Friday, October 30, 2009

Helping at Home

Whenever married women get together there is inevitably a conversation about household chores. I've talked about Domestic Sexy in past posts and highlighted a few amazing days with due credit given. At some point one of the women in my clique will say something that is the equivalent to "it isn't worth the effort." I always state that after 14 years of marriage, the partnership should indeed, be a partnership. It might not be done like you would like it done, but get over it. I say this often. I'm going to stop.

See, we haven't had matching socks in months. It started one season when I went on strike and I didn't care what happened. I literally only searched for my clean clothes and I have plenty of hosiery options that I can rely on most days. One of the kids asked about socks early in the school year and I promptly directed them to their own drawer. They replied, "we don't have socks." I know there are socks and plenty of them. And then....I started the investigation.

For my entire strike the socks were conveniently placed in unmatched batches at the bottom of a variety of baskets, with no regard to size, owner or style. Within a few weeks the socks had no mates and the mess was expanding. On one particular morning, the sock hunt led to the photo above, where well meaning children were trying to identify the things that belonged to them. I have now made up in my mind, there is no equity in helping at home. Three months later and the socks have still never been the same. They went away for a few days in August and their grandmother simply purchased new socks. She will be saddened to know that they too have gone into the group wash, non sort, non match, non put away experience. This is so not domestic sexy. This is so why married women suggest that their spouse need not help at home.

I think its a plot of intentional proportions when a degreed male can not accomplish laundry success. I'm the one with about 10 dozen miss matched socks all over my house, too. This would be a non-issue, but its Winter. Funds are low. The work load is high. And the socks are all over because I was convinced that my hiatus would mandate more help. Not so much.

In Search of Game

My little people are far more athletic than I have ever been. I love that about them. They are not moved by the fact that every tae kwon do, gymnastics, volleyball, swimming or sports experience is filled with many lessons we can't quite relate to. But, I've got one son who loves basketball. I mean, he practices outside in shooting hoops in my neighbors rim, for as long as you will allow. It isn't our natural thing.

We are amazing at teaching story problems, fractions, vocabulary words, writing prompts - and he's got the grades to prove it. After a long and drawn out teasing his straight A grade card was neither that exciting or that hot of a topic - he just does what he does without much fanfare. I attended one of his few basketball games last week and that experience was not the same. I tell you, check out moms action stop. Do you see that form. Concentration. Focus. And do you see that it looks like he's running a sprint and not playing ball. How much of having game is nature? How much is nurture?

Our kids have inherited a tendency to do better at solo activities while they struggle with team experiences. This child, however, tends to do well at both. In the heart of Indiana where basketball is beloved by all, I can't help wish that my father was more invested in teaching and training. My father was the coach of all coaches when it came to basketball. He taught inner city hoops with flare and substance, did much better than he did in parenting. There are students that still credit him for their growth and development. No comment there. Just wondering though, can you teach a Suburban Black kid with little basketball instinct to play ball.

At a dinner party recently I had friends suggest to us, "you need to enroll him in Black Ball." Really. I don't care if its politically incorrect, they cautioned me about the "recreational league" that I enrolled him in. I indicated it was just about the basics, no stress, no future Lebron aspirations. And they uniformly responded, you better get him in Black Ball soon.

At the ripe old age of 7 I'm starting to sense he's behind the curve. I laughed on Sunday because I was sure he was close to a foul everytime he tried to snatch the ball from his opponent. When I looked at the pics that make a moms heart smile, I couldn't help but land on this one. I started thinking, what are we running to and what are we running from. We're happy to be in the Suburbs, but I miss some of the things the kids would naturally learn from the neighborhood I grew up in. Down the street he could have learned to play ball nearly free of charge, extra bandaids and some non-Walmart tennis shoes, and he'd be set. It wouldn't have been a big deal that he didn't have his own basketball court - few kids did. The only guy that I knew with his own court, couldn't play and tried harder to makeout near the swings than shoot hoops. I digress.

In search of game really speaks to the double lives children of color lead. I'm not even going to write about the Suburban clubs that spend more time eliminating potential young ladies than creating a place to nurture them and expose them to peers who share their experiences. I'm not quite over it, but I'm getting there. Living in the suburbs has brought better schools, better property values and more diverse issues. I need a second job to teach my boys how to have game, while I'm teaching them to navigate this game that we chose.

Watch out world. The best scientist that can ball is coming your way soon. He's not in search of much but his personal success, and he's well on his way.

