Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do Something

I have an emotional hangover from today's YouthCare annual luncheon.  If you are not familiar with the work of this amazing nonprofit, it's time you remedied that. 
I took a 2-hour break from my good job and my comfortable life to hear the stories of three kids that would move me to tears.  Abuse, neglect, life on the street, suicide, depression, rape, human trafficking - the things these kids have endured in their short lives pains me.  I was physically in pain listening to them speak, and when I left the event, I felt vaguely sick.  I couldn't, and can't, do my usual compartmentalizing.  I cannot let this go. 

Although I have always considered myself to be an empathatic, compassionate person, I don't think this piece of myself had fully evolved until I had Will.  As a mother, I seem to *feel* in a different way than before.  Today, I heard a mother tell the story of her teenage daughter being prostituted and, basically, enslaved right here in Seattle.  Their family could be my family, your family.  I cried - and not just a few tears - I CRIED as I listened to her words.  What would I do if.... I literally cannot even write it. 

As difficult as it is to hear these stories, we MUST hear them.  We must listen and learn.  We cannot insulate ourselves and our children from the realities of the world.  We must teach our children empathy and compassion, and we must show them that we CAN effect change.   

And change doesn't come from dreaming. 

It comes from doing.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Time For Kindness

Let's talk human decency for a minute, mmm'kay? 

Today I was shopping at a Giant Fabric Store Chain, and I watched a frazzled Mommy as she moved around the store.  She was disheveled, wearing sweats & a pony, and she had a crazed look in her eye.  She was having One Of Those Days.  Her young son, maybe 5 years old, rode in the cart eating a yogurt, oblivious to the fact that his mother was teetering on the edge. 

And then it happened.

Her son dropped the yogurt.  It spilled upside down in the cart.  It dripped all over the bolt of fabric she had stowed underneath.  And Mommy lost it. 

First, she began to cry.  Then she snapped at her kid - nothing major, just a bit of a, "Oh, Johnny, come ON already."  And then she looked around the store maniacally. 

I could read her thought process as she took inventory of the situation.

"What do I do now?  Do I try and clean this up?  Did anyone see that happen?  Do I just abandon my cart and leave the store?  Do I offer to pay?  Do I apologize profusely and hope this problem goes away?  Can I keep my tears under control?  Can I keep my head explosion under control?"

She opted to find some paper towels and started cleaning up the fabric as well as the yogurt-covered floor.  I watched as 3 salesclerks watch her do this.  I offered to help her, but she declined as she continued to cry.  She was CRYING, folks.  She was barely holding it together. 

I've been this woman.  You've been this woman.  I don't care if you have kids or not, you've been this woman.

And the clerks just watch this unfold.  They did not offer to help. They did not let her know that, really, this is no big deal.  They just watched her as her nightmare unfolded.

After she had cleaned everything up, she asked how much she should pay to cover the damage that her son had caused.  The clerk said, "I think that 3 yards will cover it"

Are you effing kidding me?

You are going to charge this woman for 3 yards?  Where is your compassion?  Where is your sense of what's right?  And frankly, where is your customer service? 

The total she was charged was around $15.00.  In the grand scope of this business' finances, $15.00 is nothing.  Hell, in the scope of this business' DAY, $15.00 is nothing. 

But think about how much a little kindness would have meant to this woman.  Think about how a little compassion and understanding may have calmed her down, been a balm to her embarrassment, and brought a little perspective to the whole situation.

Shame on you, Giant Fabric Store Chain. 

P.S.  I think I got them back by raising a bit stink when I insisted I was overcharged for my purchase (nope) and demanded to see a manager to walk me through my receipt item by item.  Or I just looked like a complete idiot.  One or the other. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

530am on a Friday

"It's not fair."

Nope, not from the mouths of babes, but instead uttered repeatedly by a 35-year old woman at 530am on Friday morning.

I'm not proud.

Friday was my morning to "sleep in" until 730am. Sleeping in until 730am is part of the new reality. At any rate, I was *really* looking forward to Friday's lie-in. 

Will had other plans for us.

At 500am, he starting moving around. At 515am, he started chatting and rolling his paci along the bars of his crib. At 520am, the whining began. And at 530am, I knew there was no more sleep to be had. The screaming started. And it wasn't coming from Will.

"It's not fair. It's not fair. It's not fair. It's not FAIR!" I slammed around the room like a petulant child.  If I didn't get to sleep in, I was going to make damn sure no one else was sleeping either.  Like I said, I'm not proud.

After Will and I were well into our morning routine, I had managed to calm down a bit.  I held my perfect & healthy 7-month old son knowing that he will always have everything he needs.  We snuggled in our cozy & warm home full of love and food and family.  I have a partner & a son, and Will has two parents in the same home. 

No, it really *isn't* fair how lucky we are.  

Sometimes the new reality just needs a little perspective.  It just takes a little longer to find it at 530 in the morning. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why Don't You Bring Your Baby To The Bar Anymore?

My last post was on Halloween.  I don't think it will surprise anyone that I went back to work 6 days later.  When you are a working parent, the time one has to take babies to bars and then blog about it is greatly diminished. 

Let me catch you up.  Will is now 7 months old.  Here is the new reality.

It's the one day a week that all three of us have together.  We decide that, for research's sake, of course, we should take our baby to a bar.  Obviously, we can't go at night because Will has to be in bed by 630pm.  We can't go from 11a-1p because that's when he takes his long nap.  We can't go after 4pm because that's when he gets crabby.  That leaves after 1pm and before he needs to take his short late afternoon nap.  But on this particular day, Will naps longer than usual.  When he gets up, we need to give him his cereal & fruit.  Apparently, he no longer likes apricots, and he spits them out all over himself, me, the floor, and the cat.  Now we all need to change clothes and clean up apricot slop from the kitchen.  Of course, since he didn't eat his fruit, now he needs a bottle.  Okay, Will's has his bottle, we're all in clean clothes, let's head out the door!


It's time to tag team.  Tim gets Will's coat and hat and carseat and blankie and paci.  Will does not want wear his coat or his hat so he is screaming as Tim attempts to wrangle him.  Meanwhile, I am putting together a diaper bag for this 1 hour journey to the local pub.  He'll need 3 diapers and wipes, an extra outfit in case of a blowout, 2 pacis in case the other one gets lost, 3 types of toys for amusement's sake, a full bottle, a burp cloth, another hat, and his stuffed bear. 

Will is in his carseat and he appears to be calm.  We have our coats on.  Keys are in hand, and the diaper bag's on my shoulder.  Let's get that beer.

And then a ghastly, horrible sound emanates from my child. 

Ah, shit.

After extracting Will from his carseat, from his coat, and from his clothes, and cleaning the blowout and the child, it is now 4pm.  He is crabby, needs his late nap, and refuses to wear socks.  Sigh.

Maybe we'll make it to the bar next week.  As for tonight, boxed wine & PBR?  Why not?