Happy Thanksgiving

I don’t get days off, but don’t expect some long and poignant post today. Well, maybe you shouldn’t expect that most days. Today is Thanksgiving, a day that people set aside in hopes that it makes them feel grateful for everything that they have for at least one day a year. It’s a day that politics should be left out of. I’m sure Halloween has pretty gruesome history behind it, still going to celebrate that. It’s not about the past; it’s about where we move forward.

I’m thankful for every day. I’m thankful for my beautiful boys. I’m thankful for their successes and their struggles, because both make me a better mother and human. I’m thankful for my supportive family, who’s always there when I need them the most. I’m thankful for my husband, who always lifts me up when it feels like everyone else wants to take me down. I’m thankful that I have a house, food, and loved ones. I have a lot to be thankful of, which I’m very thankful for every day. We don’t need a single day to be grateful. We should be grateful every day.

If you are lucky enough to spend the day with family, remember how lucky you are. If you are working today, putting your life on the line to ensure the safety of others, thank you for your service. We are thinking of you, grateful for your selflessness. If you aren’t fortunate enough to be with family, be with the family you choose. Blood doesn’t mean family. Love does.

Happy Thanksgiving and remember the lessons of today every day of your life. Even in darkness, there is something to be grateful for.

Social Media Help For Esports

Some teams have an awesome team behind their social media accounts. As a Boston Uprising fan, I feel as though they have done an amazing job. The Overwatch/Overwatch League teams (and Blizzard team in general) also have a knack for getting information out and actively engaging with their fans. This is just one of many things that I personally love about Blizzard. The problem is that PR on the social media front tends to be a problem for these teams/stars, especially in the Overwatch League and apparently now their Contenders teams.

You may have heard that there’s a new team in town: the Toronto Defiant. I cried a little on the inside when they had Neko in their video releasing info on 2 of their new players. The reveal was well-produced and the hype around it was perfect. This was social media used in an effective manner to achieve awesome results for the team. Even though this worst kept secret was something some Boston fans were hoping was fake. (Which quickly disappeared when Neko referred to HuK as a lying bastard on the internet, but still some of us clung onto hope that Neko would be our fearless Zen/Ana once again.) The Neko incident of calling HuK out on and it going viral on social media is just one of many ways that the PR team has failed players on the social media front. I could go into real life examples of how social media can give people a negative impression on you without the polish of an experienced professional, but I really don’t like to talk politics on Gaming Day.

Way back when DreamKazper did that terrible thing, I pointed out that this was just one of a few examples back then that you have these kids who are impulsive and inexperienced socially (in most cases) who need help navigating the finer points of engaging fans and social media strategies. As an Uprising fan, I can point to NotE and Gamsu as evidence that when a player uses social media properly can grow a massive following without any drama. Gamsu posts images of the beautiful views when he hikes or hilarious images of him missing his flights. Then there is NotE who goes the puppy route and keeps up this wholesome and goofy image that he has. These are players that have either been coached properly on social media PR or ones who just are personable and relatable people with a talent for social media.

Then you have teams like, I don’t know, the Toronto eSports Club who went full nerd-rage on Twitter. “We were told we couldn’t have our name so we quit Overwatch”. They sounded like petulant children. Does it suck that they had to change their name because of the Toronto Defiant? Absolutely. I don’t think it was right that they had to change their name. Throwing a childish fit on Twitter? Probably not the best way to go about it especially if you want sympathy over the situation. Plus, I mean just flat out quitting the game and bashing how awful it is? That brought up a lot of concerns for Uprising fans (and potentially even their players/staff) of what this meant for them since this seemed like a rash overreaction one the part of their academy team. When HuK comes off as a reasonable party in a situation, then you know you’re wrong. This is another case where someone who shouldn’t have a Twitter account while representing other people makes everyone look bad. (Applies to politics today as well.) In case you’re wondering Toronto eSports doesn’t actually own the academy team, the Uprising do. So, this really means nothing.

These teams and players need better social media coaching. Fissure has an awful reputation due to his social media presence. xQc has a reputation due to his online persona where you either love him or hate him. Social media today can make or break your brand if you let it. In a lot of these cases, they are letting it break them. I’m no expert on social media, but I have done enough where I don’t utterly squash the brand I’m trying to build up. If you don’t have the funds or means to get social media professionals to manage the more difficult people, maybe it’s a good idea to at least train them better in these areas. In most cases, the Overwatch League players are freshly 18 with their own income, living on their own, coming into a massive fan base. It can be easy to get caught up in the fame, not realizing the consequences of your actions in the grand scheme of things.