A Magnetix Lesson in HealthCare Failure

Parents beware. My youngest child swallowed a small magnetix ball and a bit of a panic began. He actually told of his digestive experience relatively quickly - but the passing of the evidence, very very slow. In between our notification and the passing of the time, 3 Emergency Room Visits, 1 Allergic Reaction, several glasses of prune juice, hours of internet investigation, the search and destroy mission for every Magnetix we owned and those purchased for future gifts - and walla, its over.

Not so quick - you want to know how much it cost right? Two working people with health care. A childhood accident that went really really wrong. Well, last time I opened the bill, about $3,000 was still owed AFTER the insurance paid their "portion" of the bill. Then the beauty of health care reform has been the umpteen messages I receive in my inbox, encouraging me to send $5, $10 or more dollars to help pass the health care reform. You gotta be kidding me right. How about I pay the hospital in installments until he's in college. How about I pay my past due bills with those dollars. How about I'm really cynical that health care reform may mean something for someone, but if its like finance reform, economic reform, homeowner reform, education reform, job reform, the fight against drugs, and any of the other reforms that are never quite intended for middle America - I'll take a pass.

With that $5 d$%^ dollars, maybe I'll start a Christmas lay-a-way for all of the toys we are going to have to replace. Or, I'll start the long payment plan for the healthcare costs that aren't changing for us with whatever so-called-reform is popular today.

Black People Don't Float

In the world of the random, I had a swim coach tell me that Black people don't float the same as White people. It was very early in the morning, I had not eaten my energy bar, and I wasn't in the mood to defend my entire race. Not today. I made a mental note for self and opted to really not focus on what appeared to be a slight trip down the lane of crazy.

Later, when I was caffeinated and more alert, I learned about a few statistics that address the reason why more Black people don't swim. Most of the information related to parental habits, access to pools, family patterns, soci0economic factors, etc. Not one article had anything of merit or relevance about black folks and the ability to float. I did stumble across a variety of hateful and racists comments about the inferiority of Black people, but I had too much productive work to do for that day. And so, I shared this little comment with the woman who taught my dear little ones how to swim. After she rolled her eyes and let out a big sigh, she effectively said, tell them to swim harder and faster and to enjoy each day they are in the pool - that's crazy.

If there is anyone who would be able to attest to the float factor, it would be the woman who has taught my heavy non-graceful behind how to swim the length of the pool. If I didn't have to go to the deep side, I could probably swim 100 yards with some amount of competence. Reality is, it was just good to have someone who didn't share background, race, ethnicity, wealth, upbringing or anything else - simply dismiss this silly comment, after her 40+ years of teaching this craft.

The Josh Project is just one of the amazing discoveries I encountered as I was shaking off the potential offense. A phenomenal mother in Toledo, Ohio started this organization after her son lost his life to a drowning accident. Minorities make up a disproportionate number of drowning victims each year, and we should do something about it. I grew up in a middle class household, with tremendous values, and learning to swim was not a priority. The group lessons at the Y failed in many many ways, but that was me. Once I had the benefit of a personal coach - float. swim. enjoy.

Kids who complete the Josh Project lessons can earn a t-shirt and a tremendous lesson. Conquering your fears, whether in the water or in life, can happen if you simply put your mind to it. Problem is, your mind may be willing, but circumstances might not. Seek out opportunities to conquer those things that seem a lifetime away and spend little time debating the crazy. Black people can float. Maybe more importantly, all people can be taught to do things once out of reach, by ignoring at first glance, those that are simply out of touch.

Breathe and blow. Breathe and blow.


I listened to a story recently about the Famesque - folks that were famous for no good reason. The article was slanted mostly toward white magazine icons and some harsh criticism about their talent or lack of. I haven't done a good job of getting the idea out of my head, even though I have more important things to do. So is the problem the Famesque, or those of us who pay them any attention at all.

I actually have a small amount of sympathy for them. They are subjected to incredible amounts of scrutiny, don't get paid what real starlets get paid, and they are hounded by the paparazzi - not to mention the bloggers pen. I'm not sure we devote our time to the true stories at hand. Folks we elect, folks we pay lots of money who don't do their jobs, folks that are supposed to be doing one thing - but are clearly doing another... but hollywood folks. Who cares. I mean really, since I don't watch Gossip Girls, didn't see Transformers in the theater, can't name whoever is on the cover of most magazines when I'm at the check out - that makes me like, normal. I'm certain that many of my peers would respond in EXACTLY the same way.

