Are we ready??!?



Are we ready yet?

After yet another mass killing by a bad guy with guns, are we ready?

After more kids have been terrorized and more innocent Americans have been killed, after yet another angry citizen decided to shoot up a group of average people in a seemingly safe place, are we finally ready to ask the question?

“Should we try to put some limits on the guns that people can legally wield in our country?”

Within a half hour of the most recent shooting, just like the last one and the one before that, I have heard NRA spokespersons giving the usual tired and empty explanations.

“If we make guns illegal, then people who are determined to do harm to others will just do it with illegal arms. Making guns illegal won’t stop all the violence.”

Well, duh, as the fifth grade would say.

No kidding; if you make something illegal, the bad guys will still find a way to do it.

If you pass a law to try to stop violence, you won’t actually stop every act of violence.

No shit, Sherlock.

Is this REALLY your best argument against sensible gun laws? Seriously?

OK, let’s take your argument to the next level, shall we?

Given that people continue to exceed the speed limit, even though there are laws defining that limit, we should just get rid of the law, and let people drive as fast as they possibly can on our crowded roadways.  Sure, people will be killed, but what can we do?

Given that people continue to steal goods and money from others, even though there are laws making that behavior a crime, why don’t we just eliminate all of the laws against larceny? Sure, weaker people will be robbed blind by stronger ones, but what the hell?  Laws can’t actually control behavior!

And how about this one? Given the fact that people continue to assemble in public places to protest against both government and special interests, even though there are countless laws, both old and new, which try to make those protests illegal, maybe we should get rid of all of them and just let people gather together and demand change. Making something illegal doesn’t mean that it will go away!

Let’s get rid of tax law, since everybody tries to get around it. Let’s get rid of all of the laws making violent crime illegal, since clearly there are still too many violent crimes.

NRA, is this SERIOUSLY your best argument?

Are we ready yet?

Before there is a shooting in my town, my church, my classroom, I am more than ready to bring up the topic of logical, sensible gun laws.

We, the People, redux

I originally posted this piece on July 16, 2011, after watching a little too much CNN, NBC, PBS etc.  I am reposting it today, because I am struck once again by the audacity of the people who run this government.  I have edited the post a little bit to update things, but 98% of it is the same.

I promise to stop the political rants real soon! I’m learning to meditate….!


We the People,

….the American people,  are a really big group.  There are lots of us.  We tried, but we couldn’t all fit around the table at Dunkin Donuts.  There are so many of us that we can’t even fit in a big conference room. Or the Los Angeles Coliseum.   Or the Grand Canyon.

Do you get it?  We’re a big, big pile of folks.  We come in a whole bunch of colors, shapes and sizes, too.  If you could somehow manage to cram us all into one place, we would hardly recognize each other!  Some of us are chubby middle aged white women with plastic bifocals on.  Some are tall, skinny black men wearing three piece suits. We’re brown, we’re pink, we’re young, we’re old enough to remember when Truman was in charge.

We like baseball, except for those of us who don’t.  We adore country music, except for the huge group of us who hate country music and only listen to metal. We have PhD’s and we dropped out of the eight grade.  We have ten different words for a big cold cut sandwich on a long piece of bread.

We all live within these borders. That part’s true. But we are NOT a club. We aren’t all Democrat or Republican.  We aren’t all liberal or conservative.  We don’t all agree about the best way to solve the debt crisis, how to tax big corporations, how to fix Social Security, who will win the next election or the World Series, or how to grill the perfect steak.  Hell, a lot of us don’t even eat steak!!

So…..American politicians.  Please pay attention.  You really, really, really have to STOP saying “The American people” in sentences like “The American people understand that this health care law will mean the end of freedom as we know it.” (Yes, I did just hear almost those exact words from a member of Congress.)  Or, “The American people agree that we need to increase revenues.” (I heard something just like that from the President not long ago).  Stop trying to quote us.  Stop trying to convince us that we agree with you.  We can’t agree on one single thing!!

Wait, that’s not true.  Here is one statement that you can use in any setting, no matter which party you belong to:

“The American people are sick and tired of the sniping, moaning, name calling and finger pointing. The American people, the whole big noisy bunch of them, are overwhelmingly in favor of having government officials act like grown ups who actually know what they are doing. The American people want the government to stop shouting, start listening, make some compromises and get the damn job done.”


