Let me first say that I still have four kids in my home.  So I am not talking about that kind of loss.

I lost two babies.  Each one had the world explode around them as they died inside me.  It was violent, bloody and painful.

And after these losses I was often blindsided by the grief.

It would strike out of nowhere and leave me a sobbing mess.  I was never prepared, I was never able to stop it. 

I was also never ashamed.

It was loss.  Mine to feel.  Mine to own.  Part of me.

I am having a similar reaction to Newtown Square.

I had several crippling moments of loss this holiday as I looked at my kids and watched the wonder that is Christmas and knew that somewhere there were families dealing with a loss much greater than mine ever was.

And it made me a sobbing mess.  And I cried without guilt or shame.

Because we are all crying.

I have read the posts, and I have watched some of the news.  And we are all crying.

We are all blindsided by the emotion.

And while acts like this* make me wonder about whether or not we will make it as a species.  Our reaction to these acts reaffirms my faith in us.

Us. We are all part of the village.

And things like this make us realize that a bit more.

And I firmly believe that this is what defines us as a species.  We have great capacity for good.  We are a people who are crippled by grief for those we have never met.

And while I recognize that some of us feel our fear and compassion because we internalize and make our conclusions about ourselves “what if it have been my son,daughter, friend…” we still feel it.

We feel it for people we have never met.  For a community we have never visited.

And it is a horrible thing.  A terrifying, keep you up at night, thing.

And it unites us. 

So that even in the horror and grief I feel, I also feel hope.

And that is the feeling I am trying to hold on to. 

And I wish it for you as well.

At the risk of being too morbid, I will admit that I have been looking at each person who cares for my children and judging them based on whether or not I think they would take a bullet for my kid.

And I have decided that most of them would.

Again, hope.


* I put that asterisk there because I am appalled to have made that statement.  “Things like this” should not be common enough to be generalized like that.  But they are.  And they must stop.


Letting your inner witch fly


I have had some realizations lately as I work through all of this foster care madness.  My realizations are as follows:

1. Most people don’t like me when they first meet me.

2. I can use humor inappropriately.

3. I don’t generally have time to be as nice and thoughtful as I would like to be.

4. I can be mean.  And spiteful.

A wonderful, fabulous, terrifically kind woman called me the other day to talk with me about someone who had called her and given her and earful about how miserable her life was and how much she needed help and wasn’t getting it, blah, blah.  And this woman, who I have often said is “a far better person than I am”, told this woman off.  In no uncertain terms and with absolutely no regrets.

Her quote, which sticks with me, was this:

“I can be as mean as I am nice. When I have to be.”

So here is the thing.  I try to never be mean.

I fail. But I try. It is my purpose.  My motto.

And I think that constant effort and lack of acceptance when I can’t or don’t do something, or say something nice is detrimental to my well being.

I need to embrace the mean a little bit more.

And this is not to say that I am going to turn into a witch.  It just means that I am going to try harder to call a spade a spade.  And realize that not every single one of my actions is glenda the good inspired. 

I can in fact be quite wicked.  And that’s okay.

And I know where this comes from.  My role model was a woman I never heard have a mean thing to say to anyone.  She would grumble behind their back but smile to their face.  And this is the truest definition of martyr.

And I don’t want that for me.

Or for my kids.

So again, I am going to embrace the mean. 

As I tell them — it’s okay to fight back.

And it is.  And I am going to do it without regret and guilt.

I am going to accept that not everyone is going to like me.

And that’s okay.

Because if I can be true to myself, a few people might love me for it.

And that is so worth it.