they go low and I go…medium-ish

Remember when First Lady Michelle Obama declared “when they go low, we go high” and I added to my ever growing list of things I admire about Michelle Obama and wish that I had…those arms, her style, her Mom dance moves…well, do you remember? Words to live by, especially right now, I told myself; and I have tried to do just that.

Try being the operative word.

But sometimes I just can’t help myself like when a certain Presidential candidate has yet another Twitter tantrum, as he does pretty much every damn day. I could have walked away because they go low, we go high except I didn’t. Sorry, I just couldn’t help myself. I’m weak. But given the overall reaction, I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t help but appreciate the irony or just how un-presidential the tantrums are. Literally even cousin Joe appreciated the irony. No, we aren’t really cousins. Of course, share your opinion and it will bring all the trolls to the yard.

When they go low, we go high…and thank you sweet baby Jesus and Twitter and Facebook for the mute, block and unfollow options because, oh my, how the trolls do swarm sometimes.

Calling me a feminist? Well, I am female and I am the mother of four females and grandmother of two more. I have a few sisters and nieces too along with friends whom I care for who also just so happen to be female too. Perhaps I might actually have a vested interest in things that are social,legal, political and economic concerns for women because I am a woman. Go figure! Yes, I said that. I know. I know…don’t feed the trolls. Drunk with likes and retweets and even cousin Joe’s encouragement, I just could not stop myself. But trolls are trolls and because they live under most bridges they go low. Why engage in an intelligent exchange of ideas back and forth when one can poke fun at one’s outward appearances? Intelligent debate is for losers and all the other insults that any 7th grade schoolyard bully can think of…just like a certain candidate they support.

You go low I will try to go high. Perhaps not as high as Mrs. Obama.

You go low and today I will go medium-ish because, yes, that is me. Ultimately I believe that love, kindness and respect trumps hate and your #altright vitriol; which I have to say is far more frightening than Mr. Trump’s vitriolic tantrums ever will be. Seriously trolls, y’all are crazy mother f-ers….especially that one I am related t who literally can not just walk away from Facebook. All I can say to the rest of the world is I’m sorry because I did drop him on his head once. I can’t believe that Mommy Dearest never found out.

And if you haven’t figured it out by now, yes, I’m with her because I need to hope that love can and will trump hate.

 

everything I might have ever learned about parenting I learned while potty training

Is that even possible? There is, after all, so much more to raising these humans we call our children so that they will be successful adults…with jobs…responsibilities…the ability to hang their own pictures in their own first apartment. Of course there is so much more that we learn as we grow and these babies of our grow but a social media conversation today struck me that there is much to learn while potty training each of our children…and observing others…observing, comparing, contrasting and maybe judging as we do because, for some, parenting is a competitive sport…maybe an Olympic event worthy competitive sport.

No not really.

Still we often do compare and contrast…and pat ourselves on the back because we are doing a great job…or wallow in self-doubt and lots of mommy-guilt.

One thing I might have learned or appreciated potty training five unique individuals is that they were uniquely five very different individuals…and I was no more an expert in how to potty train a human after the first, second, third, fourth or fifth. I did learn was to appreciate the big picture in that when physically ready, the kids are capably continent and there is much, much, much more that is a better measure of their success years and years later…like when they are parents themselves.

And then I come back to the conversation today. Watching our own children as parents we must recognize and acknowledge our successes (and definitely major fails) as parents. Watching them, as we do in every major event and milestone of their lives, we must trust that we did good…and that they are doing even better because of,  or perhaps in spite of us. Our children will not be the mothers and fathers that we are; and for some of us that is a very good thing. They are not us  even if they came out from our own bodies. They are uniquely their own selves just as their own children, our grandchildren are too.

For me, for my daughter, I recognize that we are so different as mothers…even if I joke that she is raising herself times two because my curses are that good. Lucky for her daughters too. Literally one of the joys of being a grandparent, a Mima, is witnessing and celebrating what a great job my child is doing as a mommy…because of me, or more likely, in spite of me. She might do things differently than I did or would as a mother but she is her own mother making this motherhood gig her own bitch. I could critique, whether privately or for all on Facebook-land to see under the guise of well-meaning advice…or I could just enjoy the adventure…her adventure…her adventure as my grand babies’ Mommy.

And of course I continue to enjoy the sweetness that is my grand babies, her children.

And, in my daughter’s own words, I get to enjoy the truth that she is (today) winning at the mom-game, because she is.

Dear friend, when it comes to crowdsourcing for parenting wisdom and critique to pass on to our grand babies’ parents…don’t, just don’t. They’ll potty train your grand baby when your grand baby is truly ready. Just enjoy your grand baby buying all the big kid underpants and practicing going potty with them when they are at your house because what happens at Mima’s house stays at Mima’s house. And when your adult child picks up THEIR child from your house, tell them how glad that you are that they are your grand baby’s parent.

Yeah, I learned so much of this and more in the adventure that is potty training my five children with all the well-meaning wisdom, observations and advice.

