I could at least be grateful. 

Warning: Personal Post. 

I am grateful for a lot of things this year. Home life has been fairly calm as of late. My guy’s TN has been pretty well managed or I don’t freak out as easily. Maybe a mixture of the two. 

Work has been a bit more difficult because of the political climate. Somedays I feel stressed about testing and what not. But then I remember much like parenting I can control what I can control and let go of the rest. 

Therefore, I am grateful for finding passion in my job. It doesn’t feel like work and the students who I work with keep me motivated and I love it when they tell me I am unlike any teacher they have had. I try and challenge their thinking consistently of an English classroom. 

But mostly what I am grateful for combines my loves. A job that allows me the family time I have. I work hard for it, but this career choice was very intentional with the extended breaks. The ones that causes the public to make the claim teachers are lazy. I am anything but. I usually spend the time prepping and grading, but I get to do it with them. 

My baby girls who are growing up to be amazing human beings who care for others and are the sunshine I see in my life daily. They are smart, well rounded and caring. I am so very proud of them. I don’t share as much about them now because they are old enough to to tell their own stories. 

#1 is a freshman and wants to go to Rose Hulman. She wants to be either a orthopedic surgeon or a Nurse Practioner. She took a year off of softball, but will be playing this spring. 

#2 is a 7th grader. She wants to be a DJ. She loves music and mixing music and has a pulse on what is happening in music more than I have ever seen. It is kinda cool. She lives in her room and I pretty much have to force her to be social. She loves her friends fiercely. 

#3 is a 2nd grader and wants to be an elementary teacher. She is so smart, but is literally my only child not obsessed with her grades. I love it that she is that carefree. I do get a note from teachers she daydreams. But that is okay. She is obsessed with shopkins and kids YouTube. 

And my guy whose life has changed so drastically and very few know or understand that change more than myself and my girls. His life could be worse, but he has had to lose and change a lot of unfair things, but he does it and does the best he can. I am proud of him too. 

He is and has always been the guy for me. He is my home. It has never been a place, but a person. He is what I needed in this life. A center to my wild and deep introspective heart. 

I am grateful for my health. I know what it is to be unhealthy and have no desire or motivation. I know not being physical and athletic is a mess for me.

Here are some photos from our Thanksgiving holiday! Hope yours was as filled with love and good food as mine was. 

Can we just stop? 

Do you ever think we make things too complicated? Or not complicated enough? Or give people too much credit or not enough? November 1st I turned 40. 4O years on this earth. Many elections. Many disappointments. But what happened before, leading up to and after the election was unlike anything I have ever seen before. 

More than anything I have felt shocked. I even feel dare I say it disappointed. But not for the same reasons as what it seems like the rest of my “social” circle was. The first thing I noticed right away was, “What about me?” And “No one cared about the things that mattered to me.” And I sit baffled. I get putting yourself first, but have we ever asked ourselves if maybe that is the problem? So much me and way too little of us? Of course each individual put their needs and their families needs ahead of their neighbors. 

That isn’t selfish. It is human nature, but human nature demands human decency. We all have to demand that of one another. To me this is where we have issues. Human decency can be defined in so many ways. But for me it resides with love. A love that demands equality, humility and pure and simple kindness. 

I am a “tends to complicate” things kind of person. But the amount of people who I have seen attack people who believe differently than they do is just disgusting. I believe in fighting hard to fight battles, but battling someone on social media or ending a real friendship because of a button in a booth. It becomes quite clear this issue is bigger than that. If you don’t see that again I beg you to pay attention. 

Look around you. Look in the mirror. That is the problem. No one man makes despicable behavior okay and in the same manner we shouldn’t return despicable behavior with despicable behavior. Become the solution. Not the problem. 

Days before the election I became awe struck by the fact that we had a female in the race. I never commented specifically as a rally cry for one side or the other. In fact, this election season I have been so incredibly private with my vote telling absolutely not one soul. I am raising three girls and what I saw was progress. I see that in our many congress women. I noted the pride I have because of that. 

A pride that my daughters won’t have to fight as hard as I have had to fight to be taken seriously. Because the reality is I do have too. Before I was educated I didn’t know anything because I was just a mother or wife. Now I am highly educated and if I push too hard or show myself too much I am $&!)!?. I also have to fight harder to get respect and I don’t get taken as seriously. So yea..pride. It wasn’t an endorsement. In fact, I said specifically it was not. But that one post, my one and only political post this whole political season brought nasty people out. I got defriended and attacked and my motherhood judged. I handled myself just fine. But it proved my point. 

I am not sad or happy about the election mostly because I won’t give that much power to anything. I control my world. I plan to effect change in my own community and no president is going change that no matter who that person is. I also give great reverence to people in power because it is hard. What I did learn is I am raising good kids. Kids with solid and good morals who love first. 

The reality though is that they are girls. One is looking into a highly competitive male dominated science field and before that attending a university that is predominantly male. Yes, her road will be hard. But I know and I am grateful for the women out there who have come before her and just as proud of the men who supported those women. 

That is where change happens ladies in gentlemen. It happens in our homes, our communities and in us. We have to want and demand more of ourselves and our people. That is the type of selfish we need to be. The kind demands things will be better because we don’t stop till they are. 