So maybe along with the Famesque, we should fault the Stupesque for all the energy we direct at them anyway. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Plan B is the equivalent of an F - Failure

Plan B? 

The morning-after pill -- made by Duramed, a subsidiary of Barr Pharmaceuticals -- is intended to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. It works by stopping ovulation and decreasing the chances that a fertilized egg will attach to the uterus. When used within 72 hours of unprotected sex, it can lower the risk of pregnancy by almost 90 percent, the maker says.

The casual nature surrounding the Plan B pill is extremely interesting to me. The pill will be available to "women age 17 and older" the FDA announced today.  What child do you know classifies as a woman at age 17.  I'm not even opening the conversation for true debate - I'm really just reflecting on what I know to be the case.  Every memory of being 17 reminds me that 17 year olds are not women - they are children in more mature bodies.  When I look around at the family members, church members, neighbors and friends who are 17, they too are not women. Young women in training maybe, but do we want Plan B to be part of their educational process? 

For the most part, we're talking about young people who still rely on their parents for food, clothing and shelter.  When, and if they work, they earn what my mother used to affectionately call "play money." Even when I worked as a young "woman" I wasn't responsible for my living expenses and upkeep, I was really just offsetting the tremendous expenses I was incurring.  When I look at who I dated, the decisions I made and the person I thought I wanted to be - I realize that I have evolved into a much different person.  Thank God.  Instead of allowing young girls the time, space and ability to evolve into who they aspire to be, we have created a society that believes fast and easy is the answer for everything.  And we're producing a generation of fast. and easy. 

Planned Parenthood and every group that supports them may very well consider this a victory, which is a sad commentary on our evolution as a society and a community anyway.  The real concern that I have, however, rests with the false premises associated with pseudo abortion as a family planning method. Since when does someone who doesn't qualify as an adult in any other context become woman enough to obtain medical treatment without parental consent?  At 17 I had already graduated from high school, started college and moved into my "higher education experience".  At that time I couldn't get an antibiotic without using the insurance card that was directly tied to the medical coverage my mother paid for.  Allergy medicine required authorization.  How in the world do we go from that to Plan B. 

I surely wish we'd write more articles about Plan A.  I imagine Plan B, Plan C and Plan D could have many alternatives other than the "oops pill."  Oops I shouldn't have had unprotected sex, so let me ingest an emergency (cough) contraception (cough) pill (cough), so that I don't have any of the consequences.  If we continue to believe that the only damage done by poor judgement is physical, we are doing a disservice to the young ladies we are bringing up as the next generation.  We have authored and labeled alternatives as if we are oblivious to the historical, cultural, societal, personal, emotional and financial implications of the choices being made.  I know that someone will write, or think, its a woman's choice.  I dare say, we aren't talking about women at all.  This isn't a choice in my book - plan B offers more stunted growth in decision making.  No wonder we can't problem solve or plan strategically, from an early age we're taught that there are no consequences to our choices. 

We live in an oversexed society that trains young girls from birth that their value is tied to their sexuality and virtue, or lack thereof.  When they are tweens we are preparing them for being teens.  The new teen looks like the equivalent of your average 20 something - with less fashion taste, and even less sense.  We try to make it better by saying that 17 year olds are women and spouting about their rights.  With rights come responsibility, and I don't see very many children at age 17 being ready for all of those either.  What can we expect of the women we are raising, when Plan B is covered in the media like something to celebrate as a culture.  Plan A could be Abstinence.  or Adoption.  or Academics.  or Athletics.  or Aspirations.  or the ability to actually grow up.  

A better name for Plan B would be Plan F - we keep failing our girls. 

Friday, April 10, 2009

Ah Ha Moment in Domestic Sexy

I have educated quite a few people regarding the reality of domestic sexy - when having your lawn cut is more appealing than flowers. The women in my circle understand the concept, most are married and happily in love with a partner for life who is anything but handy.  A clean car and garage easily rival flowers. Not that I mind the flowers, I just think that there are a variety of more intriguing actions that make a significant impact on my life. Laundry.  Mopping.  Clean Dishes.  Fresh Linen.  and um....changing light bulbs.  

It had been a bit dim upstairs for a few weeks in our household.  I was struggling with noticing the lightbulbs given the other domestic challenges I had been facing.  There's something really challenging about getting enough contract work that you are never at home to do your real work.  My real work is centered out of our home, you know the aspiration to be the Proverbs 31 woman.  I have dreams of blessing my household in the wee hours, yielding high regard for my husband, growing children who value my opinion more than the pop stars.  I was feeling pretty smug about the domestic sexy concept, until my husband turned the lights out on my pride.  He said in so many words - if you really liked domestic sexy you'd make sure I knew it. 

