Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Letter to My Graduating Son and His Damn Wings...

My Boy, My Joy,

13 years ago I watched you walk into Kindergarten without a glance back.  My heart broke into a million pieces.  The wings I had so carefully crafted to your back during those early years, had worked...too well.  I wanted, at that moment, to snatch those wings from your back and throw them away.  This morning I feel the exact same way and it hit me that I am so proud of who you are.  Who we have helped you to become.  I thought about those damn wings and each of the feathers we placed on them in preparation for this day and as much as I hate to admit, I am proud of every stinking feather.  

I crafted these damn things.  I made sure to add extra feathers for protection.  I prayed over every single one.  I asked God to protect you, guide you and lead you as you soar.  Of all things that I prayed to give you, I really wanted you to receive faith and hope.  I wanted you to know how God has walked with you throughout your life.  But, I also tried to sneak in some other feathers that I am pretty proud of. I hope you recognize the gifts of creativity, kindness, compassion, integrity and leadership that I tried so hard to pour over you.  My wish is that, even though I don't like these wings today, my part of these wings help give you flight throughout your life.

Your dad gave you some beautiful feathers along the way.  Passion for everything you attempt to do.  Courage to follow your dreams and to never let obstacles stand in your way.  I will concede that he was the one who gave you the almighty gift of music.  Music that has become the most important passion in your life. He has also taught you joy.  Living life with laughter and lots of love.  He showed you what matters most in life.  Love is truly ALL that you need.  Love for your family, your friends and all who you will come in contact with.  He has truly given you guidance which will become the wind beneath your wings.

Your siblings have given you so much as well.  I hope you will recognize their gifts to you.  Emma- your dodo.  That girl loves you and idolizes you.  I know you see this and are grateful for this.  She has helped to give you purpose.  You know that the life you lead will be an example to her.  Kiley has given you confidence and knowledge.  Confidence in speaking up for yourself and knowledge that the things you say and do have great affect on others.  This can be a blessing and a curse.  Keegan has given you a great amount of patience and understanding.  Through his struggles, you have learned to be there... no matter what.  Family never gives up.  Family is a great healer.  Dylan, technically, gave you your first brother.  This bond has shown you what pride is.  And, then there was Lucy.  Lucy gave you feathers of responsibility.  She helped show you that you have a responsibility to others to bring them closer to God through your actions.  These are the things they have given you to help you on your journey.  Know they will be watching you and your flight will give them valuable insight into what becoming a man looks like.

You have a beautiful family.  Family that has celebrated you for the last 18 years.  They have walked with you and cheered you on, in big and little ways.  Great Grandparents who have given wisdom and insight into your heritage. Even as they look down on you from heaven, they are still so proud of you.  I can still see each of them as they held you for the first time.. Their first great grandson.  You could do no wrong in their eyes.  You are their legacy. 

Your Grandparents have given you feathers too.  They have taught you the meaning of family, faith and hardwork.  In order to BE family you must BE family.  Spending time with people important to you is the greatest gift you can give.  The countless trips to visit you as you celebrated a milestone showed you the commitment it takes to create a family bond.  Working for your grandparents and seeing all of the time and effort they put into making a future to benefit you.  This sense of purpose and commitment to family will truly prepare you as you become an adult and decide how to prioritize things in your life.

So many Aunts and Uncles.  You were their first nephew.  This was a gift you will never fully understand.  They held you when you were born, rocked you to sleep, taught you your first tricks and celebrated every single milestone as if you were their own child.  And then they filled your life with MANY, MANY cousins.  All of whom stand by and watch you take flight.  Your every move will be watched by them.  You will lead them towards success.  This is a great responsibility and based on the feathers in your wings, you got this. 

How lucky in life you have been to have been given such an awesome family!  We know all too well what happens when your wings are not built with love.  Never forget you have been blessed with a life FULL of love.  Sometimes that love must have seemed suffocating.  I hope you see how that love has been transforming.  You have custom made wings.  Wings crafted by not just your parents.  I sit here this morning after watching you leave for the last day of school and I am filled with gratitude to everyone in our extended family.  People that did not HAVE to be there.  People that chose too. 

Our Church family.  People who have really become a part of the fabric of our lives.  They have given us such great examples of how to live a good life.  I am seeing in my minds eye the pews filled with faces who have silently watched you grow into the man you are.  Some have given you the gifts of music and praise {shout out Leny and choir} some have given you the gift of living your faith out loud {Paul and Ann, SPC CCD/CYO, Mama Nita and Deacon James} and of course, our Father Norman who has shown you that you can live your faith with great JOY!

All of the teachers, administrators and counselors who have touched your life.  People who were like second moms and dads to you.  They taught you everything you needed to know.  Not just facts and figures.  They taught you how to be a really GOOD person.  There are some teachers that you will never forget.  These teachers have given you much more than what the state curriculum forces them to do.  Only you will know what feathers they have added.  But, it is my greatest hope that you have shared your gratitude for how they have helped to raise you.

