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A Writer's Den

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Change You Can Believe In

The 2010 elections are now over. So what does this mean for you, the American people?  

This means there will be no more name calling, snarky phrases, finger wagging, or last minute scandals— until tomorrow, of course.

This means you can stop screening your calls. But beware that the end of robocalls means someone (your kid, your dog, your mom) will be pretty upset that they are no longer allowed to answer your phone anymore.

This means those amateur television commercials will disappear. So no more back to back political advertisements saying the same exact thing, as if you didn’t see or hear how horrible they were the first time.

This means no more listening to the radio when your favorite politician is talking to you, and you hollering back “get the bleep off my radio!” or “play some bleeping music!”

This means there will be no more preaching politics from the pulpit on Sundays.

This means your neighbors will finally remove those awful campaign signs.

This means no more reducing the history of your state to red and blue colors.

This means those promises you heard during election season, will officially become lies tomorrow.

These may not have been the changes you were looking for, but you have just experienced change we can all believe in.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

Why Me?

I’ve spent most of my life wondering, why me?

Why didn’t I grow up in a house with a wrap around porch and a white picket fence? You know the ones in small towns with tree lined streets.

Why did I have to work so hard? I should have been playing, enjoying my childhood.

Why did I have to grow up so fast, experiencing things well beyond my years? I only wish time would have slowed down so I could have savored the moments.

Why did he walk out of my life voluntarily, while others were snatched away from me so soon?

I have been taught to never question You, but I must ask why me?

Why not you, my child? Who are you to question Me?

Do you not believe that I know what is best?

See, I love all my children.

Some of you are weak. And some of you are strong.

Although you wonder about these things, I know you already know the answer. Yes, I’m sure you already know where you belong.

You had no house and no picket fence. But I gave you a home filled with love.

You worked hard, but you now know the true meaning of sacrifice and responsibility.

You say you grew up fast, but I’ve shown you time is promised to no one. So I hoped you’ve learned to live like there is no tomorrow.

Your father walked out of your life, but I made sure he returned. If only for a little while.

You say others were snatched away so soon, but shall I remind you that in your heart they will always stay.

So the next time you ask yourself, why me?—

My daughter, you already know the answer.

Why not you?

credit: pepo @ sxc.hu/pepo

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Does The Next Step In Women’s Rights Require Women To “Man Up?”

There’s nothing worse than politicians taking the hottest slang turning it into wannabe snarky phrases my own mother wouldn’t use. This year’s phrase is “Man Up.” I want even touch on the political affiliation of the candidates using these terms, as it is beyond the scope of this article. But I want to touch on the fact that female candidates are telling their male opponents to “man up.” So why is that a problem?

Before I answer that, let’s discuss what “man up” means. According to Urban Dictionary, man up means to work through impediments and obstacles without whining, to grow some balls, and stop being an utter wuss, to name a few. I’m a married woman and a mother of 2 young girls and I have serious problems with females thinking it’s cool to tell men to man up, specifically in regard to gender roles.

First, man up assumes that men have certain characteristics requiring they make tough decisions that women can’t handle. The last time I checked, women make tough decisions everyday. And being born without balls or shedding a tear every now and then hasn’t stopped women from making tough decisions. 

Second, it’s belittling. Men come in all shapes and sizes just like women do. To assume every man who doesn’t allow his masculinity to limit him from showing compassion or sympathy is less of man is ridiculous. This train of thought is what has ultimately led to men and women being pigeon holed into certain roles.

Third, what do our children think when they hear terms like “man up?” I’m not a mother of boys, but I am a mother of a daughter. I can’t imagine her telling another little boy that he’s a wuss, a whiner, a pussy. Bottom line, I don’t want her telling men how they should act because I don’t want a man telling her how she should act. 

Women have come a long way from not being allowed to own property nor the right to vote. Women are now the majority in colleges and universities. But does the next step in women’s rights require we “man up?”

