Friday, May 29, 2009

The Exponent on Prop 8

On Tuesday May 26th the California Supreme Court gave it's ruling on Prop 8, which will be upheld. However, those marriages that took place while gay marriage was legal will still stand.

This is the haps over at The Exponent. Plus lots of good comments and fun arguing if you click on the link here:

"A Progressive Mormon Response to the Prop 8 Decision

This letter was composed by a group of progressive Mormons. I like the fact that the authors chose to base their support for the gay community in religious and ethical values, and I also like the fact that the letter does not attack Church leaders. It’s a positive statement of belief that resonates with me. What do you think of it?

Dear Friends,

As a Mormon I am disappointed by the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Prop 8, which denies same sex couples the right to marry. Nonetheless, the court’s decision provides an opportunity to restate some of my essential religious and democratic values.

1) As a Mormon I believe the emotional and spiritual growth, the life experience, the nurturing and acceptance we experience as members of strong, loving families is joyous, necessary and an expression of God’s hope for all of us. Yet we live in a society that values some families more than others. I reject the idea that families with same-sex partners are any less vital, any less loving, any less able to nurture their members, any less deserving of recognition or protection than heterosexual families.

2) As a Mormon I am moved by the recognition that both the Mormon and gay communities have experienced the agony of misunderstanding, marginalization, violence, and persecution. Communities that share the pain of common histories and status as “outsiders” have a unique opportunity to come together; to empathize with each other, and to heal one another; to work together for the advancement of inclusive communities, and for the defeat of prejudice for the benefit of us all.

3) As a Mormon, I am lead by the essential Christian idea that the great commandment consists of a full commitment to God and to loving my neighbor as myself. This is not merely a feel-good truism; it establishes the very foundation of Christian ethics that call us into relationship with God and those who are different from ourselves. The way we listen to, engage with, and treat those who are radically different from us is a true test of our commitment to Christ. It’s not enough that we be “tolerant” while living in judgment of and isolation from one another. Christian ethics insists that we allow our lives to be intertwined with the lives of those around us, even those who are radically different.

4) As a Mormon I see ethical dialogue as a way forward in difficult times. This is dialogue that originates from our commitment to community ethics and from a desire for mutual understanding. This is dialogue that seeks to include, to listen, and to guide us in doing our best for those around us. The Mormon community does not benefit when people respond to us based on stereotypes and fear. Nor does it benefit us to respond to other communities in such a way. Fear is never a legitimate basis of action. Dialogue is a tool for putting aside fear and building ethical and democratic communities.

In the short term I know there is a great deal of work to do. As one person I commit myself to dialogue, to community building and to resisting those voices that encourage us to fear one another. The lives and relationships of gay people embody the same dignity, love, respect, understanding, nurturing, and spiritual potential as those of straight people. I acknowledge this and hope that others will too."
K here again. I enjoy reading all these differing opinions on the issue of not just Prop 8, but homosexuality, same sex marriage, same sex adoption, homosexuality in the Church, and many other issues as well. This will be a debate for many years to come.

As far as Prop 8 goes, I am glad that the state respected the wishes of the voters and kept the outcome more or less the same as what CA's majority decided. It would be a dangerous precedent to overrule the will of the people. However, I think it is only a matter of time before the next proposition comes along in CA and grants marriage rights to all.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Surgery Change (again)

E's surgery is moved to July 6th. It's the day before M's birthday, but we will just have to make it work.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Harry Potter

Oh man, I'm excited about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this summer! Plus, it is PG. Therefore M and I can have a little date.

M and I have been reading HP and the Sorcerer's Stone (and watching the movie) lately. Things that have happened since HP mania has struck the resident 3-year-old:
  • M saying to R "You're Voldemort. Hey, um, Voldemort? You need to come and kill my parents." Sounds bad, huh? But it's how the story goes. Harry's parents get killed.
  • M flying around on his tiny broom playing Quidditch.
  • M answering most questions I have, or demands that I make with "Okay, Hermione."
  • M using a marker to cast spells.
  • M saying gibberish constantly in order to cast said spells. I have tried teaching him "Alohomora" and "Wingardium Leviosa" and "Petrificus Totalus" but to no avail.
  • M saying when he goes to bed "I love living at Hogwarts!"
  • M using his wand to "open" automatic doors at the grocery store. I'm sure we look pretty entertaining to all those watching.
  • M insisting that he is 11 because he's Harry. Therefore, he can do all kinds of things not normally allowed a 3-year-old. Clever.
  • If M sees a cat, calling it Professor McGonagall.
  • M telling me he can hit things with his stick because he is fighting the troll.
  • When seeing any hat, it's a Sorting Hat!
  • M asks at various times during the day: "Where is Voldemort?" and I say that he is hiding and M says "Oh yeah, on the back of Professor Quirell's head."
I am sure there will be more in the weeks to come. You never can tell how long these obsessions will last. I will enjoy it while I can as it is more interesting than the last phase: playing Chutes and Ladders ad nauseum. I welcome the next birthday wherein we can start playing Trouble. Shh, don't tell!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Belated Mother's Day

My mother's day was sweet. I got flowers from R and picture from M. M even sang me "Happy Mother's Day" to the tune of Happy Birthday as per the instructions of his preschool teacher. Immediately following that he informed me that it wasn't the real way to sing it, that it was really the happy birthday song and he was "just being silly". E gave me his usual smiles and laughs. Good times.