Karen, self appointed spokesperson for the American People.

Take a deep breath, America.

I have been on pins and needles all night, and all of this morning, awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision on the United States’ new Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”.  I was scared on a few levels: one of my kids would have lost his health insurance if the whole law was overturned, a very upsetting thought for a Mammbear like me.

But if you have read this blog at all, you know that I am also a very liberal thinker, politically speaking. I think that this law is a baby step in the right direction, toward a country where everyone is guaranteed basic protections like the opportunity to have the best possible healthcare.

But this blog is not about the law, or about the decision per se.  This blog is an expression of fear about what will come next.  It is a plea to those who are upset by this decision, and to those who are happy about it.

Please, everyone, let’s just take a deep breath.

As the decision was coming down, CNN goofed (hah. Why am I not surprised?) and reported that the key provision of the law, the individual mandate, had been overturned.  I reacted with deep frustration….OK, scratch that. I was enraged!  I burst into tears. My heart was pounding and I yelled out some very colorful words toward the court.  I wanted to smack someone.

Then it became clear that, contrary to what I thought, the entire law was upheld. My “team” won.


As I calmed down and started to scroll through blogposts, tweets, FB posts and online reporting, I was struck by the intense and truly violent rhetoric on both sides. I have read references to “your fascist tyranny”, “the end of America”, calls for “revolution”, declarations about “the death of the conservative dream”.   Gulp.

I get it, I do!  Remember, I reacted with the exact same violent rage when I thought the “other side” had triumphed.


I’m an overweight, middle aged teacher, for goodness sake! Why did I feel like the evil forces of darkness were attacking me and mine?  Why are political decisions taken so personally by so many of us?

Maybe its time to stop thinking in terms of our “teams”. Maybe its time to let go, at least a little bit, of the “us” vs. “them” mentality. Maybe its time for Americans to slow down, take a deep breath, and ignore the bullshit that the politicians keep feeding us.

THEY are the ones who stand to benefit when we are at each other’s throats.  THEY are the ones who live or die by the success of their “teams”. WE will prosper when we work together.  WE, the people, will thrive when we listen to each other. WE are actually on the same team.

We need to remember that the differences between us really amount to different opinions about how to make things better for everybody.  Our goals are the same; we just have different thoughts about how to achieve them.  We need to remember that the people who are running for office have no desire to be truthful with us; their only desire is to convince us to pick their side in the next election.

Its time for us to remember that the Civil War was the bloodiest, most costly, most horrific event in US history. Whether or not we all buy health insurance is no reason for us to be thinking about doing it again.

Postscript: I have taken quotes from some blogs and tweets, but I refuse to attribute them to anyone.  I will not fan the flames or shine a light on any of the crazies.

Lady Parts

Before I jump into this post with both big feet (note that I am allowed to label my feet), I want to offer an apology and a thanks to so many of my blogging friends.  Thank-you, thank-you for the fantastic song suggestions for my photo montage for the class, and I apologize for seeming to ignore you all for a week.   Unfortunately, just as I was about to put the finishing touches on the slideshow (including the songs “Walking on Sunshine” and “I Hope You Dance”), my brand spankin new MacBook Pro gave a gasp, froze up, and died on the spot. No slideshow for the last day, no pictures of the play, nothing.  I’m in the process of gathering up the photos from various backup locations and classroom parents so that I can give it another try! So thank-you.  And I’ve missed you!

Now to the purpose of today’s rant.  This reaction has been bubbling around in my head since I first heard about the outrageous reaction by the Michigan House of Representatives to Rep. Lisa Brown, who dared to utter the accurate name for her, ahem, “lady parts”.  Before I share my own disdain, though, I want to encourage you to read a more thoughtful and eloquent post by a wonderful writer named Trina Bartlett, who blogs at “Just So You Know.” Her latest post is called “Five Words I’d like to Ban From Any Political Discussion”.  You really have to read it!

As for me, here is what struck me when I read about how “outraged” the Michigan House Leadership was to hear this word.

I remember becoming a Mother back in 1986.  I read all the right books before my baby was born, of course, because I was determined to get it right! I was absolutely, positively going to be sure that MY baby was raised without a single neurotic hang up.  This meant that I always listened to her when she argued, (“I know, honey, but Oreos are NOT ok for breakfast.”), I always explained my reasons when I denied her requests (“I can’t let you ride on the top of the car because that would be dangerous.”), and I always talked about her body in the anatomically correct terms.

