Persuasion – Part 2

My dear Miss Bennett,

The last time I wrote to you it was to praise you for how you have handled our move from Arkansas to Nebraska. This time I want to explain to you why I chose the book Persuasion to reference.

It’s one of my all time favorite books, right up there with Pride and Prejudice. But, how Jane Austen wrote the protagonist in Persuasion is altogether different from how she wrote Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Anne Elliot was a person of substance, yes, but she was also meek and unsure of herself. Mainly because of her vain father and sister. She was loved and valued by her neighbor and dear friend, Lady Russell, who treated her more like a daughter than a neighbor.

Miss Anne fell in love and was persuaded to not follow that path, break the heart of the object of her affection, and in doing so, break her own heart. All to please others.

Elizabeth Bennett would never do that. She had a self-awareness that Anne Elliot did not possess. She might not have known what she wanted, but she knew what she didn’t want. And sometimes, that’s good enough. She didn’t want to lead a life that wasn’t hers. A life that forced on her by society, duty, family obligation. She wouldn’t settle. She refused.

It took Anne Elliot eight years to learn what she didn’t want, however she still needed some persuading to change her life around. Eight years after breaking up with the love of her life because her family wanted her to, he walked back into her life. She was elated and embarrassed at the same time. Elated to see him again. Embarrassed because as she looked back on that time in her life with wiser eyes, she realized she had been a fool to let him go. Lady Russell persuaded her to let Captain Wentworth know that she still loved him. She needed to take the chance of being rejected in order to take the chance of being happy. It’s all a gamble. We can either be a witness as life happens around us without any say in the matter, or we can be a deliberate creator and make life happen.

There is no right or wrong way. Whatever is your way is best. While you had to be a bit persuaded to move here, I am amazed every day at how you charge through life forging your own path. You take control. You do what you want and you fight what you don’t want. Some people might think that is the sign of a spoiled brat. I have come to believe, however, that this is a sign of a person of substance. I have rarely been a fighter. I have mostly been a willing witness, letting life pass me by.

It wasn’t until I watched the Nicholas Cage movie The Family Man that it dawned on me that I could make a change. Just do it-muddle through the challenges, and bask in the sun on the other side. That’s when I knew I could ask Mr. Paul for a divorce. You know him. We have discussed this many times. I knew when I saw Nicholas Cage wake up one morning with nothing around him that he knew, and he just had to make it work, and he DID make it work, that I could too. I had to be persuaded to change my life.

Watching you conquer math, make up songs and sing your heart out loud and proud no matter who is watching, try over and over again to get the dance moves just right on the game Just Dance – again, no matter who is watching – has inspired me greatly.

I have always felt comfortable helping others. Helping others either physically or emotionally comes naturally to me. Since we have moved to Omaha, I have felt a strong pull to follow my gut and study to be a life coach. I’m already on the path with going back to school for I/O Psychology. But, I need to do more. I need to get certified in Life Coaching, which I am now working on. I can’t in good conscience sit here and tell you day after day to follow your dreams if I can’t walk the walk. Watching you grow has persuaded me once again.

I can’t be a mother of substance, a woman of substance, a person of substance if I can’t muddle through the challenges and bask in the sun on the other side.

So, I’m doing it. I’m going to be a life coach. Whether it’s strictly volunteer or I have my own business someday – it doesn’t matter to me. I just know that if I don’t do it, I will always wonder, I will always be wanting, I will always be searching, and I will not be a good example to you.

Anne Elliot did tell Captain Wentworth that she loved him and they ended up together. Elizabeth Bennett didn’t marry Mr. Collins even though it could’ve meant that she and her sisters ended up destitute. Anne needed time to grow up in order to take her leap. Elizabeth Bennett barreled through every day as if it were her last. Two very different people. But, two women of substance, who grabbed life and chose to be happy, no matter what anyone thought of the means of that happiness.

I love you, my dear Elizabeth and I thank you for being an inspiration to me every single day. Someday, when you are older and you read these letters, I hope that you will be able to look on a mother of substance, who followed her dream, and who is basking in the sun on the other side. I hope all of this and more for you.

