Month

November 2016

Don’t Look Away

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s a jungle out there. Lingering election wounds. Pipelines. Scary people being appointed to high government offices. Debates over flags and freedoms. These conversations are hard and messy and it’s so much easier to defend our own opinions and blame others and criticize each other. It’s easier to each stand on our own small pedestal yelling across the divide at each other—telling others that what the view from their own pedestal is “wrong”. I’m just as guilty of this as anyone. It’s a shit show of human ignorance and judgement and unkindness on both sides. And it’s hard to watch.

But I’m asking you, friends…

Don’t look away.

When your friends and neighbors and family members show you their fear and their anger, don’t look away. Even if you don’t agree. Don’t distract yourself with judgment or criticism. Stop and see.

When your friends and neighbors and family members show you their resolve, their determination, their rock solid beliefs, don’t look away. Even if you don’t agree. Don’t distract yourself with attempts at persuasion or expressed frustration. Stop and see.

When your friends and neighbors and family members act out of desperation. When they protest. When they post on social media. Don’t look away. Even if you don’t agree. Don’t distract yourself by arguing against their method of expression. Stop and see.

When your friends and neighbors and family members are victims of hate crimes.

When your friends and neighbors and family members are unkind to each other on social media.

When you read articles that make you feel judged and hurt and angry.

When people throw words like racist, bigot, sexist, etc. around.

When people throw words like nigger, faggot, wet back, terrorist, or white trash around.

Don’t look away.

These times are hard. Scary. Painful. But they are so, so important. We can’t decide where we go from here if we don’t see where we are. We can’t go anywhere unless we go together. And we can’t go there together if we don’t stand by each other.

So when you see each other hurting. When you see each other lashing out. When you see each other judging and hating and wounding and being wounded.

Don’t look away.

 

 

 

 

Giving on Purpose

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I’m trying really hard to do better about giving intentionally this year. With as much chaos as there is in the world and the news, I feel like concentrating on the little ways that I can help make the world just a teeny bit better is something I can control.

Also, here’s a little random sneak peak into my weirdo brain: with all the politics in the news and talk about the GOP this year, I have secretly been referring to my giving goal as “Giving On Purpose” (G.O.P.) because I think it’s time to reinvent the GOP. (snickering to myself)

ANYWAY.

So this year we are putting an emphasis on giving. A friend of mine on Facebook shared an awesome graphic with me that was a “Random Acts of Kindness” schedule for the month of December.

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I love this idea, AND I also wanted to incorporate some ways to give locally beyond just daily acts of kindness. So I came up with a “Twelve Days of Giving on Purpose” plan that was specific to our community.

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We also started our “Giving Jar”. Every time we do something good, we tear off a slip of paper, write it down, and add it to the jar.

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I’ll be reporting our progress as the month goes on. If you’re looking for some ways to give, I’m adding a list of links below that I will keep adding to as the month goes on. Happy giving!

Donation Websites

St. Jude Children’s Research – Gift Donations

Amazon Wishlists

National CASA Association Wishlist

Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council

Raising Littles in a World That Sometimes Sucks a Lot

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I feel things differently than I did before I was a parent.

Before I was a parent, when I saw a tragedy on the news, my primary feeling was discomfort. I felt bad for the people involved. Sad about the situation. But all of my feelings were somehow… muted. Like I was removed from the situation. Which, technically I was.

But after having children, that separation between me and the hard, scary parts of life diminished. Everything felt so much more real, more raw. Like I was driving down the interstate just like I had been my whole life but suddenly I didn’t have a windshield. It takes my breath away and hurts but I have to keep my eyes open because it’s almost scarier not to see where we’re going.

I feel like this a lot lately. This morning in my scroll through the Internet I see news of child fatalities in a school bus crash. I see a video of nurses pulling premature babies from incubators in a smoke-filled room as the last hospital in Aleppo was bombed. I see humans who are standing up for what they believe in being injured by freezing cold water sprayed from high pressure hoses by other humans. I see a group of white nationalists saying things that I literally cannot even wrap my mind around as they celebrated the election of our next president, believing that he will help bring attention to their movement. Meanwhile, said president elect is too busy criticizing members of the Hamilton theater production, staff of the TV show Saturday Night Live, and the media for exercising their freedom of speech to notice all the hate crimes being carried out in his name.

