By Danny Thomas
It’s St. Patrick’s Day…
We keep trying to make family traditions
for St. Patrick’s Day,
none of them stick.
In my head
it was always
a big deal with my family
We certainly always
ate a special meal.
If not corned beef and cabbage,
then something related.
Sometimes we went to see a film
an irish film
at some art house theatre.
My mom loves foreign films.
And art films.
We went to a lot of independent films
at art house theatres
when I was growing up.
It sometimes depresses me
when our holidays
do not jive with
the holidays I remember growing up.
and St Patricks Day…
I just need to give it time…
let the traditions develop…
let the family grow…
and create relationships…
with each other…
and with other families…
and those traditions will take
it takes work,
and decisive thinking,
on the part of the family,
to create the traditions.
It takes some effort.
And right now
is aimed at other things in our lives.
But there is time…
I keep coming back to this idea,
to this notion
of the difference
how we imagine things to be…
how we hope for them to be…
and the reality that they become.
This thought; that we have an ideal
or an expectation,
and sometimes the world matches it
if we’re lucky,
the world falls drastically short of our expectation.
Does it fall short,
or is it just different
than what we expected?
And wouldn’t it be worse,
to get everything you expect,
and know every bump down the road,
than rolling with
the ups and downs?
As much as it seems nice to have everything in place all the time,
the dreary monotony,
would be relentless.
I am more inclined
to find a way
my rattling cage.
My dad’s birthday is on Thursday.
it’s the first one
since he died.
The thing that
makes me most sad
is not that he doesn’t
get to have another birthday
(he was tired of them 10 years ago)
or even that I don’t get to wish him another happy birthday.
The thing that makes me saddest
is thinking about my mom
who, by default of her partnership,
and the traditions built in around
has had something to do
on March 21st
for the last 50 years
I wish we could be together this
I wish my brother could be there too…
All of us.
But this is another one of those bumps in the road.
This is one of those ways things are different than we expect…
this is one of the ways things change.
And embracing change
the stuff that
with the same
that brings us
By Natalie A. Sullivan
My son is eleven months now. I was rifling through some paperwork today, and I found this. It was written when he was 3 ½ months old:
A friend recommended her. She only stands about 5 foot 4, but she is the firm root of my newfound sanity. I’ve been caring full-time for my son since he was born three and a half months ago. My beloved husband was home with us for the first three weeks before returning to his high-stress, long-houred job to become the sole supporter for his newly expanded family. How could I justify a part-time nanny? I don’t have a job and the only place I really want to go is to bed. Besides, being a mother is what I have always wanted.
About a week ago, I realized that being without my son feels foreign, even uncomfortable to me. On the rare occasion that I am running errands without him, I find myself racing to get back to him. I’m the one who knows what his every cry means. I’m the one who responds to his every beck and call. I’m also the one who is losing a little bit of my mind! A lot earlier, I had realized that my son also feels “uncomfortable” without me. He rarely wants to be put down during the day and naps more soundly and far longer on my chest than he will nap in his crib or anywhere else. During those ten minutes here and there when he agrees to be put down, he tolerates the offense longer if he can at least see me nearby. Yes, my son and I are co-dependent. This is where the nanny comes in. I may pay her $25 so I can go to a $10 yoga class, but …it is what it is. I look forward to the day when I can walk out of the house and feel free to visit a bookstore or catch a drink with a long-lost girlfriend. Whatever the cost, it sounds like a great deal to me.
Update: The nanny came a few times while I was home and my son screamed the whole time, so I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house. As a result, I thanked her wholeheartedly and decided that neither he nor I was ready for a nanny.
As I looked further into my stack of paper, I also found this. It was written when our son was seven months old, and I titled it “Wanderlust”:
It’s official. I’m bored. There, I’ve said it. I fluctuate between feeling honest and feeling horrible about it, but it’s true. I am bored out of my mind at being home 24 hours a day. Even writing it makes me feel bad, so you can imagine how I feel just knowing that it’s really how I feel. All those years we wished for a child. The year we lost our first one. And now, just over nine months after bringing our son home, I’m saying it: I’m tired of being a full-time stay-at-home mom. I have friends who would sell their souls to be able to be home full-time with their kids. So, I feel guilty.
