30 June 2014

My renewed dedication to living authentically

A couple of weeks ago, a comment was put on my blog. The comment was a link to a blog post from a Catholic blogger who claims to be "struggling with same-sex attraction" and in response to my post "Don't love me anyway." The post was written way back in April, so I'm not sure why the comment is only showing up lately, but it is.

I have read this post a few times (even downloading it with the intention of printing it and making notes in the margins), and have been very conflicted about responding to it. The more I read it, the angrier I became about not only the specifics of the post, but about the whole idea of it in general. Each new idea written by this blogger had me shaking my head, thinking "No, that's not it at all" when she assumed she knew why I reacted the way I did to two people--one of whom is my father--saying they "love me anyway" when I came out to them.

I could write an entire series of posts on this. I could quote the Bible and Biblical scholars and scientists and psychologists. I could spend a great deal of screen space explaining why this blogger's assumptions about my reasoning, thought processes, and what's in my heart is flat-out wrong.

But it just doesn't matter.

I stand by the decisions I have made in my life. I haven't always taken the easy path, but I am committed to living authentically as myself, and raising my children to do the same.

I am gay, and I'm not ashamed of that. I don't feel guilty about living a gay lifestyle. I'm not doing anything wrong.

And yes, I was hurt by the comment from those two people in my life, but not at all for the reasons you think. And I will continue to be hurt by those kinds of comments each and every time I hear them.

I may still address the issues brought up in this post in the future (in a different context than feeling the need to defend myself against the assumptions made in that open letter). But for now, I'll leave the post where it is and know that this open letter is terribly misguided for countless reasons.

As a final thought, I have linked the post above. If you choose to read it and contribute to the conversation, I urge you to be kind in your comments. Stand up for what you believe in, but please don't be ugly or mean when you post. There's already too much ugliness and meanness in the world for people with good intentions to add to it.

28 June 2014

No TV for us, thanks

Way back in January I posted about not having a TV. I didn't bring it when I moved, and made the decision not to replace it. The kids watched shows on my tablet on the weekends, and that seemed to satisfy them.

Throughout the spring I became a bit more lax. Work became busier, so I would let the kids watch a show while I was finishing a project, or we would watch something together over dinner. It wasn't the end of the world.

Last week, however, my tablet decided it had had enough. It's not really working anymore, so when I picked the kids up from Monty, I had to tell them they couldn't watch anything. No tablet, no shows.

When the tablet first went out I considered replacing it with a TV, at least in my bedroom. I reasoned that we could do family movie nights in my room, and when the kids were gone, I could watch movies or shows.

But I don't think I will.

It's been five days with the munchkins and no shows (though they did watch Monsters, Inc. after dinner on Monday), and it's been much more peaceful around here. The munchkins play together (mostly) well, and are discovering new and exciting ways of keeping themselves entertained. When they do get loud, they aren't competing with the volume of a show, so it doesn't feel overwhelmingly loud. If I need or want noise (after the munchkins are in bed), I can watch something on my laptop, or listen to music or a podcast.

We may have to readjust our family movie nights (maybe we'll do family game nights instead), but I think keeping our home TV-free is a good decision for the foreseeable future. I don't miss having a TV, and aside from one almost-tantrum from Puck about not getting to watch something this afternoon, the kids don't seem to miss it either.

Things may change in the future. I may end up getting a TV and cable. But for now, I like our show and movie habits just the way they are: virtually nonexistent.

27 June 2014

Four stick figures in chalk

Some time ago, Puck, Tink, and I went out on the balcony of my apartment with chalk that Yvaine had given them. I opened the boxes of chalk, dumped them on the cement, and let them play.

Tink drew circles and lines and scribbles (mostly in pink), and Puck drew flower after flower. When I asked him to draw our family, he carefully drew four stick figures. When I asked him who was who in his picture, he pointed to each in turn: me, him, Tink, and Yvaine.

Yvaine and I have been careful not to try and force her on the munchkins. It can take time for them--especially Puck--to warm up to new people, so we've let them take the lead as Yvaine has spent more and more time with them.

That's why it was such a significant moment to me to see those four figures right outside my door. In that moment, Puck revealed the importance of Yvaine in his life. She was no longer my friend or his friend or just someone that has dinner with us sometimes. Yvaine is part of our family. She is as important to Puck as he is to her.

And just like that, our family has changed.

26 June 2014

It's not all long lunches and trips to the park

Photo source
One of the reasons I love working from home* is the flexibility that comes with it. Not only do I get to plan my schedule around the kids' schedule, but I have the ability to work lots of extra hours when the munchkins are with Monty. I like that I can take breaks from work for walks in the afternoons or take a morning off to make robot costumes.**

But it's hard, too. Lately, work has been a bit intense (in a good way), and with Puck out of school for the summer, it seems that there's not enough time in the day to get through my task list each day. As it is, I take two days off a month (the first and fifteenth of each month, as long as I don't have any deadlines those days), and the rest of my time off is stolen here and there throughout the days.

One of the challenges I'm facing lately is balancing work with having Puck at home in the afternoons. When he was in pre-K, I had a couple of hours each afternoon to work. Tink was home, but she napped or played independently, giving me largely uninterrupted time to work. Now that Puck is home all day every day, things are a little different. Playing independently is punctuated with toys snatched from each other, pulled hair, and "I'm gonna tell Mama!" screamed from the play room. The blocks of time I have to work are much more fragmented when the munchkins are awake, so I've had to adjust my schedule.

Lately I find I'm much more productive in the morning and at night. I get some work done before the kids get up, while they're eating breakfast, and when they begin to play in the mornings. They're still waking up and excited about the day. Then, when they go to bed, I can work until my body tells me to stop and I go to bed.

I'm glad to be able to adjust my schedule like this, but it can be hard to maintain the balance, too. There are days when it seems my time is consumed by revisions and clients, and other days when it seems I've barely spent any time at my desk at all.

I tell myself it balances out, not only during the days when the munchkins are with me, but because I can play catch up when they're with Monty. And that self-proclaimed balance is what keeps me going.

I know in my heart that I can't imagine doing anything else. I love my job, and I adore the clients I work with, especially right now. It's been hard lately, making time for everything, but at the end of the day (even if that comes at one in the morning), I look forward to getting up and doing it all over again.

My life is not all long lunches and trips to the park, but some days are. And that makes it worth it.

*I know some parents work outside the home and love it. Some parents work outside the home and feel guilty. Some parents work inside the home and hate it. This post is in no way making judgments of other parenting situations. When it comes to our kids, we do what we have to do. I am lucky enough to be in a situation I love and that works for my family. That's all. No judgment here.

**We did make robot costumes this week, actually. It was fun.