I love you. I honor you. I am proud to be your mom!

Love,

Mom

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Persuasion

Moving Day   Moving day, Jan 28th, 2016!

My dear Miss Bennett,

A lot has happened since the last time I wrote to you. I have found a new position at a new company in a new state! While it’s all very exciting there were some hurdles to overcome.

You and your little brothers knew that we would be moving closer to my side of the family, you were all a bit scared and sad with the thought of leaving the only school you have known and your friends you have become so close to.

Your father and I were a bit sad and scared as well. After all I had spent the last 13 years in Arkansas. I met your father there. I had you and your little brothers there. We built a life there.  It was time to leave, though. I desperately needed a change of pace in my career and your father needed something different also.

I miss my work sisters. (Another letter will tackle this one) I miss my Monday morning chats with Miss Elizabeth (Cassi) and Miss Cathy (Fleak) about the Bachelor – or Bachelorette. I miss talking with Miss Jennifer (Braunns) and Miss Elizabeth about really everything from husbands, kids, and how raising both can be difficult! I miss talking to Miss Christina (Andrews) about how to juggle grad school, motherhood, and a career – the struggle is real and she totally gets it!

You know what else I miss? Super warm weather in February. I miss that a lot. Four days after we moved in the largest blizzard of the season – so I am told – hit Nebraska, and about a million other states, too. We had to run out and buy you littles snow pants, thick winter coats, and water proof boots. I haven’t had to buy that type of clothing for any of my kids in well over a decade.

I miss this trails in Arkansas. And the atmosphere at a Walmart Saturday morning meeting – not to mention the celebrities we got to see!

I miss your Grandpa and Grandma Blickenstaff a lot. And your 3 older brothers. It was very difficult to leave them.

Even though there are things that we miss and there was a lot of persuading going on that this was the right move for us – we are now on the other side. We have a house that has room enough for all of us, including the big boys. We live in a great neighborhood that is super close to your school. We also live really close to your aunts, uncles, and cousins – which has already been super fun!

And I am working at a great company with an awesome boss. A place where I have met strong, intelligent, and funny women who I know will become great work sisters one day. (not that they could ever replace the ones I already have)

Your aunts and I keep asking ourselves if this is really real! Do we really get to hang out and I don’t have a 6 hour drive back home afterward? When our car breaks down in another state (which happened when we had to go back to AR in Feb) we had loads of family to watch you guys for the whole entire weekend! (And we had Grandma Blickenstaff to tote and haul us around AR and then up to NE for an entire weekend!)

My point is, my dearest, that even talking about change can be hard. Coming to accept the needed change can be even harder. But, with a lot of communication, a huge amount of love and understanding, and some hand holding, I was able to persuade your father…..uh….I mean you littles that moving to Nebraska ‘The Good Life’ was indeed the best decision for our family.

Next time I will write to you about the changes you have experienced like no school uniforms  and how you are handling having your very own room!(again)

I love you, miss Elizabeth. I am honored to be your mom!

Mommy

Gratefulness

My dear Elizabeth –

Everyone has struggles. Everyone has a past that can follow them around like Quasimodo’s hump, if they choose to let it. As I have gotten older I have become more attuned to the fact that we get to choose if that lump is attached to us, or if we just set it down somewhere, out in a field, to be forgotten about. WE GET TO CHOOSE.

I didn’t have the best relationship with my dad. It has taken me three years after his death to forgive him for his severe lack of communication skills. It has taken me this long to forgive the fact that he taught all of us that the younger you are in the family, the less you matter. It has taken this long to forgive myself for feeling insignificant and unworthy. A relationship, even an unhealthy one, is a two way street. While you have one person who is treating someone in what one can perceive to be a negative way, the person perceiving and allowing that behavior to affect them is just as vested in that relationship.

