December 31, 2012

THANKS, 2012.

It's going fast.... this train. But I am definitely on board. It's hard to believe that during this "don't blink for a second" year, so much has happened. Not stuff, but moments. Memories. Changes. My LIFE.

Let's see... In 2012, in no particular order...

2) I moved myself, my son, (and everything but the couch) in with my boyfriend to a new home. (His couch was much, much better than ours). 

3) I traveled to the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere and held the hands of extremely sick children. (Will be able to fully discuss this life altering adventure in a few more months).

4) I saw Bruce Springsteen in concert for the first time.

5) I heard a trauma surgeon tell me that my son's life was saved because of his car seat.

6) I paid off a lot of debt. 

7) I became fully aware and almost understanding of how all things Star Wars and Transformers will one day just shift into all things Sunday and Red Zone (See #2).

8) I volunteered in my son's Kindergarten class. Kinder.Garten.

9) I was featured on Elizabeth Street. Kinda cool. 

10) I found myself. My calling. My love. And my strength. 

It's been a good year. And I'm certain 2013 will be even better.

Happy New Year. Be safe, be happy, and be grateful. We are blessed. 

December 20, 2012


This is hardly the first post about what happened last Friday… Hardly the first post, by a “mom blogger” about frustration and fear…. Hardly the first post about a citizen of this country feeling stuck and helpless, yet restless and eager for change IMMEDIATELY… And it’s hardly the first anything that can change the fact that 6 brave adults aren't alive to build a better future and that 20 beautiful babies are no longer playing on a yard at recess, or learning to read and write, or creating art that would have ultimately ended up on an already cluttered fridge, or becoming the “when I grow up” people they dreamt of being…

What I write, I realize, will have no profound impact on anyone… and certainly not on policy. Or change. Or the parents who’s eulogies made me weep as if these children were family members…

But I have to say something. If I don’t, it’ll just sit with me. So here goes…

I do not believe we are in anyway more violent than we were we in 1791. We’re more imaginative with access to creating and manufacturing stories and images electronically and digitally, perhaps. But, more violent? I don’t think so.

We’ve all spent enough time in early American History classes and museums to know how the West was won. We have read books and seen photos of how the South fought the North. We have watched the very last veterans of WW2 return to Normandy to tell the story of how we fought the Nazis. We have witnessed young men return from Vietnam with missing limbs and no place to go. And we have most certainly seen live footage of Baghdad… and Afghanistan… lit up with explosion.

Nothing but machinery has changed. War is war and violence is violence. 

I also do not believe that we are anymore mentally unstable than we were in 1791. Mental illness has existed since before “mental illness” even had a definition. Those “afflicted” with the disease either suffered alone and undiagnosed, died young (as did most people since the average life span was 37 years), or were sent to an asylum-like prison to undergo barbaric procedures. They were never “fit for society.” We know chemical imbalances, mood disorders, anxiety and depression, and even Autism and Asperger’s existed then. Doctors just didn’t have a name other than “lunacy” for it.

Nothing but science has changed. Crazy is crazy and genetics are genetics.

Look, I’m the first person to close my eyes and squeeze my boyfriend’s arm to the point of puncture wound during a violent or scary movie scene. And, admittedly, I’m the first person to agree that television programs and movies that are advertised towards my young son (which he happily devours) are probably too graphic and too disturbing for his 5 year-old brain.  Do I worry the memories of these images are what keeps him up at night? Yes. Do I worry that after being in a car accident this summer, (that could have killed him), that loud noises and violent explosions (even of the superhero, web-slinging kind), could unnerve him and increase post-traumatic stress? YES, of course. Do I worry that even the horribly acted and written scenes of Power Rangers or even a Light saber toting Luke Skywalker of the Legos Star Wars video game could have a negative affect on his brain waves? YES! Because it does! Science has proven that these games and images DO affect certain areas of the brain, which are associated with self-control and concentration. SO YES. I worry. Because, I know. It. HAS. A. PROFOUND. AFFECT. ON. HIS. BRAIN. DEVELOPMENT.

EVERYTHING DOES… The good. The bad. The ugly. And most certainly, those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad GMO’s. Right??? Right.

BUT, despite this constant state of imperfection and parental insecurity, (which is the creative force behind what I write and how I think… so for that inner conflict, I am grateful), there is actually one thing I don’t concern myself with. One truth that I know:

NONE of these images and NONE of these games and NONE of my lazy “Well... I guess it’s a McDonald’s kind of dinner” will make my son BE violent. Darth Vader and Optimus Prime don’t deserve that much credit. Nor do the decades of anxiety or depression that have, at times, gripped various family members… 

I can’t blame these things for a violent culture and neither should you. (They do get the same movies and the same bouts of depression in Canada and Switzerland too, you know...)

