wanted: role model in chief

I don’t know about you all but here we are halfway through 2017 and I am exhausted…like feeling older than the hills exhausted.

I am old enough to remember when Michelle Obama said, Let’s be very clear: Strong men – men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together. 

It really does feel like a lifetime ago – yet it wasn’t. It was EIGHT MONTHS AGO!!!

Fuck!

When I was a little girl I looked to people like John F. Kennedy as an inspirational hero. Sure he was assassinated when I was just a toddler, but his influence and inspiration lived on; along with his brother, Bobby, and Martin Luther King Jr. Children look to the leaders, the men and women we see in media as role models to inspire us to aspire to our own greatness – the stuff that childhood fantasies and dreams are made of. Of course they are not perfect people, as no one is. But these role models show us strength, power, character in lifting up the weakest and bringing people together to do great things. It’s no surprise that for many children it is the Presidents that they look to for this. For my older children it was Bill Clinton. For my younger ones it was Barack Obama – and Michelle too. Yeah, like I said, not wholly perfect but, in a child’s view, larger than life, lifting others up and bringing others together.

And then there is the current President of the United States and…

Honestly, anyone with a child has to be asking themselves, how do I explain this President’s actions especially since he faces no consequences. Well, anyone except perhaps Sarah Huckabee Sanders. To defend a schoolyard bully saying he punches back harder when punched and that this is a good thing was beyond the pale – and laughable when suggested that the previous Administration was never attacked as much as this President and THIS President does show the dignity of the office every day in his actions.

All of America collectively smirks asking, you DO know Donald Trump?!

Pundits shake their heads and laugh at the expectation that our President of the United States should be a person above reproach in their character, dignified, a role model and a strong leader who inspires. This is Donald J. Trump, they tell us. And somehow, that is supposed to excuse him…excuse the tweets, the personal attacks, the misogyny, the bigotry…all of it with no apology.

NO!

We should expect better.

We deserve better.

Our children deserve someone living in the White House who inspires them to work harder,  to do better, to do good things, to do great things.

Currently there is no such person residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Sad!

 

after all this time, always

Twenty years ago, it became so much more magical under The Big Top thanks to a story about a boy who lived and went on to have some of the most amazing adventures with a motley crew of wizards, witches and muggles. Through the pages, Harry and friends taught us about life, love, acceptance, friendship, death, and bravery. As my circus act grew, they came to see themselves in some of the most beloved characters – including our own boy who lived. J. K. Rowling’s perfectly penned adventures have been with us through the years challenging each of us to be courageous in the face of adversity and to always remember that love and friendship are the most precious and the most magical things in the world.

The books that chronicle Harry’s adventures through the years now sit on a shelf showing all the wear and tear of the most loved and well-read of books that my children have grown up with; and for that I am thankful. Twenty years can pass in quite nearly a blink of an eye. Thank you J. K. Rowling for being there with me bringing up my own muggles and wizards –

and now the grands.

I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.

~ J. K. Rowling

for Mother’s Day

Have you seen what mothers want for Mother’s Day on Facebook?

Every year my children ask me the same question. After thinking about it, I decided I’d give them my real answer:
What do I want for Mother’s Day? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, I want you to bring your kids around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your fur babies. I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don’t care. Hearing you laugh is music to me.
I spent the better part of my life raising you the best way I knew how. Now, give me time to sit back and admire my work.
Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don’t mind. In fact, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I want you to spend your money making a better life for you and your family, I have the things I need. I want to see you happy and healthy. When you ask me what I want for Mother’s Day, I say “nothing” because you’ve already been giving me my gift all year. I want you.

At first read, I sighed a little “Awww” because it’s such a sweet sentiment. Yes, this is exactly what I wish for Mother’s Day, and every day with my kids, now that four of them are grown. I will always be your mother; but now I kind of want your friendship. Except for the fact that I remember when I was your age.

Yeah, I know how that sounds and I also know that you’re rolling your eyes just a little – perhaps a lot if you are that one kid of mine.

