Perspective

Friday night, at approximately 11:55, Michael puked.

My first thought was, “Not something ELSE.”

Dan got up, and helped me deal with the vomit, and we got Michael cleaned up. I put him in our bed (with a garbage can to the ready); Dan went to sleep on the couch; and I read for a bit until I could fall asleep.

Michael threw up again at 2:30 (which necessitated another change of sheets and another shower), then at 6:30 and 7:30. Those two latter times, he managed to get most of it in the garbage can. “Hey, at least I didn’t get any on the bed!” he happily pointed out.

Saturday, I was not feeling at the top of my game. Flat tires, sick children, other inconveniences were on my mind, and I was disgruntled that 2018 did not seem to be fantastic at a mere three weeks in.

But upon reflection, I realized that my problems are minor bumps in a fairly smooth road. (Knock on wood.) We are starting the year much as it ended: a mostly healthy family, a roof over our heads, and money coming in from jobs we enjoy. So flat tires and a little puke are a small price to pay.

It made me think of people far less fortunate. We are not being actively harmed by the current administration. When I heard about the “religious freedom” protections being promoted by Health and Human Services, I was horrified. Policies like this one are going to have devastating impacts on certain populations, primarily LGBTQ+ people, and women who want access to family planning and reproductive healthcare.

My idea of religious freedom is that I get to practice my religion, not that I get to impose my religious values on others.

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We have implemented Circle at our house, and it has not been a popular decision. However, Dan and I are sticking to our guns on this one.

Implementation has been rocky. Flora didn’t have Wi-Fi access the hours we set up for her (3:30 to 9 p.m.) the first couple of days we were using Circle. Dan set it up, and I’m not sure what happened. Her frustration was palpable, to say the least.

When she complained about it for the fourteenth time — she was bored! She couldn’t talk to her friends! — I got a little snippy. “I’m sorry you are missing your phone, but how do you think people in Puerto Rico feel? Some of them still don’t have electricity.”

“I know, I know,” Flora said. “Believe me, I know I have it good. I’m just frustrated.”

“I’m glad you know you have it good,” I said. “We just have to wait until Dad gets home so he can figure this out for you.”

I know how good I have it. My struggle now is: How do I go about making change for the people who DON’T have it good? I feel like I have a responsibility above and beyond food and clothing donations. My exercise last year in writing letters and making calls was extraordinarily frustrating. My Republican representatives simply did. not. care. (One of them had to retire because it turned out that he urged his possibly-pregnant mistress to consider abortion. Family values, my friends!) I felt utterly impotent.

Something I am trying to do for my mental health is to focus on things I can control. So, while I can’t actively impeach the President, or make my Republican Senator heed my wishes, I need ideas about what I can do. I toy with ideas of volunteering, maybe with the children? Where would my efforts be best used?

Ideas welcome.

Finances are tight, so donating money isn’t really on the table. But I should be able to donate time, and my voice, and use my voice to amplify other voices.

If you have ideas for me, leave them in the comments.

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