By Lisa Regula Meyer
Today marks the start of the holiday shopping season, the day after Thanksgiving, when Americans take to the malls in droves looking for spectacular deals on the latest, greatest thing for this year. Or at least it had been the start of the shopping season until the recent craze of opening earlier and earlier began. So this year while most of us are home enjoying a holiday feast with our loved ones, retail employees will be stocking shelves and ringing up orders of people who can’t wait another day to spend.
I’ll admit that I have a vested interest in maintaining the day off that had been far more common just a few years ago, as Dwight works in retail. Having a day off to celebrate the holiday with family is also something that I believe is just plain the right thing to do. It’s not often that families today have a day set aside that everyone can be together, between more businesses being open more hours, and many people working more than one job. The biggest irony that I see is the messaging that we send- give thanks and treasure time with those you love on one hand, and love is equal to a purchase, but especially a deeply discounted one, on the other hand. It’s a sad way to start the season, in my opinion, focusing on the purchases and the profits instead of being together.
I realize that their are some people who want to work on the holiday to earn extra income for the holidays, and I hope that those are the people who are the ones staffing the Thanksgiving retail floor, but I also know that at most stores these will be mandatory work days to make sure that staffing levels are high and customer service is up. Wouldn’t valuing families mean paying people enough that a day off with their own families was a sacrifice that they could afford?
As much as I may be complaining, I’m thankful that- for the most part- we’ll have some time together as a family this holiday season. I cooked for our kin that can make it, and lit a candle for those that couldn’t. It’s entering the end of the semester, which is a busy time for the students and teachers alike, and we have both in Dwight’s side of the family. I’m thankful for the chance to do what I love and teach biology to undergraduates. I’m thankful to have my dissertation done and submitted, and my hooding coming up. I’m thankful for the families that I’ve seen through the family building process, and child-free friends who remind me of my more carefree days before kids (and let Kenny and I participate in their big Random Acts of Kindness endeavors).
Being thankful for these things makes me want similar privileges- family, friends, living wages, education- for other families as well.
By Lisa Regula-Meyer
I’m a biologist, and as such, I care about the words we use for things. Words, especially names, in biology mean a lot- they can tell us details about who an organism is related to or similar to, or some of that thing’s history (where it was found, who described it), and they can be very descriptive like the newly discovered ligament in the knee. It’s being called the “antero-lateral ligament” because it’s found on the lateral (outside) side of the knee, and is anteriorly placed (or closer to the abdomen than the foot). Names of things can also give an idea of when it was discovered, as trends in names have changed greatly over time, from being more honorific to being more descriptive. Yeah, I kind of like etymology.
While there’s a ton of thought that goes into naming something in biology that we don’t think of going into naming everyday objects like “cat” or “ball,” to a person just learning any language, there can be a lot of thought in figuring out what words like “cat” and “ball” mean. This is even more the case for new learners of any language- young children. Trying to discern how general a term like “cat” or “ball” is, and how large a group it encompasses- deciphering what makes a ball a ball and not a cat- is tough work. My cat is rather large and often curled into a spherical shape- will she bounce like a ball does? This new ball is soft and squishy like the cat- why doesn’t it make sound? From an adult perspective, these questions are ridiculous and sound like something a person on drugs would come up with, but to someone who is figuring out the meanings of words for the first time, they’re valid questions.
And then there are proper nouns, that have a specific thing to which they’re tied, but of course those terms are not marked in some way in verbal communication. Thus, every bearded man wearing flannel becomes “Uncle Mark” until we learn otherwise. Possibly the most difficult are those terms that can be specific or general, like “grandma” or “doctor.” As adults, we know these terms are roles, and act as descriptors for the names with which they’re attached- I am Dr. Regula Meyer, noting both who I am and what I do; “Grandma Sue” tells both the specific person and the very important group of people to whom she belongs, grandmas.
Lately, Kenny’s been figuring this out with me as we talk about common names and species names, and he’s learning that not all “finches” are the same type of “finches” and how to tell them apart. We’ve even stocked up on our bird feeder supplies, in hopes of continuing watching and learning through the winter. Miss E, on the other hand, is learning more simple levels of this discussion, and trying to figure out family configurations. What roles are there in a family, who fills them, and what do you call them? She’s made the mistake a few times of calling either daddy or papa by the term “mama” because they were doing something that the “mamas” of her classmates do- baking, hugging, reading, and whatnot. I’m sympathetic to this plight, while I can laugh at it, remembering all the times that Kenny has (and still does) call me “dad” or Dwight “mama.” It’s rough building all those neural pathways to fix a language in your brain. Even harder is having to make all those connections on your own, without someone who speaks “Babyese” to help explain the nuances.