But I do, kids. I do recall what it was like to be your age trying to figure out this adult life thing along with love and sex and relationships, balancing budgets, saving – or not saving, school, career, marriage, having babies, having more babies, and everything else that is adulting. I know that nothing filled me more with self-doubt and self-loathing as an adult than the advice that I never really asked for – and there was a lot of it – whether I asked for it or not – usually I did not ask for it.

And so, kids, I bite my tongue – A LOT.

I want to talk to you about your life, your loves, your friends, your school, your career. I definitely wonder if marriage is for you – and children. I want to know about who was that one guy on your Instagram and Snapchat. I am curious about your plans for school, your job, your career. I even want to see what your friends are sharing about you on that birthday tribute page.  I do, kids. I really do.

But I can still remember when I was your age.

Some things are private – for you – for me. As mom, I am not a fan. As a person who values the trust we have built together, you know, as friends, I do my best to respect you.

Yeah, I bite my tongue a lot.

But, my dear kids, I know that I raised up some pretty awesome people – because of, or perhaps in spite of my parenting. And that is why I am privileged to enjoy our conversations – when you ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. When you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. When you tell me about your job, your worries, your kids, your fur babies. I love when you laugh with me and, occasionally, when you laugh at me. I love when you are here, raiding my refrigerator and pantry too. Most of all, I love just hanging out with you – all of you. That time together reminds me what amazing people my children are and, yeah, I am going to take some credit for that.

I love you kids! Thank you for making me a mom. More than anything, that is the best Mother’s Day gift; all of you.

mother, child, friend

Twenty five years ago, we met face to face for the very first time. That’s right folks, my Zoë Elizabeth is twenty five years old!

She steals my breath every time I regard her while basking in her warm, bright, shining face.

Twenty five years ago I was her mother and she was my child. Through the years we challenged one another in many ways. There were the times where I did find myself saying out loud, “I am not your friend, I am your mother.” I might have even screamed it through an abruptly slammed door. But that is part of being a parent. I won’t lie though, I wanted to be her friend. I really, really wanted to be her friend. I have always loved talking to her, laughing with her, playing with her. Yesterday she called me her friend and with her now at twenty five, we are at a place where we can be friends.

Always her mother, always my daughter, and now my friend.

Happy birthday cheers my darling daughter and friend!

 

2017, hope, and the next generation

There is something troubling to hear in the news of the sudden, but peaceful death of a pop music icon of your own generation when he is around the same age as you…because he died peacefully can be a little bit disconcerting especially when the news reports add that George Michael was only 53. Sorry, but only 53 conjures up the assumption that most 50-something people are NOT facing very soon the inevitable end of their lives because only 53 suggests that there might be a few more years left to live.

Meanwhile…

WTF 2016?!!

I’m not the only one who has been saying that literally all year long. Just hurry up and end already! Please!

Perhaps that is why the AP is feeling like their New Year’s poll of 1,007 people surveyed online accurately portrays the tone of Americans right now. Optimistic as we face 2017? We have a president-elect gas-lighting nations, Congress, media, Saturday Night Live and corporations alike on Twitter; and when he actually tries to act presidential reaching out to include all Americans, his Trumpers freak out.

Sorry, imagining the potential with this kind of, er, leadership, I’m just not feeling all warm and fuzzy about the near future. I’m trying. Really, I am trying. But I just can’t. I just can’t even. I, and a number of other people I know (regardless of our politics), seem to be thinking more in line with what Michele Obama said recently.

We feel the difference now. See, now, we are feeling what not having hope feels like. Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept and Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought it was just a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe that — what else do you have if you don’t have hope. What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?

It’s true. What can I offer my young adult children, my teenaged son, my grand daughters if I can’t even begin to feel hopeful about the next four years…dear god please not eight years!!! It’s hard to imagine America while not having a grownup in the White House. Nailed it, Michele!

But thank you, Mr. President. Thanks Obama as you remind us of that generation right behind us, and I believe each successive generation, as long as we’re doing our job of being good models for it, they’re going to move this country forward in a better direction.

There is hope. Hope is right here. I’m willing to wait for it.