Sore and Thoughtful

A good kind of sore.

20151113_152709Sweet baby Jesus on a pogo stick, am I tired.

Last night, I attended my first aqua aerobics class. Sore does not begin to describe how my abs feel today. And that’s a good thing. Recovering fully from a c-section means working hard to regain some semblance of a pre-pregnancy figure. Without this sort of exercise, it wouldn’t be possible. I need to get stronger! I feel very lucky to have a yoga class on Sundays and aqua aerobics on Tuesdays that I can attend.

It’s really nice to be able to be around some new people and to challenge my body. I’m also glad that it gives Henry the opportunity to socialize with other kids at the gym’s child center. Too much time alone in the house with Mommy can’t be good for his social development.

According to the folks there, he’s always well behaved, and he likes to interact with the other babies. He only seems to cry when he’s the only infant in the baby corner.  I don’t blame him. It can’t be fun to be the only baby sequestered in the baby area when there are toddlers so nearby.

I can has hibernation?

It’s storming outside today and quite dark.  All I want to do is to give in to the MS fatigue and sleep all day — but Henry’s got other plans.  He needs my snuggles and attention, and I’m happy about that.

Fortunately, he’s napping right now, so I have a moment to write. Part of my brain says, “THEN YOU SHOULD BE NAPPING TOO!” but I took a 5 Hr Energy about an hour ago, so that’s not gonna be happening.  Hopefully, tonight I’ll get some good sleep.

Thoughts I can’t keep to myself.

But none of that is why I’m writing right now.  Honestly, there’s something on my mind.

Today, I hid a lot of friends on Facebook from my newsfeed. I considered unfriending, but decided against it because I care about these people.  I was just sick and tired of seeing folks politicizing the Syrian refugee crisis for their own egotistical gains. I was tired of seeing photos of dead toddlers and babies having washed ashore — sometimes in an attempt to remind us that not allowing refugees into our country makes us responsible for some of these deaths, and sometimes in an attempt to vilify and dehumanize the refugees for bringing their babies with them in the first place, when it’s so dangerous to travel the ocean.  Seeing those pictures made me break down and cry. And I don’t cry easily.

20151118_092343Empathy — it’s a thing.

When you have a small child who is the absolute center of your world, imagining, even for a moment, what you would feel like if you were to see your child face down in the sand, is intensely painful. It’s gut-wrenching and tragic in a way that folks who haven’t had babies can’t fully understand, because the raw emotions that exist were born with your child.  They didn’t become a part of your emotional lexicon until you protected that baby with your very life for months at a time.

To be honest, I don’t see how any parent can see a dead baby in the sand as their own child, and not want to offer hospitality to the mourning parents. I can’t grok the idea of being so cowardly or dead inside that you’d be more afraid of the potential terrorist on the boat with them than you’d be afraid of more of them feeling that sort of loss.

Maybe I’m a little jaded, since I live in a Chicago suburb.  I mean, more than 200 people died in the first half of the year alone here just from gun violence.  There were no terrorists causing that. It’s 100% good ole American murder.  And yet, it’s the exact same folks who are afraid of people who are fleeing genocide that advocate for every American adult to concealed carry a firearm.  I don’t understand that level of cognitive dissonance.

Funny enough, in March, ISIS released a “kill list” of cities that they want to see demolished, and Orland Park, IL made the list. Not Chicago, mind you, but our blissfully low-crime neighborhood. Some folks are in a tizzy about it.  I, on the other hand, am kind of tickled, since there is such a big Islamic population in our area already, and we moved out here to be safer than in “Chiraq,” where more than 50 people can die in a weekend when the Cubbies are doing well.

This whole situation just makes me shake my head. At the end of the day, the questions you’ve got to ask yourself are these: (1) Do I want to live in fear? and (2) Do I want to keep an open heart?

I think that the only way that terrorists ever win (regardless of their race, creed, or nationality) is when we become the xenophobic, violent scaredy cats they want us to be. And I refuse to be manipulated by them.

So, I’m going to continue to make sure that my son spends time in playgroups with children of all sorts of belief systems. I’m going to help contribute to the welfare of refugees through reputable charities, and I’m going to increase my efforts to become involved in my community. I’m going to go the extra mile to keep my heart open and not be afraid.

Because whether or not I do those things, pain is coming. Everyone gets hurt in life. Everyone dies eventually. Whether it’s ISIS or cancer or multiple sclerosis or high cholesterol – SOMETHING is going to get you. That’s just how life is. And it’s my job to teach Henry how to live well anyway.  Being angry and hateful and scared because some folks don’t agree with your way of life? Well, that’s just not a good option.

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