When Talking to Your Child About Death

The first time I had to discuss a death with my son, it was my aunt who had passed away. He was still young enough where he didn’t exactly comprehend it and it didn’t ultimately have an impact on him. (I want to say he was 3ish at the time?) The second time I had to discuss a death with him, it was my paternal grandfather. This time he was in Kindergarten. Still, he was too young to really understand. I asked him if he wanted to go to school, if he wanted his birth father’s family to take care of him (it was just before his Christmas break started) while I attended the funeral. I missed the wake to take care of my son. I couldn’t miss the funeral.

My son, who even still is a lot older mentally than he should be, decided he wanted to come with because it was the right thing to do. I reluctantly agreed that he could go, thinking that he was too young to be at a place like this. But I figured if he was mature enough to ask and understand what was happening, that he was able to attend. He wanted to come up to the body with me. I held his hand and we prayed together while kneeling in front of my grandfather. We attended the Catholic mass afterwards, where people were crying and remembering my grandfather. I stayed stoic, as I tend to do. Probably why I have the reputation for being “cold”. I stayed stoic until out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my son was trying to be like everyone else. He asked for a tissue, and started dabbing his dry eyes because everyone else was crying. He started forcing sniffling noises while doing it. I didn’t want to laugh during a somber mass, but I chuckled. He didn’t understand what was going on, but he knew the motions that he needed to go through and he just wanted to make sure he was doing it right.

It was a long time later when I had to tell my now older son about a death in the family. This time, it was his biological paternal grandfather, a man he maybe met twice? I remember failing at this opportunity, making a joke because that’s who I am. “Dylan, you know what sucks more than your computer dying?” Yeah, you can finish the joke. I said it. I should be ashamed of myself, I know. But you have to be me and my son to understand. He didn’t react. He didn’t even really know the guy. He was confused as to whether he should go to pay his respects, be alone among a room of people who he didn’t even really know. Ultimately, he decided that it was better for him not to go. He was 15; that was entirely his choice.

My youngest son’s school was doing a project about Veteran’s Day. We decided that it would be cute to write about my maternal grandfather, who served in the Navy and passed away when my oldest son was about 2 or 3 months old. We named our youngest after my grandfather, so we thought it would be cute for our son to learn about him. It was cute until he asked why he didn’t meet my “Grampa”. I calmly explained to him that my grandfather passed away a long time ago. “He’s dead?” I nodded. “Did he die in the war?” I explained that he died of cancer and that cancer sucks. “What happens when you die?”

I stopped. What was my approach here? What do I say to him? Do I say what I believe? That he’s just dead and there’s a body in the ground and that’s really it? I couldn’t do that. I found myself saying the words I’ve learned through all my years of Catechism. “Well, he’s in Heaven watching over us to make sure that we’re okay. He’s protecting us.” My son went on. “What’s Heaven?” I found myself getting wrapped up in a lie that I didn’t believe, as parents often do in so many situations. “Well, it’s where good people go. And your great grandfather was a very good man.” He nodded, asked a few more questions, and that was the end of the conversation. Until he kept bringing it up. “How can he protect us if he’s up in Heaven?”

I wanted to say to  him “Mommy doesn’t believe in God or Heaven or angels, I just lied to you because the truth sucks”. There was no right answer here. I had to keep going with this lie to protect him. Just because I didn’t believe, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the right to believe if he wants to. It’s a loaded topic dealing with death, especially when discussing it with your kids. I worry about the day when I have to tell them that someone they were close to died because I’m the last person I’d want to tell me if someone passed away. The last. I’ve done it before. I’m not very good at it. I blurt it out without softening the blow. I answer questions honestly. I’m brutal and cold. I admit my faults. I have no idea how I would tell my child that someone they loved died. I could barely make it through a conversation about telling them how someone they didn’t even know died. Did my child need to know that my grandfather died of cancer? Was that too much to put on him? Did I screw up my oldest by telling  him the news through a joke?

I’m a mom trying to figure out this hard stuff just like everyone else. My way probably sucks and I don’t know how to fix it but it surprisingly has worked up until this point. I’m numb to the death thing and admittedly that has hardened me. My first thought it never “oh that sucks”, it’s always “okay, what needs to be done next.” I hope that I figure this out because as you can see, my gut instincts are not great here.

