for you will help us both feel better. Right? Right???
For Plum, the answer is an easy and comfortable "Yes! Hug me! Love me with closeness! I feel better!!" But for Pants? Oh hell no. Hell to the OH. HELL. NO. And it makes me nervous and weird and uncomfortable. It goes against my skill set. It makes me have to think of how to parent him all the time. I am always thinking. Always considering tone and eye contact when he gets hurt or in trouble or fights with his sister, over stimulated or is hungry etc etc etc.
Shit, it gets harder...
As a baby this came fairly easy. He was our first and we knew no different so we were able to roll with the punches because we didn't know that it wasn't this hard for everyone. We thought we were just earning our parenting street cred and that eventually we would "get it" and it would all fall into place and we'd hit a stride that made sense. But the more he grows and the more independent he becomes, the more I am challenged to change me. Not him. It should have tipped us off that he was at his most comfortable floating in a bathtub with our hand placed just under his head and no other contact.
He is who he is. And he is just fine being who he is. It's how we parent him that needs adjusting. I need to keep in check my extrovert Loud-y McLoud shorts while trying to parent this amazing and foreign (to me), introverted personality that needs space. He needs room to feel. To be alone. To process the shifts and changes that hit him harder than the rest of us. To relax, center and regulate without my grabby-grabby "come to mama" arms trying to kidnap him. So I have been doing just that. pulling myself back from the instinct to run to him and help. It's face-numbing at times that my version of helping doesn't help him. My way, is not his way. So I am learning. Day to day. I am adjusting and trying new things that feel weird to me but seem to be working for him.
It's a waiting game...
I hate waiting. But this kid makes me wait. Of course he does, right? But if I wait, if I let him process his stress the way he chooses to, he will eventually come to me for that hug. But only if I wait. Only if I respect his needs first. It's funny because I have always believed in listening to and watching your baby for cues. That babies know what they need and that they communicate those needs to you. It is then up to you to pay attention. It is how I mothered both of these babies when they where without words. When I didn't know what they were communicating, I remember thinking that I wished they could just give me a few words to tell me where it hurt or to tell me why they were sad. Well, they have them now. And they tell me all the time. It is still my job to listen. Even when the words are not the ones I want to hear. It's not easy being told to "pweese leave me alone". It smacks me in the heart sometimes. But he's telling me and I wouldn't be doing my job letting him be his own person if I didn't respect that. I might have to glue myself to the chair, but I am learning to wait it out.
In conclusion, I have no idea....
So these days of almost four years old and all the independence it brings are filled with fine lines and constant reminders that even though I grew these two in the same body and they live in the same house with the same parents, it isn't fair to them if we streamline our parenting and force them both to be parented the same. Sure, the basics are the same. The rules are the rules, man. But it's important that we remember that their needs are not same. And shouldn't be treated as such. Now if I could just learn how to predict the future, I could tell you how this all turns out. But alas, that the fun of parenting right? It keeps you on your toes.
To be continued...
image source-linked: digitalmomblog.com
image source-linked: digitalmomblog.com
Are your kids introverts? Extroverts? Both?
It's no secret that I am a Pinterest failure. It's pretty ridiculous, really. Even the easy stuff. But this activity? I couldn't mess this one up even if I tried! Go Me! I'm over-doing the exclamation points! Anyway, looky-loo at what we did the other day with Mr. Pants' Head Start home visitor...she's a genius. PS: I love Head Start!
What you need:
Corn starch, water, food coloring, painting sponges/ really thick brushes (at the dollar store!), a muffin pan (pick up one at a thrift shop for 50 cents!)
You can even let the kids make it. I mean...so easy.
Make the paint:
Mix equal parts corn starch and water. You want the paint to be pretty runny so that it spreads onto the sidewalk or driveway easily. Pour the mixture into the muffin pan and color however you want. That's it. There is nothing you can do to mess this up. Nothing. Because if there was, I would have found a way. But there just isn't a way. Easy peasy.
Prep time is like 90 seconds. So you can do this on the fly no problem.
Take it outside and have fun! Note: grungy clothes a must! This is a bit sloppy and drippy. It will most definitely get onto their clothes. I mean, I don't want to live in a world of only clean painting, do you?
This was a BIG hit with these two silly people. Here are some highlights.
They didn't fight once.
