My Kiddo was Â sick today. At seven a.m. this morning he said, “Mama, will you stay home with me?” Â I called my Â boss and Â left a message then lied down with my son on his bed and rubbed his back until he feel asleep again.
He slept seven hours.
I live with a constant nagging Â fear Â I may cease to sustain Â the precarious balancing act that’s my life: kid, work, writing.
I’m always tired. “Worried” Â is my second middle name. Â
I once had a boss who said I might not have a job to return to the next day if Â I stayed home with my sick son. That was 2005. My son was eight years old. Not only did I have no one to babysit at the time, nor do I usually, Â my son was covered with a rash and had a fever. Panic stricken, torn between the Â fear I’d lose my job and my very real maternal instincts, Â I called Â my grandmother.
What my grandmother said was, “You get out of that place right now.” And I did. Because she made it possible.
I keep seeing women lying in beds incapacitated, struggling for their lives. Â Brave women. Strong women. Women I respect.
I see Gabrielle Giffords. I see my grandmother.
This week, I felt compelled Â to change my Â profile picture Â on Facebook. It’s simply words written in marker on a piece of Â paper. “Sarah Â Palin doesn’t speak for me. ” Â But then she never spoke for me. I’m not a Mama Grizzly, and Â I resent anyone who might mislabel me one. Look, I’d love a woman in charge who Â spoke on my behalf. Â I’d love that. I’d. Love. It.
I’ll tell you who’d have my vote for President. Susie Bright. She’d have my vote in a New York Minute.
I transmit from a cottage in Republican country. We’re out numbered. But I haven’t once felt threatened here. Perhaps offended. Perhaps pissed Â the day a man Â marched into my office Â and claimed he wished he could kill President Obama.
“I wish I could get away with it,” he said. “I hate that sonofabitch.”
The other day I saw a rude anti-Obama bumpersticker on the back of a car while waiting for a Â light. Â
I said Â to my son, Â ”I want Â to Â flip this guy off.”
“I know,” my son said, and he sat forward in his seat. Â ”I’m sick of all this anti-Obama stuff.”
The night Americans elected Barack Obama the 44th Â President of the United States, Â my son and I Â fell into each others arms and wept. We stood to our feet and danced about our living room. Â We danced holding hands. We smiled and cried and danced.
I remember I looked at my son and said, “I’m so happy.”
The Kiddo Â said, “Me too, Mom.” Â
At school, my son says his classmates boo everytime President Obama comes up except for this one kid who doesn’t. Wonder which kid that is? Â Same kid Â never cheers Â for Sarah Palin while the rest of Â his classmates do.
So I sit at a stop light the other day wanting to flip the bird at this guy ahead of me for his rude anti-Obama bumpersticker, and my son sits forward in his seat waiting to see what I’ll do, and like so many other times since he was born, I recognize Â a moment to teach my son something about diplomacy. Â Something about what it means to live in a free country.
I say, “I want to flip this guy off, but what good would it do? I don’t like his bumper sticker. Â So what? I get rude. Â Then Â what? Anyway, he has just as much right to have that bumper sticker as I do to have whatever bumper sticker I want. Right, honey?”
“Right,” my son Â said.
Childen are monkeys. They mirror us, they mimic.
Last fall, Â while visiting an ex boyfriend Â in Denver, a nine-year-old child told me she hated President Obama because he’d said America wasn’t Â a Christian country.
“It’s not,” I said. Â ”America is a free country in which we can believe and worship any way we want.”
The look this child Â gave me Â indicated Â she believed I was the Anti-Christ. Or worse, a liberal. Â Sure. I’m going to Hell.
I’m sure her parents told her I would.
Opportunities present themselves, you know, Â when you wish you could instill empathy and intellect in other people’s children. You wish you could meet them in the eye. You wish you could shake them. Â Like the other day, I wanted to tell another parent’s Â homophobic child, Â ”There’s nothing wrong with homosexuals. It’s human, it’s natural, it’s as beautiful as any other expression of human sexuality and love.” Â Â But the situation wasn’t appropriate. And so I felt Â worse than impotent.
What do I do? I write a column. I write other stuff too. Â I’m doing Â as best by my Â kid Â as Â possible.
I love you.