Happy Friday everyone! I celebrated my 45th birthday this week which explains my sudden appreciation for anti-aging products and my newfound commitment to Weight Watchers. Yup. For the very first time, I am a Weight Watchers member and I must say that even I am surprised at the discipline I’ve shown…for the past 13 days. Other than stuffing my birthday girl face with pizza—which was more about my son’s late and interminable baseball game (final score 21-18) and less about the milestone of being half way to 90—I have been kicking some serious healthy eating ass. I would tell you how many hard boiled eggs I’ve eaten over the course of the past 12 days but I’m not sure I can count that high. And I’m in the midst of a moratorium on Dairy Queen Blizzard because it turns out that one small blizzard would be all I could have for the whole day. Frostys from Wendy’s are pretty bad too when one is trying to shrink that not so adorable muffin top. Oh that reminds me, muffins are pretty much off limits too.
I also spent the week feeling a bit discouraged about the cruelty and polarization that increasingly plagues our national discourse at the moment. To all who have made the quality of life decision to stay off Twitter, I salute you. While it remains a place where I find some of the smartest writing, most hilarious parent commentary, and up to the minute news, it is also a wilderness of person to person ugliness that can’t help but make one wonder if we have reached a point that just may be irreversible. I pray we have not and commit to doing my part in making it so.
Oh, and having one of my kids ask me what the “c-word” is yesterday? Thanks Samantha Bee. From one mother to another (right Sam?), that’s just what I wanted to talk about while I buttered my 11 year old’s corn-on-the-cob last night. (Yes all you mommy shamers—I still butter his corn. And I let him eat it even though he has braces. Because I’m crazy like that.)
If you want to take a quick gander at my thoughts on Roseanne’s repugnant comments, the coarseness that continues to pervade the way people to talk to one another, and the lessons it may even offer to our children, the piece I wrote is posted below.
Boss Blogger of the Week – Vesia Hawkins
Some of the most powerful mom writing that I saw this week came from my friend Vesia Hawkins from Nashville, Tennessee. Vesia has two grown children but continues to be a relentless advocate for young families navigating the educational system in her city. Her commentary is often relevant not only in Nashville but also to the broader audience of parents and community members who know that far too many children are not getting what they need in school. One of the things I most love about Vesia is that she manages to be so brutally honest in the midst of such beautiful prose. This week she published two pieces that are not only excellent but also offer up a different and important lens, especially to those of us who are not African American but who care deeply about a deeply inequitable system that has not served African Americans well in the past and continues to fail them today. She also weighs in on the Roseanne story from the perspective of someone who was a superfan of the show for years.
Excerpt: These parents certainly have a right to take their resources to a neighborhood attached to a school that works for their family. But these same folk, in all their entitlement turbo-boosted by privilege, fight heaven and earth to keep other parents from enjoying even an ounce of that kind of freedom. In addition to the well-resourced resistance, parents of color who have exercised the right to select the best situation for their children get blamed for segregating schools. Miss me with that BS.
However, Roseanne’s racist rants must not be confused with badly-timed punchlines.
Full disclosure: I’m struggling to make sense of the downfall of an actor who masterminded a show I adore (also see Bill Cosby). Has she always been a racist and if so, did I somehow miss hate-riddled cues throughout her work, or worse, ignored it?
Wrapping up Mental Health Awareness Month
With the wrapping up of Mental Health Awareness week yesterday, I want to be sure everyone has the opportunity to read my friend and colleague Laura Waters’ piece about the toll mental illness took on her family and how it led to her “acute aversion to pretense.”
Carla had a sad life that ended when she died in her apartment six years ago of a heroin overdose. No one found her for three days. Her life was sad for many reasons, primarily because endless doctors and medications were unable to ameliorate her illness, but also because our family system of pretense enabled her worst tendencies and hurt those who loved her most.
I struggle to find some redeeming aspect of her life.
I can only find it in my own.
Celebrations and Triumphs!
Cheryl Kirk is the mother of three from Indiana and just celebrated the graduation of her oldest children, a twin boy and girl. She has had quite the educational journey and consequently, she has a lot to say about the importance of choices for parents when it comes to choosing the best school for their child.
I’ve gotten a lot of congratulations on a job well done, but I can’t take all the credit. I would like to think that being able to choose the best school for them from the very beginning made a huge impact on how their K-12 story ended.
Read Cheryl’s whole story here.
And in the category of super special celebrations, we revisit a tireless advocate from Memphis, Teresena Wright, who wrote one of the most moving pieces I’ve ever read about a personal journey—and triumph—as a special needs parent. To read this most powerful piece, click here.
Fast forward a couple years and how thrilling was it to see this Tweet from Teresena pop up on my feed yesterday. Once you’ve read her incredible story you will want to cry and cheer for Emmy and her devoted mother who is committed not only to the needs of her own daughter but also to the children of Memphis who need a voice to find the right school for them.
— Teresena (@TeresenaW) May 31, 2018