First Time For Everything

This is a first. And I don't quite know how to do it.

Someone sent me something, something for me, something not to give away on my blog, something for me to keep, and, well, that's never actually happened before.

So, I guess I'll just say this: My little family is growing, and you can read all about it on my review blog, my blog that I've so far only used for BlogHer. But I pinky swear, I'll make it worth it to you. Well, 1/2 of you, and Deb.

And here, I'll give you a little hint.

I Still Wish I Had, Just A Little.

A long time ago, when I only had two kids, when I was still in my twenties, I lived in this apartment building in downtown Denver.  I had an assigned parking space, and right after I returned from a two week trip to Phoenix, I noticed that the space next to mine was occupied.  By an asshat.  I swear, that little red VW Jetta or whatever was never parked straight.  That car was almost completely diagonal in its spot, all the time, and it meant that I couldn't open the back door on the drivers side to get my kid out of his carseat.  The first time, I didn't worry about it.  The second time, I grumbled.  The third time, I came *this* close to leaving a little note, which would have gone something like this:

"If you fuck like you park, you'll never get it in."



I didn't.  Thank god.  The asshat owner of the car turned out to be a tragically cute boy who is now my kids' godfather, and his mother is now my best friend, and yeah, that would have just been awkward.

There's no point, really, except to say that it turns out, I'm not the only one with a penchant for finely crafted notes.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go laugh until I cry the rest of this mascara off.

For Every Action

The scene: the 8 year old and the 3 year old are goofing around on the couch.

The 3 year old gets a little too amped up, and starts tackling the 8 year old.  And then the biting starts.  The 3 year old is asked repeatedly to stop.  She ignores all of us.  I go over to her, get down on her level, take her hands in mine so she's forced to look right at me, and in my deepest mommy voice, say "Dude, stop.  Do NOT hit your brother.  Do NOT bite your brother.  Do NOT jump on his head.  NO NO.  Do you understand that?"  She nods, barely.   "2of3 is all done.  You will not touch your brother, okay?"  She sort of shakes her head yes.  "Okay, then."

I let go of her hands and slowly start to stand up.  She reaches out her sweet, pudgy little arm, points out her delicate little pointer finger, and while still solidly holding my gaze, she slowly, deliberately, reaches over and puts that precious little finger right on his leg.

The appropriate reaction to this would be to:

  • Ground her for the rest of her life?

  • Throw my hands in the air and take up the drink?

  • Research the legalities behind auctioning her off on eBay?

  • Shoot a snot-rocket out of my nose while trying to stifle my laughter?

Just Say No

Five Star Friday
THIS IS THE TIME FOR LOVE TO STEP UP AND SHOW HATE HOW TO DANCE.

Someone much stronger and wiser than me said that to me the other day, and it has shuffled about in my head ever since.  I don't want to touch hate, I don't want it anywhere near me or my family, and yet it is all around, it's right over there in the corner.  I have two choices: I can ignore it, or I can take its hand and lead it to the floor.  I can be silent, or I can not be.

Proposition 8 eliminates the constitutional right of same sex couples to marry in California.  I don't live in California, and I'm not gay, and that is no excuse for me at all to think this doesn't affect me.  It affects all of us.  It is a huge step BACKWARDS in the mitigated progress our country has made in tackling discrimination.  Hell, we can't even try to elect a man with dark skin and an untimely middle name to the office of President without 1/3 of the nation calling him a terrorist.  We have a long way to go, but the one thing I thought we'd already covered was this:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I don't much like it that guns are legal, and I'm pretty sure that a gun could do a whole lot more damage to my child than two dudes getting hitched could, but you have the constitutional right to carry one, and I am never, ever going to try to take that away from you, no matter how misinterpreted, outdated and downright dangerous I find that right to be.  My opinion does not dictate yours.

My opinion about Proposition 8 should not and will not dictate yours, either.  I just can't understand why someone should be put into the position where they felt that they had to fight for the right to keep their family together?  Why would we put someone in that position?  Are we that cruel a nation?

THIS IS THE TIME FOR LOVE TO STEP UP AND SHOW HATE HOW TO DANCE.

My cousin and her amazing, loving wife have a brand new baby girl.  It took them forever to get pregnant, and the pregnancy was really hard, but they got their baby, my little niece Ella.  Their family is finally complete after almost a decade of trying.  They are beyond happy and fulfilled.  They are wonderful mothers.  BOTH OF THEM.

My best couple-friends just finalized their adoption of a little baby boy, a choice they made after the IV fertilization failed and the frozen eggs were all used up.  The second they laid eyes on that boy, they fell to their knees and cried.  I sat with them two months ago, and watched them chase their baby around the house, watched them sing him to sleep, and you have never in your life seen two more awe-struck, charmed parents in your whole life.  They were born to be fathers to that child, BOTH OF THEM.

Polly, oh Polly.  I'm not even going to try to put it into words.  Here:



That is a family; a real, living, breathing family and they need each other just as much as you need your husband or your wife or your mother or your father.  Those two love those children, their beautiful children, with every single tiny inch of their being.  And those children, well, look at them.  That is joy.  That is love.  I came from a couple married in the church and I never once had that look on my face my entire childhood.

THIS IS THE TIME FOR LOVE TO STEP UP AND SHOW HATE HOW TO DANCE.