I see people being terrible to each other in the name of their beliefs. People disowning friends and family members over their votes. People being disowned from their friends and family members because of their vote. People dreading Thanksgiving celebrations with their families because we are so torn up about all of it.

I see all of this happening and, even though most of it is not happening directly to me, it sometimes feels like it is.

Perhaps that’s an ignorant thing to say. I mean, obviously there are people who are significantly more affected by all of this than I am, so it feels almost presumptuous to feel anything.

But then I think, maybe that’s how it should be. As hard as it all is, I would rather live in a world where we connect with each other in such a way that when one of us hurts, we all bleed. (Maybe our disconnect, our ignorance, our separation is part of the problem.)

Something about creating a life, witnessing its first moments, nursing it through the tender first years… it changed me. It changed the way I saw humans. Suddenly the kids on that bus were my six year old and her friends. Suddenly one of those preemies in incubators being evacuated was my newborn. Those people being sprayed with gas and freezing water were my friends. My tribe.

It sucks that all these things and more are happening all around us. It sucks that it hurts and it’s hard on so many levels. I don’t even know how to begin to go about raising a child who is prepared to feel all of this. Because honestly, I don’t know how to begin to go about feeling all of this.

And what’s more, I don’t know what to do about any of it. What could I possibly do that would matter? And yet how can I stand by and do nothing?

I don’t know the answer. I speak up and then I overthink what I said and I worry, but then I convince myself that it’s better than saying nothing. I read books and I read other perspectives and I read things that make me uncomfortable and I try to be just a little less ignorant. I research government and I work up the nerve to call my state representatives even though it’s completely outside of my comfort zone.

And I snuggle my babies and I plan ways for us to give to those in need as a family this year because the world needs it more than ever. And I read them books about people of different races and different cultures and we talk about loving each other and we keep a gratitude journal.

And it still feels like so little in the face of so much. But I don’t know what else to do.

So for now I just do the little things I can. And I scroll through the news full of so much fear and heartbreak and the best I can do is to let it hurt. To let it scare me enough, let it break my heart enough to make me want to do more.

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I Get To Do It All

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Post-shot snuggles

Sometimes it is really hard to have to do it all.

Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, dusting. Checking homework, listening to reading practice, distributing snacks, driving to gymnastics, driving to dance. Groceries, cooking, refilling prescriptions, making doctor appointments, giving vitamins, packing diaper bags, packing lunches, the latest PTA fundraiser, Christmas shopping, packing away clothes we’ve outgrown, teaching how to tie shoes and how to use the bathroom and how to be grateful for what you have.

The list goes on and on.

Honestly, I have no idea how I did it when I was working at a job outside of my house. How did I keep track of it all? It feels like a full time job right now to just do the basics. Feedings, diaper changes, baths, school drop offs and pick ups.

Parenting littles is big, big work and sometimes I’m overwhelmed with all the things I have to do.

But then some days it feels different.

Like today. Today my toddler threw a temper tantrum, like she usually does. And, like I usually do, I respond with something along the lines of, “Ahh, do you need a hug?” Usually, my offer falls on deaf ears. But today, she picked herself up off the floor and walked into my arms. Today, she let me hold her for just a for just a few seconds. And then she was better.

Today, my two month old got her first round of shots. Three big pokes in two itty bitty legs. She cried and cried and my heart broke. But I held her until it passed. And then I held her for most of the evening until my legs were stiff and my back was sore and my arms were numb.

Today, I remembered that I don’t have to do it all.

I GET to do it all.

I get to check homework. I get to listen to reading practice. I get to make lunches and make doctors appointments, drive to activities and pick up from school. I get to do baths and cook meals and tuck everyone in with a hug and kiss. I get to nourish tiny bodies and feed tiny souls and hold tiny hearts.