I thought to myself, I just told you how much I value domestic sexy.  He in return offered an astute directive - "I'm a hands on learner.  I'd like to equate some action with your view of domestic sexy."  Oh, okay.  He's talking losing the domestic and the y and he's cool.  Instant reward. 

I was in Staples yesterday and selected printer paper with an instant rebate, vs. a cheaper brand that required a mail in rebate.  I like instant rewards.  I was reminded in that brief moment that my husband likes instant rewards too.  I thought my positive affirmations and a phrase coined after his attention to my domestic priorities was a great reward.  He, however, is in many ways a very simple creature.  I guess wife rain checks aren't the prize I thought they were.  Maybe a bit more instant reward will yield some core association like Pavlov's rat.  Every time you take care of A, I'll take care of T&A.  It sounds so crude and so unlady like and so contractual, it sounds so stiff, I might get my patio and yard done if I did it.   My personal Ah Ha Moment in Domestic Sexy indeed. 

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Following the Rules - The NPR, IRAN and ESTHER Connection

Years ago when I was young and impressionable I enjoyed listening to the radio in the car.  In fact, it wasn't long after I had graduated from undergrad that I brought my first car.  I got immense pleasure out of the R & B tunes that lingered in the air on the way to and from work. I had always had a cursory relationship with music - I rarely knew the lyrics but loved the rhythm and moods that served as a backdrop to my growing up years.  Then I had my world turned upside down.   I met a nerd boy who loved politics, BBSCon Conferences, talked legislation for recreation and connected to other breeds like him.   And he didn't listen to R & B in the car. We'd head out to the movies or dinner and he'd turn on NPR, and I'd be irritated for 2 reasons - he changed my radio and he listened to stuff I didn't want to hear about. I found many reasons to be irritated and routinely enjoyed turning the music to unheard volumes and listening to the latest pop hit.  

The only problem was my future husband sucked the joy out of my experience.  He slowly implied through word and deed a belief that the majority of our community wasn't really informed about international and political (geopolitical) issues.  I don't like being underestimated.  As my commute times expanded I started realizing that I needed more to keep me awake on the drive - music wouldn't always cut it.  I started listening to NPR.  The problem with this integration into my habits - I stopped enjoying my R & B.  Don't get me wrong, Maxwell will beat Morning Edition many days for me.  Yet, it started to occur to me that the vast majority of music I listened to was a bit foul.  There weren't a lot uplifting experiences being sung to a beat that made me sway - a lot of the lyrics were just plain foul. I started realizing that music alone wasn't fulfilling.  When making the Ohio to Michigan drive I soon learned what public radio, Christian radio and talk radio programs would be of interest any day.  I memorized the little ad jingles and gained a new respect for good comedy - and I got addicted to public radio.  Urggh. I started seeking additional information from the stories, and the days of mindless entertainment just seemed to decrease in volumes.  

So today I was commuting to Martinsville and I turned on the radio.  The topic of the day - IRAN.  A series of callers discussed the shift of the US policy to discuss nuclear energy, the status of Roxana Saberi, and the perceived western media bias regarding Iranians.  A particular caller said that anyone could visit Iran as long as they understood the rules - and followed the rules.  Her voice was of particular interest as she calmly communicated that the issue isn't IRAN, it is the lack of respect for the rules of Iran which are really clear.   I couldn't shake the comment for the remainder of my trip. (Including the portion when I'm a really effective facilitator for non-profit excellence in capacity building and strategic planning.)  I thought to myself, if in all situations we communicate the rules - then we can be exempted from what happens when people don't follow them.  Is that right? 

Roxana Saberi, an American journalist, has been charged with espionage by Iranian authorities.  At last investigation her lawyer had not seen her, or any evidence, in the last 2 weeks.  The Iranian authorities have indicated that she confessed to the charges against her, a charge of espionage that has evolved from operating without press credentials.  She has been in Iran for 6 years, and was due to return to the US this year according to her father.  Her father is Iranian, her mother is Japanese and she was born in the US.  There is something innately wrong with me knowing all of these details.  Further, I have started applying the logic of the guest to all situations.  Did Roxana know the rules and simply break them  - or did the Iranian government decide to use her as a pawn in an intense political climate?  I don't know.  But I admit 15 years after the height of my R & B enjoyment, I care about the fate of Roxana.  My daughter is a promising writer and journalist, and I bet she would travel the nation to write about intriguing things.  If she was writing a book about Iran and the rules of her life were moving targets for political will, I would want someone to care. 

