These Are The Days

Smart ~ Writer ~ Mom

Author: Kim (page 1 of 41)

The Moon Knows

the pink moon

The pink moon

I tell the moon my secrets
While it pierces the inky sky
All the contents of my heart
And what resides behind my eyes.
The longing I have to know you
The words I have to say
May not be my fortune
In this lifetime
Still.
I wait another day.

This Is Us (Or, The Very Best Show on TV Right Now)

I don’t mean to judge you but if you didn’t watch This Is Us last season and you’re not planning to watch it this season, I’m pretty sure we can no longer be friends. It truly is the very best show on TV and I am so not exaggerating.

The characters are human and complicated and real. And the actors that play them are filled with a talent that makes me want to crawl into the TV every week and just hang out with them. The one-hour show is over way too quickly each week. Why do we need commercials? Can’t we just swim in sixty straight minutes of exceptional storytelling and not worry about advertising revenue?

Although it’s hard to pick a favorite storyline, mine is Sterling K. Brown’s portrayal of Randall.  I love Kevin, Kate, Rebecca and Jack, but there are so many things with Randall’s character that just make my heart ache. Most significantly, it’s the transracial adoption storyline. Bravo to the writers and the actors for tackling this topic and allowing it to play out on the national stage in all its messiness and beauty.

I have tremendous respect and admiration for the way in which this show and this character have opened a conversation about what it means to be adopted. There is, of course, no one answer or one simple definition of what it means to be an adoptee, a birthparent, or an adopted parent – but I give them a lot of credit for making this a central part of their story. I simply adored the storyline last season of Randall finding his biological father. Although I admit I was hesitant at first.  Birthparents (mothers in particular) are not often shown in the best light. But as Randall’s story unfolds I found myself feeling right alongside him as he moved through a range of emotions … from anger and bitterness to curiosity and longing, and finally, to hope.

Hope for reconciliation and hope for a relationship.

Not to spoil too many facets of the story, but there was indeed a beautiful relationship that grew between these two characters. Questions were answered. Some, harder than others. And forgiveness.

And forgiveness. Oh the forgiveness that eventually flowed from the heartbreak was so moving.

The relationship between Randall and William was significant. And I think the writers and the actors told their story brilliantly, through layer after layer of discoveries and pain and finally, connection and love. But it’s the relationship between Randall and Rebecca that affected me the most and about which I have the greatest curiosity.

One scene last season left me absolutely breathless. It was the scene where Randall returns to his mother’s house for the first time in weeks. He had discovered a secret that she had kept from him all these years and he was angry. He rings the doorbell of her home and you expect him to fly into a rage. But he doesn’t. He’s still angry, but instead of indulging that anger, he turns toward forgiveness. Slowly at first, and then all at once – like falling in love, as author John Green described in The Fault In Our Stars.

In the words he speaks, he gives his mother an inkling of hope that all is not lost. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting to hear and as such, I was instantly overcome with sobbing tears.

this is us It was a brilliantly-written scene and Sterling K. Brown played it magnificently.

From that scene and really from this whole show, I’m coming to realize just how sensitive I am to the notion of forgiveness. And I’m realizing how much I may need it – both to give and to receive.

Television, like theatre and movies and all art really, has the power to do so much good.  I believe this show is doing a lot of good. I cannot wait for This Is Us to resume next week. It’s been a long summer and I’m ready.

If you haven’t watched This Is Us, there’s still time I think. Perhaps On-Demand or something? Regardless, get to it. You will not regret becoming consumed by this extraordinary show.

Storm clouds

You can sense when a storm’s coming.

The wind gets cooler and sharp.

The air tight with anticipation. 

The birds flutter and scurry for shelter under a porch ledge or under the thick brush. Ready for the chaos of a storm.

It’s been building. But now only silence.

A few drops at first and then suddenly. 

Nothing will be the same when the storm passes. 

Or maybe it will make everything better. 

On This Day

A friend is hurting today. Well, to be honest, she’s been hurting every day for the last five months because today is one of those marker days. Not necessarily an anniversary or a milestone day, but a day you remember. You know the kind. It’s like the date that new couples celebrate as their three-month-a-versary. Or when parents identify their toddler as “21 months old.” When something significant happens we mark the date as a reference point in our minds and on the calendar.

Today isn’t a happy day for my friend. Five months ago, she lost her little girl in a senseless accident that ripped her world out from under her feet. She’s still finding her footing, but I imagine she’s a little less steady than she was before.

I can’t imagine the loss of a child. Just thinking about her loss makes my heart ache and my eyes tear up. Truth be told, I never met her daughter. My friend and I met through work and although I did meet her son, I moved away in 2012 before her daughter was born. We remained connected over the years and I watched her beautiful family grow through Facebook pictures. The ones she shared before the accident and the ones she shares now, after. Those must be the hardest of all.