I get to be the one to provide comfort. I get to be the hug that makes big feelings feel more manageable. I get to be the word of encouragement that lights up her face.

I get to snuggle her in the wee hours of the morning. I get to be there for the best stuff and the hardest stuff.

I get to do it all.

And that won’t always be the case. As the days and the years sneak by, I will get to do less and less.

Sure, that may mean that someday I will get to read a book for more than a few stolen minutes at a time. Someday I will get to take a nap or listen to grown up music in the car or shower whenever I feel like it. And that will be pretty awesome.

But if I had to guess, I would say that when that time does come, I will miss the days I got to do it all.

 

 

 

Dear Fellow White People

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Dear Fellow White People,

Can we be honest for a sec? We all know we have done some pretty shitty things to people of color in the past. And the present.

We don’t exactly have a lot to be proud of in this department.

Lucky for us, today is a new day and a new chance to be better. So I think it’s important that we talk about how to do that.

First, since we’ve never been judged and discriminated against (for hundreds of years) based only on the color of our skin, we don’t get to have an opinion when they express fear about being judged and discriminated against.

Actually, while we are on that topic, if we have never been told who we can and can’t love or marry, or been called a terrorist because of our religion, or been harassed with threats of a “wall” simply because of our ethnicity and regardless of our citizenship status then we have no business having an opinion about these peoples’ fear.

And finally, if you have never had another human brag about “grabbing you by the p#*%~” or reduce your worth to your weight or physical appearance, then you have no business having an opinion about the fear of those who have.

We already look pretty stupid based on our track record of how we treat others, and more loud opinions about things WE CANT POSSIBLY UNDERSTAND only make us look more ignorant.

I get that sometimes people make bad choices when they are afraid, and protesting and violence is not the right answer. But if you can’t see the difference between people protesting in fear of racism and people committing hate crimes then you are not looking closely enough.

It’s okay to say “violence is not okay”. It is not okay to judge others for being violent when we have a long history of hatefulness. It’s not okay to call them hypocrites (because irony). And it’s not okay to call them crybabies. Because if you think this is about “losing” an election then, again, you are not looking closely enough.

I know it’s rough out there. But let’s all take a deep breath and try harder to be better from here on out.

Oh, and if you’re irritated that I keep posting about this shit, I’m sorry that I’m not sorry. For as long as there are people writing “make America white again” on walls and children chanting racists slurs against each other in school and women being physically harassed because of their religious attire, I WILL KEEP TALKING ABOUT THIS.

Sure you might prefer that I take my white privilege and stop looking at the Internet and concentrate on my own little safe world. But unfortunately, there are people who can’t turn off the computer and escape this. They live it.

It’s up to us to do better, for our children and for each other. The first step is to stop pretending it’s not a problem. The second is to stop being afraid to talk about it just because it is ugly and embarrassing.

So if you’re still here, thanks you for not looking away just because this made you sad, made you angry, or offended you. I appreciate you listening. Together we can do hard things.

Getting Back to Each Other

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If you have participated in social media this week, I think you’ll agree with me when I say: It’s a jungle out there.

People are grieving. People are protesting. People are feeling scared, hurt, angry. People are feeling judged, criticized, demeaned.

And just like everyone else, I have an opinion.

But here’s the thing about my opinion: it doesn’t just make me want to say what I believe. It makes me genuinely curious about the other opinions that are different than mine. How can we see the same thing so differently? There are so many different opinions right now, and so much that I desperately want to understand.

Because when we have different opinions, we are separate from each other. We are divided. And human beings, by nature, are social creatures. When we feel divided, separate, it creates a deep and unsettled yearning in our souls to get back to each other, whether we realize it or not.

It’s why we passionately argue our own opinions. Because we desperately hope to persuade people to join us so we won’t be alone.

But there’s something we often forget about opinions. Togetherness doesn’t come from agreeing with each other. It comes from understanding each other. It comes from listening to each other. It comes from connection deeper than opinions.