I did have some really crappy moments growing up – humiliated daily so others could elevate their status as the funniest. However, once an adult I never learned to let that go. I expected the same treatment from anyone and believed with my whole heart that I was only worthy to be a punching bag or a stepping stone. It has taken me years to realize that no one else is responsible for those feelings except for me. While there were “moments” growing up that were not-so-good, I was the one that chose to let those moments define me and define my future relationships. What should have been a clean slate as soon as I graduated high school turned into a laundry bag, then a large capacity garbage bin, and then an all out garbage truck to hold all of the negative thoughts about myself. And I was very protective over that garbage truck. That garbage truck was my life-line, my identity. Who was I if I wasn’t the butt of every joke? Who was I if I could no longer tout the badge of most humiliated? What would I think about if I didn’t have that negative, self deprecating reel of dialogue CONSTANTLY playing in my head? What WOULD I think about?

My dad died before I could ever tell him thank you. I realized too late that he actually taught me a lot. He taught me a lot about what kind of a person I didn’t want to be, but he also taught me a lot about the kind of person I do want to be. I have my dad to thank for the transformation I have gone through in the last three years.

While cleaning out my dad’s house after his death I came across a book by Deepak Chopra called How To Know God. Well, even though I totally know the Big Guy, who wouldn’t want to know him better? So, I claimed it. That one action set me on a course to a new world and I will never, ever look back. I also took other books and journals of my dad’s. They were the absolute best present he ever gave me.

I learned about who he really was and was introduced to teachers that I still learn from every day. Thank God for free You Tube audio books and seminars! Deepak Chopra, Dr. Wayne Dyer, Abraham and Esther Hicks – so inspiring! My dad studied Deepak and also Dr. Dyer at great length and it was only after his death that I realized all the conversations we had surrounding them, he was trying to teach me, he was influencing me to THINK. I know that sounds silly, but to actually think about your actions and your thoughts and realize that you have power over them? That is a priceless education. (Dr. Dyer just passed about 10 days ago and I will miss his teachings immensely) Unfortunately, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself and playing the victim role to REALLY listen to him. I gave into the societal expectation that whatever you are as an adult is the direct result of how you grow up. People are “screwed up” because of how their parents treated them. No. Not anymore. I’m not screwed up. My parents had their issues, yes, but I was super good at claiming zero responsibility for my personality, how I react to things, how I lived my daily life. So easy to say, “Well, because my parents did this, that is why I am the way that I am”. Totally had to start calling BS on myself.

Two years ago we started on a downward spiral financially due to your father getting laid off after 12 years at his job. I will admit that some days were very dark for me. But, I was able to lean on your dad and lean on my dad, who was showing me the way, every day, through the dark. So, while our relationship wasn’t the best while he was alive, looking back now I see that I was just as responsible for that as he was. I am so grateful for my dad and what he attempted to teach me while he was alive. I am so grateful for my dad and what he has succeeded in teaching me while watching over me from a much better vantage point.

People will say they are grateful for all the things that have happened to them, both good and bad, and I never understood that before. Now I do. I am so grateful for the path my life has taken. I am so grateful for my sisters and brother and my mom. I am so grateful when my normally dependable radio won’t work and will only tune into a bluegrass station, one I have never even heard of, and I am able to say to myself – “Hey, dad! I’m doing okay! I love you and miss you!”

I am so grateful for the love my father showed me. I am so grateful for the love my husband has for me. Both have loved me differently, but fiercely.

I am truly grateful for the path my life has taken – the path I CHOSE for my life to take. It has brought me here, now, with you. And I am able to be a good mother to you and teach you things that my dad tried to teach me. You might listen and be influenced, or you might tuck away those teachings, only to remember them when I am watching you from a much better vantage point. Either way, I will do my best by you, just like my father did his absolute best by me. And that’s worth being grateful for, every day.

I love you, my dear Elizabeth. I am so grateful you chose me as your mom. I promise to always do my best by you, to listen to you, and to teach you by example.

I am honored to be your mom.

