Archive for September, 2016

Quite simply, thanks

I visited my doctor today.

Like the other times I visited him, I left his clinic feeling much better than when I arrived.

I told him I followed a few doctor bloggers online and that their perspectives (especially Victo Dolore‘s) inspire me to say thank you when it’s deserved. Which I did, because it was. I very, very seldom feel as well heard as I do when he’s asking me questions and openly listening to my answers.

I drove home with a heart full of thanks. For starters, I was able to work from home today to accommodate my doctor appointment. What’s not to love about that?! Moreover, I am safe at work, whether working in the office or from home.

Another abundance of thanks goes to my son’s second grade teacher. I was apprehensive about her because her interactions with Li’l D last year were not very inspiring. My husband and I kept Li’l D at his current school to keep him with his friends, prepared to be wary of any signs his warmth and zest for life were being crushed.

His teacher told us right before classes began that she’s structured, not strict. The way she spoke reassured us. She wasn’t just saying words; she was showing who she was through her words.

Li’l D loves second grade so far. Sure, he grumbled once about getting “on orange” (or being not quite learning ready that day), but felt better about it when I said I’d been on orange myself just a couple days before. He was downright cheerful when I explained that even adults get “on orange” or “on red” (detention! parents called!) some days. He asked me to report what color I was on for a few days, and then got back to being his confident self.

He’s already been on pink–next to perfect–a couple of times, on purple (the top color) once, and in outer space another day. His progress report came back all Outstanding (an exciting reflection of how he feels about school, especially given how we’ve let him know we’re more concerned with his effort and joy than his grades), and his teacher was touched that he’d asked to keep his birthday no-homework pass because of the kind note she’d written on it. No other student has ever asked her this before.

When we brought cupcakes for Li’l D’s birthday, she thanked us for so supporting Li’l D. I tried telling her thanks in turn, but got too choked up to speak. I mumbled that I’d have to write her a note, instead.

I will write her a note, too. It’s just that, right now? Right now, it feels important to say that I am thankful. I’m thankful for these things and people. I’m thankful for my sisters–blood and spirit–and the presents they sent Li’l D for his birthday. I’m thankful for my husband and my boys, as well as for Li’l D’s best friends and their lovely parents. I’m thankful for my small, supportive community on Twitter, for Blackish season three (with Daveed Diggs!), biographer Ron Chernow, and Rent.

Right now, the political climate makes it all too easy to feel afraid. But beyond that fear, beyond my gritted teeth, I find deep, abiding faith that we mean to do well by each other, and to love each other as best as we can.

Deeper than anything else, I find, quite simply,

Categories: Family, Love, Parenting Tags: , , , ,

Seven years as Mama

My sons’ great grandma is 81 years old.

She knows that Disneyland holds a special place in my older son’s heart. For the first five years of Li’l D’s life, we shared many sweet memories there.

Great Grandma’s birthday gift to Li’l D was a family day at Disneyland. Since Great-Great can’t make the trek anymore, she asked for pictures–lots of pictures–of both her grandsons having a blast.

disney duck butt.png

Also, tiny Donald Duck

The day was equally full of sweets and sweet moments. The best of the latter were short, brilliant flashes: Littler J’s shining face as he swung ’round and ’round on the Mater ride. Li’l D howling joy as we rode California Screamin’ for the first time in ages, and then again the second time, and every other time afterward. The moment where I looked up at my big boy and saw a glimpse of the man he’s becoming.

disney lil d seven.png

“Dude, Mom, it’s just a truck.”

My heart was full before I met Li’l D seven years ago, sure. It’s just that it was a full cup. Now, thanks to both my boys, it’s the largest pool in the world … and yet still, somehow, overflowing.

Saturday Soliloquy: 26

I killed
26 people
on Wednesday

I didn’t
pull the trigger
physically, but I
killed them
all the

For fifteen years,
my people have
used one
to justify

some war
I thought
“Not my

spread from
one country to
another to yet
another, I thought,
“I guess that’s just
how it is”


For fifteen years,
I never thought to question
my leaders: “How are
me and mine served by our
bombing one then two
then seven countries?
How am I served
by our killing
people and
their homes,
lives, and
in ways
that could
only fan
of hate?

explain it to me
like I’m a five-year-old”

My silent assent
enabled them, and they
have milked it for
all they

My president
has sold $115 billion
in weapons to Saudi Arabia
alone*; it, in turn, has used
those weapons to kill
civilians, over and
over and over

(so many killed,
the Red Cross
is donating

By looking
the other way,
I said, “Yes,
I approve”

And those
I’d helped elect,
they just kept
for money
run for
their lives
from our weapons

when I saw pictures
of children starving in
Yemen because of our–
no, my–weapons, I wept,
for I am starving them