I thought motherhood would be perfect. Don’t get me wrong. It’s wonderful. Our son is wonderful. Motherhood is wonderful. It’s just that I still crave to do things other than take care of him 24 hours a day. I’ve been home full-time without outside help for nine months. Our son is a delightful kid with a bundle of energy and an easy smile. He’s a busy little guy, both at home and when we’re out. And opinionated? For a guy who can’t talk yet, he takes the cake.
I’m thankful to have been home all this time. Otherwise, I might not have seen our son delight over playing with the blanket from the couch. I might not know that he has a penchant for chewing the corner of the carpet. I might not be aware that licking the remote control is like eating a Three Musketeers bar to our son. But for the past couple months, I’ve realized (once again) that it’s time to get some help.
If I’m wise, I’ll take my cues from our son. I think he’s bored with me too. We visited a day care last week. I was still nursing a little mommy guilt at the thought of putting him in day care one day a week so that I could have a break. And then, something amazing happened. Seeing the little babies in the day care, my son screamed with delight, wiggled to get down out of my protective arms, and beat on the glass between him and his new friends like a madman trying to break into an insane asylum.
Update: A couple weeks later, our son went to day care for the first time, and, as expected, he screamed and cried for the first hour. I walked the streets outside the day care, half not knowing what to do with myself and half expecting a call to come and pick up my inconsolable child. But then as I was hanging my head over a hot bowl of soup nearby, I got an email with pictures of our son smiling and playing with the toys. I ventured a few blocks further away. By the time I picked him up four hours later, our boy was laughing and bouncing on his teacher’s lap. He was fed. He was clean. He was rested. He was happy. When he saw me, he attempted a little whine, but then sort of shrugged his little shoulders as if to say, “Aw, never mind. The gig is up!” On our way home, my son swung happily from my chest with his little mind, I imagine, replaying the excitement of the day. As for me, I had in my possession a report card that told me what he ate, how many minutes he slept, and exactly what had come out of his little body that day! Whatever they pay his day care teachers, that day, it felt like it could never be enough!! Our son went to day care three times, each time with increasing success. So much so that we put ourselves on the waiting list for part-time enrollment, and I began to dream of all the things that I have needed or wanted to do for the past several months.
Our son turned 11 months old this past week. One day later, I got a call from his day care center. A spot has opened up, and our son can now come to day care two days a week. Immediately after the call, I scooped up our son and lifted him into the air. I smiled. I danced. I called his father at work and sang my own version of “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse. “Christian’s going to day care and I say ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah!”’ But once the dust settled and I caught my breath, my mind began to flood with doubts, fears, concern, and, yes, my old nemesis- guilt.
Starting in April, the same week that marks our son’s first birthday and my one year as a full-time stay-at-home mom, he will start day care twice a week. It will cost us more than I can probably make working two days a week, but I’m convinced that it will be good…for both of us. Despite my realization that the time is right for us to take this big step, as I fed our son a bottle and rocked him to sleep, I wrapped both of my arms around him and held him even closer to my chest.
By Danny Thomassomething that’s been on my mind
as a parent lately…
as my third baby turns one…
and the others plug along
and go through
all the things a first grader
should go through,
is how different each one of them is,
and how different each of our relationships is…
and I know
it shouldn’t be a surprise.
everyone tells you each kid is different.
and everyone talks about overcoming that expectation.
in the rational mind
it completely makes sense
I have been at a different point in my life
and thus a different person
as each of these children has come in to the world…
and each of them is very distinct
has different needs
and different ways of seeing and being in the world
each of our relationships is ever so distinct.