But, We Have to Save Them!

To start things off, I’m going to be very clear: racism is a very serious problem and it never really went away, despite what people tell us. If we don’t acknowledge the problem and the severity of it, there will never be change. If we ignore the facts and listen to talking points of how any movement trying to address this problem is a violent and extremist organization, then racism will be a forever problem. This is one topic that there should be no divide on: Racism is bad. It’s wrong. And if you can’t see that it’s a serious problem, you may actually be part of the problem.

I’m a reasonable person. I like to think that I put a great deal of thought into everything I say. I don’t want to be a talking piece for a political party, that recites their beliefs without thinking for myself. I’ve never been one to let someone tell me what I should think. On Facebook, a dear friend posted something about race on my timeline, how to be “less white” and asked my thoughts. I was confused why. He just wanted to get opinions. I gave mine. The moral of that lengthy response: Racism is bad and there should not be any argument there. However, the “race conversation” has to be one that inspires togetherness and change, not division. If you unnecessarily use the labels “white superiority” in a place just for the sake of sounding woke, you end up looking ridiculous to me.

One of the major points I tried to make was that I’m a privileged white girl that can only empathize with the problem, though I admit situations with my own son has made me see the problem closer to home. I can’t presume to know what it feels like when you’re targeted because of your skin color because it’s never happened to me. But, what I can do is listen to see the ways that I can help make the change that needs to happen. Even if it’s by writing words of solidarity for those who suffer injustice. Injustice is the enemy; not race. The minute that we forget that, we lose the fight.

My oldest son and I were talking recently, as he’s very fond of thoughtful conversations and debate. He asked, “Do you think that sometimes people go so far in one direction that they then become racists?” I responded: “Yes. The minute that you think that you have to save those being oppressed or mistreated, you have turned yourself into a racist because that implies a superiority over them. They don’t want to be saved. They want allies to fight with them to solve injustice and create a more equitable society. It’s not our job to save women or anyone else who’s fighting for equality; it’s our job to support their fight without demeaning any party. When you do, you lose the chance to inspire the change that you want to see.” He was satisfied with that answer and agreed.

This savior complex is what gets us in trouble. We keep thinking that people want us to save them. They don’t want some grand white angel to come down and save them from the world; they want your empathy and support to fight the issues that create this unfair world. We seem to have this need to think that we are in some way superior and that we need to save everyone. But it’s not about saving. It’s about changing those institutions that make life unfair. Racial profiling, shoot first/ask questions never. Lack of funding and support in low-income schools. These are the things that need to be changed. The practices that we have just accepted need to change. There’s no saving required. Just fight alongside those who are peacefully trying to change the world into a better place for all of us.

The Real Problem is That You’re Shocked

All last week, all we kept hearing about is Ted Cruz went on vacation. Honestly, I was more offended at the amount of people who harped on this for so long. Not because what he did was acceptable for a person on the (partially) tax payer dime, who should be working for the people. But because they were seemingly shocked that he doesn’t care about the people he’s supposed to work for. In fact, I think any time that people are shocked that _____ (insert politician here) didn’t do something with the best interests of the people in mind, I’m shocked that people don’t pay enough attention. Or, they are just complaining for the sake of complaining. I take my normal stance on things like this: I would respect him more for standing his ground and just staying on vacation rather than feigning a sense of duty because people were mean on social media.

This isn’t a point about arguing whether or not Ted Cruz did the right thing or anything about a specific politician. (Though, I mean, fine for your family to go but as a politician, you have a duty to your constituents to at least pretend to care.) The point is that people are somehow shocked that politicians don’t care about them. They care about the people who pay them the most; the corporations and lobby groups. We are nothing to them, unless we are rich donors that have some significant problem that money can easily buy away. That makes me wonder then: are we the problem or are they? I would argue that we are the problem.

Politicians shouldn’t be politicians because they want riches and power; they should have a sense of duty and commitment to their constituents. You know, the people who have voted for them because they believed that they were going to do the right thing. Because they believed that this person was going to help make a positive impact on not just their family, but their community or even society as a whole. Or, they just voted for that letter next to their name, because they are ride or die with whatever group they are associated with regardless of their actual beliefs.

