A Stepson, Some Gift Cards & A Running Commentary

“These kids are going to feel so blessed…”

  • Max, age 11 as he organizes the gift cards

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“I’ve never seen so many gift cards other than in a store!”

  • Max, age 11, still organizing the gift cards

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“It is amazing how many people who care out there.”

  • Max, still age 11, still organizing the gift cards

“Darn it!”

  • Max, age 11, among a pile of gift cards, when the calculator he was using to add up the total value of all the cards crashed

“We are already at $295!”

  • Max, getting ever closer to 12, while adding up the value of the cards, this time on the computer

“It’s amazing that everyone would give this much support to these kids.  It’s amazing!”

  • Max, 11, who has grown an inch since he started this little project.

“$1,940 so far!  But a bunch of the cards didn’t have amounts on them…so I’m guessing we are over $2,000!!”

  • Max, who has an enthusiasm for this that warms my heart

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Max, who will be 12 in May, was just 8 when Jess came into his life and he learned what it means to be transgender.  Didn’t care then.  Doesn’t care now.

Our original goal of 104 has been met and crushed.  But…my birthday is not for another two weeks, so keep ’em coming! 

And Max: it isn’t just these kids who are feeling blessed…

We’re Not Talking Ketchup Here

57.

Thank you,   Marc H., Cheryl N., Deb F., Kristen M., Gail S., and Carolyn P.

I only know one of you personally.

You are from Florida, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and North Carolina.

57

We are better than halfway there.

And my heart is full.

Rock on ladies, gentlemen and those who’ve not yet decided.

 

Oh, To Be 39

One week.

39 gift cards.

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So far.

From Massachusetts, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York.

Thrilled.

Grateful.

Generous souls.

Bad ass mamas, dads, sisters, brothers, friends, acquaintances and strangers.

Less than halfway there, but we will make it.

Love to everyone thus far: Heather K., Shelley B., Nicole F., Lori K., Patricia B., Jennifer N., Lori B., Harriet S., Michelle C., Robin F. and Joy S.

These kids need us.

We can do this.

Rock on, ladies, gentlemen and those who haven’t yet decided.

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Bad Ass Happy Birthday To Me

With her tattoos, piercings and short crop haircut, she didn’t look like the other moms at the JCC pool.  Over the course of that first summer, we repeatedly found ourselves standing together, water up to our waists, as my two- and her three boys circled around us in the water; each one of them, at any given moment, needing to be reminded to stop splashing or stop jumping or stop staying under the water too long or stop swimming toward the deep end or leave your brother alone.  At first we just exchanged glances of empathy at just how exhausting (these particular) kids were, but soon we were pinch hitting for one another in watching, disciplining and allowing the other to have a quick break, even if only to use the ladies’ room.  It wasn’t long before we were actual friends.

As our friendship developed I was 100% certain that Beth was the coolest person I had ever known.  A self described “big ol’ lesbo” she was unflappable in the face of kids being kids.  Her story gaga-ed me:  three sons, all of whom she had birthed, being raised by her and two coupled gay men, all living together in one (totally cool) house.  There was not a single question I posed to her that she wasn’t willing to answer…and I asked plenty.  (Shut up, like you don’t want to know the mechanics of her getting pregnant!)

That was the summer that my 5 year old son had fashioned a mermaid tail out of shirts or towels or Lord knows what, and was elated to be traversing the pool, tail attached, enjoying a happiness that often eluded him.  He freakin’ loved that tail.  The lifeguards and other parents, however, felt differently.  Before I knew it, this benign mermaid tale was an official issue which, as I am sure you can imagine, I was not going to cave to.  Despite it not being her battle, Beth was right there alongside me voicing her ardent displeasure that a (supposedly) family friendly place was trying like hell to thwart a kid being  a kid because it made them uncomfortable.  It was then that I determined that, not only was Beth the coolest person I know, but she was now my idol.  I credit her with teaching me how to vehemently advocate for my kid without appearing all together rabid or unglued.  And, not for nothing; we won that battle.

