love is what matters

I’ve been to the land of hypocracy lately, voicing my opinion on hot topics on social media. It’s something that usually drives me crazy and I’ve passingly complained about myself, but these days of being more comfortable in my skin and wanting to make my world and yours a better place have changed my mind. I’ve always noticed and mentioned that the older people get, the more comfortable they are voicing their opinions. Older and wiser, right? I just had to correct myself as I accidentally typed “wider” first, but sometimes that’s true as well…but that’s a whole separate post about comfortability y’all.

I’ve been sharing #blacklivesmatter posts. I’ve seen them in previous times of turmoil and didn’t really understand them myself. Maybe I wasn’t listening to the right people yet, but this time I am. Before I thought it was enough to say that #alllivesmatter, because unity and peace and love and we’re all human and let’s make this world a better place for everyone. But I didn’t really understand the meaning behind the movement. 

Before I start too much hashtagging and talking about the differences between the #alllivesmatter and #blacklivesmatter movements, know that I understand this is not our only problem in this country or in this world. But right now, the conversation is about this. And the older I get, the more I realize that remaining silent on important issues is just as bad as taking the wrong side publicly. So hear me and try to understand what I mean, and what most everyone else means, when we say #blacklivesmatter. 

All of this to say, I’ve been listening. I don’t watch television and I have trouble relating to friends who are obsessed with dramatic reality shows or stream entire seasons of a television series in a matter of days. I’ll tell you where my addiction lies: reading comments and articles galore. It’s unhealthy and can get obsessive, but I can’t stop. I’m fascinated by what people think and what they are willing to say while hiding behind a keyboard. I read things from people who agree with me on topics, and people who are on the opposing side, and everyone in between. There’s a reason I almost was a psych major. It pulls me in, and I’ve wanted to scream all the things to all the people for years. STOP IT. STOP SAYING THINGS TO PEOPLE (real people) THAT YOU WOULDN’T SAY TO THEIR FACES. STOP. But the reality is, some people would say horrible things in person. These people just aren’t nice, period. It isn’t because they’re liberal hippies or uptight conservatives or because of their skin color or gender or sexual orientation or WHATEVER ELSE. It’s because they’re not good people. And nothing you type is going to change that.

What I’m hearing from my friends and acquaintances who are open-minded and loving - people of all backgrounds, y’all - is that enough is enough. Racism is still a problem in this country. That’s it. Let’s change this because it has to be changed. Talk about it with each other, but I mean actually talk. Don’t just blurt out your opinion and insist that you’re right. Be able to look someone in the eye and say, “I hear you. I understand what you’re saying. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and for listening to mine.” Everyone deserves that kind of respect. Everyone. 

Black lives matter TOO. That is what this movement is about. I in no way think police officers are all corrupt entitled people who have god complexes. I realize that some people who are treated less than fairly may have done something to make people of authority feel threatened. Yes, all lives do matter. I’m here to ask you to open your mind. Listen to the people who can tell you their real fears. Black people who have experienced them, white people who try to understand those fears but will never know what it feels like to actually experience them, or any person of any race who can tell you what it’s like to be anything but white. Whether you believe there’s a problem in this country with race, put yourself in someone else’s shoes and try to understand their real fears and feelings without judging. That’s all I’m asking. 

If you’re afraid to talk about it because you’re worried you might say the wrong thing, or offend someone, or maybe because you don’t even have a black friend or acquaintance to talk to about this and you’d like to…just start the discussion somewhere, in some way. Just be real and honest and open and understanding, as much as you can. And know that staying silent about anything that’s wrong in this world really does allow it to keep happening. If we just laugh it off and pretend it isn’t as bad as others are making it out to be, I promise you that it’s worse in places you aren’t seeing it. And it’s much easier now for those stories to be made public. Listen to them, and remember that you’re listening to things that are happening to other humans. No matter what they look like. Humans, you guys. Be human.

And because I can’t post anything without a photo, also please remember this. Racism is taught and learned. If you insist on teaching it to your children, consciously or not, don’t you dare teach it to mine. That’s where I can’t keep a calm and level head, guys. This kid will like you and play with you no matter what color your tongue is. As long as you’re kind. And fun. :) 
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Also, this facebook page is all about uniting us and sharing stories of love and acceptance. Please go here and have your heart warmed.

May-jay

Mason James is one year old. We joined him and his pups and parents for a few snaps earlier this month. He and Ri are becoming good buddies these days, just like their parents. :)

He looked so good in this hat, he didn’t even want us to photograph it. Joke’s on you kiddo, we have fast clickers on our cameras. ;) 

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So big!

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Hmm…now where did those knobs go?

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Walking has become his preferred method of mobilization these days. We had to capture those toddler steps, and the dog-nose/toddler-fingered window at the front door and diapers hanging to dry. Real life bestness right there.