Which is really good news. Because it means that neither one of us have to compromise on what we believe in order to get back to each other. We simply need to open up space to listen. To be genuinely curious about where the other person is coming from. To try our darndest to stand in the other person’s shoes and see what they see. Even if we don’t choose to stay there.

Even if we never agree, we can work to respect each others’ beliefs. The bridge across the divide isn’t built on our opinions; it is built on our humanity.

These are not easy days. Every time I see something that hurts my heart or confuses me or makes me angry, I get the impulse to write. Because writing is my outlet. And so often I struggle and stumble and fight to get the right words out. And then I question whether I should be saying anything at all. I worry about offending people and alienating people.

And mostly, when I share my opinion, I remind you that my opinion is different than yours. I remind both of us that we are separate. Divided.

And human beings don’t like to be divided.

So my inner voice argues that it’s better just to keep my mouth shut, to keep my opinions to myself. Because then we don’t have to face the fact that we are so far apart.

But then I remember this: the way back to each other is through understanding. And you cannot understand me if I do not share these parts of me. You cannot understand my beliefs if I choose to keep them to myself.

Granted, sharing my opinion on social media may just seem like dumping buckets of water into the ocean because social media is so flooded with opinions right now.

But I’m also aware of the power of social media as a connective tool. I have watched millions of people use it to connect to others who share their beliefs.

Why can’t we use it to connect to those who don’t share our beliefs?

Last night, I shared a heated post about the increase in hate crimes since the election. I typically try very hard not to share heated posts without thinking long and hard about what I say. But last night, I impulse posted.

And after I did so, I fought the urge to take it down. More than once. (More than twice.) Because I am human. And humans don’t like to be divided.

But what happened next gave me hope. People offered their own perspectives which were different than mine. In some cases we didn’t agree. And in some we did agree but from different angles.

And no one was disrespectful or unkind.

I was pushed to see opinions that I did not understand. I was given a glimpse into perspectives that I don’t share. And we found common ground in perspective we did share.

And most importantly I was reminded that the person on the other side of the divide was exactly that: a person. A thoughtful, intelligent human being with experiences and opinions and beliefs that were different than mine but that were no less important or valid.

Suddenly, it didn’t matter that we didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything. Because our differences were no longer a threat to our togetherness.

The way back to each other isn’t dependent upon agreeing with each other. It simply requires that we listen to each other. They saw me post about what I believed and, rather than ignoring me or criticizing me, they shared what they believed. We didn’t try to change each other. We just listened.

And it may seem like a small moment in the expanse of the chaos right now. But it felt big to me. Because even though neither side waved a white flag on their own opinions, I saw a bridge where before I had not seen one. I felt togetherness and kindness and respect. For people I didn’t agree with.

It may seem impossible sometimes, but there is a way back to each other. It’s up to us to find it.

 

 

Here’s What I’m Telling My Daughter About the Election

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Dear Daughter,

Last night our country elected Donald Trump as the next President of the United States.

It wasn’t the outcome I was hoping for.

You see, throughout his lifetime and his campaign, Mr. Trump has said things that I found offensive about women, minorities, people with different religious beliefs, and people with disabilities. Mrs. Clinton, while not a perfect candidate herself, had significantly more experience and has spent her life in public service. And to be entirely honest, I wanted to be able to share the moment that a woman finally became president with you.

But at the end of the day, my vote didn’t come down to politics for me. I have friends with all different colors of skin, friends with all different religious beliefs, and friends of various sexual orientations. To me, they aren’t just members of a group, they are human beings. Throughout this election season, I saw these human beings experience fear, confusion, and hurt at the idea of a leader who didn’t respect them or represent them. I saw them experience fear, confusion, and hurt at the idea of being surrounded by their fellow citizens who would choose to elect someone like that.

I saw their fear and I couldn’t imagine standing in their shoes. I couldn’t imagine having to raise children in their shoes.

So I exercised my right to vote.

And I truly believed in my heart that, as a country, we wouldn’t elect a president that only respected a small percentage of our diverse population as a country.

And when we did, I felt deeply heartbroken. Deeply confused. Deeply sad.

