Dear Darling Children: The Current Existing Privilege

Dear Darling Children,

When I was 25 years old I made a cross country drive from Arizona to Florida. Alexander Marco, my darling little chihuahua maltese, was riding shotgun. While traveling through Texas I was chatting with my friend Leslie.  Even though it was (and still is) illegal I was talking to her with headphones on, thus drowning out everything else around me.  I have a hard time obeying speed limits, so I wasn’t terribly surprised when I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw police lights flashing. Feeling nothing but annoyance for getting caught I told Leslie I would call her back in a few minutes. I pulled over, grabbed my license and insurance, lowered my window and impatiently waited for the officer to get out of his car so I could start trying to flirt my way out of the ticket.

Then I heard the yelling.

“Get out of the car!  Get out of the fucking car!” (Don’t curse, it’s tacky.)

I was confused.

Not scared (that’s important).

Confused and slightly annoyed.  I started to open my door.

“Put your hands up!  Hands up where I can see them!  Now!”

Still annoyed, I opened the door the rest of the way with my foot and got out slowly with my hands up (and with an angry, put out expression on my face because who did this cop think he was to yell at me like that?).

The moment I stood up and was completely out of my car was the moment Alexander Marco chose to leap out of the car as well, straight into oncoming traffic.

All hell broke loose.  My hands went down as I ran after Alex, another police car flew up with the officer jumping out and pointing his gun at me, I’m still running around trying to grab Alex and when I finally catch him I scream at the officers.

“WHAT is WRONG with YOU!? I have to GET MY DOG, PUT YOUR STUPID GUNS DOWN!”

And they did.  They lowered their guns.  The one who had stopped me in the first place ran a hand through his thinning hair and stared at me.

Me.  A lovely white girl, shoeless because I had a blister on my ankle, with long red hair and a short blue dress that the wind was lightly kicking up.

They relaxed.

He told me I had been driving 75 in a 55 zone, and had been doing so for almost 10 minutes.  My car was packed up high with all of my belongings so the officer couldn’t see in the back window.  He had been following me with his lights and sirens blaring for at least 10 minutes (but I hadn’t heard because of the illegal headphones I was sporting).  He said he was about to shoot out my tires when I finally pulled over, that he thought I was running from him.

He said it like a joke.

“Girl, you were 5 seconds from getting your tires shot out!”

Laughs.  Everyone was safe, crisis averted.

I wasn’t able to talk my way out of the ticket.  I also never paid it.  My husband paid it for me after we were married because he had gotten a job in Texas and I mentioned that there was probably a warrant for my arrest there due to this delinquent ticket.  I never worried about getting arrested, though.

Because I’m a white, educated, upper middle class woman and I don’t have to worry about those things.

I used to tell this story as an amusing anecdote at social gatherings.  Me!? Sweet SARAH, almost gunned down by the police, how PREPOSTEROUS and SILLY. In the last year, though, it has taken on a sinister tone and I instead tell it to those who mention how they don’t understand what white privilege is.

Looking back, if the officer had shot me dead, I can see how HIS story would have played out and I would have 100% been at fault. It would eventually come out that the entire thing was a horrible misunderstanding but the result would be the same.  He was scared.  He had reason to be.  I was arrogant. I shouldn’t have been.

Had I been a large black man, under the exact same circumstances, would the result have been the same?  My head and heart tell me that it wouldn’t have been, but I still stand by my statement than any force used would have been justified.  So the story now leaves me conflicted, because I believe the only reason I’m alive (or, at best, don’t have a jail record) is because I’m a white female (sexism can on rare occasions can be extremely favorable).

I think it’s important to note that this entry is in no way meaning to comment on any specific event that has happened in the last few years.  It is only meant to share my own personal experience. I don’t always succeed at not expressing my opinion on hot topic events that I’ll personally never have enough information on to make an educated assumption about, but this entry is definitely not a comment on…any of that.

Though obviously all of those events combined is what made me start thinking about my own story again after so many years.

It’s a lottery, where you’re born, who you’re born to.  My children both struck gold being born into our family.  There isn’t a reason for them to feel guilty about it, to apologize for it.  This is just life.

But they should be taught to respect the life they have.  To be grateful.  To be aware.

