For one reason or another I always seem to take a hiatus from writing at this time of year. But I’m here at last to share a quick story.
Allow me to set the scene. I’m sitting on the couch, my husband is on the adjacent couch. We’re in our appropriately dark living room on an inappropriately sunny afternoon. My phone, which rarely rings, starts buzzing with an incoming call. The number is not familiar, but it is my area code, so I answer. The conversations follows:
“Hi, is Kiera there?”
“No, this is her mom. Who’s this?”
“Oh, well is she there? Can I speak with her?”
I linger here a little because at this moment my phone starts chiming in my ear with a couple rapid fire texts. I glance at the screen quickly but do not recognize the number, so I return to the conversation more adamantly, albeit a bit confused.
“No, Kiera is at daycare. She’s 20 months old, I’m her mom. Who is this?”
“20 MONTHS!? It says here I should be speaking with a 20 YEAR old.”
“Well, you’re not. Kiera is my baby, who is this?”
“I’m so sorry, I must have the wrong person.”
“WHO IS THIS?”
“This is for a patient referral.”
“Oh… but the person you’re looking for is named Kiera? And is 20 years old, not 20 months old?”
“Yes, I’m sorry.”
“That’s weird though, right? That’s not a very common name.”
“Right, I’m not sure how this happened. I’m so sorry to bother you.”
And with that I hang up the phone. I look over at my husband who had been following along. His expression, initially puzzled and confused, had now resolved into a smile with just a tinge of WTF? I shrug my shoulders, laugh, and then look at the texts I had missed. I find this:
What in the Sam Hill?
(Which I thought was sam hell my entire life, until literally right now.)
This was the most peculiar 3 minutes of my life.
It was as if someone saw me sitting there on the couch and said “hi there, I see someone kicked you while you were down. Here’s something to laugh at; think about nearly impossible coincidences, 20 year old Kieras, and crack for the rest of the afternoon.”
Admittedly I took the needed opportunity to do just that.
And I feel better knowing that if all else fails, at least I know where I can get some crack. Phew.
Yesterday started out as a great day.
Before leaving for work my husband and I made the short walk down to the school. Both equally excited about having the opportunity to vote for a woman as President of the United States. We discussed how cool it was that our daughter would never know a world in which a woman, or African American, had never been president.
As we walked home we were swarmed by dozens of preschoolers and kindergarteners just starting their day. Full of cheerful energy and absolute chaos. We laughed about how this would be our life in just a few short years, and I think we both found a little bit of solace in the fact that we were doing our very small part to help our daughter get a good start.
It was the perfect start to a perfect fall day. The sun was shining brightly. Firing up the reds, yellows, and oranges in the trees, the air was crisp. It was all very picturesque. Even thinking back on it now gives me the warm fuzzies.
But then the weather changed. It got dark, and cold.
And as the rain started to fall in Western NY, hearts started to sink across the country.
I threw in the towel at around midnight because I knew it was over. When my husband came to bed a half hour later I non-verbally requested an update, and he replied that there was still the slightest outside chance that things might fall her way. I told him the only reason he believed that is because he is a Bills fan, and he’s accustomed to hoping for the impossible. We both laughed.
But to be honest, it wasn’t really funny.
I woke up at 4:30 and had to grab my phone. I read that just a little over an hour had passed since Hillary had conceded. Hillary conceded. Hillary conceded.
For the second time in a few months, albeit for very different reasons, I felt as if the world (my world) was standing still.
Once again, I had to ask myself why. I’m not a political person, and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t understand all the nuts and bolts of our political system. But, to put it in layman terms, at its core being the president is a job. A very complicated and demanding job, but a job nonetheless. ‘Job’ is a term I can understand. I have a job; I’ve offered other people jobs. Every time I’ve done so, my decision was based heavily on the person’s qualifications.
I voted for Hillary Clinton simply because she was more qualified for the position. And in a postion as complicated as say… the President of the United States… I do believe qualifications and experience are important. Tremendously important.