River of paint
See those clothespins holding the sponge? That was the genius of Miss Jen
So, get out there and paint the sidewalks! Kids are not even required. Although they thought it was crazy cool. You could go out and paint the sidewalks this summer just for you. I just might.
Oh and total cost for supplies that will last all summer?
6 bucks, dude.
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
The winter is ending. The spring is new and breaking through. Today was Easter Sunday. The entire day showed me that life is as the seasons are. Always moving. Always changing. Life, youth, age and endings. I was reminded that spring will blossom in honor of the winter's sleep. The flowers will bloom in homage to the ice and snow. That Winter will eventually give way to April. That life goes on. And that life's end is a beautiful time despite the sadness it brings.
We spent Easter with my grandparents.
When I walked into the house my grandma asked to see me in her bedroom. She had something she wanted to give to me. Plum and I followed her in. "I have something for you. Reach in the drawer. Pull it out." I reached in and felt a round cold metal ball and knew immediately what my grandmother had gifted me.
When I was a little girl we searched desperately for it in the Christmas tree. It was the bird. But it didn't look like a bird. It was a silver ball ornament that when switched on sang like a cardinal. The child who found it first received the first Christmas present. I almost always found it first. The memories flooded me. All of us throwing our coats and boots off into a pile and running to the Christmas tree. Frantic. Excited. Our arms getting little scratches from the tree. The smells of a real pine tree. My Aunt Candy, who is no longer with us, laughing and playing Hot and Cold with us until someone found it.
In my hand I held my childhood. And the tears began to flow. From both of us. As she sobbed into my arms, I promised her that my children would inherit this tradition. This memory. That the search for the bird will live on and someday I would pass this piece of our life onto one of my children.
From winter to spring.
Our tears flowed easy. My grandmother's weakened lungs produced coughs and wheezing. We sat together on her bed and regained our composure. She was frail. She was remembering a time when she was younger. So was I.
Plum ate dinner with them. Right between them actually. Great-grandma cut her meat for her. Plum even conveniently forgot how to feed herself so that great-grandma had to help her. It was as though she knew this would warm her grammy's heart. Because it really did. Mine too.
I remember sitting between my grandparents and celebrating. I remember. I remember it as though it was just last week. They were younger. They were strong. But today they are not as strong. I watch my grandfather's hand shake because his brain has begun to misfire. I see him struggle to maintain his balance. I hear my grandmother short of breath. I watch her eyes determined to soak in every memory available to her. I am overcome with the reality that life is moving forward. That the blessing of this life is that it is limited. That time will never stand still. That my children are the legacy. That life is so very precious. We don't get to keep it. We get no do-overs. But we do get this time. We are given the gift of this time. This here. This now. This chapter of our life. This seemingly simple meal with great-grandparents.
Sharing a meal with Grammy and Pappy
I have no picture of what moved me to cry the entire drive home. Because you don't run to grab the camera when a moment like this comes. Instead you try desperately to remember. And as soon as you get home, you write it down so that it is never lost under the piles of memories that life gives to us. So that they know.
He leaned in for a hug goodbye. My grandfather, his great-grandfather, cradles one cheek in his hand. His other hand drew my baby's back to his chest. My grandfathers head rests gently cheek to cheek with my son. "Lord, bless and keep this child. This beautiful child", he whispered into my son's ear. My boy looked up to listen to his great-grandfather. He looked right into his eyes and he smiled. My heart wept. I cried for love. The deep and untouchable and enormous love of my grandfather. I cried for the knowledge that he is in the winter of his life. And I cried for the beauty of this moment between my beloved son and my beloved grandfather. My baby stepped back. "I wuv you, grampy", he whispered. "Oh child, I love you.", my grandfather said.
Plum piped up, "uv oo, ammpy" she said as she moved in for her hug.
It's a wonder I had my wits about me by this point as my grandfather with tears of love in his eyes for my babies, held her and whispered, "Lord, bless and keep this beautiful child". She was calm and stayed in his warm embrace. I remember how that embrace enveloped me as a child. I remember how safe I felt. How loved. I kissed my grandpa. And while my heart sobbed, I smiled as I met his eyes. "I love you. I love you, grandpa." and he held me in those arms. I knew them. I remembered them. For a moment he didn't shake. He looked into my eyes and said, "Bless you, my girl. May the Lord bless you and keep you." And for a moment I was 10 years old.