When she isn’t in the pool with the kids (or cooking, or Soul Cycling or mentoring or getting a new tattoo or saving someone from themselves or being a kick ass mom or cracking me up) Beth is a therapist.  She works for this organization protecting, embracing and celebrating people who are, by big world definition, “on the fringe”, yet, by compassionate human being standards,  no less worthy of love, support, joy and acceptance than anyone else.  Right?!

Last year, as her birthday was approaching, Beth was acutely aware of the many blessing in her life and knew that she neither wanted nor needed any gifts.  So, in her never-ending marvelousness, she went on social media and requested that anyone who was able or inclined to, please purchase gift cards to be distributed to her client base, most of who find every day a struggle.  In keeping with it being her 51st birthday, she set a goal of receiving and then distributing 51 cards. Because she is so badass, she was sent, wait for it… 120 cards!  Seriously, how much of da bomb can one person be?!?

beth

Fast forward to this week when our (what’s the opposite of esteemed?) POTUS flexed his “muscles” and proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he is decidedly not everybody’s President by rescinding President Obama’s rule to protect transgender students’ bathroom use.  Aside from the strong and reasonable arguments that no one checks for penises or vaginas in the stalls of bathrooms, that this is no more about bathrooms than it was about water fountains and, really, who cares who is peeing next to you, his placing his signature (more on that here, just the first of 21,000,000 results when Googled) on the executive orders changed everything.

Under the best of circumstances, transgender kids do not have it easy.  They face ridicule and prejudice and hate and danger every single day.  They have an inordinately high rate of suicide. Many have parents and families who find the transition so intolerable that they throw their child, part of them, out of their homes.  It ain’t good, folks.

As I way lying in bed the other night, having chatted a bit with Jess about how this will change her world – she is fortunate to live in a state and town that is very accepting of her – I noted that she felt angry but not afraid.  With a healthy embrace of the arrogance of youth, any true fears she has about going to the bathroom in public are minor and, given where we live,  easily remedied, but not so for many others around the country.  And that really pisses me off.

What does this all have to do with Beth you ask?  Fair question.

My birthday is about a month away.  I need nothing.  I want nothing.  I am fortunate that I’ve got the people, love and things that I need and I have them every hour of every day.  Too damn many trans kids do not.  So, I texted Beth and asked her, “if I were to collect gift cards for transgender kids who are on the street or in trouble or struggling…could you get them in the right hands?”  Her immediate response:

Yes.

Totally.

I love you.

gift-cards

So now I ask you, dear reader: Can you help me reach my goal of collecting 104 cards (that’s 52×2) for these kids who only want to live authentically, freely and, most important, safely?

Getting the cards to me:  Please send me a note in the comments section and I will give you my address.

Note: I still need to ensure that my child and my family are safe because, as crushing as it is to admit, there are so many assholes out there who have nothing better to do than to worry about what is between someone else’s legs and what they are doing with it.  (Ewwww).  That being said, if there are more than a few people that I do not know who want to participate, I will look into securing a PO box somewhere which, I realize, would be a good problem to have.

Stay strong mamas and papas.  Love your kids, no matter if they sit or stand, love the same or opposite sex or scare you with their bravery.  We’ve got this.

Oh, and Beth; I love you, too!

Not So Sweet Valentine’s Day

It started with pillows – lots and lots of pillows – configured much more precisely than I would have guessed, aimed to support your body in such a way as to allow your mind to open up.  As the newbies in the room, we observed how the others had situated their pillows but despite our best attempts to clone their structures, we were unsuccessful. In the spirit of the event, assistance was graciously offered and gratefully, albeit a bit ashamedly, accepted. We now had our well-built little havens and were absorbing the indisputable Zen of and in the room, yet I felt a little anxious already: if I couldn’t manage to set up a stupid pile of pillows and felt too self conscious to ask for help, perhaps I had bigger issues than would be addressed in the next hour and a half.  Gee.