I can’t fight this feeling
that they should all be getting exactly the same things from me
somehow, by not relating to them in identical ways
and giving them equal and matching gifts,
I am doing them a disservice.
this is all brought to mind, of course,
by the fact that Zuzu,
the baby of the bunch,
just turned one…
and had no real party to speak of.
she got some presents,
some great presents,
that she loves.
and we went out to ice cream
which then led me to realize that
when the other two were turning a year,
not only did they get big(ish) parties…
they had groups of friends,
Lil’ Chaos had been in day care for about 4 months
and was part of a parent/baby group that we went to
as a family on a weekly basis…
‘Zilla had been in day-care from 5 weeks of age…
she was social.
Little Zuzu, all her friends are grown ups, or college kids…
and for no rational reason, I feel guilt for this, and many many other
the kid has more social stimulation within her family than the other two…
she is better than fine.
she is happy and thriving…
but because the parental reflex,
or at least my parental reflex,
I have guilt about this…
reasonably, I know…
they will all be different,
have different needs and expectations…
I guess the challenge is
to get my heart and head in sync
in this matter
to let go of that guilt
let the reasonable self
By Sheana Ochoa
Last night, my friend and her boyfriend came over for dinner. They brought his five-year-old, which presented me with the opportunity to talk to an “expert” of sorts since he is also raising a boy and the boy is a year ahead of Noah. Specifically I wanted to ask him about his experience with his son passing judgment.
It has only been a few months since Noah asked me, “Mommy, what does ugly mean?” Reluctant to give him a definition, I said unhelpfully, “When something isn’t pretty.” This innocent and beautiful question made me wonder when and how do children begin to judge others? Sadly, I didn’t know I’d have the answer so soon. Maybe when Noah was seven or even ten, but so soon after his earnest question about the definition of “ugly?” I imagined I’d get to revel in his purity a little longer – that innocence that prompted him to tell me that the obese man sitting next to us at Canters one evening was “just a little bit fat,” or that his grandmother, who’s pushing 70, is “just a little bit old.” I know 70 is supposed to be the new 50, but “just a little bit old” is forgiving to say the least.
That’s all over. Last week as I was undressing to get in the bath, Noah announced, “Mommy, your butt is round and fat.” My butt? Fat? When that three-hundred pound patron in Canters was “just a little bit fat?” Later, when we were driving into the Beverly Center, he looked at the woman in the car next to us and said, “Mommy, that lady is ugly. I don’t want to look at her.” I glanced over and saw a woman who wasn’t particularly good or bad looking, but that wasn’t the point: “Mijo, people aren’t ugly. All people are beautiful. Everyone just looks different from each other.” We went to do our exchange at Macy’s and the teller happened to be cross-eyed. At the register, right in front of him, Noah declared, “That man is strange.” I smiled and said, “He’s a stranger to you, honey,” trying to cover up an uncomfortable moment.
At dinner with my friend, while Noah and his five-year-old were distracted, I took the opportunity to summarize this transition of Noah’s from an oblivious working definition of “ugly,” to his recent fluency in judging others, including me. “Children are brutally honest,” the dad said.
“Yes,” I pressed, “but do you remember when your son started judging people?”
“I don’t think he judges. I think he’s just observing.”
“Ugly is a judgment.”
“Yes, that one he would have had to learn.”
And there I had it. What I had already known. He had heard it at school, or perhaps even on one of his Netflix cartoons and my angel was now a person who had judgment values. Could this have been avoided by several years? I don’t know, but I had to admit the truth. He wasn’t just observing. He had become a critic.
Before I had time to digest this revelation about my son, he surprised me by suddenly announcing: “I’m going to tell a Yeti story.” My son likes an audience, but although he can improvise lyrics while singing, I had never heard him invent a story.
I had commenced telling him stories about the mythical Big Foot of the Himalayas since he was three, sometimes never getting as far as having the creature actually appear before he discontinued the story because he was too “scared.”