Speaking seriously, this is why reading and talking to children is so important, so that they can experience words in multiple scenarios and make those connections, generalizations, and specifics more quickly. Taking a more light-hearted approach, it makes for great stories when they’re older, about incorrect or inappropriate use of words as they were still practicing these language skills. And finally, from a more reflective position, thinking about all the work that goes on to try and communicate, even with people closest to you and whom you hold dear, might give us a bit of appreciation for the tough life of a child, how they can expend so much energy and get tired so quickly, and maybe why tantrums happen to frustrated, tired kiddos who have spent all day trying to decide just what exactly “blue” means.
We had quite the scare recently, while riding bikes home from Kenny’s school. It’s a route we travel pretty much daily during the warm seasons, and we do our best to model good bicycling behavior to him. Neither Dwight nor I am a fan of bike riding on the sidewalk because it’s dangerous for anyone walking and it’s illegal in many areas; bikes are vehicles, and should be treated as such. We realize that plenty of other people do not share this view, and we’ve had enough yelling from cars speeding by to teach us to be extra careful. I know bicyclists can also be less than courteous, and I don’t spare bicyclists from criticism when it’s warranted but this time is about cars, as it was a car that hit Kenny while we rode home.
Luckily, the “accident” was minor- some dings on his bike, a few scrapes, and a lot of tears and fears- thanks to the way he was hit, on his rear tire as he was turning. He turned left behind me without signalling for himself, and the driver was trying to pass him on the left at the same time. Apparently, two physical objects really *can’t* occupy the same space at the same time. The driver quickly pulled off to the side of the road, and passing cars stopped to check out the melee on the street, but there was far more show than there was serious damage.
The driver was also young- still in high school- and at least as shaken up by the whole thing as Kenny was. She handled the whole situation really well for her age and driving experience, asking what she could do, making sure he was all right, and giving us her contact information just to be sure. This is more than I can say for other drivers, and I really appreciate the compassion and good judgment that this young driver showed. Seeing your kid sprawled in the street screaming is a huge shock, wanting to comfort the sobbing teen that put him there is possibly a bigger shock, but both happen on occasion.
Things are back to normal now, and we heard from the driver’s mom a couple of days after it happened, checking on how we were doing and letting us know that her daughter had learned a big lesson and had been focusing much more on driving instead of talking or other distractions since then. It’s something that we can all laugh about now, and Kenny wears his healing scrapes as a badge of honor. He’s even signalling turns on his own now and paying more attention himself.
As parents, we try our best to limit hurts experienced by our kids, but even the best parents in the world can’t eliminate the dangers of the world. The best that we can hope for is to give them the tools to lessen those dangers, the skills on how to recover quickly when they do occur, and support and love them a little extra through those times. As scary as this event was in our house and for the driver, it could have been far and away worse, and I’m thankful to be able to focus on the hard lessons learned instead of having to heal from larger scars.
By Lisa Regula Meyer
Over the weekend, our family was enjoying some down time and relaxing by watching old episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise. Nothing surprising or extraordinary about that, as we’re huge science fiction/fantasy geeks. The episode on was “Cogenitor,” a story of first contact with an alien species that has three sexes instead of two, and thus uses third party reproduction obligatorily. If you enjoy Star Trek, you know of the Prime Directive- a sort of Hippocratic oath for space exploration- that states a priority on non-interference in other cultures and their development. The introduction of a third sex and third party reproduction obviously got my interest, and this portrayal of third party reproduction was not much different from other portrayals in the media, like Baby Mama, or the “Friends” episode where Phoebe serves as a gestational surrogate for her brother, among others. There are hierarchies, possibilities for exploitation, qualitatively different life histories and possibilities, all the fun themes that keep surrogacy misunderstood and surrogates stereotyped (here I give a huge hat-tip to The Next Family for helping to change so many stereotypes- thank you!).