So I thought long and hard about this post. I try to keep controversial topics off the blog because in the end I want this to be a record for my children. But it occurred to me that I want them to know that this time in our lives was big deal. That things were happening beyond poop diapers and Pinterest fails. Mostly I want them to know that their dad and I stood up for something. That we believed in things. This particular issue touches our family. Plum has two God Mommies. They deserve equal rights. It is my hope that by the time our kids read this post, they will do so in disbelief that there was ever a time when people were denied the right to marry the person they love.
So I'm a bit nervous to hit the publish button on this one because I know that I stand to lose some readers. But I'm gonna be OK with that. I'm gonna do it anyway. Here we go....
Image Source: http://humanrightscampaign.tumblr.com/
This is a big week. The Supreme Court of The United States is hearing arguments this week to determine the constitutionality of Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage act. People are fired up on both sides.
Try mentioning marriage equality on Facebook and see what happens. Better yet go to some of the pages dedicated to it and start reading the comments. Inevitably you find people fighting about whether or not gay people are born gay and what the bible says or doesn't say about it. But guess what?
We shouldn't even be having that conversation in relation to marriage equality. It’s all smoke and mirrors and positioning and assholery. Say what? Oh yes. It’s true. Our opinions on how gays come to be gay don’t mean a thing when talking about marriage. It serves to get people all excited and sweating (pun probably intended) and distracts people. It causes those on both sides to dig in their heels and scowl. It makes people read blogs (guilty) and watch MSNBC. Because people love to watch a brawl, don't they?
But it’s all moot. Because marriage is a legal contract. However you make it sacred is then up to you to do or not do. And since we are lucky enough to live in a country that separates church and state, the bible and religion can not apply to this.
If they did I wouldn't be able to roll up on an afternoon to a drive-thru "chapel" in Vegas and get married by
some drunk dude dressed like Liberace. Making a marriage sacred is a personal decision on top of the legal contract. Not the other way around.
My ramblings/ word barfs/ general up-in-arms-ness/points are these...
1. We all choose to live in the United States of America. And that means we have chosen a free society.
One that doesn't use religion or the government to oppress people
or to strip minorities of rights (or never recognize them in the first place). Well at least it’s supposed to be. We are just not all the way there yet.
2. But I hope that we will be. I even have faith that we will.
And that we will soon stop the insanity of this conversation and get to the business of righting this
. Because people and children are being hurt by the government. Because the government has no business
telling you how to be married to a consenting adult. They have no business telling you that you cannot be a subservient wife or a polygamist ( oooh I went there!) or gay married or straight married or divorced or wearing hammer pants. I am freaked out by a few of those things but it is not my right
to take away yours just because you do things differently than I do.
3. My marriage is not "lessened" by anyone else's marriage. It's not even lessened by those pimping themselves on The Bachelor. Though I want to kick all of those “hopefuls” for a rose in the shins and take some gentle cleanser to all that eye make-up. I digress, ahem, your <insert major religion here> marriage is not diminished by my Unitarian Universalist marriage. If it is then your marriage probably wasn't that great to begin with.
4. The definition of marriage has been changed throughout history like eighty-seven hundred times. Or at least fifteen times. Somewhere between 15-8700 times. And seriously, can we just stop the bullshit about definitions? Nobody gives a rats butt about definitions, let's be honest. It's not about that. I mean, they demoted Pluto to some non-planet thingy and I was all, "Wait, what? The definition of Pluto is that it is a planet! You can't change that! Pluto is traditionally known as a planet and all of my understanding of the solar system depends on Pluto being a planet" but they changed it anyway and I somehow lived through it. <- worst analogy ever but whateve
r. Definition shmefinition. It's already been changed, dudes.
5. Some think that it would just be a tragedy if the Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8 because it is "the vote of the people" but you know what? Those same people probably believe in the Constitution (just like I do) and a people's vote is invalid if it takes away the rights of others. We could also talk about how no one "took them away" because they never had them to begin with. Yep. That sucks just as much. Instead I'm talking about the very first big promise from the law of our land. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ALL Americans. All. Of. Us. The LGBTQ population has the constitutional right to pursue their happiness just like I do. Just like you do. My available liberties and your available liberties must look the same
. How is this even in question?
<puts note cards down>
In conclusion, It’s time to let consenting adults marry each other so that we can move on and do whatever it is we do and be whoever we are and love whoever we love and stop getting up in each other’s business. Because it suuuuucks that we are still talking about this. All my un-equal by law
friends and family just want to get married and have families and have it mean what it does to the rest of us. Sweet Christmas, it is TIME.
