from PokemonGo to the Holocaust to living in tents

When it comes to raising our children, we all have goals along with our wishes and hopes and dreams for our children. Mine is very much influenced by my upbringing and past, as well as current relationships with some family members.

To my family who follows my blog, yes, this part might be about you…then again, you might be wrong in assuming so.

As a mother, one of the biggest things I wanted to nurture in my five was to think for themselves…forge their own opinions…express those thoughts and opinions. I wanted them all to know that their thoughts are their own and are definitely okay, in fact, they are perfect because they are theirs. I also wanted them to understand that they are well within their right as a thinking person to express what they are thinking…even if it disagreed with someone else’s…even if it was Mom or Dad’s. Especially if they disagreed with Mom or Dad. Of course there was the proviso that they must be respectful and kind because it’s Mom or Dad, or their friends, or their teachers, or any other thinking human being because I was also trying to instill in them the importance of, well, The Golden Rule. Be kind. Be respectful. Anyone who truly knows me would likely understand why this was important for me to have for my children. Yes, yes, yes, this has made my parenting adventure rather challenging because my five are fierce and very much strong-willed; kind of like their Mom and Dad.

Yes, Hollie, we were cursed as children too.

But, in spite of the years of challenges, I like that my five are fierce and I like that they can think for themselves and can and do, almost all the time, express their thoughts and their opinions.

In the news recently was the request for people to stop playing PokemonGo in The Holocaust Museum. “Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism,” Andrew Hollinger, the museum’s communications director, told The Post. “We are trying to find out if we can get the museum excluded from the game.”

What’s The Holocaust, Mom?

And so began a conversation with my 14 year old about what The Holocaust is and what happened to more than 6 million people just because of their religion or ethnicity or sexual orientation at that time and he interrupts me drawing a comparison to a certain candidate. His thoughts. His thoughts based on what he sees and hears and reads all around him. His thoughts expressed. I shared his thoughts (no names mentioned) with friends and family on Facebook just like that because, wow, that. My son’s thoughts. Thus began commentary and conversation, as we often do on Facebook and other social media platforms; which, in my opinion, is more than okay. Agree, disagree, more than okay. Just be kind…on my personal space because we absolutely, positively can agree to disagree on pretty much anything as long as we are at the very least respectful. Don’t believe me? Ask my darling husband. Well, except that he believes Pepsi to be a superior soft drink over Coke. Oh my darling husband!

Take note here, don’t blast my Facebook wall telling me Coke is not better because it is. Okay, fine, you can. Just be kind. I might not agree with you but that doesn’t mean that I have been decieved or tooled by the media because, I promise you, I am absolutely smarter than that…so are my Fierce Five. We don’t have to agree. We both can look at one another’s opinions on just about anything and think to ourself, what the actual fuck?…I do it literally ALL THE TIME looking at some postings of some family and friends on Facebook and then I move on because BABIES! KITTENS! AMAZING VACATION PHOTOS! FUNNY VIDEOS! And I move on because we don’t HAVE to feel the same way about current events or who we believe will make America great again. And yes, this is a beautiful thing for me and for the beauty of America where we can still think freely!...Isn’t that ironic?

in the neighborhood and beyond

Doesn’t it seem like just last week we were shocked, sad, mad and talking about another horrible act of foreign or domestic terror? Oh yeah. We were just talking about such an abominable thing.

Yes, all the big heavy sighs now; and again with all the hashtags of #prayforFrance, #prayforNice, #BlueLivesMatter, #BlackLivesMatter, #AllLivesMatter along with our thoughts and prayers. Helpless we feel and for most of us this is all we feel like we can do. Well, except for discussing it all on social media.

Thanks to local farmer, comedian, writer, self-proclaimed 40-year old entitled boob, Chris Teicheira, I signed on to a local neighborhood watch page on Facebook…for keeping Manteca safe…and for the lookie-loo, popcorn snacking entertainment. Uh, thanks, Chris? Actually there is some good that comes from this group on occasion…when there isn’t bitching and moaning about the right to or not to shoot off all the illegal fireworks all the time, or all problems in Manteca are because of the homeless, and the entitled boobery, as Chris so aptly described. Under the guise of social media anonymity, which is not anonymous at all y’all, a lot of neighbors in my Family City are basically looking like entitled boobs.

Another heavy sigh.

In the wake of so much going on in the news, a local resident felt lead to initiate a peaceful call to action; which was well within her right under the First Amendment of our Constitution. She planned all in the right way and it reportedly went off without a hitch. Of course the discussion last night and throughout today on the Family City neighborhood watch page focused much on the Black Lives Matter peaceful march throughout our city. So much ugly discussion y’all. I see you. I see you all.

Perhaps after the deaths of police officers in Baton Rouge yesterday during yet another act of terror at the hand of yet another lone, angry asshole, it might not have been the right time for such a peaceful protest. Then again, when would be the right time, really? From my armchair overnight at work, it seemed that it was a peaceful assembly focused on the BLM movement but also very sensitive to the murders of police officers just doing their job protecting and serving their community. It was a respectful gathering of more than 50 people of all colors and ethnicities making a quiet statement.

I see nothing wrong here.

Well, except for this reality.

Another day…

We all need to do better. We all need to be kinder. We all need to be all of this to all.

We don’t need inflammatory rhetoric. We don’t need careless accusations thrown around to score political points or to advance an agenda…Only we can prove, through words and through deeds, that we will not be divided, and we’re going to have to keep on doing it again and again and again. That’s how this country gets united…Around the clock news cycles and social media sometimes amplify these divisions, That is why it is so important that everyone: regardless of race or political party or profession, regardless of what organizations you’re a part of, everyone right now focus on words and actions that can unite this country rather than divide it further.

