Sunday, December 29, 2013

On Phil Robertson, From a Straight Woman Herself

On the heels of the Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty fiasco, a blog post entitled "A Gay Man's Take on Phil Robertson" has gone viral on Facebook. The post starts with the phrase "from a gay man, himself." The post copies a comment from a self-identified conservative gay man who is not offended by the comments made by Mr. Robertson. He goes on to say that the reason his "fellow homosexuals on the left" are offended is that they "haven't come to terms with what it means to be gay." Nice. Super tolerant of difference there, Sir.

The gay community, like any demographic, is complex and diverse. Finding a gay man (or ten or one hundred) does not a blanket statement make, and it doesn't complicate the issue any further. Any sentence that begins with "My gay friend says..." or "My gay friend thinks..." only demonstrates that the speaker does not see gay people as individuals thinking independently and differently from one another. If one gay man thinks what Phil Robertson says was okay, they all must, right? Wait... Lots of people are offended by Phil Robertson's comments in Rolling Stone. Lots of people aren't. The notion that any one person gets to speak for a community is problematic to say the least. The notion that freedom of speech equals freedom of consequence, particularly from a privately-owned business, is inaccurate.

When I hit the stage in life when I began learning that people I loved identified as gay, lesbian, and bisexual, I started looking at these issues through my care for the individual; I saw statements like that of Mr. Robertson's as affecting people in my world and that was why it mattered to me. Now I see it as a larger human rights issue; while I still associate loved ones with the LGBT Rights/Equality Movement, it's also apparent to me that this is about a community of people deserving a quality of life that does not include being slammed by a celebrity who is then defended with national vigor. I hope for this not because the celebrity doesn't have the right to freedom of speech or opinion, but because we all deserve to live free of the ignorance that Mr. Robertson displayed in his interview--and yes, it was ignorant.

This is me, speaking from my personal, local, and immediate as a white, straight, middle-class woman, as someone who grew up heavily involved in the Lutheran church and takes her daughter to Sunday school every Sunday morning, as a member of several diverse, complex communities of people, and as someone who, after seeing several posts from friends, family, and acquaintances in defense of Phil Robertson, suggesting that I "tolerate difference," needed to put out there that I found his statements offensive.

So here, from a straight woman herself, the day I "tolerate" hateful speech that lumps homosexuality in with bestiality and terrorism, the day I "tolerate" a gross misrepresentation of the complexity that is sexual orientation that reduces sexual attraction to which body part is more aesthetically pleasing, the day I "tolerate" the implication that you can love someone and turn around and insult them and their community in the name of Christianity and believing in the bible--I hope that day never comes.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Lydia's Thoughts on Santa and Being Good

This morning, Robin told Lydia she should write a letter to Santa and ask for one thing she really wanted for Christmas. Lydia wanted to ask for a lot of things. Robin explained to her that there are a lot of kids and she should only ask for one gift so that everyone gets something. Lydia thought on this and then said, "But a lot of the kids are naughty, so they won't get gifts." The conversation then shifted into what Santa thinks of naughty kids. I asked what Santa would think of Lydia's mischief of this morning--sneaking sweets out of the cupboard before breakfast. She thought on this and said with confidence, "Santa doesn't need me to be PERFECT, just GOOD."

That's my girl.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Parenting: Round Two

I once read an argument that siblings are different largely because they are parented by "different" parents--that the passage of time, experience, and circumstance cause us to evolve to the extent that the mother I am to Lydia is not the mother I am to Holden. When I read this, I thought it was a silly argument. While yes, we change with time, I couldn't fathom that I the way I would mother my second child would be so in contrast to the way I parent Lydia.

Enter Holden.

Holden is experiencing a very different childhood. He is growing up in a different city, surrounded by an extended family, and with two full-time work-outside-the-home parents. Lydia's infancy was spent surrounded primarily by friends-that-were-like-family, far away from the Midwest, and with a dad that cared for her two days a week.

Lydia's first years were documented in great, great detail. I blogged multiple times per week--often more than once daily. Thousands of pictures were taken. Her wellness checks were spot-on in regards to her monthly birthdays.

On one hand, I feel badly that Holden doesn't have the same copious record. I'm trying, but I just can't come close to recreating it. I am trying to be better about pictures, but most of the time, my hands are so full between the two kids and their stuff that I can't also manage the camera or I'm too preoccupied to think of it. Robin is not well-versed in the SLR model nor does it occur to him to take pictures.

On the other, though, we are so much more relaxed and confident in our parenting this time around. Parenting Holden has made me realize just how much we have "learned" on Lydia, not in the sense that we have become brilliant parents with one try but in that we knew absolutely nothing when Lydia was born and through numerous mistakes and rough gos, we have garnered some experience. Holden may not have near the number of photographs as Lydia but he has a substantially more mellow, patient set of parents. Let's hope he continues to be such a easy-going fellow and forgives us for the lack of keepsakes and photos, the (still) unfinished nursery, and the absence of rigid "developmental practice." In the same vein, let's hope our learn-as-we-go process with Lydia won't scar her for life.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Early last Spring, I was hit with some shocking news. In order to keep my Minnesota teaching license, I had just over two years to earn 28 credits: 15 of them graduate courses in Reading, 12 in Communications, and 2 in Methods. I wasn't sure how it was going to work. I didn't know where I would find the time or the money, and the thought of going back to school felt like a mountain I just couldn't climb.

One year, one baby, and 28 credits later, here I am. Mission complete.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lydia Reads to Holden

Lydia can be a lot to handle. Sometimes, I swear her mission in life is to test every last boundary that exists, and I want to lay down on the ground and go to sleep just for a dream-induced break. Then, I remember moments like this, and I can't believe how much I love her.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Permission to Work It

On Holden's six week birthday, I headed to the midwife's office for my postpartum appointment. I brought Holden along with me, because over Holden's pregnancy I got to know the nurses and midwives at our office quite well, especially toward the end when we were going in for weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests.

It was so great to bring him in. The nurses all know our story, and the nurse who was with me the morning I went in way back in September was there, too. They oooohhh-ed and aaaahhhh-ed and thanked me and congratulated me. So fun!

The check-up itself went well. I was given the all-clear to begin exercising (which was especially good since I had started my new workout plan two days prior ;), and not much happened other than that. As far as working out, I am embarking on Couch-to-5K (again) and have a race scheduled in July. I finished Week 2 of the plan this weekend--no small feat, especially since, as Robin pointed out, this time I actually am starting at "Couch." I also went to my first barre class post-baby today and am signed up for another on Wednesday. I'm feeling the need to get stronger, especially in my core. I have lost most of my baby weight, but I don't feel fit, so it feels good getting into a workout routine.

My favorite thing about running is that we live a handful of blocks away from Lake Harriet. I have taken to putting him in the stroller (in an adorable fleece snowsuit), and walking down to that trail. I know that this will prove to be a major pro to our new location, and I'm excited to take my body back and get moving!