One love. It's in your hands SCOTUS. I have faith that the times they are a changin'...
How do you think the SCOTUS will rule on marriage equality?
Respectful comments accepted.
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This winter has been a little slice of crap pie for the Pants family. There were about four days in there where no one was sick. But even on those days it was clear someone was almost sick. Snow and sleet and wind chills in the negatives kept us inside a lot too. And it is true that there were times when none of us liked each other. There were stale mates and side-eyes a plenty. There was yelling and even a few choice words exchanged. We haven't been to church in five weeks and I do believe I lost some joie de vivre because of it.
I've learned some lessons and have been reminded of things I had forgotten. One being that small kids don't understand sarcasm. Note: When you say something like, "Oh suuuuuuure, I think it's a greeeeaaaat idea to eat Oreos for dinner. There's probably at least one whole nutrient in there! That should be enough!" and their little face lights up with excitement , well, you went and dug the hole deeper you big dummy.
Mostly, though, I learned how to roll a bit better with the punches. I mean, when you've had Norovirus, two bouts of food poisoning, the flu, fourteen colds, bronchitis, random rashes and sore throats all in the same winter you learn that the Universe has a sense of humor. Sure, it's the humor of a total ass-face, but you can't win 'em all.
When things began to descend into the great abyss of sickness and despair, I ended up re-discovering some really fun things to do with these kids despite the mud flows of snot, gagging coughs and fevers. They are pretty versatile too! I'm looking forward to taking number two outside this spring and summer (Whoa, that typed bad. Then I read it aloud and giggled. For the record, not A number two).
Anyhowzer, here's a short list of activities for those moments when you have to break out of a bad time because everyone around you is crying. They're old school good times. Not a Pinterest craft in sight. Because, well, I am a walking talking Pinterest fail and when the family sanity is on the line, you need to play to your strengths. So these are the top six kid tested and mother approved fun times we turn to when the witching hour strikes.
The Artist as a Young Man with an iPhone.
1. Shadows on the Wall: Grab your book light, smartphone or flashlight and throw a blanket over the curtain rod. Cast shadows on the wall. Tell a story or dance. Wait for the giggles that are sure to come. Variation: read books with a flashlight under a blanket fort.
2. Flashlight Scavenger Hunt: Same as above but the whole house is fair game. No need to set up things to find because it doesn't matter what you look for. It's hunting in the dark by flashlight that makes this an adventure.
3. Dress-up Goofy Yoga: First let them adorn themselves however they choose. Or they could choose to be without clothes (as is common in my house). Then clear a space on the floor and turn on some music and start doing some goofy stretches. I'd bet money they will join you. Then let them make -up their own stretches. Make sure you do the stretches that they do. You will love the looks of pride on their faces (and giggles because you look ridiculous) because they are leading you. You have become their puppet. Kids love this sort of thing. They love to tell their parents what to do.
4. Selfie-Photo Shoot: Sounds simple enough. Do a make-up session before hand or plaster some temporary tattoos or face-paint. Be sure to let them take the pics. Turn the camera around on ye olde smartphone and let them do their thing. Take video too.
5. Air-Bed Gymnastics: Got an air-mattress? Pull that sucker out and have some bouncing fun. Just because. For obvious reasons this one needs some safety planning. Variation: Camping family movie night. This requires all blankets, and pillows in the house, lots of snacks, your air mattress and everyone participating. Variation: I am totally planning on taking the old air mattress into the yard this spring and summer. I have a feeling that amazing-ness will happen.
6. OMG! The Floor is Made of Lava!: Build bridges (we use books and shoes for this) and throw pillows down. NO ONE TOUCHES THE FLOOR! Be sure to use your dramatic voice and insane face. They will find this hysterical and mimic it. In turn, you will find THEM hysterical. Hilarity all around, man. Note: Beware a shoe bridge. It's pretty impossible and is usually guarded by trolls.
And that's it. The most important part about all of these is that YOU are in it to win it. If you are, 99% of the time, the kids are going to follow suit. Because kids want to play with you. So throw off your crabby pants and slap on a temporary flying dragon tattoo right across your forehead and go all in. I bet you'll have just as great of a time as they do.
Go forth! Have Fun!
1 lifeguard. 2 sick children in flight.
The treacherous shoe bridge. There were no survivors.
What activities do you do when the witching hour hits?