Welcome to the Club

My sister called me this morning and asked me to lie to her. I don’t like to lie. I’m not very good at it and I honestly find the truth to be much more incredible, hilarious, and easier to keep up with. But she begged. So I did.

I told her that my husband and I were living the dream in our home with five kids (ages 16, 17, 18, 20, and 21) decorated with hearts, butterflies, and rainbows and that all that stuff we’d heard about how difficult these years would be is just a big box of hot air bought and paid for by pharmaceutical companies pushing their Xanax dreams. I told her that her two lovely early teens would be mature, pleasant, helpful, drama-free, productive members of society all throughout their teen years, just like mine have been and continue to be. I offered her my Groupon savings for unicorn rides at the next Mother-of-the-Year Awards Gala event.

And then I told her that they may want to consider upgrading that wine cellar they have and I’d be her designated driver if she needed to restock. Or I could load all the 12-step program meeting locations into her iPhone next time she came by here.

The truth is Dr. David Walsh wasn’t even remotely exaggerating when he wrote about the whole “teenage brain” thing. They are incapable of making rational and mature decisions. They’re just not equipped to make them. And it requires a hella lot of patience to stand by and point out why the choices they’re making are dumb or not well-thought-out or insane or whatever adjective you want to stick in here.

So, when my sister called and asked me to lie to her about this inevitable phase in her childrearing life, I did. I laughed all the way through it. But I did it because she just needed a little 30-second break from reality. Before hanging up, she said for me to tell my husband hi. He didn’t miss a beat when he replied, “Hi back. And welcome to the club.”

 

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Gearing Up for Starry Night Prom 2017

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See these bright smiles and happy faces in this photograph? They belong to some of the participants in the Starry Night Prom 2016. Starry Night Prom is a registered Non-Profit 501 (C) (3) organization that annually holds an all expense paid prom for Arlington ISD High School students with significant disabilities. Starry Night Prom is heading into its tenth year of hosting proms for these amazing kids and we want Starry Night Prom 2017 to be better than ever.

Throwing a prom at no cost for the students and their required chaperone requires donations, both money and in-kind. So the Starry Night Prom Vice-President of Donations has decided to start early this year. And our first fundraising event is already set up! With the help of the amazing, tasteful, and trendy: Charming Charlie (located in the Arlington Highlands.)

Charming Charlie is already having an awesome sale this entire Labor Day weekend. Why not do your shopping the first night of their sale to take advantage of their discount prices, fabulous selection, AND help a worthy cause? Think of the great Christmas gifts you can score ahead of the crowds! And don’t you think it’s time you got a new purse for yourself? Charming Charlie has bling, accessories, clothes, shoes, handbags, scarves and more.

How does your shopping help Starry Night Prom? It’s easy. If you show up this Friday, September 2, 2016 between 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. and shop, then you mention, “I want to support Starry Night Prom,” to the associate at check out. The associate will key in our special Starry Night Prom Chic Charity Event code into the register and then Charming Charlie will donate 10% of your total purchase price to Starry Night Prom. That’s it.

So, when and where and how is this again?

WHEN:          Friday, September 2, 2016
TIME:             From 5:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
WHERE:        Charming Charlie located at 3901 Arlington Highlands Blvd,

                         Suite 101

                        Arlington, TX 76018

HOW:            Just go to Charming Charlie at the address above. Buy from their entire selection of amazing products and mention STARRY NIGHT PROM to the associate at check out. PLEASE be sure to mention STARRY NIGHT PROM at the beginning of your check out process to ensure that they code the transaction properly so that STARRY NIGHT PROM will receive a donation in the amount of 10% of your total sale.

We at Starry Night Prom thank you in advance for coming out to support our worthy cause. Helping to give an Arlington ISD high school student with significant disabilities the opportunity to enjoy the Prom experience that they might not have been able to have is definitely a reason to smile. Don’t believe it? The proof is in those smiles in the photo above.