I would argue that we are the problem because as a collective society, we are the ones who keep voting these people into power. We are the ones who care more about political affiliations than principles. We are the ones saying that this behavior is acceptable every time that we ignore things like, I don’t know so I’m pulling this out of nowhere, inciting an insurrection and allowing people to continue to believe a lie just to get votes. We are the ones who ignore their misdeeds because “blue no matter who” or “red or we dead” (I don’t know, there’s got to be some saying for them but I just don’t know it.) We are the ones who do not expect more from our elected officials, at any level really.

I would also argue that at this point, we are too far gone. People have drawn their lines in the sand and don’t care about anything else. As long as those people dig in, certain that there are only 2 belief systems and that it’s us vs. them, we’re screwed. Our only hope is that the future generations learn the lessons from us, that most of the time the answer is somewhere right in the middle. That political extremism and making enemies with people just because their ideals are a little different are the real problems. We need to be more accepting. We need to listen, even when we think we are right. Because, the other person also thinks that they are right. And most of the time the answer is somewhere in the middle.

Parenting the Free-Spirited

I get it. I wasn’t a normal kid growing up. I was spirited. I did things my own way. I didn’t want to be fit in a box with labels and I did everything that I could growing up to keep people on their toes. I was a unique, free-spirited child that enjoyed a bit of mischief and psychological warfare. I’m really not afraid to admit that I still have these same tendencies. This attitude has kept me sane and surprisingly out of the typical drama that adults deal with. Because I genuinely don’t care. The other parents want to make fun of my custom Chucks or my really warm hat and stained winter coat, let them. I’m not dressed like a blizzard is coming at any moment for them; I like being warm and cozy in winter. and if you want to look stylish and freeze, that’s your issue.

My children each have a bit of this free-spirit in them, though my oldest child is far more reserved. It’s challenging, especially as a parent, because you want them to follow basic rules of behavior but at the same time you don’t want them to lose that free spirit. My youngest has been the biggest challenge with this, primarily because he doesn’t have time to bother with whatever social norms are expected of him unless it really matters to him like when he’s teased for his uniqueness. For instance, when kids at school made fun of his Skechers shoes because they weren’t Nike or Under Armor shoes and my husband proceeded to buy him a new pair of shoes because my husband was scarred from some incidents where our child was teased for being Asian and it was important to “minimize what they could tease him about”.

He has always just marched to his own drum. From his alternating between sleeping, waving, and acrobats during ultrasounds, we knew from the start that he was going to be his own man. He was born in September and by Thanksgiving, he was rolling around like a madman. I remember telling the pediatrician and he laughed at me saying “It’s too early for that”. He didn’t laugh when my spirited little child tried to roll of the exam table and the doctor looked at me and said “Yeah, you have a mover on your hands.” Developmental milestones meant nothing to this child, whether it was inch-worming by Christmas or not speaking until he was 4, my little guy decided he was going to just do things his own way.

There’s a fine line that needs to be walked here, one where picking your battles gets a little harder. Because it ends up that everything is a battle. Bedtimes are rude and I’m the worst for enforcing them. How dare I expect him to wear pants when guests come to our house? You do want to encourage the independent spirit, even if there’s a bit of defiance behind everything he says. When you don’t encourage the independent spirit, you end up with someone who follows whatever is the popular thing at the moment or blindly follows a political party without questioning it. It’s not about raising someone to be molded in your image or into this perfect, ideal child; it’s about raising someone into the person that they are supposed to be.

It’s going to be a complicated struggle. You will end up sobbing behind the closed door of your bedroom because you’re on the verge of breaking down. But the most important thing is to not break their spirit in your goal of trying to teach them how to be both good people and free spirits. I wish I could offer some advice on the best approach, but I’m just winging it where some days are better than others. But that’s kinda my advice on anything parenting related. We’re all just trying to make it out alive with children who grow up to be reasonably functioning but not totally damaged adults.

The Anticipation and Hesitation of Sending Them Back

After winter break has concluded, it’s anticipated that the kids will finally be returning back to school. My youngest will be going back 4 days a week and a remote day. My oldest will be returning for 2 days a week with remote learning for the rest of his week. Once upon a time, I would be cheering for the ability to send them back. Not that I didn’t love them… but doesn’t every mom need a break? Wearing all the hats moms are expected to wear on the regular is difficult enough some days; adding in the extra responsibilities of teacher and principal just are too much for me while trying to work and get everything else done. I partially blame this for my lack of creative drive to get my own personal work done.

