He’s 12.

by Ilinap on June 22, 2017

If he had a theme song, it would be You Are the Sunshine of My Life. He was born sunnyside up, after all. This sweet child of mine is tender hearted and funny. He’s also pensive and thoughtful; I can almost see gears clicking in his head as he unravels how things work. His Chiclet toothed grin lights up a room as if he’s battery operated. My baby boy is 12 today. Baby no more. He’s taller than I am. Regardless how low that bar was to surpass, it’s a mother’s milestone nonetheless.

My Deal is a special kid. Most everyone who meets him says so. I realize I’m completely biased here, but trust me. He is kind and earnest and humble. He hurts when others hurt, and he palpably feels the joy of others. Deal is quick to pat a friend on the back and trumpet the success of others. He is clever and full of bad jokes, the kind that make you want to cringe but you can’t help but laugh.

12 means Deal needs me less. He’s latching on to new found independence and savoring the responsibility. He’s firmly planting one foot in childhood as he lies on his tummy building LEGO creations and teeters into tweendom when he texts with his friends. Deal is still like a lap dog, and so far he doesn’t cringe when I give him a squeeze, even in public. I know this will change. I’m bracing myself.

I step gently onto each milestone. Each stone is laced with the bittersweet tonic that defines parenthood. Our children move along this path with an eager pep while parents follow with a hint of both excitement and trepidation. Change is hard, and for moms in particular, it’s tough to see our babies grow into men. We celebrate their milestones and growth and swoon when they grow their wings. Yet here we are caught off guard as those wings begin to spread. I suppose it is always toughest to see your youngest take flight.

I don’t know what the statue of limitations is on losing baby weight, but I’m realizing now it’s not weight after all. My boy simply makes me swell with pride.

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Time to Slow Down

by Ilinap on June 5, 2017

Instant gratification is the culprit of all societal ailments. Patience has disappeared from a long list of diminishing virtues. Every click, push, turn, and touch makes things beep, buzz, hum, and go. I don’t even need a key to start my car. Hell, even my drawers and cabinets are “self-closing” so they shut with nary a touch. We’ve come to this, America – turning a key and closing a drawer are hardship.

We are lazy people.

We want things in a hurry.

We are always in a rush.

We don’t have make time for joy.

No longer do we savor time. We don’t even savor our meals in this grab-n-go world. Don’t get me started on how we don’t take time to cook a homemade meal or sit down at the table together to eat as a family. Soon I’m going to be telling you to “Get off mah lawn!”

It seems we no longer let ourselves have the luxury of being bored. We are too rushed to be totally and blissfully engrossed in something. Even our TV watching is rushed as we binge watch Netflix rather than let one episode at a time sink in. Have a look around next time you go to a concert or a school event. You will see a sea of phones in the air, everyone jockeying for the best angle to snap that perfect, social media sharing worthy shot. Few people are actually mesmerized by the sheer experience of something without being beckoned by the siren of the screen. We see the world through the lens of a phone, losing literal and figurative perspective as we do so.

Do you recall the last time you were lost in the moment? For me, it was just last week when I devoured the book The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. But before that, I admittedly cannot remember when I was utterly consumed by something without succumbing to the flirtation of distraction. We have the gift of five senses that we rarely use to the fullest extent anymore. Imagine the depth of what we miss in those moments.

We, myself included, need to slow down. Patience is still a virtue. The rat race is full of rats. Time is already a cruel beast. Let’s stroll rather than scamper, dawdle rather than dash. Spring is in full bloom so there’s no better time than now to literally stop and smell the roses.

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Weighting Game

May 31, 2017

Tweet I was long overdue for a visit to the doctor. Just regular check up maintenance to ensure my parts are all working. I’m lucky to be pushing 50 with no creaky bits and achey joints. Since I never played sports as a kid or took up running, I guess I never punished my body. […]

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Summer Adventure List 2017…With a Twist

April 23, 2017

Tweet Though it might seem like it, I never forget that I have a blog. I just forget to schedule time to actually write anything. There’s no shortage of ideas flurrying around in my head. Some are irreverent. Some are controversial. Some are whimsical. All are logged in a notebook that I carry around, yet […]

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Rules to Live By

February 24, 2017

  I am a woman who loves rules. I also love pushing and stretching and bending rules that don’t make sense. I appreciate civil disobedience. I love a good protest. I’ve been writing letters to CEOs and Senators since I was 10. While I appreciate rules, I also appreciate using my voice to influence change. […]

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#ThankATeacher

February 8, 2017

We’ve been in some state of mourning since November 9. No joke. The DeVos confirmation about put us all over the proverbial edge. The tough part in all this has been the effect on my children. They saw us campaign and canvass for much of last year. Our candidate lost. They saw us write and […]

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Everyday Can Be MLK Day

January 16, 2017

Tweet It’s wonderful to have a national day of service to reflect on the indelible mark Martin Luther King, Jr. left on this country. It’s especially healing to honor him now, in this volatile climate brimming with racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and fear mongering. We need the reminder to be particularly aware now. Gone is the […]

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10 Simple Ways to Make 2017 Shine

December 31, 2016

Tweet I’m having chocolate for breakfast. This should tell you all you need to know about 2016. I’ve pretty much been eating my feelings, especially since November 9. Friends and family have been gifting us sausages from a small, organic butcher in Wisconsin, cheese (also from Wisconsin, natch), and chocolate. I wish I were the […]

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Have a Heart (of Haiti) This Holiday Season

December 19, 2016

Tweet I never imagined some of my favorite Christmas ornaments would come from Haiti. Truth be told, when I was there in October I loaded up on ornaments for gifts, but now I can’t bear to part with them. The metal work is gorgeous, and I am especially enamored with those pieces since I met […]

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What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

December 12, 2016

Tweet For many years when I looked in the mirror, I saw mostly discomfort, awkwardness, and low self-esteem. I didn’t see beauty and I never felt attractive. I felt jumbled on definitions of internal and external beauty. I focused on my scars, my vampire teeth and overbite, and my unibrow. Nothing positive stared back at […]

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