Grandpa Knows Best

My Father:  Harrison!  Harrison, come in here.  I’ve gathered some reading material for you.  Get your parents in here, too, they should also be prepared for what you may come into contact with now that you’ve started Kindergarten…

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…it’s worth noting that when glancing through the pamphlet for “Party Drugs” Harrison excitedly cried out, “LOOK, CANDY!”

Thanks, Grandpa.

 

 

Everything Isn’t Terrible (as Long as You Stay Away From the News)

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5:00 AM wake up.

The storm outside provides the calming sense that my children will sleep in later than usual. They both sleep more soundly when the weather is terrible. Strange.

I get coffee.

I check Yahoo.com for the news, wondering if any new horrific events happened while I slept. The top story is about how the Russian passenger plane crash that killed 224 people in Egypt last month was caused by a homemade explosive device and Putin is vowing revenge on terrorists. I wonder briefly how it was possible that I wasn’t more informed of this huge plane crash that killed so many people. I decide it must be because nobody had taken cell phone pictures and tweeted about it with the right hashtag. Or maybe it was because the people who died were all Russian and I’m American so…it doesn’t pertain to me?

Does it?

Or maybe I’m just a self involved person who doesn’t read the news enough.

Right next to it is the story that will surely be at the top within a few hours: Charlie Sheen allegedly has HIV and will be announcing it on the Today show.

I allow myself to feel sad for humanity for 5 seconds and then move on.

I decide to follow a few more people on Twitter, not really reading anything because Twitter bores me but I like the little rush of the “ding” when I get a notification.

I check out Instagram and covet the new jacket Stitch Fix has posted even though I know it won’t look nearly as cute on me. I also don’t need a jacket but don’t really have a problem buying one because my husband makes a great salary and shopping gives me a temporary high.

I get more coffee.

I move on to Facebook. I decide to scroll through my feed to see how many people have the “We Support Paris” stuff as their profile pictures.

A lot. There is a lot of support for Paris.

I scroll past an article someone posted that includes pictures of dead people from the massacre. I wonder how those pictures are allowed to be public. I remember when I watched the Nicholas Berg beheading online. That was over 10 years ago. It still haunts me.

I read an article someone posted informing the world that the article about the 10,000 Syrian refuges arriving in New Orleans and all of them being men is false, that only 7 people (2 families from Syria) have been settled in New Orleans. I wonder if THAT article is true. I wonder if anything I read is true. I feel grateful that I didn’t talk too much about the 10,000 refugees arriving in New Orleans even though the timing of it all seemed terrifying.

I start scrolling again and see that 17 people have a variation of the, “It’s Christmastime and Christians are stupid because Mary and Joseph were refugees and needed a place to stay and now the Christians are wanting to turn away the Syrian refugees who need help” posts.

I notice that a few atheist friends are pretty happy that their states don’t want the refugees. They probably have a better reason for not wanting the refugees, though. A smarter reason than the Christian folk. Surely.

I wonder if people would feel differently if, instead of Mary and Joseph being turned away because they were poor and different, the bible story went, “…and the inn keepers kept turning them away because just a few days earlier reports of men using their pregnant wives as a sympathy ploy to gain access to inns in order to murder the owner and take over the business surfaced and the innkeepers had to make the decision to err on the side of caution in order to protect their own families…”

Fear is a funny thing. Or not funny, depending on the situation.

I decide to unfollow people.

I start feeling depressed as it starts raining harder.

I subscribe to a new subscription box. Makeup.

I hear children crying. I check on mine but they’re still asleep. I start thinking about ghosts. I start thinking about how it is entirely possible that I’ve somehow stepped into another dimension and their reality is melding with my reality and I’m going to be hearing children crying forever and I’ll be unable to do anything to help them.

I feel silly for thinking that.

…but not really, because who knows?

I feel sad. I feel scared. I feel helpless.

So much is wrong in the world, so many people are in need. So many people need protection. The horrible things just keep coming and are peppered with things like Charlie Sheen having HIV or Lamar Odom drinking himself into a coma and I feel terrified for our world.

But also paralyzed. Paralyzed in the midst of excessive horror and so I do nothing. Because I just don’t know where to start.

My son runs into my room, crashing into my bed, still half asleep because he doesn’t understand that it’s ok to just stay in bed a few minutes until you’re completely awake. He climbs up next to me and snuggles under the covers, under my arm, completely uncaring about the fact that I’m trying to type on the computer.

Because he knows that nothing is more important than he is.

He knows I would easily cast aside 10,000 or more people I don’t know to keep him safe.

“Mommy…Mommy…Mom…”

“One second.”

Big sigh.