This last one was a very big deal to my generation of parents!  We had grown up thinking of ourselves with some shame, referring to our parts as “pee-pee” and “birdie” and “private parts” and “lady parts” and “man parts”. It was confusing and ridiculous! Going to the bathroom was referred to only numerically, never accurately, and don’t even get me started on how much I hated referring to my “friend” every month.   My generation had no intention of using those vague, embarrassing, inaccurate words with OUR kids.  Nope.  We said “vagina” and “penis” and “poop”. If you’ve got ’em, you can name ’em.

Rep. Brown was born in 1967, so I am going to assume that her Mom and Dad were just as enlightened as I was, and that she grew up knowing the names and functions of her body parts.  Given that I am 56 years old, I am going to assume that most of the Michigan Legislature is about my age or younger.  Meaning, of course, that most of them already have HEARD the word “vagina”, and weren’t really falling into a swoon when Ms. Brown said it in her speech.  If they really, truly were shocked senseless, and really, truly couldn’t tolerate the sound of the word, I want to see the little blackboard on the House floor where they have to sign out for the restroom by writing their initials followed by a “#1” or “#2” so that the leadership will know how long they’ll be gone.



Lincoln spoke here

I taught my class about the Gettysburg Address today.  We read the text, and I gave them a copy to decode.

The question that I asked them was this: “What was Abe Lincoln asking the American people to do when he wrote this speech?”

The kids spent about a half hour trying to decode the nineteenth century language, and to put it into some type of historical context.  They worked hard, even on a sunny June day.  They used dictionaries, history books and lots of conversation.  They did their best to decode the hidden message in that powerful and memorable address.

They came pretty close, but they failed to really understand the message at its core.

So I rose to my feet and tried to explain.  I used my knowledge of American History, of course, but I also drew on my personal experiences and beliefs.  I stood before those young, tender, impressionable children, and I reached into my own most precious soul, and I did my very best to grab their hearts and leave one indelible mark.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  “Lincoln said that 87 years ago, the Americans who were here before us created a brand new county, and they based that country on the belief that all men are created equal, and that all humans deserve the same respect.”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. “Abe Lincoln said that the Civil War was being fought to answer the question of whether or not a country based on freedom and equality could really last.  He said that a lot of men had died to prove that a nation like that COULD succeed.  He said that they were planning to honor the people who died for that proof, and that it was right for them to give that honor.”

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. “In this section, Lincoln tells the listeners that if they really want to honor the dead, it won’t be by giving speeches or creating a gravesite. He tells his people that they can only honor the dead by promising to uphold the idea of a nation based on equality for all of its citizens.  He tells the Americans of 1863 that they are duty bound to stand up and to protect a government whose power is drawn from the people, whose members are made up of the people, and whose laws will serve the will of the people.”

The children listened to me, and in spite of the warmth of the day, they responded to the intensity with which I spoke.  “Why”, I asked them, “am I pushing this lesson on you? What is it that I hope to give you as my final lesson in the fifth grade?”  There was a lot of shuffling, some giggling, and more than one rolled eye. It was hot, they wanted to go out to play, and they were feeling slightly uncomfortable with the passion in my voice.

Finally, one little hand was raised. “Well, um…you want US to be those people.”, she said shyly.

I nodded, smiled, looked around for another comment.

“You want us to work to save a country like that.”

“Like what?”, I demanded.

“Um, like, a country, with, like, freedom and stuff.  For everyone.  We have to do that.”

I kept the pressure on them, just for a bit.  “Do you think that maybe in our country right now, some people don’t have equal rights?”

A hand was raised, the hand of my most popular, rarely serious, often sarcastic “I don’t care” boy.  With some trepidation, I called on him, and waited for his response.

“Like, you know, like the whole same sex marriage thing. They don’t really have equality.”

I could have kissed his sarcastic little cheek, because he wasn’t kidding when he said that.  He understood what I was saying.

I was telling my students, at the tender and wide eyed age of eleven that they are responsible for demanding a government whose sole purpose is to serve the needs of the governed.  I was showing them that Abe Lincoln, in his everyman wisdom, was asking all of us to dedicate ourselves to the preservation of a government “of the people, by the people and for the people”.