Colorful Meditation Pillow

That exercise, I now realize, was actually the beginning of the “letting go” phase of our morning.

Once we had achieved the appropriate positioning, the fact remained that neither Barry nor I had a clue as to what to expect. We were equal parts excited, anxious and hopeful…although Barry less so on all counts.  Yet here we were about to experience my Valentine’s Day gift to Barry: getting hypnotized to get off of sugar.  Romantic, huh?  (I know, I know…leave it to me to give a gift of getting off sugar…particularly in recognition of a holiday based on, um, sugar?)

The first 45 minutes were spent discussing just how much sugar sucks (duh)(but a buzz kill nonetheless) followed by what was going to happen to and for us, what hypnosis is and is not and, finally, what it seeks to accomplish.  It was during this portion of the introduction that my vision of a swinging watch and a, “you’re getting sleepy” intoning were dashed, yet my anxiety over “losing control” were quelled.  Barry and I exchanged a few glances of shared skepticism, but now that we had our killer pillow set-up there was no turning back.

So there I laid upon a pile of cozy blankets, ensconced in pillows, my great sport of a husband within arms-reach, ready to succumb to a power bigger than I who, if I am lucky, was going to get me to forgo the sweets and, as a result, lose the paunch I’ve managed to acquire.

Let’s do this!

The instructor, um, hypnotist, explained that the outcome of our session would be less a fireworks “aha moment”, rather it will be more like you flipped a switch (in your subconscious) and would notice at some point over the next several days and weeks that, hey, look at that: I don’t have any desire to gorge on ice cream, Snickers Bars, coffee drinks that are more mocha than java, cookies, pie…you know, all the good stuff.   As someone who is famous for taking a long time to flip a switch[1], this quick version was very appealing.  Just lying there, in anticipation of having the recesses of my subconscious poked and prodded, I already felt thinner, less bloated and empowered.  C’mon, sub conscious, show me what ya got!

on-off_switch

During the actual hypnosis part of the program – it lasted 32 minutes, but felt more like 10 – I was aware of my arms and legs feeling so weighted down that they were rendered immobile.  I squirmed some as I tried to adjust my back to the floor[2]  and was thisclose to falling asleep (which actually made me a little anxious as I did not want to lose out on being hypnotized because I was snoozing), but all in all I would describe the experience as peaceful, gentle,  liberating.  However, as we all “came to” I felt simultaneously enervated and energized, disbelieving and unhesitatingly assured of the power of hypnosis and somehow “different.”  I know how ridiculous this sounds, but I did put hand to belly to see if the pounds I’d gained from sugar had melted away whilst I was under and, I swear, was actually more surprised than disappointed that they hadn’t.  Weird, right?

As we collected ourselves and began the process of rising, deconstructing our pillow sanctuary and re-entering the world, I turned to Barry and, because I know him so well, gathered from his expression and body language that he’d not experienced things quite the same way I had.  Of note, and germane to the conversation, Barry has two states of being: 1. running around accomplishing and, 2. sleeping.  He is a living breathing Energizer Bunny who has never done yoga[3] or meditated or really even relaxed (it is truly part of his charm) so add that to the discomfort in his just two month post-op back[4], and I’d argue that his hypnotizability is harder to accomplish, but time will tell.[5]

energizer

We are now 48 hours PH[6] and I’ve not eaten, or perhaps more to the point, wanted to eat anything sweet.  As in anything.  No ice cream, no sugar (or mocha) in my coffee, no cinnamon sugar on toast, no hard candies, no Diet Coke (fake sugar…just as bad).  I am feeling, in the words of my friend Kim who, not for nothing, turned me onto this whole hypnosis thing, BADASS.

