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Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Strong Voice

Saturday January 21 was a good day.  It was a good day to be a woman.  It was a good day to be politically active.  It was a great day to be a mother.

I remember the day I realized my mom was a bad ass.  She had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and was losing her ability to walk - but she wasn't giving up.  She came to DC by train and joined me at the Million Mom March.  She was tired of the random shootings (that was just the beginning of a terrible trend) and wanted to do something. Anything.  So she came to participate.  She couldn't actually march so we volunteered and worked at a booth.  She was a rock star. (Once I became a mom and then a single mom, I realized just how much of a rock star she is.  This was one of the first moments of recognition of that fact.)

For those of you too young to remember the march, here's some info:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Million_Mom_March

I've participated in protests when I feel strongly enough about a topic to do so.  But my kids hadn't really had that opportunity yet.  And it's a sticky situation when I teach them one set of values and their dad doesn't agree. While I don't agree with his politics, I do take his feelings into consideration and bringing my kids to a large gathering that had the potential to have violence was tough.  I sat with my partner the night before trying to gauge the potential for problems.  Luckily, those concerns were unwarranted.

My girls were excited but didn't really know what to expect.  None of us did.  I clearly underestimated the number of people who would be on metro.  But folks were fun and friendly and passionate about their (our) rights.  I cannot accurately put into words the feelings of pride I felt while listening to my girls respond "this is what democracy looks like!" to the call of "show me what democracy looks like!"

In the week since the march, the world has changed greatly.  In Russia, domestic violence is no longer a crime.  In the US, the road for women's healthcare has become bumpier. Refugees are suspected terrorists - including children.  The list of marches we'll participate in and the number of times I have to call a member of congress to beg they use their brains increases.  It's like a full time job keeping track of all the changes happening and who to call to stop some of them.

My brain and heart hurt over it all.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Having a part time life

In some of the posts I've written but not published, I wrote about being an oreo.  I'm not fond of the term "sandwich generation".  I don't eat bread and it makes me think of bologna.  I prefer thinking of myself as the fluffy white stuff in the oreo.  One cookie is my mom and the other is my kids.  That works better for me.  It just doesn't feel better.

I have spent much of the last 7 years or so choosing between my mom and my kids.  No, we can't do (whatever activity) because I need to check on my mom.  Or no, I can't go to cvs to get your endless list of stuff because the girls need (fill in the blank).  It's an awful feeling and one that doesn't improve with time.

This week, all four days of it so far, have been different.  I deliberately scheduled a light week for myself.  It because lighter with a day of cancellations.  I like this.  A lot.  I'm a part-time everything this week.  And I'm happy.  So far, I've been able to:

1.  Spend two not rushed, not stressful hours with my mom doing the things she wanted to do.  That included trying on clothes (takes a lot of time with her and isn't easy to do in a wheelchair), cleaning and inventorying her jewelry and just listening to her talk.  I have visited her twice this week and if there's no snow, there will be a third time.  This is highly unusual and yet something I really need to do.

2.  I've cooked every night this week.  We have been adventurous in our cooking, too.  The garlic snow pea shoots were great.  The teriyaki beef was good.  The lo mein wasn't but I made up for it the next day with fried rice with left over stuff and too much soy sauce.  My girls are excited  (!!) about their lunches at school.  In fact, M came home to tell me her friends think I'm "LIT!" because of what we cooked.  I had to clarify that yes, it was a good thing to be lit.  Sigh.

3.  I've had time with Andrew just to be his partner, not running around accomplishing things.  We've enjoyed dinner and made coffee in the morning - things most folks get to do but doesn't happen often in my world.

I am loving every part of this.  I just need to figure out how to make it last.  And now I'm so happy I've made myself tired.  So maybe I'll take a nap.  Because I can!!

Monday, January 2, 2017

It's a new year....again.

I've taken nearly a year off from writing.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I continued to write occasionally.  I just didn't publish anything.  It all seemed angry.  I write this for several reasons but among them is the idea that if I were to suddenly die (not hoping for that), my kids would have something to look back on that tells them something about me.  I don't have much of that from my dad so I want them to have that for me.  Hopefully I'll live a long life and they won't need to read this to know who I am but in the event that isn't in the cards, there's this and I didn't want it to be angry.

Lots happened last year.  I am raising two 15 year old girls.  They have presented challenges that I never imagined.  I think this is the hardest year so far.  There are lots of positive things but the moods, the language, the drama is overwhelming sometimes.

My mother is still alive.  I think that's a good thing, but I'm not sure she does.  I took a temporary job scheduling for an interpreting agency for the last three months which was overwhelming so I feel like I neglected her.  That's not a good feeling.

My house is still a shit hole.  But now I'll have some time to get the things done I wanted to get done.

I hate New Years resolutions.  But I make them.  Among the ones I've made in the past and never accomplished:

1.  To stop swearing. (Fuck that.  I give up.)
2.  To get more organized (A girl can hope.)
3.  To get financially set (I'm better than I was.)

Things I did accomplish:

1.  I eat better.  I eat vegetables a lot.  And for me, I mean A LOT.
2.  I take time for me.  I go to weight watchers every week, no excuses.  I take a jewelry class (but I still feel guilty about it).  I don't alter that schedule.  I have 4 hours every week (3 for class and 1 for ww) that are all about me.  I like this.
3.  I love a lot.  I think my children, my mother, my partner and my friends know how much I love them.  I try to make sure of that.
4.  I laugh a lot.  I have a lot of fun.
5.  I can't think of a 5th thing but I'm sure I accomplished something else....

This year's goals:

1.  To enjoy the time I have with my girls.  I'm well aware it will be over quickly.  College is already on their minds.
2.  To spend better time with my mom.  Instead of worrying about how much time I spend with her (which is still a concern), I want to make sure we do something she enjoys with that time.  I don't want to look back with regret.
3.  I will never be organized like Martha Stewart organized.  But I can reduce the amount of paper that stays in the house.
4.  I'm already eating healthier.  I'm down nearly 40 pounds from this time last year.  But I need to really stop the flour/sugar cycle.  I feel better when I do that.  I just like bread and pasta.....
5.  I want to go somewhere every three months.  It could be a weekend away in a car or a bit longer by plane. I feel like my life is passing me by and I'm still stuck here.

So those are the goals for the year.  No resolutions.  Oh, and maybe I'll write more.