Karin Mitchell's books on Goodreads
Between Families Between Families
reviews: 5
ratings: 8 (avg rating 4.75)

Friday, January 19, 2018

The Experience of a Cumquat

“No thanks. I’ve had a cumquat,” my student says.

“Yes. But you haven’t had a cumquat today. You have to have one today if you’re going to write about it today.”

“Do I have to eat the whole thing?”

I nod and he shakes his head and does it.

Embracing the shitty first draft I bite into the cumquat. The burst of the dull, bitter rind; and the tart and then the sweet that follows. But I cheat and spit out the seeds.

“Do you like cumquats?” he asks me.

“Not exactly.”

I enjoy the experience of cumquats. I enjoy sharing with others something they’ve never tried. I love to see someone’s face the first time a thought strikes them. I like to be the one to deliver a new idea like showing him the Metamorphosis and how “we’re all bugs.” And I rewatch Baraka and remember all the things that move me. I sweat on the treadmill and remember who I am in the sloughing off of what’s toxic to me. I can taste what’s good in me when I let go of what’s bad. It’s not exactly that Baraka is good. It’s that it makes me feel, it makes me think.

Do I believe life has no meaning? Do I like cumquats?

Not exactly. Because it’s not that I like cumquats. They’re an experience though. There’s something about the burst of flavor, the way it pinches the side of your jaw and how minutes later, your saliva is still sweet, an after effect of something so sour.

Not exactly, It’s the kind of answer I give my boys. And then I let them taste the world in all its nuances. “Do I have to eat the whole thing?” Yes, you do. Taste it all. I let them bite into the rind and then they tell me they hate it. They fight to not taste. But I play them punk rock music and they feel too alive to say no. They eat and drink and listen to music and we talk about racism and art and symbols and they tell me they love it and talk so much my brain shuts off.

Do I like cumquats? Maybe I do. The experience of them, the life to them, the punch of laughter and sour and bitter and then the writer sits typing, tasting the sweet after-effects of her thoughts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Get Stop Licking That FREE today

Stop Licking That, my new memoir is FREE today on Amazon. Get your copy ASAP!

If you prefer paperback, you can order one below. It's not quite up on Amazon yet but soon...

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What's YOUR sense of humor?

Which style or styles best match your sense of humor?

Life is Silly, let’s laugh- You see the humor in the situation when you drop a full coffee on your boss’s toe.
Situation Distiller- You’re the one who cracks a joke when things start getting too serious or awkward and we all thank you for that.
Self-deprecating- You make fun of yourself to make people laugh. It’s worth it.
Junkpunch funny- you laugh at slapstick, whoopee cushions, and when someone gets hurt.
Punny- you laugh at this joke “Why don’t cannibals eat clowns?” “Because they taste funny!”
Seriously funny- You don’t smile or laugh at your own jokes and you slide them in at just the right time to catch others unawares and crack. Them. Up.
Smartipants- Your jokes are funny and you think of the unlikely, witty line that drives them home. Often timely jokes and sometimes political are your favorites.
Quirky- It just hits your funny bone and a few others and you can’t stop laughing. Meanwhile those who don’t get it watch on in confusion. You might like Salad Fingers or cult niche humor.
Potty jokes- seriously ya’ll, farts are funny
Jokes about others- you laugh the hardest while railing on your buddy. You don’t get offended if someone makes fun of you either (otherwise, it just makes you a dick.)
What Style is Stop Licking That? Read it and tell me! Preorder it here!
Click here to enter for a chance to win these rad books!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Stop Licking That!

My younger son, who I'll refer to as Gomez from here on out, got me sick. The way it happened is this.

Gomez: "Mommy, I want a kiss."
Me, a fool: "Aww..." leans in for kiss
Gomez sneezes in my mouth.

This happened twice.

It's not in this book, but feel free to check out Stop Licking That. It's up for pre-sales!

