Does the “right” family = political aptitude?

When I take Brian and his friend Lucas to school in the morning, we drive by a very large political yard sign for a Republican candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives named Matt Bentley. In and of itself, this is not that unusual. There are signs on most every yard on this particular road. And yes, the vast majority of them are for Republicans of some sort. It’s certainly the neighborhood for it.

What was remarkable about this one was the blatant use of the image on the sign. The picture is of the aforementioned Matt Bentley and his wife and infant baby girl. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the picture. In fact, it’s a very good picture, and one they probably proudly hang in their own living room. But there’s something about the picture being used how it’s being used.

In what way does the idea that he has a wife and baby girl translate to his possible success in the Georgia House? The little baby is cute and the wife is attractive. Ok, I’ll give you that. But even that is not what the actual picture is about. It’s meant to play off of the “family” nature of this particular man. The “family values” vote is what’s being targeted here, I’m sure.

But, is that qualification enough? What are his motivations? What’s his platform? What does he believe in?

(Oh there they are, hidden in the darkness of the black couch: “Lower taxes”, “Less government”, and “More Jobs”. Really checking off the Republican talking points on that one, huh?)

Does anyone care about those things? Or is it simply because he’s a “family man”? Or could it be because they’re a white family? A heterosexual family? Man, woman, and child = healthy living, right? I mean, where’s the dog? The white picket fence?

(Oh wait, I just saw the dog’s head. Now it’s complete.)

Imagine for a second that this family was not a straight, white family with a dog. Imagine if the wife was a husband. Would that family be “suitable” for a sign? What if Mr. Matt Bentley was bald because he had cancer? What if he had tattoos? What if his wife was African American? Muslim? Japanese? Nigerian?

Would that matter?

I understand and firmly believe that it should absolutely not matter. But does it? Given the location of this particular sign and the neighborhood I’m driving in when I pass this sign, I’m guessing it matters a great deal.

And that makes me sad.

P.S. I don’t know Matt Bentley at all, or his family. This is in no way a condemnation of him, personally. This is really a commentary on society and the current social norms, specifically in Georgia.

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Guns are ridiculous, Reason #2746

“Keep honking…I’m reloading”

Yep, what an advertisement in this day in age where people are suggesting we arm everyone (including kindergarten teachers) to combat other people being armed!

Yep, let’s make sure to arm people who are driving, so if they don’t like how someone else honks at them, they have the opportunity to simply blow them away.

Perfect.

Doesn’t sound plausible? “People would never do that”, you say?

This fucker has a bumper sticker that says so. Because people are ALWAYS rational when it comes to driving.

FFS

P.S. This was less than a mile away from my kid’s school. People suck.

I have a confession to make…

      

Ok, this is probably going to be an unpopular sentiment. So, I’ll just go ahead and get it out of the way. Rip off the band-aid. Here it goes:

“Hamilton” was not the best live musical theater experience I’e ever had.

There.

I said it.

Please don’t get me wrong. “Hamilton” was amazing. Like, really, really amazing. Even my son, who is not normally a musical theater fan, found it enthralling. Myself, Jayme, and the kids were all about the soundtrack both before and after the show.

Every bit of credit and respect goes to Lin Manuel Miranda and crew for creating such a cultural phenomenon. The songs were amazing. The story was gripping. It’s everything you could ask for in a musical.

(Side note: Angelica and her masterpiece “Satisfied” was my favorite part of the entire show!)

But…

In my mind, seeing “Les Miserables” on stage in London in 2003 was and is the hallmark of my theater-going lifetime. Maybe it was because I grew up with “Les Mis”. It was *the* musical that everyone knew and sang. Hell, we even sang a good bit of it in our high school chorus concert(s). Or maybe it was listening to the songs over and over and over again and finally seeing it live and in the flesh in front of me. Valjean with the soaring voice. The powerful ensemble pieces. The heart-wrenching ballads about love and loss.

It was mesmerizing. It also came at a turning point in my life. I was 23, married, had my first job, and really hitting a stride in my new-found adulthood. We were in London, living in Paris, and so many miles from our home in Georgia. We were living our life. There was an independence running throughout the whole experience.

That performance and that experience has stuck with me for these past 15 years, and is the barometer by which everything is judged.

My confession laid bare.

Time Flies

This picture was taken just under 5 years ago. Caroline was still a little girl. Brian looks so much like a young child. They are not that now.

They are still my kiddos, yes. And I willl always see them as such. But they are growing up so fast. As Jayme told my sister this morning, it’s only 6 years that we’ll be taking Caroline to college. Brian is about to hit his growth spurt and he’ll be asking for keys to the car before you know it.

I’m just not sure I’m ready for this.

Hope, by any other name

Day in and day out is a struggle. Work. Kids. Family. Relationships that run through all facets of my life. Soccer practice. Managing. Coding. Speaking. Not sleeping well.

It gets overwhelming. Most days end with utter exhaustion. Some end with anger. Some end with laughter. Some end with emptiness. Some end with joy. And some even end with the feeling that no matter how hard you try, there’s always something waiting to drag you down.
Then, there is a moment that warms your heart like no other. It makes you realize why you push through all of that stuff above. One of those moments happened to me last night. And it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Caroline had soccer practice yesterday evening. I had been in meetings all day. Struggling against the idea that I’m getting nothing done. Feeling inadequate, to be perfectly honest, on many levels.

It’s about 9:30pm. Brian’s tucked in, he’s down for the night. And Caroline walks out to tell me she’s ready for bed. Her hair is wet as I hug and kiss her goodnight. She loves taking baths after dinner these days. And as I turn to go, I see her start to climb the stairs to her bed. She’s holding something in her other hand.

Clutched in her left hand is her doll. Not just any doll. The only doll. One that she affectionately calls “Baby” because she didn’t know any better name when she received it when she was less than a year old. That doll has been through everything with her. Moves. Fights with friends. Sicknesses. Sleepovers. Family trips. Everything.

She climbed that ladder, “Baby” in tow, without any fanfare at all. It was simply part of her routine. Part of her. Maybe she’s done this night after night and I just haven’t noticed it. But I noticed it last night.

And I realized something. Deep down, underneath all of the sass and attitude and facade of wanting to be cool and accepted that comes with pending teenage-dom, she’s still my baby girl. And she still has some of that innocence left. Yes, it will eventually fade with time, even though I wish it’d stay forever. But it’s still there right now. And that makes me unbelievably happy.

I needed that moment.

More than I realized.