Sunday, December 16, 2012

12/14/2012


I feel like writing because writing is my outlet.  My therapy.  With the events that have unfolded in Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton,CT, it is hard to fathom their pain.  I don’t want to.  I don’t want to even go there. I won’t allow myself to imagine or contemplate those children and their families.  I don’t want to hear about the brave teachers or scared 5, 6 and 7 year olds.   I have not watched the news or coverage since the story broke.  I have been keeping up by reading intermittently online.  Also facebook is blowing up with some wonderful  comments, tearful condolences and idiocy. 

“Now is not the time to talk of gun control.”  

“Now is the time to talk of gun control.”  

“I have a friend who’s sister’s brother-in-law’s, cousin lives in Newton.”  

“We need to put God back in schools.”  

“We need to lock up the mentally ill.” 

“We need to focus on treatment of mental illness.” 

“We need to hug our children and pray.”  

“If one of those teachers was armed, this guy wouldn’t have killed so many.”

“God is teaching us a lesson.” 
The list goes on.  I agree with some, and with some, not so much.  

There is no reason.  There is no answer in this chaos.  There is no cut and dry solution. I never understood the need for guns, unless you hunt for your food.  It just doesn’t make sense to me.  Controlling who gets guns and what kind they get, might help.  When you can walk into a Walmart, fill out a piece of paper with an id, and purchase a semi-automatic rifle, it just makes no sense to me.   An id should not be the only requirement.  Anyone ever hear of a fake id?  Anyone ever wonder if a Walmart “associate”  would be more or less apt to spot a fake id?   Maybe there should be a more lengthy process to obtain such a weapon. There should be a psych evaluation involved when purchasing weapons; a series of questions as to WHY in the HELL anyone would want or need a weapon of mass destruction.  That is what it is. The speed in which the bullets are fired, can kill dozens at a time.    And did the founding fathers really want to protect the rights of those that want to buy military style weapons for “recreational” use?  But gun control is not the only subject to consider. 

As far as God in the schools, talking of God in schools will do no good if faith is not in the home.  And who is to say what was taught in the home of that killer?  Besides that, even if God was taught in both the home and the school, how would that cure mental illness?  How would that compensate for the chemical imbalance or damage in the brain tissue?  I don’t think God had anything to do with this tragedy.  I don’t think that God “lets” these things happen.  I think they just do.  Terrible things happen and God is always there to pick up the pieces.  God is there as the comfort and the solace.  God is not plotting ways to teach society a lesson.  God is not stepping away because he is not ‘welcome’ in schools.  God is there no matter what, when ever and where ever we are.  God is in our hearts no matter what.  That is just my belief.  I don’t know if it is correct, but I pray to God to help those families.  I pray that they can continue another day.  I pray and pray and pray.  

I have no answers.  I had to tell my First Born - 9 year old - what happened, because I knew he would hear of it in school, from friends.  I sat him down and said that a man went into a school an shot and killed many people.  His first reaction was, “It was in a High School, right?”  Fighting back tears, I had to tell him that it was not a high school but an elementary school.  He said, “Wow, that is bad, like real bad! Mom, why did this guy do it?”  I told him that we don’t know.  I told him that his brain did not work right and there might be no reason that he did what he did.  It was just a horrible, horrible thing.  First Born looked at me and shook his head.  I told him to say a prayer and whenever he thought of it again to say another prayer and another.  


He grew up a little more after that talk.  He lost a sliver more of innocence.  He was forced to deal with an adult matter, like mental illness and evil acts.  It is such a fine line to walk when you have kids. How much do you tell? What do you leave out?  How much information can I give without it terrifying him?  

Mental illness needs cures.  Like cancer and other diseases.  We need to value people with mental illness and work to help them. It affects us all in one way or another.  If we don’t work to recognize and diagnose the problem with an individual, it can turn into a societal problem. If we cut funding to school nurses, psychologists and counselors, who will be there to help the struggling child?  Who will be there to catch the socially awkward little boy who may be able to do the work, but needs something else.  

There are so many different kinds of mental illnesses and defects and disorders that so much more needs to be done.  It is hereditary. There are problems that occur because the way the brain is formed in utero and there are problems that occur because of being  brought up in a completely screwed up environment (which is said to also change the brain chemistry.)  Drugs and alcohol play a huge part in altering the brain and sometimes coincide with the mental illness. 