I know enough surrogates to know that this stereotype is far from the full story, but like all stereotypes, there is a small percent of people who do fit the stereotype, and one shared characteristic is enough for humans to lump lots of diversity and variation into one loose-fitting category. Our brains have evolved to categorize things, to make decisions simple and quick, because a wrong decision for a hunter or gatherer could have been deadly. Today, our brains are far too good at categorizing for our own good, and those quick decisions often get us into deep doo-doo.
Oysters make similar quick decisions when they are presented with something unusual, a grain of sand or a bit of broken shell, for example. It takes that small source of irritation and adds layer after layer of complexity to create a pearl, something unique and valued. What started the formation of that pearl was something unpleasant and not that valuable, but we almost entirely ignore that small grain in the center of the pearl in favor of the everything that came after it; it’s no longer seen as a grain of sand, but as a pearl, something totally different. For our part, we do things slightly differently. We take that small defining characteristic- be it race, ethnicity, gender, orientation- and use that as the basis for defining an individual. We ignore all the complex layers that the world and the individual have added to make a unique, beautiful individual. We see humans as inverted pearls, with the beauty on the inside.
What I’d like to see, and what I’m seeing more of every year, is seeing that individuality as the beauty that it is. I’m going to take a bit of creative license and totally reinterpret the saying “The world is my oyster” at this point. The world IS our oyster- it gives us experiences and challenges that are often a response to our identity, makes us a more complex person because of that experience, and makes us so much more valuable than those categories that we’re initially put into as a part of our identity. And not just us, this process happens to everyone; we are all so much more than the sum of our parts. Thank you, The Next Family and readers, for seeing the beauty in diversity and the value in all people. You’re helping to create a future that is far more interesting and accessible, and I appreciate that.
By: Lisa Regula-Meyer
For better or worse, Kenny’s grown up in classrooms of all sorts. His first day of class was at the tender age of two weeks, and we had Drawing II, Plant Biology II, and Piano II. I took a year between undergrad and graduate school as a “post-undergrad,” auditing classes that I hadn’t gotten a chance to take previously, working on some research projects with a faculty member, applying to grad schools, and generally easing into parenthood. I realize that it’s a huge privilege to be able to do that, and I’m grateful for that year. Since then, he’s had graduate level biology and ecology courses, history classes for graduate students, and sat in on some classes taught by myself or my husband. We’re kind of used to blending family-time and education.
Recently, we’ve been more conscious about also including everyday lessons where we can around the house, too. Rolling coins becomes a math lesson, baking and cooking can draw on both math and chemistry, driving around leads to discussions on geography and ecology, and listening to music or watching TV ends up as a history lesson. It’s not easy, but we enjoy talking as a family in a more directed manner than Kenny’s usual blathering. Honestly, he talks nearly constantly so if we can direct his verbosity in some direction other than the latest Bayblades episode, all the better.
All of this focus on education has helped him to 1) love school, 2) be comfortable asking questions and finding answers, and 3) created a minor tyrant that thinks that he must. know. EVERYthing. That need is exhausting and can be maddening when he comes up with a question that we don’t know the answer to, or that doesn’t have an easy question. Our family focus on education has also lead more than one well-meaning friend to assert that “Kenny would do so well as a home schooled kid! Have you thought about doing that?” What can I say? Our friends are interesting folk.
I’d be lying if I said we hadn’t considered it on occasion, usually after a rough day at school for him or when we get together with friends and hear all the fun things they get to do with the increased flexibility with a home-school schedule. I’d also be lying if I said any of those discussions ever ended anywhere other than, “But we’d all go insane being with him that long without a break.” Homeschooling is not in our future, but supplementing his education we are more than happy to do.
I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned it here before or not, but there was a time when I thought I could be an early childhood educator. Boy, was I wrong, and thankfully I had a professor who pointed out this oversight to me. I switched to biology as a major, and never looked back. Like so many other people, I assumed that simple lesson content material would equate to simplicity in teaching it. Except working with children is a whole other ball game than working with adults or young adults and helping them learn. There’s that whole development that makes a big difference- lack of logic, lack of foresight, lack of restraint, and so on.
