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Archive for December, 2014

The good behind and the GREAT ahead

Calendars everywhere tell me it’s almost 2015, but that can’t be right. I’m still writing checks for the year 2000!

For now I’ll pretend calendars are right and tell you about the year 20002014 as I lived it:

  • Me and Littler JI met my second son, Littler J, on the ten-year anniversary of my meeting his father. It was love at first sight.
  • I wanted to encourage my older son’s love of school-based learning, leading me to enroll him at an alternative school. The experience was terrible; I spent the first few months of Littler J’s life kicking myself for not recognizing Li’l D signs of distress earlier. As the year progressed, I delighted in seeing my son flourishing once more, and growing into a love of reading and math thanks to teachers happy to welcome him back to his old school.
  • My husband was promoted to assistant directing after years of working as a Production Assistant. (I had a chance to witness him flourishing in this new role; it was beautiful.)
  • Li’l D started kindergarten. (But didn’t I just bring him home from the hospital?!?!)
  • IMG_20140815_111106I celebrated my brother-in-law’s commencement of medical school. While the accomplishment was his own, it was beautifully bound up in a shared history that once led my mom to say he’d always be our family … even if he and my sister ever broke up. I wept for me, for him, for my mom, and most of all for hope as I watched him receive his short coat.
  • I seized an opportunity to be a work at home mom. I relished the extra time with my boys, which relishing didn’t stop me from realizing I very, very much enjoy working–and especially negotiating, with adultsin an office setting. (More on that revelation later!)
  • I accepted an offer to begin an exciting job in the new year. (More on that later!)

A couple of my most visited posts Read more…

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Social media’s power to transform policing

Ferguson Prosecutor Bob McCulloch shared surprising words about social media when announcing Officer Darren Wilson’s non-indictment for killing Michael Brown.

Stated McCulloch, “The most significant challenge encountered in this investigation has been the 24-hour news cycle and its insatiable appetite for something, for anything to talk about, following closely behind with the non-stop rumors on social media.”

His words surprised me at the time. “That’s the challenge in all this? Really?” I wondered whether he was deluded or his words were part of some bizarre but considered strategy toward an objective I couldn’t quite discern.

Since McCulloch’s bizarre press conference, I’ve followed the aftermath of several killings by U.S. police officers; in 2014 alone, there have been more than 1,000. Read more…

To be free

A new year nears,
And I wonder:
What dreams
Dare I seek?

In asking, I find
The things I want
Aren’t things
That can be
Store bought, or
Grasped with my hands

They are:
Seeing (the better to know)
Knowing (the better to change)
Changing (the better to uplift)
Uplifting (the better to soar)
Soaring (the better
To show my sons
What it is like
To be free)

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All,
Here is to our taking flight in 2015!

White people proclaiming racism is over

On casting light and Christmas without her

On our first Christmas without her, one last Christmas tree at her house

On my first Christmas without Mom, one last Christmas tree at her house

I wrote “On your first Christmas without her” for a friend last year.

I was surprised when that post started turning up in searches more than a month ago. But Christmas is so far away!

As Christmas draws nearer, more and more people find that post with search terms like “first christmas without my mom” and “christmas without mom.” I’m no longer surprised that they’re searching now or that they were searching then, because … of course. This is the time of year when the resounding push toward collective joy can actually enhance the sense of isolation in grieving:

There they all are going about life as usual, expecting life to go on as usual, and here I am with no idea what “as usual” means anymore. 

I wrote last year’s post after a conversation with my then four-year-old son. This year, I see those search terms as the start of another conversation worth having a little earlier.

I’ve thought about grief a lot more since then. When my husband’s friend lost her baby a month ago, I thought about how people sometimes disappear from grievers’ lives after they realize they can’t fix grief. More than that, I thought about why. I finally understood that when people disappear during other’s grief, it usually reflects not callousness but a sense of powerlessness: Read more…

Pride in blackness

My husband is a black man. We’ve engaged in ongoing conversation about issues pertaining to race in the United States since our very first conversation on the subject. What you see below is a highly condensed version of one part of an ongoing, complicated discussion.

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“Hon, can I ask you a question that will probably sound all kinds of ignorant? But that I really want to understand and I’d probably get crucified for asking anywhere else?”

“Sure,” my husband answered while continuing to tap away at his laptop keyboard.

“So … ” I fumbled for the words. “You remember … no, that’s not the right way to say this. OK, so I’m following a few young black leaders on social media. My feed right now is like a terrible accounting Read more…

Not just the merry parts easily spoken

I routinely get emails for a couple other women named Deborah.

I don’t usually read more than a sentence or two of their emails. Once I realize I’m not the intended recipient for a letter, I shoot off a short note letting its sender know they’ve gotten the wrong Deborah. I’d like others to do the same so I can get my emails to their intended recipients.

Only once did I read the whole letter. 

Its sender forwarded a letter from his doctor. The opening explained that his doctor–who had become a friend–had urged him to open up about his cancer to his partner, his Deborah, Read more…

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