“Once upon a time” he began, “there was a boy and a girl in a park.” Abruptly, he stopped, defeated and fretting that he “couldn’t do it.” I was happy he had simply achieved a beginning, a setting, and characters. My friend urged him to continue and he did:
“They were eating pizza. They had so much pizza. Then they were in a cave.” (Scene change, I thought, impressed –and an ominous one at that in line with the genre.) “They heard a sound.” He began making monkey sounds that weren’t at all scary, but a great effort. “And the Yeti was coming slowly and slowly.” (Suspense) “His teeth were very sharp and he had white eyes and black fur all over his body.” By now he was excited as the climax was mounting because just as the Yeti was about to eat the children: “Then the girl attacked him with her fork and knife (allegedly from eating pizza in the park earlier! He understands foreshadow) and poked him in the eye and cut his hand off. And the Yeti died. The end.”
My son had just created an original story with a beginning, middle and end. I was bursting with pride. He may be a critic, I thought as I was tucking him in bed after everyone had left, but he is also a soon-to-be writer and storyteller!
By Danny Thomas
my one year old
taught me something today
or stirred something
reminded me of something
some primal knowledge
that my body knows
that my heart knows
but that my silly samsaric mind forgets
as we wrapped up
after the shower
she looked up at me
bundled in her towel
and her eyes spoke so clearly,
slow down and hold me, daddy
so I put everything down
put everything out of my mind
put my phone in the other room
and held her…
and I’ll be damned if it didn’t feed us both
in our soul
to our core
as I sat there I thought
how is this something we
how is this something
we need to make time for?
this is the root.
this is the core.
this is how we love each other.
we hold each other.
this should just happen.
there are a million other ways
we love our children
and most of them are the things that get in the way of holding them too…
things that take time away from stillness…
isn’t that just the dichotomy?
isn’t that just the bitch of it?
but we must.
we must make holding our children
a main concern.
holding with intention.
physical tenderness while we let the rest of the world and its worries fall away.
it is good for us all.
the other bitch of it is
it requires not just intention on our part
we must be alert
to those moments
when they ask
not just with their words
but with their eyes
and their bodies
and their hearts…
it means we have to be patient
not just on our terms
when it fits
in between school
and video games…
but when it doesn’t fit…
for reminding me
what it’s all about
and giving me that
in your nursery
sharing that with me
as you fell to slumber
you asked me
just to sit with you
and not rush things
and not be distracted.
You asked me to focus on you
and be still with you
and that was pretty amazing
and a wonderful reminder.
now I need to make sure it happens with your big sisters too.
and your mom.
and the trees.
and the river.
and the sky.
and the moon.
and the mountains.
Somewhere along in the holidays … I think b’tween Christmas and New Year’s
I got really mad at a box of Glad 4 gallon garbage bags… this happens often… about every time I try to take one out of the box.
it is a stupid, stupid piece of product design… there is no way to get out a single bag… not even a way to rearrange the set up so that one can get a single bag without taking out the entire ball of bags… and of course each time you do this the thing gets messier and stupider…
just writing about it, my blood is beginning to boil…
at the time this happened I had been thinking
about the new year… you know self reflection… all that…
I spend a lot of time reflecting on myself…
probably too much,
as I write that it sounds pretty terrible…
let’s call it self examination…
I spend a lot of time doing that –
I don’t wait for the new year…
but putting a year to bed, one can’t help but take a look at stuff
like progress, and growth and goals.
one of the things that I struggle with…
that I have wrestled with my whole life I guess
and that I occasionally focus on, since a very clever therapist
pointed out that this might be a struggle for me,
is this idea of the shadow self.
I have written about it before
and my struggles in that regard…
Robert Bly wrote a great piece about it
and it comes from Jung…
and the idea is that we all have this darker side,
these emotions that have a cultural perception as dark: anger and rage, sadness, glumness that kind of stuff.
The next part of the idea is that, if we try to suppress those parts of ourselves, (this is basically Zen philosophy, I think) they will leak and bubble out in uncontrolled ways.
it is clear, in my life, to those who know me intimately, that I have this struggle with rage, certainly the box of Glad 4 gallon garbage bags is aware.
so anyway, when I was in therapy (I would still be in therapy if I still lived within proximity to my amazing therapist) one of the things we wanted to tackle was this rage… acupuncture really helped, but she also encouraged me to develop a relationship with my shadow self… to find an outlet for or at least acknowledge and accept my anger and sadness… and all those negative feelings.
