Tag Archives: United States

Thank you, South Carolina

This past Sunday.

We all know what the day meant. What it marked. How we spent it.

I spent it in my car, driving to Georgia.

I had decided not to blog about the day after a brief conversation with a friend on Twitter. To spend the day in solemn remembrance and thought about the events of 10 years ago.

At 840am, I turned off my music and turned on NPR. They were covering the ceremonies of the day. The first moment of silence at Ground Zero at 846am. The second moment of silence. A third moment of silence at the Pentagon. Shanksville, PA.

A few tears slid down my face as I listened to the silence. As I listened to the names being read aloud.

And then.

Oh and then.

As my car zoomed at 70+ mph down 85 in Spartanburg, SC, the tears streamed down my face as I rounded a bend and headed toward the first of one of several overpasses in the “metro” area. I wish I could have snapped a photo but given the speed at which I was traveling, I was unable to do so. (I was also unable to safely pull off to the side to get a photo as well – traffic was not amenable to this)

This overpass, covered in huge American flags, filled with Americans, waving, and remembering the tragic events which occurred 10 years ago, dug deep into my soul and heart.

Not the silence in NYC. Not the names read aloud. Not the description of a man who was the only one of 5 to survive at the Pentagon near where the plan struck the building. But this.

Real Americans. Patriotic Americans dedicated to not forgetting.

Sure, those in NY are real Americans. But I wasn’t there. I wasn’t part of their event. I was removed. But this, this in your face dedication and remembrance, I was part of this.

And now, this memory, this beautiful remembrance, has joined the memories I hold in my head as many of us do, of the horrific events of September 11, 2001. While still unfathomably tragic, the memories in my head now have a bookend of beauty and of perseverance.

Thank you, Spartanburg, SC, for giving me this beautiful memory to add to such a dark time in our nation’s history.

Lessons from a Veteran

Growing up, I knew my grandfathers fought in World War II. Didn’t everyone’s Grandpa?

My grandfathers were two of the most amazing men I will ever know. They were strong yet fun. Compassionate yet firm. Everything a grandfather should be for their grandchild. I’m sure they weren’t perfect but to me, they were these pillars of strength.

Rarely, if ever, did we see our grandfathers cry. Men of that generation just didn’t do that.

Today, I’m writing about the one time I did see one of my grandfather’s cry.

I went to High School in Bedford County, Virginia. My grandfather moved to Bedford County not long after we did and I remember going over to his farm quite often. He was always at our house or we were at his. My timeline on when this actually happened is a bit foggy – as are a lot of things from my childhood – but I am pretty sure it happened while I was in high school.

Bedford County is home to the National D-Day Monument. Why? Because Bedford County suffered the highest loss per capita of ANY town or county in the United States on the Normandy Beaches. This was something Bedford County never forgot. We never forgot our fallen, those who so bravely gave their lives for our country, for our little hamlet.

I remember hearing about this play about D-Day in Bedford County. For some reason, I decided to invite my Grandfather to go with me. He, of course, agreed. Who says no to a granddaughter like me?

So we attended the play together. It focused on the reaction of the towns people at home in Bedford County. The telegrams and notifications that didn’t stop. The heartbreaking loss. The drive to be patriotic in an attempt to understand such a massive level of loss.

We sat together, my grandfather and I, in that darkened theatre, watching actors slowly unravel this massive day of tragedy.

Finally, it was over. The crowd clapped, stood, and there was a camaraderie felt that day.

It wasn’t until we got outside and looked at my grandfather that I noticed his tears.

He was covered in them.

My brave, strong, amazing Grandfather had tear-soaked cheeks.

He fumbled for his handkerchief and wiped them away, muttering something about allergies.

I remained quiet but I gave him a hug.

Not another word was spoken about those tears. We got in the car and he drove me home. I thanked him for going with me and he thanked me for inviting me.

I learned something that day.

I learned that it’s okay to feel. For the first time in years, I learned that yes, it’s okay to feel. It’s okay to let other people see you cry when something horribly tragic happens. Even if you try to blame them on allergies, tears are sometimes necessary. Tears happen. Even to old men.

So today, as you’re celebrating a day off work, remember the men and women who fought for us. Remember the men and women who ARE fighting for us. Remember their families and the monumental sacrifices which they have made so that we are able to continue to live free. Don’t ever forget. And if a tear happens to slide down your cheek while you’re remembering, it’s okay.

Flying Test Babies, Flying food… No difference

(Again, if you are fragile, please avoid this blog post. It gets graphic at the very end.)

I didn’t have the same reaction. I have a plethora of children, survivor of abuse in my past, survivor of loss, survivor of PPD. I saw a light hearted commercial about a family being in a rediculous situation and something ridiculous happening.

