Connections: June 11, 2017

Dear Mr. VP,

I’m on a plane somewhere over….Ohio? Probably Ohio. Maybe Pennsylvania. Anyway, flyover country. (Sorry, Midwest. I’ve driven-over you many times too.) And if you want to talk about science-miracles, how about the fact that I’m 36,000 feet in the air hurtling at 200+ miles per hour while typing on a small handheld computer on my way back from meeting 30 internet buddies. 

Yes, I’ve talked about these internet buddies before: my 100 moms, who have held my hand through the last four years of my life. When I noted this weekend that I have a photo from our last get together by my bed, I think some of them thought I was joking, but I’m definitely not. They’re my best friends; why wouldn’t they be there? And yes, sometimes when people are at my house I do pull down picture and, like it’s a family photo album, give the story: that’s Christine, the mom with six kids in Kansas City who mothers us all, that’s our fighter Beth, who is mid-cancer treatment and handling it like a boss, that’s my soulmate Lisa, who I go to for gut checks when I’m not sure what to do about something. And now I’ll add new pictures: that’s Liz, who I’ve texted every day for four years, has guided my parenting perhaps more than anyone else, and just finally met, and that’s Susan, who frequently bests my own memes and went out of her way to drive me to O’Hare this morning. And Amy (and her awesome husband Zach), who have a kiddo I’ve written to you about before, who benefits so greatly from so many of the provisions in the ACA. On and on. 

This weekend was, for me, a reminder that the collective and my community are necessary. Looking out for your friends and neighbors is important, and I think for most of us, it’s easy to do the small things: bringing your very incredibly hungover friend a coffee and a banana, offering to rub her back, playing with your friends’ kids and talking to them about Avengers Attack, bringing donuts for everyone to the hotel lobby, thoughtfully asking if we should hold off on eating until after sunset so as not to disrespect a friend fasting for Ramadan, holding and loving on someone else’s baby so they can have five minutes to just be. 

What’s harder is making a commitment to the big stuff. Yes, those small gestures are important and supportive, but what are they if we aren’t also supporting Luke by fighting the AHCA, supporting our Muslim refugee friend by fighting against hate speech and Islamophobia, and supporting all our kids by combating climate change? The small doesn’t matter if the big isn’t taken care of.

It frustrates me to no end when people don’t make the connections between those they love and the policies that affect them. We all need to make the necessary connections to the bigger issues that we’re facing on a daily basis, and we need to recognize how the political stances we take deeply impact those we are closest to. You just can’t divorce one from the other. I’m glad to say so many of my mom-friends are doing just that. 


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