"Mom. I have to tell you what happened. Today in early drop-off, a boy in another class hit Edie Cooper in the head and then he pushed her down. He wanted what she was playing with and after he hit her and made her cry, he took it from her! I got so mad at him and ran over to my sister asked Edie Cooper if she was okay because she was crying really hard and I think she was sad because he took her toy. I got angry and yelled at him because you can't hit my sister! But don't worry, I took care of it and made sure she was okay because I'm her big sister and it's my job to protect her and make her feel better and make sure people don't take her toys. I don't like that boy very much anymore though because if you're not nice to my sister, I can't be your friend. Did I do the right thing, mama?"
If I have a chance to dress like a boy, mark my word that I will always take it. Also, pardon the severe side swoop; growing out bangs is the worst. THE WORST, I tell you.
If two pictures could perfectly sum up the girls, these would be it: one gives all the fucks while the other couldn't be bothered to give a single fuck. They're less peas and carrots, more like sugar and spice/yin and yang/black and white versus shades of grey.
In order to get these:
You have to take a whole bunch of these:
I posted this photo on the Gram but it deserves further explanation here. THIS is the summation of the last nineteen months of work Joe and I have put into fostering and developing the sisterhood and friendship between Mo and Edie. To say that it has evolved is a grave understatement and one that robs Joe and I of the (quite literal) blood, sweat, and tears we put into it. When Edie was born, Mo thought she was great but only in theory. In reality, she found Edie and her high-maintenance newborn-ness to be a wart on her life of fun and the mama-single child devotion she'd experienced until that point. Her world, as she knew it, was O-V-E-R. However, over the last month, Mo has discovered not only how awesome having a sibling is, but just how specifically irresistible Edie Cooper is and that, in spite of her steadfast stubbornness, even she isn't immune to the charming web of love Edie spins for all who meet her. I can attribute this shift to many things but mostly I accredit it to Mo being Mo. It has always taken her more time than it takes others to make her mind up about anything. But when she does, she is 100% committed. Meanwhile, Edie has been taking this opportunity to openly gloat as seriously as she takes annoying the shit out of her older sister. So, for those of you in the thick of sibling adjustment where you are wondering if it will ever get any easier or better, let this serve as hope. They all come around. Eventually. And when they do.... hold onto your ovaries.
I'm, by no means, an ostrich. I don't believe in burying ones' head in the sand in order to avoid a shit storm because as soon as you bring your head up for fresh air, it's still going to smell like shit, ya know?
But I could also use a break from all of the heaviness from this. Beating a dead horse seems counterproductive at this point. Of course, I still have a lot of thoughts about the election that I'm still trying to process-- soooo many thoughts. But the feelings those thoughts bring up are damn near exhausting the fuck out of me. Compound that with the time change and a teething terrible-not-yet-two-two-er and... well... it's been a week.
So are here are five things from the week when all the orange shit hit the red, white, and blue fan that aren't (necessarily) about the orange shit hitting the red, white, and blue fan.
1. Watching their sisterhood blossom into a little gang of two has been one of the most unexpected honors of motherhood. I really believe that they are just as lucky to have each other as I am to have them.
2. I've always likened Glenn Beck to a hemorrhoid on the asshole of humanity so what I'm about to tell you may serve as further evidence that hell has officially frozen over. Mr. Beck said something that didn't immediately make vomit rise up into my mouth. A few somethings, actually. Entire articles, in fact. I give you: Exhibit A, B, and C. I implore you to read them, particularly Exhibit A. (I know, I know. I couldn't believe it either. I don't know if I should take this as a sign that there is hope or that we're all doomed. If Ann Coulter starts spewing actual facts or not being a racist and self-serving asshole, I may seriously need to be put out of my misery.) (Also, please, please, please do not mistake this for sleeping with the enemy because the bottom line is that I don't view Trump supporters as the enemy. Rather, I find their candidate deplorable. No, I do not respect the President-Elect but I do respect the Presidency and am doing my part to better understand where the other half is coming from and why they feel the way they do. Their concerns are valid-- as valid as my own and, at some point, we, the left-leaning, must decide to believe that not all 60,000,000 Trump supporters are racist, sexist, jerks. We must actually practice being stronger together, not just using it as political rhetoric. END RANT.)
3. When Edie gets really excited, she does this thing with her feet that we've dubbed Happy Feet.
PS. Elaine Benes is my spirit animal.
4. I couldn't think of a better and more necessary time to take the plunge and drink the kool-aid. This week I began reading Glennon Doyle Melton's Love Warrior (of Momastery) and all I can say is that not is the kool-aid delicious, it's quenching the thirst of my parched soul. I get it; I now understand all of the fuss behind this woman who has dedicated her life to the underdog, to the person who believes that they are alone in the Battle of Life, who are desperately searching for the Path of Belonging. Now more than ever, the world needs more women (and men) like Doyle who support all journeys, who believe in the greater good that comes from acknowledging and giving a powerful voice to even the darkest skeletons in our own hidden closets.
