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“Is this the hill you want to die on?”

9 Aug

Earlier in this year, I got into an argument with a friend of a friend on Facebook. As you do.

Mind you, I try not to do such things. I’ve even gone as far as to take the subject at hand, and post about it on my own page so not to start a fight on a friend’s page.

But this day, I didn’t.

Why?

The friend of my friend started making up a new “tard” word. As in “this person’s so retarded that we have to come up with a new “tard” word to show just how stupid they are.” (please note – all conversation is paraphrased from memory)

I was all “Yeah, “tard” words aren’t cool, stop it.”

Friend of friend. “I can say anything I want.”

Me – “Well, as someone who has a daughter who is, to use the more outdated medical terminology, mentally retarded, I am telling you that “tard” words aren’t cool.”

Friend of friend – “OMG, I can’t believe you used the phrase “mentally retarded”, I am a teacher and we don’t use such language. I have never used the phrase “mentally retarded” in all my years of teaching!”

Me – “Da fuq?”

Yes, dudebro called me out for using “mentally retarded” after defending his use of his made up “tard” word, trying to paint me as the insensitive one. So I said something snippy and brilliant and kinda mean that I don’t recall because it’s been months. But I’ll own that I was being snippy and rude at that point.

Our friend steps in…my friend who has proclaimed their love of my daughter, who has always been super supportive, who has always shared what I written…and my friend told us to cut it out, and me basically to shut up.

My friend told me to shut up.

I may have seen a wall of white hot fire. I don’t take well to being told to shut up like that.

I was all “You have got to be kidding me.”

My friend was all “It’s my wall, people can say what they want, I won’t censor them.”

I was all “Seriously, are you kidding me?”

My friend said “Is this the hill you want our friendship to die on?”

Hmmm…let’s contemplate that hill. That hill that’s built on a slur for people with my daughter’s disability? The slur that I have been vocal about not using? That’s sort of been my platform? That I’ve written blog posts about and you have shared? Is this the hill I want to die on? Want to sacrifice our friendship on?

My first thought was “Do you not know me?”

My second thought was “No. Honestly, I will not unfriend you over this. You are my friend.” And I said this.

One or both of us may be having a bad day. I was definitely now viewing the post through a red haze of anger. The friend of a friend was at that point, offering to not use “tard” words on our friend’s page.

But as it turns out, the damage was done.

I steered clear of commenting on my friend’s social media, partially because I was angry and obviously posting in anger wasn’t working out. Then it looked like my friend took a break from social media. Summer came along and I got busy with things.

But last week, my friend posted something on Instagram. And I commented with a long-standing running joke between us.

Today, I realized that my friend has blocked me on Instagram. We are also no longer friends on Facebook.

So here I am, alone on this hill that one of us was apparently willing to let our friendship die on. I stood my ground. They walked away.

If I could go back to that day with that post, would I choose to stay silent?

No.

Who would I be, as a mother, to allow people to use slurs based on my daughter’s disability? How is using a disability slur any different than using a racial slur or slurs against LGBTQ+? In my world there is no difference.

So yes, I guess in the long run, it’s a hill I’d die on.

 

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Photo – me with my kids. on a hill. in Ireland. 2011

 

 

 

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Life Interrupted

7 Aug

“No excuses!” life shouts at me.

“But…you see-”

“NO EXCUSES!” society shouts, cutting me off.

And there is my excuse.

“You keep saying you’re cleaning your house but…” they say as they wave their hand to note the piles of crap everywhere, waiting for the final sorting and putting away phase.

“You keep saying you’re going to lose weight but…” they say as they eye my not-decreasing waistline and the cake in my hand.

“You keep saying you’re a writer but…” they say as they imply that I’ve yet to be published.

“Well…you see-”

They interrupt me. “NO! NO EXCUSES! JUST DO IT!”

And therein lies the problem.

My life is a series of being interrupted. Not only that, but Maura’s latest thing is to start a show, watch five minutes of it, and then switch to another show, watch three minutes of that, switch to another show, watch 27 minutes of that and flip shows five times in five minutes. I already have a list of things to do that’s a mile long and now I have to figure out how to break Maura of her tv addiction. And yet I have curtains that I need to hem that have been sitting there for six weeks but I can’t do those yet because we rearranged Maura’s room and in doing so, she got into all the stored winter clothes, so someone moved them all into the laundry room and started washing the already clean clothes, so now I have to finish that, but I also need to wash my clothes because it’s been so hot here that I haven’t been doing laundry because I’ve been avoiding turning on the dryer. But I also need to get Maura out of the house, but I also need to go grocery shopping, but Maura and grocery shopping don’t always mix. I could have groceries delivered, but that costs extra money and I’m trying to be thrifty. But then we have no food and so I end up ordering pizza, which is not a healthy diet food, and at that point, I just don’t care.

And then, because of all this, I have to get down on myself for having the messy house, the disorganized life, the lack of writing, the lack of weight loss. Then I start feeling I can’t do the “fun” things like writing or sewing because I need to do the cleaning or the laundry, but I really don’t want to those, but I feel like I should, and then I end up not doing either thing and just surfing the internet feeling overwhelmed, or reading and ignoring the mess around me. Which is a step up from laying in bed binge watching shows.