 

 

 

 

 

Now That I Can Breathe Without Tears

This was my post on Facebook the day following the tragic and brutal assassination of five police officers just 20 miles east of me in Dallas. I thought I would share it here and then expand:

“I spent the better part of last night with my ear glued to the radio. I feel like a giant rock is on my chest, I am so heartbroken that this happened here. And I am bracing myself to hear what weak attempt to link this cowardly and brutal assassination of our police officers to either the “open carry” side or the “stricter gun restrictions” side of the argument.
Our police force is NOT a means to anyone’s political end. These were good people who were hunted by a sniper’s rifle while they protected peaceful demonstrators who were exercising their 1st Amendment rights to express their solidarity with people of the other communities who lost young black men in violent deaths at the hands of a few bad cops.
That said, I also firmly believe that every one of those black men who were killed by police officers throughout this country were also good men whose lives were taken out of the fear, prejudice, bad judgment, overzealousness, incompetence, or power-drunken arrogance of a select group of police officers. Just as black criminals do not represent the entire black population, those bad cops do not represent law enforcement as a whole.
My heart hurts today and I just do not want to deal with Trump or Clinton or anyone else’s politically motivated soundbites to further their own campaigns on the backs of Blue or Black coffins.
‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬
‪#‎BackTheBlue‬
‪#‎UnitedWeStand‬

I am still “in the feels” about all of this. I have been since Trayvon Martin was shot four years ago. I’ve watched from the sidelines and spoken my peace in support of my fellow citizens from within the African-American community. I cannot ever understand how they must feel, having to worry every time their young men step outside the safety of their own homes.

I can only imagine that it is similar to how I feel every September 11th; how I go about my day with my butt cheeks clenched and acid burning a hole in my stomach as I wait for all my children and my husband to return home at the end of that day. How every time there is a shooting, hostage situation, or explosion within our borders the first thing that pops into my mind is, “Dear God. Please don’t let it be a Muslim that is committing this terrible act.” Only this anxiety for my black friends is one that they must endure in the backs of their minds EVERY day and not just annually or during some heinous event.

I want to cry out for them and I want to hug them and I want to scream. I want to be the one who organizes some sort of training program to run through all of the law enforcement academies from coast to coast and make sure that our police officers can learn to see our human sides and not affiliate skin color with criminal capability that crosses all racial lines. How do we turn off that hate? Is there an app for THAT?

I am the person who sees the good in others. I am excited that at my children’s high school on the lower socio-economic side of town, there is a police academy training program where the local community college and police academy choose from our predominately minority population to eventually protect and serve our community. This is affecting positive change in our city. I want this for all the cities. I want to see communities working together to improve the economy; opening and supporting small businesses within the poorer neighborhoods so that money is put back into the community and helping to cut unemployment rates, increase local spending, create pride.

I am not Pollyanna. I know that these things will not solve prejudicial views of all or fear due to racial misunderstandings by law enforcement agents. I know that there is no magic wand to “fix it” in the short term. But I know that what I would like to see happen would definitely contribute to a long-term fix of what’s broke in our country. I will continue to push for education opportunities within my own community. I will continue to teach my own kids empathy, fairness, and to stand on the side of right. I know that the genuinely good people of the United States will continue to do the same. And we can support our brothers and sisters of all skin colors, backgrounds, religions, cultures, and still support our law enforcement officials. I’m going to keep doing my part.

Definition of Teenager

As a frazzled mother of five kids under the age of 7, everyone I knew who had kids older than mine would tell me how it gets easier when they’re older. One of the side effects of Prozac, apparently, is selective memory. Those women are a giant pile of fucking liars.

The TRUTH is this:  Teenagers are nothing more than toddlers who can wipe their own asses. Everything else is exactly the same.

Symptom:                 Toddler                         Teenager

WHINING?                Yes                                Yes

TANTRUMS?             Yes                                Yes

DRAMA?                    Yes                                 Yes

NEED HELP 24/7?   Yes                                  Yes

WIPES OWN BUTT? No                                   Yes

That pretty much sums it up. I should know. I have had 5 toddlers. I now have 5 teenagers. My house is full of 3 non-thinking, testosterone-oozing, shouting, smelly, man-boys, 2 non-thinking, overly dramatic, menstruating, shouting, not-as-smelly woman-girls, and I’m perimenopausal.

