Update to my last post…

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Sometimes being a mom means having a 10 minute, in-depth, conversation about diarrhea while listening to your kid have diarrhea. Apparently 5 year olds honestly think there is some kind of world record having to do with diarrhea.

Being a mom is super glamorous.

Stubbed toes won’t get my husband out of our pottery date- but this might. UGH!

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“Mama, you are just like a nurse.”

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For much of the past week, the hubby has had a bit of a cold. Nothing earth shattering and for the most part, he handles himself well when sick.

However, when either of us are sick, we tend to sleep separately. Just makes it easier so the tossing and turning won’t keep the other up and the sickie can get comfortable without having to account for another person. So this week, I have slept on the couch a few nights. No biggie.

Two nights ago, since I had to go to work the next day and he didn’t, he suggested Newt and I go to sleep in our bed and he would sleep on the couch. No problemo. It would save time from our nighttime routine when I put her to bed. She fell asleep fine but I couldn’t fall asleep until probably 2 am. Again- whatever. It happens to me a couple of times a week.

Until approximately an hour later, when I woke to the sounds of my sweet daughter violently retching in my bed. I guess the best thing about the rest of that night is that she was turned away from me and most of the considerable mess landed on the floor and down the side of the mattress.

I did a pretty good job suppressing my own gag reflex until I was safely in a different room than the kiddo, who kept apologizing. I spent the rest of the night doing laundry, holding her hair and her, and cleaning up puke. Eventually my husband joined in to help and we ended up blowing up the air mattress and all 3 of us slept in the living room.

As the sun was coming up, Newt and I had a nice moment noticing that had we actually slept, my alarm would be going off at that moment in time. Instead, we were sitting on a blow up mattress watching old Smurfs cartoons with a puke bucket between us. Good times.

Midway through the next day (yesterday for those keeping track), I started to feel not only queasy, but also a sore throat coming on. The good ole double whammy. But, I pressed on, trying to work from home and take care of the family. Several hours later, after much frustration and not much work done, it was almost time for bed. And then, the love of my life (besides my kid), stretched his legs out and kicked the coffee table, splitting his big toe nail in half and breaking in down about half way. Cursing and blood ensued.

Newt cried to see her daddy in pain, but as soon as I grabbed the first aid supplies, she was stopped and watched intently as I cleaned his wounds and carefully bandaged his toe. She commented, “Mama, you are just like a nurse.” I was pleased that she recognized the additional hat I had been wearing for the last several days.

That’s the thing. Moms often have to be like nurses. And teachers and therapists and cops and seamstresses and short order cooks and chauffeurs and secretaries and mediators and the list goes on and on. We have to know how to do a lot of things (or how to use Google well) and we don’t usually have time to prepare for which skills we might need to use in a given moment. And we have to do these things even when we are not feeling well ourselves.

So this week, even though I was hit with the double whammy of 2 different illnesses at the same time, thankfully I had the “mom versions” of them, which is apparently when moms feel symptoms less intensely than other family members in order to still carry on their “nursing” duties. The mom version of the illness does seem to come with the additional symptom (at least for me) of significant irritability when not directly administering comforting measures to others.

Oh- and to my husband- if you think that the little trick that you did with your toe will get you out of our triple date tomorrow to go paint pottery- you are sorely mistaken.  Love you!

I don’t even know who I am anymore.

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Like many, many people, I love Harry Potter. I have read the books several times and recently started reading the series to Newt. The movies? Own them all and tune in every time ABC Family (Now called Freeform- because, let’s face it- there is not much “family” in their programming) does a Harry Potter movie marathon- even if it is just on in the background. Ok- that’s not entirely true- it seems that channel exists only to play Harry Potter movies, Pretty Little Liars and (thankfully) Hocus Pocus in October. So I probably tune in about half of the time they have a marathon.

Several years ago I sat at my computer after everyone else had gone to bed. I was finally prepared to be sorted into my house. There are many “Which Harry Potter House are you in” quizzes to be found, but only one true quiz. The one JK Rowling herself developed. The one from Pottermore.

