For Her

I guess one pro to working odd hours is that I am also up at odd hours, which provides me moments of complete blissful quiet to monopolize. On a string of 5 pm – 2 am’s, you can find me up at 3 am on the following nights as I try to adjust back to going to sleep earlier. On a string of 7 am – 4 pm’s, you’ll find me awake the subsequent mornings at 5:30 am while the house is still silent aside from the steady, rhythmic slumbering breaths of my husband and children.

This morning was one of those mornings. Coming off of a string of day shifts, I was wide awake staring at the clock that read 5:21 am in bright, cool blue numbers. I was too lazy to get out of the warmth and softness of bed; I scrolled through various news feeds and came across a music video of celebrities and non-celebrities celebrating the first female nominee of a major political party. Put aside your political opinions and stay with me for a moment. As I watched this video, I was overwhelmed with living during and being witness to this monumental making of history. Whatever your political views, you cannot help but acknowledge that this is a big moment for our country. I lay there in bed, with my coke bottle glasses, with one headphone bud in my right ear as to not wake my still sleeping husband, and I cried.

I cried at the huge leap in progress we are making as a country. We still have so much progress to make. But this. This is an immeasurable step forward. With all the recent heart breaks on humanity–This. This is something indescribably amazing.

I finally found my way out of bed, and excitedly woke my five-year-old kids to discuss with them this great event in history that we are living. My son and daughter looked at me startled. “Huh??? There has never been a female president??? Why not????” Preach, kids. Preach.

Regardless of your political views, this is a big moment in our history.  This morning I watched my sassy two-year-old daughter figure out how to build a tower of Legos as tall as she is. I thought about the possibilities that strong, resilient female leaders today are paving for her. For her. My little two-year-old daughter with eternally sticky hands. For her. My five-year-old daughter that wants to spend her five-year-old days dancing and coloring.  For all hers that still have their entire futures ahead of them.

My children have big plastic bins in their closets that I once in a while toss in keepsakes that I want them to have when they are older. They range from the hospital identification bracelet they had placed around their tiny ankles the day they were born to the hand-print projects they made for Valentine’s Day in pre-school. Today, I printed out articles about the making of history by our first female presidential nominee, and added this to the pile of treasures I want them to have as memories of their childhood.

All that keeps tousling around in my mind is that this is big. This is so, so big. I have so much pride for our country for making it here today. There is so much ache of the reminder of how much farther we need to go. There is so much ache for all the countries that are far from being where we are.

By writing these sentiments, I am not suggesting you vote for her because she is a woman.  Vote for who you vote for because you believe in their vision for our country.  Vote for who you believe would lead our country with the greatest moral compass.  Vote for who you believe has the experience and track record to make intelligent and difficult decisions on behalf of our country.  Vote for who you believe will make forward progress for the majority and every minority.

Whether you passionately support or don’t support our first female presidential candidate, can we agree that breaking this uphill, challenging gender barrier is great progress for our country?

As a woman who values strength and leadership as admirable qualities in other women,

As a woman who will fight to protect and broaden the future opportunities available for her daughters,

As a woman who will always teach her son that women are to be upheld with the utmost respect,

As a woman who believes in the kindness and equality of humanity,

This is a big day. A big, new day, indeed.

 

 

 

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Today. Love is Greater than Hate

My heart is breaking today. It has been breaking with every news alert that flashed across my cell phone throughout the night. Every alert of another human life fallen made me feel anguish, desperation, bewildered, devastation. From the recent mass shooting in Florida to the bombings in Turkey, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia to the recent lives lost in Minnesota, and Louisiana, to the shooting and killing of police officers last evening in Texas . . . What has happened to our sense of humanity?

We mourn for the families of those who have lost lives. We weep for the joys and love these shootings have haphazardly and suddenly ripped from their families’ daily existence. We hope for peace during these tragic, senseless acts that leave their communities feeling hollow. We hope for unity in this fragmented nation and world of ours.

I find myself asking, is this rock bottom? Please let this be rock bottom. How much more can we escalate with hatred? With anger? With our inequalities? With our attacks against one another? How many more lives? Devastation is reverberating through our nation, and reactions span the spectrum from disbelief to anger to outrage to deep anguish.

As I plugged along the overnight shift, with news alerts flashing across my phone stacking on the heartbreak and terror occurring across the nation, I am reminded of my last patient of the morning. She was a kind woman who had gotten her hand slammed in her back door and came in with a bloodied finger. As I washed her finger off and started to stitch it back together, the background news she was watching was reporting about the events of the night, of the officers that had lost their lives. About the presumed shooter that was now dead. There was anger and hatred in the man’s voice that I could hear giving a speech. He was saying how police officers have been made targets, ultimately faulting our president. I listened while hunched over the bright light shining overhead, carefully pulling together wound edges with each stitch. The woman said, “I just worry about my grandbaby. She is 10 months old. She is my world.  Do you want to see her picture?” Of course I wanted to see her picture.

In the midst of all this hatred, we turn to our loved ones. We worry about their future. We feel heartbreak for those that can no longer worry about their loved ones’ futures. In the midst of all this, I remember the love. During this hateful, angry broadcast, I will remember this woman’s love for her granddaughter and the picture she eagerly presented of her granddaughter in that adorable ruffle-butt swimsuit, proudly standing while holding onto an oak cabinet.

None of us can predict where we go from here. We hope that we will start to unite. Start to heal together. Start to propagate love. And this starts with you and me. This starts with us and extends to those around us, especially to our children.

There are a few things I am absolutely intolerant about with my children.

  1. Acting unkindly towards others
  2. Disrespect
  3. Acting without compassion

I have zero tolerance for these things. There is absolutely no circumstance in which hateful, disrespectful, heartless behavior is valid and acceptable. My kids know that any such behavior will be met with their mother’s wrath. They know better.

And here we are. As a nation of Americans. Propagating hate. Propagating disrespect. Trying to find the right steps forward in the aftermath of heartless crimes.

The one thing I take solace in right now, is that there is love and it will shine through. I will continue to teach my kids that color is just a color. That sexual orientation is no different than being right-handed or left-handed–it is a part of who we are. That females and males alike are competent and strong. That religion of any spectrum is faith that helps each individual guide them through life. That love is greater than hate.

That love is greater than hate.

That love is greater than hate.

That love is greater than hate.