One of my favorite Biblical heroes is Esther, Queen of Persia.  I was an adult before I realized that Iran was known as Persia up until 1935 - which makes it more intriguing when I learn about the political debates of the time.  Nuclear energy not being used for a weapon - uh, okay.  I listened to several callers talk about the poor perceptions of Iran tied to Western media.  I wonder, however, where the dividing line exists between the people and the government.  I was intrigued to hear many people talk of their love of country and culture, while implying that they were not truly represented by their government.  I knew instinctively what they meant.  I knew what Michelle Obama meant when she said she was proud of her country for the first time - and watched the spiral of criticisms from those who didn't understand.  When I read about Esther, she knew the rules and did not follow them.  In fact, she said with the resolve and dignity of a woman who could undeniably lead me - if I die, I die.  Some rules are meant to be broken.   The question becomes, are we ready for all of the consequences?  Can you ever be really ready?  When we are talking about nuclear power, there are going to be consequences in epic proportion. 

I don't know any great leader who doesn't break some of the rules.  My husband aided in the changing of my rules regarding where my recreational energy rests.  I love music, I just love mental stimulation more.  Smart music - that's another post.  But today, my mind is still racing about politics, rules and consequences. 

Obama is breaking the rules with his choice to talk to other governments.  Everyone and their mother has an opinion.  We aren't making the choices, but the consequences will be ours to share.  Roxana Saberi made choices, but the consequences seem desperately out of her control. I was led to think about Esther in the midst of these reflections, a young Queen anointed and appointed by God.  She knew the rules and made the decision to do what was right regardless.  The rules would have her dead, but she rests in the mind and hearts of millions because of a choice to seek God.  Its hard to seek anything if you aren't open to what exists within our world.  More importantly, without some perspective about how God can use anyone, we might actually believe that its all about the rules.  All about God's rules yes, the rules that others create, not so much.  Rules are made and broken on any given day - some we cherish for their bravery, others we mourn for their risk.  

I'm glad that I can rock out to Keyshia Cole and see the connection between what we hear, what we see and what we believe.  Rules are only relevant if we are in covenant with the person who created them.  Saberi doesn't appear to have been connected to the Iranian Rules.   If it isn't God's Rules we're talking about though, breaking them is in season and the connections between what comes to us is intimately tied to how we understand a much bigger picture.  A picture where some of life's best moments are breaking rules.    

Friday, April 3, 2009

Michelle Represents Us Well

There have been so many articles written about the fashion trends of Michelle Obama, I certainly didn't need to write anything about it.  Yet, I've decided to write about the more salient point - Michelle represents the US and her family well.  I measure my personal responsiveness to the pictures, the debates and the criticisms, by the feedback of my 9 year old daughter.  She looked at this picture and said that Michelle Rocks.  Rock On First Lady, Rock On. 

During an age where Hannah Montanna gets way too much attention in the world of my child, I'm pleased that her fashion sense gets a bit of guidance from an Ivy League trained Lawyer with good home training.  I am thankful for the ability to block out the debate about which designers she wears and the ethnicity of those who fuss that she isn't wearing their particular design.  She embodies confidence and comfort in her own skin, a mighty good place to be given the world of daggers directed her way.   

My little one has a wealth of role models right before her eyes, and I'm glad that Michelle adds to the overall mix of intelligent and poised women of substance.  In my mind I've got a dated soundtrack combination of India Arie and D'Angelo playing a medley of pride to these images of beauty.   

Friday, March 13, 2009

Church Experiences 101

I grew up under the leadership of Pastor Robert A. Culp.  I spent my Sunday School years, Vacation Bible School Seasons, Easter Pageants and Youth Conventions all affiliated with Church of God and the collective members of my family.  In my life, I have had many other relationships with churches since that time.  Watch care while I was in Undergrad, searching for a new church home when we relocated, and once again in our new state.  That process has made me incredibly thankful for all of the lessons I have learned based on the congregations we have been a part of. 

When I think about First Church of God in Toledo, I think about all of the things I mentioned, cell groups and personal connectivity.  When I had my first child I didn't have a representative from the church come - our Senior Pastor showed up to pray with us and extend his wishes to our family.  I will forever remember that kindness and standing at the altar dedicating our first child.  There was nothing pre-made, pre-done or prescribed about the experience.  I smile just thinking about the legacy of a "church home." 