“MOMMY! I don’t have patience!

At 6:24 AM I get more coffee.

I make pancakes.

I brush my hair.

I put on makeup.

I pack my son’s lunch.

He gets upset when I put a banana in his lunchbox even though he begged me for bananas just two days ago. I get upset with him and tell him about children who would kill for a banana and he looks confused because he is only 4 and shouldn’t have to think about starving children.

He’s right. Kind of.

None of us should have to think about starving children. There shouldn’t be any children who are starving in this world.

I decide to unplug from social media for the day and vow to do things that will make the world a little brighter for tomorrow.

***published 11/17/2015 via my http://www.ragsrestyled.com blog originally but reposted here because that blog has moved in a different direction.

Squad Goals are the New Goals

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Feeling lonely since we moved to Florida.  Came across this picture of my kids with a few of their old pals and almost cried.

There was fighting on this day.  Block throwing, lightsaber hitting, non-sharing and tears were involved.  But love overcame it all and at the end of the play date nobody wanted to leave (except the mothers, of course, since it was nap time).

I’ve learned that the mark of a true Mommy friend is when your kid does something awful to another kid and the mother just looks at you like, “Is it time for a carafe of wine yet?”

New goal (instead of unpacking, getting the house together, building up my wardrobe) is to make at least 1 new friend a week, whether it be for me, the kids or my husband.

Gotta build up that village.

#squadgoals

“That Dog”: First Baby -vs- Human Baby

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It was the end of my Junior year in College. I couldn’t pass Spanish because my instructor was a woman who refused to fall prey to my impeccable flirting. I was sad. So, as per the norm when sadness arrived, I took a trip to the pet store at the local mall.

Since I was young and in excellent health I wore pointy toe 4″ stilettos to walk the mall.  I carefully maneuvered past the clothing shops, the cookie cart, the handsome men catcalling me who always tried in vain to get me to purchase a steam iron…until I arrived at the front of the pet shop window.

…and there you were.

Tiny. Blonde. Sitting so still while all the other wild animals barked madly around you.  We locked eyes and it was…love.  An instant, unselfish, pure & unbreakable love.

I thrust the young sales boy my soon to be maxed out credit card that the bank had foolishly given me even though I didn’t have a job and charged the $94.99 that you cost because in 2002 a chihuahua/maltese mix was a mutt, not a designer dog.  In just a few years your breed would sell for upwards of $750.

Marketing.

Life is strange.

Together we took on the world.  The “No Pets Allowed” law didn’t apply to us because I just didn’t care and you were very quiet.  We ate together in the nicest of restaurants, people stared in jealousy at your various designer rhinestone encrusted ensembles, you traveled across America and stayed at numerous hotels illegally. You made television appearances, were almost shot by the police, cheated death at a haunted house, ate 99 cent Jack in the Box tacos for 6 months straight without complaining, fought off alligators & fell in love with Scooby Doo.

You were there for my greatest triumphs.

You were there for my greatest heartbreaks.

You never asked for anything except love and table scraps.

You are 13 and your health is failing.  I can see this.  I know you don’t hear as well.  I see you miss the couch when you jump.   I hear you coughing.

…and I’m awful.  I don’t deserve you. Because instead of showing you love, for the past few months I have shown you what can only be described as hate.

I call you “that dog” and I feel anger when I trip over you.  I resent having to walk you outside 5 times a day because our fence isn’t put in yet.  When you bark I cringe because it means you’ll wake the children.

The human children.

Because once I had those human children I forgot about my first baby.

And I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.

Everyone said it would happen. I didn’t believe them.

I don’t know how it happened.

I don’t remember when it happened.

I just know it happened.

I have been mean to you.  I have not given you the respect and love that you deserve, that you’ve earned.

Juliette yelled at me again today.  Her terrible two attitude is at an all time high and while I know it’ll pass (please, GOD, let it pass) it doesn’t make the bad moments with her any easier. When I finally got her to go down for a nap I sat on the kitchen floor and cried because…I’m a crier. I am who I am. I should buy stock in waterproof mascara.

You sauntered up to me, sniffing the whole time, probably looking for dropped chex mix.  You looked at me with your cataract eyes, listened to me sniffle with your floppy ears, laid your graying head in my lap and sighed in solidarity.

The stench from the breath you exhumed was borderline unbearable.  I just don’t know what to do about your teeth.  But the action set off a flood of memories of all the times I’ve been at the end, feeling unable to go on and you were there to make things better.

I love you, Alexander Marco Bray-Frazier.

You are a good dog, and I promise to be better, to be the owner you deserve.

I’m going to go take you on a walk.  Please don’t poop in front of our new neighbors.

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