In the moments that I clearly see so much hate, fear, injustice and sadness in the world the helplessness I feel is paralyzing to the point where I want to crawl into the pantry, close the door and cry.  But that doesn’t help anything or anyone.

The world is changing fast, both for the better and for the worse.  People are passionate, they see injustice and loudly fight for change.  Others who have far more power spew hatred, fear and lies.  This is life and the only way for it to change is for us to raise our children better, braver, smarter and wiser.

So…let’s do that.

Try to make the world a better & happier place today, Darling Children, one good deed at a time.

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I promise to raise you to be smart, adventurous, brave and wise.  I will raise you to be a fearless leader who will help march the world into a better, less scary place.

 

“Small steps are better than no steps at all so drop the iPad and do something productive .” – Me

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”   – Leo Tolstoy

 

Dear Darling Children: Barbie is FINE…

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Dear Darling Children,

It is perfectly acceptable to like Barbie.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.

It has been my experience that those who dislike Barbie don’t read fine print or understand the world.  They complain about toys and how they’re messing with our babies minds because they don’t realize that the real problem for our children involves the ozone, social security and possibly the fallout from a potential Donald Trump presidency (but who really knows, what a wild card, politics has never been so entertaining, BREAK OUT THE POPCORN!).

If someone tells you they hate Barbie because she gives people unrealistic expectations of what a woman should look like, just slap the donut out of that person’s hand and let them know that Superheroes & My Little Pony are FAR more unrealistic.

Mention how they shouldn’t let toys dictate their self worth.

It’s a DOLL!

Scream that in their face.

“A DOLL! IT’S JUST A DOLL!”

After your fit, if they haven’t run away from you yet and you care at all about salvaging the friendship, try to fester out the underlying problem.

Then go save the world, one real problem at a time.

Kisses,

Mother

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Throw Away the Chips & Put on Some Mascara

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While socializing with Anna & Elsa, my daughter makes sure that even Grumpy Cat makes an effort to not look like a total mess.

One cold, drafty Sunday many years ago I was an enchanting 12 year old wearing a lovely deep blue lace dress and waiting for bible study to start when an awful girl named LeeAnn sauntered up and snarkily asked why I was “SOOOOOO” dressed up.

“For Jesus, LeeAnn. Your ripped jeans and NKOTB t-shirt make him cry. Jerk.”

…is what I wanted to say.

But I didn’t, because even at 12 years old I had class.  I also didn’t have much of a quick wit, so I was stunned into silence, appalled that someone could ask something so rude.  My boyfriend at the time (yes, even at 12 I had admirers) came to my defense and told LeeAnn he thought I was beautiful and gave her a look insinuating that she was not.  He then turned back to me and said something that I have parroted to many people throughout my life:

“I think it’s nice that you always look good.  She’s stupid.”

I suppose I don’t quote EXACTLY what he said since I’m no longer 12. My quote is more like:

“Don’t ever be ashamed to be the best dressed person in the room.  It is far better to be overdressed than underdressed.  Nobody ever throws an overdressed person out of a dining establishment and  you can get away with far more minor crimes if you’re wearing a lovely pair of heels.”

I have been off my A-Game with pulling myself together lately.  Sweatpants have made frequent appearances even though I don’t work out. My hair lives in a ponytail. I’ve worn sneakers with mismatched socks.

I consistently blame this on having 2 children but, honestly…

No, I won’t lie, it really is because of the children.  It is ALL their fault.  They are two of the greatest loves of my life, but they exhaust me to the point of wearing tacky clothing on a fairly consistent basis because I’m too tired to put a decent outfit together.

Today I will begin practicing what I preach to my children.

Darling Children,

*Dress for the life you want, not the life you have.

*Dress for great success, not for mediocrity.  

*Dress like you’re going to randomly see your own LeeAnn in Target and she’ll be wearing knock off Juicy Couture terry clothe pants and a coffee stained white turtleneck and when she sees you wearing a black shift dress with your hair in a trendy bun she’ll think back to the day she tried to fashion shame you and feel immediate regret.

*A single strand of pearls or a tie can make an incredible difference in any ensemble, and you can use both items to choke any muggers who think you’re rich and carrying cash simply because you look lovely. 

I promise, you’ll be shocked at how much better you’ll feel about yourself when you throw the chips away, peel off your sweatpants and put on some mascara.