Your family is not in danger, but theirs are.  Someone wants to tell them that what they have is wrong and a lie and unnatural.  And what they have is dinners and coloring books and diaper changes and Backyardigans reruns.  They only difference is that they had to fight a lot harder for it than you or I did, and that a whole lot of people hate them for it.

THIS IS THE TIME FOR LOVE TO STEP UP AND SHOW HATE HOW TO DANCE.

It is time for us to stand up, as a nation, as human beings, and say that family is important, no matter what twist your family takes.  Whether you are gay, or lesbian, or straight, or a parent, or single or childless or adoptive or fostering or a single parent, you have the inalienable right to pursue your happiness.  I think the world could use a little more happy, solid, loving couples.  I think that we could all learn a lesson in what devotion is, against all odds.

If Elizabeth Taylor can do it 7 times, why can't they?

THIS IS THE TIME FOR LOVE TO STEP UP AND SHOW HATE HOW TO DANCE.

Let's show them how we dance.  Let's tell California that we as a nation believe in the right of every citizen to have a family, to have the basic, legal rights afforded any straight American over the age of 18 with an ink pen, a buzz and a witness dressed like Elvis.  Please, talk to your friends, write on your blogs, donate to the cause if you can, send a letter to Arnold and say no.  No, we will not step backwards into history.  No, we will not discriminate against people based on ANYTHING.  No, this is not a Theocracy, and one religious groups beliefs do not constitutional amendments make.  This is America, and last time I checked, we offered liberty and justice for all.

Updates: Florida and Arizona are trying to pass similar amendments.  Read these two posts for more on the Arizona amendment.

Damn Near A Century Isn't Half Bad

Saturday night, I couldn't sleep.  Which is weird only because I was so tired, my eyeballs burned.  I tossed and turned and eventually took something to knock me out.  I figured I was just over-tired, or had one too many cups of tea that night.  Oh, no.

My great aunt Baba died on Saturday night.

I do these things.  I dream about old, ex boyfriends that I haven't thought about in years, and the next morning they call to say, "Hey, we had a baby last night!"  No matter what I'm doing, I look at the clock every time it says 12:34.  If I'm asleep, I will wake up for it.  Talk about annoying.  If I sleep through my alarm clock, I will wake up exactly 5 minutes before I have to be where I am late for getting to.

Anyway, that's so not the point.  The point is, Auntie Baba took her leave of us in the middle of the night on Saturday.  I know you're going to be all, "Oh, I'm so sorry!" but really?  Don't.  Let me tell you a little about her first.

Auntie Baba is my husband's great aunt, his father's aunt.  She was born in 1913, which is before WWI.  Which, WOW.  She was married to her husband Gordon for 50 years or so before he died.  They never had kids, they traveled, they collected things from around the world, they had friends and played bridge and did whatever it was they wanted to.  They owned a little mobile home in Palm Springs, and though I imagine they could have afforded more, they were more than happy with their little home on the golf course in the desert.

I met Baba many years after her husband died, when she was 87.  We'd mailed pictures and letters, but when she was 85 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Her response was more or less, "Fuck THAT shit."  And that little 85 year old woman kicked cancer's ass.  I took the boys to meet her after her treatments, and let me tell you, that woman was a rock star. She was pissed off that they wouldn't let her keep her driver's license, even though she was slowly going blind.  I mean, 'how exactly did they think she was going to get to Bridge and seriously, everyone in Palm Springs is ancient and they all drive like shit.  Why can't she, too?  I asked her what the secret to her health and longevity was, and she told me.

She drank a lot, she smoked a little, she swore, she traveled and she loved.

That's a smart girl, if you ask me.  She had happy hour at 3 pm sharp every day.  She had her friends and her bridge club (she REALLY liked bridge, to each his own.)  She had a "suitor", and I don't ever want to know what the meaning in those quotation marks is.  She lived surrounded by her family, her niece and the families that have grown from her, and my husband's family.  Her walls dripped with photographs spanning generations, children and families that all loved her dearly.  She loved my children, who look like her cherished and only nephew, their grandfather, who died entirely too young and took a piece of her heart with him.

We all had no doubt they'd be saying her name on the tv and over the radio in 5 years, when she hit 100 in full force.

She regularly wrote, and as she grew older, the letters became harder to read.  The Christmas checks for the kids grew larger, to the point where I questioned whether or not she actually knew the dollar amounts she was writing.  In her letters, in her scribbles of handwriting, I could see her slowly slipping away.  But that woman held on as long as she could.  She went out kicking and screaming, and once the dementia took her, it wasn't a month before her body gave out, too.

There is one thing Baba will never do, and that is not live life on her own terms.

She has insisted on being cremated and her ashes entombed in some sort of column thingy, all the way on top, where the sun will always shine on her and she'll be forever warm.  She's asked that there be no services of any kind for her, which feels odd to me.  I mean, of all the lives to celebrate, hers was the one.  She was a shining example of taking a life by the reigns and riding as hard as you can.

But what Baba wants, Baba gets.

Our family will quietly commemorate her life one day next week, once she is settled in for an eternity of desert winds, and I will do my best to teach them the things that she would have wanted them to know; that life is too short for regrets, that anything worth doing is worth doing well, that you don't need more than what keeps you comfortable, and that if you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong.

Rest in peace, dear Baba.  Rock on, baby, rock the fuck on.