inaugural thoughts.

Each of us approaches this inauguration day of our new president with a litany of feelings. We each have our expectations – preconceived ideas; some have worries, others excitement. Some believe this is the best, most God-ordained time in recent history, and some view the new president as the devil himself, or better yet, the anti-Christ.  One thing is for sure, this is the most polarizing time I’ve ever been alive for.

Some might call me an opinionated person. They might be right.  I haven’t been silent about my frustrations or concerns about this election or President Trump.  I didn’t like him as a reality TV star and I don’t care for him as a president. I support things like marriage and civil equality, and I believe that some of the policies and ideals entering the White House may put those things in jeopardy.  My family has a very real spiritual life and commitment to follow the teachings of Jesus the way we feel He puts them on our heart. I don’t necessarily think some of the things that are being represented or initiated by the incoming presidency reflects those things. These things are the heart of my disappointments in our new President.  Those are the facts as I know them, and I’m not inclined to apologize for them at this time.

However, in a conversation with my always and forever level headed and even-keeled, even to the point of annoyance husband today, I realized two things:
1) I literally married a saint. He is by far the most level-headed and even keeled person I know, EVEN TO THE POINT OF ANNOYANCE and 
2) I know (almost certainly, but not quite) that the world isn’t going to fall apart in the next four years. Or probably even eight if we get to that.  Dear God, that really hurt to type.

Eight years ago a guy went into office that I kind of liked, but the most I knew about him was that he offered “hope” and he was the first black president which was exciting. I didn’t care about the election much beyond that. I didn’t vote for him (or against him) and I cared about politics about as much as I care about what’s in the AARP pamphlet that gets mailed to my house now: not a lot.  Half of the country was convinced he was going to burn our country to the ground, steal our guns, legalize people marrying their toasters and make the white man a second class citizen.  Flash forward to today, and the other half of the country is convinced the new president is going to invite the Russians in to burn the country to the ground, put guns in every school, repeal all civil rights and terrorize people of every color that happen to be a shade darker than white.  I sincerely hope and pray that the fears being voiced today hold to be just as empty as the fears voiced eight years ago.

It’s a safe bet that every single person in this country knows someone who voted opposite of them (or how they would have voted.)  I am surrounded by die-hard Trump supporters- people who wore red, white and blue and were glued to their televisions all day and are probably throwing celebrations tonight.  I also know people who wore all black today and didn’t dare turn on the television and are participating in (peaceful) protest marches tomorrow (not to be confused with vandals and idiots who are not actually protesting anything other than morals and their own intelligence.)

Most of those celebrating this history making moment are good people. They voice hope in a proposed resolution to the things that they fear and the things they are convicted about in their lives.   Just as most of the those in opposition are not crybaby liberals that think we should all just walk into Wall Street and take billionaire money to use for our very own and never do an honest day’s work in our lives.  Those I know who are Trump supporters do not generally walk around spewing racist hatred, sexist dominance or other vitriol.  Some do; I’m not going to pretend they don’t. Some are critical and judgmental and angry.  They are ignorant and bullies and just downright rude.  Just as some liberals are hateful and angry and jump on every chance to be an ignorant bully in their way, and most aren’t. They are these things with or without Trump. They were these people before this election and they’ll probably be these people after Trump’s administration does whatever they’re going to do.

I don’t like being called a brainless retard (aka libtard sheeple) for believing like I do any more than the other side likes being called a racist deplorable.  It hurts.  I also don’t like being told I’m not a real Christian because I believe in marriage equality and women’s rights any more than other Christians like being judged for believing God might be able to use such a scoundrel of a man.  It’s not my place to pretend to be God and place judgement. If I say that they don’t reserve the right to judge anyone, then I guess I don’t get to judge them.  And damn if that doesn’t punch me right in the gut as I type it.

Calling Donald Trump an orange oompa-loompa is no less hateful and angry than calling Michelle Obama a monkey.  It’s so hateful and disgusting and I literally feel sick typing that- but both are rooted in anger and hatred- one seems more innocent, but I just don’t think it is.  Just because I happen to hate the “oompa-loompa” (and I’m really working on not hating right now, help me Jesus) doesn’t make it less.  I want it to with every fiber of my being, but hate is hate. Barf.  Jesus take the wheel. (I’m trying, not perfect, okay.)

The truth of the situation is this:  I’m a white woman married to a white man and our little tiny life is not going to change a whole lot through all of this.  Heck, some things will probably end up benefiting us.  Our kids seem to be straight white people and they have enough of their mother’s downright scrappiness and their daddy’s good heart that they’re going to be just fine.  They might have to fight harder for some things than if a different president were in place, who knows.  I know not everyone I love has these same privileges. I want so desperately to make your fears and the very real reasons that you have them go away.  I want to say that this is all going to be okay and that your rights will not only be protected but progress will continue to be made.  I can’t say that.  I have no idea what will actually come of all of this.