Not sure if I have.
in fact, coming back to the moment, over the holidays, when I was exploding in the bathroom at the box of Glad 4 gallon garbage bags…
I went to Jen and began a diatribe that went something like this;
“I am done being Mr. Chipper, Mr. Thoughtful, I am going to write about things that piss me off, starting with this fucking box of Glad 4 gallon garbage bags. I have a lot to be angry about, damn it. My dad died of cancer, and not only is there a good chance that I will have the very same cancer, there is a good chance my kids will too, damn it… I am angry about the state of our country, and politics, and culture, and the economy, and the health of the planet…. and that’s just the start, I am writing about my anger damn it.”
She, very wisely, listened and said, succinctly, “okay.”
I have since, thought about it, and decided I was wrong…
When I started writing this blog, I made a decision, sort of a vow… I was not going to use it as a forum for anger, or complaining, or negativity… but as a platform for positivity, thoughtfulness, examination, and provocation… and I am going to stick to that. There are enough voices on the World Wide Web being pissy and shitty and complaining and being negative…
Occasionally I whine about my struggles, or bring up an issue with this or that thing out in the world, but I try to do it in a thought-provoking way, as an opportunity to examine some of my beliefs, or some cultural assumptions, rather than as a way to vent about a product, or a policy, or a person…
So, while I am still searching for a venue for my shadow self… (Maybe I’ll start a separate blog for him…) I am not going to spend a whole blog page complaining about how stupid the Glad 4 gallon garbage bags are; that would be a waste of time, and energy, and just one more crabby voice on the Internet. I would rather talk about growth and potential and questions, and balance and grace.
And here’s the thing, I do get mad, I say, “GOD DAMN IT! “ but, a few years ago, I would have screamed and yelled and torn that box apart or thrown it across the room. So it is an opportunity for me to see that I have grown, thanks for that, Glad 4 gallon garbage bags, I hope you change your packaging soon. And I know I will never buy another box of Glad 4 gallon garbage bags again.
By Sheana Ochoa
As my four-year-old, Noah, and I were browsing Netflix for a kid-adult movie, I found “The Red Balloon.” I didn’t remember the plot so well, but I did remember that it was gripping, and that it had remained in my visual memory-library all these years.As the movie was loading from Netflix, I had it in my mind that the film had ended sadly, that the boy inadvertently loseshold of the balloon, that the film ends with an unattached balloon hovering over the Parisian rooftops only to become a red intangible speck. And that is the subjective quality of memory: it’s unreliable. I’ve even written a poem about a child losing his balloon. Where did that come from? My own fear of losing something? (That’s another blog.) And if the movie did end that way, why would I want Noah to see it? To instill in him an attitude of “if you don’t hold on to what you have, you will lose it?” But my instincts were to keep letting him watch it. Besides the movie is a cinematic, not to mention historical, gem.
As the film began, my husband, a French speaker, asked if it was subtitled, obviously wondering: “How’s Noah going to watch a sub-titled movie?” But I knew I had seen it at a very young age and the subtitles were irrelevant. Indeed, my memory of when I first saw “The Red Balloon” is hazy. I remember the movie, but not the circumstances. I deduced it must have been in school. Yes, it came back to me: sitting in a dark auditorium, not a classroom, watching this movie with my classmates. I must have been five or six.
The story begins when a boy finds the red balloon and almost immediately loses grasp of it. Instead of rising away from him, the balloon floats behind him, following him to school, waiting for him to get out. And it was the moment when my son realized the balloon was following the boy and not flying away that he exclaimed, “Wow.” I felt it too. I echoed, “Wow.” Those enchantingly innocent moments are one of the best things about being a parent.
I don’t want to give the real ending away, but it isn’t sad. The balloon becomes just as much of a character as the boy, and a metaphor for otherness and the way we as humans respond to what’s not “normal” around us. If you want to know why, you’ll have to watch it. I recommend watching it with a kid. Turns out the ending provided a better moral than the one I thought I had remembered, although I’m sure it went over Noah’s head.
