He loves me despite how I can’t keep it together at all and how my insides don’t match the outside and how I can’t hide my pain so much of the time. He is a little God reflection. He doesn’t wait to love me until I’m doing it all right. Kids don’t expect the impossible in their mothers. He just wants me.
Giving the baby back | Adventures in Paradise
On the other hand, when parents are completely disconnected from the child, when they act as though there is no rush to get their act together, as though the child is a toy to be played with and then put away, when they continue to abuse drugs, when they have no idea what their child weighs, or how to put on a diaper even after 7 weeks of visits, when extended family is offered custody and they suggest that maybe they could "just visit the baby instead"…….at those times I am not worried about them regaining custody. Instead, I become the mama bear. The gate closes. The smiles and friendly chit chat at visits fades. And I hold the baby closer. Because someone has to. Someone has to hold this baby, put him first, get up with him each night and greet him each morning. Someone has to want to be his mother all the time – not just for 90 minutes a few times a week. Every child deserves to be someone’s priority. Being a foster parent is being the one person in the world who puts this child first.
Let us not simply say, write, direct, play, teach what you know, but instead ask, what if we look collectively and individually at all “others” and explore? By the rationale of experience, we might find ourselves confined to creating only what others assume we know, and what would that encompass given the complexity of humanity? We would be expected to dream within our own lived experience, which as Mr. Douglas illustrates, has professionally often tethered him to direct the “ethnic” play in a whitewashed season. (Is the “ethnic” play defined by the writer, the story, the protagonist or elements of each?) Can Mr. Douglas or I live inside the mind of a Korean man? A Palestinian woman? An adult with a second grade education, with few hopes and dreams? If not, what should any of us do—abdicate or seek to understand and be willing to make mistakes in the process?
On Monday, Susan died. To say she “lost” her fight with cancer doesn’t seem quite accurate; it’s hard to imagine Susan losing a battle, though of course I know she would have done anything to stay here with her boys (who are now 4 and 6). It’s just that, right up until the end – even as she told readers what was happening to her body, hinting that her time was near – Susan made it not so scary to read about cancer, to think about death. She didn’t sugar-coat her pain or fear, but she always reached for a higher truth, gave her words a deeper purpose. I can only imagine that she left her children as well-prepared as any little boys ever could be for such a loss. A lot of people die of cancer, and everyone dies eventually. But in her blog, Susan demonstrated what it was like to live, and live well, no matter what obstacles she faced. So while I acknowledge her death, I’d like to celebrate Susan’s life – particularly her life as a mother, and the ways she has inspired me to be more present, more thankful, more gracious and kind. Here are just a few of Susan’s posts:
Oh honey, you crocheted your man some shorts? You shouldn’t have. Seriously. You shouldn’t have done this. | Pinterest, You Are Drunk Source: ugly-sweater.blogspot.com via Barbara on Pinterest The Racialized Classroom | JaeRan Kim
This is yet another example of systemic racism, the assumption that the White students will be the social work practitioners, that people of color are not social work practitioners; that bias and prejudice and cultural differences are not areas social workers of color need to think about or examine, that as a person of color we do not also carry privileges that we need to be aware of, for example assuming that I, as a Korean American who might be working with a Korean American client, will not need to factor in the power differentials I carry by virtue of my profession.
And then I had a realization. I was a key player in this annoying dynamic –- unfortunately, in the role of enabler and martyr. I wondered whether men are more realistic about self-preservation and simply take care of themselves when needed because that seems the quickest route to repair. I wondered whether women –- in their wiring as caregivers –- are primed to be martyrs, to put themselves second (or third, or fourth…) and not ask for or state what they need. I mean, admittedly, part of me still would rather have Jon read my mind and offer instead of my having to ask, but that is not his job. I am a strong, competent, and vocal person and if my needs are not being met I need to say something about it. Furthermore, from a pragmatic standpoint, my income matters in our household so I am justified in feeling protective of my work hours.
There is a critical voice that speaks to you, maybe even right now. You may not notice because you’re so used to it, but most of us can pin it down if we pay attention. Sometimes it’s a voice that sounds eerily like our own. Other times we are blessed to have our critics speak out loud and in our face. Oh look, she’s being sarcastic – said those of us with critics are blessed. No sarcasm here, friend. Because something happens when the critic speaks up, something that perhaps can’t happen any other way.
I speak from experience. I battle it every single day. We all look for connection … our tribe … our peeps. It isn’t just Republicans and Democrats. It is one football team against another. It is those who live in the country against those who live in town. It is the Drama Department against the Athletic Department. It is one side of the street against the other. It is the boys against the girls. Here is what I hate about divisiveness, and what I see in our party system. Here is why I want to say, "I hate the party system": It functions best (in our favor) when we despise the other side. Period.
I’ve sat with a friend whose son just drowned in a river. I’ve stood in a room with two families whose children just died of cancer. I’ve felt two adoptions – two babies – slip through my hands like sand. I’ve sat on a hard floor with my Sister’s head in my lap while her marriage fell apart. I’ve held a best friend’s hand minutes after she discovered that her husband was cheating and leaving. In none of these situations did I feel like the appropriate reaction was to give thanks, to assure a suffering person that everything happens for a reason. Jesus. We get to gratitude, eventually. Slowly, slowly, impossibly slowly. But we’ve gotta get through the WTF? Stage first. Kind of like how Jesus, on the cross…said, “My God, WHY have you forsaken me?” If Jesus is allowed to feel abandoned, than I think it’s okay that we occasionally do too, and that we tell the truth about how that feels.
Seven Things On My Mind | Whoorl
One of my guilty pleasures is watching the Real Housewives. I love Beverly Hills and New York, and have tried to barrel through Orange County during the last few seasons, but YOU ALL, I saw the Orange County preview last week, and I have to say, as much as I love the Housewives franchise, I CAN NOT watch Orange County this season. The plastic surgery, the 17 layers of foundation on the women’s faces, the utter lack of ANY class whatsoever…I literally can not watch it. It’s absolutely mortifying. Let me just state for the record that YES, there are obviously lots of people like this in Orange County, but there is SO much more here. Style, class, and charm do reside here too, you just have to filter through the fake boobs, Ed Hardy, and Hummers to find it. (I think that should be Orange County’s new motto.)
November | Fostercare in NYC
The food line splits; it is me, A and L on one side. and for the life of me I can’t remember the straw-that-breaks-back final question. where were they found? something equally persistent and intrusive. Me: Why do you ask? A: I’m just curious. Me: So were your kids born vaginally or by cesarean? (accompanied by cortisol-induced blood rush) A (looking wounded and shocked): Vaginally. (see, he still answers for his wife’s vagina!!!)…i, uh i didn’t mean to be offensive..
The divide along a demographic line reveals the effect of Internet videos, social networks, mobile phones and video games — in short, all the alternatives to the television set that are taking up growing slices of the American attention span. Young people are still watching the same shows, but they are streaming them on computers and phones to a greater degree than their parents or grandparents do.
Take a look at these real women and their postpartum bellies and know that most of the bellies walking around everyday look more like these and far less like the ones on magazine covers.
The one good thing that has come out of my experience of living through what I have lived through with regard to online conversation since Henry died is that it’s been very humbling. And everyone can use more humble in their lives. I now realize that there are things that I, myself have published online in years past that I wish very much I could take back and make go away. But I can’t, so I am now FAR more careful about every single keystroke when I am publishing anything at all on the internet – whether that’s in a blog post, a comment on a blog post, on Facebook, Twitter, a message board or anywhere else. Words matter, and in the world we now live in, those words are pretty much eternal. So they matter even more than they used to.