Not to belittle your reaction, but there are infomercials put there, you know the ones, food flying everywhere because people can’t chop food, we all laugh. There are also people out there that worked in factory settings with limbs chopped off, get where I am going with it?

I am truely sorry you had that snap reaction, I even understand it, and it shows that you have more healing to do.

I hope that you are able to move beyond your pain soon, and laugh at the ridiculous again soon.

 

The above is a comment which was left in response to my post on February 6 in reaction to the “Test Baby” Super Bowl Commercial. I’ve not edited it at all.

Why am I sharing it with you?

I’m sharing it because as I have thought about what my response to this comment would be, I realized that it needed to be an entire blog post. I have so much to say in response to this person’s reaction.

Here goes.

Dear Justthe10:

I believe everyone has the right to their own opinion and I thank you for leaving yours here at my blog. Just as I allowed your comment, please allow me to respond.

Congratulations on your plethora of children. I hope they are bringing you great joy on a daily basis.

I am deeply sorry for the pain you have suffered throughout your life. It sounds like you have been through the wringer more than once. Abuse, loss, and PPD are no laughing matter.

Neither is child abuse or Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Throwing a baby against a plate glass window is no laughing matter. There is no situation in which this action is anywhere near comparable to that of food flying everywhere. And as far as factory workers go, I can’t remember the last time I saw a commercial with that subject matter.

Food flying everywhere does not cause anyone to be severely brain damaged. It does not cause anyone to live in a persistive vegetative state. It does not harm an innocent person with gratuitous violence.

Furthermore, this commercial was aired during a family event. Children saw this. Children in homes who have suffered violence and abuse themselves. Children who have no real way of processing this the same as you or I. Children who may now think it’s cool to pick up their little brother or sister and throw him or her against the glass window, door, etc, because someone on TV did it.

The manner in which I chose to react on my blog was not a “snap” reaction.

In fact, I did not see this commercial air live. I had stepped out of the room when the commercial aired. It was only because of Twitter that I became aware of the existence of this commercial.

My reaction, was not based on a “snap” judgment. I watched this commercial several times prior to blogging about it.

For nearly four years now, I have worked tirelessly as an advocate and Postpartum Peer Support person. All of my work is unpaid and on a volunteer basis. I come in contact with women and families on a daily basis who share with me their struggles through PPD, their struggles through infant and child loss, and their struggles with past abuse.

My reaction was anything BUT snap. It was a very deliberate and well thought out reaction meant to raise the awareness that it is not okay to use an act of child neglect and/or abuse to turn a profit.

If you Google this topic, you will quickly find that I am not alone in my “Snap” judgment. Well-known and reputable journalists, websites, advocacy groups, parent groups, etc, are all calling for this ad to be completely pulled from the company’s website. Have you seen this article at USA Today?

To call into question my mental health because I refuse to find a gratuitous act of violence against an innocent infant (real or otherwise) is also crossing a line. We are all different and have different boundaries. It’s okay to have different boundaries. It’s what makes us interesting.

If you knew me better, you would also know that I do laugh at the ridiculous and inappropriate on a regular basis. Just ask my husband. I have a very dark sense of humor. I grew up surrounded by a lot of grief and laughter at the darkness of it all was one of my coping methods. I’ll be one of the first people to laugh at dark humor in a group. I’ll tell dark jokes and regularly watch things filled with inappropriate references. There are several people who will back me up on this one.

But for me? Harming  a Baby CROSSES A LINE.

And it’s okay that I feel that way. It doesn’t mean I need to heal. It doesn’t mean that I am still hurting. It doesn’t mean that I am crazy. What it means is that  I care. I have compassion. I have a moral compass.

Bottom line here:

There is absolutely NO situation in which harming an infant is okay to use as source material for humor. None. Harming infants is off the table for me and for much of America. If it’s not, I worry about where our society is headed when Child Abuse is on the table as a selling point for any company, especially one targeting families.

Furthermore, the company has a customization option at their website now which lets you decapitate the baby. Last I checked, doing that to a real baby will get you locked up and is a real reason to question someone’s sanity. If you really think this extension of the commercial is okay, then perhaps you should check yourself into a hospital. Sadly, this very situation DID happen in Texas not too long ago with a new mother suffering from Schizophrenia and believed to have developed Postpartum Psychosis. I didn’t find it funny then and I certainly don’t find it funny now.

I sincerely wish you all the best in life and hope things continue to go well for you so you are able to “laugh at the ridiculous.”

Me?

I’ll laugh at the ridiculous.

It just won’t ever include harming infants in any way, shape, or form.

