Tag:

pride

mass shooting, gun control, LGBTQ, Orlando, Florida, Pulse, Shooting, Gay Community, Pride, Omar Mateen, Eddie Justice, Mina Justice

My heart has been breaking since learning about the mass shooting that took place at “Orlando’s Premier Gay club”, Pulse, early Sunday morning leaving 49 victims dead and 53 wounded. I’m saddened and sickened for so many reasons. I could write about ISIS, terrorism, bigotry, racism and hate but what saddens me the most is that 49 mothers and fathers lost their child last night because a lunatic with a gun decided he wanted it to be so.

49 unsuspecting people thought it was just another Saturday night. Actually, it was a pretty special night, it was the eve of Pride Day. If ever there was a night to celebrate as a LGBTQ person (or a human being for that matter) it is the night when we all feel like there is a little less hate and lot more love and acceptance in the world. A day when we feel closer to a world of human equality and further from separation.Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

That’s what I was feeling yesterday, as I rode the 15-hour drive home from Boston and saw all the smiling, celebratory faces of my friends, celebrating at Pride Parades and block parties. I felt the pride all last week while I was in Boston and glorious rainbows adorned all of the buildings and landmarks around the city. I could feel the acceptance in the air, it was palpable.

But last night, the ugliness of hatred and stupidity reared up its head and stole the lives of 49 children from their parents. No, they were not small children like the victims of Sandy Hook but anyone who has a child knows that our children are always “our children” no matter how old or how big they get. It is our most primal instinct to protect them and love them as fiercely as our hearts will allow; to give our lives in place of theirs without hesitation or thought.

When I read the story of Mina Justice and the texts that she received from her terrified son, Eddie Justice, while he hid in the bathroom from a gun wielding bigot, afraid for his life, my heart shattered into a million pieces. It’s horrid that any one person had to die so senselessly in such a brutal way for no reason at all other than for being who they were meant to be and loving who they were born to love. But to see his own words in the texts to his mother; to know his fear was almost too much to bare. I can only imagine what his mother must have been feeling.

As a mother, I wanted to crawl into the fetal position and die. I wanted to run to this mother and hold her and tell her that it was all going to be alright. That her son was fine. Like this was some primetime drama and at the end, everybody would walk away just fine and the bad man would be apprehended but that’s not how it happens in real life.

In real life, bad things happen to good people. Terrible unthinkable things happen to unsuspecting people who’ve done nothing more than live their lives, openly and freely. Mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers, lose their loved ones because bad people with no scruples are allowed to obtain guns because, apparently, the right to bear arms trumps the right to live in our United States.

We are becoming desensitized to the point where when we see shootings on the news, it’s no longer shocking unless it’s a mass shooting.

People are outraged, screaming that terrorists are targeting and murdering the LGBTQ community and I agree with their outrage but for me, it’s much simpler. Someone murdered 49 children, his name was Omar Mateen.  He was an American-born man, a domestic terrorist, who called 911 before carrying out this ghastly task and pledged his allegiance to ISIS, while referencing the Boston Marathon bombers. He then chose to gun down 50 innocent people. This is the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11.

Mateen somehow managed to carry an assault rifle and a pistol into a packed club around 2 a.m. Sunday morning and started shooting, he murdered 49 people and wounded at least 53. After a three-hour standoff, while 350 people were trapped inside the club desperately calling and messaging friends and relatives, police crashed into the building with an armored vehicle and stun grenades and killed Mateen.

Omar Mateen was 29-years-old, lived in Fort Pierce, Florida and had been interviewed not once but twice, in 2013 and again in 2014, by the FBI but was found both times to not be a threat. They were wrong. In the past two weeks Mateen legally purchased a Glock pistol and a long gun, ATF Assistant Special Agent in Charge Trevor Velinor told reporters.

Authorities spoke with Mateen’s father and ex-wife and both said that Omar Mateen was not particularly religious but his father said that recently, Omar saw two men kissing in Miami and it offended him. His ex-wife says that she thinks he was bipolar but was never formally diagnosed. Sounds to me like he was a bigot with a gun; a bully.