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I spent most of yesterday in the house as we entertained yet another snowstorm/school snow day.   In my PH[7] days, I’d have baked something, made mocha-y coffees, enjoyed ice cream (but right from the carton and standing up in front of the freezer, so it didn’t count) and probably have popped a few M&Ms (perhaps more than a few and perhaps several times throughout the day).  Instead, and with not as much as a consideration of any of the above, I enjoyed (no, really, I enjoyed them) fresh snap peas and carrots, several bowls of berries and unsweetened tea and actually surpassed the recommended eight glasses of water per day we are all supposed to drink.  What the even?!!?  Most notable: these things tasted better, I felt better and I did not feel deprived or, perhaps most wonderful, pissed off!

I woke up this morning feeling pretty pleased with myself, more specifically my subconscious, for doing its damn job and beginning to get me off sugar.  And, because I am an idiot who wants instant gratification, I thought it would be a good idea to weigh myself.  Here is some video of how that went:

Me and the scale

If you were to ask me today if I would do it again: Hell to the yes.

Got something you want to get hypnotized for?  Let me know…I’m kinda dying to do it again.

[1] Yes, I do take an embarrassingly long time to flip (mostly emotional) switches; however, once I do…I never look back.

[2] Note to self: next time, and there will definitely be a next time…no more holding onto shit way longer than necessary, anyone?…I will add one more pillow under the small of my back.

[3] I’d actually pay good money to see that. I love you, Barry.

[4] Poor guy hurt his back – opening a drawer of his dresser – on Memorial Day weekend and suffered with it until it was surgically repaired just before Christmas. 

[5] Not throwing him under the bus, but he did kinda eat a cookie when we got home.  No judgment.

[6] Post hypnosis

[7] Pre hypnosis

Eddie

It was toward the end of one of our infamous date nights.  We’d enjoyed a ton of food for very little money at one of the few Chinatown restaurants we had not yet tried.  Barry was particularly jubilant at having found a $20 bill on the floor with no one around to claim it.  He stuck it in his pocket with a solid plan for after dinner to completely  overindulge ourselves with goodies from the bakeries lining the street.

twenty

We dodged the snow and slush, darting in and out of the various bake shops, trying to remember which had the best red bean paste buns and who killed it with their sesame balls, Barry sampling everything with his signature excitement over all things edible.

As we headed to the subway to make the trip home (we’d met at Barry’s office to which I had taken the train…so not my thing) we stayed in step with the foot traffic through downtown, holding hands both as a show of affection and protection from wiping out.  As we scooted past a doorman escorting a guest into an upscale hotel, a man on the street joked with Barry, “Hey, man, whatchya doing with my girl?”  Always affable Barry, stealing a page from my playbook responded, “Want her?”  Laughter ensued.

As we engaged in friendly banter, the stranger shooed us past the hotel doors, mumbling something about “the rich folks at the hotel getting mad if he loiters around.”  We stopped a few feet away and got to know Eddie.  His first remark, “Please don’t judge me.”

He sleeps under a bridge.  He has a son in college.  His wife overdosed, although he did not specify on what.  On at least a half-dozen occasions he looked to the sky and thanked Jesus for what he still had left.

“We are no different” he said and we agreed.

I asked him what happened.

Eddie, it turns out, lost his temper and hit someone with a shovel.  We didn’t pry, but gathered that his victim did not fair well from the attack. Upon telling us, he dropped his gaze, waiting for us to judge. We felt empathy rather than judgement.

He had an easy smile, and, if we are being honest, the not so faint smell of alcohol on his breath.  I asked him if he was hungry.  He responded silently but clearly and Barry, without fanfare or discussion, slid him the $20 bill he’d found earlier in the evening. So, too, did he give him a warm hat that he had in his pocket. Eddie’s eyes shifted, dropped and glistened as he graciously accepted the offer.

Much to my pleasure and amusement, he’d been good-naturedly ribbing Barry about my fantasticness and his (Barry’s) incredible good fortune in landing me.  Silently noting my arrogance at the banter, he did the dude thing and tossed Barry a (well deserved) bone: “You know something, Julie, if I were to put on a dress, I would look better than you.”  (Well that stung, but I have to give him props for having impeccable timing.)  Again, we all burst out laughing, strangers in the street.