It will be many years before these children can take action on a political front, but I am so very hopeful that my words have planted some seed, and that those seeds will one day sprout.

The kids are alright!

I have noticed an interesting and somewhat depressing characteristic of adulthood. As soon as we become old enough to buy a beer, marry, and carry a gun in a far-off war, we lose our faith in the young.  We begin to believe that along with our mortgage payments and love handles we carry infinite wisdom. We believe that we are right because we have lived longer than they have.

Why is that, I wonder?

I am oh-so-guilty of this crime.  As a teacher, I have begun to believe that I know the right way  to do things.  I feel like I am responsible for every report, every paper, every reading assessment, every game.  My hand is surely the one that is needed to guide and shape and turn and insure that the final product will meet adult specifications.  I am the grown up here; you can’t trust this bunch of…….well……kids.

As a Mom, I am even worse. Which is just ridiculous.

I remember talking to my Nana once, when she wasn’t feeling well.  I suggested that she call her son, my Uncle Bob.  The Doctor.  The one who once treated Rose Freakin’ Kennedy when she was sick.  My Nana simply shook her head, and said,  “No.  I need a doctor.”  In her eyes, my Uncle the successful vascular surgeon was simply and forever, “the baby.”  I thought she was being silly.  

Until very recently.

This past weekend, my two beloved sons, aged 19 and 21, drove 15 hours to Chicago to protest against the NATO summit. I was hugely proud, almost busting my buttons, knowing that they were being brave and unselfish and were willing to stand up for what was right (as they simultaneously experienced the adventure of a lifetime and forged an unshakable bond for the rest of their lives).  I was excited!  But I was scared out of my mind, too.

I kept seeing my boys, my sweet baby boychicks, faced with the power and might of a major city’s police force.  I imagined them being suckered in by the romance of the disenfrachised masses, facing the police and taunting them into a reaction.  I imagined, with perfect 20/20 internal vision, a baton hitting the tender skulls of my best beloved.  I thought I knew best; I didn’t trust their judgment. I kept texting them advice.  “Stay safe!” “Do what the police tell you to do.”  “Don’t get arrested! Please don’t!”  I was sure that they needed my sage advice!

And then there is school.  I have given my students permission to perform a play.  I let them write it, organize it, direct it.  They are responsible for the sets and props and costume.  Go, kids; its all yours!

It sounds so good in theory, but in my head? Oh, in my head.  In there, in the dark and scary swirls of my teacher brain, I was thinking things like, “Whoah.  They think they can make a crane for the funeral scene.  Poor innocent wretches….”  I was thinking “They can’t remember all these lines…” and “How will they know how to arrange the chairs on the stage?”  I felt, I have to admit, just a wee bit smug.  I just knew  they would need me to make it work in the end.


My sons went to Chicago, marched in the streets, lent their voices to the anti-war message.  But they didn’t fall for the drama or the provocation; instead, they recognized the restraint of the police and the self-indulgent hyperbole of the entitled few who wanted to make trouble. “They think they live in a police state?”, wrote Matt.  “I think they need to learn Arabic and head to Syria for six months, and then we’ll talk police state.”  When the police told the crowd to disperse, my son told me, “We happily obliged.”

Well, gee.  They showed wisdom here.  Maturity, wisdom, restraint.

Who knew that such a thing was possible?

And as for the play in my classroom?

The kids have written a play based on a book, “Belly Up”.  They have written themselves (and me) into this murder mystery about a famous hippo named Henry.  They have included all of the major plot elements, and all of the key characters, while adding in countless pratfalls, poop jokes and crashes (they are, after all, fifth graders). The kids who “can’t write” have created the richest jokes.  The kids who are always quiet have become the directors.  The unable to focus ADD crowd have become set designers.  And you know what? Without an opinionated adult to tell them how it must be done, they have created a huge working crane. Made of cardboard.

I guess the kids are alright after all!  Maybe I need to let go and let them lead the way, huh?

Is it all worth it?

I have been watching it all unfold.  The little tents, cramped together in a small space. The people huddled in folding chairs, wrapped in coats and scarves against the frigid night air, or standing in small groups talking.

I have seen the surging crowds, pushing forward, breaking down barriers in frustration and anger.  My heart starts to pound as I watch video of people shouting, pushing, shoving to get through.  And I wonder: is it worth the risk?