I’m overtired, overwhelmed, and overweight. I am, apparently, also my own worst critic. My new therapist has named her Mean Phoebe, and Mean Phoebe is actually quite mean. She is comprised of all the people who have been over-critical and not accepting enough of me throughout my life. I need to work on that as well.

I keep forgetting to though because people keep interrupting me to shout “NO EXCUSES!” Or to fix the batteries in the remote. Or put Maura’s hair in a pony tail yet again, even though I put it in a pony tail ten minutes ago, and she keeps pulling it out just for me to redo it. On top of normal daily interruptions.

And to be honest – being super busy just isn’t my style. I need down time. Probably because with Maura, I always have to be on.

My life is chaotic in ways others don’t understand. It’s normal chaotic family life topped with the unpredictability of life with Maura. I crave organization these days. If everything is organized, then maybe I can stop having to choose between cleaning and writing. Maybe if everything was organized and hidden away, Maura would stop pulling everything out and depositing it all over the house. If everything is organized, maybe the visual of neatness will bring order to my brain. I walked through Ikea the other day and all those little show rooms, where everything was laid out just right and shelves were full of little boxes of things organized….it was so tantalizingly delicious.

Reality is, I could be all Kon Mari organized and Maura will still create a mess. I will still be interrupted. Laundry would still be backed up. But at least I’d look like I had my shit together, and that’s something, right?

But I have to start. And starting is hard. Especially when Mean Phoebe is muttering about how we’re just a slob, we’ve been a slob our whole life.

And society yells “NO EXCUSES!”

And I flip off both society and Mean Phoebe, and start a list. Not a bullet journal. Not a 40 bags in 40 days challenge. Just a list. A little list. Do my laundry. Do Maura’s laundry. Change the sheets on our bed. Baby steps to the laundry room. Baby steps to the kitchen. Forget meal planning for two weeks, just figure out what we’re eating tonight.

Because some of us have excuses. Some of us have lives interrupted.

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The obligatory Mother’s Day gift list

10 May

So in an attempt to be a Real Blogger, I follow a few other bloggers via Twitter. They’re all doing Mother’s Day lists, and I thought, well, why not?

Also…my daughter totally reads my blog, so this works in my favor too 😉

Okay, so you have a mom. Or you have a wife, and she is mom to your offspring. Mother’s Day is THIS Sunday in America. You have nothing to give this special woman in your life.

What do you do?

  1. For God’s sake, let the woman sleep in! Seriously. Let. Her. Sleep. In. You get up early, then sit in front of the door to play goalie when the offspring come bounding down the hall at 5:43 am, and grab them before she is woken. Stuff their adorable little faces with cereal as you plop them in front of the television for three hours, letting Mom sleep in.
  2. Does she have a favorite store? Great! Get her a gift card from said store. No, don’t you try to pick out fabric for her, unless she has given you the name of the print, the yardage she needs, and a photo of said print that you can confirm things with – get her a gift card and allow her to pick out what fabric she wants. No, don’t let the kids pick out a blouse at the store she shops at – this is how she ends up with something pink leopard print with a pussy bow that she’s forced to wear to school gatherings. Just get her a gift card, let her pick out her own clothes. She likes to read? Get her a gift card to the bookstore. No, don’t pick out a book for her. Definitely don’t get her “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” or you may find yourself Konmari-ed onto the curb. If she likes coffee, get her a gift card to her favorite coffee shop – if you must get a mug with “World’s Bestest Mom” on it, put the gift card in the mug.
  3. Figure out if she’s a plant or flower person, then buy appropriately. Does she like gardening? Plant. Do dandelions shrivel up when she walks by? A nice bouquet of flowers? Does she have seasonal allergies? They make cookie and fruit bouquets.
  4. Give her the gift of a clean house. Seriously. Clean the house for her. Let her sit with her World’s Bestest Mom mug and cookie bouquet and watch you clean. She may cry a little – that’s normal, and those are happy tears.
  5. Let her nap. I know, you let her sleep in, but this mom in your life hasn’t slept since giving birth. Let her nap as well. Maybe get her a hammock, then let her nap in said hammock.
  6. Think outside the box. Maybe your mom needs a Wonder Woman tee (I mean, who doesn’t?). Maybe the woman really wants a Kitchen Aide mixer. Maybe she’s been dying to paint her bedroom, but like everything else, she’s put that last on her list.
  7. Clean out the family vehicle without criticism. Yes, we know, it’s covered in crumbs and straw wrappers and God only  knows what dribbled into the cup holder to cause that sticky mess. Just get to it, make the kids help, while she sits in a lawn chair sipping on a wine slushie. We all know why the car is in that state <glances at kids>
  8. Let her nap again. Seriously. The woman is tired.
  9. Get her that spa day. We’re never going to take the time to get a massage, so force it on us.
  10. Just do something. Anything. We’ll appreciate it. Homemade card by kids? Love it. Dandelions picked by the 3 yr old? Adore. The other parent grilling burgers for dinner, forgetting all the burger toppings, and eating off napkins? It’s a meal we didn’t make so hooray! But first, just let us sleep in.

 

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