Monday, August 1, 2016

6 reasons bloggers should stop making numbered lists

1. It's annoying.
2. No really.
3. Just
4. Fucking
5. Stop
6. It

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Unique Help I every once in a while get to give

It's not easy to measure success. And if you do it in terms of could-I-live-off-my-writing, then no, I'm not successful. I'm on this author FB group where people are measuring and advertising and do all these things I've never heard of and it's good because I get ideas, but then I get intimidated too. By their success measured, I don't think I'd be doing so well.

But if you do it in terms of have-I-made-progress and did-this-matter-to-anyone, then yes. I do try the things people on these sites say (some of them anyway.) And sometimes I inch forward.

Here's the progress. I saved enough money and paid for a Kirkus review just before Christmas. They feature less than 10% of their reviews in their print media and mine got picked. That's cool. But not as cool as the did-this-matter-to-anyone category.

Yesterday I talked with parents who had adopted their son years ago and have struggled to figure out his behavior ever since. I gave them some ideas including contacting a lawyer to renegotiate a subsidy to help them pay for the significant amount they're having to come up with to pay for all their son's therapies and for respite care for him when it just gets to be too much. I also encouraged them to find peer connections for him within foster care and post-foster care communities in order to help him see his situation in perspective and potentially see himself become a leader, telling kids how it can be to live. These suggestions were the unique help I got to offer because I wrote this book. (And because of the previous work I've done as a teacher and caseworker.) If I hadn't written it, they would never have known I had this background and would not have asked.
One day, I came into work and saw a colleague I'd given a copy to. I know her to be a reader and that she sits on a committee who recommends books for the college where I work. I was explicit when I told her I wanted to be selected and this was why I was giving her the book. Well, and obviously I thought she'd like it.
That morning she handed me cash and told me she'd finished my book and that it had made her want to be a foster parent and that she'd like to pay for the book so that she could support me as a writer. What better impact could you ask for?
Finally, I sent a copy to Marilyn (Atler) VanDerbur. I loved her book Miss America by Day and read it in one sitting. I wanted to thank her for the bravery it took to tell her story and to convince millions of women and survivors of their worth. She's truly a wonder.
She sent me this after she read it.
"Dear Karin,
Thank you for shedding so much light on what happens to too many children.
  Especially RTC...
so little is understood.

I didn't find it raw or dark - found it so educational.

I have emails from adults who have survived this - I will recommend your book -
it is always helpful to have our experiences validated...

Thank you for sharing this..."
So, I'm not a professional writer in that I don't make my money that way. But if I measure success by the impact I'm having, it may not be constant, but it is unique and it matters to me greatly.

Friday, January 8, 2016

On teaching youth: An intergenerational, value-based idea

What we lack in our society is not training or education or wealth but the mirror that we hold up to each generation that shows them their worth:
  • the value of youth to bring energy and solutions and push and push until they are realized
  • the value of middle age to see the value of both sides of the coin: young and old, and keep on in the midst of the storm amid all its fury and whorl to see the simplicity of a single moment of abundance
  • the value of old age where vanity takes its leave and we are free to help and simply be with our knowledge.
Our youth are without purpose. We don't show them their value and they are left wandering, disconnected from each other and us, without the necessary means to channel their instinct for change. They used to be the risk takers we needed in hunting and battle. Those with the courage to stand up to the group and say "stop." Those who would stand up to a genocide. Those who would encourage us to walk when we're used to driving, or build our homes from something more sustainable. But we discount their ideas and their energies. We tell them they're young and don't know anything. And that's not untrue, they are without wisdom and sometimes without depth, but it's only part of the story. We educate them in pods of 12 months apart that do not teach them to interchange ideas generationally so we know not how to take their ideas. Nor they ours.

