Youth is wasted on the young, or maybe not

Not a shocker that I can’t get my mind off the election today. Every single last person I know is fixated on it. I haven’t met ONE SINGLE PERSON yet today who hasn’t voted… I waited until AFTER my daughter’s school was over and AFTER her skating lesson, so I could take her with me. I seriously was probably the last person I know to vote, and I was there just before 4:00 p.m.  No out-the-door lines in my neck of the woods — everyone I know had already voted, either earlier today or as part of early voting.

Have you ever seen this kind of political excitement (outside DC metro)? This level of engagement? Even my daughter had voted before me — apparently her elementary school elected Obama over McCain. My daughter didn’t want to come with me to vote, noting this school-day election. She had so been there and done that. I actually had to insist bribe her (with a bag of pretzels). I told her that one day, years from now, regardless of the outcome, she would (probably only privately) thank me because she would be able to tell her friends she was with me on this day. Turns out, she was pretty enthralled.

And of course, as I do each and every time I vote, I got teary-eyed. And a lump in the throat. No, I’m not making that up. I have NEVER, EVER voted in any official election without getting teary-eyed.  We have THE GREATEST country in the world, even though we are probably as dysfunctional as any other. I believe in our underlying constitutional infrastructure. I will attest to the undefeatable spirit of the American people to engender the change needed to … eventually… fix what isn’t great. 

Most of all, I take pride in our cultural and social evolution that has gotten us to this point: a day where our major Presidential candidates are a 72-year old white military man whose VP running mate is a woman and a young, bi-racial pulled-up-by-his-own-bootstraps community organizer/lawyer/statesman.

I am not an old woman. I’m not even technically middle-age, though I feel it fast approaching. Yet, honestly, I didn’t necessarily think I would ever see this day where this could happen IN THE SAME PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

And that’s probably why I was a just a little more teary-eyed than usual today. For a moment driving to the polling station, I thought about what it must be like to be an 18 year old today, or a 19, 20 or 21 year old. Someone who never before voted in a Presidential election. These kids (yes, kids) have memories of previous elections, of their parents’ emotions or indifference and most will have meaningful memories of the 2000 debacle/confusion/chaos in addition to what is in their history books. 

Yet, I wonder, I truly wonder if they can know how historic this is? It reminds me that the stories of the Jim Crow South, the enormous civil rights injustices there and the voting obstacles faced by good, honest citizens who happened to be African American are to me just stories, movies and parts of my long-ago history major courses. It is hard to get my arms around the real struggle, the charged emotions, the sacrifices made, the baby steps taken that seemed earth shattering at the time, the actual blood, sweat and tears of that era. And, earlier this election season I was shocked when reminded how recent was women’s right to vote. There are actually people who remember that too — and the similar obstacles, beatings, shame and blood, sweat and tears.

There is no underestimating what even the tiniest of incremental advances can do for us as a country many years later. It is so important that people see progress as positive change and not mourn the passing of what we once were. Change is good, even when it doesn’t look exactly like what we’re used to.  We gain some things, and we also lose some. But usually, mostly, hopefully, we gain.

That is why I hope these first-time voters truly comprehend just how momentous this election is, since they never actually got to do this before anyway. Oh, and those 17 year olds. How agonizing to just miss out!

This isn’t just about firsts. This is about acceptance of ALL AMERICANS into the leadership fabric of our country.  This is about the train having left the station. This is about who is on board.

Is there still racial disparity and injustice in America? Oh, yes. Is there still gender bias? Uh huh. Are there still stupid people, evil people, short-sighted people and self-centered people who will vote solely on what helps them profit or insulate them from change? Of course. And this election isn’t going to change that.

That’s up to us, what we do today and what we all do next.

But, oh what a milestone in that long, long race. God Bless America.

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November 4, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

History, any way this whole thing turns out

What an amazing day for America.  Today, we will either elect a Black president (technically, bi-racial but somehow that doesn’t seem to be what he’s being tagged as) or our oldest President-elect with first female Vice President.

Regardless for whom you’re casting your vote, this is a sure sign of progress.  We have come a long way baby.

Oh, and I hope my guy wins!

November 4, 2008. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Any given Sunday

I’m just lost tonight. There’s no football on, and since it’s October that just doesn’t feel right.  There’s plenty to do around the house, between the kids, the mess on the kitchen island (and the dining room table for that matter!), the bills I could pay due around the 1st of the month and the seemingly endless work from work.

Instead I half-heartedly clear off a couple of things on the island and on and off dully watch the World Series (Cubbies, some day we’ll go all the way), but can’t really get in to it. My team isn’t there again, and neither is my husbands’. 

Truly, it’s SUNDAY NIGHT in the Fall!  Football should be on. That’s just a universal truth! Doesn’t the NFL know that people are counting on them? And NO, some game played oversees as some kind of “special” just isn’t a replacement. What am I expected to do… watch Desperate Housewives for crying out loud?