The stigma needs to be lifted and the problems can not be ignored.  I know that I have struggled with anxiety and depression. I take antidepressants. I am always monitoring the way my kids handle stress.  I have provided therapy for First Born, when he was having difficulties with a bully in school and the struggles of having me in a hospital for almost 3 months.  I go to therapy myself periodically when I feel I need it.  A good friend called them “mental tune ups.”   People should not be afraid to get the help when they need it and they should not be made to feel “less than.”

I don’t have any answers.  I don’t know.  We need to love our children.   We need to take care of them with the full weight of that responsibility.  The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, CT,  rocked our world. Pray for them. It reminded us of how precious life and little ones are. It reminded us of the amazing hearts of our teachers. The horrific acts make no sense.  It is unfathomable. And it will forever change the way we as parents feel, when we walk away from the school, after dropping off our precious ones.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pissed....Venting....Sorry...Thank You


PISSED OFF.... Yea, I know I was all gratitude last week, but I need to vent.  Everything and everyone is pissing me off.  I then feel guilty, which pisses me off even more.  I need to be free.  Stop the ride I wanna get off!  Leave me the fuck alone!  Seriously, if I have to get up from a seated position that I had only enjoyed for 4 nanoseconds -one more time- I am gonna lose my shit!  If I have to repeat myself, repeat myself, repeat myself, one more time, it ain’t gonna be pretty!  If I have to hound you like a dog, for one more thing, there will be hell to pay.  


Prep of a Typical Meal
First Born:
“What are we having?”

“When will it be ready?”

“I don’t want/like______?”

“Can I have a snack?”

“BUT I AM STARRRRRRVING!”

“You NEVER believe me when I tell you I am starving!”

“I’m bored!”

Little One:
“Can I help you cook, Mommy?”  

“Mommy, First Borny is starrrrrrrving!”  

“Mommy can I go upstairs like First Born do’s?”

“Mommy, when we gonna eat?”


Typical Meal
Both Children:
“Can I have some more milk/syrup/juice/pork chop/cheese/yogurt/sauce/meatballs/sausage?”

“I need to go poopies and I need help.”

“MAAAAAAOOOMMMM!  I HATE this kind of chicken!”

“I dropped my fork, can I have another one?”

“Do we have any bread?”

“Can I have some more?”

“MOOOMMMMMMM, I spilled my milk all over my pants, can you help me?”


After I clean up the mess that I never even got to sit down and enjoy, it is homework time.  There are many nights The Hub is just getting home around this time or later.  Recently he has been home but unable to help because of his bad back.


Typical homework ritual

Me:
“Where is your ruler?”

“Where is your pencil?”

“Where is your homework book?”

“Where is your log sheet?”

“Slow down.”

“Sit down.”

“Sit Up.”

“Slow down, this is not a race.”

“Did you read the directions?”

“Pay attention!”

“Use your eraser when you mess up.”

“There is no way anyone can read that!”

“FOCUS”

“If you just slow down, you do really good..... SLOW DOWN, damnit!”

First Born:
“I’m SO stupid, I just can’t do it!”

“This homework is gonna take foorrrr evverrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!”

“I HATE reading out loud.”

“MOOMMMM, you are not doing the math right.  That is NOT the way we learned it.”

“I am terrible at writing/reading/math.”

“I am trying.... But I caaaaaaaannnnnn’t!’



Bed time

Me (in the vein of the classic Bill Cosby):
“Go upstairs, get undressed, get in the shower, turn on the water, use soap, wash your hair with shampoo, rinse off, turn off the water, dry off, put your pajamas on, brush your teeth and get in bed.”

As you know it never goes as I instruct.  I inevitably have to go upstairs 30mins later and tell the First Born to get OUT of the shower.  At the age of 9 he is already a marathon shower-er.  If allowed, he would be in there for an hour.  Then I have to make sure that he puts underwear on, which he is opposed to.  Why?  I am convinced it is pure laziness.  Then we start with this ->

First Born:
“I can NEVER fall asleep!”

“I am NOT EVEN Tired!”

“I hate being in here all by myself!”

“Why does Little One get to sleep in your bed?”

“I saw a commercial today that scared me and I can’t stop thinking about it!”

“I miss Meesha.” (our -now deceased- cat)

“What are we doing tomorrow?”

“Why am I not in AdP?” (advanced placement)

“When are we going to Nana and PopPops again?”

“I miss Nana, I wish I was sleeping there tonight.”



Then there is Little One who is now running around naked. To dress him is a practice in contortion, patience, humiliation.  It goes something like this ->

Me: 
“STAND UP!”

“No, turn around”

“Stand up!”

"TURN AROUND!"

“The other foot, the other foot, the other foot!”