“The thirst for revenge and fear of random social embarrassment is the greatest motivator in the world of fashion.” -Me

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Even at the always enjoyable young age of 2, my darling daughter has a unique and classy style she likes to call, “Anything But What Mommy Picks Out For Me”.

 

Dear Darling Children: Please Don’t Be Cheap (Round 1: Accessories)

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Photo curtesy of Redbird Vintage Box

Dear Darling Children,

Concerning accessories:

Be unique.

Be daring.

Be classy.

Be willing to spend more than $10.

I once bought a pair of earrings for $5.67.  A pair of little monkeys that I thought would be amusing for a zoo excursion. My ears broke out in a horrifying rash that continued to attack my face for the next month.  After spending $700 at the dermatologist the rash subsided.

I am now too terrified to wear earrings, so don’t ever buy me a pair as a present.

Invest in the proper accessories or risk looking like a vagabond.  A cheap handbag will immediately make you look like a tourist who is trying desperately to fit in while visiting the city of New York.

My advice, follow the 3 V’s:

Vintage, Vuitton & Vogue

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Photo curtesy of Redbird Vintage Box

Vintage:  You typically can’t go wrong with vintage accessories, unless you have terrible taste.

Vuitton:  You typically can’t go wrong with Louis Vuitton, unless you go fake.

Vogue:  You typically can’t go wrong with what Vogue says, at least until Anna Wintour passes away.

As I used to say all the time before meeting your father,

“If you want a gentleman, you must be a lady…if you want a lady, you must be a gentleman.” -Your Mom

That quote obviously applies to more than your appearance, so if you’ve decided to be a swearing, loud mouthed, public cheddar cheese potato chip eating harlot then no amount of classy accessories will help and there is very little I can do for you.

Making smart decisions in life can be difficult, Children, but a decision that should never be too hard is to always buy quality over quantity.  This will not only help you in your outward appearance, but it will also do your soul good to know that you won’t be throwing away your purchases in the near future.  This reduces waste, which helps the environment.

Help save the world, Children. Don’t buy tacky & cheap accessories.

Every little thing helps.

I love you, my little darlings.

Mother

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Darling Children: Don’t Swim in the Ocean

IMG_8227Dear Darling Children,

You have asked me 7 times now since we moved to Florida if we could go to the beach.  I fear you are too young for me to give you the true answer as to why I don’t enjoy going, but I feel comfortable writing the reasons here since by the time you’re able to figure out how to navigate the internet you’ll be at least…7…8…when are children learning how to navigate the internet these days?

Hm. If you aren’t yet 7 years old, don’t read this post.

One day, about 6 years ago, in response to a question about accompanying me to the beach, a friend of mine said:

“Um…I NEVER swim in the ocean.  Think of all the dead bodies in there from all the shipwrecks and shark attacks and stuff.  Gross.  No way, not gonna do it.”

While her response was a bit tackily phrased, it changed my entire world, not to mention my views on The Discovery Channel.  This was something I had never even thought of before, something so obvious and yet…not.  Because who likes thinking about death?  Obviously not a classy lady like me.  I’m no undertaker or a sullen teenager or a politically crazed voter who so wanted Jeb Bush to be president but now has to come to terms with the fact that it will never happen and posts angrily about it on Twitter with the hashtags “whygodwhy” “movingtocanada” and “byebyeamerica”.

No, Darling Children, I don’t constantly think about death.

But after my friend shared her views on human decomposition in bodies of water, I do think about it whenever I’m near the ocean.

My advice to you today, Darling Children, that will help you in your future lives is:

***Don’t Go in the Ocean***

*Swim in highly chlorinated pools: I realize that horrifying creatures like sharks and alligators do occasionally meander into a random pool, but the chances of you being eaten alive in a pool are still significantly slimmer than if you were swimming in the ocean.  Or a lake.  The chorine will kill off any bacteria that could have otherwise festered itself into an open wound.  While your eyes may burn due to all the chemicals, it will be far less aggravating in the long term than losing a leg to a Great White or accidentally snorting dead fish & human particles up your nose.

