Saturday, December 15, 2012

Thoughts on the mass shooting

I was going to start this post with something along the lines of :

'As a parent, I can't help but have strong feelings about what happened today.'

But then it dawned on me, it shouldn't fucking matter if you're a parent or not.  Any right minded human being should have some strong feelings and emotions about the mass killing of 27 people today.  Like many other people my first reactions upon hearing the news went something like this.

"Oh what the fuck!  Not again.  Holy shit!  God damn!  Kids!  No! No! No! No!  Not kids!  Please no.  My God, they were kindergarteners!  Oh please.  No.  Where is Annabelle?  I need to kiss Annabelle.  I need to hold Annabelle.  Oh God.  What is wrong with the world?  Guns.  Fucking Guns!"

That probably went on for about 20 minutes or more.  Just a semi-coherent stream of thoughts alternating between anger, sadness, disbelief, frustration, anger, confusion, anger, anger, sadness.

Once my mind settled down I started getting angry in a more coherent and logical way.  Angry because of all the media calls 'not to politicize' this shooting.

"Now is not the time for that kind of discussion."
"We must share strength and prayer with all the families who are suffering."

I'm sorry but that's just bullshit.  If the moments after the second worst mass shooting in this country isn't the time to start a coherent dialogue about how we get assault rifles and other weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of criminals and the mentally unstable, then I don't know when is.  No amount of my prayers and thoughts are bringing those 27 people back.  No amount of my positive healing energy is going to comfort those parents who's entire world just ended.  I can't even begin to fathom the pain of the parents.  I don't even want to try.  So, instead, I want to focus on trying to do whatever is possible to prevent the next tragedy.  I don't ever want to have to know that another parent has to bury their baby because of our gun obsessed culture.

And for the record, when someone says 'I don't want to politicize the situation' that's just code for 'I don't want to use this tragedy to spur legitimate support for reasonable gun control laws and thus I'm going to pretend that gun control advocates are all cold hearted assholes.'  This is the most political comment a person can make.

Our culture is profoundly flawed in the way we view guns and violence.  Guns are idolized.  They have become emblems of strength, virility, freedom, safety, and dominance.  Guns are sexuality, fetishized, and worshiped.  Through our TV shows, our games, and our media, American citizens are unconsciously taught that guns are good, guns are protection, and guns are power.  This false fabrication and aggrandizement of guns thus limit our ability to introduce and conduct a sane and reasonable national dialogue about rationale gun control.  In the minds of those who own guns, questioning the accessibility of AK-47s isn't a matter of questioning a mechanical object, it is interpreted as an assault on the principles of strength and freedom.  It is for this reason that no progress can be made to limit gun access until we collectively begin to shift our interpretation of guns.  Instead of view a gun as a physical manifestation of intangible founding principles, we must begin to show guns for what they are; mechanical death machines akin to poison gas, bombs, and even an executioners noose.

Have you ever used a gun?  I have.  A friend took me shooting one day.  I wasn't really excited about the trip but given that I live by the motto 'I'll try anything once.'  I went along for the ride.  Holding the gun in my hand was profound.  They are way heavier than you'd imagine.  Solid, cold, dense.  I purchased a clip of bullets - one for a regular pistol and one for a semi-automatic Glock.  The first shot shocked and scared me. I was not prepared for the amount of violent force that was unleashed from the barrel.  It disturbed me profoundly.  I shot a few more rounds and then I stopped.  I had no desire to empty out the rest of the clip.  I let my friend finish my round.  I had no desire to become familiar with the violence and hatred spewing out of the end of that gun.  I did not want to be there.  A shooting range meant to serve as a training ground to hone my violence skills.  I waited outside until everything was over.

Have you ever had a gun shoved into the side of your head?  I have.  I was kidnapped in Malaysia a few years back.  I don't think the kidnappers wanted anything more than to clean out my bank accounts (which they did).  However, as an intimidation mechanism they had a gun and they wanted me to know that they would have no problem using the gun if I didn't cooperate.  At the end of the day I walked away from the situation physically and emotionally unscathed but I did gain a profound awareness of the sheer violence and evil that every single gun manufactured represents.

Guns are meant to do one thing.  Profoundly harm or kill a person.  I acknowledge that they serve a purpose in some aspects of society.  However, very few people should have access to a tool that minimizes death to an afterthought.

I pray for the families who have no babies to tuck into bed tonight or those who will lay in bed tonight and see a gaping emptiness beside them.  I know my prayers will not comfort them.

We must do something now to change the dialogue in our country.  We must work now to save the lives of future victims of senseless gun violence.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Sort of/Kind of Year in Review...But only when I feel like it

I wonder why, over the past few months, I've felt compelled to begin writing here again.  After so long.  I suppose it's just the excitement of all that is happening in my life.  Or maybe it's that little bit of me which is moderately extroverted that is waging a battle against the overwhelmingly introverted side of me.  Anyway, a need for documentation has pushed forth and here we go.

