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You never know what will stick, not really.  My mom said something to me in the middle of the night when I was in high school, I felt dramatic and wrought over a boy I adored and was ready to go all “Say Anything” over the whole thing.  She said, “It isn’t whether they say yes or no, but the asking that changes the relationship.”  I waited – then I didn’t wait anymore.

I was in college in a multi-day rage over every slight ever committed by anyone I’d ever known.  Hissing and spitting and cursing all the evils.  My mom said, “If they entire world is being an asshole – it might be you.”  This one has morphed over the years and now as a little cousin named “If they were smart and thoughtful yesterday they still are today – you just can’t hear it yet”.

There are more, there always are, and we each have our own.  I see my friends with the phrases that have gone with them through their lives, seeing the new ones get incorporated.  How we view our power, as told to us by those we keep closest.  The glee, or horror, to realize a moment’s comment has become a phrase for someone we love.

I know I can’t control what snippets of my voice my kiddo will take forward.  When he stands in the mirror evaluating his worthiness for the job, or the person, or the moment.  When he goes to bed at night after a terrible mistake, and who he’ll choose to be in the morning when he gets on his feet.

I don’t know what I would say if I WAS going to script those moments.

Although I often saw my dad enraged at power tools and lumber, I only remember him being angry with me once.  It doesn’t matter what he said (I honestly don’t remember the words) but I can see all of it.  Alternatively, I can’t remember an exact situation where he said, “atta girl” but that is what I hear when I need it.

I’m melancholy today a little, dad’s birthday is coming, and Memorial Day, and Father’s Day.  I’m thinking about the voices that linger and the messages they send.  I hope, I think, in the end, that kiddo knows that trying is worth it.




I’m a swearing parent, and as such the first time my son delivered a perfect swear (both in inflection and situational awareness) it was perfect and funny.  He was less than 2. We laughed.  He did it again.  It quickly wasn’t a rewarded behavior, but that first time – it totally paid off.

I think the reward of the dramatic and surprising is how we got to this moment in time regarding the election.  For my WHOLE LIFE we have raced away from nuanced policy discussions and towards absurd accusations, lying, and media grabbing attention.  In terms of money and access the foxes are guarding the hen house.  It feels far away and out of my control.

All I can do is vote, and that feels useless.  It feels like sand against a tsunami.

I need to do more.

If our next president is a two-term president, they will finish up as my son is 17 and preparing to register for selective service, go to college, work … the decisions that happen now will make a difference.

I need your help.

I need you to vote.  I don’t care for who, I need to understand where the nation is going and the best way to do that is for each of us to vote.  If my candidate wins, then the shape of the work of our nation looks one way.  If the other candidate wins, then the shape of the work of our nation looks different to me.

Policy over personality.  I don’t want our president to be friendly at dinner, or beer worthy, I want them to be contemplating the world and our place in it.

I won’t shout in public.  That never changed a mind, and maybe nothing will change your mind (I doubt anything would change mine) – but I need to understand WHY people in my nation are behaving the way they are, because that shapes the work for the next years.  This is more nuanced than a Twitter mic drop or a Facebook meme.  So much more important.

It is our nation.

My intention –

I will not make fun of my fellow citizens about their politics anymore than I would about their hobbies, appearances, or taste in music (which is to say – you do you man).

If I am in conversation with someone whose politics surprise me, or are in opposition to my own, I will ask a question to learn more before I do anything else.

My social media intention is to stay policy and fact driven.  Just because it is funny or sassy doesn’t mean (and in some cases expressly DOESN’T mean it adds to the conversation).

I will find a way to be active on election day to ensure that it is possible for people to vote.  I don’t know if that means election judging or driving or what – but there will be something I am ACTIVE in, that I DO to try and make it possible for every citizen to be heard.