I am very appreciative of the people who can teach small children, and the work that they do; I couldn’t do it well for all the money in the world. They’re also my peers in the educational field whom I respect to no end. My amazing students are the results of other educators’ time, talent, and yes- sometimes tears. I don’t want to take their job in my child’s life, I want to work with them to give him the best education that we can. I don’t want to cut their funds and make them work harder, with less resources; I want them to have what they need to do the job that I can’t. I don’t want to remove my child from a system that isn’t working perfectly; I want to work to improve that system for everyone’s child. To those people who can homeschool their child, more power to you, but it’s not right for our family. I still respect your right to choose the path that is best for your family, and know that I’ll be doing what I can to improve our educational system just in case you ever do need to use it instead of homeschooling. Maybe it’s a long path to travel for me to get to this point, but this is where I am. I’m happy to see people coming around to this point of view in whatever way they do. We could all stand to take a lesson from each other on how best to teach the next generation. Keep what works, change what doesn’t, and keep the baby when you toss the bathwater.
By: Lisa Regula- Meyer
The school year is in full swing now in Kent, and we’re heartily enjoying life with a second grader. Specifically, we’re enjoying this second grader and his second grade class. This year, our school is trying out a mixed 1st and 2nd grade classroom. Two teachers, two student teachers, and two grades in an extra large room (really two rooms with a collapsible wall between them that’s not used very often now). Kenny’s been thrilled about it so far, and seems to be doing well with this new set-up, in part because the first grade teacher was his teacher last year, and he really enjoyed working with her. We’re glad that he has another year in a safe place where he enjoys learning, and his official teacher for this year has a similar pedagogy and manner to his first grade teacher. His daily pattern is familiar, he’s making progress on school work, and meeting new friends.
I may not work with young kids, but I do teach, and I take my profession seriously. So much in education is bad news- rising tuition, rising student loan amounts, another assessment added to the schedule, and test prep taking more and more time away from teaching. With all of that, it’s great seeing innovation and child-centered learning still making its way into some areas. Classrooms being treated like research, following evidenced-based practices and contributing to that evidence, trusting teachers to take leadership of their own classrooms, those are the things that I like to hear happening.
In my own classrooms, I’m trying some new things, as well, like virtual presentations and some new lab activities. It’s surprising how different things feel with just a little bit of a difference; those little changes make such a big deal in overall outlook. For me, seeing changes in my syllabus come together, and seeing how other people shape their classrooms for the students (with supportive administrators, even!)
By: Lisa Regula Meyer
Three ways to create a family frequently discussed on The Next Family include gestational surrogate, traditional surrogate, and adoption. There are far more other ways, but I wanted to focus on these three because it’s an area where there is frequently some confusion. As a reminder, “gestational surrogacy” is when a woman (the GS) outside of a couple carries a child that is not related to her for the recipient couple, the intended parents (IPs). The child may be the genetic child of one or two of the people in the IP couple or not, depending on how the couple goes about the surrogacy process. “Traditional surrogacy” is when a woman (the TS) outside of the IP couple carries a child that is related to herself, her own biological child and the half sibling of her own children. Usually the child is related to one of the IPs. Adoption concerns an existing pregnancy for the birth mother, and the child is placed with an adoptive family, to whom it does not have a parent-child genetic connection.
There are benefits and drawbacks to each of these methods, and finding the correct balance of benefits and drawbacks depends on the parties involved. Gestational surrogacy tends to have a more sure ending legally, and if there is a child created it is 99% likely going to go home with the intended parents, since the child was created/intended for them, and the surrogate has no genetic link to the child. Traditional surrogacy tends to be less expensive, and does not involve the use of in vitro fertilization (IVF), but is seen as riskier for the parents since the surrogate has a genetic tie to the child. The infamous Baby M case was a traditional surrogacy. Adoption is the most legally risky, as birth mothers can rescind their decision and choose to parent instead of abdicate her parental rights and responsibilities within a set period of time. The child was not created with the intent of the adoptive parents, so legally, they are typically seen as having fewer rights than intended parents. We’ve seen the outcome of this policy discussed by The Next Family writers, and it’s painful.
I wanted to address this in writing in one place here because there is an important distinction between surrogacy of either type and adoption- the matter of intent. That the child was created with the intention of the parents is crucial legally, and ends up being important in how we view these constructs socially. I’ve been both a GS and TS myself, so I have first-hand experience with those processes. I’ve often had well-meaning people call my role as TS “birth mother” because birth mother in an adoption case is more familiar than a TS is, and it’s easy for them to understand and convey to others. But being simplistic in this manner ignores intent and adds a layer of assumptions about identity that I don’t appreciate all that much. I do know some TSs that identify as birth mothers, but it’s not common and not always healthy, resulting in a blurring of lines and creating a feeling of loss that I don’t think anyone should have to endure.