It is anxiety-inducing for me. What if they do bring the virus home with them, with my husband potentially missing 2 weeks of work or me getting very sick/suffering from the aftermath? My body loves being unique, meaning that usually the rarer conditions/side effects typically happen to me. I blame my Irish immune system. My body loves playing tricks on me, such as having bad allergies but also being allergic to Benadryl. You learn to adapt and laugh at the insanity.

Back to the point. As anxiety-inducing as this is for me, I’m also a woman of logic. Statistically, they won’t get infected at school. It’s also the best thing for my youngest, who thrives in a situation where there’s far more structure. Where the teacher can be the one to keep him on track because apparently I do a piss poor job of it. Also, I don’t know common core so I taught him old school math. I apologize in advance for what that’s going to look like in the classroom. Plus, he can finally talk to his friends in person. I just hope he follows the “no hug” rule, which will probably be difficult for my boy who is know for being a bit of an affectionate guy that the other moms just love.

I’m putting a lot of trust in these schools to not screw this up. I’m putting a lot of trust in other parents, who somehow still drop off their kids despite the fact that they have the flu. I just hope that I don’t regret that. I’ve seen the impact this virus has when people get symptoms and the aftermath of that. I have a lot of people relying on me to have my crap immune system give out on me because other people didn’t want to do the right thing. But… I mean.. yay school?

To Impeach or Not to Impeach: Part 2?

I will admit, I wasn’t entirely a fan of the first impeachment proceedings. Did he do what they said? I argued this point way back when I wrote about the first impeachment. I argued that it didn’t matter if he did; he wouldn’t be convicted because it was a relatively minor offense and the Republicans would never actually convict. I argued that it was a waste of time and tax payer money. No one would take it seriously, especially since up to that point people were calling for his impeachment before he even took his oath. Did I like him and think he should have been elected? No, I thought he was a criminal and at least as questionable as Hilary was, so I believed neither had any business being in office. But, to root for his failure was to root for America to fail and I just couldn’t get behind that idea.

Now, we are coming upon a second impeachment trial. Do I still think it’s a waste of time? In a way, yes. Unless people grow a spine, he’s not going to be convicted. Party before country is the new belief that these politicians have, where they worship their leader and never question anything. I wasn’t raised that way. And I absolutely think he should be convicted this time, whereas last time I wasn’t really sure what to think. Whether or not I believe that he incited the capital riots during that rally, his behaviors leading up to that point were enough to have me sold. Instead of peddling lies, he could have took the loss like a man. Not like my kid who doesn’t want to admit that he ate the last of my Flamin’ Hot Doritos, going with the “deny, deny, deny” approach. I get it; no one wants to admit failure. But at what cost?

In this case, the cost was our potential freedom.

We have an election process in place, one that even his own judges said was valid and not illegitimate. There was no fix or fraud. The only difference is that more people had the ability to vote due to the ability to mail in their ballots. I have skipped “minor” elections as my polling place is 2 miles away from my home because it was too much of a hassle to get there and park where there’s hardly any parking. It just isn’t worth it. I didn’t vote in our mayoral race for that reason. I’m not here to argue about whether or not they should continue allowing it to be easier for people like me to vote. (Spoiler: every legal American has the right to legally vote.)

Had he admitted that he lost and that the election was fair, this entire situation could have been avoided. We wouldn’t have our nation’s capital barricaded like a war zone as the National Guard, FBI, capital police, and local police walking around as if everyone is the enemy looking to take down the core of our democracy. They wouldn’t want to see everything burn. They would just sulk away as those who claimed Hilary was robbed did when Trump was sworn in. Did they complain afterwards? Yes, but I didn’t think they were going to ever try to kill political rivals. They were just whiny people that spent their energy complaining.

But he didn’t. Then, you could potentially argue that his tweets and his rallies after this point only dumped gasoline on this fire. Did his rally prior to the vote certification inspire an insurrection or was it a combination of everything prior to that and then the rally was the final straw? Was this all planned out? I think so. I honestly think so.

But it doesn’t matter. Because facts don’t matter to his dedicated believers, those who look at President Trump as a messiah. It doesn’t matter that the election wasn’t actually fraudulent; they were told it was therefore it was. The Republican senators have a choice to follow suit, keeping their votes safe and secure by staying in line with their messiah whether they are actually believers or not. Or, they could stand up for what’s right. To put the country ahead of the party. And until politicians start putting America first rather than their party, this country will never get better. They are governing for all of us and it’s about time that both parties start remembering that.