“Man Up”, Urban Dictionary.com, http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=man%20up (accessed October 29, 2010)

Credit: btrenkel © istockphoto.com/btrenkel

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

I’m Sorry

Whatever Happened to Those Simple Words We Learned During Childhood?

From the moment children understand the difference between right and wrong, parents begin teaching them to say the words “I’m sorry.” Whether children are apologizing for refusing to share a toy, pushing on the playground, or having a total meltdown in the middle of the grocery store, when it’s all said and done, parents love to hear those magic words “I’m sorry mommy” and “I’m sorry daddy.”

Do We Require More of Our Children Than We Require of Ourselves?
My 3 year old has pretty much perfected the art of apologizing. She will even add in the occasional tear, and bat her beautiful brown eyes, all in hopes of us forgetting whatever she’s done wrong. The other day when she was apologizing for snatching a toy from her little sister, I suddenly wondered at what point it became okay for parents to require more from our children than we require of ourselves. Honestly, when was the last time you said the words “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” without being forced to or trying to wiggle your way out of it?

Why is it so Hard For Adults to Apologize?
We say hurtful things. We break promises. We even let each other down. And when it’s all said and done, many of us would rather hide out for a couple of months or years hoping our transgressions will be forgotten, or simply ignore the fact that we’ve made a mistake and dwell on the other person’s actions. I often wonder would the world be a better place if adults would say “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” more often. Maybe I’m a little naïve, and those simple words we learned as children don’t mean anything as we get older. However, if I had to choose, I would most certainly choose the world our children live in. A world where I can shed a tear and bat my beautiful brown eyes while saying the words I’m sorry to the person I’ve hurt.

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Not a Daredevil Anymore … How Being a Parent Changed My View on Driving

The Daredevil
Do you remember jumping in your car, putting your pedal to the metal? I swore I could put Nascar drivers to shame. That was me before I had children. If I had to be somewhere 45 minutes away, I would challenge myself to be there in 15 minutes since I wasn’t going to leave my house until the very last minute. If you were driving to slow, I wasn’t going to continue driving behind you. I was the girl speeding around you thinking “get off the road slow poke.” And if you ever cut me off, I’m sure you felt my wrath as my tongue spouted off things I’d rather not repeat here. Needless to say, I used to be a modern day daredevil when it came to driving.

The Daredevil’s Wakeup Call
Then, I became a mom. It would be so easy to say I’ve changed, but I think I should share my latest driving scare with you so you can see what I mean when I say I’ve really changed. Yesterday, as I was driving home with my six month old, a 20-something year old man was driving next to me. I was driving my SUV in the far right lane next to the guard rails and he was driving a mid-sized sedan in the left lane. As always when I’m driving, I was not only watching the road in front of me, but I was also watching those around me. I’ve learned it is my job to drive for myself and everyone else if I want to make it home safely. Suddenly, the young man’s car began driving into my lane. We were on a bridge and the only place to retreat to happen to be the guard rail next to me. I physically laid on my horn hoping to get his attention. There was no way I was hitting the guard rail knowing that my 6 month old was sleeping peacefully on the side where the impact would occur. Nor did I want to risk our lives hoping the guard rail would carry the weight of my SUV, keeping us from driving over the bridge. On top of everything, while I was blowing my horn, he was still coming over on me.

Finally, he lifted his head up and we made eye contact. I didn’t say one word. But the horror on my face with tears streaming down my eyes spoke for me. I read his lips as he apologized for almost coming over on me. I was so shaken up that when I finally reached my exit, I sat at the red light and laid my head on my stirring wheel.

Not a Daredevil Anymore
It’s funny how things come full circle because I couldn’t help thinking maybe this guy was payback for my poor driving habits in the past. One thing’s for sure, I’m not a daredevil anymore.

How has becoming a parent changed your views on driving? 

credit: Dancer01carterdayne © istockphoto.com/Dancer01

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