Visit Sheana’s blog here
By Danny Thomas
I usually write a piece at Christmastime…
it usually touches on the cognitive dissonance I carry
being an agnostic
who believes in magic
Usually there’s a bit of anti-consumerism…
Usually I get nostalgic
and pine for my youth…
all the while noting that
even as a kid Christmas brought up a lot of uncertainty for me
about religion, and Jesus, and miracles, and magic, and spiritualism
as well as some of those cynical anti-consumerism questions.
Well I didn’t write one this year.
I was in a slump.
I’m over it, and I am trying to write a little every day, with the hopes that I can prevent another slump…
But I have a cool Christmas story to share… It’s about an amazing gift I received this Christmas that no one meant to give me, that is not a material thing at all, but is more valuable than any thing I received…
We were 500 miles south of our home on Christmas,
Visiting Jen’s family. Most of them live within a few blocks of each other, or on the family homestead… this alone blows my mind… as my nuclear family was at least a thousand miles away from any relatives… but that’s a story for another blog…
On Christmas day we loaded up the girls and the snow gear and the presents to drive the 45 miles south to visit the family that is not right in town… as we got to the end of Grandma’s block we realized that the hot burning oil smell we smelled was coming from our car, because clouds of smoke were pouring out from under the hood.
So we turned around.
As we pulled back into Grandma’s driveway Jen started dialing her brother and my manhood shriveled… metaphorically.
Jennifer’s family is full of dudes who can fix cars, and motorcycles, and lawnmowers… guys who build stuff, who hunt and fish… guys who know which teams won Superbowls and World Series’ in certain years… (I didn’t even remember what the World Series was called… had to look that up, and I consider myself a baseball fan…)
I have some personal issues around these things. Most of the time I feel secure in my manhood, and my issues are less, I think, about that, about macho-ness or manliness, than usefulness… The fact that I have extremely limited knowledge about cars, and hate getting oil on my hands, and am not very good at building stuff… just makes me feel inadequate…
My dad could do it, I spent a lot of time helping him with projects like that, and a lot of time freezing my ass off in the carport next to the bus handing him wrenches while he swore in 7 languages at Volkswagen engineers… I feel like, after that, and to carry the torch, I should be able to, at least, find an oil leak, or build a square table…
I’m sure ego comes into play and I’m sure testosterone is a factor here, I wont deny that… but for me it’s less about proving I am a good man and more about proving I am a useful human… when my car breaks I feel helpless and that is not a good feeling, and, yes, it is emasculating…
So the car sat, and we borrowed the Uncletruck, with the deer rack in the back, and the buck call on the dash… and he generously crawled under our car, looked at the engine, swore a bit and gave us some ideas… in the hour we spent sorting things out and driving south, I did some research on-line to get some ideas about what might have happened… the car had just been in the shop for an oil change, I was suspicious… again, that’s a story for another blog…
So, we got to Grandpa and the other Grandma’s house, and my ability to contribute to the car conversation was some very geeky sounding information that “I looked up on the internet…” NERDBALL! (As is turns out the sleuthing I did paid off and my diagnosis was correct.. NERDPOINTS!)
As we were hanging out, Christmasing in their abode, it came to light that Grandma & Grandpa were having some troubles with their Wi-Fi… how it was hooked up, how to log in… a few oddball things…Well, I realized that troubleshooting that issue is something I can do… bear in mind, I didn’t, the issue is less about me proving my manhood or worthiness, than it is about me knowing my worth. In fact, Jen took on the Wi-Fi situation and had it squared away in short order… well, in long order, and after a couple beers…
Then, a little later Old Weird Uncle mentioned that he had been working on applying for new jobs… and that the application process and building a resume was annoying… He has been a machinist for nearly 30 years, his qualifications are tremendous and specific, his aptitudes have very little to do with writing or computers. Here is another thing I can do. Again, I stood down, keeping a low profile in a Nerf war or Barbie makeover situation with the kids, on the periphery… While Jen took on the resume… but again I was shown, thanks, in part, to the magic of Christmas, another measure of my worth… another skill I bring to the table…
I was so comforted by both of these incidences; here are skills that I can offer, that while maybe not as tough as car knowledge or carpentry, are skills nonetheless.