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He’s a master stair-climber.

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And much-practiced in the art of closing doors and attempting to open them again.

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So happy in the shade on this afternoon!

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Snapped these as Tim was telling Monica how beautiful she looked. Look at those lovey eyes. :)

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This guy is going to be swimming before we know it, diving straight in when he’s able!

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Sleepy hugs when we got back home. The sweetest thing! And is there anything better than smoosh face? Not much. :)

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Goodness we love you guys so many tons! Thanks for letting us snap these up!

Hugs & love,
JAM 

i didn't expect

I stood in his doorway from 3:00 a.m. until 3:45 a.m. With patience. Kindness. The best combination of soft and firm, mentally and physically (I’ve been working out y’all). Feeling inspired. Proud, even.

That last one I did expect, but not so early in this little experiment, and I didn’t feel it for the reasons I thought I would. Riley actually woke up at 2:05 this morning. Frustrated because he was alone, and probably a little afraid. And a lot of stubborn. He didn’t want to go back to sleep without one of us. Yes, he knows he can do it when it isn’t the middle of the night. When you’re in the thick of things though, you process things differently. This morning he refused to even try to go to sleep without me there, even though we’ve discussed it for days and more days and during the day he’s excited to try it. Probably because we gave him a gold doubloon that he can keep if he goes back to sleep without us, and earn a new toy if he still has it in the morning.

There was some back-and-forth reassuring talk between us through his monitor before he got upset enough to climb out of his bed and come into our room at 2:30. The typical bathroom trip and drink of water requests were made and allowed. I assured him he had his stuffies to comfort him and get back to sleep, and even his loofah (he uses it to tickle his arm). I tucked him in repeatedly. He assured me that he wasn’t getting back to sleep without me tickling his arm. He didn’t care about losing his gold doubloon. We were both very convincing to ourselves, but not each other. It was a fight of which one of us was more stubborn than the other that resulted in a compromise. I stood there in his doorway instead of sitting on his bed or the “green chair” rocker as we’ve done in the past. I’m slowly inching further away each night. Eventually I’ll stand outside his door where he can’t see me but he can hear me. Then go to my own room where if I need to I can let him hear my voice through his monitor. Maybe by then I’ll have purchased this book to give ourselves a giggle. But for now, I’m cool, calm, collected. And happy.

So yes. I’m standing in his doorway. Admiring how tan I looked in the dimmed light of his lamp and wondering why all light can’t be this forgiving. Thinking how this is an excellent opportunity to practice better posture now that I’m strengthening the rest of me. Knowing that there’s no way I’m geting back to sleep before 5am and being at peace with that. Even smiling about it. I’m not even bothered by the fact that I’m standing in the doorway of this not-so-tiny cuddly creature who’s used me as his lovey for his entire life. In fact, I’m happy that I can talk to him about what we’re doing and even in the early morning hours he understands and talks to me about it too.

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And then I thought: Who is this person standing in this kid’s doorway? This mom!?
We have so many ideas of who we are and what we’ll do in certain situations, but until you’re there? It’s usually a best-guess scenario. You have expectations, sure. But everyone knows expectations are only that. If one little thing happens differently than you thought it would, enter the butterfly effect. Chaos theory. Change one tiny thing and the outcome can be drastically different. I didn’t expect to be standing in the doorway of my toddler’s room for 45 minutes (a very long time to be standing still in wee morning hours) waiting for him to go to sleep and feel happy while doing so. But there I was doing it while also mentally compiling a list of things I never expected, or doubted would happen. And feeling pride in recognizing that because of those things, even the negative ones, I am who I am. I’ve learned more patience and flexibility and forgiveness because of these things. Here is my list of unexpecteds that kept running through my mind as I stood there waiting for this adorable boy’s eyes to stay closed long enough to sneak away:

  • becoming a mom
  • not documenting my pregnancy in the beginning because I was terrified of something happening to my baby and having too many reminders of him that might break me if he didn’t make it
  • giving birth without any drugs
  • feeling so simultaneously connected and lonely as a new mom
  • difficulties with friendships after becoming a mom
  • the “mama bear” mentality I’ve had since learning I was pregnant
  • the physical and mental toll pregnancy has taken on my body
  • the strength I’ve found despite those tolls - in myself and from loved ones
Apparently my mind works in overdrive when I’m in the shower or when I’m awake before most of the rest of the world.
I’ve started probably seventeen blog posts trying to talk about these things and more, but haven’t felt like I’ve gotten out what I wanted to say. Now that we’re “sleep training,” and I’m one of those people who’s wide awake the second I’m awakened in the middle of the night, it looks like I’ll have more opportunities to write about these things. That’s something I’ll look forward to during this process. And you know what? I didn’t expect that either. 
 
If you’d like to check in every so often and read about my stories and even share your own, I’d love that. And now, good Monday to you all.