ARGH! How can I be expected to start the week fresh and motivated after this?! I suppose I should look at the silver lining — I’m not enduring the most painful, boring, uninspired half-time blather delivered by Bob Costas this week. The man is great at many things sportscaster-ish, but it turns out the SNF halftime show isn’t among them.

On any given Sunday, my emotional stability is in the NFL’s hands. This one just didn’t cut it for me.

October 26, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Sample this

Today, someone in my family actually tried to suggest that men do more in their families than women, complain less and accept more accountability for their kids.

I’m willing to consider this. (Cue the Jeopardy theme music while I consider). Okay, I’ve thought about it. Here’s my verdict:  No way, buddy.

Here’s some irrefutable evidence from today alone. (Editor’s note: some most of this is gross.)

This morning, instead of getting ready for work and going in to the office, I collected a stool sample of diarrhea/staetorrhea from my 6-year old daughter to fill the 5 plastic cups provided yesterday by the pediatrician’s office while my husband got ready for work and did go to the office, then showered with said, possibly Giardia-carrying daughter, drove to the local hospital to deliver the samples to the outpatient lab within the one hour mark of collecting it, stopped by her school to drop off the check for a school event on Friday that is due today since she won’t be at school, went to the dry cleaners to drop off the suit and tie my husband stained last week, dropped 20-some thank you notes that I wrote over the weekend into a post office box for our twins’ birthday gifts, then grabbed a coffee at Starbucks.

I was back home by 8:00 a.m. to do some work before taking to preschool the only one of our three kids not currently voiding their bowels as if they’ve undergone colonoscopy prep.

Not a problem for me on this, just a variation on the daily routine, as chaos seems to be the order of the day in our house. I should also note, when it became clear yesterday that one of us would have to stay home from work to do all this and ensure our other two children survived through the day of stomach cramps and potty runs without ending up in the hospital or sending the nanny to the madhouse, there wasn’t even a conversation or question about who would take responsibility for it. Even my husband will back me up on that one.

Now, my husband is quite possibly the best father in the world. He can handle these three tiny creatures better than any other dad I know does theirs from what I can tell, and does indeed sometimes watch all three at once on weekends when I go do frivilous things like get my hair cut and colored or go grocery shopping. He changes all the light bulbs in the house, does garbage duty, has taken kids to birthday parties and tennis, puts them back to bed when they wake at night, and helps them hang holiday decorations. Yet, this very same man, who has never once been to his hearing-impaired daughter’s audioloist appointment had a small temper tantrum when asked if he could take her to an upcoming one that has to occur before our 504 staffing at the end of the month because I will be out of town on business for the date assigned to us. Of course, he will take her, but I had to hear about it first.

About all this, I have no real complaint. In the long run, everything will get done and we’ll march ahead to the next day whatever it brings. I for one am glad I can do all this, and I take some pride in the fact that I can work a relatively high-level, demanding, full-time job at a Fortune 10 company while also collecting stool samples and managing the family’s school and social obligations. I once read an article about a study saying moms are better multi-taskers than men and it pays off for them at work.  I hope any men who read this (if they haven’t clicked off to somewhere else by this point in the blog post) can somehow take comfort in that study as proof that it’s just not inherent to them. I would hate for men to have to take accountability for willfully evading all this stuff.  That would make me so sad for them.

So, the next time you think you want to face off over how women can’t do what needs to be done without complaint or their willingness to embrace responsibility or accountability, I’ve got a little special sample of something I’ll be happy to share with you. Let me just run to the bathroom first….

October 13, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. 7 comments.

The Olympics (almost) killed my blog

I’ve been neglecting this blog, and the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the IOC, NBC and Michael Phelps for making the Olympics so irresistible this year. At least for the 1st week when nearly everything that mattered (insert 2nd Michael Phelps reference here) was broadcast live. At least to our knowledge, though it turns out if you’re watching Phelps’ 8th and medal-count-record-setting race from Whitefish, MT, you’re actually watching it on an hour’s delay despite NBC still having “LIVE” up in the top right corner of the condo’s TV set. But that’s another story and would have gone unnoticed if I hadn’t been on the phone with a friend back at home ACTUALLY watching it live.

Each night my husband and I stayed up until way past midnight watching, actually speaking to each other every five minutes or so to note we really should go to sleep since we had to wake early for work.  Even when the bedroom TV DIED in the middle of the 1st week of events, we didn’t heed this obvious sign from above that we should GO TO SLEEP already. We just camped out longer each night in the family room. I think I even went to bed w/o brushing my teeth or washing my face one night because I was too tired by the time we got upstairs.

But, I’m not dead yet! I’m giving myself a chance at redemption. I’m going to persevere through the Democratic and Republican national conventions and somehow blog during those and hopefully get to sleep before 1 a.m. each day. 

Yes I can!

August 26, 2008. Tags: , , . Uncategorized. 2 comments.

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