As I always do, I asked if we could take a picture.  He happily obliged, thanking us for treating him like a human and for bringing joy to his life.  As I was about to snap the photo he joyfully announced, “Just remember, Julie, once you go black you never go back.”

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He said we made his day.  He actually made ours.

Keeping Our Nasty In Check

I long ago gave up engaging in negative discourse over social media.  While it was never something that I did with any particular regularity, a few month ago I managed to find myself inordinately caught-up, worked-up and fed-up by an hours-long Facebook thread in which I repeatedly attempted (and, I might add, failed) to dissuade a high school acquaintance (and, not for nothin’, her own private posse of like-minded people) that not only is a person who identifies as transgender not a lower form of life but, as it turns out, neither are her parents who “allow” her to be herself.  Not surprisingly, I have a lot of feelings around this subject and I will even cop to the fact that, at the beginning, when I mistakenly thought we were engaging in respectful banter, I enjoyed the energy of the exchange.  It was when the vicious personal attacks began that I was outta there.

I recall feeling disgusted not only that there were people that I personally know who were, in addition to being violently misinformed, entirely unwilling to accept the fact that there existed an ideology other than their own.  The complete absence of empathy, compassion and kindness was appalling not because they did not see my point of view; rather, they did not respect the fact that the point of view I have is different from their own.

Of late, there is an abundance of fractured friendships, name calling, accusation hurling, highly aggressive support for your person but even more highly aggressive sentiment against theirs.  The hostility, and its intensity, comes from both sides resulting not in change necessarily rather an interpersonal breakdown: complete and total disrespect for one another.

argue

This week, there are those who have taken to social media to rally against the millions of women who participated in the marches held all over the world over this weekend.  Yeah, I straight up do not understand that.  In my mind, the marches were not against their guy…they were for every mother, daughter, sister, aunt and friend who fears losing the long held right to decide for themselves what they can and cannot do to their bodies, who they can or cannot marry, how they are able to protect themselves, in every sense of the word, from this increasingly cruel and scary world.  How can anyone, with or without a vagina, protest that?!  Yet they have.

Today a friend posted a video on Facebook of a woman named Peggy Hubbard who, I have learned, frequently posts videos sharing her feelings and opinions on happenings in the world[1]. With abject disgust and anger in her voice, countenance and presentation, she spent nearly ten minutes dispensing a lecture on how disgraceful the marches were, how women should be ashamed of themselves and, rather inexplicably, had a running diatribe about the abundance of nudity at the marches.  (Huh?  There was nudity?  I normally don’t miss something like that…) She lashed out at Bill Clinton’s ogling of FLOTUS, was deeply offended by the sea of Pussyhats, aggressively refusing to use the “p” word opting, instead, to utter “vagina” as often as possible. She claimed, no, certified is more like it, that the women who marched had set us back 100 years.  And it pissed me off.

I briefly considered just scrolling on by, but her outright lack of respect for other women was more than I could take.  So I posted this:

XXXXX, nothing personal, but this woman is a disgrace to women everywhere. The women on the march did not set things back 100 years….your boy XXXXX is doing his level best to take care of that on his own. What’s all this talk about nudity? And for a woman to think that XXXXX propensity for grabbing pussies is ok…well, yuk. Bill Clinton “undressed FLOTUS with his eyes”…gimme a break.

I briefly deliberated not posting my knee jerk response, yet I allowed my impulsivity and underlying anger at the way the world seems to be functioning now and hit enter.  And then I waited for a flurry of nastiness, retribution and criticism to be hurled my way.  A part of me might even have been gunning for some spirited discourse. But the anticipated flood of vitriol never came.  In fact, the original poster and his supporters were far more respectful of me than I was of them.  I, in fact, had gone after them for having an ideology different from my own…and did so in a not particularly gracious or articulate way.