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I knew I wouldn’t be in Gryffindor. Gryffindor is great and all, but I am know myself and “bravery, nerve, daring”- not really how I would describe myself if only allowed a few words. Ravenclaw is where I longed to be. Intelligence, wit, wisdom, creativity? THAT is my style. The name is awesome. Colors- Blue and Bronze? Check- love them. But alas, in my heart of hearts, I knew I was destined for- sigh- Hufflepuff.

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Look- there are great wizards from Hufflepuff, such as Cedric Diggory and my favorite character (from the books anyway- grossly underutilized in the movies), Tonks. Hufflepuffs value hard work, dedication, patience, kindness, tolerance…basically the social workers of the wizarding world. There is certainly no shame in being a Hufflepuff. In fact, the traits they value are the same traits I value in real life. The traits that I hope to embody. But, it is so not the cool kid house. So not glam or sexy.

So, there I was, sipping wine, taking my quiz and steeling myself for the yellow and black badger crest to appear when I hit submit, when I found myself instead spitting out my wine as a green and silver crest with a snake appeared.

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SLYTHERIN!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO! Clearly the test was mistake. There was no way in this actual world that I was a Slytherin. I suddenly knew how Harry must have felt when he sat there with the Sorting Hat on his head whispering, “Not Slytherin, not Slytherin.” Except, no, Slytherin was not even an option for me. Not even a thought in my head.

As I said, everyone in the house was asleep and though I was having a virtual identity crisis in my dining room, I thought better of waking the husband to process this new information I just learned about myself- he did have to be up at 4AM for work the next day.

Instead, I examined the evidence. The first thing I did (after I poured myself another glass of wine), was read the Welcome Letter, which you can read here. You can read the paraphrasing of my inner dialogue right here:

Emblem is the serpent, wisest of creatures- ok- I like wisdom. Dormitory is in the dungeon- not cool- oh wait, it is under water. I like water. I might be able to see a giant squid from my bedroom window? I can live with that.  Dungeons feel like a mysterious shipwreck? Ok- so the dorm is pretty cool. Reassurances that not all Slytherins are dark wizards… well that’s good. Wait a minute- Merlin was a Slytherin. Not too shabby. The “coolest and edgiest house.” Why, that is the opposite of Hufflepuff. I can be cool and edgy. No- I AM cool and edgy and FINALLY someone sees that (the someone being JK Rowling of course). Let’s see- I don’t like all of the negative talk about the other houses, but I do play to win and I do take care of my own. “Greatness” is a word I like. I want to do everything better than mediocre- I want to be the best. Maybe I AM A SLYTHERIN.

 

When I think about it, the evidence has been there the whole time. I am a Scorpio- a water sign. Slytherins are associated with water. Scorpios and Slytherins are also the badassiest of their respective categories. And it’s not just me that makes the connections between Scorpios and Slytherins, see here. Additionally, I was born in the Year of the Snake and the snake is the symbol of Slytherin. Coincidence? Apparently not. I am resourceful, ambitious, clever, determined, a good leader….By the time I went to bed that night, I accepted my new reality and shortly after, fully embraced it. I even have a “Proud Slytherin” board on my Pinterest.

Fast forward to today. Over the past few days, I a blog post has been germinating in my head about how by embracing my Slytherin traits I have found the strength and determination to make much needed, positive life changes. It was going to be a really good post too- very empowering.

But then I read something somewhere about how the Pottermore website was revamped. Being curious about the changes to the website, I decided to log in. With the revamping, I had to sign up anew, which is fine, since I always have to dig up old emails to find my username as it used to be generated from Pottermore and was LumosWillow666 or something equally annoying. Now your email is your user name. Once registered to the new site, you have the option of either choosing your previously sorted house or taking the quiz again. In order to choose your previously sorted house, you have to enter your previous user name- which I already established would have taken some extra time and effort. Now that I have firmly embraced my Slytherin identity, I figured the quiz would be the easier route.

I had zero anxiety as I submitted my sorting quiz results. I was so sure of my rightful house. But this time, instead of my now beloved green and silver crest, up pops the crest of Ravenclaw!

What the what?!?!?!?!?!?