Love, Mom

True Love

My dear Elizabeth,
You, my dear, have started the second grade. Unfortunately, you started this year with a very heavy, sad heart. The boy you have loved since the first day of kindergarten no longer goes to your school, and we do not know yet if he has returned with his family to Mexico, or if he is still in the area.
You have written a beautiful song about your love for Joseph, and the loss you are experiencing. A Taylor Swift worthy song, I might add. You wonder where he is and if he is all right. You wonder whether he has new friends and if he gets along with them as well as he got along with you. But, most of all, you wonder if he has found a new love. Joseph had proclaimed his love to you, as much as you did for him. This is something you really only shared with me, however, as your father was not ready to hear such secrets yet.
I only know personally of two couples who met in school, started dating in school, and are still together to this day. I am not sure if they were in love going as far back as kindergarten, though. But, the likely-hood of you falling in love in kindergarten and that being the love that lasts a lifetime for you being minimal – you don’t care. So, I don’t try to convince you otherwise.
You see, love is a wonderful and mysterious thing. There were many that had reasons to be skeptical of my love for your father. But, I had to come to peace with the fact that while I may be disappointing many in following my heart, it was something that I had to do, no matter what. For me, your dad makes everything better. Food tastes better once he gets his hands on it. Outings are so much more fun with your father along. Every holiday is exciting. Cleaning house is fun with him. Sitting on the couch watching a movie is better with him just sitting next to me. My life is blessed beyond words because I married your father and didn’t listen to what everyone else thought.
My first marriage was – and there is no exaggeration here – hell every single day. I am still baffled – no longer mad, mind you, but baffled – as to why he even married me. The daily abuse was horrendous.
And then I married your dad. Your dad – who decides to laugh it off in a tickle fight when I laugh so hard that I cough, and then pee on him. Yep, that’s happened. He didn’t throw me off of him. He didn’t get mad. He laughed right along with me. As well he should because my laughter/sneezing/running incontinence is mostly his fault, bearing four of his children and all.
I am proud of you for learning at such a young age to brush off the nay-sayers and believe what you choose to believe if that is what makes your heart happy. Because you have a beautiful heart. And Joseph will be blessed if he decides to wait and be a part of it.
I love you so much, Elizabeth and you make me proud every single day to be your mom. I am honored.
Love, Mom

On Food and Children

My dear Miss Bennett,
Ahhhh, food. It’s a wonderful experience! The smell, texture, and all the different tastes a great cook like your grandmothers or your father can cram into one dish! It amazes me every time.
Another thing that amazes me is how much kids hate food. And I’m talking about food, not about sugar filled substances with a non-nutritive varnish coating. (Shout out to Clark Griswold for that one!)
Real, wonderful food that for some reason people under the age of 15 really could care less about. No matter how many times we explain the health benefits, no matter how many times we re-cant the ‘there are starving children in several other countries around the world, how can you sit here and not eat?’ question, you still do not care.
You care about the sweet stuff. The fattening stuff. The wonderfully juicy, fried stuff! Like fried pickles and Snickers, funnel cakes, and of course – chicken! Sorry, I’m getting a bit carried away here.
My point is this – sweet stuff, fattening stuff and fried stuff are all enjoyable. However, they should be enjoyed in moderation. We all need the not-so-good for you stuff from time to time.
When you have kids it’s hard because you want them to eat healthy. And you want them to have fun. And you want them to respect the rules of the house. It’s a hard line to walk as a parent.
We know that taste buds change over time, and that at some point you will like salads with way too much dressing, and you will enjoy broccoli, as long as it is smothered in cheese. We just sometimes are at a loss as to how to get you to eat – NOW.
I don’t believe in making you guys sit there to finish your meal with something you absolutely hate. I also don’t believe that our kitchen is a cafe at meal time. So, we are usually at an impasse. Below is a poem that I wrote a couple of years ago for Logan:

Logan’s Snack
The anticipation is gone,
Stolen away.
You made the decision,
On that fateful day.
Hours upon hours were spent
Imagining the joy,
The sounds, the textures, the scents.
But, because your dinner you snubbed
It’s time for teeth brushing and floss.
The snack you held so dear in your heart,
Your hand has successfully lost.
With tearful eyes you trudge
Your little bed awaits
Tomorrow is another day
Only you know your snack fate.