5. I miss New York.
"The worst thing that can happen in a democracy-- as well as in an individual's lifetime-- is to become cynical about the future and lose hope." -Hillary R. Clinton
Yes, I'm in shock and, yes, I'm angry. Yes, I'm nervous and fearful. And, yes, I'm completely bewildered at how it actually happened. I woke up this morning unable to form sentences, unable to process the reality we are now all facing. I took my kids to school, I went to work, I went through the motions, and I cried at various times throughout the day when I needed the release. I was in mourning-- and still am.
All day, I felt like I was passing through the various stages of grief, just as one goes through after having lost a dear loved one. Except, I was morning the feared loss of social progress and what was put in its' place: the political equivalent of that weird, close-minded has-an-opinion-about-everything-yet-no-solution-to-speak-of uncle (through marriage, of course) who somehow manages to royally piss off every one in the family, even the cat who can only be bothered to lick his own ass. He's that awkward and inappropriate familial imposter who showed up a few years ago and refuses to leave, sometimes standing a little too close, and whose crude, repulsive, and disruptive behavior forces you to spend the majority of holiday dinners profusely apologizing to other guests for.
Anybody familiar with a guy like that?
Yeah, me neither.
I will also not place blame onto anyone, though it may make me feel better. I will not bash President-Elect Trump or Third Party voters. I will not be what I vehemently despise which is a sore and arrogant loser. I will not accuse Trump voters of being ignorant, bigoted, uneducated, or even arrogant assholes because, according to polling data, most of them aren't. What I will blame is the wall we have allowed to divide us from them, you from a person you have only made assumptions about, and the rising fear ignorance allows to breed and flourish.
Do I wish the outcome had been different? Fuck yes, I do. Of course, I do. Half of the country is completely heartbroken and I'm no exception. I also respect the system of democracy and not just when it serves me or plays out in my favor. I respect it always, even when I resent it. I will not say he is #NotMyPresident because the reality remains: he IS my President-elect.
When giving her concession speech this morning, the person I believed in and casted my vote for asked me to give President-Elect Trump a chance to lead this great and beautiful and opportunistic country and, in honor of her and her lifelong-devotion to the families of this country, I will try my hardest to honor her and do just that. I may spend every single day of the next four years questioning how on planet Earth we got here but I will give the man-- the man who the people of the country I claim to be a patriot of elected in a peaceful and free election-- a chance to do as he promised. During what I can only describe as an uncharacteristic and surprisingly gracious acceptance speech, he promised to the people, even the people who didn't support him or his platform, to be a president for ALL Americans and aid the reuniting of this fiercely divided country of citizens.
Because I stood with her, I will give him a chance to do his job.
Meanwhile, I will also be doing mine.
I have not been granted the privilege to wallow in defeat. I woke up the morning on November 9th, 2016 the same human I was when I went to bed the evening of November 8th, 2016. In spite of our country's newfound reality, my resolve as a mother will not be weakened, only strengthened. My determination will never waver, only become more steadfast. My conviction has always been, is, and will always remain unconditional.
My job is to raise decent humans and, goddammit, that's what I'm going to do.
An election doesn't have the power to determine the kind of mothers and fathers we are or the kind of people we raise unless we allow it to. However, the divisiveness cannot be ignored. The uncertainty and fear many of us are feeling is obvious and palpable and if we're as decent of a nation as we claim to be, we'll start learning from our mistakes and begin listening with humble ears. And we won't just listen to the people who speak as loudly as us, creating an even more deafening collective chorus of ignorance. We will shut our mouths, we will listen with an open mind, and we will attempt with every last damn fiber of our being to better understand what we need to in order to move forward and aid the healing of our wounded nation.
And we will give a damn about what the other side has to say.
We can not and should not pass off someone else' existence as not our problem because it absolutely IS OUR FUCKING PROBLEM. You want to live in a country where each vote counts? Well, I suggest you start giving a shit about the person next door to you regardless of his or her skin color, nationality, gender, sexuality, or religion. I suggest you start giving all the damns about your neighbor because human decency wasn't up for a vote. Being a good person isn't a bi-partisan obligation.
It's a fucking human obligation.
Human decency can only be fostered by opening the window of your mind to the possibility that we are all capable of learning something from someone if we'd only turn our inherent prejudices off for a single minute and give people a platform to use their equally-important voice. Human decency is only facilitated by igniting what can be a painful conversation for many while also not being afraid to face a reality that looks vastly different from your own. Human decency is only implemented by planting a seed of tolerance, kindness, empathy, and one giant dose of humility in the minds and hearts of our children and by encouraging them to stop pointing fingers and to start extending their hearts in an effort to mend these fragile and broken relationships.
The one thing that gives me comfort through all of this is knowing how I can help contribute in making this world less of the scary shit hole it often reeks of: by doing my job. It can only begin with the job I swore my allegiance to over four and a half years ago-- the single most influential role in the history of our planet.