A few short years ago, I longed to be in Ravenclaw and here I am, officially sorted into that house. But now, I’m pissed. I have zero feelings of connection to that house. I frantically searched the site trying to find a way to retake the quiz, or enter my previous house, or cancel my account- to no avail. In fact, in several places, Pottermore makes it clear, once you are sorted into a house on the new site, this is your house FOREVER. I considered cancelling my email account so I could reboot everything and start again. It only took me a few seconds to realize I only needed to create a new gmail account, to create a new Pottermore account and enter my previous sorting results to take my rightful place among the other Slytherin of the world. But then I decided to approach it like a true Slytherin and I have this to say:

You are dead to me Pottermore. Dead to me.

*Side note- I spend a fair amount of time taking non-evidence based personality assessments (Thank you Buzzfeed), but it is all in good fun. I fully understand that my choices are my own and not because of my Sun Sign or Hogwarts House. The fact that I will cut you if you cross me has nothing to do with being a Scorpio Slytherin, just another part of my charming personality.

I will never* homeschool my kid.

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Don’t worry. This isn’t a post critical of the concept of homeschooling. I fully accept it as a valid educational decision that works really well for certain families. Mine is just not one of them.

Sure, there are plenty of families who choose to homeschool for really, really scary reasons. And plenty who say they are homeschooling but there is not a lick of education actually happening. Just as there are really messed up family situations for many kids in public school or private school. And believe me, I have seen all of those kids at some point in my career as a therapist.

But this post is just about knowing yourself and your limits as a parent.

There is nothing, not a person or thing, on this entire planet that I love more than I love my daughter. I love watching her learn new things and explore her world. There is nothing better than cuddling with her. But, by the time Monday rolls around each week, we are both ready for a break from each other.

I know home schooling is not for our family because I would not be the best mom or teacher I could be. I know my limits and the limits of my patience. The healthiest relationship my kid and I can have is one where we have a healthy amount of time not together. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.

One of my good friends from high school home schools her 2 kids. They live out of state and though I end up seeing my friend every year or so, I haven’t seen her kids in several years but was able to hang out with them last weekend. I can say that her 2 home schooled kids are deliciously weird. They have social skills and all- they aren’t “weird” weird. And I don’t really thinks it’s because of being home schooled. My public school educated kid is pretty darn weird too. Five years old and she announced yesterday that she wants to be a cryptozoologist when she grows up.

 

*I do know to never say never. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, I would probably homeschool.

 

 

Go Shout Love…because cancer really sucks

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I woke up yesterday morning super excited to see the paintings Newt and I did and donated for the Go Shout Love auction to benefit Anya and her family, posted on their Instagram page in preparation for the auction Saturday and Sunday. Don’t forget to check out the stuff for auction here. It is 1/23/16 to 1/24/16. There is some really cute stuff.

A few short hours later I learned that a good friend and great woman was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

So between contemplating what my friend is facing and what little Anya has already been through and what she still faces, all I can say is, cancer sucks.

I can’t fix it for either of them. I can’t do a great, life changing thing for them. But I can do small things. Small things with great love. For my friend, this might include cupcakes and laughing at inappropriate things. It already included me taking Jedi selfies to send to her as she waited for the dr.

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For Anya, I am just trying to spread the word for ways to help her and her family. We also made 2 paintings to donate for her auction.

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Newt and I collaborated on this piece. As you can clearly see, there is a green unicorn with blue magic coming out of its horn, and a large, translucent dragon breathing fire. You can own this masterpiece yourself by bidding on it here. It’s item #056.

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I was inspired by the Batman shirt that was designed specially for Anya. I know, doesn’t look Batmany, but the shirt says, “Greatness often arises from darkness,” which is the truth. You can bid on this lovely painting here as well. This one is item #057.

You can also still purchase the t-shirts that were made for Anya here. They are really, super soft and comfy, and cute!

 

Like a Herd of Turtles

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My mother used to say, “And we’re off! Like a herd of turtles.” Usually she said this phrase when she pulled the car out of the driveway. Perplexed, my 7-year-old self would ask how that makes any sense. Turtles are slow. Do they even travel in herds? My mind would soon jump to the next thing (probably asking my brother to stop breathing my air).
At 13 or so, rather than trying to figure it out, I chalked it up to my mom’s habit and her just being “weird.”