2012, what a interesting mistress you have been.  Overwhelming good with just a few dark spots.  A bit like the Blueberry Lemon Ginger jam I made for wedding favors.  Ultimately sweet and luscious with just the slightest hint of sour and spice to keep things mysterious and interesting.  Where to begin?  As opposed to a chronological order of events I'll focus on large subject areas of happenings.

There is the old saying "To the world you are one person but to one person you are the world."  I never fully understood this phrase until Annabelle arrived.  So delightful you are to me.  You are my world.  Annabelle will never remember 2012 (and if she does she's a certified genius) but it was a year of transformation for her.  Of course so was 2010 and 2011.  I suppose all the early years are transformative.  You began the year just barely cruising along on your two feet and then in less than a few months you were running.  Now you not only walk and run, you gallop!  And jump and kick and boogey!  Boy do you like to dance!  You are a natural born dancer.  Swaying to the music as early as 5 months old.  You now amuse not only me but your daddy, your entire extended family, and pretty much every other person in your weekly Rockin Railroad class.  I will have to enlist you into an early childhood movement class shortly.  We'll avoid ballet for now as I'm not a fan of 1)pink, and 2) tutus.  You just don't dance, you move to the music.  I don't think I've ever seen a child of your age who can pick out the rhythm of music and move accordingly.

Of course, not all your progress in 2012 has been physical.  They have been artistic (you lovely drawer you!) and cognitive.  You understand EVERYTHING!  You may not be speaking much yet but I'm fairly certain that's because your just waiting to speak in full, grammatically correct sentences.  I can't wait to see what 2013 brings!  So much to luck forward to.

2012 has been a good year for our relationship.  I think all new parents experience a period of relational doldrums.  You're sleep deprived.  You're on different schedules.  And you just forget that the relationship requires tending.  So 2012 started with a lack of a relationship.  The institution of regular date nights.  More talking.  More intimacy.  Well, that does a relationship good.  We're now in a nice, comfortable place.  Companions again.  Co-parents.  Partners.  Lovely.

Well, Betty is just Betty.  Silly, lazy, hungry, and utterly adorable and lovable.  Oh, Betty.  It doesn't matter if its 2010, 2011, or 2012.  you are just Betty.

What a wild ride I have been on.  A year of change.  A year of growth.  A year of challenge.  A year of travel, travel, travel.  So many mixed emotions here.  I suspect there is more change to come very shortly - all of my making.  Hopefully i will have news soon.

At the end of the day politics favored progress.  We shall see if this continues.

Welcome Ezra!  Annabelle has a cousin.  My mom has another baby to love.  My sister's grief is now love.  What a gift you are Ezra.  I can't wait to baby you some more in 2013.  

And no year is complete without just a little sadness.  I won't rehash it all here.  Now with some time and distance I can see the lesson that was meant by that episode of sadness.  It has reaffirmed my long standing beliefs about the dignity and independence of women.  I hope to never have to deal with a similar situation in the future.

At the end of the day you were a pretty good friend to the Lee-Morrow clan 2012.  Lets hope that 2013 is equally lusciously sweet and spicy.

2013 - Bring it!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

18 Month Stats


You are now more than half my height.

Height:  34 inches
Weight:  25 lbs 15 ozs


Sunday, September 16, 2012

How nice of you to drop by.'s been nearly two years since I've written anything here.  And what a two years to omit.  Probably two of the most dramatic years of my life.  And how odd that I should suddenly think about this dead thing at this point and time in my life.  It's actually quite fun to look back at these posts.  Fun to see the journey I was on.  I can sort of understand why I stopped writing when I did.  Week 12 of carrying Annabelle.  Yes, she has a name.  And a soul.  A laugh.  A spirit.  A smile.  And LOVE.  So much love.  It's funny to read how I felt about being pregnant.  I can confirm two things.  1) I still hate every aspect of being pregnant.  I was not a fan of the process.  and 2)I do miss the Bo that was but I sure to love the Bo that I've become.  She's a mama.  And she loves being a mama.  And the funny thing is I think I'm more Bo than I was before.  I'm stronger than I was before.  I'm just as fearless if not more.  But now I'm a mama and so I'm fiercer than I was before.  I'm more involved in the world around me than I was before (is that even possible?).

Anyway, the pregnancy was the start of a wild, transformative ride.  Here's the short story.

