Tuesday, June 28, 2022

1 in 4

I have so many thoughts about the overturning of Roe v Ewade, but what I keep coming back to is this. Someone you know has had an abortion.  

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 1 in 4 women will have an abortion by the time they're 45. Some of those women are young. Some are alone. They might be facing an impossible decision. They might be scared, or unprepared, or weighing complicated medical scenarios. They might not be ready to be mothers yet, or ever. 

Or they might might not be. They might be happily married. They might have three wonderful kids. They might have stable housing and a good job and enviable medical insurance. They *could* add another baby to the family but that doesn't mean that they want to. So they don't. Period, end of story. 

I feel so sad, and mad, and hopeless. Someone said that their first thought was "I wish I was a boy." That resonated with me so much. If my neighbor needs a kidney I can say “no.” If I don’t ever want to floss my teeth I don’t have to. If I never want to eat a tuna sandwich, I can make that choice. But now because of some bullshit, politically driven divisive rhetoric, I and my daughters can be reduced to breeders (not really, because yay California but still.) I spend so much energy talking with my kids, my son AND my daughters, about how amazing it is to be them. About feminism and equality and not letting anyone tell you who you are or what you can do. And we talk SO MUCH about consent. You don't have to hug anyone you don't want to. Your space is your own. You don't have to kiss your grandma if you don't want to. High fives or hugs? And yet, if you do consent? If you choose how you want to use your body? And you happen to be a girl? Then you lose that agency for the next nine months, at least. And that just fucking sucks. 

My girls will likely be fine. I know that. They are lucky enough to live in a state that likely will retain abortion rights and they were lucky enough to be born with enough privilege that they will have access to care regardless. And yet, it's just such a slap in the face that no matter how far we've come, it's so easy to be reminded that it will always be easier if they were boys. 

Fuck the patriarchy. 

Friday, June 24, 2022

Eli Magic

You will never convince me that this picture wasn't taken yesterday. 

And yet. Somehow it's been sixteen years. And while every year feels like a milestone, sixteen is definitely a big one. This kid. This crazy, brilliant, creative spirit who came into the world and created our little family. He has the most interesting thoughts and ideas, and he can charm anyone, anywhere. He gets away with things that no one should and no one knows how he does it (including him). We used to think it was cute kid magic, but then he grew up and he can still do it. So now it's just Eli magic. Everyone loves him, even when they don't really want to. 

I am so grateful that I get to be a part of his life and to witness whatever greatness he continues to create. I thought I would be sad because he is most definitely not a baby anymore, but I am just so thrilled that he gets to be more and more his own person. And I'm so excited for all the people in the world who get to know him. I hope they know how lucky they are. 


Friday, June 17, 2022

"Girly" goddesses

 Averson is really, really into Greek mythology these days. When we went to Hawaii she was fascinated by the stories that our guide told us about the various constellations, and loved the legends of the islands. Then she started reading Percy Jackson and her librarian held a new copy of Percy Jackson Greek Heroes for her ("MOM! I'm the very first person who gets to read this!" I will never not have heart eyes for a librarian), and ever since then she's obsessed. 

Last night she was telling me that Athena and Artemis are her favorite goddesses, because, and I quote, "They're not girly goddesses." 

So it turns out my work is not done here. I am very quick to smash the patriarchy, and still the pull for girls to avoid being "girly" is strong. I wanted to talk about how there's nothing wrong with being "girly" but at the very last moment shifted my approach. 

I asked her if they were girls. She said yes. So then I asked, doesn't that by definition make them "girly?" She thought about it for a second and agreed, even though I don't think she wanted to. And then we had a talk about how she was defining "girly" (silly, prissy, dependent, weak) and how using that term in a derogatory manner promotes the idea that girl-like is something to avoid. We decided that Artemis and Athena are in fact, Girly Goddesses. 

And that's how I ended up doing an impromptu lecture on feminism at 9:00 last night. Also she forgot about the poster she was asking me to buy so I might be on to something.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Little bits of happy

 I texted a friend the other night and confessed, "I don't think I have very good stress management skills" to which she replied, "Really? I think you just have a lot of stress" and honestly, it was the kindest thing she could have said. There is a lot going on and I pretty consistently am feeling like those characters in the ridiculous action scenes that have their noses pressed to the ceiling while the water rises. It's fine, or actually it's not but it will be, and like everything else the only way through is through. 

But in the meantime, there are small little pockets of things that are bringing me such delight. 

Like these tiny whales I've learned to crochet! The first one took about three days based off of a 30 minute real-time video, but now I can do it from memory in about an hour. They're twee and precious and I love them a lot. My ultimate goal is to be able to crochet a Dolly Parton doll, but for now I'm going to move on to maybe an octopus or a seahorse. Or maybe make a whale into a piranha. It's such a silly thing and I love it. I also have apparently begun collecting other people's amigurumi and have a whole shelf in my office, plus this awesome gremlin I bought because it reminded me of my mom. 