Now, I get it. It took having a kid to make this motto suddenly come back and make sense. I said it without even thinking and ta-da! It clicked. It’s about the hubbub of getting a one-and-a-half-year-old out the door and into the car seat. It’s about being proud of the fact that I actually got a chance to shower, and we’re not THAT late. We are slow getting there, but we’re moving fast. We’re off, like a herd of turtles.

Before Q, I would be so pumped to get ready fast and arrive places (mostly) on time. Now I’m fast like a turtle, with the planning, chasing, organizing and remembering where I placed my keys. If all align and Q and I make it to the car- it’s a big moment.

It’s worth celebrating – we will get where we’re going.

Mosaic tile bar

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I love crafting. I love art. I love to make things that I can look at later and feel proud of. And most of the time, if I get inspired to try something new, I jump on google and teach myself through trial and error, Youtube videos and blogs with step by step directions. I have taught myself to make hairbows, to sew, to paint, to make jewelry….My favorite way of learning new things are blogs with pictures and description of process. So to pay it forward, here is my process of making a tile mosaic bar top.

I found this little gem on a Facebook yard sale page.

Yup…just what I never knew was missing from my life. A mobile, collapsible bar.

 

It was perfect in every way…except a pretty large gash on the top. IMG_0211

The lady I bought it from suggested getting some glass for the top. That would work, but I figured I could make the bar even better and tile it. I googled mosaic tile tables for inspiration. I settled on using blues and greens and using black grout.

Having never bought mosaic tiles before, I headed to Amazon, but was quickly overwhelmed by the choices, the wide price ranges and I had zero concept of how many tiles and how big they were from looking on-line, so I headed to Michael’s so I could actually touch them.

The truth about finding the tiles that worked for me is that it took me a while, several different stores and several different locations of each chain. I ended up getting some from (3 different) Michael’s and some from Hobby Lobby. Some from the small tile section and some from the floral section- as I used the colored marbles that are flat on one side. (Half way through my project I realized I didn’t have enough tile, so had to head back out to all of the above said stores and purchase more.)

The square, blue tiles on the bottom right of the above left picture were attached to each other. I cut them apart with some scissors. It is just mesh holding them together. You can leave the mesh on the backside of the tile as it helps the tile stick to the surface and you won’t see it after you grout. The pictures above don’t have some of the really small tiles I got at Hobby Lobby. Those were good for filler pieces.

After I bought the tiles and separated them neatly into containers, I promptly got overwhelmed and abandoned the project for a few days. In order to overcome my craft anxiety (what if it turns out horrible? what if I wasted all of this money? what if my vision in my head does not translate well? arg!) I decided that I would work on another part of the bar that felt a little more controlled and easy to accomplish. I painted the squares on the wood with black chalkboard paint.

This part was actually easy enough that Newt could help me. I taped off around the squares with painters tape and let her go for it. I didn’t prime the wood even though there is a varnish on it, as chalkboard paint has a pretty good grip. I just went behind Newt to smooth out the paint before it dried. Voila!

Now I was ready to dive into the mosaic. I knew that I wanted a mixture of some kind of focal point or points and then randomness around it. The other thing that I knew is that since all of my tile is a hodge podge, the tiles are at varying heights. But the beautiful square ones were A LOT taller than the other tiles. First order of business for me was deciding if I would be able to use them at all. Then to play around with what pattern I wanted for my focal point. So I just started arranging tiles.

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To my relief, I found that the really tall tiles worked well as the border, butting right up to the lip of the bar that is on 3 sides. Next problem- I didn’t have enough to go around the entire border. Adding a black, glass flat marble in between each square tile did the trick.

I went ahead and glued the border down so it would be done. As for adhesive, I used Weldbond Universal Adhesive, for no other reason than it was  the cheapest one by the tiles in Michael’s and said it worked on glass, tile and wood. It worked well for me.

Then on to sketch out the focal points of my design. Initially I tried sketching it out with pencil, but got frustrated and used dry erase marker. That was 1,000 times easier to draw and then change a design before adding the tile. I landed on doing 4 swirls, which I glued down once I was happy with the design. HOWEVER….

If you use a black dry erase marker and then glue clear, colored glass on top of it with glue that dries clear, you WILL see the black lines through the tile….FOREVER! Whoops.