However, Mother's Day is not so much fun for many other folks out there. It can be a painful reminder that you have lost a parent or a child, that you are estranged, that you feel like a failure, or that you simply are not a mother. I am aware of this as a person who does not speak to my mother. So even though I am a woman in a traditional motherhood role at this point in my life, I want to say that I sincerely hope that everyone survived Mother's Day in some way, preferably with positive feelings.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Palate Surgery

E is all scheduled for July 10th, just FYI. I feel much calmer about this one. Hopefully that doesn't jinx it.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Things M says (Part Four)

(we are in the car driving to E's physical therapy with a bottle warming in a mug in the cupholder)

me: aw crap!
M: why did you say crap mom?
me: oh, I spilled some water.
M: why did you spill water?
me: because I was turning the car.
M: why were you turning?
me: because cars have to turn when they drive.
M: why?
me: because you have to follow the road or you will crash.
M: why will you crash?
me: because the car just will.
M: why?
me: because!



M loves to sing. He also cannot carry a tune so it is pretty awesome to behold. His favorite song right now?: "There's a little wheel a-turnin in my heart" by Laurie Berkner, which he learned at preschool. (Her CD is great by the way. We borrowed it from his teacher, and I think I shall purchase it.) My favorite part of the song: "there's a big truck honking in my heart, HONK HONK..." etc. Good times.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


(I do not want to out any of my siblings here on my blog. They were victims of my parents in their own ways, and they can tell their stories on their own terms. I will only talk about my experiences.)

When the sexual abuse issue came to light in my family, it was not pretty. I had never told anyone in my family, only my therapists and R and a few of my roommates. In fact, the sexual abuse was a secret until 4 years ago. I remember, because I was prego with M when it all hit the fan. After sitting on the information for a few months, R and I decided that we needed to call the police and have them arrest my dad. My bishop in Michigan at the time agreed, as did the bishop of my family in California. Those are the logistics of the situation. One fine day everything fell into place and I felt ready to call. So I did.

My dad was arrested and the rest of the family that did not already know found out. My dad was sentenced a few months later to a year of house arrest and 5 tears probation. The state also had a restraining order put on him in my behalf, which I did not appreciate at the time but have come to be thankful for. The church disfellowshipped him. (An aside: do I think that a child abuser deserves to be excommunicated? Yes. In every case. If you are truly repentant, then you can get rebaptized later. After you do a bunch of soul searching and apologizing and therapy and making-it-right. I will rant about this some other time.)

I found this process cathartic. After so many years it was finally out. My siblings knew about what I had gone through, and it brought us closer over time. My aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents finally knew, and said they loved me.

However, my mother insisted that we all work on forgiving my dad. She pushed me hard. And I automatically pushed back. I realized something then. You do not have to talk to your abuser to forgive them. You do not have to be around your abuser to forgive them. You do not have to like your abuser to forgive them. I then saw with more clarity how I was, at that very moment, being emotionally abused by my mother as well.

But now I was armed with this knowledge. I did not have to talk to my mom either. Our conversations were nothing but emotional blackmail to get me to be around her and my dad and reassure them that what they had done was understandable. My mom would try and shame me with church-type arguments: don't you think it's time to forgive and not be angry? She would bully me into speaking to my father, before I was ready, even when I said no repeatedly. I started piecing together the depth of her enabling my father and manipulation of, well, everyone. It made me so angry. The anger was an important piece.

I have decided not to speak to my parents anymore. I will save the story of how that happened for another post. Ultimately it came down to this: I was trying to grow, change, move through the pain, go to therapy, make good boundaries, and to be aware of how I was feeling, to acknowledge it and embrace it. But my parents wanted validation for what had happened as if to say "I know I abused you, but you have to understand where I am coming from too". Do I?

Now we are back to the anger. In my opinion, until you get really, consumingly mad you cannot move to forgiveness. Believe me, I tried. I tried forgiving before I admitted I was angry and betrayed and broken. Between my crappy home life and the Mormon culture I grew up in, I got a clear message: anger is bad, anger doesn't help. Wrong! Anger is what it is. Anger is a part of the process. Anger is a part that is just as valid and necessary as the forgiveness part.

I also like to remember that anger is a secondary emotion. You get angry because of something else: hurt, pain, sadness, etc. The anger is your indication of something deeper going on. And then, if you embrace the anger and revel in it, you can fully appreciate when you are no longer angry. You should feel angry if you are abused. Embrace it.

I read a book called Toxic Parents by Susan Forward. It encouraged writing letters to your abusers, whether you sent them or not. The meaningful part was the writing. I have my angry letter. I wrote it over several months time, and I still sometimes reread it. I have some semblance of forgiveness for my parents now. It has taken 4 years. And it isn't finished. And if it took 20 years that would be okay too. Anger first, forgiveness later. Real forgiveness.

Saturday, May 02, 2009


Hardly anyone will care about this but: in case you are looking to find a better alternative to Mederma for scar treatment, I found one at Whole Foods called Derma E Scar Gel. That is what I am using on E's lip. The reason I did not want to use the Mederma: three of the ingredients are known carcinogens and/or unregulated. Those three are PEG-10, Fragrance, and methylparaben. (According to the EWG website anything with "PEG" in it is bad, parabens in general are bad, and fragrance is bad because it can mean almost anything, you never know.)

Rant: These filler ingredients are dangerous! I get upset when they put them in children products like shampoo, bubble bath, sunscreen, scar gel, toothpaste, hair products, hand wash, etc. We should be able to trust that what we are buying is safe, and we cannot. Lame! I read ALL my labels now.

Friday, May 01, 2009

E's Lip

E went in for a follow up yesterday and all is well. Swelling is down and pain is almost gone. The next step is massaging his little lip with scar gel a couple of times a day for the next few months. This helps the scar itself soften and the muscles to relax down into the proper positions. I am fascinated by this whole process. We are scheduling the palate surgery for the first part of July.