Out and In

Thing 2 drew me a picture of a flower yesterday. He never draws flowers. He draws Pokemon figures or mythical monster-like creatures but not flowers. He was feeling restless so I suggested he have a stab at some sort of art. Make up a dance (he's really into floor rolling, full body sliding to music- his interpretation of dance), work up a song on his recorder, draw or paint. The only caveat I gave him was that it needed to make me smile when he showed it to me. I didn't tell him that it wouldn't have mattered what he did because his attempt would be enough to make me smile. He has a great sense of humor so I was really expecting something silly or subversive. I know how he rolls and we get each other that way. So I found myself melting over the fact that he really stepped out of himself a bit to think of me by drawing a flower.  Thing 2 is not about flowers unless they are really weird-looking. A Venus fly trap or a dragon orchid or some bizarre cactus.  Anything that could be described as "pretty" does not appeal to him. So it was to my great surprise when he handed over a bright and carefully colored flower that could only be described as pretty. I smiled big and he gave me this look  reserved for me and only me which says, "I. Got. Her." After a quick hug and a little giggle he ran off shouting, "Now I am going to draw my way!"  

I was thinking about little moments right before this happened. I am the worst at being inside a little bubble of time. A planner by nature in a home full of now-folk, I often feel like I am hovering just beyond the present moment.  I cannot overstate how hard it is for me to float back. Perhaps this is why, after much heartbreak, I was given Thing 1 and Thing 2. Despite their advanced ages of 11 and 9, it is still something I have to work at every single day...every single hour if I am being completely honest.  

So, yeah, I got a picture drawn by my boy who really stepped outside himself...and he gave it to his mom who took that moment to step in and join him.  

Kale, Part II

Because I am usually working over the dinner hour on Mondays, Big Man is in charge of the show.  Last week was a bit crazy because Thing 1 had to be schlepped from here to there with only minutes in between so, sadly, she had to eat en route. In cases like this, we pack sandwiches or decent leftovers that can be eaten out of a thermos.  I didn't really know what Big Man might do and I didn't care.

When I picked Thing 1 up after my shift, she was not feeling well. She had been dancing and singing and was feeling a little off. 

"What's the matter? Didn't you eat?" I asked.

"Umm....yeah.  I had a banana and two bites of kale."

"What?" I asked.

"Yeah, daddy made his kale and beans in that cheese sauce and stuck it in a thermos. I kind of like it, but I had to dance and the last time you ate it, well, you remember what happened....."

Disclaimer 1. We like kale in our house. We've tried different things with it. And there is one recipe that we've made that is full of beans and cheese. However, it's not exactly something that makes you want to dance unless it's straight to the loo.

"Uh..so about that creamy rich kale dish, perfect for the pre-dance work-out?" I ventured two seconds after we got home.  Subtlety has never been my strong suit.

Big Man just shrugged.  He was using vegetables from our garden, being resourceful with what was on hand, providing a well-rounded meal with the super food that is kale....yadda, yadda, yadda.  No mention was made of the cheese, cream and beans involved OR their affects on a dancing digestive tract.  

Disclaimer 2.  I love Big Man.  

Disclaimer 3.  I love all Wilfahrt men. 

BUT(you knew there would be a but), they can be a stubborn bunch. So,  let's just say that admissions of one's failures aren't easily forthcoming. Whether this is attributed to being simply male, or being male AND a Wilfahrt, I don't know. What I have learned over the years is the best I can hope for in situations like this is simple self-awareness that will prevent a repeat performance of the original transgression.

Sadly, I am not sure I will ever get to see if this happens because the one who seems to have learned the most from this is Thing 1. While broadening her sense of independence (and self-preservation), she has decided to leave nothing to chance by cutting out the dicey middle Big Man. She requested that we have sandwich makings on hand in order to prepare her own dinner in the next few weeks.  

I like a girl who solves her own problems just as much as I like a man who admits to his failures.

So far, it's one and one. I'll keep you posted.

One last word

It was pretty exciting last Tuesday night in Minnesota. I couldn't stay up. I finally gave up at 12:30 a.m. because counties were still reporting and it seemed our margin for the amendment going through was getting smaller. I got up at 5:30 a.m. and it was so gratifying to see that every person involved in this fight made a difference....every phone call, every yard sign, every Facebook post, every knocked door.  Hundreds of people reached thousands and it was just so great to be a part of it.