“The other arm, the other arm.”

“TURN AROUND!”

“STAND UP!”

“Put both feet on the floor!”

“Get your head up off of the floor!”

“Stand up!”

“Alright just lay down, then..... On your BACK!”

“No, roll OVER!”

“GODDAMNIT CHILD!”

“No, Mommy is not happy! I am laughing because you are driving me nuts!”

“Yes, your are right, some kids can not have nuts.”

“Yes, you can eat nuts.”

“Yes, I like nuts.”

“Almonds, walnuts and peanuts.”

“They grow on trees, well, except for peanuts, but they are not really nuts they are legumes.”

“Legumes are like beans.”

“I know, peanuts, do not look like beans or taste like beans. Now please, let’s go brush teeth”

“This IS YOUR toothpaste!” 

“Open, Open, Open wider!”  

“Wait, wipe your mouth off!”



Then after everyone is in bed, which includes me, at 8:00pm, I sit in the bed on my computer next to Little One and field more questions.

Little One:
“Mommy, can I read books like First Borny do’s?

“Mommy, when was I in your belly?”

“Mommy, when was Benny in your belly?”

“Mommy, when was Daddy in your belly?”

“Who’s belly was Daddy in?”

“Was I ever in Daddy’s belly?”

“Mommy, when we gonna buy another baby?  I real little one... a girl baby?”

“Why can’t we get another baby?”

“Can you have another baby in your belly, a girl baby?”

“Can we get a baby cat?  Can Rubi have baby dogs?”

“Can I have some fresh water?”

“Mommy, where is monkey!!??  MOMMY I NEED MONKEY!”

“Thank you Mommy.”

“Mommy, what are you typing?”

“Can I type with you?”

At this point I shut him down with a, “There is no more talking, now, go to sleep.” and then I ignore any more questions.  I  start thinking about wanting another child and the fact that I can’t have anymore.  I start to think about adoption again.  I think about having an infant and being over 40, then I think about adopting an older baby, since the infant phase is so difficult for me. I think about how much debt we have and how I want to start working again. If we had another baby I would not be able to nurse this one and formula alone would send us over the edge of our OWN fiscal cliff.  

Then First Born walks into our room and asks if he can turn on the bathroom light in the hallway.  I tell him yes as I kiss his forehead, wondering how and when he got so big.  He will be taller than me soon.  Little One is now asleep snuggled up under my arm, with monkey snuggled under his arm.  The Hubs is in the guest room on the floor, because he threw his back out while tying his shoes.  (that is another story for another day)  

Everyone is asleep.  I need to sleep, but this is the ONLY time, where I am ALONE.  This is the only time I can sit and do what I want.  What do I want to do?  ANYTHING WITHOUT INTERRUPTION!  It is this time of day that I am usually not so pissed off.  I can look at things a little more rationally which leads to my criticism of everything I did wrong all day.  I analyze and try to reprogram so that tomorrow I am not so short with First Born and give him some more one on one attention.  Tomorrow I can let Little One help make lunch, so he feels more involved and important.  

I remember all the things I was thankful for last week and start to cry, since I am being such a bitch now.  I write all this down and you beautiful people take the time out of your busy day to READ it.  I instantly feel better.  Thank YOU!  I hope you can laugh at me as I just re-read this and laughed at myself.  Thank you. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

My Thanksgiving Resolution


Giving Thanks.  two things that are difficult to do when you are out of practice. So here is a list of random and not-so-random, things I am thankful for.  I plan on focusing on these things more and the stupid shit, less.  That is my plan, but please check back so I can use this blog to continue to vent about the stupid shit, so I don’t have to focus on it. OK?  Thanks.


I am thankful for, (in no particular order!) my kids, my husband, my dog, my parents, my best friends, my girlfriends, my brother, my sister-in-law, my neighbors, my community, a home, yoga, zumba, laughter, sticky little hands that still want to hold mine, long talks, giggling kids, frisky husband, dancing, writing, people who read my writing, little arms that squeeze my neck, helping with easy homework, listening to a 3rd grader’s day, good food, meals together, meals out, meals alone, doggy kisses, funny faces, messy playroom, clean bathroom, fireplace, playing games, watching First Born play baseball, watching First Born play guitar, watching Little One be goofy, watching Little One and First Born play together, watching my kids with my parents, leaving my kids with my parents, watching my kids with their friends, my kids friends, going into my kids’ schools, my kids teachers, my teachers, reading, great books, my grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, my ability to still talk to my 2 remaining grandmothers, my husband’s job, my husband, my husband, my husband, happiness, joy, belonging, when my boys play with my hair, when I hear “mommy,” little ones with bed head, little piggy toes, the smell of freshly bathed and lotion’d kids, (Johnson’s Lavender, smells like heaven), being able to comfort fears of monsters or lightening or thunder, snuggles, when The Hub plays with my hair, The Hub’s laugh, the way I feel when I accomplish something, love, the ability to laugh at myself, the ability to laugh at others, the ability to allow others to laugh at me, when my girlfriends “get me,” inside jokes, lessons learned, fresh air, great music, flowers, the ocean, the sky, remembering, forgetting, Love. 

