Image via CNN
“I cannot put into words how heartbreaking it is to see grown adults that I know and love decide only now to take to the streets. I’m glad you’re doing something. But…weren’t we worth it before? Why weren’t we reason enough? Where have you been? And where will you be once this doesn’t impact you directly anymore?”
On Saturday, Olive and I joined millions of other women around the world at the Women’s March.
I remember reading a great quote many years ago that said you shouldn’t do anything for your children that they were capable of doing for themselves. I loved it, and kept it in mind for when I had my own kids. I’d be the mom whose kids were doing their laundry by age five! Fantastic.
But of course, as is always the case, people without kids make the best parents. When I actually had my own child, things suddenly looked a whole lot different. I found myself dealing with an actual human being, with her own desires and opinions, not the pleasantly compliant child of my imaginings.
I still believe in the message of that quote wholeheartedly (despite the sometimes-problematic nature of parenting “should’s ) but godDAMN is it easier said than done. Beyond lots (and lots) of reminders, there have been a few things I’ve found really help Olive become independent and self-reliant, and a lot of it has to do with how our home is set up.
My marriage split open on November 20, 2014, and I made the decision to end it on December 15, 2014.
I don’t think there’s ever really a good time for this sort of thing to happen, but doing it immediately before such a staggering season of events – Christmas, then my 31st birthday, then New Year’s and then Valentine’s Day – felt like a barrage of punches to the face in quick succession. Bam bam bam bam bam.
That first Christmas, I invited Olive’s dad to spend Christmas day with us. I was in shock and I didn’t know quite what else to do. I was still trying to pretend things were normal, desperate for Olive to hold onto the sense that things were fine, even though I knew they would soon be very, very different.
Every year for Christmas I buy Olive a book. Not just any book, though, a special one.
Usually, the requirement is that it has to make me well up with tears when I read it and encompass something of the phase or stage of life she’s in. I don’t think I’ve ever shared these books with you, so I’m going to do that now, along with the book I’ve picked for this year and why it strikes a special chord with me.
Photo by Neil McElmon
On Friday night I found myself crushed into the middle of a dia de los muertes themed dance floor, in a club for the first time in Beyonce knows how many years, writhing along to too-loud music and trying to escape the bump and grind grasp of sugar-skull-painted dudes behind me.
I was there to watch my little sister Claire perform with her dance group Subscura, and it was unreal. Watching this person I’d seen grow from a newborn to a toddler to a child to a teenager, always strong, often lost, finally come into herself onstage as a lithe, vibrant and incredibly powerful woman – I have no words. I just kept screaming “That’s my SISTER!” over and over again. I was so, so proud.