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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

trying to find the ground under me

I have felt that maybe it was time I should post about something other than the election.  I sat down to once or twice to do so and nothing came out.  I apologize.  I am consumed with it right now. 
Yesterday was a really bad day. What is the name of that book? Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  That was my day yesterday. 
To be honest many of my days lately have been very difficult.  I told Sandi that I don't feel great when I wake up or when I go to sleep and really not so great during many points of the day too.  This is not me.  This vote has got me down.
Yesterday morning, I had the kids in the car and when I went to turn the engine over it clicked. Dead battery. I scanned my brain for friends to call and lined up separate rides for each kid.  Maya was in a state of panicky tears at this change and I buckled her into a friends car whilst she clung to my shirt saying, "I want you to take me to school!!!" Fun times.
I checked my email while waiting for AAA and got an email from a dear friend telling me why he would be voting no on 1 in two weeks.  My inbox was also filled with a bunch of notifications of hate-filled posts that had been made under a comment I wrote on Facebook.  Let me back up. Our friends Mindy and Charissa went to our local, beloved apple farm on Sunday for hay rides and the corn maze and found a "No on 1" sign displayed front and center near their sign.  After a brief discussion with one of the owners (in which the owner said he felt, "same-sex marriage was no way to built a society") they left and posted something on Facebook about how sad they were to not go to this place anymore after knowing how they felt about families like theirs.  Many people saw their post and began to post on the Farm's FB page. I also did.  In the hours that followed, hundreds of people posted either for or against the farm.  Clearly much local business was lost by their careless placement of the sign.
For some reason, despite all the other posts on the page, people began to comment under my post.  In the next 24 hours, 50-60 people posted under my comment, both kind and supportive things and many hateful and mean comments and my inbox was filled with each and every notification. 
Not a good primer for an already difficult day.
I got the car jumped, put my bike in the back, drove to the garage and then hopped on my bike.  I desperately needed a bike ride and a soul clearing in the fresh air.  Half a mile from the garage I got a flat. 
I was done with the day and it wasn't even 10 AM. 
I called a friend to pick me up. (Yes I was in tears and yes I know how to change a tire but I couldn't face doing it on the side of the road abutting the sewer plant.  My spirits just couldn't handle further insult.)
I spent most of the rest of the morning in tears, talking with and receiving comfort from friends and trying to put myself back together.  I went for a run and picked up my car and wondered how to become less affected by the state of affairs. 
By the time afternoon rolled around and I was some semblance of put back together, I was so touched to have two people seek me out at school pick-up to tell me how much they appreciated what I've been writing on the blog. One woman told me that she had had some of the difficult conversations about question 1 with her loved ones.   I cannot tell you how much this means to me.  Two more people I don't know very well sent me messages on Facebook telling me how much our family's presence in the area and in this campaign has meant to so many people.  Sandi and I had a long talk about choosing love when hate is what is being spit all around us.  I was finally able to lay my head on the pillow last night and feel like I was a little more whole, a little more me.  My eyes were swollen from crying but I finally felt some relief.
The truth is, this is a campaign that is fighting for love.  Love must be what we fight with. In our house "hate" is like a swear word.  Our kids know that we try hard not to use it.  "We don't hate," we tell them. 
Here is a snippet of a conversation I had with Ella the other day:
Ella:  "Mom, why don't people want you to get married?  Why can't people all just get along?"
Me:  "I know this is hard to understand.  People have different ways of thinking and they often want everyone to think like they do.  A lot of people believe in what is written in the Bible and they think everyone should live the way they think it says to in the Bible."
Ella:  "Well, whoever wrote it should have written it a little nicer.  Especially since there are A LOT of copies of it."
I woke up today feeling less consumed.  I've need all the reminders and words of comfort.  People know not what they do.  People don't understand the hurt they are causing.  Keep love in your heart and your words the best you can.  Even if we lose the vote, we don't lose any of what we already have.  I am healthy.  My family is healthy.  We are happy.  We are surrounded in love.
Today I  feel less broken. I feel more myself. I haven't needed to cry over this heartache today.  The vote feels enormous but it doesn't feel like it is sitting on my heart.  I will take this peace and I will foster it. This is how I will survive the next 2 weeks.
Also, my friends went out to discuss the sign with the owners of the farm after their FB page went viral Sunday night.  The owners were truly bewildered about the effect the sign had had on people.  They were stunned and overwhelmed by the practical details of why same-sex couples seek marriage.  They did not understand how being unprotected effects our coupleships and our children. They were respectful and listened and were deeply affected by the things that were said about what it is like to be us.  Who know what will happen when they get in the voting booth, but one thing is for sure, countless hearts have expanded and opened as a result of this vote.  There have been so many of these conversations happening all over the state. It is a very painful process but I must believe some good is coming from all this expansion.
Here are some of the regulars of life that have been happening while I've been consumed.  Because surely, life as we know it keeps going.
I made these AMAZING  pumpkin cinnamon rolls from Smitten Kitchen. (And somehow made way too much frosting.)
 Ella made this picture as illustration of her story about Trish and Brock's wedding.  That is Trish, the bride, over on the left and Brock is on the right bowing to her.  I. LOVE. THIS. PICTURE.
Ella has an assignment to create a tool.  She and Sandi crafted the "egg decorator."  It holds eggs while you decorate them. (Duh.) Yes, Sandi blew the eggs out and then strung them. Yes, she tried to get me to help her after the kids had gone to bed since she didn't like how big the hole was on one of the eggs. No I did not.