Yet, like all children - I grew up and had to find the best church home as we relocated.  There are so many differences that come to mind - but they build on the foundation that we established in Toooooooleeeeeedo.  Nowadays, I speak to my previous cell group member daily and she's one of my closest friends.  Those days of leadership manuals, cell groups, personal accountability in ministry and outreach have all resulted in a better understanding of the early church - but maybe equally important, God's love made visible in relationship. 

So I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled on a clip about thankfulness from my previous Pastor.  I smiled with warm thoughts of my growing up years.  I accepted Christ as a member of my first church and became increasingly discerning about the quality of teaching, spiritual growth and a desire for ministry made visible.  I remember my aunt preparing for Sunday School class every week, my grandmother's unyielding commitment to tithing and my realization that ministry should reflect the best talents and abilities of God's people - in both our words and deeds. 

I'm thankful tonight for those early influences, and thankful that my Pastor helped me shape a growing and evolving vision for my personal walk with God. I am thankful for ministries like Word of Faith International Christian Center and New Horizons Church, because our growth continues because of them.   As a ministry leader now, I understand just how long lasting those first and early experiences can be.  A message of thanksgiving and gratitude indeed: 

Pastor Culp Thanksgiving 2007.wmv

Looking for a church home today? Try New Horizons Church if you are in the Indianapolis Area, where Pastor Eric Wiggins is Pastor.  New Horizons Church might be the place for you - Where Christ is the Way and the Word is Clear. 

Saturday, February 28, 2009

She's not so little...anymore

I have managed to not blog for nearly 6 months. The admittedly long silence was an opportunity to reconnect to why I enjoy writing at all. (Escapism 101.)  For at least a season I had lost the fun of random thoughts made live - in exchange for a hot political debate that was getting more and more fierce each day.  I was sick of it really - I had settled into my belief that real life was more relevant than the political jab of the day, and there were times it didn't matter who voted what at all.  After all - at one of the most historic times in my lifetime, there were days when I just resigned myself to the nasty comments and race bating that would fill my inbox and my comment section.   Today's reality is much more fun than the status of the economic stimulus plan (or Michelle's choice to go sleeveless) - my little one is 9 years old, and I think she still loves me. 

So, I have a 103 temperature - which is why I have the luxury of blogging at all.  I have been told that I basically can't do anything and forced to stay in bed for at least 3 days.  The Doctor asked me if it would help if she wrote me a sick memo until Wednesday - and I responded that I was self-employed.  With the saddest look I've seen on a medical employee as of late - she just shook her head and said she was sorry.  Try to stay in bed for 3 full days she said, and don't go out on Monday.  Yeah, right!  

Even with little energy the last thing anyone wants to be told is an extensive short list of what not to do.  I mean really - I'm fine.  (Well, in about 15 minute intervals I'm just fine.) I was pleasantly surprised when Little Miss had pity on me today and spent the beginning of her morning curled up with her mom. She's been exposed to all kinds of flu germs, and we've updated her profile on New Moon, laughed about a really bad teacher she used to have, and debated what videos are of interest for her profile. (We opted for a very short cheerleading clip.) It was nice to be reminded when hormones aren't raging that she is just a much bigger version of the young lady that used to make me smile 24 hours a day. 

Nowadays there is a regular debate about school work, clothing choices, study habits and puberty - followed by an obligatory check that she's isn't ready to elope or anything.  The conversations that I overhear at school about who likes who is enough to make me recheck how fast young people grow up - but I do remember my first crush. (and yes, it was in 4th grade.)  Armed with all of this traditional frustration - she caught me completely off guard today. For more than an hour she just cuddled up and reminded me of a time when it seemed as if nothing else in the world mattered.  I was reminded about why I love being a parent, but more specifically why I love being her mom.  She's funny, thoughtful, has a wonderful vocabulary, and goofiness is at her core.  My beautiful little bean pie isn't so little any more - but what a blessing to be reminded of her essence. 

Leave it to me though, I could relate this all to politics again.  It's a bit funny to watch people debate over Michelle's arms when I laugh to myself - we have a Black first lady.  It doesn't capture all that she is, but it is indeed reflective of who she is.  Every time I see a reporter gush over the first family, I think to myself - I've got a really great first family all my own.  And while America looks at the first family as some oddity of all the right forces converging at once - they look to me to be ordinary at times.  And maybe because I can see them as ordinary, it leaves room for them to be extraordinary as they so often are.  

Just like my LydiBean, who opted to be extraordinary and normal, all at the same time today.