This election tells me that, when it comes to taking care of each other, respecting each other, appreciating each other, we have a long way to go and a lot of work to do.

I wish that I could give you better than that. I wish that I could give you a place full of people that love and respect each other despite all their differences. A place that lifts up those that need it the most.

But we aren’t there yet.

So instead I’m going to tell you a story about a caterpillar.

At some point in a caterpillar’s life, it spins itself a cocoon and huddles down deep inside. It does this not out of a conscious choice but rather a deep instinct. Once inside this cocoon, a tiny cell in the caterpillar’s body begins to change.

And the caterpillar’s body fights against it, pushing back against that change.

And then, in response to the resistance, the tiny cell grows and pushes harder.

And again, the caterpillar’s own body fights it back.

This push and pull continues until the caterpillar is essentially destroyed, broken down to something shapeless and unrecognizable.

From that chaos, a butterfly is born.

You may be tempted to credit that tiny cell that started the change. But in reality, it is the resistance it faced that made it strong enough to succeed. It is the resistance, the fight, that tore down the old so that the new could be born.

It’s true that I am deeply dissatisfied with what this election suggests about our priorities as a country. But somewhere at the bottom of this heartbreak, I can feel a tiny ember of hope burning. A hope that this resistance will not be for nothing. I have been searching all morning for the words to give voice to this hope.

But I still don’t know what to say.

What I do know, however, is this:

It is hard to fight against something you cannot see. Some of us were more aware of the undertones of hatred and intolerance in our country than others. But there is no denying it now. This experience has illuminated the darkest corners of this issue and, although painful to look at, realizing the extent of this problem is the first step to addressing it.screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-1-52-30-pm

And address it we will. We know we have work to do. While it is disheartening to realize we haven’t come as far as we thought we had, where there is great despair, there is great love. I choose to believe that our sadness, our confusion, our heartbreak will open us up to a greater capacity for love and inspire in us a deeper and more powerful drive to do as much good as we possibly can. I want to give you a world where we all agree that it’s never okay to treat someone with anything less than respect. Period.

The good news is, we don’t have to rely on a president to create that kind of country. It’s up to us to do so. Together.

So even though we may not have seen the outcome we wanted, sometimes it’s not about winning or losing. It’s about finding your people. In the midst of the cold, early morning darkness that followed the counting of the ballots, my greatest hope came from a group of incredible men and women who stood together in that darkness. They were authentic in their grief, and yet they still found the strength in the midst of their sadness to do their best to keep holding each other up.

They were the others, like me, who had seen the fear and confusion in our fellow citizens and voted against the judgement and hate that would affect our neighbors and friends. The beautiful thing about this group of people is that we voted for each other. When I voted in favor of a world that valued love and respect above all else, I did so not just for you but for my friends and their children and their friends and their friends’ children. And in that way, they also did so for me. And for you.

In other words, we are not alone. YOU are not alone. You cannot see it yet, but you are surrounded by this incredible, indestructible, undefeatable tribe of human beings that will never stop trying to make this world a better and more loving place. For you.

This morning I watched this tribe of people, weary and broken, pick themselves up off the floor and go back out into the world to keep fighting.

For you.

This work may be hard and we may be weary, but we will never stop fighting to make this a better place for you. For all of us.

That, my dear and beautiful daughter, is a gift to you, and a gift to me as your mother. That, my dear and beautiful daughter, is what gives me hope that the world you are growing up in, the world you will inherit, though flawed, is ultimately good. It is what gives me hope that love will always win.

So for now, I don’t want you to worry. I want you to play outside in the sunshine and the fall leaves and see only the magic in the world. I want you to savor the last of your Halloween candy and make your Christmas list and complain when I won’t let you stay up late. Your childhood is a privilege, and there are many people fighting to protect that privilege.

And as you grow and begin to shed the armor of your childhood, as you begin to feel the weight and pain that this world sometimes offers, you can take your place among this tribe of people and know that we will be here to walk beside you the whole way.