Hooray, It’s a Snow Day!

Though right now, is a snow day really any different than any other day aside from the fluffy white covering everywhere?

At the beginning of my district’s school year, they announced that they were getting rid of snow days. The kids are going to be remote anyways, so what’s the point? Save the days. I, if I’m being honest, 100% agreed. Let the kids get out sooner since the classrooms in our district are super hot in the summertime. Plus, it reduces the sun exposure my poor Irish skin has to be exposed to when picking up my son from school.

Apparently I was in the minority with this belief. The parents were fervent in their belief of snow days. “But the magic of snow days!” I get the point. It gives the kids a mental health day to play in the snow. Fine. Let them have snow days. I’m open-minded enough to see that there are other point of views that are better than mine. Plus, the added benefit would be that I wouldn’t have to argue with my spirited son about his school work while also trying to do my own work. It would be a win-win.

Except, that’s not really what parents wanted apparently. Today, there was a snow day called based on the forecast. Seeing it outside now, I can see why. The local forums weren’t as happy. “Why bother having a snow day?! They are remote anyways!” As much as we want to, we can’t have it both ways. We can’t just have a single snow day when we fight for snow days. You get snow days when they seem fit. The poor school district just can’t win. Either way, parents are going to be pissed at them and that pissed group is just as loud, abundance, and opinionated as the other group. Let the kids have a day where they aren’t at the computer for all those hours. Let teachers regroup, especially my poor son’s teacher. I know he isn’t easy, but he’s so cute and lovable.

I applaud my school district. They are doing what they can to make things as normal as possible right now. They are trying to do the right things for their students, teachers, and parents. It’s just extremely hard to do the right thing when everyone seems to have their own opinion as to what the right thing is. Managing the expectations of everyone when no one is on the same page must be stressful enough. I think instead of fighting them every step of the way, maybe we give them some room to navigate these unprecedented circumstances. They are learning this at the same exact time we are. If we are not going to adapt, we are teaching our kids to be stuck in their ways and this just won’t serve them for the future. You need a little flexibility to succeed and thrive, both professionally and mentally.

We can’t control everything in life, as much as we may want to. I gave up trying to control things a long time ago and I couldn’t be happier. Sometimes you just have to watch things happen because the only thing that you can control is your reaction to things. Take the time to cherish this snow day, because you’ll blink and your kids will be moved out and you will wish you had this day again.

The Daily Adventures of the Verbally Abusive 8 Year Old

I feel like every day of remote learning is tearing away of what’s left of my sanity. Should the schools be opened because I’m losing my crap here? They should open when it’s determined to be safe enough. I chose to be a mother; I signed up for all of the mentally challenging parts as well as those joyous moments. My kid being more than a handful was probably my fault. I tried my best. I really did. The first one came out so well.

Joking aside, I have spent a good majority of most mornings being screamed at for entire chunks of the morning. He’s screaming about being tortured. How he’s forced to do schoolwork against his will. How sitting at a desk is torture and schools don’t care about kids and they just want to torture him and all he wants to do is play video games and revel in his defiance of everything that the adults say.

I wish I could say it was the remote learning crushing his spirit. The truth is that my spirited special boy is his own person. He spends his school day trying to work smarter, not harder. By trying out outsmart the teacher by logging minutes on things when he just “AFKs” and lets the minutes log while he pulls up game sites and YouTube on his Chromebook. It’s exhausting running in his space in the dining room, while he breaks the 1000000th headset of the school year and reminding him of all the work he should be doing. Then he shows me the work is turned in and everything is fine. It isn’t. He didn’t do it and just turned it in so that it looked completed to me. Then I get the message first thing in the morning about how he needs to the work he didn’t do the day before. Which starts this vicious cycle all over again.

I try so hard. I’m worried he will fail the 3rd grade because he doesn’t care about school. He’s 8 and doesn’t care about school. He doesn’t want to go to bed when he should. In fact, if he’s told to do anything against his will, he turns into a gremlin who ate after midnight and the wrath is felt by everyone in the house.

I try not to argue. You can’t argue with a 8 year old, especially when they start complaining about how they are suffering and being abused for having to do school work. I try to be patient, when all I want to do is scream at the top of my lungs and start physically pulling out the hair that is already falling out due to stress.