Shawn, you have found some amazing friends.  These friends have amazing families who have become our friends.  I truly could not have picked better people for you to fly with. I look at what they have given and am so thankful that they have helped us to fill in those feathers.  Happiness, confidence, goofiness, focus, drive, determination... just to name a few.  Your friends can not be mentioned without the gigantic feathers of Johnny Conqueroo and all the life lessons you have learned from being in this band.  Some of these lessons gave you humility but most of them have shown you that hardwork pays off and if you are creative, you will never know a day of boredom.

You know the last few weeks I have been listening to horribly sad and tragic goodbye songs {Spotify playlist attached for my readers to listen to and cry with}  You laugh at me for this and call me melodramatic.  But, this IS a goodbye. 

This is the day the world recognizes that you are ready to fly from our nest.  We know that, much like Kindergarten, you will not look back and you will fly higher than we could have ever imagined.  I know you will be back to visit, probably eat some meals and ask me to do your laundry. I know we have the whole summer to spend together.  And, we will.  We will soak up every last moment before everything truly changes.

But, today we celebrate you and those damn wings that we created.  Wings that are ready for flight.  They are full of the love of people who have come and gone in your life.  Each person has made you who you were meant to be and given you some feathers to help you along the way.  As you walk across the stage and accept this diploma, know that you are who you are because of who they were to you.  You are ready to fly!

P.S. I can still curse those damn wings today... and I will.  But just for a little bit.  Mostly, I will be proud.  So unbelievably proud.   I will be watching you fly and as tears flow down my face, I will forever be cheering you on.

To watch our "Ode to Shawnie" Graduation video...

To listen to my sappy, sad songs that helped prepare me for this day...

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Truth About the March For Women

*Buckle up buttercups, this one is not for the faint of heart.  The following rant is rated PG-13.  Please proceed with caution.

This one is definitely going to strike some nerves and probably piss some people off, but I just have to.  Mostly for my daughters.  My daughters who deserve better than what was shown over this weekend.  My daughters who will be raised to be super strong feminist just like me.  The daughters I pray will never walk in a parade wearing a vagina hat, screaming about the unfairness of their very privileged lives.  Women who will know what it truly means to be a feminist.

Here's a couple facts about the March for Women that really got me in all the feels...

1. This march was mostly funded by George Soros.  George Soros is one of the richest men in our country.  He has helped create and believes in population control... just like China.  He is one of the biggest contributors to Hilary Clinton's Campaign.  He is the third largest contributor of Planned Parenthood, donating close to 20 million dollars.  One of his most recent donations to Planned Parenthood was 1.5 million dollars to create damage control after the Planned Parenthood videos were leaked accusing the organization of the following: selling baby body parts to the highest bidder and helping cover up the sex trafficking of minors.  50 of Soros' business partners fully funded this march.  They donated a total of over 90 million dollars to the march.  But, this march had nothing to do with abortion- insert heavy sarcasm.

2. Pro Life groups were not allowed to participate.  Many pro life organizations petitioned to be a part of the march and were denied.  The reason they were given?   If you are ProLife you are not Pro Women {AMP}.  I disagree wholeheartedly.  Abortion hurts the woman undergoing the procedure and stops a beating heart of a human being.  You can only assume half of which are women.  What would these women become if they had a chance at life?  Perhaps the first female president?  The scientist who could discover the cure for cancer?  Or maybe, just a simple, kind woman changing the lives of those she meets.  Not to mention, that so many women undergo abortions because they will not be supported by the father.  The father that society lets off the hook.  Society that tells men to have zero self control and use women for the sexual objects that they are.  To ProLife women, this is unacceptable.  How is this not feminism at its core?  How were these feminists not allowed to be a voice at this March for ALL women... except the one we disagree with.

3. Half a million women attended.  500,000.  That is a crap ton of women.  I will readily admit and even silently cheer, that so many women were privileged enough to stop what they were doing and march in the streets.  This march FILLED our media networks with non stop coverage.  I never saw so many badly drawn penis posters or really grotesque vagina hats in my life.  It was a pink parade of women all marching in unity, never before seen in our country.  Oh wait, it is seen.  Every year around this time.  When 650,000 people attend {Wikipedia} the March for Life.  The march that demands that babies be given the right to life.  You probably have no idea this many people attend this march annually. That is because it is not on news networks.  You know, news networks with men as the CEO's who control content and messaging?  Isn't that ironic?  If you don't believe me and think I am just a crazy prolifer... check out the coverage this weekend.  This weekend is supposed to be the largest Right to Life march in history.  Let's see how much time the media gives to this.

