Friday, November 11, 2016

Stories and Happiness and Denial

I want to dive in to the rest of the week, and I will, but honestly I continue to struggle with the election results and what has unfolded since. I'm so saddened by the stories of open hate and intolerance told by my friends- among them, one of our best friends from James's MBA program, who has been here with his wife, working hard and paying taxes for the last 12 years. They live with their young son in a blue Midwest state and on Wednesday morning when he went in to the gym, someone he's worked out with for years, a friend he had given money to help pay for his sick mother's medical expenses, immediately said "Trump won, time for you to leave now." And that is a fairly mild story, but can you imagine being made so instantly and shockingly unwelcome in a country you have vocally and financially supporter for over a decade? I'm sickened by the emboldening of racism and xenophobia in the aftermath of an election where a man who, in absence of actual policy positions or details, spent a lot of time spewing racist and xenophobic things. You can say you didn't vote for him because of those statements and I believe you, but you also have to understand that many people did. And it would be pretty hard to be a member of one of those groups he targeted, to look around and know that, and to hear it as people feel emboldened to say it to your face.

I'm also baffled by the hypocrisy of friends who were vocal supporters of the Tea Party protests and anti-Obama anything (including years of conspiracy theories that he wasn't an American citizen peddled by the very man President Obama will now be handing the White House keys to) pretending like the recent Trump protests are unacceptable. Particularly on Veteran's Day, the claims that "this is not what our service men/women fought for" seem particularly absurd. Because of course it is. I know because my grandfathers both served and fought and my purple-heart earning, retired Air Force colonel, fighter pilot in Vietnam grandfather told me this afternoon that's exactly what they fought for. There are countries all over the world where it is illegal and dangerous to protest against your government. This isn't one of them and the Founding Fathers made sure of it. You can think protests are dumb, but trying to claim they're un-American is nonsense. I didn't agree with one single thing the Tea Party stood for, but I never once made a negative comment about their right to protest and organize and I never would. On Veteran's Day I think it's important to remember that you can't only like protections like our Freedom of Speech when you agree with the ones doing the speaking. That's the whole point of protecting it.

But, of course, we are moving forward. I'm having lunch next week with a member of the Steering Committee for Annie's List. I'm attending our first Tarrant County Pantsuit Nation meeting on Friday to learn ways to get involved in local politics. I'm now connected to left-leaning lawyers nation-wide who have wonderful, practical ideas of how I can do more with my degree. We've increased and reallocated our charitable giving to organizations who will continue to protect and defend the Constitutional rights and civil liberties of the increasingly vulnerable. And as long as I avoid all news regarding President-elect Trump's impending cabinet choices and really anything else, I can be almost positive.

And then, I remember that Cora is turning 3 tomorrow. Three, you guys. And then I can be sad about something mundane, because Cora turning three really does hurt. I'm not even sure how it's possible. I mean that literally because I stopped at the store on Monday to buy a few things for her party tomorrow, among them a numbered candle for her cake. It sat on my counter unquestioned until Landon saw it Tuesday evening and asked what it was for. "Cora's birthday," I replied. "But mom," he said slowly, as if talking to a child, "she's turning 3."


Cora, on the other hand is DELIGHTED by her impending birthday. We just had James's in October, so she knows what birthdays are about and she is PUMPED that hers is happening. Every day begins with an exclamation that "I DID NOT GO PEE PEE IN MY BED AND IT IS ALMOST MY BIRTHDAY!!!". If only all days could start so bright.

She got to pass out pink cookies and painstakingly selected princess napkins to her friends at school today. She was SO excited this morning and asked if she could wear her "fancy dress... my fancy dress WITH THE DOTS." It's an old Christmas dress of Claire's I pulled out of her 3T bin a month ago that Cora has petted and talking about wearing ever since. And so she finally got to wear it, pairing "her dots" with clashing red but thematically on point polka dot leggings.

Similarly, on Thursday, Cora burst into the kitchen exclaiming, "I so FANCY today Daddy!"

And she was. Later, when we decided to practice our yoga for her birthday party tomorrow (it's a rainbow unicorn yoga princess party), she insisted on lining up all her princesses first so they could practice too.

Belle remains her favorite. "I just LOVE HER mama," she repeats a few dozen times a day.

Another high point- a unicorn breed of Pegasus now lives in my house. I found him yesterday in the girls' room.

And then tonight he was tucked into their reading corner, wings still perfectly in place. I wonder what they've named him.

So tomorrow Cora is 3. Three years ago today I was massively pregnant and so SO excited to meet our baby girl. Three years in and she's brought more joy than we ever could have imagined. I never would have believed it before we had her, but adding Cora to our lives was an effortless transition. There has never been a moment three felt harder than two (which always felt easier than one). We just kept doing our thing- meals, vacations, fort building, whatever, and she fell right in the flow, adding her joy and light to the mix. I hate that she's getting older, it makes me hurt inside in a way it didn't with the other two, so I'm going to ignore it and hold on to my "2" candle instead.

After 9.5 years, I don't have any babies any more. I don't want to end this on a low note, but you guys, it's an ache.

Luckily, I know our newly minted three-year-old is going to explode out of her bed tomorrow to find a decorated table and fairy wings and princess shoes and a donut that's going to be happier than her insistence on aging is sad. At least for the moment.


  1. Thank you so much for taking a stand in this election. It's admirable when people use their platform for good.

    In case you haven't seen this:

    It did make me feel better, because it's true, I doubt we will be complacent going forward.

    I've already donated to:
    Planned Parenthood
    Outdoor Alliance
    American Rivers

    Thanks again.

  2. Happy birthday to Cora!

    It's good to ache. I think it means you're a present, engaged parent. It's a milestone. Something that has been highly pleasurable is passing and I think feeling the ache rather than fighting it let's you move thru it and make room for the many wonderful things still ahead.

  3. Love that newborn photo of you and Cora--I hope it is framed somewhere. Happy Big 3 to your sweet "caboose!"

  4. Happy birthday Cora! My Cora turned 3.5 yesterday and I have NO idea how it happened!

  5. I know it's so hard to let the babies grow up. But someone once told me, remember that's the point, that's the goal. The goal is for them to grow up. And I'm saying this to you now so that I will remember it myself when my baby girl turns 3 in March and I am a crying mess wishing that my baby would just stop growing up for a minute!

    Also, we are so heartbroken over the election too. I like your idea to start donating to progressive causes that can make a difference. I am also committed to paying for a newspaper subscription so that I am supporting a free press (which I fear is one of many things currently under attack).