Middish Week Review: I'm Making It A Thing

POLITICS

Rape. Yeah. The news is chock full of rape, but guess what, so is the world. Get your heads out of the sand if you think this is just about Akin, folks. And keep in mind that since this is my personal blog, I'm expressing my personal opinions. If you don't know by now that I have some opinions, we probably haven't met. Here are some of the articles that really spoke to me over the past couple of days:

An Appeal to Rep. Todd Akin by Maureen Herman, former bassist of Babes in Toyland, founder Project Noise, and a mother of a daughter born as a result of rape. 

Using the Right Words About Rape by Kelly Wickman, an educator, mother of four, and all-around amazing person who has very important things to say on this subject, with perspective that speaks to me and might speak to you.

The Official Guide to Legitimate Rape by Katie J. M. Baker, Editor at Jezebel. This article is one of the most comprehensive I read on the concept of what is defined as rape and how legislators continue to undermine the good that would come from a zero-tolerance approach to rape by playing the game of trying to define "types of rape as if they were different flavors in an ice cream shop."

DEATH

If you're more comfortable with your head in the sand, we can talk about death. Phyllis Diller died this week. I loved her. I spent part of today listening to this tribute on NPR, which included an interview she did with Terry Gross in 1986. It was every bit of the awesome I expected, with a slice of gold on top. 

SCHOOL

We're also sending a big kid off to high school this week and a little one off to kindergarten. A time for transitions. And questions about why school districts can't seem to get their calendars to actually reflect meaningful information like start and end times to the day or truly import to the apps we all use with some sort of ease-of-use. Or maybe updated websites with links that aren't broken, less paper—hell no paper—especially when you're asking us to donate paper, which will presumably be used to produce copies of things to be sent home, just as easily made available online or also available online already—redundancy you are my nemesis. Silly things, I suppose, but they irk me every year and seem to be an issue across the country, so I don't feel alone. And who are these parents who can take off from work for hours, day after day, to attend registrations, open houses during the workday, and orientations, for varying grade-levels all held on different days and times, AFTER we've registered online multiple times in the spring and again in the fall? What an assumption of privilege, I think, to require parents to do these things, and make them feel less-than if they don't. It is wholly unnecessary that inefficiency or poor planning should result in longer hours for staff, volunteers, and parents. It doesn't show that anybody cares more or is more important. It is a waste of time and resources. It doesn't build community. It builds burnout and resentment.

And now, I'll be stepping off my little soapbox so I can get my house in order for back-to-school and daily life.

Enjoy the rest of your week, folks.

Drink something cool and fruity if you're able.

 

Things What I Enjoy: A List Of Sorts And Kinds

  • Teaching tiny humans to spot bovine and equine on grass-covered hills.Hill bovine = hovine
  • The sound of traffic rolling up to and away from a four-way stop from my bedroom windows.
  • Excited children picking snow peas and strawberries to eat from our garden, before we can even get them to the house.Garden porn. #strawberries #organic #casabesttogether
  • A child sniffing the bark on one of our Ponderosa Pine trees to see if it smells like vanilla or butterscotch, but deciding it smells like cookies—I'd never thought of cookies in all my tree-sniffing years in the Sierras.

Clearly a sign from God. #Hangar1Vodka #blimp

Day 14: Operation Eleanor - Rebirthing Of The Word Bogart

bogart: transitive v. to use or consume without sharing

Today I bogarted the first few minutes of Peanut's therapy appointment. Although, truth be told, it wasn't so much for my personal use as it was for the benefit of our entire family. Yay for awesome therapists! We have a great one.

I can't recommend therapy enough for helping a family through the rough spots or even just as an ongoing resource for learning how to navigate the developmental stages kids go through. With kids who are grieving the loss of a parent, it's a must. As we move toward integrating two families together, it is also important that we have the support of a professional to help us navigate the bumps that we will surely encounter along the way. It's one thing to create a step-family with children of divorce; yet another altogether to create a step-family with children who have lost their parent(s). My kids don't just have a potential fear of their father being replaced because they see another parent here in the house, they might have that fear because their other parent will never return. It makes for a different kind of situation. It doesn't matter that nobody is looking to replace their dad. Amen for professional help along our journey.

So, even though I wasn't super excited about needing to go in for the first few minutes to discuss "issues," I did it. And you know what, I feel a LOT better. Isn't that how therapy usually goes?

Work Ahead

I found a wonderful book that I thought I'd share with those of you who might have grieving children. It's called Guiding Your Child Through Grief by James P. Emswiler and Mary Ann Emswiler. Here's what I like about it: the authors aren't just counselors. They met and married after James lost his 39-year-old wife of 18 years to an unexpected heart attack. He was a young widower of three children. Mary Ann was a single woman who took on raising his three children with him. Together, they founded the New England Center for Loss & Transition and The Cove, a program for grieving children, because there weren't any resources available as they navigated these uncharted waters back in the early 90s. They get it. And they break it down by the developmental stages of the kids, which I really appreciate, because teenagers are not the same as 10-year-olds when it comes to their grief needs. If you're looking for a book that will speak to you in the early days or even a year or more out, this is it. The chapter on step-parenting a grieving child is excellent and I found a lot of comfort in the opening chapter, Will My Child Be Okay?