4. Lastly and most importantly, there was NO POINT.  Watching the coverage you couldn't discern if the march was about wages, planned parenthood, legal abortion, healthcare, homosexuality or "pussies".  It was a lot of privileged women complaining about a lot of things.  There was no call to action for any of these items.  Meanwhile, around the world, real hardship occurs for women.  Female mutilation, no access to clean drinking water, poverty that makes ours seem hilarious in comparison, hunger of women who are raising children destined to die, women living in war torn cities holding their dead babies while our country stands by with fancy vagina signs.  Do you know how gross this lack of humanity is?  In this country we have the right to march against a man that uses offensive language years before he even ran for government... meanwhile in the real world, a woman is being stoned to death for having sex outside of marriage.  How out of touch are the feminists in this country?   George Soros and his minions could have spent 25% of the money for the march on providing clean drinking water for numerous villages.  20 million dollars would go a LONG way.  Could you imagine what 90 million dollars could have done for the global community of women we were supposedly using our voices for?  You literally accomplished nothing.  NOTHING.  You were 500k women throwing the biggest temper tantrum ever recorded in the world. 

Now, let's talk about what the march was really about.  What that 90 million dollars was really about.  It was to protest our Pussy Grabbing President.  First, whether you voted for him or not, he is our president.  He has appeared on The Howard Stern show more than 24 times.  With a listening audience of 20 million.  He has created reality shows, performed on Monday night RAW, made inappropriate comments about his daughter, got caught talking about grabbing a women's pussy and has been accused of sexual assault.  And yet, he is still our president.  The only question we should all be asking and marching about is ... how did this happen?  How can such a gross man become the leader of the free world.  My answer... take a good long look in the mirror.

Here are some facts to think about...

1. The United States is the top producer of pornographic DVD's and web material.  Every 39 minutes a new porn film is created in the United States.

2. Most men watch or have watched porn.  The University of Montreal tried conducting a study on porn and when trying to make a control group of men who have not watched porn they could not find one.  20% of American men say they have watched pornography while at work

3. 88.2% of top rated porn scenes show aggressive acts and 70% of these are perpetrated by men.

4. A Google trends analysis found that searches for "teen porn" has tripled since 2013.  Let that sink in. Underage children performing sex acts for adults pleasure.

5. Amy Schumer was the first person on cable to champion the word pussy being used.  It is now a commonly accepted way to describe the female anatomy.

6. 125 million copies of "50 Shades of Grey" has been sold worldwide. This book focuses on the relationship between Christian and Ana.  A relationship about male dominance in and out of the bedroom.  He has her sign a contract giving him permission to do whatever he wants to her while he pacifies her with money, travel and extravagance.  It was on the bestseller list for 16 weeks.  And the movie version grossed over $571 million in box office. 

What do these facts have to do with our president?  We created this monster.  The cream always rises to the top.  We have elected a man who epitomizes these things that are so important to our country.  And, while priveleged, mostly white, women were protesting this orange disaster of a president, women around the country were being degraded and sold to the highest bidder.  And, we are cool with it.  We just don't want our president to reflect our sexual skeletons in the closet.  Am I outraged that a man like Trump could win the presidency?  Yes.  Am I surprised or shocked?  No. 

His competition was a woman that has been investigated for felonies numerous times in her life.  She is married to the most misogynistic man to ever hold the office of president.  She herself "slut" shamed all of his victims and helped to make them obsolete.  She virtually used her power to silence rape victims.  And yet, feminists everywhere hold her on a pedestal as an activist.  This was Trump's only competition.  Why didn't we march against that hypocrisy?

We have a lot to reflect on as women.  We all know that deep down, women control the world.  In so many seen and unseen ways.  If we believe this to be true- and I do- how did we let this happen?  Things have to change.  We need to demand that our little girls are not subjected to this world we created.  We need to stop consuming media that sells us misogyny and male dominance.  We need to demand that the porn industry take accountability in the rape culture it creates.  We need to raise little boys that will become great men who will hold women on pedestals.  Most importantly, we need to actively respond to women who are suffering around the world... through donations, awareness and humanitarian relief.

The most important way we can do this is by demanding first, that our country respects life.  Respects, values and takes care of ALL lives.  From womb to tomb.  Yes, this includes illegal immigrants, homeless drug addicts, the prostitute AND the pimp.  But, most importantly, the very least of us.  If we started respecting life from the very MOMENT of conception to the very MOMENT of death, could you imagine the revolution that would occur in this nation?  As women... as feminists... we hold the power to bring compassion and mercy to every one of God's creatures.  If we lead the revolution, the men will follow.  It begins here.  It begins with us and it should begin right now.

If you agree, share my message.  Help start the revolution by calling out this march for what it was, a nice attempt that failed at action.  If you disagree, respectfully give me your thoughts.  And know, that no matter your views, I respect you.