49 moms and dads are beside themselves trying to figure out how to live without their children alive to love. 49 childless mothers are sobbing primally because their world has been destroyed. 49 childless fathers are looking at the door expecting their child to return, knowing they never will; feeling a void that is so massive that it feels as if their heart will crush beneath the weight of it.

Today the entire world feels vulnerable and helpless; victimized and terrified. We are angry that this was allowed to happen again but don’t let the anger turn to hate. Hate is what got us here to this moment of childless mothers and fathers, in the first place.

Channel your hatred, anger, helplessness and vulnerability into change. Donate blood. Be kind to strangers. Treat people as humans. Don’t judge people for who they love, the color of their skin or the God they worship. Be a voice for the mothers and fathers who cannot speak or barely breathe, those who lost everything because one evil man was able to possess a gun and with that gun he chose to murder people just because he could.

We have to say no more, stand up for those who need protection and be the change we want to see in the world. The time for  expecting others to make things happen has passed. We have to vote, risk and force the change. Next time, it could be one of our children.

What would you be willing to risk in order to prevent another mass shooting?

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I fully realize this picture is fuzzy but there is something ethereal about & it is very reminiscent of how the weekend felt.

The house lights went down & I was overcome with emotion.I sat there, my 3 year old to my right and her father on the other side of her.We held our breaths.Tchaikovsky started to swell from the orchestra pit and my heart began to swell with pride, as my eyes swelled with tears in anticipation of my little girl’s debut performance on the stage as a ballerina.

We know the story of the Nutcracker well.We’ve been reading it to Bella since she was 3, the year that she started taking ballet.It is a big part of our holiday tradition.This year was different, this year it wasn’t just about sitting in the audience and basking in the holiday spirit .This year was momentous.This year, the Nutcracker was one of my Bella’s milestones; like first steps, first words, first day of school. Like so many before it and so many that are yet to come, it is that moment that parents find themselves reluctantly and pridefully letting go…just a little, just enough to give you a great big lump in your heart.

So, there I sat with my great big giant lump in my heart, trying to hold it together.Waiting, hoping, not breathing in anticipation of the end of the first act;the moment that my little snowflake would enter stage left. Then it happened, there she was with her white leotard and tutu, wrapped in the glow of the stage light, floating gracefully above the floor like a vision in tulle loveliness. I realize that everyone else was focusing their attentions on the “big” snowflakes ( the more seasoned ballerinas) but my every attention was devoted solely to my little snowflake.Every plies, leap, pirouette that she did, I watched her face to see that she was enjoying every moment of it.After all, isn’t that what we live for..those moments of sheer happiness in our child’s face. The 5 minutes that she was on stage felt like a lifetime, as I sat there holding my breath and trying to suppress the lump in my heart. Then, it was over. Four months of rehearsals, weeks of anticipation, countless dollars and a few moments of graceful beauty under falling snow; priceless!

We met her backstage with roses, gifts, and enough praise to last her a lifetime but no words could amply convey the pride I felt in my heart. Family and friends came from all over to see our little girl take the stage.I just tried not to cry…too much.I held it together pretty well until the ride home from the theater and then the lump in my heart gave way and burst, overflowing and escaping through my eyes. There I sat, silently, ugly crying feeling the pride and momentum of what had just transpired.The Big Guy sat next to me, pretending not to notice how swept away I was by this occasion. He’s learned after 13 years to just be, any interaction or conversation can induce hysterics;hyperventilating, noisy, body shaking ugly crying.

It was a moment she will never forget and neither will the Big Guy and I. It was the first moment our little girl became a real ballerina. It is emblazoned in my mind like the image on my digital camera with the waltz of the snowflakes accompanying it on a never ending loop. What is a moment of overwhelming pride that you have felt for your child? How did you handle the lump in your heart?

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Remember the good old days when you could spell any word that you wanted your children NOT to understand. I don’t know how many times we spelled “B.A.T.H”, “S.L.E.E.P”, “N.A.P.” “O.U.T.S.I.D.E.” and every single curse word..ever! In fact the other night, my friend and I were at dinner talking and she burst out into spelling a curse word.We both chuckled because the youngest person at the table was my baby sister who is 32. But its just one more of our Mommy moments.