The scenes become scarier as people begin to turn against each other, trying to shout each other down, trying to drown each other out.  And then, of course, the police and security people appear on the scene, determined to keep order.

I have seen photos and videos of people screaming from the effects of pepper spray, weeping at the pain and fear.  Videos and photos of a man lying in a pool of blood after being pushed to the ground by police, who surround him and try to keep the crowd at bay.  With all of the passion and frustrated emotion, there have even been shootings and at least one stabbing.

And I have to ask myself: is it worth all this?   Is it worth putting your life and safety on the line?

My answer?


Everything that I have described here came from media coverage of Black Friday Shopping.  So, NO!  Absolutely, positively NO. It is not worth fighting, scratching, screaming, bleeding and hurting other people just to save fifty bucks on the latest electronic gizmo, or the current chintzy toy.

I stayed home yesterday (other than a visit to the vet!) and I will shop locally today.  I plan to make as many Christmas gifts as possible this year.  After watching yesterday’s national horror show, I will never enter a Wallmart store again.  Mass hysteria, mass consumption in an age of want, mass chaos in the aisles of retail stores.  Is this what we have become?

There may be times when it is right to gather under tents, to march together and demand to be heard. There may be times when it is worth the risk to face the police, to refuse to disperse, to stand shoulder to shoulder with others in order to make a statement.

Getting a deal on an X Box surely isn’t one of those times.



Court dates

I try very, very hard not to be a “helicopter Mom.”  I have not tracked my kids’ college classes. I haven’t kept up with their assignments, or test dates, or projects.   I don’t check in to see if they have good healthy food in their cabinets.  I don’t make doctor’s appointments and I haven’t thought about their prescription refills for a few years now.

But there are certain moments in the life of a Mother which absolutely require some involvement.  A kid is sent to the emergency room for abdominal pain, and calls to say that it is indeed appendicitis.  The Mom races down the highway to be there by his side.

A child is literally sent packing by the person who is supposed to have been her life partner, and is sobbing out her grief.  The Mom has to be there, arms open, bedroom readied, soup on the stove.

There are simply certain events that cannot be left in the hands of the children.  There are times when any self respecting Mamma Bear simply MUST take a day off, gas up the car and head out to manage the crisis.

Now, I am a very imaginative neurotic Mamma Bear.  I have envisioned nearly every possible disaster in heart wrenching detail. I have prepared myself to speed to the rescue in case of car crashes, sudden illness, heartbreak, job loss, homelessness, or alien invasions.  I am always packed and ready to go.

So what do I do about this week?

My baby boy has a court date this week. In (gulp) New York City.  Because he was arrested as part of a huge political protest on the Brooklyn Bridge.  He took a stand, he stood his ground, he got himself arrested along with both of his siblings.  When it happened, we were scared, proud, confused, amazed, excited, terrified, and filled with a burning need to rush to his side.  We didn’t, and he and his brother and sister handled it perfectly.

Now he has to go back down to the big city, to face a judge, to answer to the charges of disorderly conduct (or whatever it is that they put in the charge; all three have different charges, although all three were standing together at the moment of arrest.)  He will stand before a judge and answer the charges.  His brother is bringing him down, and the Occupy Wall Street legal defense team will be there to represent him.

But I want to go, too!!! I want to stand beside him, hold his hand, make sure that no one is mean to him. I want to tell him how proud I am of him, how strongly I believe in what he is doing.  I want to look those cops in the eye when they charge my boy with a crime.

But I won’t.  I will let the kids handle this.  I will trust them. I will stay at my desk at school and let them do what they need to do.

And then I will close my eyes and pray that as they leave the courthouse and once again join the marchers, they will manage to avoid a repeat performance.

I don’t know if I can force myself to skip more than one court date………..

Fighting frustration.

I had a very interesting conversation yesterday, but I don’t remember it all that clearly.   My heart was pounding the whole time, and my mouth was kind of dry.

I was talking to a guy who really impresses me with his wit, his knowledge and his big heart.  The whole time we were chatting, my brain was thinking “Oh, my God. I’m TALKING to him.”

No, this wasn’t a flashback to seventh grade. Nor was it a moment of straying from my very stable marriage.  I was on a call-in radio show.  With my very favorite political talk show host.