I like the swirly shapes, but I found they didn’t have enough “weight” to them to anchor the design once I started playing around with filling in the rest of the bar top. IMG_0216

See how the swirl gets lost here in the one on the left? The one on the right has a more prominent design. I didn’t exactly end up going with that one either though, since I knew I would run out of black marbles, so I added blue marbles and a line of black to the swirl. In the picture below, the adhesive is still drying under the blue marbles, which is why it looks kinda milky.

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Now to the really fun part. Once I glued down the swirls, I just went with it. The  only thing I really worried about here is making sure there was not too much of one color clumped together. That, and since the bar folds down I had to be aware of the gap and not tile over them. I used small tiles to fill in gaps and if there were gaps that were smaller than that, I broke some tiles and used those slivers in the gaps. I didn’t get tile nippers or anything like that. I used my trust hammer and gave the tiles (wrapped in a paper towel) and few gentle whacks. Don’t go crazy with the whacking though, or you will end up with only dust. I just did a nice firm thwack towards the center of the tile piece. The other thing that I did was use my least favorite color of the tile so I would be less sad about breaking the beautiful tile and then would have less of my least favorite color in one place.

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For the swirls, I waited to glue things down until I had all of them where I wanted them. For this part, after I played with a small section to make sure it looked ok, I just glued as I went. This took quite a while (over several days here and there), but was actually really relaxing. You can totally drink some margaritas while catching up on episodes of Supernatural while doing this. Just don’t drink too many, or you will wake up the next morning and realize some of your tiles are slightly overlapping… FOREVER. Good news is, with as crazy as the design is, it doesn’t really show. Er, or it wouldn’t really show, should you accidentally drink too much and craft. Apparently, it happens.

You will notice some white and some mauveish tiles in the mix. They were actually just sold with some of the other tiles I wanted and initially I had no intention of using them at all, but they worked nicely to lighten up the blues and blacks and add some interest.

And now, the fun is over….I learned in this process that I do not like grouting. It’s messy and doesn’t engage the creative side.

I chose to use black, sanded mosaic grout to make the colored tile really stand out. Again, I chose the cheapest option and again, I ran out half way through and had to get more to finish. Do you sense the theme of how I create? I wing it. I also take it in stride and have no problem walking away and coming back to something later that isn’t working. Any problem is just a problem to solve.

The grout comes in a powder and you mix water into it. I had to play a little with it to get the consistency that would work best. A little bit of water goes a long way. Can’t have it too soupy or it would run all over and take forever to dry, but too firm and you can’t spread it as easily and it won’t get in all of the crevices. I used my fingers to spread the grout around and work it into the tiles. I wore disposable gloves, which only kind of helped. I still had black under my nails for days. Use disposable bowls to mix it so you can just toss when you are done.

In the bottom right picture from above, you can see the plastic that I put in the cracks where the top folds down. I just used an old cutting mat (I actually use the mat to set my hot glue gun on normally. You can peel the dried glue spots off nicely when they cool.) Making sure the grout didn’t fill in the gaps of the bar top was the most annoying part of this process, but still wanted it to be functional and fold down when all was said and done.

Follow the directions on the grout container, and after it dries a little, wipe the excess grout off with a wet sponge. You will need a bucket with water and will have to keep rinsing off the sponge during this part. Very messy. I actually got very frustrated after this, as initially the grout seemed to make the whole mosaic look dusty and dirty. Several days later and after it was completely dry I went over it again with a clean, wet sponge and made it look MUCH nicer. Some elbow grease is needed for wiping the grout.

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If you use tiles of differing heights, obviously your surface will not be smooth. That is one of the reasons I did the swirls with the same type of tiles (just different colors), as it gives me 4 large places on the bar top that are even and easy to set things on. I can set things on the rest of the bar as well; however with drinks, it is best to set them on a coaster first so spread out the surface area.

And that is that! Now I need to have a party.

**I have NEVER tiled anything before. I am certain there are different, better and easier ways of doing this, but it worked for me and might work for you too…but I accept zero responsibility if you try it and it doesn’t work. What are you doing trying to teach yourself something like this from a blog anyway!?!?
*RWMOTB is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

 

Anya Update

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Anya Update

Anya’s Go Shout Love profile is up on their website. As I noted in my last post, Anya is the featured child for the entire month of January. What this means is that Go Shout Love developed not one, but 2 t-shirts available for purchase, with proceeds going directly to Anya and her family to assist with medical and other costs. Each shirt is available in kids and adult sizes.