Okay, I know that is kind of corny, but he was soooo sad that day! And when that little peanut is sad it is hard to bear. And Logan is underweight anyway. He is only in the 3% for everything. So we really have to be a bit lenient when it comes to him. Sometimes, though, we just have to draw the line. Calories are great, but when you are only wanting them from junk, we have to draw the line. It truly breaks a parent’s heart to have to say no to snack time when you haven’t eaten the meal that you need to eat to give you the strength to digest the crap-filled snack you so desperately feel you need.
Just remember this: when you become a parent keep in mind the stuff that you thought was gross and don’t make your kids eat it. Keep in mind that boundaries need to be set not only for health reasons, but so when your kids are adults they can police themselves and make healthy choices in all areas of their life.
I suffer from a severe addiction to Pepsi. We’re talking so bad that I need a 12-step program, maybe a 30 day retreat at a fabulous New Mexico spa – don’t think I haven’t thought about it. And I am a terrible example for you when it comes to consuming soda. Terrible!
I realize this and accept responsibility for the exposure I am subjecting you to for such an addiction. But, trust me, until I am able to get professional help – we are all better off when Mom has her Pepsi! I will work on it, though. For you. Because you always make me want to be a better person.
I sincerely hope that you glean a bit about ‘food health’ from me, and completely ignore the ‘food not-so-healthy’ examples from me. I know you will make great decisions about this. You are already making healthy decisions daily about friends, school, and your health. You are the most courageous person (besides your dad) that I know.
I love you, I honor you –
Love, Mom