Breven and Kenna and the girls went to Pumpkins in the Park this past weekend.  They scored a bunch of candy and jumped in the bounce house.  Fun was had by all.  Maya was a kangaroo, Ella a butterfly, Kenna was Strawberry Shortcake and Brev was Batman.  (My sister and family were on their way and got a sudden case of flu or food poisoning and sadly had to turn around.)

I simply love this picture of Ella doing her homework with a giant pencil.  This look of consternation is the one she wears each and every time she does her homework.
After my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day I came home and had these gorgeous flowers delivered to me by my dear friend Megan.  What a treat.  The card read: stay strong. 
The world is a hard place for me to be right now.  I guess all this hate and ill-will exists every day but I honestly don't come across it very often in my day to day life.  (Yes, I know this makes me very lucky.  I also consciously choose not to watch the news so that helps.) When I see it at every turn  right now I am deeply affected by it.  Are these the people I live among? 
I'm trying hard to liken it to shopping.  If you go into a store and half of the store is filled with really ugly clothes, but you find some that you love and you happily buy them, then who cares about the ugly ones you didn't buy?  Ugly clothes and people's hate need not be my business.
Except of course when they vote.
And here I leave you with something Maya said to Ella at dinner last night.  Maya and Ella had a secret and Maya wanted to share it with us. Ella was telling her not to because it was her secret too.  Maya said, "Ella, you take care of you and I will take care of me."
And wouldn't life be easier if that was the way it worked?


HollyIda said...

This was such a beautiful and heartfelt post.
I live in the same town as the apple farm you talked about. Although I love my little town, it's certainly a conservative place, with many "No on 1" signs. I have felt some of the same things you've been feeling since this whole hubbub started. This farm is a place I have loved taking my little boy to. A place where we can eat ice cream in the summer and pet the animals and run through the corn maze in the fall. And now I just don't want to go there and it makes me unbelievably sad.
Thank you for such a wonderful, wonderful post. I'm so glad there are still good people out there, you know?

momof 3 said...

You and Sandi Have my vote along with my families on Nov 6. We hope and pray that it passes. Keep your chin up and we will beat this.

Elissa said...

I admire your courage in sharing what is so close to your heart with us! I read your blog frequently and ill admit I'm in tears for you after your account of the terrible day :( I know it's hard but what you and your family is doing for this battle is an amazing thing! I have heard countless people mention your blog when this topic comes up. You should know that you have had a great impact on many people opinions. So thank you for battling and thank you for not giving up when it's so tough you just wanna cry. If I knew you in person I'd give you a hug, heck if I see you around town I just might ( even thought that sounds majorly creepy).

Jenn said...

I was SO disappointed when I saw that about the orchard. I will not be going back there with my family in the future. I refuse to give money to anyone who will turn around and spend it on discrimination.

I don't want to fill up your comment box too much, but I do want to share a story with you. My husband came home today (Tuesday), eager to tell me about a conversation he had with his coworker, Jay. Jay is a conservative who gave a 5 (Definitely Voting No on 1) when he was polled earlier this year. Up until today, that was that and the topic was not up for debate in his mind. Thanks to the "farm with the family values" being in the news, my husband was able to open up a dialogue with Jay and explain more thoroughly why it matters so much to so many people. Jay went from a 5 to a 1 today. He promised to vote YES ON 1, and he also said that he is going to encourage his friends and family members to open their hearts and do the same.

I just wanted to make sure you knew that something truly wonderful came out of this awful situation with the orchard. I am all but certain that there were other people having similar conversations over the past few days, which may mean dozens of extra YES on 1 votes. Votes we would not have had if the owners of that farm hadn't decided to show their true colors.

Politics aside...

I am so sorry about your bad day. Days like that are the worst and it would be nice if there was an easy way to fix it all. Someone should make an app for that.

Your family is beautiful. The love you have for each other is visible in both the photos you share and in the words that you write. I love the egg decorator (very clever!) and Ella's picture of the wedding is adorable. Maya's "you take care of you" comment made me smile. And yes, it would be great if that was how it worked!

Anonymous said...

How could anyone in the world take a look at your family and say it is wrong or unnatural? The idea that there is that kind of hate in the world kind of makes me want to run around shaking people by the shoulders and yelling "WHYY?!" (but I suppose that would make me a little crazy...).

Katie Duffy said...


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