November 6, 2012

Because You Can

I didn't post anything opinion-based on Facebook today about the election, other than a suggestion that you all get out there and vote. I like to keep my little FB bleeps light and funny and non-inflammatory. Mostly.  But I do have opinions about today's election.

Do I care how you vote? Of course I do.  I would like to see my candidate of choice win this race, and we can use all the support we can get.  But what I really care about is that you have taken the time to research and educate yourself on the issues, the policies, the stories, the lies and the truths that are swimming like mass schools of lost fish all over our media. I know it's been hard to discern what is right and what is wrong, and to make decisions based on nothing but biased reports. And I know that it often feels as though one little vote can't possibly make a difference.

But the bottom line is, your vote counts. However you do it. Whatever beliefs compel you to stand up for your right to determine the future of this great democracy and state your position are fine with me. Even if I disagree with everything you stand for, even if it means that "my" candidate loses, I still believe with all my heart that the most important thing you can do today is vote for what YOU believe in.

There are so many places in this world where people don't have the rights we have, where people have no say in the way their governments are run.  Places where people are killed for defending their principles and condemned for attempting to make change. We may all have our complaints about the United States Government, and they may all be valid. But we also have the right, the responsibility and the privilege to voice our opinions and be heard. The most amazing thing about this country is that we don't all think alike.  That's what makes us interesting and diverse; it's what keeps us searching for the best.

Sure, I have my opinions.  On gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana and women's reproductive rights. On how the national budget should be handled and how we interact with other leaders of the world.  Do I need to tell you what my opinions are?

I just did.  I put my ballot in the box and I told the entire nation.

I hope you did too.

September 19, 2012

In 1982, my parents showed up at my senior prom. With no fair warning.  If I had been a normal teenager, one who rolled her eyes at every word uttered by her mother, one who bucked every rule her father put forth, I might have been surprised.  Even angry.

But I wasn’t.  I found out they were there because a group of my friends came rushing up to me on the dance floor, mid-evening, and breathlessly announced:  “Your Mom and Dad are here!”

Any other kid would have melted into the scenery, prayed for instant death. But because my parents are EdandPam (and yes, that is one word), I grabbed my date by the hand and yanked him through the restaurant.  My parents are here! Let’s get this party started!

My mom and dad were the parents who could be your very best friends and still maintain authority.  My dad would serve you a beer but wouldn’t let you drive home if his life depended on it.  They were fun, crazy, spontaneous.  Loved, deeply loved. By everyone.

I am forty eight years old now.  I live in suburban America, in a wonderful neighborhood, and I have amazing friends who are more family to me than I have ever known.  Funny thing is, my parents were in town tonight, and I was suddenly second string. Because nothing has changed.  They are still EdandPam, and everyone I  know feels lucky to know them.

My dad brought gifts for my girlfriends. My girlfriends talked knitting with my mother, because, well, I don’t.  My guy friends talked guy stuff with my dad.

And, as much as I did when I was seventeen, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, proudly showing off my parents at my senior prom, I felt proud tonight.

They are still one of the best things about me. 

September 9, 2012

It's fall today. Not just on the calendar, but I can tell by the wind, the way the air smells.  How the ice cream truck suddenly sounds forlorn and distant, making its regular rounds, as if nothing is changing. It must know that its days are numbered. 

I'm ok with that. I have always loved autumn. It may have something to do with the nomad blood in me, the desire to change things up every so often, that I welcome a new start. Or maybe I'm still the same little kid who froths at the mouth over new school supplies.  Who knows. But everyone is rested, relaxed and bored enough to get back to reality, including me. I think even people who do not have the luxury of a summer vacation must feel that those couple of months are different.  

I love the crazy, mad rush at the end of August to get it all together again. It seems that no one is ever prepared; the end of summer hits us as if we had no idea it was coming.  Oh my God! School starts next week and I haven't done one single thing I said I would!  We panic at the prospect of the kids going back to school without the perfect package of pens and pencils and squeaky new sneakers. The kids, on the other hand, at least mine, couldn't care less.  I'm the one popping Xanax because he refuses to use any other backpack than the one he got in second grade.  Because I'm setting a record, Mom. I'm gonna see if I can get all the way through high school with it. Cool, huh?  Oh, yes. Way cool. 

This year, I am not fighting him.  He's fourteen and starting high school.  It's time to let go.

You want to wear those black and red shorts with that purple and neon yellow shirt? With the blue and white crew football socks and sandals? Well, sweetie, I think that looks just great.  No, I don't think you need to touch your hair.  Those little cowlicks sticking up all over, I believe, are really in this year. Can I at least wash the backpack? Because it smells like seven years of boy. And will you just take this one pencil on the first day and try to write important things down? 

I didn't cry as I sent him off on the first day. I took a gazillion pictures - yes, at the bus stop - but I didn't cry.  And when he broke his arm on the second day of school, putting him on the bench for the entire football season, I didn't over-baby him.  He's fourteen. There is nothing more awkward than your mom helping you take your shirt off.  I can do it, Mom. Stop. 

And I know he can. He can do it all, I think. I look at him, and I wonder how he became this young man. In spite of me.  In spite of the world around him, how did he hold on to that electric smile he beamed as a naive baby?  How is it that he still sees every glass as half full, finds good in everything? When I am definitely not that person, is he just balancing me? Is that my gift from God, that this kid will keep me in check when my molehills become mountains? Maybe so. 

Last night he wanted to "hang out" with some friends. It was 9:30 and dark outside.  I wondered, what do you mean, hang out? What does that mean? Where? Why? It's dark! You should be inside!  

And then, as quickly as it panicked me, it passed. 

These are the dog days of summer and the most exciting new chapter of your life is opening up to you.  Of course you can hang out. You should hang out. 

Be home by 11:00.  

Make good choices. 

I love you.

April 30, 2012

I'm Back...

It can't be!  It's football season again and I haven't written since the last season ended.  Ok, to be fair, it hasn't been a whole year; here, we play school ball in the spring. I know: weird. We play middle school football in April, when the rest of the free world is playing baseball.  Still, it is the Pacific Northwest, so there is no shortage - even in April - of parkas and wet blankets and sideways rain and inside-out umbrellas.  Like today.  Miserable.

But still. I'm so glad it's football time again! It means that Jack is engaged in sufficient physical activity, which, for some reason, makes him more focused in school.  He sleeps and eats better. There is less time for him to get into trouble outside of his scheduled day. There is less time for me to get disorganized, since I have to be at certain places at certain times, if I'm to hold on to that Mom of the Year  trophy.

Add this to my new love of CrossFit, my recent acceptance into school to complete another Bachelor's degree, the short-lived life of my crappy-ass job because I'm going back to school... and I have to tell you, life is pretty darn good right now.