There will also be an auction through the Go Shout Love Instagram page on January 23rd and 24th with 100% of the money going to the family. You can still donate items for this auction or check it out on the 23rd and 24th to see if there is anything you would like to purchase.

Sarah and I are making the finishing touches on the things we are donating for auction. And you KNOW that everyone in our house will have one of those Batman Shirts!!!

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Go shout love for Anya!

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Go shout love for Anya!

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One of my daughter’s friends, Anya, has been bravely battling leukemia for the past year. She still has at least two more years of treatments, including chemo, to go. I am constantly in awe of this little kindergartener’s strength, as well as the positive attitude this super hero and her family maintain.

Anya will be featured for the month of January with Go Shout Love, an organization developed to raise funds for families and children coping with a serious illness. They will be rolling out her story on their website soon, as well as unveiling t-shirts for sale to benefit Anya.

Additionally, they will be having an auction on January 23rd and 24th on their Instagram page here. All of the proceeds from that will go to Anya and her family.

There are a couple of ways that you can help:

  1. You can share this post, the Go Shout Love website, and/or Anya’s Facebook page and You Caring page. This is a quick and easy way to get the word out and it costs nothing but a few moments of your time.
  2. You can purchase a t- shirt through Go Shout Love when they come out. I will make a link for that when available.
  3. You can make a donation to the family through their You Caring page.
  4. You can donate something for the auction at the end of January. Instructions for how to do this are on the Go Shout Love website under “give.” The kiddo and I will each be donating an original piece of art for auction. They will be made with much more love than skill, but if Anya is brave enough to face what she faces, I can be brave enough to put a little of myself out there!
  5. You can participate in the Go Shout Love Instagram auction and possibly purchase something. It will be taking place January 23rd and 24th.
  6. You can keep Anya and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

You can follow Anya’s journey through her Facebook page here and find her You Caring fundraising page here.

I will keep you posted during the coming month!

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Just ’cause you’re right, that don’t mean I’m wrong

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Probably almost 12 years ago now, I was chatting with my brother. It was one of those long, meandering conversations about life, goals, hopes, stuff like that. It may have even been the night we discovered Jtv and stayed up late into the night, talking and drinking and realized the next morning that we somehow purchased like 5 loose Padparadscha sapphires. They were just so cheap and pretty!!!

Anyhoo, at some point the discussion landed on my own anxieties about my relationship with my boyfriend and if he was the guy for me in the long run. My concerns were that we saw the world too differently. We had different political ideologies and thoughts about social and cultural issues. I mean, our voter registration cards were the proof. One had an R and one had a D. What would that mean for us? What would that mean if we had kids? How would we know how to raise them? What values do we impart? I wasn’t sure if that was just a sign to me that we were too different.

My brother just chuckled and said we were great together. He suggested that it may actually be BETTER for our future children in the long run. It could teach them how to examine issues from all sides, use critical thinking skills, and come up with their own thoughts and opinions. I’m pretty sure at the time that his answer irritated me more than reassured me, mostly because (and I never would have admitted this) I was too afraid of raising kids that might use those critical thinking skills and come to a different conclusion than me about something when, clearly, I am right.

Fast forward to today. I did end up marrying that guy and have a great, independent thinking kid with him. We still have some differences in how we see the world, but it turns out that we are alike in more ways than we are different. We value hard work, kindness, honesty and family. We are fiercely loyal, and wickedly sarcastic. Our greatest goal in life is to be good parents to our daughter. When we do disagree, we try to be respectful to each other and if we just can’t in the moment, we have gotten pretty good about knowing when to take our corners. I feel more comfortable with the thought that my child will use her critical thinking skills to come to her own conclusions that may actually be different than mine. But I also hope that we are teaching her to have respectful, constructive- rather than destructive- conversations with people that have differing opinions.

And honestly, the difference that has affected us the most in our day to day lives isn’t our political affiliations. It’s the fact that we don’t come down on the same side in the Coke vs. Pepsi argument. (In case you are wondering, the correct choice is ALWAYS Coke.)

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