 

 

On Being “Done”

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We never really decided to have baby #3. I like to joke that it is nice of her to have taken the pressure off of me to decide. I think if I had had the chance to consciously make a decision to try for a third I would have decided to. But who knows.

To be honest with you, I never really expected to want a big family. Back when I had my first child, I never could have imagined having three.

So when she made her presence known, I swore that that was it and repeatedly declared I would not only having my tubes tied during my c-section, but would be having them removed and framed in a shadow box where I could keep an eye on them.

But then pregnancy got complicated and delivery got moved up and maybe it’s normal to hesitate before closing the door on this chapter of life or maybe it was hormones, but I kept resisting the final decision. When I expressed my concerns to my OB, she reminded me that I’m only 30. That four years from now when my youngest is nearing Kindergarten age I may decide our family isn’t complete. By then we would be out of the toddler and baby stage, everyone would be potty trained, and everyone would (most likely) be sleeping. Things may look different.

That made a lot of sense to me. Sure I may not be anywhere near ready to go through pregnancy again anytime soon. But four years from now? What if we decide we want another baby?

So the c-section passed and my tubes remained intact. But because being done was still the logical decision, permanent family planning measures were still on the table and would now fall to my husband. He graciously accepted the responsibility and made the appointment.

And. I’m still not sure.

I know that I can’t handle another pregnancy in the near future. I know that I definitely can’t handle an oops. With a six year old, one year old, and seven week old, my hands are full.

But am I really ready to be DONE? Am I really ready to close the door on this whole phase of my life? Am I really ready to never see those two blue lines again? Never feel the nervous anticipation waiting to hear a heartbeat? Never feel a baby kick inside me?

Surely hormones are at least partly to blame for this conflict.  The most recent pregnancy was no picnic. I stared at my ankles for a full two weeks after they returned to normal size (nearly a month after delivery) and I just now regained feeling in my fingers thanks to pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel. And now we are in the deep dark no-sleep stage of raising a newborn. If there was EVER a time when I was going to be ready to throw in the towel it should be now, right??

My brain has a million reasons why we should be done. They are all really good reasons. We are so blessed with the children we have. I can’t imagine needing more.

And yet, I can’t imagine not having the choice.

I guess I expected to feel totally on board with this decision. My brain is. But my heart isn’t. My sentimental, nostalgic, carefree heart isn’t ready to be done. Because being done with this phase of life means the next one is coming. And the next one will be beautiful and wonderful and amazing.

But then it too will pass.

Being done means there is an expiration date on “little” in our house. An expiration date on baby carriers and nursing and bottles. An expiration date on snuggly blankies and footie pajamas.

My heart cannot handle the end of footie pajamas, y’all.

The truth is, I’m never going to be ready for them to grow up. My heart is never going to be “done”. This is the first example in a long line of examples to come of mama dragging her feet kicking and screaming into the next phase of life. I probably should be handling this with a little more grace. But I don’t wanna. (Insert arms crossed pout face.)

So there.

I don’t know what the right choice is in this circumstance. I don’t know whether decision should come down to my head or my heart. I don’t know whether or not this decision will be any easier if I put it off for five more years. I’m guessing not.

What I do know is that this phase in life–this amazing and challenging phase of creating new life–will eventually pass, whether I want it to or not.

Sometimes choices in life are obvious, and sometimes they will never be, no matter how you spin it. Sometimes you simply have to admit that you may never know the right choice, and instead just roll the dice in the direction of the future as best you can.

And sometimes you just run out of time to overthink it because it’s time to drive your husband to his appointment.


Anyone else feel conflicted about this decision? What did you do?

Four Ways Parents Can Win Daylight Savings Time

Listen. We are all thinking it. DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME. UG. Why the actual hell is this a thing? Does anyone like Daylight Savings Time??

I don’t know. But I can tell you one thing. No one hates it more than parents.

If you are a parent, you know what I’m talking about. Before my children came along, I never would have guessed the impact that changing the clock by one measly little hour could have on a day.

Now I know better than to underestimate the shit storm. Now I know that children can take that one little hour and use it to destroy all your sanity.

