we the people

A recent conversation with one of my children challenged me and inspired me.

I deleted Facebook from my phone.

So many reasons why but mostly because of all the noise…Election, Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, Trump, Hillary, building walls, Allepo, Kaepernick, the National Anthem, the Bill of Rights…and on and on and on…and a desire to be present here and now. Besides, only old people are really on Facebook everyday…making all kinds of noise.

The conversation provoked me and inspired me and yet here I am, not quite ready to delete Facebook from my phone because I just might be one of those old people on Facebook everyday.

It’s true, y’all…the millennials and younger just are not on Facebook…even if you are friends with your kids on Facebook. There are so many other choices out there in social media world where their parents don’t hang out…and, like vinyl, actual face to face interactions and conversations is the new thing…apparently.

At least that is what she tells me.

I can’t delete Facebook from my phone just yet; but I am close. Like my child, I just can’t stomach so much of it. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family and my friends and I love that we can be social together there. Except lately many are not. I mean, how social are we posting our political and social point of view as if it is THE ONLY one anyone should have when it coms to this election season or which lives really matter or the start of a sporting event or which Amendment of our Bill of Rights is the most important Amendment of all and if family and friends on Facebook don’t agree we must BLAST them and anyone else on Facebook because that surely will compell them all to agree with the only RIGHT opinion…yours.

The shade our Founding Fathers are throwing our way right now is strong.

A friend of mine recently became a US citizen which is super cool. She prepared and studied hard for a test which I seriously doubt quite a few of my Facebook family and friends born in the USA could pass…dare I suggest the ones especially who are the most vocal in their political leanings and how one must position themselves when the National Anthem is playing at a football game…who also will post how hard they are trying to get out of jury duty?

The way I see it, standing, sitting, kneeling at the start of a football game is not a measure of who is the most American of all; but it is something we all, as Americans can enjoy and choose (for now) thanks to that First Amendment in our Bill of Rights.

That same darling clown of mine who deleted Facebook in order to be more present does not stand when the anthem is played but she does vote and does report for jury duty without complaint. I might not wholly agree with her reasoning, but I am super proud that she willingly accepts her rights AND her responsibilities as a citizen of our United States...and I literally can not be prouder.

inside on the outside

Regina: But you’re, like, really pretty.
Cady: Thank you.
Regina: So you agree?
Cady: What?
Regina: You think you’re really pretty?
Cady: Oh… I don’t know

~ Mean Girls

Yes, when I find myself in times of trouble sometimes the only thing that makes sense of it all is to quote Mean Girls…if quoting Lennon and McCartney doesn’t work especially in what appears to be a shitty world full of some sometimes pretty shitty people…pretty, shitty people included.

Forgive me, I might be whining a little as I see beautiful people showing the hollow, ugly core that is on the inside. The most perfectly beautiful of people can sometimes be the meanest, the cruelest, the ugliest; and thanks to their social media and their desire to remind us all just how awesome and cool and hardcore bitchy they are, we get to see the ugly on the inside.

When I was trying desperately to survive the cruel awkward that is adolescence coming to terms with the reality that I wasn’t pretty…in the eyes of equally insecure peers…I wasn’t lucky to have social media to reinforce what the adults in my life then were trying to teach me…that the prettiest of people actually were super ugly assholes. How that would have helped me then.

You’re like really pretty but thanks to what you share on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Snapchat, we can see what’s really inside whether your mocking, shaming or celebrating bad choices because I mean…u gotta do it sometimes. Trust me, we see it. It is forever, yes, even if it’s Snapchat. Karma will one way or another come back to you. It has to.

In the meantime, I will try be more like this beautiful person because no beauty shines brighter than that of a kind heart.

How our family got so lucky to have someone as beautiful as him, in our lives I will never know but I will give thanks for such a wonderful gift that always inspires and compells me to be better.

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!