I had made the call because I was overwhelmed by a sense of frustration as I listened to the host, Pete Dominick, and his guest, whose name I honestly forget.  Pete is a liberal thinking progressive (you know, like me), but his show is so wonderful because he invites people with a wide variety of views to come on and talk.  This guy was a very conservative thinker, and spoke about the views of the far right.  I love this show because Pete asks good questions, lets his guests speak, and doesn’t argue or challenge.  But I heard this man using terms like “This is a non-negotiable point for us.”  and “We are absolutely going to insist on the major changes to collective bargaining laws.”  The more he spoke, the more my heart dropped.

And so I called the show.  I wanted to commend Pete for his patience, thank him for giving me a chance to listen to the “other side”, but also to share my sense of outrage at the entrenched, dug-in, uncompromising stance of the right wing.  To be honest, I sort of thought that my hero would agree with me!

I wasn’t sure I’d even get on (ok; I have called five or six times, been on the air once before).  But after only a few minutes of waiting through a commercial, I heard Pete say, “Karen in Massachusetts”, and there I was!  Speaking to Pete himself!!  Yikes!  Oh, my God!  What do I say?!

I started to talk, and listened to my galloping heart. I told Pete how frustrated and upset I was by his guest, and by my belief that the government is in a state of total lockdown due to the absolute refusal to bend or compromise.  I took a breath, waiting for him to agree.

He didn’t.  Which is why I like the show so much.  “Listen,” he said. “Don’t you think that those on the left have similar issues that they just can’t compromise about?  Don’t you have something like that yourself, that means so much to you that you could never give an inch?”

“But, Pete!”, I insisted, “How are we ever going to make any progress, or make this country any stronger if people are so unwilling to give an inch?”   Pete answered me by  talking about his faith in human nature, and his faith in the American spirit. “We’ll move on the same way we always move on. American politics has always been full of passion.”

I assured him then that I DO have faith in human nature.  I told him that I teach elementary school, which I believe to be the ultimate optimistic endeavor.  But I believe that the US political system is broken beyond repair.  His reply was that we have to embrace all views, listen to all voices, and try to find a way to come to decisions that are best for all of us.  I told him that he reminded me of my children, as they talk about the Occupy movement.

Honestly, I am not sure that I share the faith of this younger man, but I let myself be calmed anyway. After all, it was my favorite radio guy on the other end of the phone.  As we ended our conversation, Pete said, “Thank you for being a teacher.  I always thank those who do your job.” My little crush got that much stronger.

As I thought later about my tiny moment of on-air fame, I came to realize a few things.  I realized that Pete is right when he says that knowledge is power.  It does no good to anyone to listen only to those who share our views.

And I realized that even though I constantly tell myself that I am open minded and moderate, I see things through the lens of my liberal views. I bristle at opinions that strike me as wrong.  More importantly, as I have come to the conclusion that we have to talk to each other in order to make any progress, I must admit that we have to listen to each other, too.

So thanks, Pete Dominick, for my tiny moment of XM radio fame, and for giving me the thrill of the year.  And thank-you for giving me a gentle shake to make me rethink my positions and opinions.

Now, can you please call some of my dug-in, entrenched right wing friends and relations, and give them your wisdom, too?

Friday night

There is something about Friday night that makes me just a little bit mournful.  I remember so well the years when Friday night meant a Disney movie and some pizza.   I remember leaving work, loaded down with reports and test scores to fill the weekend.  I remember throwing everything into the backseat, and heading out for the long ride home.

As I left school behind, and got closer to my town and my house and my children, I would begin to relax, begin to let the pressure fade, begin to think about what I wanted to ask and tell my children.  I remember the long ride over the highway, the quiet ride through the small town streets. I remember letting go of the week before and letting myself embrace the days ahead.

I remember movies on the living room rug, dinner on the coffee table, pillows arranged around the table.  I remember take out Chinese, homemade pasta, delivery pizza.

I remember all five of us, linked by love and laughs and a movie screen, lying on the “pull out bed” in the living room.  I remember us waiting all week to talk about the actors in a TV series, afraid that we would give something up by discussing the mystery too soon.

As I come home now, in the dawn of my “empty nesting” life, I realize that along with my memories of events gone by, I carry a memory of reconnection, of getting to know you again, of sharing a meal and a plan and love story.

As I come home now, on cold and rainy Friday nights, I remember how lovely it was to have my children at home when I pulled into the driveway.  As I come home now, I remember how sad it is to come home to a house that hasn’t seen children for more years than I want to even consider.