But that is all about to change. In my infinite overthinking, I’ve devised four different strategies to help parents with the suckfest that is Daylight Savings Time.

  1. Plan ahead. A day or two before actual daylight savings time, change your schedule so that you’re operating based on what time it WILL be after the change. That way, when actual daylight savings time arrives/ends you’ll already be one step ahead. Granted, the transition will still suck–just a few days earlier. But at least you’ll feel like you’re in control of something.
  2. Plan WAY ahead. Adjust your schedule by a few minutes each day for the month before the transition. That way the shift will be so gradual your kids won’t even notice. Of course, you’ll probably be even more exhausted by the end of the month due to hyper-scheduling than if you had just done the whole hour at once. But you get imaginary parenting points for preparation.
  3. Commit to denial. When the time for change arrives, change the clocks and then immediately forget that any change has occurred. Stick to the schedule at the appropriate times like your life depends on it, no matter how hard your children fight you. It’s like riding a bull–you just have to hang on long enough. Eventually the bull will wear out and stop. I assume.
  4. Embrace the chaos. Just say screw it. Forget you ever even had a schedule. Let them eat when they’re hungry and put them to bed when you get tired of them. Bonus points if you don’t look at a single clock all day.

No matter which strategy you choose to embrace, take comfort in the fact that tomorrow parents everywhere will unite in their misery. Perhaps we should all use the extra hour to be grateful for the few fleeting moments of camaraderie before we all go back to judging each other and fighting over politics.

Why the World Series Makes Me Think About Parenting

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Don’t tell my dad I put a picture of him on the Internet.

I’m not much of a sports person. I enjoy Husker games and am proud to be from Husker Nation. And baseball.

I don’t religiously follow baseball. But it has a special place in my heart because I grew up with baseball.

My dad is a baseball fan. Whenever we went on vacation to a city with a baseball team, we had to see if they were “in town”. And if they were, we had to go to a game. I don’t remember if I liked this tradition when I was younger. I’m sure I did my share of complaining. But now it’s a memory I cherish. In fact, on a trip to Seattle one summer I found my way to a Mariners game, in the name of the same tradition. It’s funny how little things like that become a part of you.

I remember that the Cubs were one of “our” teams. So were the Royals. And that no matter who they were playing, we always cheered against the Yankees.

I also remember my dad quizzing us on which teams came from which cities, usually while we were driving in the car. I also remember car trips where I hated that he would put on a crackling AM radio station to catch the baseball game instead of letting us listen to music.

But tonight, here I sit in my family room, listening to the familiar sound of the announcers on AM radio as the Cubs take on the Indians in game seven of the World Series, reminiscing about these simple little moments from my childhood that didn’t seem like much at the time they were happening. But now they feel like gifts. Like the kind of life stories that make you who you are without you even realizing it. Stories that become an anchor in my soul to a different kind of simplicity. A kind of simplicity I feel blessed to have access to.

As I sit here thinking about all of these things, I can’t help but wonder what life moments my own children will take and keep and hold on to. What are the things about me that they will remember? What are the memories we will make together? What pieces of their own childhood will stick with them and how will those pieces change them?

It can be easy to get lost in parenthood. Easy to lose myself in motherhood. I left a career to devote myself to raising these babies. And I love it and I’m grateful I have the chance to do so.

But I can feel how easy it would be to let pieces of myself collect dust in the corner in the midst of the chaos of parenting.

Which is unfortunate. Because, in a way, that is cheating my kids.

In order for them to remember a part of me, in order for me to be a part of their childhood memories, they have to see a part of me to remember. My dad’s love of baseball wasn’t special because it was about me. In fact, it’s special because it wasn’t about me at all. It was about him. It was a piece of himself that he shared with us.

Maybe sometimes the greatest gift we can give our kids isn’t about them at all, but rather about the authentic pieces of ourselves that we choose to share. Maybe it’s about us showing up as who we are. As fully real, fully whole human beings. After all, that’s how they will learn to show up as fully real, fully whole human beings.

And I can’t wait to see them show up.