There is so much.  We have such an abundance.  It is easy to take for granted.  It is easy to focus on the negative.  When I am able to stop and just be, I can focus on the important and the meaningful aspects of my abundant and joy filled life.  I want to do that more.  It is my Thanksgiving resolution!  Stop, appreciate and concentrate on all the positive.  The rest doesn’t matter.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,
Momma O

Monday, November 5, 2012

VOTE! No Excuses!


VOTE!
USE YOUR VOICE!
Look, I know the system is not perfect.  And I know that with the electoral college it seems as though voting does not make a difference, but it does.  The system may need to be tweaked, but it is OURS, and we have to take it and USE it!  No matter your political leanings, just VOTE!  

While letting people know where their polling place is located, someone said to me, "I am not voting." When I asked why they said, "Why bother?"  Here is why you should "bother."  


These people DIED for the right to vote:



May 7, 1955 · Belzoni, Mississippi

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Rev. George Lee, one of the first black people registered to vote in Humphreys County, used his pulpit and his printing press to urge others to vote. White officials offered Lee protection on the condition he end his voter registration efforts, but Lee refused and was murdered. 



August 13, 1955 · Brookhaven, Mississippi
pastedGraphic.pdfLamar Smith was shot dead on the courthouse lawn by a white man in broad daylight while dozens of people watched. The killer was never indicted because no one would admit they saw a white man shoot a black man. Smith had organized blacks to vote in a recent election.

















September 25, 1961 · Liberty, Mississippi
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Herbert Lee, who worked with civil rights leader Bob Moses to help register black voters, was killed by a state legislator who claimed self-defense and was never arrested. Louis Allen, a black man who witnessed the murder, was later also killed.







February 26, 1965 · Marion, Alabama
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Jimmie Lee Jackson was beaten and shot by state troopers as he tried to protect his grandfather and mother from a trooper attack on civil rights marchers. His death led to the Selma-Montgomery march and the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act.

pastedGraphic.pdfAugust 20, 1965 · Hayneville, Alabama
Jonathan Myrick Daniels, an Episcopal Seminary student in Boston, had come to Alabama to help with black voter registration in Lowndes County. He was arrested at a demonstration, jailed in Hayneville and then suddenly released. Moments after his release, he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff.
January 10, 1966 · Hattiesburg, Mississippi
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Vernon Ferdinand Dahmer, a wealthy businessman, offered to pay poll taxes for those who couldn’t afford the fee required to vote. The night after a radio station broadcasted Dahmer’s offer, his home was firebombed. Dahmer died later from severe burns.

These women were persecuted for the right to vote:

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Women fought for 100 years to be granted the same right to vote as their husbands, fathers and sons.

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The women were were jailed for picketing the White House. 

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison
guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of ‘obstructing sidewalk traffic’.



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They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.






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(Dora Lewis)

They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging,beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.
Thus unfolded the ‘Night of Terror’ on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail.

Their food–all of it colorless slop–was infested with terrible vermin.



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(Alice Paul)
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press. Woodrow Wilson and his cronies tried to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. The doctor refused.  Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy. The doctor admonished the men: ‘Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.’

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(Mrs. Pauline Adams in the prison garb she wore while serving a
sixty-day sentence.)
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(Miss Edith Ainge, of Jamestown, New York)


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(Conferring over ratification [of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution] at [National Woman's Party] headquarters, Jackson Pl[ace] [Washington, D.C.]. L-R Mrs. Lawrence Lewis, Mrs. Abby Scott Baker, Anita Pollitzer, Alice Paul, Florence Boeckel, Mabel Vernon (standing, right))

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(Helena Hill Weed, Norwalk, Conn. Serving 3 day sentence in D.C. prison for carrying banner, ‘Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.’)   
http://www.snopes.com/politics/ballot/womenvote.asp

NO excuses.... Use your voice.  Go out and vote.