My poor husband doesn’t stand a chance.

 

Appreciation for Those Who Tolerate

The list of people in my life (or who, more accurately WERE in my life) who hurt me and my family by using hateful remarks, posting misinformation and bigoted memes on social media, or worse, forward those same “helpful” gems to me and my husband via email, is a ridiculously long list. And the volume of crap that has been said/written/posted that truly hurts us to our cores is pretty substantial and would leave me with enough material to write about for at least another century. You know, if I chose to wallow in pain and past and the sins of others. Occasionally, I have done this and let’s face it:  Blogging is far less expensive than therapy at $350 per session. But I’m trying to not make this blog just another “bitch session” about family or those who I thought were my friends in some giant passive-aggressive public forum for lambasting those who are inconsiderate or rude or “holier-than-I.”

Instead, I’m cutting caustic relationships from my life. That does not mean that I hate these people. Hate is an emotion that would simply eat up too much of my time and energy. It means that I “nothing them” and will no longer allow them any place of value in my head or heart. I have tried to “bring them around” to the tolerant side of humanity but now that I have a headache from banging my forehead into that proverbial brick wall, I’m done. “Cling to your convictions of judging others and damning those of us who think or believe or look or worship or live differently from you! I’ll just go on doing what I do and thinking and believing and looking and worshiping and living differently and ya know what? I’ll still be happy. Happier in fact, because I ACCEPT that we are never going to agree and I’ve let go,” I shout now from the rooftops of this blog (but without all caps because that’s just annoying.)

I have no prejudices against religions. I grew up Catholic. Most of my family still is Catholic. Some are various forms of Protestant- Methodist, Presbytarian, Unitarian, Evangelical, Nazarene, Baptist, and whatever else is under the sun. (I have a huge family.) I have friends who fall under all of these groups and more. I have Jewish friends, Buddhist friends, Wiccan friends, Atheist friends and Agnostic friends. The key to my getting along with all of these friends and family is the operative words FRIEND. The ones who judge me the most are the family members who are Christian. This is NOT a slight against Christianity. Absolutely not. I have no problems with Christianity. I have many friends who ARE both Christian and Family members. But those loudmouth rude people who claim to speak on behalf of all Christendom by interchangeably using the word Terrorist with Muslim and slamming ethnic/religious groups specifically those who are REFUGEES (that means people who don’t really want to leave their own homelands but don’t have a choice because they fear for the lives and safety of their children and selves) and claiming that they are attempting to take over the world and force them into Islam?????? What is WRONG with you? Do you honestly believe that my Syrian sister who is now widowed and hiding in rubble in her city with her 4 children and WALKS thousands of miles over the course of months or maybe even years to get to a bordering country and then has to sell her belongings, borrow, beg, plead in order to be smuggled across it and continue this journey to a European country and then wait for months on a list to get asylum in order to be brought to the U.S, fearful that her children will be separated from her or worse once she arrives here…..is seriously intent on forcing anyone to become Muslim by force and take over our country?????!

I’ll just let that silliness go right there because you cannot argue with crazy.

Here’s where I tell those of you who are Christian and Buddhist and Jewish and Wiccan and Agnostic and Muslim and Atheist and still not really sure THANK YOU. Thank you for accepting me and my family as we are for who we are. Complete with the flaws and imperfections that design humanity. Thank you for loving us and allowing us to love you. Thank you for defending our rights granted by the same Constitution and Bill of Rights that grant you yours. Thank you for tolerating that which you do not always understand or even agree with. Thank you for continuing to hold doors open and wave your appreciation when I let you merge in front of me when the lane on the freeway you are in is blocked. Thank you for asking about my kids and sending graduation cards and appreciating my asking about your sick child in the hospital or about how your new business is doing. Thank you for allowing me to just be me without all the conditional love and acceptance that is sometimes attached to hidden agendas in relationships. Thank you for your tolerance. Thank you for continuing to teach me to keep living my beliefs, my faith.

THANK YOU