…also…

*Always swim with a buddy:  This isn’t something you should only do as a child. I can’t begin to tell you how many people I know who have been seriously injured or killed because they went swimming alone in the ocean.  At least 2, but I’m terrible at keeping in touch with old friends so it could potentially be 500. 95% of the ocean is unexplored territory.  If a mutant alien type shark/care bear hybrid creature rose from the deep spitting tiny puppies at us, we shouldn’t be surprised because NOBODY REALLY KNOWS WHAT IS REALLY DOWN THERE!  Don’t be arrogant and assume you know all there is to know. Swim with a buddy, so when you make the inevitable decision to frolic in the ocean that buddy can come and let me know that you were carried away by pirates and I shouldn’t wait on you for dinner.

…and lastly…

*Don’t ever go skinny dipping: You’ll die. Watch Jaws or any other ocean centric C- or below movie to brush up on the statistics.

Have fun with your life, Darling Children. Live it to the fullest.

Be adventurous! Be brave! Be daring! Be fearless!

But don’t be a fool.

Stay out of the ocean.

I love you, my little darlings.

Mother

 

 

 

Dear Darling Children: Learn to Cook

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Dear Darling Children,

Hello.

Today you woke me up at 5:45 am and asked me to make you cinnamon toast.  I said no and you started sobbing uncontrollably, not so much because of the toast situation but because YOU REFUSE TO SLEEP UNTIL A NORMAL HOUR AND ARE EXHAUSTED SO YOU CRY ABOUT EVERYTHING!

Stop it.

Stop waking me up and immediately asking me to make you GOURMET MEALS!

You ran back to your room, slamming your door in righteous anger and waking up your sister in the process.  Thus, my day started off badly and I was unable to get myself out of the darkest of places and into a mood appropriate for the promised park excursion.

So we didn’t go to the park.  Partly because of my mood, partly because it started storming and I didn’t want to ruin my shoes or risk either of you getting pneumonia. Instead we went to Target to get cleaning products.

I let you con me into getting the humongous cart you deem “super fun” so you and your sister could sit next to one another.

Mistake.

While your sister hit you in your left eye repeatedly for no reason other than the fact that she is an angry little toddler, I stared longingly at the Starbucks conveniently located at the front entrance of Target, wishing that it was instead a wine bar with an attached daycare.

Everyone left Target frustrated and a little twitchy.

All of this could have been avoided if you only knew how to cook for yourself.  Unfortunately, at 4 years old you are a little bit on the short side and your common sense skills haven’t quite kicked in yet, which would make figuring out the proper sugar to cinnamon ratio a bit difficult.

One day you’ll learn.  Hopefully soon.  Or perhaps you’ll learn to like cereal.

My advice to you today, Darling Children, that will help you in your future life, is…

 ***LEARN TO COOK ***

*Have at least one meal you do well.  This is all you need and is more than enough to fool a potential life partner into thinking you’re far more talented in the kitchen than you really are.  I speak from experience.

…also…

*Always keep fresh fruit in the house.  This not only gives visitors the assumption that you live a healthy lifestyle, it also helps you actually live a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t keep frosting filled chips a’hoy cookies in the house, you can’t eat them.  I tell myself this on a daily basis and have so far been mildly successful at not purchasing those delicious cookies.  There is absolutely no proof that people who live a healthy lifestyle always outlive those that live a grossly unhealthy lifestyle, so still err on the side of caution when dared to sky dive or swim in the ocean. Eating fruit doesn’t make you a superhero, no matter what numerous random marketing ploys may suggest.

…and lastly…

*Don’t eat fruit chews or gummy candies.  These will kill you.

I did eventually make you cinnamon toast.  I’m not a total monster.  At first there was instantaneous regret when the sugar seeped into your brain and turned you into a psychotic hyped up crazy person.  Then you ran up to me with wild hair and socks on your hands in the middle of your sugar & cinnamon induced puppet show and sweetly said…

“Thumbs up for stinky socks, Mother.  Thanks for the cinnamon toast, and MAYBE you should buy me some gloves or puppets so I don’t have to wear old stinky socks on my hands anymore…”

…why does my heart just melt with you?

At what age will cuteness no longer be a factor in how long I remain irritated?

I hope the age is 97, but common sense tells me it’s probably going to be 12 or 13.

Such is life.

Learn to cook. It will make you a more accomplished person and of great use to me when I’m old & feeble and can no longer drive myself to McDonalds.

I love you, my little darlings.

Mother