Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I’d rather experience people–and their politics–through unlikely, awkward, strained, challenging, beautiful relationships built over time. That way, when we do clash or differ, we love each other enough to express the full range of our raw emotions – cry, yell, storm out – and always return to build the deeper, more intimate connections we need to take on the world together, truly united. When someone fights for me, I want them to do so because they care about me as an individual – or as someone who reminds them of someone else that they care about – not just as some abstract theoretical concept. I’d rather that the “white allies”, the “straight allies”, the “male feminists” of the world do the work to build authentic relationships based on real love and respect, not just politically correct lexicon and rhetoric.
Don’t worry if you don’t find the perfect balance, or your kids spend a week playing video games, or you can’t swing or afford the awesome trip/homemade crafts/nifty camp. As long as your kids are clothed, fed, safe, and loved, they’re good. Try to let go of how you think summer should look, then head out for an ice cream and savor how sweet these moments are.
Then one of the most precious moments ever between us happened. We were all snuggled up in my bed together and he asked me if I loved daddy more than I loved my mom. I couldn’t quite get at what he was asking, but finally I answered and told him that I loved his daddy more than anyone else in this world. He then looked at me and said, “So one day will I love my wife more than I love you?”. I nodded and told him that yes he would and it would be okay. Then the moment happened. He looked at me and said, “I don’t want that to happen because I don’t want to love anyone more than you.”
The truth is–I am probably closer in my political views to Fox News than to many other sources. But I can’t stand the non-stop doom and gloom. Even when there are economic statistics to celebrate or signs of strong leadership in a crisis–it’s a crime to acknowledge that or give any credit to “the other side.” I want news from a person with a brain–not one who spouts the party line. Don’t insult my intelligence and tell me what I’m supposed to think or how I’m supposed to react. Give me a break.
For 75 years, Finland’s expectant mothers have been given a box by the state. It’s like a starter kit of clothes, sheets and toys that can even be used as a bed. And some say it helped Finland achieve one of the world’s lowest infant mortality rates. It’s a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and it’s designed to give all children in Finland, no matter what background they’re from, an equal start in life.
During my college years, I received some admonishment about some relationships I’d had with women. Some people said, “You might want to renegotiate that,” even though those relationships weren’t sexual. Hindsight being 20/20, I guess it makes sense. But if you remove the social problem that homosexuality brings to the church—and the debate as to whether or not it should be called a “struggle,” because there are proponents on both sides—you remove the notion that I am living my life with a great deal of joy. It never occurred to me that I was in something that should be labeled as a “struggle.” The struggle I’ve had has been with the church, acknowledging me as a human being, trying to live the spiritual life that I’ve been called to, in whatever ramshackled, broken, frustrated way that I’ve always approached my faith. I still consider my hope to be a whole human being, to be a person of love and grace. So it’s difficult for me to say that I’ve struggled within myself, because I haven’t. I’ve struggled with other people. I’ve struggled with what that means in my own faith. I have struggled with how that perception of me will affect the way I feel about myself.
We cannot have an honest discussion about transracial adoption if we aren’t willing to discuss race, prejudice, and privilege. Adoptees need to feel safe when we talk about the instances of racism we encounter. This may not sound easy—because it isn’t easy for white parents to raise children of color. But as the mother of two multiracial children, I can say that it’s not easy for parents of color, either.
In this case, shame doesn’t allow us to see that the root of attraction isn’t lust. In a sex-hyped culture, we’ve narrowed attraction down to simplistic terms, but the truth is we wouldn’t reach out to anyone, friend, lover or otherwise, if we weren’t ‘attracted’ to them in some way. Physically, emotionally, and more, attraction is simply a fundamental part of the human need to see and be seen. To connect. If humans are wired to do anything, it’s to recognize beauty and connect with other humans. Our lives are made meaningful by the former and simply depend on the latter. Here’s where shame makes a mess of the whole deal. Beauty calls us to the kind of engagement that sees the biggest picture possible, always remembers the other, and wants the best for all involved. However, throw shame into the mix and watch it push attraction underground where it morphs into possession. It’s shame that turns attraction into lust, and attraction-turned-lust via the dark art of shame is actually a move away from what we really need. It’s a move towards disconnection, disengagement, and in it’s ever-narrowing world, it can only remember the self.
You know that canceling plans is like winning the damn lottery, especially when someone else does it.
That way you don’t have to feel guilty!
And while mothers are damned before they even begin, they’re doubly damned by the pervasive myth of the woman who does it all. It hurts everyone: in the public eye, out of the public eye, writing about motherhood, or working at lawyering. It puts the onus of childcare on women and their careers, while letting men totally off the hook. People never ask about how our childcare situation affects David’s job. No one compares our childcare costs against David’s salary. And no one thinks of childcare as an investment in David’s career. All of that is on me. And funnily enough, even though I’m married to a successful attorney, my salary primarily supports our household because my salary has been the steady one for years in this volatile legal market. But it doesn’t matter. My work is still a hobby, the luxury, the job that simply pays for childcare.
“As our society moves more and more toward convenience and emphasizes fast fashion, we’ve eliminated the expectation that our clothing would be altered at the tailors. After all, that’s time consuming and expensive. Instead, we want clothing faster and faster for cheaper and cheaper. The result is that our clothing is expected to fit straight off the rack, but rarely does. And the byproduct? We take our body to the tailors instead. We diet and cleanse and juice and fast, choosing to consume fashion over nutrition and style over substance. And suddenly, the clothes do begin to fit “straight off the rack”. But there will always be a smaller size to wrap ourselves in. There will always be a rack to conquer.”
A crisis of this magnitude is going to take us all – all the mamas, all the daddies, all the countries, all the workers. Some of us will raise the money, some will raise awareness, and some will raise the kids. Certain families will rally from here, and other families will pack up and move to vulnerable countries and do the work. Some of us will be starters, some executers, some funders, some visionaries. We collectively must insist on helping and not hurting, refusing to discredit the weak links in the system and instead insist on shoring them up.
On Facebook: “It’s not like I want to or I don’t. I just go on it. I’m, like, forced to. I don’t know why.” “I’ll wake up in the morning and go on Facebook just … because.” “Facebook takes up my whole life.”