Socially, we often see adoption situations with a particular lens- a mother losing or giving up her child, a child being given away or not wanted in the first place- and assuming that there is a loss in that situation. A family is created, yes, but a parent and child are separated, something that we see as a bad thing (look at the Baby Veronica case and how contentious it has become). That loss is not assumed in a surrogacy situation, because there is no family that is broken up, only a family that is formed. That’s a joyful situation and should be celebrated, however it happens. Obviously, there are cases where a surrogacy can end up hurting the surrogate as well, but from what I’ve seen it’s usually not the case, and if it does occur, the pain is due to something outside the birth of the child, the relationship with IPs, extended bed rest or stress on her own family, and other reasons.
Identity is important as it frames how we see ourselves and how the world sees us. Because of that, I think it’s important to remember the full complexity of a situation and embrace that complexity instead of trying to simplify, and it’s especially important to recognize people by their chosen identity, not one that we wish to use for them out of simplicity. Our identities take time and thought to form, so taking time and effort to recognize them correctly is appropriate.
By: Lisa Regula Meyer
In keeping with the theme of additions started by the kittens, we’ve added another member to the family. Specifically, my mother in law has remarried a high school friend, and the man that introduced her to my father in law. I’m happy for them, the groom seems like a great guy (and Dwight asserts this is the case, and Dwight’s known the groom since he was young). They seem infinitely happy, and summer is a season in my life that needs additions to balance the subtractions, so it’s all good. I’m also optimistic that the groom’s longstanding friendship with the father in law might make for less strenuous holiday trips; only having to do one giant holiday bash for each holiday would be amazing.
The nice thing about blending of families for adult children is the limited functional changes that occur. In my experience, I enjoy not having to adjust too much to a new member of the family, and the limited potential for negative interactions that come with that. We get the benefit of a new addition and expanded family without the messiness of blending two families into one. At least that’s how it was with my second step father compared to my first. We’ll see what this new transition brings, but I’m positive about the situation.
My one concern is names and how to refer to people. Dwight’s dad is very happy with his title of “Grandpa,” a title that he doesn’t share with any living person, as my step dad is “Mr. Dusty” in Kenny’s eyes. I don’t want to take something as important a part of his identity away from Dwight’s dad by calling the groom “Grandpa” also. Dwight’s mom has already started that trend, but Dwight and I are leaning toward “Mr. David” instead. The groom has yet to express any preference, and seems comfortable with whatever (can I say that his laid-back temperament is a huge plus?). Kenny has enough problem with names that the groom will probably be “What’s your name again?” for a year or more.
I am, and will probably always remain, a staunch supporter of respecting self-identity, whether that’s in gender, name, career, whatever. You get to choose what other people call you, and the forms of address you respond to. I also tend to think of family less in terms of bloodlines and more as “chosen family,” be it chosen through adoption, friendship, foster care, or some other tie. It’s acting like a family that makes a family, not genetics, as far as I’m concerned.
At the same time, we’re constantly defining not just ourselves, but our relationships to one another. How many jokes and comedy skits have featured the scenario where a new couple are figuring out terms of endearment or relationship status? The awkward “So… are we boyfriend and girlfriend?” moment in high school comes to mind. It’s a human trait- we like to name and group things. If the person is has no preferred title or name, but others are identifying him/her in more way than one, what’s the “correct” term? Is there such as thing as “correct term”? Companies and individuals pay big money for naming rights to sports centers, stadiums, and other buildings; who has naming rights in a child’s relationship? Only time will tell. Besides, as The Bard once said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.”
By: Lisa Regula Meyer
It’s getting later into the summer, and we’ve hit a cool spell in Northeast Ohio. By cool, I mean autumn-like night time temps of 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. As usual, the season’s gone too fast and I’ve not gotten enough work done, nor had enough recreation time with my son and husband. It seems that four classes in a semester is my maximum right now. Forgive me if being busy work hard and playing harder means that I don’t write much or always on time before the return of some normalcy with back to school in a few weeks.
