The Importance of Rembembering

In the hussle and bustle of life, it is so very easy to forget…to get wrapped up in one’s own little triumphs and tragedies…to let go of the gravity of happennings outside one’s own head, own house, own neighborhood. And then there are moments when the bubble is broken…when everything so seemingly important becomes instantly insignificant. Suddenly humility and reflection are the only options. While conducting an internet search for an old work project tonight, I came across this article, these pictures, this video.

Suddenly everything that I thought I needed to accomplish tonight was overwhelmed by a need to stop and remember…to hold in my heart the families that are still mourning, the holes that will never be filled.

Also were thoughts of an amazing community that came together in just 3 short days to hold hands, have hope in what seemed a very hopeless time. When the clouds parted, voices lifted and togehter we dared to dream of something better. I’m still dreaming and hoping and remembering. I know I’m not the only one.

In Spite of Us

Earlier today, I read this blog post about the current controversy surrounding girly Legos. When I read the concerns some parents are expressing, I heard an echo from the distant past and had to wrinkle my nose a little at the remembrance of my high-and-mighty pre-mommy self…the woman who had many theories but no practical information on how this whole parenting thing was about to go down. In my pre-mommy theoretical mind, I used to fantasize that any children who entered MY house would have a gender neutral experience…that girls would play with trucks and boys would play with dolls. I had many self-righteous “My child will NEVER _______ !” thoughts and plenty far-from-reality visions of how things will ultimately work out.

In my pre-mommy mind, I surmised that me and my artist/musician/metrosexual hubby would surely produce sensitive, artsy, calm, dancing children who would spend their days zenfully contemplating life and sensitively caring for others. Boy or girl, I imagined my offspring would be comfortable playing against type and mixing it up with the opposite gender. Imagine my surprise when–in fact–we ended up with a couple of potty-mouthed, wrestling, “Where-the-Wild-Things-Are” frat boys.

Almost seven years into this little experiment called parenthood, I have come to realize that the actual truth about who kids become is this: they are who they are, they like what they like in spite of us. There are girls who love girly things, boys who love boyish things, girls who love boyish things and boys who love girly things. All of that wishing that everything would be gender neutral was a bit unrealistic and naive. Some girls (and boys) just like girly things. Some boys (and girls) like boyish things. There isn’t really a darn thing all the gender-neutral thinking in the world can do about it.

With regard to this particular issue, here is the truth that I have come to understand: it’s not my job to make things neutral or to mold my kids into some preconceived fantasy of what imagined they’d become. It’s my job to DISCOVER who they are and to love them accordingly. It’s my job to make sure they always feel loved and accepted–even when they surprise me. It’s my job to help them understand that lasting happiness can never be achieved by pretending to be something you are not and that life is too short to waste time wishing that folks will be any different than they are. It’s my job to model what it’s like to be open and accepting of all different kinds of folks. Hopefully this will help my rambunctious ruffians to be open and accepting too…even if they grow up to be pirates.

2013 Oscars: A Few Thoughts About Gender and What’s NOT Funny

I have been quite surprised by the amount of serious debate and discussion that has been sparked by something as light and fluffy as the Oscars. Who knew that this annual glitter fest would ignite so much passion about gender inequity? When a friend posted this thoughtful article, it resonated with me. I re-posted said article and have been gratefully surprised by the conversation that have ensued…the personal realizations that have resulted. So…here are my thoughts…

While the old adage: “It’s funny because it’s TRUE!” may accurately describe many topics, there are so many issues that I have difficulty thinking of as “funny.” For example, I think I’d be hard pressed to laugh at any joke about starving children, rape, or genocide. Some of life’s truths are just too painful to be funny. Thanks to the thoughtful discussions prompted by Seth MacFarlane’s performance at the Oscars this week, I think I will be adding “misogyny” to the list of topics that I personally find very unfunny.

First, let me state that I DON’T hate Seth MacFarlane. I think “Family Guy” is nothing short of genius. Having said this…I DON’T think that his jokes about women’s breasts, mistreatment by boyfriends, eating disorders, and men dating inappropriately young girls were funny or appropriate. I think these things very sadly represent how devalued women STILL are in many segments of our society.

Because I grew up in a home where women where shushed when the game was on, where I was told over and over that only men should be in positions of authority–it’s hard for me not to take stuff like this to heart. I spent too much of my life struggling to find my worth, to believe that I deserve equality and respect. So I apologize if I’m just not able to “lighten up” and laugh along on this particular occasion.

As the mother of two boys, I take very seriously my responsibility to teach them that women are humans with hearts and brains to be valued rather than empty vessels to be objectified. There are many things in the world that are TRUE but (at least in my opinion) are NOT funny. I guess the objectification of women and jokes about said objectification are categorized–at least in MY brain–as “NOT FUNNY.” Because I believe in democracy, it’s truly OK with me if others don’t share my opinion. I fully recognize that my reaction is coming from a very deep personal place. I hope that those who don’t agree can see where I’m coming from and perhaps even believe that my perspective is legitimate–even if they don’t happen to share it.

Do We Have the Courage?

When feeling overwhelmed by what happened in Newtown, Connecticut…guilty for feeling any amount of happiness when so many had their happiness stolen forever…hopeless because I wouldn’t even know where to begin to articulate what I think needs to be done or how I can help…angry when I saw suggestions by the NRA and others that MORE guns are the solution, I read this article. It didn’t make me feel less sad but it did make me feel comforted to see practical, data-driven solutions so exquisitely articulated. It gave me hope that—if only the right people are willing to listen and act—something CAN be done to curb the craziness. I think every American should read and share this article…especially those who are in positions to legislate some change.

Am I Mom Enough?

I love to read articles about mom-ing…to get the perspectives of others who are warrioring through mommy the trenches…to hear their stories, feel their camaraderie, experience their insights. This is by far my most favorite mom-ing article of all time. On the days when I could use some encouragement, I read it and aspire anew to be as awesome as the mom who wrote this.