My point is, is someone’s child dying because of a drunk driver or an over-dose on drugs any less heinous, less sad, or less violent than a massive gun shooting???? NO. Murder is murder and death of a child is death OF A CHILD.

It’s horrific. It’s disturbing. And it’s unfair.

The difference is control of said weapon(s). The difference is access. The difference is our officials DO try to stop this. They do have strict regulations. They do have patrol and jurisdiction. They even DO have education and conversations with youngsters to raise awareness… Awareness that isn’t in the form of a fucking “crisis drill.” Or in the form of a child having to walk through a metal detector to go to 1st Grade. Or in the form of a school principal walking around a play yard with a loaded weapon.

That’s not a DIFFERENCE. That’s a band-aid. And that’s a life of living in fear.

The difference has nothing to do with mental illness or violence…. And it most certainly does NOT have to do with the removal of God in schools or in our hearts.

The difference is strict laws and a societal acknowledgement of RIGHT AND WRONG. I just hope we get it right… soon. And I sure as hell hope we take the ACCESS TO WRONG off of our nation's "moral grid" and OUT of our neighborhoods. For good. Forever. For our children.

December 12, 2012


This is what happens when 5 year-olds get to "recoup" at grandma's house (aka "Mimi").
Her robe. Her belt. Some random stick. And a request to make his hair look "just like Luke's." Priceless. (Tomorrow he goes back to school).

December 4, 2012


As I've mentioned recently, it's safe to say that at age 36, I am who I am. The quirks, traits, and possibly even fates are likely sealed and determined.  But after a very special and life-changing trip last week to a foreign country, (a trip in which I cannot talk about until April 2013, but am BURSTING at the seams to share), I have a little more drive to "fix myself..." To be better. To feel better. To heal. And to accept the things I cannot change....

It's amazing what a little perspective and time away can do...

Everyone has something they wish they were better at, so I know I'm not alone in the quest for self improvement and evolution. In fact, it seems that my very own 5 year old is in a state of self discovery and trying to work out some of his own shortcomings... Truth be told, I'm sort of spearheading this effort...

The struggle du jour, or month, seems to be listening.... Asking Jonah to listen THE FIRST TIME...  You need to listen. You're not listening to me. I'm yelling because you're not listening. You will get what you want but you need to listen. I'm walking away because you're not listening to me.... And on. And on. And on.

Combine the not listening with his general poop and fart talk, (that I've tried to explain only kills with the other 47" tall crowd), and my patience is pretty much gone and DONE. I turn into the mom I never want to be with fury I hate to have.

Yesterday, we had a "battle of the listening" just trying to get his teeth brushed before school. On our walk to school, (which lately seems to be the only part of the day that he fully listens, engages, and refrains from the 5 year old behavior that makes me want to pull my hair out), I seized the opportunity to talk about how listening makes things easier, and what are the things we can do to "help" each other and things we can work on....  After he told me all the things, he wished I would change (LOL), he said:

J:  Mommy, I'm going to try to do better. I promise.
Me: I'm so happy to hear that. I'm going to try to do better too.
J: You know what else I've been trying to work on?
Me: What's that?
J: Basketball.
Me: Basketball?
J: Yeah. Everyday at recess, my friends and I play basketball. But they're all better than me. And I've never made a basket.
Me: That's okay. You will. You just have to keep trying.
Me:  If you want, we could sign you up for basketball, just like TBall, and then you can learn a little bit more and it might help you.
J: Nah. I don't need lessons.... Because I'm not going to be a basketball ball player when I grow up.
J: What's the scientist that does stuff with rocks and space and rocks and volcane-noos?
Me: Geologists...?
J: Yeah. I'm going to be that.... Mommy, when you were little, what did you tell your friends when they asked what you wanted to be?
Me: I told them I wanted to be an actress... Do you know what an actress is?
J: Can you remind me?
Me: It's someone you see on shows... in the movies or on TV...
J: I saw my Grandpa on TV once.
Me: Yes. But he's not an actor.
J: I know. He's only a lawyer.

I guess the point is... we can both be whoever and whatever we want. Whatever it is, and however we'll be, we just need to try to be good and happy doing it. And patient. Change takes practice.... And definitely, definitely the ability to listen.