In this episode, I'm sharing my word for 2018 and what it means - CHANGE - learn how to embrace it. xo
You guys. This was originally going to be a very different post. It was going to be primarily based around a recent experience of mine, but instead it's going to be related to the shooting in Las Vegas, because I can't stop thinking about it. Because most of us can't stop shaking our heads and fists about it.
So here's the deal: our congress has failed us. They have failed us on so many issues but especially on the issue of gun control. It's monumental. I want to start off by saying this: I believe in the right to bear arms. My father was a cop. I've been around guns, I know how to shoot guns. If you want a gun to go hunt for recreation within limits of the law - please go ahead and do that. If you want a handgun that holds a few bullets and you have a permit for it and it's registered - fine. If you feel the need to have an assault weapon that can house multiple rounds of ammunition then no. Just no. That's not okay.
It's unconscionable to me that we have to take a test to drive a car, and yet we don't have to take a test to own a gun. Someone will undoubtedly say "cars kill too" and yes, I suppose they do, and (most of the time) when a car kills, it's an accident. But when a human being walks into a hotel with bags full of illegal weapons and ammunition with a calculated plan to terminate the lives of innocent people, that's not an accident. That's murder. That's terrorism. There's a difference.
We need stricter laws. Stricter gun laws do not mean taking guns away. They mean being smarter about who gets the guns. They mean (hopefully) educating others about proper use and ownership. They mean being smart and vetting candidates that are mentally sound enough to use guns responsibly. I truly believe that if we institute a test process, a better vetting process, we can reduce (not eliminate) the gun issue in this country.
So how do we learn from this? It's unfathomable to me that we're still having this conversation, but it's necessary.
We MUST learn from this as a society.
We MUST stop this.
We MUST have our voices be heard.
Here's the thing people - this government WORKS FOR US. We are their boss. We get to tell them what we want. We need to change our mindset to believe that we will make a difference. How do we do that? We communicate. We call and write to our elected officials and if our officials are on the side of reason, then we reach out to the ones who aren't. Don't be afraid to call a senator in Nevada, for example, to let them know where you stand on the issue of gun control. We cannot stay silent. We cannot allow more of this to happen.
When will it be enough? When will you stand up and speak out? When it's someone you love? When you're affected directly? Guess what? YOU are being affected directly. Our children are watching. They are seeing how we respond to these tragedies. None of us deserves to live in a society that normalizes events like this. We shouldn't be afraid to go to events, to get on planes, to enjoy ourselves. That should be the norm. It's changing - and we have to stop it before it keeps going.
Here are links to find your elected officials, take action and learn more about gun laws - educate yourself and please use your voice, it' matters.
So I was gone for 6 days last week in Dallas, Texas working on a project that unfortunately has come to an end earlier than expected. It's okay though because while it's disappointing, it's not the end of the world and during my time there, I connected with some amazing people and made some new friends. So thanks, Texas, you're not all that bad.
While I was gone, my awesome husband took the lead at home with the boys. It was the first full week of school which in my mind made it easier for him - at least the kids were accounted for during most of the day's hours. He still had to usher the little one to school and pick him up (earlier than he typically comes home), move the car for alternate side parking days (non NYC-ers, look it up), to which he bitched and moaned about wanting to sell said car. He had to make (order) dinner every night and make sure our children were bathed and presentable. He had to schlep to soccer practice, games and figure out how it all gets done in the span of 12 or so hours. I got one email telling me how tired he was to which I responded with the ridiculousness that I was in the middle of and gave him suggestions for dinners to make during the week.
It's not easy being the one who does it all, I know because I'm typically the one. It's a good thing to pass along the responsibilities every once in a while. Usually we're a two parent household with him picking up the slack, but when one of us isn't there, well then, there's no choice and you have to get it done. It also raises awareness...often times we forget just how much goes into daily life organization, especially when there are multiple lives needing to be organized. Luckily, I'm a professional organizer. Prior to leaving I posted little reminder notes all throughout our apartment for all of the boys (you're welcome!).
I arrived home to one husband with a full beard, he was too exhausted to apparently shave his face, two kids who could not stop hugging me and telling me stories about the days I missed and best of all - our five year old can now wipe his own ass which made the entire trip worth it.
Welcome home - I missed you guys...(when's the next trip?).
It's taken me a few days to collect my thoughts. There's been a lot of time spent reading, a lot of tears, and a lot of time trying to make sense out of something I'm now resigned to believe I will never understand.
I look at my beautiful children during the carefree days of summer, playing with their friends, including everyone in their camp games. There are no limitations with regard to skin color, gender, religion or status. They just play. Whether they're splashing in the community pool, building castles in the sand, singing songs or cheering for one another during organized games. I well up just thinking about it - the simplicity of it all. I long for it to be that way for all of us.
But alas, I'm smarter than that. I know nothing is going to change unless we all - every single one of us - acts on it. I have marched in the streets of NYC with my children, and I'm sure I will again. I donate to causes that focus on humanity. I give my time to my children's schools. I work to make sure my kids know what all of this means, why we are so passionate about being kind, respectful and considerate toward humanity. Why there is no place for hate toward others in our home and throughout our community. How they need to know that when we witness it, we will not ignore it, we will address it. I want them to know that at the end of the day, in this great big world, with all the people in it, we are all essentially related. That's the easiest way for me to explain it to them. We don't have to be related by blood to have something in common with everyone.
The last few days I've been having my little guy point out similarities among his friends and people we don't know. He says things like "we're both boys" or "so and so has brown hair like I do" or "our moms are friends." I'm trying to teach them that at the end of the day, we can find something familiar in one another. A grand idea? Perhaps. But one I will try to foster none the less. It seems so simple, find a common ground, a similarity in our fellow human beings. Oh wait, here's one - WE ARE ALL HUMAN BEINGS. That alone should be enough to get us through. That alone should cause us pause. That alone should create a bond.
I don't have any of the answers, but do I have a long list of things I would like to see change. So tonight, as I listen to my children laughing and playing games on our back porch with their grandma, I will commit to continuing to educate them and talk out loud about doing the right thing, no matter the consequences. I will make sure we are showing compassion and consideration to people we don't even know without expecting something in return. I will find a similarity in everyone I meet, because at the end of the day we are all the same. We are all human beings.