I have since deleted the comment, acutely aware that my incendiary remarks recast me into exactly the kind of person I have such disdain for.  Ouch. I fear, however, that we are all falling prey to a new normal which includes disrespect, unkindness and lack of acceptance.  I do not want that in my life…and suspect you don’t want it in yours, either.

talking

Our feelings are never wrong.  We are fully entitled to our opinions, fears and concerns.  We are not, however, entitled to shame, curse or diminish someone else if their feelings (which are still never wrong) differ from our own.  As I see it, either we are all going to work a little harder at respecting one another or all hell is going to break loose.

[1]  I tried to share the Facebook Live link here, but was unable to…however, a Google search brought up tons of videos of her, just not the one I was hoping to share.

80 Words

Today would have been my father’s 80th birthday.  He was never one for fanfare or special attention under any circumstance, let alone his birthday.  Were he here, we would have celebrated as a nuclear family and not bothered with gifts since he truly considered his family to be the only gift he wanted or needed.

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To commemorate this day, however, I asked the family to share, in 80 words[1], some thoughts.  Everyone is busy, the world is crazy[2] and not everyone in my family wears their heart on their sleeve as much as I do (most people don’t).  I completely respect them for that.  In fact, I could learn a thing or two from them.  Regardless of who did or did not write something, everyone in his family cherishes, adore and miss him.

Robbie:

The thing I miss most about my dad is his toothy smile and big laugh. 

 In fact, since childhood, my greatest joy was those times I could really make him crack up.

 There were a few subjects that would do the trick so I naturally returned to them time and time again.

 With him, it seems I never went too far.  I appreciated that in him.

I still like making people laugh.  But he was my best and favorite audience.

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Me:

I think about my dad every single day. I wish he were here.  To enjoy my children, little kids when he died, now young adults.  To meet my wonderful husband and his family whom he’d have loved.  To remind me that things always work out, to keep my sense of humor and to not take things too seriously.   Or to share a donut, a York Peppermint Patty , a Klondike Bar or Celtics’Game. But mostly for his magical hug.

 

Aunt Barbara (sister):

About my brother…..a tease with a twinkle…did you know of the mysterious hole in the closet between our bedrooms, the toneless phone at of the 1940s, galoshes, hats and gloves stowed under the steps on the way to school and retrieved on the way home, the blare of the Long Ranger and Tom Mix every evening, stickball in the street and “meat du jour”?

Camp Lenox, the proud but short life of his first car, the not short jacket sleeves, fifty cents a football lesson…these are a few of the precious memories of the brother I loved and continue to love.

Jack (grandson):

I smile to think of my grandfather on this week especially, because his values were so completely and refreshingly the opposite of those that have overtaken our country’s most prominent leaders. He was a person whose decency ordered his life, and that was a principle he and my grandmother instilled in the rest of us. Kindness, generosity, and patience were not aspirations for him; they were simply his nature. How lucky I am to have had such a role model.

generous

Harrison (grandson):

It’s wrong to be selfish; Poppy never told me this, his actions did. If you ask anyone who knew him, they would tell of his selflessness. Through the years I have found myself being selfish in wanting him back. He was such a wonderful man, friend, husband, grandfather – the list goes on. I want him back, we all do. Yet, I have no doubt he is helping someone, somewhere with something they need him more for. We all love you.

heart

 

Thinking of you, MJL, and all those candles that we’d have lit in your honor…

candles

June, David, Ellie, Robbie, Julie, Barry, Becca, Jack, Izzie, Rachel, Sara, Harrison and Jessie.

[1] My Aunt exceeded 80 words…but since she knew him the longest, I gave her a pass. 😉

[2] Anyone who knew him knew that my father was the consummate gentleman.  He would have been so utterly disgusted by the behavior of the man in office that I am almost glad he wasn’t here to witness it.

Mama Bear

I have never, ever, ever been the “not my kid” mom.  You know the type: their little ones are perfectly behaved, never at fault and always a victim.  No, actually I usually assumed, and was exquisitely accurate, that it was my kid.  Once, when Jess was two, we were at the playroom at our local JCC, a place we logged thousands of hours in the winter months.  I saw a parent angrily perusing the room, clearly looking for the parent of the little hooligan at their feet.  I was pretty certain that it was my little hooligan (which it was) so I slowly, calmly headed in their direction, hoping that, if I walked slowly enough, the situation would diffuse before I arrived and angry other parent would never make the connection between me and Jess.  Alas, that is not how it played out.