Unfortunately for me, my brilliant 5 year old is phonetically spelling everything now and when we spell..she figures it out. So, no more talking about how they won’t be going outside, or can’t drive their Barbie Escalade in 50 degree weather. No more whispered spelling about what we plan to do after the girls go to sleep. No more talking about what just transpired with the crazy mom. No, because now my child who hears absolutely nothing I have to say to her can hear everything I spell that is of absolutely no concern to her.Worse, she can understand what I am spelling and takes great unabashed joy in deciphering my Mommy code!

Damn! Why did I ever teach my kid to spell? I am fairly certain my life is going to hell in a gasoline doused hand basket, any day now. She’s already heard too much. She has cracked my code but worse is she cracked it before telling me she understood. In theory, I may or may not have said something about a certain crazy mother, teacher, neighbor or family member that may get repeated at the most inopportune time.It’s like I’m being held hostage by a kindergartner, without her knowledge.I can’t ask her not to say anything because a) I’m not sure entirely what she has deciphered and understood and what she has not b)if I do broach the subject and ask her not to repeat any thing, what kind of an example am I setting? I’d be teaching her that its OK to be mean and ugly and then to lie to cover it up.Yeah, because that will never come back to bite me in the ass.

No thank you! I have already learned my lesson, from my Mother’s flurry of “I hope you have a little girl just like you when you grow up” that has since hit me over the head and kicked me in the ass ten fold. NO, I know the bitch that karma can be and I choose not to taunt or tempt her. I will keep my mouth shut. Stop spelling in front of my big brained baby and really just try and be a better person. After all, isn’t it my mouth that got me into all of this trouble and not my daughter’s big brain or astute hearing skills? But I still would like to know Why did I teach my girl to spell? Next thing you know, she’ll be deciphering for her little sister.Happy Mothering!

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I thought this Motherhood gig was all about me shaping, molding, teaching these little, adorable human beings of mine. I knew it would be loads of work, and it is. It is a grueling 24 hour a day job that never stops. I knew (in theory) that was what I was in for but I never expected what I actually got.
As tired as I am most days and holding on for dear life to my last string of sanity, I am always amazed. I never expected to learn anything from my children. Come on, everything they know..I taught them, right? Apparently not. I guess I have to relinquish some of the pride in my nurturing because I have to admit, I’m pretty sure there is a lot of nature in it.
For instance, my 2 year old who is so honest at times that she actually scares me.Many times I have asked her to do something and she will simply say no. Ask her why, she will say because she doesn’t want to.In a world full of excuses, this little girl makes none. She is who she is, and that’s who she is..Deal with it! It used to annoy me that she would just say no she didn’t want to.Let’s be honest, us Mommies, we do a lot of things that we don’t want to. I know for a fact I don’t want to do dishes, fold laundry, cook, run errands, pay bills, keep appointments or obligations but that’s my life. That’s being an adult, right? The more I think of it, why can’t I take a cue from my 2 year old in her infinite wisdom. I mean wouldn’t it be the nicer thing to do then to be insulting and come up with ridiculous excuses why you can’t do things. I appreciate her honesty and her braveness with her integrity is admirable. When my 2 year old does decide to help you, it is whole hearted and it is selfless and it is beautiful. From my 5 year old, I have learned to be fearless. I know where she gets this, I do remember a time when that was me.Since having my girls, I have become much less reckless and more cautious because every day with them is the most important of my life. My Bella will do whatever it takes to achieve her goals. It doesn’t matter if it scares the hell outta her, she will pursue it with a fierceness. There is not much she can’t do. In fact, I don’t think there is anything that she can’t do..if she puts her mind to it. Her spirit is free and her heart is open. She loves with abandon and if you are lucky enough to be one of those who she does love; she will walk through hell to make you happy.
My daughters have reminded me that I can do anything that I set my mind to.They have also reminded me to have integrity and pride. I am embracing love with full abandon. I am learning to be honest with myself, to be fearless and to relish all that life has to offer. They have also taught me that a child’s giggle, their little hand in yours, a snuggle, a kiss goodnight, their true smile..can melt your heart and make you feel more vulnerable then you ever thought possible. They have taught me that the world is a beautiful, miraculous place where everything is possible.
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