Our adult childrearing population is disconnected from the ancient knowledge and following whims of parenting without a network of supports. Sometimes it works. Sometimes we all get overwhelmed and just let them eat nachos and play on a tablet. Sometimes people are so disconnected they do this all the time. Sometimes as we're engaged in this age, we know exactly how valuable it is. I know I do. I know how amazing it is to relearn the world through my children's eyes. I know how infinitely miraculous it is to hear a bird in the quiet of snow-covered forest floor for the first time, or take off in flight in an airplane and watch the world become grids and streams and stacks below. I know how perfect it can be to fall asleep wrapped up in my children and to find the purpose of that swell of plump just below my belt, as it makes the absolute perfect pillow for my five-year-old. I know that the value of marriage is not merely in safety or security but in feeling the beating heart of a person you've loved for 10 years as though it were inside your own chest as you cleave to each other, not out of need or habit, but out of desire and satisfaction.

And though I know these things, I'd say that I still fall into the disconnected category. I hoard these moments close; they are insular, ours alone. We have made and protected a beautiful moment, a perfect connection with the four of us. But it doesn't extend into a multi-generational community. It is a fragile four, and its wonder is protected by small numbers.

When I was a little girl, I connected to a woman in her nineties who lived down the street from me. She was basically homebound. She could not always raise her hands above her shoulders long enough to even brush her hair. I'm not sure exactly what I sought from the relationship but I was about 8 and would go to her house from time to time and sit and wait to see if she'd tell any stories of her life. She rarely did but it was nice to sit quietly with her. Once we made pasta from scratch and I was terrified I'd cut the pasta wrong and she'd have to do it over again. I knew how hard it was for her but she was very patient and calm about the whole thing. I held back in a way that is uncharacteristic of me except when I am around someone very, very old. Then I calm, and quiet, and wait.

Most of the time, I'm pretty high strung. I have trouble with calm and waiting. I need a lot of exercise and if I don't get it (which is often lately,) I struggle with anxiety and worry and rethink things that shouldn't be bothered with much less analyzed and worried about. I can think of a comment in any given interchange to worry may have been taken wrong or that I shouldn't have said. I can snap with my kids in a way I didn't think I would, getting snippy and bitchy at them when I shouldn't be. And maybe a ninety year old among us would help me. Maybe that generation's value of time and patience would allow my children to calm too.

Maybe the lacking of ego or vanity, the carelessness of age would hold a mirror up to us all and remind us that we are, each of us, are our 3-year-old selves learning the world for the first time; at the same time as we are our 5-year-old helper selves; at the same time as our frustrated, eye-rolling 15 year-old selves; at the same time as our 25-year old adventuring selves; at the same time as our 35-year-old responsible, loving selves. And maybe that age would remind us that we still have selves to find if we just wait...

Those of us who love engaging with young people know something about the value of this particular age. We know how to hear their ideas and engage in the excitement of something new and different with glassy eyes. But maybe it's not simply for us to hear them. Maybe I should take my own advice. Maybe I should teach them to hear an idea, and wait. Maybe teach them to hold up the value of the person providing the idea and consider that that person represents a wealth of ages and experiences and consider those things. Maybe...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Judge not by credentials but by the story

I've picked away at the task of networking lately. I fall down a rabbit hole of groups on LinkedIn or I search book lists for similar books. I read reviews and search public profiles and youtube videos to see how people are doing the business of writing. I toss around ideas about redoing the cover, I review other books, I contact folks I think I might connect with. I attempt, again and again, to describe who I am to strangers in the hopes that this will be the right connection to foster good professional development and a network of awesome.

I want a network of awesome. Awesome people, doing work of all shapes and sizes to make the world a better place. Among recent friends I have a woman lawyer who does immigration law and a former race car driver who works to make parenting advice accessible to all. These are mostly mommy or skiing friends though.

I'm looking for the writers and the readers. I find a writing connection because the person writes about marketing or writes about the same topics or lives in my area and I attempt to cultivate a relationship. I usually start off feeling as I imagine many, many young men have over the years, as though I'm outclassed, staring at an attractive woman across the room.

I scratch out a draft of an email. I am blahblah, I did this and that. You should care because we have suchandsuch in common. And I mean these connections as I write them. I feel them. But I also feel like I'm probably going to get an eye roll and she'll turn back to her friend, reject my offer of friendship and I'll try again.