I will contribute to society's betterment by being a mother who doesn't raise assholes.
Motherhood is the job I promised my babies I would do my best at, no matter what odds were stacked against me. (Which, by the way, seem to be increasing with every passing day.) The moral obligation of not being an asshole and not raising assholes isn't only owed to the tiny people of tomorrow; it's owed to the human race if any of us want to live long enough to see anymore of it. Though it is challenging, it is our duty and of utmost importance to remain human even in times that feel starkly void of any semblance of humanity.
This is only my opinion but raising our children to understand one another' differences versus drawing arbitrary lines in the sand that only further divide us from them seems like the most logical place to start. Instilling in them an unparalleled level of tolerance in a world whose current and most recent attempt to legitimize intolerance is gaining momentum would be a very close second.
We must also lead by example with giant doses of empathy, humility, and good will towards others thrown in for good measure. We must show our kids that, above all else, doing the right thing is always the right thing to do. We must exemplify and over-emphasize the importance of being a good person, even to those who may not deserve it. Our integrity and commitment to what is right and just must always speak volumes louder than incorrigible and pervasive ignorance.
Some may label me as naive and I'd like to tell those people that I refuse to allow the outcome of an election to dampen my devotion to the greater good. I will not lose hope in the belief that, one day, we will be able to find a way to unite over the same differences that are currently tearing us apart and ripping us to shreds.
Today, November, 9th, 2016, was a very difficult day to stomach for many. Collectively, we should not be disheartened. We simply can't afford it and, furthermore, doing so would be what I consider to be the real loss... to give up on one's own hope for a better tomorrow.
Instead, I will invoke positivity and demand the same from the humans I'm raising by choosing November 9th, 2016 to be remembered as the day I was given the unique opportunity to explain to my oldest daughter the one thing I've always, always, always believed to be true and the one thing I will never, ever lose faith in: when faced with a choice, no matter the consequence, always choose love.
I remember Tuesday, November 4th, 2008 like it was yesterday. That morning, I cast my first vote (ever) for Barack Obama, a man who would end up becoming the first black President of the United States of America. I remember watching the counts come in and the states being called. I remember watching John McCain concede as gracefully as a true patriot ever could. As tears streamed down my face, I sat in silence, in utter disbelief at the weight of what was unfolding for our country. I was, quite literally, watching social progress unfold. I've never felt anything like it and I'm damn proud to have stood on that side of history.
Tomorrow night, I plan on standing on that same devoted side of history as I watch the glass ceiling shatter courtesy of Madam President-Elect Hillary Rodham Clinton.
When my girls are older and a country having been run by a woman is all they'll have ever known, I will tell them about the evening of November 8th, 2016. I will tell them that as they lay asleep in their beds, I sat on our living room watching a new path unveil itself for our country. I will tell them about a man who used fear and bigotry and oppression and tyranny as his platform. I will tell them about a man who made it obvious that his credo was self over country. I will tell them about a campaign that used hate as a shield until a united nation of people came together and proved that human decency-- not partisanship, not politics, not fear-- will always win.
I will tell them that I didn't just vote for me. I voted for them. I voted for the opportunities they've yet to take. I voted for the person they've yet to meet and the love they've yet to share. I've voted for the rights as women they've yet to invoke but could one day need. I voted for their future friends, their future partners, and even their future children-- my grandchildren. I will hug them tightly and tell them that this country is a privileged one to call home, not because of the scale of the opportunities we are afforded, but because of the people who inhabit it alongside us.
I will tell them that what it has and always should boil down to is people.
Not just the people who look like us or think like we think. Not just the people whose experiences we understand or whose tax bracket aligns with our own. Not only the people whose political beliefs we agree with. Not only the people who have our backs because we have theirs. Not only the people who can do something for us in return. Not only the people we come into contact with on a daily basis. Not just our neighbors. Not just friends. Not just our family.
All of them.
Tomorrow night, when my anxiety finally subdues and when history is made, when this political circus has FINALLY concluded and the Trump train loses steam, when reality strikes that this man is no longer a threat to the social progress it has taken a century for our country to achieve, the tears will undoubtedly fall once again. And in honor of the momentous occasion I'll have been afforded to witness in my lifetime, I will open a bottle of expensive champagne given to me by one of my best friends and strongest Nasty Women I know. (Looking at you, Allie.) I will drink champagne in honor of my daughters, in honor of women and families everywhere, in honor of hope, in honor of human decency, and in honor of the people.
All of them.
*If none of this goes down like I hope it will, I'll use the bottle for an equally important cause: putting myself out of my own misery. I'm kidding, of course. Let's all just hope we never have to find out because it'd be a damn shame to waste a perfectly amazing bottle of Veuve Clicquot.
EDIT: I'd like to add this video of Louis C.K. on Conan explaining why he's voting for Hillary. Obviously, I agree with him but I think, right about now, we could all use a good laugh. "We just need a tough bitch mother who just does shit." Basically, yes.