2010 - the company I worked for, the company I loved, announced that it was being aquired by a big, slow, monster.  I was told I was being cut and then I was told that I was not being cut.  Not a fun game for a woman who was 20 weeks pregnant.  I stayed.  I got a bonus.  I was told I was very important to the company.  Whatever.  We went on a Babymoon to Hawaii.  Snorkeling paradise.  Note to self:  Do not try to hike into a dormant volcano when you are 22 weeks pregnant.  You may not be able to climb out.

2011 - Annabelle arrives.  Great Joy!

2012 - Leave the monster that was my former beloved employer.  Get a new job.  Love the job. Hate the travel and the amount of work.  Love the public platform it gives me to do what I love to do.  Annabelle is the perfect baby for J and I.

And that pretty much brings us to the present.  And just leaving out a few minor details.

A few more words about Annabelle.  It is my belief that we all get the child that we deserve.  Annabelle is that child.  She is perfection.  She may not be perfect for everyone but she is perfect for us.  She is smart as a whip, independent as all hell, strong as an ox, tall as a tree, stubborn as a mule, and about as beautiful as they come.  She is feisty.  Some people may not appreciate a child who so truly believes in her own rightness that she thinks you (the parent) is clearly an imbecile but I appreciate this about her.  I could share story upon story about things Annabelle has done that amazes me but that's what facebook is for.

Have I said that Annabelle is perfection?  I LOVE that little girl.

But I guess the real reason I'm writing this.  The real reason I want to record this is because I have to let go of my sadness.  Very few people know this and I don't think anyone realizes the depth of my sadness.  I'm afraid I've become almost too good at compartmentalizing my grief.

I feel so betrayed.  By science and medicine...and also my body.  We were being careful.  And god knows we weren't having that much sex.  One truth about does zap you of all desires to have sex.  But the birth control failed and I got pregnant.  But I didn't know.  And this one was so different from the last.  With Annabelle the signs showed up quick and early.  One day I'm feeling great and the next....we'll I'm throwing up all over the Rome airport.  But this one, I was feeling fine.  Maybe a little tired but otherwise strong and healthy.  But then I got sick.  Strep throat.  And then there was that injury.  And all required drugs.  Powerful drugs.  And I took those drugs because I didn't know I was pregnant.  And I even got my period...or what I thought was my period.  But then it started.  The nauseau.  The extreme fatigue.  What's wrong with me?  Why do I feel so sick?  God, this feeling is so familiar.  Like I'm pregnant.  And there are the two pink lines.  In a hotel room in Lake George on vacation.  With Annabelle napping away.  And I think about all the things I did and didn't do.  No prenatal vitamins.  No watching what I was eating.  All those powerful drugs and pain killers to deal with the swelling and the strep throat.  What could they have done to the baby inside me?  What was going on.

And so I visit the doctor expecting him to tell me that the baby was 5 or 6 weeks along and that all looked well.  But the news wasn't so good.  The baby looked to be about 11 weeks along.  Oh my god.  So old already.  I could see that it was fully formed.  Arms, legs, head, fingers, and even toes.  I bet if they had audio I could have heard the heartbeat.  Oh my god.  This baby that I did not know about was inside me.  This future perfection.  What have I done to you?  The doctor said he wouldn't be able to tell me if everything would be okay.  It was too early.  But I did take a lot of drugs and I wasn't taking care of myself.

And was I even ready.  Annabelle was a conscious choice.  And one that we feel blessed was so easy to conceive.  This little one.  I didn't know you even existed.  How could I?  Everything betrayed me.

And the doctor said if we want to terminate it would be easy to do it now rather than later because if the fetus became any bigger it would be a much more significant procedure.  And so there I was taking the Valium and the Vicodin.  And 45 minutes later it was all over.  The baby was gone.

And the baby was gone.  And a part of my heart and soul was gone.

I think about Annabelle and her perfection.  And I think about the baby.  What gender was it?  I don't know.   What if the same thing had happened when I conceived Annabelle.  And what if I had made the same decision.  There would be no Annabelle.

And I am so deeply sad.

I say to myself..."Well, on the bright side you're still really fertile.  At 36, almost 37, you got pregnant without even trying.  How many women your age are still so fertile?"  Always a silver lining, right?

And next year.  That's what J and I tell each other.  Next year is when we will start trying for baby number 2.

But it's not really baby number 2, is it.  It's really baby number 3.

And so there it is.  I needed somewhere to put this.  Somewhere that I can honor the baby that I will never have.  The baby that was not meant to be.  And even though nothing was right I know that you were perfect.  Every baby is perfect.  And every baby deserves to feel perfect.

And so there is it is.  To live on in this story.  For no one else to see but me.  My record of my life.

I have been so blessed.  A wonderful career, an amazing partner, a cute dog, and a perfect child.  And I am blessed to live in a state where I was not harasses by my doctor.  Or made to feel like a bad person.

But saddness exists and keeps all in balance.  I love you and I pray for you wherever you may be.