Sometimes I get it just right though. I am who I. I don't try hard to hide anything and the genuine weirdo/mostly nice person that I am comes through. I get a phone call, on an actually phone from someone saying thank you for the book. Sometimes these connections feel divinely inspired and I can hear the fears of the person on the other end of the line wondering how I wrote. I can hear how the other person fears that he or she won't be good enough, even though when I first contacted them, I believed them too good for me. And when I can hear their fears, I am reminded that we are all human, frail and afraid of failing. And yet guaranteed to sometimes do just that.

Most recently, I downloaded a fellow author's book. The author holds many accolades and is well-respected for his work. And I'm SURE he sells a lot of books. But as a reader, as I stared down the page, I was reminded of all that I've learned in recent years about describing a scene.

I was reminded that someone thinks I look good on paper and sometimes other people's work looks so much more accomplished than my own. And yet, at the end of the day, each individual book is judged by a reader, not by what they know about the author or the cover, but by the painstaking detail of showing up, as a writer, to do the work of putting pen to paper and creating in the mind of the reader, a scene. Followed by another scene. Followed by another with dialogue and metaphor and setting and imbued with meaning. And if I make that happen in a reader's mind on any given day, I've won. And if a writer grants that gift to me, I've won again.

Writing is hones that way. You either engage with the page, or you stop. Hope you're finding good reading this January. I know I am.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Truth about Between Families

I was bullied as a kid. I'll probably never know why and I am certainly not unique in my experience but I still feel weird about it. Girls from my class would turn and hate me in a minute. No warning, no reason why. They dumped my desk, left it full of notes that said "bitch," pinched me as they walked down the aisles. Then in a second it would be over and I'd have friends again. When in the midst of an incident, I missed school, faking illness. They'd call at all hours of the day and night and hang up and then do it again, and again, and again. At the time it was unsettling and I'd get scared and cry. I'd take the phone off the hook and put it back on a couple of hours later.

The first time I considered suicide I was about 9 years old, I think. I think that because I remember holding a butter knife against the pale blue of the veins just under the skin of my wrist and wondering if I could cut them with that knife because I wasn't allowed to use sharp knives yet.

When I was 10, we moved to St. Louis and I lost all my outlets, all the things I felt good doing. I stopped swimming or dancing or doing gymnastics.

I lived in St. Louis for a long time. A lot of it was unhappy, isolated times in my life. My dad came out of the closet just before my freshman year of high school. This was in the days when many people still thought it was completely acceptable for a mob to attack a person with no other cause than that person's sexual orientation. And I had a dad, the most loved person in my life other than my mother, who could be a victim of this. And if he made it through that, there was still all the judging. People might think he was evil, or that I was.

I was young and I was scared. I kept it a secret for the first couple of years that I knew about him. I would fly to Chicago where he'd moved and have these great visits where I met all his fabulous new friends and went to gay restaurants and they were in awe of how collected I was about the whole thing. But that was a lie. It was a comfortable relief to be there, honest about my dad and happy and seeing that everyone was happy and okay.

It's easy to be collected about a thing when it sits neatly folded up in a compartment of your life, never to be seen by anyone who might judge it.

I did eventually tell people about my dad. And that actually went just fine. After years of worrying what the backlash would be for someone that clearly did not fit into their own skin the way mine misfit me, the result of my dad's homosexuality fell silently into a comfortable quirk about me. No one cared.

But the other problems of my family stayed tucked tightly away. Those things are still required secrets in my family. I did not share them then and I'm not allowed to now. Back then, I didn't fit in my skin. I was awkward. I looked around and saw friends who had great grades and ACT scores and SAT scored. I hadn't even figured out how to sign up and that I kept a secret along with all my others. I'm not sure how much of it was shame and how much of it was just my role to keep it together, but when I was 17, with college on the horizons, I couldn't keep it together any more.

I attempted suicide.