Other parent: (pissily) ” Is this your kid?”

Me: (with a calm, sweet, hopefully disarming smile) “Maybe.  Depends what she did.”

OP: (still pissily) “She just bit my kid for no reason!”

Me: (still with a kind a smile) “Oh, she had a reason…she’s two.”

OP: Proceeds to rip me a new one.  At which point, her little darling shoved Jess to the ground. Crying ensued.  Other parent forced to eat their words.  I did not gloat.

Game. Set. Match.

From the beginning, my kids were taught and knew:

  • Tussle on the playground? You can never throw the first punch, but if someone hits you, hit ‘em back.  You cannot, however, ever hit a girl.
  • Someone giving you a hard time about being a swimmer and not a baseball player? Work it out. And, see bullet above.
  • A teacher being mean to you?  Talk to the teacher…you’re probably doing something to piss them off.
  • Not feeling 100% this morning? To “ill” to go to school? Get up, take a shower and see how you feel.  (That, in fairness, was a page directly from my father’s playbook.  And, guess what?  Nine times out of ten, the shower did the trick.)
  • You’re a teenager? Time to learn and then do, for the rest of your life, your own laundry.
  • You can be a boy, a girl, a dog or a Martian. You cannot, however, be an asshole.

However.

That kid who elevated the playground tussle to pushing you down to the ground and then punching you?  The classmate giving you a hard time to the point of making you not want to go to school?  The teacher who legit seems to have it out for you?  Spike a fever and throw up on my feet?  Well, that’s a different story…and this Mama Bear is going to come out, claws ready, teeth bared and ears back, ready to rumble.  Mess with me.  Do no, I repeat do not, mess with my kids.

Badass Bear

I am fiercely loyal, protective and supportive of my children.  Have they always made it easy?  Hell to the no.  Has It always been fun? Nope.  Have there been times that sitting in the corner, rocking, sucking my thumb and pouring wine down my throat feels like the only best solution? Yep.  Has even the fantasy of clocking a kid or, even more so, their parent, seemed pretty much the most awesome and perfect way to solve an issue? Oh, yeah.

However.

I am a mature, in-control, compassionate and kind (all of these, of course, most of the time) woman and, to date, have behaved appropriately, even whilst biting my tongue, sitting on my hands and gritting and grinding my teeth down to powder.

However.

The depth of my anger and disappointment, both for my children and, frankly me, at someone’s behavior this week is epic.  I am not a violent person.  I try to let bugs out as opposed to kill them.  I eschew gratuitous slashing and killing in books, movies and television[1] opting, instead, for the feel good shit.  Yet, right now, I truly want to rip into, call out, scream at, swing at and drive a car into and then over (and back again) a particular person (an adult, I might add) who has outrageously wronged my kids.  And, not for nothing, this is not the first nor, I assume and dread, the last time.

However.

I know, from repeated experience, that nothing that I say, do, plead, beg or pray for will change this person.  I can neither embarrass nor shame.  Talking calmly, yelling maniacally, remaining silent or enlisting others to intervene: all for naught.  And, for this mama bear, that is perhaps the hardest part.  I have always tried hard to let my kids, with my support and encouragement, figure things out.  If I fix everything, what will they do when I am not around?   I do, however, share their hurt, disappointment and fury.  I also, want like hell to fix this one…but I know I cannot.

Do I want to swoop in and save them?   Of course I do.

Do I want to erase what has happened? Duh, more than anything, ever.

Do I know that they are strong, independent and smart kids who will, like everything else, figure it out? Yep.

But, if I am being honest, it is taking every shred of self control for this Mama Bear to not go on the attack.  And it sucks.

[1] Notable exception: “Shameless”.  Oh. My. God