Thursday, May 31, 2012

Out On A Limb

My youngest son holds a black belt in opportunity seizure. I’m not sure how, but Master Carpe Diem possesses the uncanny knack of knowing the exact moment my common sense weakens, and before I can blink…KABLAM…we’re building a treehouse.

Plans for the Dutch Elm Alamo have been in the works for several years, but I prayed the phase would pass with the approaching teen years; yeah - no such luck.  In fact, the blueprints morphed from a few, random size 2X4’s and a box of nails into Swiss Family Elliott around the time of the last report card.

“Look, all A’s! Doesn’t that deserve a reward?” (I see a political future.)

But what put me over the edge? What drove me to the brink of backyard insanity?

Three little words; life is short.

We’ve all said it, but did you ever really think about it?

Unfortunately, I have. I can’t put my finger on the exact moment, but somewhere between losing my first friend to cancer and watching a fifth start chemo, my perspective shifted from someday to right away.

Thus – treehouse!

Now, for those of you who follow Babble regularly, you know Hubby and I are not – in any way, shape or form – construction savvy; our toolbox is duct tape, a glue gun and bandages – lots of bandages.
So, we called in the cavalry! And thanks to the phenomenal talents of our friend Rick – an extraordinary carpenter and very, very patient man – we now have a Fortress of Solitude for Master Carpe Diem and his Nerf Weapons of Doom.  Rick, God love him, did let Hubby take a shot with the nail gun – but after a near stigmata incident – Hubs was relegated back to wood hauling and refreshment refills.
Lesson today – life is short! Go out on a limb!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Soapbox Sunday

Last night, after the kiddos were asleep, I opened my unified inbox. For those unfamiliar – a unified inbox is an electronic version of your grandmother’s purse; equal parts vital necessities (emails, FB, Twitter) and junk (coupons, singles ads, SPAM-canned or virtual).

At first click I anticipated posts galore regarding the recent vote in North Carolina. I did not, however, expect 73 messages asking if I planned on writing about the outcome here; or in an editorial for the Day Job. Believe it or not – my managing editor made that last suggestion, but we quickly agreed my, umhealthy opinions would impede objectivity.

Like many, I was disappointed in the outcome in NC. I support same sex marriage, openly and without hesitation.  I’m also a Christian, and the vote tally did not anger me nearly as much as those individuals claiming it were a “victory for God.”

Ignorance at its worst.

A little backstory: I was raised in a loving and supportive Roman Catholic family. My parents, RC to the bone, blessed me with values, compassion and a deep respect for the faith. They scrimped and saved so I could attend 16 years of exemplary parochial school, and to this day - I count the friends from those plaid and knee sock wearing years among the greatest gifts in my life.  

But, (you saw this coming, right?) as I aged, my inner liberal emerged. (THUMP = Grandfather rolling in grave). Actually, I call myself LL – Liberal Light; a feminist with a Christian base and pinch of capitalist.  I wrestled with a host (pun intended) of the RC practices – the largest being the church’s stance on homosexuality. 

I use this example:  Once, I had a pair of comfy, old size 4 Levis (Catholicism) – a good, familiar fit. But somewhere along the road I blossomed into a size 10 (OK, 12), and the woman I became could no longer squeeze her values into the old pair without a certain level of discomfort.

Hubby, also raised RC, shared my dilemma, and unlike many of our friends we refused to abandon church altogether. We have kids -  kids with…adventurous spirits…they need God (and a good HMO), so over the course of a year we “auditioned” religions – landing in a welcoming faith community, similar to our RC roots, but on par with our progressive lifestyle. (And in the words of my 11 year old, – “The coffee hour donuts rock!”) I say this with a humor, but the decision to leave the RC church was extremely difficult; we struggled.

Where am I going with all this?

My family had a choice – and we chose to align our religious beliefs with our lifestyle – Freedom of Religion . 

Equally, NC residents voting in accordance with their faith have every right to do so. 

Citizens of the US, (Straight, Gay, Christian, Atheist, Democrat, Republican, Vegan, Carnivore) will NEVER agree on the “big issues”  - we are so multi-faceted the Hope Diamond looks like a chunk of glass, and that’s OK! (See US Constitution) We have the right to disagree, but my hope, as Pollyanna as it sounds, is that somewhere along the way we lose the ignorance, extinguish the hatred and somehow, somewhere realize equality is more than a word -  it’s a right.

And…I’m off the soapbox! Happy Mother’s Day!