Farewell to 2018

The holidays are amongst us, and for us it is a joyous time of year. Kids are buzzing, family will make an appearance or two, and the house is filled with the smells of hot cocoa, popcorn, and gingerbread. I’ve been spending my evenings wrapping presents in front of reruns of Downton Abbey or a favorite Christmas movie. Often reflecting on how I have changed this year. It hasn’t been my most positive planet fighting achievement, my greatest career advancing, or my most productive by far, but it has given me new insight on what I really want.  

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The kids and I on Thanksgiving

The year started with little sleep and seems to be ending with little sleep too. Somewhere in the middle I did actually sleep but those days are foggy now. The kids have had some crazy colds so far this winter, and one turned into a long long ear infection for baby. Little sleep makes for a crazy mommy and gives me little motivation to get through daily tasks much less concentrate on changing the world. I did find some time to campaign for candidates and propositions I believed in around the country, voted for the underdogs, and registered some new voters during the summer season. Though many did not win it felt good to fight for my beliefs and hope for change.
The UN report released in October made my skin crawl and I haven’t really recovered. I find myself standing in the kitchen worrying. Worrying about the future, worrying about how I will protect my children, and if I am so blessed – grandchildren. My mom and I discuss these topics all the time, and I am always jealous of her naivety when she was a mother. Sure she had her own worries of the time, but we ate frozen beef taquitos without stressing that they were contributing to global food shortages and possible the end of life as we know. Its heavy but its true. As a result I have become totally and completely obsessed with Vermont. My grandmother would tell you I am a true California girl and I would never last more than a half hour in her home town of Crookston, Minnesota, but I have run my husband ragged with theories of why we need to buy land elsewhere. He told me the other day, that he did not want to talk about Vermont anymore. He is to the core a completely rational male, and I to my own core a worrisome mother, on this grand topic, you might want to call us oil and water. We are both incredibly stubborn so we shall see who wins the argument. But I can’t stop thinking about an escape plan. Where will we go with California burns up? Dries out and there is not enough food? Where will you go?

It is now as I write this that I realize that all this anxiety and lack of sleep is causing me to eat. Eat very poorly I may add. I have never in my entire life – including my juvenile years, have I consumed so much sugar. At one point I was eating half a pint of ice cream a day. I overheard Robert at a party we were hosting, telling friends and family in his own way how amazed he was by the amount of sweets I was consuming. His family usually has more dessert then dinner so that is saying a lot. Then a visit with my mom turned into an obsession with chips, granted it was during the horrendous fires, but still chips? My brother brought us bags of basically “organic” Doritos and ever since I have completely been fixated on crunchy nacho disgustingness. I know they aren’t good, but I can’t stop eating them. Literally bags full a day. Missy asked me if I was a stoner with a laugh. (for the record I am NOT). Every night after I put the kids down and before I attempt to clean up from the day I open a bag of chips, a pint of ice cream, or a candy bar (or two) and go to town. Its totally embarrassing, hopefully being honest about it will make me stop. All this junk has contributed negatively to my garbage can, my waistline, my teeth and I’m sure my health. I partially blame the fact that I don’t get to market enough anymore to stock up on veggies, but who am I kidding.

Kindergarten has shaken up our house in so many ways. We have a blossoming sounding out counting queen on our hands and it is so fun! She is going through too much paper but her fire to read and write is amazing to watch. Her school while she loves it has been a bit of an eye opener and a shock to me. It’s not progressive, and it has really shown me how far away we are from change actually happening. Disposable water bottles at EVERY event. Major resistance on nearly everything environmentally conscience except a push to recycle….helllllllooooo does anyone listen when they are talking about these tariffs? Recycling is now a joke! There have been parents who throw a fit when useable plates and forks are used for kids parties instead of disposable options, like really? District officials who refuse to consider other options when it comes to the way technology is implemented in the classroom. These amongst other events outside of the wonderfulness that is happening in the classroom, make me long for that Charter Montessori I let myself be talked out of. I knew better, another life lesson about how I need to always trust my gut. There is a strong American culture out there that I have always felt isolated from. Now I feel it nearly everyday with this school and it can be a total

downer.

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Making gingerbread cookies and a house decorated with our left over Halloween candy.

Bringing it back to that kindergartener and the blossoming she has been doing. I am helping to create a group of Daisy Girls Scouts who will change the world and fight for our planet. That has been a lot of work, but fun work. I never thought I could geek out on patches before, nor that this ex-fshionista could love a rainbow uniform. The last week I have made a conscience effort to put away my phone and endless influx of news and opinion articles to spend some quality time with the big girl while her brother is napping. We’ve been sewing, creating, and cooking and it has made my heart burst with joy. I love her so and its so exciting to watch her grow. We had spent nearly two weeks this fall locked indoors because of smoke and dangerous air quality. It contributed to my anxiety about what our future will hold, but also made me hyper aware of my time with these little munchkins. As we were driving through the smoke to get back home after trying to escape it I found myself apologizing over and over to them both. Finally Marilyn asked me “why do you say that? you didn’t make the smoke.” She was right, I didn’t, but my job is to protect her, and I felt so hopeless. I’ve contributed to this mess. Now, I feel like I can’t protect her from this, it’s beyond me. More of a reason to be obsessed with moving or escaping to somewhere else.

2018 had some wonderful moments and some rough ones. I wasn’t necessarily the best climate activist, but it has helped me see what is most important to me right this minute, my family. I need to do everything I can to combat this devastating change to ensure that my babies are able to have a place in this world, but I also know that I need to be totally engaged in them. The guilt from letting my work load slack, I have to let subside. That’s not where I need to be. I need to be at home with my kids and together we need to work on changing the world. I know that my place is with them right now, and there is so much that we can do together. I am starting to feel confident that going into 2019 I will have the energy, even without the sleep, to fight for them. I am their mom, it’s my job.

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