And when
I saw that 71 senators
permitted another billion-dollar
weapon sale to Saudi Arabia
the very same day those
26 innocents were killed
by our business partner,
I wanted to scream

Today, I will kill
even more people,
but take some scant
solace in knowing
I will not be complicit
any longer

I will shout at
those I’ve elected
that I will not support
murder, not vote for it,
not stand for it,
will rise up
against it


I can’t stop
any trigger from
being pulled today
or tomorrow, or the day
after, I. will. speak. in hopes
that my fellow Americans
hear that politicians who
fear losing their seats
will listen well to
an overwhelming
chorus of voices
saying, “You
no longer
my quiet
to murder
(26, 260, 2,600,
or 26,000)
for your or

* By all rights,
we should have
been fighting against
Saudi Arabia; instead,
we have bombed the house
while leaving
the bathroom

** Go to hell stricken
parts of Yemen,
General Dynamics.
May your munitions
fail and end up striking
you where you sleep

Note also
that President Obama
yesterday vetoed a bill that would
enable 9/11’s victims to sue Saudi Arabia;
it’s too important a business partner
big a munitions buyer to
risk losing it over silly
things like
the law or

Already written

Yesterday, I told two coworkers how much I appreciate them and what they do.

“Write that down so you remember it when you’re asked about our performance later!” said one.

“Naw,” I replied. “I don’t need to write it down to remember it. It’s already written in my heart.”

Categories: Work Tags: , ,

Power protecting power

daddy littler j

I am a white woman.

My gentle, articulate, Yale-alum husband is black. His blackness didn’t matter to me when we started dating, or when I discovered I was pregnant. I couldn’t really believe it mattered to anyone.

I’d seen otherwise long before July 19, 2013, when I tried to make people laugh while recognizing the limitations of misunderstanding their own experiences and insights as universal.

A police officer repeatedly shot and killed Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014. I didn’t pay Mike’s death much mind until two months later, when I saw how many people were still protesting and “suspected it likelier I was uninformed than that they were delusional.”

One month later, I was no longer uninformed. I’d spent countless hours poring over news and watching devastating social media clips reflecting very different fact-sets than those set forth by policemen and their mainstream media spokespeople.

I discussed Ferguson with my then five-year-old son that day. “But they won’t shoot me?” Li’l D asked of policemen, punching me straight through the heart with his words.  Read more…

measure in love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand
six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

Work ends

I love it, but
I’m tired, still

I scroll through
my Twitter feed
as I walk to my car,
feeling both more alert
and more tired
by the tweet

But then
I climb into my car
and I am lifted–
no, catapulted–
to love
by a chorus of
voices singing
about how to
measure the
moments in
a year

These friends
(this family),

(They are
my friends,
and my family)

Even when
I step out of my car,
Rent continues
in my soul

Its silver (love)
cocoon continues
to shimmer
around me though
its notes stopped
with the car

After dinner,
my older son
pedals his bike
up ahead

I jog behind
with my younger son
on my hip

Littler J giggles.
Bouncing is fun–
so fun, he bursts
out singing his ABCs,
all the way through,
which I didn’t know
he could do

And then,
back home,
my husband’s
trying to tell me
about an article in
The New Yorker, but
I’m not really listening
because the kids are tired
and I read them
their bedtime
stories first

I feel guilty, as I begin
to read

(I should have
listened better. Why
must I be so objective

I try to focus on
my little boys, which
is easy because they are
so silly and sweet

Li’l D blows
spit bubbles as
Littler J pretends
a Hulk action figure
is a monkey jumping
on the bed, which
bed is actually
his brother’s

When it’s Daddy’s turn
to read, both the boys
rush to snuggle him

Littler begins (again)
singing about monkeys
jumping on the bed

“Why does he keep
saying three monkeys?!”
asks Li’l D, affronted

“He’s only two,”
Daddy explains, gently.
“He doesn’t know
subtraction, yet”

Daddy sings along,
leading slightly
so that the proper
number of monkeys
remain on the bed

And I sit down
at my computer
to look at political
Twitter, but instead
find myself humming
Seasons of Love

And I know,
with every particle
of me, not only that
life is not measured
in missed tweets,
but that it’s
measured by
shared in

Oh you got to remember the love
You know that love is a gift from up above
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure, measure your life in love


Categories: Love, Parenting, Twitter Tags: , , , ,

The 40s track

“You’re on the 30s track, aren’t you?” my six-year-old asked of my age yesterday.

Laughing, I agreed I am. Nodding toward my husband, I added, “And he’s on the 40s track!”

A little later, I couldn’t help but notice how the 40s track suits him.


I’m already looking forward to his 50s track.

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