When the “On This Day” appears on my Facebook timeline I often think of my friend. As I look back at what I was posting last year or the year before and I make a mental note of how much my own family has changed and grown, I think of her. I think of what it must be like for her to see these images of her daughter – smiling, happy, learning to crawl and then walk – and how incredibly painful it all must be to remember the happy times while carrying so much grief and sadness.

Today, she shared a picture on her timeline from this day last year. Of happier times. She wrote, “well, we survived five months without her…”

*********

Her before pictures were so wonderfully ordinary. Just like what you or I would share. Snaps of a happy kiddo visiting her dad at work or playing with her big brother or making silly faces at Mommy. And then one day the world falls apart and these memories land on one side of the fault line that was the tragedy. And everything after is overshadowed with sadness, grief. As if the memory knows there’s something missing.

Soon after I saw her post, I saw a blog by Anna, a writer and blogger I follow online. We aren’t friends, but she is the friend of a dear friend of mine. She, too, lost her child unexpectedly on a random rainy day six years ago. Before her son’s death, she shared stories of love and family life on her blog. But after he died, her blog became the place where she bravely shared painful stories of loss and grief. Her post today talked about the befores and the afters and how it never really gets easier after such a searing loss. She offered a bit of hope that after doesn’t mean over.

I’m thinking of my friend today and every day. I wish things were different. I wish that her little girl was still here with her. I wish I could take away her grief. I wish I lived closer so I could give her a hug. But more than anything though, I wish her the peace of someday knowing that, as Anna says, “after is different. After is often hard. But after doesn’t mean over.”

So-Called Pregnancy Centers: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing

I am extremely skeptical of so-called pregnancy centers like A Door of Hope, a center close to where I live, and one of a number of such facilities nationwide.

Pregnancy centers like these do not have medically trained staff on site.

This. Is. An. Important. Point.

They are a religiously-funded and supported Christian organization with an agenda. I am a Christian and I would no more trust them to perform an ultrasound or a pregnancy test or pregnancy counseling on me than I would my local Starbucks. And while I appreciate that their website says they’ll “refer you to resources” if abortion is something a person is considering, I find that hard to believe (but I’m certainly open to anyone who can prove me wrong.)

In my opinion, it would be better if Door of Hope and other “pregnancy centers” like these used their religious donations and funding to offer free birth control or at the very least free condoms; free community classes on STDs and sex health; and outreach to schools to talk to young girls and boys about the physical and emotional sides of sex (more than just biological sex ed); and, to promote safe sex, encourage healthy choices, and lower the risk of unintended pregnancy and STDs.

Knowledge is power.

If they would just be upfront about their intentions that would be fine. “We are a Christian organization – not medically-trained professionals. We are pro-life and we are here to see you through your pregnancy.” Or something like that.

But of course, their intent is not to provide pregnancy services; it is to coerce women in crisis to not choose abortion and find Jesus through classes like:
“Making an Informed Decision About Religion”
“Who is Jesus?” and
“Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes”

These are real classes, y’all. Not at your local church as you might anticipate, but at the local crisis pregnancy center.

One question: what if the woman in crisis is Jewish? Sikh? Hindi? Or Muslim? Are the services offered contingent upon the woman’s conversion to Christianity? Eesh.

In exchange for attending these “classes,” the pregnant woman receives credits to be used for diapers, baby clothes, car seats, etc. That sounds a bit like bribery to me. Attend our classes, promise not to abort, and we’ll give you free things for your baby. Yikes. Will Door of Hope be there when the baby is 2? 6? 13? What if the baby has severe medical needs? Just how long is the door of hope open? Just curious.

I’m realizing that centers like these really trigger a nerve with me.  I am still sorting out everything, but I think it’s safe to say these things trigger me because of the inherent intent to deceive. After all, who benefits from centers like these? Is it the young women? Well, surely some women have benefited from talking to a complete stranger about an unexpected pregnancy. But again, these are not people with any kind of counseling or medical training so really they’re just operating as surrogate confidants.

So who else benefits? The pro-life movement? Well, perhaps. After all, many of these centers are set-up purposefully near Planned Parenthood clinics so from a political standpoint, I suppose it looks good to those on the pro-life side.

But the entity that really benefits the most is the church, and specifically the people that work in these centers. They get to congratulate themselves on how they’re doing the work of Jesus and helping to save lives when in fact they’re doing nothing of the sort. Proselytizing isn’t part of a regular ob-gyn exam, last I checked.

I abhor centers like these that are deceptive and manipulative – especially those that operate under the guise of religion. Perhaps A Door of Hope is an oasis for some women, but to me, it’s nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

(Note: I wrote a shorter version of this post on a private Facebook group, from which I will probably will be asked to leave! Seriously, my community is quite conservative and my voice tends to get lost there sometimes. So I decided to share it here, too.)

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