And I guess I'm really into historical fiction about women in WWII? I didn't realize it until I was geeking out about The Huntress, which I'm listening to on audiobook (HIGHLY recommend, and so good via audiobook). That led to me talking about The Rose Code, which led to Code Girls, which made me realize that I'd chosen The Wedding Dress Sewing Circle for my Book of the Month and now I think it's officially a "thing." If you know of a historical fiction book about the Rosies in the shipyards or the Radium Girls, please please please leave a comment! 

And speaking of Rosies, I bought this jumpsuit at Old Navy and 1) it was obviously totally meant to be because it was the only one in my size, on clearance, in the wrong area and 2) it's the greatest thing that's ever happened to my Rosie loving self. I mean, is there anything more perfect? It brings me such ridiculous joy. If it didn't immediately turn 95 degrees the day after I bought it, I think I would wear it every day. Instead I just gaze lovingly at it and whisper, "soon." 

This one is kind of a roller coaster, but I was so excited this week because I realized that this shirt that I snagged while cleaning out my mom's closet perfectly matched my rainbow crystal Pride earrings. I love a good coordination, and it made it a bit less awful when I found out we were back to N95s at work. I apparently have a tiny head so I have to wear a ponytail with an N95, but that also highlighted just how cute my earrings were! So that's a rainbow silver lining :) 

I need to do the adulty, stress-management things too, like getting back to the gym and not drinking so much coffee and trying not to rage into the void, but I think collecting these little things like shiny rocks in my pocket helps. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Parents of teenagers: I am not okay

 No one prepared me, when I was wishing for confident, funny children, for the moment when a child would so self-rightously look me dead in the eye and question why I was reacting so strongly to something they did. Something that made me genuinely understand why they had to clarify that you can only drop infants off at fire stations. Something so egregiously against the rules of both our home and regular society that I was the epitome of the word "flabbergasted." Like, if you've ever watched any teen drama, read a book, or engaged with anyone, anywhere, at anytime you would know that what they did was patently "not cool." 

Parents of older kids, help me out. I have to believe that they are good, smart people at heart but good Lord, I may actually go out for milk and never come back. 

I'm including this picture from when they were cute and tiny and not glaring at me

Friday, May 27, 2022

Overshadowed: The curse of the middle child

In true middle child fashion, Sydney turned twelve right after I got back from Colorado and then immediately after we all got hit with "Not Coronovirus but still really sucks" So my poor middle child's birthday post is only a teensy bit behind. 

This girl. I like this girl a lot. 

She is an old soul with a sarcastic, dry sense of humor that always makes adults feel just a little bit bad about laughing. In short, the best kind of humor. She's brave and thoughtful and adventurous and of all of my kids, I think she's probably the most likely to backpack across Europe or try fried grasshoppers or hop onto a questionably legitimate bus headed...somewhere. 

She wanted to go as a family to the trampoline park so we all bounced and flipped and climbed ALL DAY, and then promptly we all fell ill with whatever feels like hell and is not COVID. Then just as she was feeling better she decided to try to learn how to flip on solid ground (as opposed to on trampolines) and broke her hand. So we're kicking off the new year pretty spectacularly!


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Strong Women

Here's to Strong Women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them. 

Grief is a funny thing. 

My mom died. She died two weeks ago. And yet she doesn't feel gone. Or rather, she feels gone, but not Gone. 

I keep waiting for the sense of finality that I know will usher in the grief, and it continues to evade me. I got the call that she'd died the day after she'd arrived home in Durango. I spoke to the first responder who was still in the house, who explained that they'd done everything they could. I talked to the coroner and gave her medical details that they lacked, hoping to help them understand why she'd been able to drive 17 hours alone, and then gone to bed never to get back up again. I made phone calls and arrangements and plane trips home to pack up a house I hadn't stepped foot in in years. I've spoken with lawyers and banks and collected death certificates and accepted flowers and attended to all the business that comes with death. 

And yet, I returned home and it still feels like I'm waiting for her to come home from a trip. When my dad died I was crushed with the shock of it and with my mom, it feels like the grief is waiting somewhere just out of reach. 

About three years ago, almost to the day, my mom called to tell me that she'd been diagnosed with stage four cancer. The doctors in our small town had delayed and missed signs and by the time they'd reached the diagnosis, the best they could offer her was hospice care. She asked me to look into cancer centers, to see if there might be other options, and in July she flew out to California to meet with a surgeon at UC Davis. It turned out she wasn't a candidate for surgery, but she was eligible for a clinical trial. And what was meant to be a two week visit turned into three years of living together and being a part of our lives. 

I had no idea at the time what a gift that would be. We went from seeing her once a year to being a part of each other's daily lives. I am so, so grateful for that and at the same time it really fucking sucks. And I think part of what's making it hard to accept is that she was on a trip when she died, so I keep waiting for her to come home. 

She didn't want a funeral or a burial. She always said, "I just want to be gone." When I was putting together my dad's service she said, "Please don't do any of this for me." So there's no "event." I can't bring myself to write the obituary, though I did finally do the Facebook post. I'm going to have to clean out her room soon and Sydney will move back in there eventually. I think that's when it will feel real, more than cleaning out her house did. 

In the meantime, I want to honor her for the strong woman that she was and for the strong women that she raised. It is because of her that I will always approach adversity with an attitude of defiance.