As it turns out though, qualifications don’t mean a lot to a lot of people. We are all entitled to make our own decisions about who we vote for, and why we’re voting for them. I get it, and I’m fine with it. But while I’m not a political person, by choice, I am feminist (oh no, I said the F word). At the root, I do see this as a feminist issue. I’m not fine with that.
The most qualified candidate did not get the job last night. Sometimes that happens. Them’s the breaks right? Sure.
But it happens more to females.
A woman needs to be stronger, smarter, faster, and work harder than a man in the same position to get the same result. It’s not fair, but it is a fact of life that women are just expected to deal with, while smiling. I’ve seen it happen on a small scale again and again in my own life, and I’ve now watched it play out on the world’s largest stage. Even the word feminist carries negative and “bitchy” connotations. I am a woman, with a brain and opinions, who wants equality. Therefore I am a bitch?
Clearly, it’s a sore subject and I’m tired of avoiding it. If Hillary were a man she would have won. I whole heartedly believe that.
But wait, we’re not done yet. Just to twist the knife, an incredibly misogynistic, chauvinistic, and degrading man got the job. She didn’t lose to just anyone. She lost to someone who represents the exact opposite of change and progress for every minority group in this country, including women. And this is just one of the many issues with our new president-elect, and probably not even the most pressing. It just happens to be the one I’m currently riled up about.
If there is a silver lining (because I have to try to find one right?) it is that this has re-lit a fire in me. A fire that had almost gone out, maybe because I’m lazy, or maybe because I thought progress was being made. Once upon a time I was that little girl who annoyingly argued about this stuff. Now I have a little girl. I have a responsibility. I have a woman to raise. I was hoping to give her a stronger foundation for the incredibly complicated social issues that she is going to face in her life. Issues that we were just barely starting to scratch the surface of.
Mostly when I tell her that she can be anything she wants to be, I wanted it to be the truth.
And while I still will tell her this little white(male) lie, I will also try to convey to her the reality of being a women. I will tell her that in order to get where she wants to go in life she might first have to break down some walls, or glass ceilings, or whatever symbolic term you’d like to use to refer to the real boundaries that do exist.
I will tell her that she might have to be a bitch.
P.S. Since I don’t like ending a day, or a blog post, on such a sour note. I’ll get off my soap box and leave you with this.
When my husband came to bed last night I was already scrolling through some old pictures, one of the ways I (like many others) make myself happy. After my joke about the Bills, we watched this video and it helped me end the day as nicely as it had started. I hope this makes your day better too.
At 8 months old she was already breaking down walls, and I couldn’t be more proud.
Have you ever heard a new word and then suddenly you start hearing this same word used everywhere? Or bought a new car, and now it seems as if everyone is driving it?
Of course you have, this happens to everyone. It’s the way our brains work. It happens to me with such frequency that I now expect it and rely on it. It is called the Frequency Illusion or Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon. I find the latter name really hard to remember. (Until you DO remember, then you’ll hear it everywhere.)
Seriously, I ♥ memes.
So I wrote my last blog post about paint on a car window, proclaiming that it made me happy, and guess what happened next? I saw car windows painted everywhere! Honestly guys, you barely even have to look for this stuff.
I’m not great at taking pictures while driving. It’s not a skill I’m trying to perfect, but I couldn’t pass this one up.
“New driver learning”
Ok, I appreciate the announcement. I’ll stay out of your way.
But did you also just learn how to write?
As I close the books on the summer of 2016 I can’t help but note that I did not attend a wedding this summer. For the past decade my summers have included the celebration of at least one wedding, sometimes 10. Summer season is synonymous with wedding season! I kind of missed it. It’s fun to get dressed up and go out with your friends. I would have whole-heartedly welcomed the opportunity to wear something other than a nursing bra, and possibly might have even brushed my hair. Let’s be honest though, I really just missed hearing those two little words. Open bar.
But as I talked with a friend last night, who has half a dozen weddings in the next year (some of which are multiple plane rides away), I decided I don’t miss it that much. It can be a little consuming to plan your life events around someone else’s life events.
Luckily for me, Steve got married.
I do not know Steve. Nor do I know the owner of this car (Steve’s Friend). But I have been walking by this car for the last three weeks and it makes me happy.