But, I had a little glitch in my election night festivities, which caused me to write and submit a reaction to what happened in Minnesota. To be honest, I still don't have my brain wrapped around the exchange that prompted it and what my next step will be. Here is what I wrote.

Big Man and I decided we were "electioned-out". We know it's not a word, but we don't know what to do or say for awhile about any of the current events. It's hard because we are interested, but we feel so tired of it all.  I then pointed out that it's a darn good thing we are happy middle-class white folk because we don't have the stamina to be oppressed.  Please know I am totally laughing at our self-proclaimed wimpy state.  But behind a lot of humor, there is always a hint of truth.  I am pondering that, too.

Finally, if you haven't already seen this recent article that appeared about Andrew's parents in The Star Tribune, it is worth the read. They've had a brutal 18 months and it hasn't been easy and Andrew was with them the whole time.  And he was with those who didn't know him well, too. If you were paying attention, that is. My very last act of volunteering for Minnesota United involved calling in their phone bank. On prior days, I dialed lots of people including a Drew and an Andy, and I didn't think much of it. But, my very last phone call of around thirty that I made on my last day of volunteering was to someone named Andrew. I decided to take that as a very good sign. That Andrew didn't answer, but that was fine. Because much, much later in the day, Minnesota go theirs and I feel quite certain that Andrew Wilfahrt had more than a little to do with it.  

Some final thoughts..

For those of you not on Facebook and those who don't subscribe to the Winona Daily News, HERE is my last written effort before we head to the polls.

I haven't talked much about this part of my past so it is funny when certain aspects of your life rise up to affect how you view the present. 

Thanks for all of your patience and willingness to listen to me as I process this amendment battle in Minnesota. It means a lot to me but even more than that, it feels like a responsibility to take it on. 

I can never forget how Maya Angelou singled out young black people in a diverse crowd of thousands packed into a basketball arena. She said,"Your debt has been paid. Your job now is to make us proud. You can vote, you can work, you can attend college. Do it all, do it better than the rest, and prove to the naysayers that you were worth the fight....because you are."

I feel this way about any group who gets singled out or labelled. We are here to make this planet the best it can be for every single person.  So many before us fought for what we now enjoy and it just feels like there is no other way to go than forward for those who are not having the same experience as we are.

Finally....don't forget to VOTE on Tuesday (are you there dear brothers?) It's the best way to let the freedoms we are working toward ring!

Tricks and Treats

We carved pumpkins. It won't surprise you to know that I was going to carve VOTE NO into mine. I went to work diligently, not paying much attention to what my clan was up to. The T was giving me trouble. My knife slipped and I had to re-group. I had three letters left. I paused long enough to look around and noticed Big Man had some intricate spider and web-thing going on and Thing 1 was working on the silhouette of a cat next to a pumpkin. The cat would have a witch hat on it's head.


If you don't know what that means,  you don't read my blog much.

So, I did what any self-respecting woman who never claimed to like carving pumpkins to begin with would do. I quit...after I finished the E.  VOTE seemed like a strong enough statement.

I set that pumpkin out next to the hot cocoa we were offering to those who dared to enter our haunted house.  A few moms confessed to thinking it a strange sentiment. They wondered if they were supposed to vote in some sort of contest we were running. I shrugged it off. They could see my kindergarten T, to which they made no pointed comments.

But then a group of freshmen boys came by. They loved the haunted house. It seemed hysterical to them that their doctor (Big Man) was inside dressed as a weird sort of wizard/troll.  They came out, went in again, and then huddled next to me getting cocoa.  One young man looked at my pumpkin and I braced myself for the comments/questions/ridicule. Instead, he said, "Are you going to Vote No on the marriage amendment? It's kind of a big deal, isn't it?"

"Yes.  Definitely yes. It's a big deal. And yes, definitely yes, I will be voting no."

His head pumped up and down.  "I wish I could. I would, too. It's the right thing to do." He pumped his fist in the air and they all took off.

Someone got it.

This seems to be the way of my storytelling this year. I haven't hit the masses, but I get little nuggets of opportunity here and hints of affirmation that people are paying attention there.

I can only hope that a little adds up to enough.