I wrote the letter that follows today’s entry, to Juliette, exactly five years ago, one day before her 11th birthday. It’s interesting to look back to see what’s changed, what hasn’t and what will likely never change.
There’s so much in the past five years, no one could have ever predicted, but we walk through and not around. This is something I so love about you and our little family.
You are without question, one of the smartest, most empathetic and beautiful human beings I know. I’m not even being biased about it because I’m your Mom.
Tomorrow, you turn 16. This is an age I’ve been warned about from many sources. I don’t know, but I am really enjoying this time with you and witnessing all of the many ways you’re blossoming into an extraordinary young woman. (Okay, but you still live under my roof and follow the rules!)
While you’ll always be my baby and the one who made me a mother, I respect the very mature young person you’ve shown yourself to be.
And I won’t even get started on your singing. Your vocal gifts blow my head off of my neck. When others compliment you, believe them.
I love you endlessly and this is something I know you know. I’m so grateful that no matter what doubts we may have, we never doubt that one essential fact.
Happy Sweet 16! I hope our homemade Ramen and purple cake will bring you joy. You know that experiences are everything and stuff is just, well… stuff.
This morning, the dogs woke me at butt o’clock, A.K.A. 4:20AM. I bundled up and took them for a long, slippery walk. It was crisp, dark and slightly foggy. I was moved to take photos because it was just so beautiful outside. I was grateful to my pups who forced me to be out and about in the quiet, without any cars or cares. After I snapped the photos, I put my camera away so I could be fully present for my walk. I tried to extend my freedom from thought or worry about anything in my day to day life. My brain, body and spirit are continuously seeking a breather no matter how brief it may be. Continue reading “Single Working Mom Seeks Understudy”
The past several weeks have been rough. Without going into detail on what’s happening in my little family, I’d rather focus on what this time period has evoked:
Are we safe?
My daughters and I have openly discussed safety, identifying safe and unsafe scenarios and spaces, not compromising our safety, so that someone will like or accept us, and finally, how we practice self-soothing when we are afraid. Like any parent, my daughters’ safety and empowering them to know how to get/stay safe, are of the utmost importance.
While in the midst of walking through private issues over the past several weeks, epic mass shootings, scores of hate crimes and the disastrous fires in California, also plagued our country.
After the shooting at Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, PA, like so many of us, I was shocked. No matter how many times I hear about or experience anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc, the shock value never, ever lessens.
My daughter and I discussed the Pittsburgh tragedy after a few days had passed. I couldn’t believe how matter of fact she was about it.
I fervently exclaimed,
I absolutely refuse to let this be the new normal!
She responded to me very calmly,
Mom, we’ve been having lockdown drills for as long as I can remember. At first, when I was little, they were really scary, but now, this IS our normal.
My mouth was agape. I felt like I couldn’t breathe…
I had the “aha” moment I have never wanted to have.
I went on to validate what she’d said to me. I told her that her response made me sad and then, she said,
It is sad, but it just is. Mom, we have to live with what is.
A part of me wanted to argue against what she was saying, but I didn’t. The truth is, I was in awe of my daughter’s composure and graceful example of how to live life on life’s terms.
Just this past week, I came home from work and as I prepped dinner, I shared with my daughters that ORT’sKfar Silver Youth Village had to be evacuated because there weren’t enough (or close enough) shelters, for the kids to be safe.
At dinner, my daughters were wide-eyed and glued to everything about Kfar Silver. They wanted to learn more about the “really cool” place the Kfar Silver Youth Village is.
My daughters asked so many questions:
How can these kids ever feel safe with rockets being launched nearby? How can they not have enough shelters? Do adults help them feel safe? Who helps the adults feel safe? How can the world be this scary?
And then, the same daughter who told me about needing to “live with what is” said,
“Short Skirts, Scrapes & Secretive Scars,” was my first post on this blog. I originally wrote it on LinkedIn, two years ago, after Brock Turner’s light slap on the hand for being convicted on three counts of felony sexual assault.
Now, two years later, how far have we come? As a society, we are shaming and blaming the victims of sexual assault.
I am sitting here fully aware of my own contribution to rape culture. When I was younger, I thought I’d asked for it by the clothes I wore, my outgoing, flirtatious personality, the fact that I was a dancer, etc.
I undervalued myself. I under valued you, but didn’t even know I was doing it. I know it now and now is what matters.
I will always be a student and I like that about me. I may even be addicted to learning new things, including, but not limited to learning new things about myself. (The good, the bad and the ugly.)
For as long as I have been a sponge for learning, I have been especially invested in social justice and human rights. (Even before I knew what they were called, or the endless lesson plans that accompany human rights.)
Over the years and lately, I have had the good fortune to hear (and learn), a great deal about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Even though I had ample training on it, my learning AND my questions have really skyrocketed in the past few months.
While in “Inclusion School,” I have also had an opportunity to tour some of the hottest Chicago tech companies who pride themselves, and maybe even boast a little, on superior workplace diversity and inclusion.
Some of these companies are, by a long shot, the finest working environments I have ever seen. The physical spaces are welcoming, comfy and designed for collaboration.
Here is the bad news, and the reason why I haven’t mentioned any specific companies or actual people I am learning from…
I am hard-pressed to find my population. Yes, I’ve seen plenty of women, but what I can’t seem to find in these tech companies, and I am looking EVERYWHERE, are women above 50 years of age. To be honest, in one company, I don’t think I saw any men over 50 either and if we are really going to get into the nitty gritty, I can’t be sure if I saw ANY women over 40 years of age.
Look, I am not getting down on tech companies. I love tech companies.
I am, however, interested in where women over 50 years of age are within these hot tech companies. I am even more fascinated with the external corporate messaging of infallible dedication to workplace diversity and inclusion and yet, where are women like me?
There are no accusations here on these very successful tech companies, but I sure would like to review the actualdiversity data from corporations who tout diversity and inclusion in their workplace. Perhaps their 50 and 60-somethings are working remotely or are in a less public place, but I doubt the latter as the work-spaces I have toured are wide open.
I realize that we all have biases. I do too, but, if you pride yourself on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, or within social justice for that matter, please take a long, honest look. If you can’t seem to find women like me, or care about the rights of women like me… check yourself and your actual commitment to inclusion and diversity.
Plus, I have no doubt that real diversity and inclusion, with a smorgasbord of different ages, races, religions, genders, socioeconomic statuses, etc. just has to be the best place to work AND the best place to be a lifelong student.