Barack Obama

Cleveland, Philadelphia, Manteca, America, the World…respect, kindness for all…please.

mourning, but with all the hope

I know that I am not the only one crying and screaming on the inside what the actual fuck right now.

Baton Rouge…Alton Sterling…”he should have just complied”…Falcon Heights…Philando Castile…”but he complied; he followed the officer’s orders”…Black Lives Matter…Dallas…Dallas PD…Ballwin…Ballwin PD…Blue Lives Matter…“All Lives Matter”…

I can’t. I just can’t.

Moments that words don’t reach; suffering too terrible to name. And in these moments this week I just want to hold the ones I love the most as tight as I can and push away the unimaginable. All of it. But I can’t. I just can’t.

I am at work and I distract myself with work. I walk into the break room and one of the news channels is on. It’s not Fox News…THANK YOU…but I just can’t. I distract myself with work, with my patients’ conditions and parents’ bedside vigils because I just can’t imagine.

Coffee is delivered by my current favorite child, and I give thanks for the happy distraction it brings.

It’s the little things. Acts of kindness. Warm hugs. Parents holding their precious new babies as close as they can taking in all the promises of future hope that they represent. Moments that words don’t reach; grace too powerful to understand. My heart hurts right now. The hearts of most everyone else I know hurt right now. Sad, mad, all the outrage, all the helplessness, all the tears and fears are happening right now and I know that I am not alone. But through the night at work last night there was for me a promise of hope that no matter how small is potentially powerful enough to rise above the unimaginable. I’m keeping that hope close to my heart and last night, all night, and today, right now I am happy for the tiny warmth it radiates deep within my broken heart.

A baby is god’s opinion that the world should go on.

Carl Sandburg

outshines the morning sun

In a few days I will FINALLY be the mother of only one teenager! Words can’t describe the flood of relief that comes with that statement. Of course having four adult children trying to do adulting kinds of things brings a whole new set of worries because I’ve been there and yes, done that…and that…and that…and that too.The attempt to restrain myself sometimes is so damn hard. I hope these grown children of mine will come to realize this. I’m sure that they will. I did.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying this young teenaged son of mine. When he smiles at me and talks to me I indeed do come undone. Look at him, my son!

That hair though!

Okay, not everything can be perfect at this age.

Still there are moments where I find my heart so full when he is sharing with me his thoughts, feelings and observations.

My son!

Pride is not the word I’m looking for.

Confession: I was listening to the Hamilton soundtrack before I sat down to write this.

Lately I am more than aware of the man this son of mine is becoming. I literally have never, ever known someone who is so kind and so fair to all. When he was but a one pound baby fighting as only micro preemies fight, I was aware how strong his heart was thenas I am always cognizant of with every mighty, tiny baby I care for. But lately I am all the more aware of just how mighty his heart is.

Truly.

He makes me want to try harder to be a better person…a person like him, my son. How lucky I am to bask in his warm presence that, yes, outshines the morning sun. Added bonus, he calls me mom.

That hair though!

from where the mean comes from

Anyone else find themselves almost ready to curl up into a fetal position after last night’s GOP debates?

No?

Just me?

Okay then.

Still, moments like this are disheartening. This is the world our children are growing up in…my son…my grand daughters. This is a world where it is perfectly okay to be mean, to push and shove and scream to get your point across, to laugh at the expense of another’s adversities and to justify it all with the banner that we are a tell-it-like-it-is, no-bullshit-here kind of person. A bitch with balls is the new black and kindness is like a pair of parachute pants…or whatever garish fashion that no one should wear ever again is.

Sure I try to focus on the good out there like coffee karma and strangers in Target actually making eye contact and smiling hello, but events like last night, with the audience wildly cheering and social media exploding with insults and put downs make me wonder where did all this mean come from?

Today I, along with several hundred very proud parents, attended the honor roll and character awards assembly at my son’s school. Daniel, as always received accolades for the kindness and fairness that he is known for as well as honor roll and, naturally, I was very proud. But the glow of my son’s hard work and his own pride, as well as the rest of his classmates receiving awards was tarnished. Sitting next to me were two mothers and a grandmother. The three of them, like me, were excited for the assembly celebrating our kids as well as Spring Break that would commence as soon as the assembly was over. But there was more for them to discuss…so much more. One of the moms shared her frustration over the fact her precious snowflake would not be receiving a Character Counts award because she received detention.

I don’t care what the Vice Principal and that teacher say, she was not bullying that kid over her stupid hearing aids!!! I mean she has known her since kindergarten and she suddenly starts wearing hearing aids to school. Of course my kid is going to question that. She has every right to. 

Yup! Her sweet child apparently targeted a hearing impaired classmate. The ladies discussed this for some time until they were distracted by a student taking the stage.

That’s her!, the mom hissed.

Oh my god, she IS wearing hearing aids!!! What’s that all about?

But then another student took to the stage and the second mom had to point out the ridiculousness that was the youngster’s hair twists.

Yes, they were making fun of a child’s hair.

The criticisms continued because there was literally something to say about at least one or more student in each class…their weight, their shoes, how they are dressed, their mother who is crazy, the mostly absent father who drinks…

The mean, where does it come from? Honestly, it is everywhere around us…at our kids’ schools, their after school activities, the workplace, Target, ALL over our social media timelines and even church. People just like you and me are more than okay to express what they are really thinking because they are all about honesty and telling it like it is…even directed at children. Sadly, these people, just like you and me, also profess how they want their children to grow up to be good, kind, respectful…you know, all the traits that they themselves seem to lack. What’s that old saying again?…children learn by what they live.

The mean, it starts here with us…and it should, it must end with us. But how? We start with kindness, fairness and respect for all always…the kindness, fairness and respect we imagine that we are deserving of we share unconditionally with everyone.

It starts right here with me, with you, with us all.