Lots of love,

Me

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Whatever Wednesday: Avoiding the Valentinitis Epidemic

There’s a holiday this month. Several, actually, including a few you probably aren’t familiar with.. for instance, tomorrow is The Day the Music Died day. It marks the anniversary of the plane crash which killed Richie Valens, Buddy Holly, and the Big Bopper. The 4th is Thank a Mailman day. For those of you who SEE your mailman (ours is a stealthy Ninja trained by Bruce Lee himself), be sure to thank him/her for the awesome job they do of regaling your mailbox with bills, junkmail, and the occasional awesomeness. The 9th of February is Toothache Day. Yeah, I don’t wanna know either. The 5th is National Weatherman’s Day. You’re supposed to be kind and thank them. I think many of you have a very different idea of how to celebrate that day given the massive blizzard affecting so many Americans right now. The 6th is Lame Duck day, a day many Weathermen may find themselves celebrating after this current whopper of a storm. Be kind. They’re just the messengers.

But there’s another holiday this month, on the 14th. It’s Clean out your Computer Day, right? Or.. is it Ferris Wheel Day? Or maybe even Organ Donor Day? Cuz I mean, you’d totally get flowers and candy for donating an organ, right? And a card. A cheesy stupid card with a cartoon mouse wishing you all the best as you nursed yourself back to health.

Oh, wait. It’s … it’s… V…. Vale… ergh.. Valen… taking a DEEP Breath. It’s VALENTINE’S Day.

With Valentine’s Day, there are two camps. You love the day or you hate the day. I’m in the latter. And it’s not because I am single and have no one to celebrate with. No, I’m married.

Yes, guys, I’m a married woman who DOES NOT REQUIRE NOR EXPECT her husband to get her anything on Valentine’s Day. In fact, I’d be upset if he DID get me something for the 14th of February.

Valentine’s Day as it stands today is a complete and total farce.

It started way back in the day with Saints now recognized by the Catholic Church. All of these Saints were martyred.

Then we move forward into Roman times when Luperci was celebrated. Priests took an animal to sacrifice, typically a goat. The goat was sacrificed, cut into strips, dipped in blood, and then they went out into the streets to smack women and crops with said strips. Back then, it was an honor to be smacked by the bloody goat strips as it was believed to increase your fertility for the following year. These days? I believe smacking someone with a bloody goat strip would get you knocked the eff out.

The Romans had another interesting tradition. They placed the names of unwed women into an urn and the men would choose names. Often these matches would result in marriage.

Mass produced cards did not start until the end of the 18th century.

And that is when Valentine’s went to hell.

Ladies – do you know that WE, WE, NOT MEN, account for 85% of all Valentine’s purchases?

What the hell, ladies? If you’re GOING to celebrate it, at least equalize that number a smidge.

I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Why?

Because if my husband only tells me once a year how much he loves me, we need counseling. Everyday is my Valentine’s Day. Not the day Hallmark decides should be Valentine’s. Not the day that history has decided to set aside for us.

Why should February the 14th be any different than February the 13th or February the 15th?

My birthday is special because well, it’s the day I was born.

Christmas is special because it’s an integral part of my faith. (I also have very non-commercial views about Christmas too.)

The Fourth of July is special because it’s when we celebrate our country’s independence – even though the date itself is not when Congress actually adopted the Declaration of Independence (that’s the 2nd).

Valentine’s is a crock of hooey.

I don’t love my husband anymore on the 14th than I do on the 15th or the 13th.

Wanna know what holiday in February I will be celebrating this year?

Hoodie Hoo Day.

Yes. It’s real. It’s copyrighted. It’s completely fictitious. But it’s about fun. And goofiness.

I LOVE me some fun and goofiness.

So on February the 20th, I’ll be outside, waving my hands over my head, screaming Hoodie Hoo at the top of my lungs.

And then I’m going back inside to eat some Cherry Pie for Cherry Pie Day cuz that’s how I roll.

How about you?

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9/11: Remember. Never Forget.

Nine years ago, our lives forever changed as Americans. Generations who had only known peace suddenly had their world yanked out from beneath them. Yet at the same time, the fabric of the spirit of America was forever strengthened as those who lost their lives ultimately showed true courage and patriotism as they struggled to save the lives of so many. Pause today. Wherever you may be, pause. Reflect. Remember. Never ever forget the tragedies of today. Never forget the eerie silence as every single plane landed and no longer flew free through the skies. Never forget the lives and families of those who were lost and torn apart. And may the American spirit of courage always live within your heart just as it did in so many that day. May we all be blessed with such courageous tenacity when faced with desperate tragedy. God Bless America.

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