I continue to this day to be ashamed of that. I'm honest about it to people. But ashamed.

It was important for me to do it. I got the help I needed and have never suffered from that debilitating depression since.

But sometimes when I go back to St. Louis, it's like the ghosts of those feelings lurk in the locations I used to frequent. The insecurity, the shame, the constant comparisons I used to do.

I know all these brilliant, accomplished people that I love and am proud of there. I see them and am awed by what they're doing with their lives. And if they came to Colorado and I got updated on their new strides, I'd hold them up a trophies. "Do you know who I know?" My friends are awesome.

But when I'm there, it feels different. It feel haunted by the 8 year old girl I was who was never good enough.

Seffra is more me than I realized when I was writing her. She was supposed to be for the kids I'd known in treatment centers. She was supposed to represent their struggle. She was not supposed to be me.

But nearly a year after the book's come out now, I can see how much her of her story is actually mine. The bullying, feeling out of place, dirty to men, the suicide-- those were me. Are me.

Especially when I go back to where it all still feels raw and vulnerable. I'm there to promote a book that has not been a copy-selling success.

The number of copies sold are the dirty secret of author's lives, I think. Most authors, most books, sell less than 1,000 copies. Mine hasn't yet reached 500 if we're talking paper copies. I've been the finalist of an international award but I'm still secretly terrified no one likes me. Such is the truth of vulnerability, of life.

And as my 8-year-old self and my 10-year-old self, and worst of all, my 17-year-old self go about life there, packed neatly away in my suitcase, I'm reminded in my life's most vulnerable ways of how hard it is to put yourself out there. I keep me tucked away and talk about my professional experience. I don't talk about my suicide attempt or my mom and her struggles. I hope people will like the story and it will be successful but it's financially a flop. And maybe that will be the case no matter what.

Maybe it's just hard to sell books. I certainly know statistically that's true. Or maybe audiences can smell the way I hold back. The formal nature of my lie of omission. And maybe it keeps me from connecting.

So here are the lessons I've learned since the book came out:

1. I need to be honest about my own vulnerability. Otherwise anxiety and insecurity will make me crazy. I'm no good at faking things. It comes out other ways.

2. I am happiest when I connect a lot to my husband and kids and when I ski and run and play soccer and write and work. St. Louis and I can only be distant friends. It's a fabulous city and I just can't.

3. Anything in life is better when you talk about it honestly to a friend. Thank you, Chris, my friend I talked through an entire breakfast with about book publishing and how NOT perfectly it's all going. This was after going to see Stevie Wonder live the night before. FYI, listening to Stevie Wonder live makes everything awesome always. I've tested it. It does.

4. Seffra is me in a reimagined life.

The final thing that made me feel amazing was coming home and at a work event where I met someone very high up in my organization who told me I was his hero. Literally used that word. He somehow knew a lot about the work I've been doing on this book. He has books ready and waiting for publishing, more connections than I do, more letters after his name than I have including the important PhD. And he bought a book from me. I'm wowed.

I'm going for a run now. Please buy a book here if you haven't and want to read about Seffra.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Letting Thoughts Wander until you swoop them up

I like shopping for things online even though it doesn't get me out of standing in line. In the mountains where we live, the post office does not generally deliver to homes. Which means we all have PO boxes and elicit a certain amount of scrutiny from retailers and banks and also have to stand in line for all our packages that don't fit in our letter-sized PO boxes. It's annoying but it's also a nice time for my mind to wander.

In stores, I find my need to pay attention to everything exhausting. I get overstimulated from an hour of shopping because I simply must look at EVERYTHING and everyone in the store. This is tenfold more difficult if either, much less, both of my children are with me as then I must also be vigilant for their locations and that's no mean feat. It means that in addition to the lay of the store and its contents and sales and customers, I also keep track of my kids and within 15 minutes I need a margarita.