So…let’s talk about sex, Miss Bennett

Your oldest brother (his name has been withheld to protect the innocent) was 4 years old when he first asked me about sex. Yep. He actually said the word ‘sex’. Once I changed my pants, I asked him what he thought sex was. He said it was when two people are married. And they kiss. And they don’t have any clothes on. Clearly I was watching way too much Melrose Place with him.
I told him that all of those were absolutely parts of sex. But, there was a whole lot more. Like….a crap-ton more. I also told him that sex is something that adults do. That doesn’t mean he can’t ask about it and we can’t talk about it. It just means that some times I wouldn’t be able to answer his questions fully, and that he wouldn’t want me to, because some things are hard for people who are 4 years old to understand. Some things are hard for adults to explain. He seemed satisfied with that answer. From that moment on, we had open conversations about sex. At every age.
Your second oldest brother (again, his name is being withheld), waited a bit longer to ask me about sex. He was eleven.
He’s a quiet one. I believe, also, that he is an old soul. He’s done this before. He takes things in stride. So, at 6:15 am, while sitting in our car waiting for the bus, he asked me his first ever question about sex: “Mom? What is oral sex?”
I stared straight into the beams of light coming from our car. It was super cold out, and even though we had the heater on, you could still see my breath with every exhale. I think I sat there for a while just breathing in the cold air, wishing to God I was anywhere else, for what seemed like forever.
He just looked down. Then looked out his window.
Oh, dear Lord, what do I say? How do I answer that? Then I realized I needed to cowboy up and handle it.
“Well, oral sex, huh? Do you have any idea at all what it is?” I asked.
“No. I know what regular sex is, but I don’t know what oral sex is.”
“Okay. Hmmm. Well, where did you hear about oral sex?” My questioning continued.
“I dunno. People at school I guess. If you don’t wanna tell me, you don’t have to. You just have always said…”
And there it was. My own words slapping me right in the face!
“that I could talk to you about it.”
All of the sudden I started speaking really fast and in a voice that sounded like I just inhaled a balloon full of helium. “Of course you can talk to me. You can talk to me about anything! I’m your mom! And I don’t want you learning about sex in the locker room like I did. Girls talking about French ticklers? Do you know what a French tickler is? Neither do I! But, it’s not anything you dust with, I can promise you that!”
After some inner dialogue counseling, I took another deep, cool breath and calmly started again.
“Ok. Oral sex. Do you know what oral means?”
“No. Wait, something with your mouth? What does that have to do with sex?”
No way! I am going to have to literally spell it out for him? Another deep breath. And then I just spit it out as fast as I could.
“It’s when a girl puts her mouth on your parts. Or you put your mouth on her parts.”
“OH MY GOSH!! MOM, that is sooooo gross! Who would do that! People do that? Oh, I am never having sex!”
In the middle of yet another hyperventilating preventative deep breath, I was overcome with laughter! Hysterical – possibly. Stressful – definitely. Bonding with my son laughter – absolutely. He started laughing. I saw the lights of the bus off in the distance shining through the bare-limb trees.
“What?” He asked, the laughter dying down.
“I love you. And some day you might think differently.”
“No I won’t!” He said fervently.
“Okay, okay. Well, just know this: Sex is a great thing. It’s fun and loving and exciting and absolutely wonderful. It’s for adults. There are lots of sounds and fluids and stuff that happens, and it’s definitely not as suave a scene as it is on TV and in the movies. Embarrassing stuff can happen. If you don’t love the person you are with and you can’t talk or laugh about it with them, that makes for a very uncomfortable situation. Look, I’m not naive enough to think that you and your brother will wait for marriage before you have sex. That’s great if you do, but I am not going to hide my head in the sand. What I want you guys to know is that a woman will ALWAYS have her heart in it. ALWAYS. And you won’t – not every time. Not until you fall head over heels in love. Sex is HUGE. It is a HUGE topic and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Babies are made. Diseases are spread. Relationships are made better, but can also be made worse by having sex. If you don’t have the balls enough to talk to her about her feelings and yours, and if you can’t talk about the actual “act” and what feels good and what doesn’t then you have absolutely no business having sex. You aren’t ready. Okay?”
“Yeah. Okay.”
The bus’ brakes squealed as it came to its stop.
“You can talk to me anytime, okay?” I reassured him.
“Yeah, I think I’m good for a while. Love you.” he said as he exited the car and disappeared in the bus exhaust blowing in the headlight beams of the car.
“Love you, too.” I said. Out of sheer exhaustion I laid my head down on the steering wheel. I couldn’t believe I had just had that conversation with your brother.
Being the seasoned sex education parent that I am now, I jump in on your third oldest brother’s conversations with Daddy. I am sure he appreciates my wisdom and will thank me by not rolling his eyes in our future discussions. (Seriously, though, he seeks me out when he has questions now, just like Ian did. Oops, there goes the anonymity)
So, now I am down to you. My daughter. I thought that sex discussions with you would be easy. A piece of cake! We are both female, after all.
Speaking of your magic place that you have babies – well, you can actually check for that place rather than just take my word for it. You ask about breasts and when you will get them…a lot! I feel I am not old enough, nor qualified enough to have these conversations with you, to educate and guide you. I really don’t have a whole lot of experience. I had a high school boyfriend who I was in love with. And he was a wonderful, beautiful person – inside and out. But, we really didn’t even know if we “did it” when we tried. And we certainly didn’t talk about it. I had an amazing college boyfriend – again just a beautiful soul and he was amazingly easy on the eyes. Still, no talking about it. ‘It’ just would happen.
I didn’t really even feel comfortable enough to talk about it until I met your dad. He was actually quite shocked that a woman 10 years his senior didn’t know much of anything about sex. So, he loved me. And he talked to me. And it was amazing because I had never in my life met someone who thought so much of me. He thinks I am beautiful and smart and funny. And to have anyone think that….anyone at all….that was really an amazing thing! And, let’s just say some pretty freaking awesome things happened to me after I met your father. Some pretty, AMAZING things.
So, should I die before you really start asking the tough questions about sex, please know that it is wonderful. It is a good thing to have in a relationship. It is for adults for so, so, so many reasons. Some reasons that I will discuss in another letter. It is also meant to be between two people who love each other – not you just loving him. Not him just loving you. You both need to love and honor each other. When you have that – sex will only make your relationship better.
I love you, my dearest Miss Bennett.
Love, Mom

Times, They are a Changing

My Dear Miss Bennett:

Two very important decisions were made in this country last week, and those decisions have inspired passionate debates, to say the least. I struggle with my feelings about these decisions and expressing them correctly. I posted on Facebook that the people who were against one of the decisions were small minded. Just because they are wrong doesn’t mean they are small minded, does it? 🙂
It was wrong of me to say that, and I do sincerely apologize. I find it difficult sometimes to share my opinion without the passion that usually accompany’s it. Just ask your older brothers. I can talk and talk and talk, quite passionately, about everything I want to teach you. I can talk so long I can make a glass eye water. And I usually have very good points to make. However, sometimes I can go too far with my opinions, as I did a few days ago.
What happened last week is that same sex couples were granted, by law, the right to marriage. In my, hopefully worded appropriately, opinion they were granted basic human rights. However, there are people that I dearly love that don’t share my opinion, and I had no right to belittle them. In my Christian opinion, Jesus loves everyone. No matter what. And I will leave it at that.

The second thing that happened last week was that the decision was made to remove the Confederate flag from state capitols and, I believe, other seats of government, to include counties and cities. I believe that no matter how long ago the practice of owning other humans was, any form of representation of that era should be in a museum. Slavery, as you know, was, and still is, perhaps the worst form of denial of human rights; to include owners raping men, women, children; people having to stand naked while they were/are physically inspected like a horse or a dog, and then sold – possibly taken away from their parents or children, whichever scenario applies; and many, many, many more transgressions that I couldn’t even begin to list. To have a symbol of that flying atop state capitols, no matter how many times that symbol has been revised, is appalling to me.
I am confused, seriously confused, as to why anyone would be upset that such a symbol is taken down. It should be in a museum and remembered appropriately, but not celebrated. And yes, no matter which way you slice it, flying a flag is a symbol of pride. Slavery is not something that makes me proud when I think about it. It sickens me. However, there are people who are near to me that I am sure think otherwise, about the flag I mean, and I have to be careful how I share my opinion on this because I do not want to hurt their feelings. They are already wrong, I don’t want to rub it in!:) (Please know I am only trying to keep a little lightness in this letter.)
The thing I really struggle with, as I stated before, is how to share my opinions, or if I should even share them at all. On facebook there are pictures and posts being shared that basically say, “Mind your own business!” or “Be kind, let’s all be respectful and play nice.” And while both of these can be true statements, sometimes it is really difficult for me to play nice when it is something I am passionate about. So, maybe I shouldn’t share my opinions if I can’t play nice. However, if no one who is passionate about a subject ever shares their opinions, then how can we grow as people? As a society? As a nation?
Somebody, somewhere, got pissed off enough, and probably a few hundred or thousand people had to die, before it was mandatory for blinkers to be put on cars. Whole buildings on fire with people trapped inside had to burn to the ground before someone got pissed off enough to say, “Hey, why don’t we make it so all exterior doors push open, rather than pull, from the inside!” Brilliant!
Some woman, some where, got pissed off enough, because she was so freaking intelligent, and she said, “Hey, why in the hell don’t I get to vote? Why doesn’t my opinion matter?” I guarantee you that some male Christian thought that was preposterous and couldn’t believe that women should be allowed to vote, and fought it every step of the way. Thank God that woman, and thousands more like her, fought and fought and fought. And there are countless more unsung heroes that brought about change in this country, and I thank them all.
If we don’t share our opinions and fight for what we believe is right, as long as we are keeping basic human rights in the forefront, I don’t believe that we can ever grow as a country.
I am confused by a post going around on Facebook about how people who are against same-sex marriage are now afraid that pedophiles will get legal rights to have sex with children. How did we transition from adults getting basic human rights to now believing that we, as a country, would allow people to hurt our children legally?
I think fear and anxiety has taken over common sense. Maybe it needs to, I don’t know. I am sure that my parents would have probably thought people were paranoid if they actually used the seat belts on their children in their cars. Maybe fear is okay, rationally speaking anyway.
It will be an amazing thing to watch, our country progressing. Right or wrong, we are in it together. I will do my best to be respectful. I hope that I teach you the same thing, as well as making a glass eye water!
I love you, my dear, sweet, Elizabeth. I wish you a country of progress, full of amazingly different people. And I will be around for many, many years to answer your questions, have passionate debates with you about sensitive topics, and hold your hand through all the change you experience…until you get really, really, really old!
I love you, I honor you,
Love, Mom