This is just a phase. He has anxiety and a sensory condition. It’s difficult to navigate this time, which is already pretty tricky. I take comfort in the fact that I’m told my husband was just as bad at that age. But, he turned out well as an adult. Not sure my husband put a metal toy in between the surge protector and the Chromebook cord out of boredom during school, causing the power in the entire room to go out. At least my oldest learned how to reset the fuse at the box, a valuable lesson for any adult to know.

We will make it through it together. We will navigate this tricky phase and come out better on the other side. The best I can do is make sure that he knows that he’s loved and supported, no matter how long he screams at me for being an abusive torturous mother for forcing him to do his work. I can hug him and let him know that he’s fighting for independence and I get that, but that at the end of the day he still just needs mommy cuddles. It’s hard for kids to manage their emotions, especially when they don’t even know what they are going through. It just takes some patience… and a bottle of wine after they go to sleep.

Quiet Reflection

Sometimes you just need to take some time for quiet reflection. That’s easy to do when your brain hurts from a combination of constant sinus pain that makes seeing things difficult and the stress of… well everything. It’s always good to take that time that you should be resting in order to get some quiet reflection done. Because, it’s hard to do much else some times.

One area of reflection is my work. I so wish I had more time to dedicate to my own pursuits. I’m so busy coming up with words for everyone else lately, that finding my own has become more of a chore than an enjoyment. Saying that my creative spirit is being crushed by this seems so cliché. Besides, I’m an adult now. If my spirit isn’t being crushed on the regular, am I even an adult? Maybe it’s juggling my workload and remote learning. Maybe it’s just my workload. Who knows. I’m not sure if it’s making me a better writer, or a worse one. I have stories to tell. I just need to have some time to put them together to tell.

I’m also always thinking of ways that I can expand my blog. Soon, video game Mondays will be coming back and I’m hoping that I’m finally feeling well enough to come back to my weekly Tuesday and Thursday efforts. I keep toying around with adding a food day, where I share recipes, maybe even videos. It seems to be something that my Facebook friends suggest when I’m posting pictures of the food I make, and it’s always fun to toy around with the idea. Especially since I love cooking so much. It seems like a lot of time to dedicate to this, time that I don’t necessarily have. Something I’m definitely considering though.

Then there are the more personal things. The excitement that my oldest got accepted to his dream school, while I wait holding my breath to see what the bill will be after any scholarships. I dread telling my son he can’t go to school because we can’t afford it or can’t get a loan for some reason. It terrifies me. I hope that things work out, because that boy could change the world and I want him to have that chance. I want him to have that college experience I didn’t necessarily get as a young mother. I want him to be able to chase his dreams without worry. That’s my job and I don’t want to fail him. It does weight heavily on me.

It’s healthy to take a step back and look more clearly at things. It helps to ease the pain of the world crumbling around you. It helps you re-center yourself, helping you better plan for your next move. I wish more people spent time for a little reflection so that they can see things from a fresh perspective. I wish I took more time to go through this process.

Knowing Your Audience

The pandemic has been something that has turned everything into an anxiety-inducing uncertainty. People lost their jobs. Some lost a major chunk of their income. Most average people are struggling and so far, there isn’t much hope for relief soon. The audience, the constituents, are hoping for relief. Looking for a sign that they have people on their side, understanding this struggle, who are fighting for them.

…But instead, the politicians are fighting for themselves.

I don’t normally like to talk about local politics. I know that I went on an angry rant about a city councilman in our city, who was a rape apologist and victim shamer that I still believe is defiant in the face of our disgust for 2 blogs. Who still doesn’t really believe he’s wrong, rather put out an insincere statement as a Band-Aid. But that was because his statements were a part of a horrible culture that still makes sexual assault/sexual harassment victims stay silent.

In this case of local politics, our mayor is asking for a raise for himself, other city employees, and our city councilmen. A raise, in the midst of a pandemic when businesses and the citizens are struggling, but are still seeing an increase in their property taxes. A raise, while they are talking about furloughing employees. This is the time to know your audience, and as my teenager says, “this ain’t it, chief.”

I understand that they are paid a lower salary than those in surrounding areas. I get it. I might not have an issue with this if I didn’t see so many people struggling right now. Asking for a raise while there are people in the city who are struggling shows that they are out of touch and uncaring. Especially when you have a sitting councilman who isn’t serving on committees since they can’t remove him from office because, well, he made comments contributing to a culture of victim shaming.