 

NOT the parents and other Olympic moments

Watching the Olympics am I?

Of course I am!

Team USA is thrilling me from the moment they paraded into Maracanã Stadium through the days that have followed so far. We have enjoyed all the USA triumphs thus far especially the ones where we celebrate the Olympic-sized achievements of the wives of swim coaches, Chicago Bears’ linemen and the fiancé of Miss California 2010.

Don’t hate.

You have to give credit where credit is due and hurray for media and social media to remind us all of that…never mind the actual YEARS, blood, sweat and tears that the actual medalists contributed to their own personal achievements.

Take note, Michael Phelps’ unprecedented 19th Olympic gold medal achievement was included because what is good for the goose is equally so for the gander. Just ask Katinka Hosszu and Corey Cogdell.

But it’s all part of the Olympic-sized dripping grama that are Olympic stories…right Al Trautwig? I get it though. Simone Biles’ personal story is almost as remarkable as she is on the gym floor…almost. Then again, as a mother whose family was created by birth and adoption, I would argue that Simone’s parents adopting her as a very small child is really not the most remarkable thing about her; I mean, have you been watching her performance in these games that you have been commenting on, Mr. Trautwig? Or have you been too busy deleting your snark on social media that is forever in spite of your hitting delete? Dude, it’s forever.

As always, I maintain that there is more than one way to make a family. My family circus is but one example of that truth. Ron and Nellie Biles’ is yet another example. Our families, as any other family out there, are truly remarkable for all the love, all the talent, all the unique qualities that make our families our families. Adoptions is but a very small part of who we are, but it is not the most interesting thing about our families…not ever. We are their parents, their moms and dads and they are our children. We are the ones who have walked the floors with them for so many sleepless, tear-filled nights. We are the ones who have held their hair back while they puked and rubbed their backs while singing lullabies. We are the ones who helped with the homework, read all the stories, cleaned up all the poop and puke and snot and who have sat through all the episodes of Calliou. We are the ones who smiled and waved while fighting back the tears as they entered their kindergarten classrooms and walked across the stage at graduation. We are the ones who scrimped and scraped and sacrificed for all the dance classes, the cheer camps, the sports’ clinics and have sat in all the bleachers cheering until we had no more voice left to cheer with. These humans, who call us mom and dad, even if we didn’t grow them inside our own bodies are our own, our children and we are absolutely, positively their mom and dad and some sportscaster known for his play by play of the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers and his Emmy Award for Outstanding Edited Sports Specials is ever going to take that away from us because honestly, Mr. Trautwig, that unique resumé does not ever qualify you to define what makes a mom a mom, or a dad a dad, or a family a family, much less to offer play by play expertise on Olympic caliber gymnastics. Perhaps you should hush now and let Nastia Liukin speak.

Meanwhile…

This is one Olympic moment I approve of. Thank you, Pita Taufatofua, thank you very much!

lane changes and birthdays

You know that funny knobby thing on the left hand side of the steering wheel in your car? Do you know what it is? Do you know what’s very special purpose is? Well, allow me to enlighten you.

IT’S A TURN SIGNAL!!!!

It’s a way to let people know that you are going to turn left or right.

Amazing!

Truly.

Use it!!!

Friday afternoon commuting from the Bay Area to the Central Valley is basically nothing less than a cluster fuck. Basically. Coming home my darling husband was in an accident. I might have to give thanks for the slow crawl down from the Altamont into Mountain House because when a driver to the right of him decided to suddenly move to the left without signaling, he was not moving too fast. But he was traveling fast enough to not be able to get out of the way in time and…his hand, YES, HIS HAND hit the driver’s side mirror of the car. He broke her mirror, minor damage was sustained to his bike and one of his fingers was injured. Information was exchanged. The driver gave first aid with a pressure dressing applied to his hand, which was bleeding quite a bit. Oh, and it was her birthday. Happy birthday to her, right?!

Darling husband, being darling husband,got back on the bike and rode 25 more miles home.

Honey, I need you to look at something for me…spoken oh so casually as he showed me his left hand wrapped in a giant wad of paper towels tied up around his hand with a latex glove.

What in the world??!!…

I cut away the glove and begin to unwind the towels to see active bleeding and a very swollen, black and blue pinky finger.

Do you think I should get it checked out?

Off to the ER we went. For those keeping score, this is the third trip to the ER for this family in 2016. Seriously, 2016 is just all around not working.

X-rays, exam and 5 stitches later, we are home and my darling husband right now is oh so elegant sipping his ice cold beverage.

Pinky up y’all.

It could have been bad, bad, bad, bad. But it wasn’t. My darling husband is well aware of that as he practically apologizes to me reminding me just how careful he is on his bike on the road. For now, I will just be thankful and focus on this moment 24 hours later.

Bill turned 53 this week and today our family circus gathered together and celebrated.

That funny, knobby thingy on the left hand side your car’s steering wheel? Use it!

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?