11.14.16

 

I began to recognize that love isn’t a battle. Love is instead those amazing moments of silence fall2016ewhere someone loves you when you are literally your most unlovable self. It is when you look in the mirror and see a reflection of a person that makes you sick and sad, but who is standing beside you anyway. They love you when you cannot love yourself. So that battle you were fighting the whole time is really just against yourself. Which is why love wins. Love always wins because it has to because there is no where else to go. 

 

~  Mommy Rhetoric (11.14.16)

 

 

 

 

We have to do better. 

This morning I woke up much the same as I have since Tuesday. I wonder if the world is in a better place than when I left it. Been going to bed early to shut it all out and waking up hoping things are changed. But they aren’t there are still riots, there is still hate so ugly I have to look away. 

I walked out to my kitchen to make my coffee and there sat a picture my 7 year old painted on a canvas. I started crying immediately. It was so simple of a home, with a beautiful yard and happy people. I gave that to her. That is what we need to give our children. The right to peace and a break from the madness. 

I had a friend text me about violence at her son’s school, I have a friend on Facebook who is purposefully posting pictures of bigotry since the election to remind us it does exist. I see news stories of people shouting at minorities disparaging remarks and I wonder is this really the world we are passing off to our children? 

Then I beg even louder if you are a parent or a teacher please talk to these kids. Make them speak and uncover that hatred before it bubbles up and speaks with larger acts of violence or self harm. Please talk to them. We have to give them a safe place to admit to not feeling that safe. 

My work has been hard all week, but I come in and we get in a circle. In my room a circle means one thing less judgement and kinder ears. I establish it the first day. It is where we can talk. We use our voices to speak for ourselves to practice doing that in the bigger world that is way less kind. We have to talk them through this stuff. The hard stuff.

The thing is their fears are legitimate. They heard a politician say borders closed and deported. They have been told conversion camps are believed in and felt the angry responses of a millions of women that were called pigs and and an object of gratification. We need to reassure them that campaign rhetoric is not the same as presidential rhetoric. But then we also need to reassure them that if words become action that we will fight like hell to protect them. 

If we have those kids who are shouting “Go back home” or “build that wall” we need to ask why and demand better. God we have to demand better. I beg parents please show your kids better. Teach them love not hate. But if I can’t change your mind please think of the kids that are scared for their lives because of the color of their skin, their sexual preference or the fact that they are a woman. Also know I will protect all kids that are in my room with my body, my life and my rhetoric even the ones who oppress. It is my belief all people are one caring person and a ear away from changing. I won’t give up on humanity even when it hates. Actually especially when it hates. But God we have to demand better. I have and I do demand better of my students, my actual friends, my family and my own children. 

My mom work has thankfully not been as hard because I have had a lot of time with them giving them those same voices. I just want them to love the world, the people in the world and feel safe in doing so. Also my guy and I have worked hard to hopefully give them a safe place to be who they are. If it were found that my daughters were one of the shouters at lunch or treating someone with inequality I would first be devastated but then that is when I would go to work and I would demand better and love them harder. Thankfully, I work hard to provide all three of them with a safe space to be who they are righteously in this world. They know we demand better and they rise to the occasion because children often will. 

Then you wake up one morning and you see a painting exuding peace on the table and you know you have done something right because when it feels like the world is falling apart outside I know in my house we are going to be just fine. Far from perfection, but love and peace remain at the top of the list.  

Less of me and more of the other. 

When the world wakes you up tapping on your mind and heart repeatedly night after night I know there is a lot of unrest. I feel it. I interact with so many who are full of hate and spewing venom from all sides. I am worried, but not really for the same reasons as what it seems like the majority of my social feeds are. I don’t believe one man, or one election brought about all this hate. 

The hard part is it had to exist before this for it to be ignited and truthfully that scares me more. I don’t really care or ask who anyone voted for. I care and ask where is your real fear. That is where this starts. Fear is the underlying cause of a lot of evil. I don’t have solutions here, but I have ears and a heart that tells me healing needs to take place. 

I don’t know how we find it either. Listening is the most logical solution for me. We have to listen to one another with an open heart and mind. I don’t see much of that happening anywhere no matter your candidate.  This isn’t a move on post. This is a call to action post. My call to action though is rooted in love, a quest for compassion and kindness. What does all the yelling and unkindness do besides and breed and spawn more of it? 

The words are so hard though right now because there is so much hurt. It is so tender, raw and jaded. Most of what we say feels like salt in a wound despite the intention. So maybe we just sit back and listen or be quiet and be in the moment. Be with those that are hurting. 

All of my parenting life I have taught my girls a simple lesson about unkindness….that those that are unkind need the most love. Love the unlovable because they need it most. Sometimes the most love we can show to someone is to not respond to their hate with more hate, but with love. 

I teach this same sentiment in my classroom. Sometimes it is harder on this scale because they don’t have to listen to me ultimately the way my own children do. But I guarantee they think a little more about what they are saying and how they are saying it and honestly that is all we need. A little more thinking about what we are saying and who we are saying it to. 

This is not censoring or ignoring what is happening around us. It is the common courtesy of thinking before speaking. But I would be ignorant myself to not acknowledge that ignorance exists because it does. It is very real. I see it and hear it daily. My response is to talk about the hard stuff and listen and asking, “what are you really afraid of?” 

The hard part is accepting the answer and being prepared for the conversation that follows. Listening and not becoming defensive. A little less of me. A little more of the other. But this is hard. This forces us to be external and present with one another. But truthfully in my opinion that is what we need more of. 

In love and kindness, -MR