The argument is that you are going to get lower quality people for these jobs. Was this a self-own by the mayor? I mean, he knew what he was getting into salary-wise, considering he was on the city council for so long. I again point out, it might not be so bad to raise these salaries… if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic that has caused financial devastation for so many people.

This is selfish. This shows that there are out of touch people in power in this city that don’t care about us, rather want more money in their pockets not caring about the money in ours. This shows me that come next election time, we need better people in there that are willing to do what they are supposed to do: put their citizens first. Instead of empathy and serving us, they seem only interested in serving themselves. Why should any politician be able to decide whether or not they deserve a raise and how much? Shouldn’t we, the tax payers, make that decision? Imagine any other job where the employees can make those decisions.

When You’re Walking Around a Fantasy World

My plan Tuesday was not to sit around watching the television glued to the senate race in Georgia. Honestly, I figured the Democrats would get one seat and the Republicans would keep the other. Whatever happened, happened. I had no control over the outcome and I learned long ago to not stress too much about the things that I couldn’t control. I have enough to stress about as is. It was what it was.

Tuesday, we decided to try Beyond Beef tacos. Spoiler: not only was I repulsed by it, I ended up covered in hives. It wasn’t fun. I couldn’t sleep, so I stayed up probably until 3 or 4 watching CNN’s election coverage because maybe it’d help me sleep. It didn’t. I was miserable and itchy and the hives burned and I wanted to scratch the hell out of them. I was shocked by what was going on in the election, which was actually helping to distract me. Would they actually win both seats? To me, it wasn’t so much that the Democrats won those races; it was the Republicans who are turning their own base away from them.

As an independent, who probably aligns more with a weird mesh of libertarian/democratic belief system, I get it from both sides. I get people mad at me, screaming about how I’m some socialist liberal when I point out the flawed belief system around Trumpism. When I agree with Republican politicians, I’m called a snowflake sheep Trumper. I’m neither. I seem to be unique in my belief of you can exist somewhere in the middle. At least if you’re a Republican or Democrat, you only really have to deal with the other side ganging up on you.

Back to my story.

Wednesday, exhausted and dealing with continuing sinus issues. I had planned on spending the day watching coverage of the counting of the elector votes. I knew it would be a historic moment and I wanted to be able to talk about it in the future with my youngest or my future grandchildren, mocking the insanity. History was going to unfold right in front of my eyes. They were going to fight about this all day, wasting everyone’s time in futile attempts that were ultimately going to fail. There was no fraud; these objections were purely motivational of people trying to get their last minute brownie points from the Trumpist base for their own future ambitions. When in reality, they should just let the hardcore ideals of Trumpism die with the ending of his presidency. Then what’s left of the shambles of the Grand Ol’ Party could recover their reputation, try to overcome this past, and become better people in the future.

I was right in all the wrong ways. I watched in horror as the events unfolded on my screen. It didn’t seem real. After living through the unreal experience of the pandemic, this still seemed like I was living in a fantasy world. There’s no way, not in America, that this would happen. We grew up being told that America was better than this. We grew up being told that this was a land where we were safe and free. These events make me question these apparent lies we were told. I didn’t feel like it was me sitting on the couch watching reality. It felt like me indulging in my sweet pleasures of trash “unscripted” television, watching an episode of “90 Day Fiancé” where some things are just too ridiculous to be real life. This wasn’t the America I grew up in. This would never have happened in that America. The America that stood together on 9/11. That America that came together during the Boston Marathon bombing. This is an America were there are people refusing to call these people for what they were: terrorists literally attacking our democracy.

This is almost like when you are watching the news when another country has their election and you know they are corrupt. The ones where America goes in with their shiny knight armor to save the day. The heroes of democracy, a role America tries to play every chance they get because they feel their approach to government is the ideal and superior to other countries. We are acting like that country today that needs America to come save. Only it’s us… and apparently we can’t save ourselves.

I kept saying that the division would ruin our country. My blogs reiterated the danger of this division. To watch something unfold that I only thought was possible in my imagination, doesn’t seem real. It’s not right and this is not the America I want my kids to grow up in. It seemed like something even too ridiculous for fiction. But here it was, our current reality.

I was reminded by a dear friend about how I would always right in my early days of my blog about how I taught my oldest to be the change he wanted to see in the world. That the future was his and he can help make it better. These are lessons I’m trying to teach my youngest. They are the future. It’s too late for us now, but it’s not too late for them. We can teach them to be better than we are. Because dammit, our country… our world… deserves better than this.