Steve’s Friend must have attended a wedding on Labor Day weekend. Maybe this person even shuttled the happy couple or was part of the wedding party, I’ll never know. But parking next to this car makes me laugh every day. I walk past and think to myself “damn, that must have been a great wedding”.
I have been to this type of wedding before. I have cheesily decorated a car for a wedding related event before (party van!). Also, since everyone and their brother owned this unsightly Impala at some point in their lives, I feel like I am Steve’s friend too. So I have been living vicariously through this person for the last three weeks. It’s fun being Steve’s Friend.
I even find myself surprisingly excited to get to work everyday to see if the window paint is still there. I’m going to start placing bets.
Today I finally worked up the courage to snap a couple pictures of Steve’s Friends car (creeper…) only to reassure myself that when this person does decide to wash their windows, and I’ve forgotten about this entirely, I can think back and laugh all over again.
P.S. Steve, I sincerely hope you got it.
My kid just turned a year old, and I just had the best year of my life.
Hands down, no competition. Incredible. People tell you a lot of things about having a baby, but no one ever told me how much fun it was going to be! Maybe enjoying this year was a conscious choice on my behalf, or maybe I’m just pig-headed. But I’ve been dead set against letting anyone get in the way of my happiness this year and I’m pretty damn proud of myself for that.
Life can feel a little solitary though, when you spend most of your time with a small mammal who doesn’t know how to effectively communicate yet. I’m ready to come back to planet earth, and maybe even get a hobby. I still have things to say and a lot of happiness to share. Now more than ever. I’m not “taking care” of anyone by keeping it all to myself. But let’s be honest, the last thing this world needs is another mom-blog. So forgive me while I try to perfect that compromise and let me dispel some myths about parenthood I’ve heard in the past year while hanging out on cloud nine with my kid.
- The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. False. This is so incorrect in so many ways that it annoys me to even think about it. Motherliness is not born unto you with the child. If you don’t have enough self-awareness to recognize the care giving qualities you already possess, and also have the ability to improve upon them after a child is born, this might be a bumpy road for you.
- Raising a pet is nothing like raising a child. False. To the chagrin of many of my friends, my childless self made many comparisons between babies and dogs. The dog as an eternal toddler. In no way do I regret saying this. Clearly one is a bit more monumental than the other, I’m not trying to be absurd. But there are indeed a lot of similarities. If you need a list please inquire, I will provide you with one.
- You will never feel like you’re doing enough. False. Completely false. I accomplish more in one day than I used to in a week, and I feel fantastic about that. Sometimes I actually stop doing stuff because the thought “you’ve done enough” runs through my head. My kid and I both go to bed each night with a smile on our faces and (insert #sorrynotsorry) that is enough.
- You will not have time to use the bathroom. False. If you do not have time to go to the bathroom you either A: are not using all of your tools correctly (aka cribs, car seats, swings, doors, leashes (this last one is a joke (sort of))) ; or B: are taking entirely too long in the bathroom. It might be time to revamp your routine.
- You will lose friends. Here’s a curveball for you. True. Some people respond in… let’s say puzzling… ways to this big change in your life. When someone is unwilling to grow and change with you, then you must move on without them. Forward is simply the only direction available to you right now. Fortunately it is very easy to see what is most important because it is literally staring at you in the face. Smiling, drooling, giggling, burping, and just generally being really cute.
- Maternity leave is not a vacation. False. Maybe not in the traditional sense, sandy beaches and whatnot. But life is what you make of each and every day. If you and your baby are healthy and you want your maternity leave to be a vacation, make it a vacation. No one is stopping you but yourself. Go for walks, go out to breakfast, be a tourist in your own town. Or actually go on a vacation. Why not?
- Everyone will give you advice, but don’t listen to any of it. This one is both true and false. It is true that you will be the recipient of a lot of advice, from both strangers and loved ones. (I once had an in-depth conversation about pacifiers with the cashier at Walgreen’s). Listen to all of it, why wouldn’t you? But you have to know your kid, yourself, and your life well enough to decide what will work for you.
You knew it was coming.