Music is something that’s always been a panacea for me, and Kenny shares some of that tendency. All three of us are heading to a concert out of town later this week, and really looking forward to it. My only concern- we’re going out of town, and will be meeting up with a high school friend of mine and his partner. Most of the times I’ve gone out of town to visit gay friends, I have returned home pregnant; I need to remind my body that that’s not the plan this time (ah, surrogacy jokes…). One bit of semi-regular fun on evenings that Dwight has to work has been Cleveland Orchestra concerts on the lawn of Blossom Music Center for good mama-son time. In particular, last weekend was a selection of highlights from Porgy and Bess alongside some spirituals. It was a special time for Kenny and I, as the song “Summertime” is something that has long been a connection for us. I’ve loved it since I was little, and it was a go-to song when he was fussy as a baby. That image of infinite protection leading to vast freedom, the idea of a parent as protecting and preparing someone who’s bound to leave of their own volition, that’s the image of parenting that has always struck most true for me.
As we snuggled on a blanket under the night sky, listening to the music, and his face turning to tell me that the singer was “doing it wrong- not like you sing it,” I realized that despite all my misgivings, maybe I was doing it right after all. And that moment was sweeter than even the freshest blueberries this year.
Tonight is another concert night, with Broadway hits and a picnic dinner, and I’m very much looking forward to being reminded of how we each dance to our own beat, when Kenny’s flailing and spinning in movements that I have never been able to replicate.
By: Lisa Regula Meyer
This past week was Miss E’s second birthday, and her first birthday since the Supreme Court’s decision on the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. That means that her daddy and papa have double the reason to celebrate- entering the wonderful world of the terrible twos, and being recognized as a married couple not just by their state and community, but by the federal government, also. That’s twice now that they’ve gone to visit Papa H’s family in Holland and come home married.
As per my usual (if twice can be counted as “usual”), I celebrated with a simple photo and status update on Facebook honoring the day she came into all of our lives. Funny how the digital age changes ritual and ceremony, isn’t it?
As many things do in today’s world, much has changed about my FB friend set in the intervening two years, namely, I’ve added a lot of extended family members to my circle of trusted people. For the most part, that’s a great thing and I am *so* happy to have a way to reconnect with my kin. We didn’t have much of a connection with one side of my family as I was growing up; both families were more than a jaunt away, and with his own business dad was always busy at home. “Reconnecting” is overly generous; it’s more like finally making an initial connection with many of them.
In any case, you can imagine my surprise at the number of entirely clueless folks who had no idea why Miss E’s birthday was an important day in my life, or what I was celebrating. All right, with some people I was less than surprised. Part of it was my own fault; I don’t broadcast the fact that I have one child but three live births to my name to all the world on a regular occasion. That’s not my style, to make a big deal out of everything that I do.
The real surprise was the vitriol. And the condemnation. This came from a very select few, mind you, but it was still my family in one way or another. It’s one thing to hear about bigotry against LGBTQ individuals, it’s quite another to have family telling you that you’ve created a monster. Or that I aided and abetted a pedophile. Or that god will curse my soul (granted, this comment had far less impact on me given I’m an atheist). Or that I was an abomination against nature.
Intellectually, I can laugh at all of these charges because I know they’re quite near crazy. But emotionally, they still cut. If only our head and heart would work together more often, eh?
I realize for darn sure that the guff I received was a far spot away from what is experienced by most members of the LGBTQ community. For that I’m both thankful and horrified. If I can suffer such comments for my part in creating a family, what does the actual family go through? Do we really value bigotry and hate so much above family and kindness? It was a rude awakening for me, and one I hope not to experience twice. Is it any wonder that vulnerable teens can not stand the pain and rejection from family any longer? What does it take to put love and simple decency above these judgments? Is it really so important as this to make your opinions known?
Whatever the answers to these questions, I’m content in at least knowing where I stand with people. I prefer not to deal with negativity that I don’t have to, and take what chances I get to reduce my own stress level. The day after Miss E’s birthday was a big stress reduction day for me, as I chose not to have certain people in my life anymore. And I’m OK with that.
So think twice the next time you’re going to tell someone about whom you care exactly what’s on your mind. I know most of the readers here won’t need that reminder in this situation, but it’s a good general idea- think twice before speaking. Is what you’re about to say worth hurting someone you love? If it is, then by all means say it. If not, at least consider keeping your tongue tied, and maybe reconsider why you were about to make that comment in the first place.
Let’s put love above hate, shall we?