But online, I can focus on just searching for what I want and then the line at the post office is time for my thoughts to be free. I don't have to focus them, they can wander. And I love wandering thoughts. My time to have thoughts and decide which ones are precious enough to wrap up in a cloth and hold dear to me as a babe is as precious to me as writing. But I have to wrap them up and convert them to something or they get jumbled up together. I write to do that. And that's been undone lately. I haven't been in a routine.

Our lives are in total transition. It confounds any attempt at routine, our life right now. I just started a new job as the Disabilities Services Coordinator for the college where I was working as an instructor. It's awesome but a big job with a lot of details to chase. I make more details in the interest of sustainability and doing things right. Damn me! My husband is starting a new job as the director of a small non profit that provides advocates for victims of assault. My oldest son is about to turn 5 and starts Kindergarten on Wednesday. My younger son is 2 1/2 now and starting at Montessori next month.

Thankfully we finally bought a 2nd car so that's helping with this business of 4 jobs and two school changes and soccer practice and soccer coaching and OH MY! How do normal people do this stuff?

I've spent at least $150 on school supplies. I thought things were supposed to get cheaper with the kids going to school but oy! It ebbs and flows and the increase in income always seems to come along just when we need it. So life's good.

Still, I have floater ideas that need time and key strokes and editing to tie them up and make them take shape so I can figure out how to hold them and which ones to keep and which to release and which should be upcycled to something I can craft into a book. Did I say book?

It's time. I said all along that when my oldest started school, that's when I'd work on the 2nd book. So that's this week right? I'll get the whole book done this week right? No? No. But I'm preparing. I've been consuming books like I'm about to go on a diet, which in a way, I am. I don't usually read while I'm writing so I suppose doing all this reading is preparation. I hope I get my voice just right. I hope the bundles of baby-sweet thoughts make their way across dreams, swaddled up tight and warm and delivered to my arms where I can turn them over to you. You know, after sucking the goop out of their noses;)


Cathartic things I've done
Chopped down a tree with a chain saw while standing on a chain link fence
Taken a hatchet to a tree stump while angry
Scribbled furiously on a piece of paper
sprinted full speed

Proud family moments
When my mom and I played swords with the giant dead tree limbs we'd just cut down with the chainsaw
Moving my sons' bunkbeds apart the very day my oldest admitted to being afraid of spiders as the reason he didn't like sleeping on the top bunk
Watching my son pedal his bike for the first time and letting go knowing he might fall and turning to see my husband walking behind us with my other son on his shoulders.
My husband getting a job as the executive director of a victims advocacy agency and doing so memorably by talking about the importance of targeting men and boys to end violence

Things that make me happy
Watching Aspen leaves flutter
Feeling fresh air on my arms
Finding out someone liked my book
Finishing things
Peeling the lint out of the dryer trap
My son whispering that he wants gentle kisses on his cheeks in the morning when the light has just snuck in but he snuck in first.
Helping students find a way to learn and have fun doing it

Monday, July 13, 2015

To Dust We Have Already Returned

As I looked up at the clouds turning gray and showing their dust this evening, I wondered at all the incantations of my cells. How many pounds of times I've made myself over and dropped dust here or there? Whether my dust may have had your finger in it writing "you wish your girlfriend were this dirty" on a car. Or maybe I've been in the way of your bustling Eastern European cleaning woman, who hurries me away in a bucket. Maybe I get dumped out on the lawn, only to feed into... a thistle.

The hairs and skin and nails I've lost over the years, how many raised beds would they fill? Where have they gone?

Maybe my hair, once tight at the follicle to my scalp, so close to my skull, so close to the buzz of ideas in my brain that simply does not turn off but continues to tell stories as I sleep; maybe that hair has wrapped up in a nest and fed regurgitated ideas to baby doves. Maybe I am part of the cloud I just saw, graying and standing out against the ever bluer sky. Maybe I've made it beyond mountain tops and over oceans.