Beyond that I came away with this; I tend to think of usefulness in these terms: “What good will I be after the apocalypse… when we are struggling to survive, what will I be able to offer to the tribe?” But the thing is, what I was shown, this Christmas gift to me, was to see that these are things I bring to the table right now. And trying to anticipate how you will be useful after the day of reckoning is a little asinine anyway, because… who knows? How can we anticipate what that will look like, if it will come, and if we will survive? And while I believe it’s important to be prepared for emergencies, living life anticipating the end of the world just isn’t a great way to live… by any measure.
So thank you Christmas, for once again bringing a little magic into my life and showing me that, not only do I have things to offer, skills that are worthy, but that the important thing to focus on is how I can use them today rather than how they will be useful to me in a Hunger Games scenario…
By Ann Brown
As I watch the inauguration today, I am proud to be an American woman with bangs.
I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Fifty-eight years.
I have never been without bangs, due to my forehead being approximately three inches high due to my, evidently, skipping the entire family epoch in Poland and going back directly to The Missing Link. And as women knuckle-draggers have known since the invention of foreheads, a short one (forehead, not woman) must be disguised with bangs.
When I was young and Mom was in charge of my bangs, I suffered the humiliation of the one-and-a-half inch micro bang. I still can’t get Mom to explain her thought process with that. Maybe it was a Cold War thing, you know, confuse and repel the Commies with my coif. Or maybe it was a Mom-liked-her gin thing back in the 1950′s. What I don’t want to believe is that it was a Mom-liked-Karen-more-than-she-liked-me thing although there is a preponderance of evidence to the contrary.
For one thing, Karen got a forehead. If giving one daughter a forehead and the other daughter two inches of fur between her eyebrow and her scalp isn’t Exhibit A of Mom Loved You Best, well, I don’t know what is.
Oh wait. Yes I do.
Mom stopped smoking when she was pregnant with me.
And if you think that is a good thing, consider this: my big sister is, like, 5′ 2” and very petite. She can fit her entire body in my underpants, I bet. I spent most of Kingergarten being mistaken for her bodyguard. I was heads taller than Karen. With a mustache and unibrow. I didn’t date a lot in Kindergarten.
Karen and Mom are pretty much alike. Blonde and small. Fit and active. I am more like my dad. Who is dead.
Still, now that the First Lady’s bangs are all out and proud, it just seems, well, American to be sporting bangs. So I will not grow out my bangs. Ever. Even if my forehead grows five inches, I will not grow out my bangs.
Because then the Commies will have won.
By Tanya Ward Goodman
A boy in my hometown of Albuquerque shot his parents and his three siblings. Before he his shot his mom, his nine-year-old brother and his two sisters aged five and two, he went to the closet and got out a .22 rifle. Before he shot his father, he went back to the closet for a .223-caliber AR-15.
Five more people are dead because there was a gun in the closet.
It doesn’t take much searching to come up with more news stories just like this one. In fact, today while I was buying groceries and thinking about what to write in this blog there was a shooting at Lone Star College near Houston. Last night, a Las Vegas police officer shot his wife and child, and some taggers near my neighborhood shot a person who asked them to stop writing on things that didn’t belong to them.
People get angry. This boy in Albuquerque is reported as saying he was “annoyed” with his mother. We all have disagreements with our spouses. It might be a bummer to have someone try to stop you from expressing yourself with spray paint. But you get over it. Unless you have a gun. The gun denies you any chance to get beyond anger.
In my closet there are running shoes and raincoats. There is a set of boxing gloves and training targets that my kids will sometimes ask me to put on so they can “punch out some madness.” My yoga mat is in my closet. So is the fire extinguisher.
Every day people are dying because guns are kept “in case” or “for comfort” the way I keep a raincoat or a fire extinguisher or a yoga mat. Guns are being kept as a symbol of safety, but they are not keeping us safe. If there had not been a gun in the closet five people in Albuquerque would be alive.