I can promise that I will continue to stand and do all I can in my world to make those things be.  I will pray. I’ll pray for you and for the president and for those that he has put in power. And I will hope.  I will hope against hope and when all is lost I will hope and pray some more.  And then I will get up off my knees, and I will fight.  I will fight for love and I will fight for liberty, but I will do it without hate.  I will not even hate the bully that doesn’t know when to shut his mouth and just keep moving.  I might have to tell him to shut up, but I will not hate.  Not here and not now.  It seems to me that sometimes fighting is confused with hating – at least it is for me, and this is something I will change in me.

At the end of the day, each and every one of us want the same things. We want to be heard. We want to be given the same chance at life that we think the other guy has.  We want a chance at victory in fighting our battles and achieving success for our hard work.  We want to love and be loved and for those around us to celebrate our love.  We want to be understood.  We want someone to stand next to us and have our back.  We want to matter. We might show it differently, but this is the core of who we are.  This is what we are fighting for.  This is what I will fight for, and this is what I will give – to those who voted for Trump, to those who voted for Hillary and to those who didn’t vote at all.

 

every little thing…is okay

Jim and I were in a new doctor’s office the other day answering an hour and a half interview about Jordan.  I’ve lost count of how many doctors we’ve had these conversations with at this point. Much less than some people I know, but more than I care to think about…six, eight? I don’t know.  We get to the part where they ask about his birth.

“Was it an exceptionally stressful time?” Is there really part of the last 15 years that wasn’t exceptionally stressful? I can’t remember.

“Was it a typical birth?” As typical as a planned C-Section is, yah.

“Was there any concerns immediately after delivery?”  Well, his initial APGAR scores were low and it took forever for him to cry, but within a couple of minutes no one was worried anymore.

Jim chimes in.  It wasn’t that long, babe. It was all less than a minute; it just seemed really long.

He and the doc share a knowing glance…

Well, here we are again. Me trying to come up with reasons that force it all to make sense.  I could see on the doctor’s face, this isn’t new to him. I’m sure moms everywhere are trying to put their finger on the WHY, even after we know there’s no way of knowing the why, or maybe the why isn’t a why but more like 50 whys. Or there’s no why at all.

But I want a why. I want to blame something. someone. even if that someone is me, that’s okay.  I get tired and I want answers, so then I can finally fix it. I’m a fixer.  It’s really the worst thing you can be when you have a kid who isn’t always typical, because…there’s just no fixing some things.  And then you feel guilty for even thinking that your perfectly amazing child would ever need fixing.  And so the cycle goes.

These past few weeks have been a little more challenging than normal.  Not with Jordan; he’s actually excelling, I think.  It’s been challenging just within our family as a whole. Finances are tight, as they are this time of year: recovering from the holidays, paying for sports fees and gear, a huge car repair bill – the usual stuff.  But the usual stuff sometimes feels more stifling when you’re a one income family.

Years ago, we made this decision. We will sacrifice financially so that I can be there for both of the kids in the needs that are unique to them.  There have been times when I’ve gone back to work when we really needed it, or when we thought the kids were ready, but then realized maybe they weren’t. I’ve owned and run successful businesses from home, but it always ends with us feeling like the kids are taking a back seat and that I need to focus on them.  It’s hard – finding that balance. It’s hard for everyone.  I think, and I’ve heard from others too, it’s even harder when your family is a little more than typical.

Studies say the average family with a special needs kid spends $17,000 more per year than other families. Co-Pays and prescriptions alone add up to more than half of that in our family (never mind deductibles that I don’t even want to think about.) Then you have therapy expenses, special purchases, and the truck loads of kinetic sand and silly putty I’m constantly searching for, and…you get it.  I’d say $17k is the understatement of the year.  Sometimes I just have to acknowledge these things to keep perspective.  Sometimes I just need to tell myself it’s okay.

It’s okay that I don’t bring in $60k+ per year like most of the women my age and with my background.  It’s not time for that.  It’s okay that sometimes money gets tight and the only explanation I have for that is that “shit gets hard sometimes and we just have to get through it.”  It’s okay to feel suffocated by all of the needs and demands and “I DON’T FUCKING KNOW RIGHT NOWs.”  It’s okay.

It’s okay to not have the answers.  It’s okay to need to cry when no one is looking for no reason other than I can’t stop the tears from falling.  It’s okay to be sitting in a therapist’s office answering intake questions about my son and suddenly realize everyone in the room knows that I’m probably the one that most needs the therapy.

This is being mom to someone that needs more than the “average” kid. Whatever that means. And we’re all okay, or at least we will be after a hot bath and a good cry.