Maybe you and I have met and made lightening in the jolts of moisture between us as your dust and mine met in a monsoon over India. Maybe I'm flying right now, drifting and dreaming of buzz and idea. Maybe I've landed after all this in the red, red earth and become the dust under bare young soccer-playing feet, scuffling me under toenails and into cuts that will be easily disregarded in favor of more running, more goals.

Maybe that same red earth, dust of me, I've driven it back to the snow where I need to be. Thrown myself up into a cloud and come back to Colorado. I've coated myself in a layer of snow on a powder day, making you raise your goggles, "Is the snow red?"

Maybe I've already been all the places I'd ever want to go. Maybe I'm a rainbow in Maui right now. Maybe I'm in a darkened sky and you're here reading in the pitch. Maybe...

Friday, June 26, 2015

Proud to be an American

In 1993, my father came out.

It was five years later that Matthew Shepard was murdered.

For the first year after my father came out, I didn't tell anyone. I'm not new to openness and honesty so imagine a highly social 14 year old girl who simply does not tell a soul that her father has dropped the biggest shock of her life in her lap. I didn't tell because I was afraid.

I was afraid someone would hurt my dad. I was afraid he'd get AIDS and die. I was afraid someone at my school would find out and hurt me or make my life a living hell. I wasn't over-the-top in these fears. At the time, people were permissible hazed for this sort of thing. I was at a conservative school. I was genuinely afraid of the hate that might come my way.

But then I was at a pride parade where I thought, I can't be here pretending to be "proud" if there I don't tell a soul. So I went home and said, oh well. If it costs me all the social groups in the world, this is who he is and this is who I am. I'm proud and I have to be honest to be truly proud.

And I did.

I went home and told anyone, any time it came up, that my dad was gay. And interestingly no one batted an eye. I was lucky that way. I'd love to take credit for being brazen in the way I presented the information, and I was. Or give credit to the people who didn't let it influence any part of what they thought of me, because good on them. But in all reality, I think I was just lucky. I didn't get picked out as a target for the hate of that time period toward gay people.

So today, and every day that I see progress toward truly equal rights, I feel amazingly blessed. I feel grateful to see where we're headed. I feel grateful that when my son says he wants to marry the guy painting the house (he's also said he wants to marry a few girls his age,) that I can say, "you can marry anyone who you feel is the one and who feels the same way about you."

Make Matthew Shepard and all those who have fallen to the hate that went before proud. Be proud of the progress. And grateful. I am.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Magnus & the Chin Thrust

Last week, at a program I teach with childcare, a bigger kid told Magnus that he didn't like him. I was indignant when he told me, "what a jerk!"
"He wasn't a jerk, mom. Don't call him that!"

Magnus went on to tell me how he'd asked the kid why he didn't like him and the kid had said because he's a little kid. But then said-kid had helped him beat a Mario game and by the end he thought the kid had changed his mind and liked him.

That was Magnus-the-great's response to a kid not liking him. "Oh really, why don't you like me?" And then he determined to change the kid's mind. No hurt feelings, no crying, and it had worked.

This same child post-anesthesia yesterday had to be kept breathing by being held by his mandible in something called a chin thrust while I held oxygen to his face. Trust me when I tell you this is no gentle hold. A nurse means business if she holds someone this way. She means BREATHE.

He spent the night crying and whining and having nightmares. He looked so vulnerable curled in his hospital bed. His body in a wheelchair was impossibly tiny. He's breathing now, oxygen saturation not where we want it so still in the hospital, but no one's forcing him to breath by holding open his airway and forcing life in. He's breathing but I'm still catching my breath. Maybe I should skip over that part and go straight on to the next thing, which happens to be a reading of my book.

I was just about to cancel when I saw myself in the newspaper.

I went and tried out my reading skills amid a friendly crowd at a bookstore that really fits me. It's quirky and dusty with hand-written signs. Two good friends walked up together just before the start of the reading. I had been so stressed with all the ups and downs of Magnus's surgery that I pretty much lost it in relief when I saw them.

I made it through the reading, largely not thinking about Magnus. But figuratively anyway, my friends held me by the chin and I breathed and read.