Dear Mrs. Obama: Have They Considered Mr. Lemon?

A6TRRWgCMAAjjpPDear Mrs. Obama,

This message to you has been near the top of my list for months: a most heartfelt thank you for all that, well…all that you are actually. I don’t claim to know you as more than a woman for whom I am fan and follower. Yet, I’m tempted to put in this quick note the same thing that I put in birthday cards to those who mean the most to me:

“Thank you for being born.”

That would be a bit intense though since despite my greatest efforts, we’ve not yet met.

Actually, here’s the truth: I started last fall by taking for granted that you and your family would continue to be the leaders protecting and leading my sons for another term. Like so many others, I watched the debates for the first time ever and during that process I cracked. Rage would not be an exaggeration. Even though it was your husband who was being personally and morally attacked – for some reason, I found myself feeling deeply offended as well. Thankfully I remembered a huge sign that my mother kept in her laundry room which said:

“Living Well is the Best Revenge.”

So, despite my best efforts to keep the home fires burning and volunteer for your family campaign in an official manner, I found myself seeking revenge “Kate Style”: I drove around the Quad Cities being an hour, or day, or a week too late for events but never allowed myself to feel a dollar too short. I prayed and retweet all that I found to be good. I wrote and deleted and lost my thoughts and eye glasses on what felt like an hourly basis…

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no hero. My campaign efforts were nothinganxiety girl compared to those of most of your volunteers and most of all, other than the retweetAthon that a friend pointed me toward, everything I did was in my head.

As a matter of fact, in an effort to support one of your speeches I got lost and ended up in a town called Lost Nation, Iowa. My family is so long and suffering.Thank God, I did find my way to hear you, just days before the election in Iowa City. Did you see me? I was the one who started crying like a sissy girl when you simply opened your mouth to say hello. My mother campaigned for you before you even knew you needed her. Sadly, she died several years ago.

Actually, the tears on my part were that of complete joy.

165977_10151106768050774_429870657_nThe joy was, in part, to be a few feet away from a woman who I admire deeply. More so, tears flowed because you said, word for word, what I was feeling.

After the harrowing experience of dodging winter weather, my completely mismanaged childcare back up plans and getting utterly lost on the road to a very easy to find destination…what could I do but laugh?

I was exhausted from worry and effort by the time you got up on stage and if I’d had to wait too many minutes longer I would have needed to bail yet another event to get home in time for after school pick up.

Shazaam. On came the Earth Wind and Fire music. Shoulders grooved. Water cups were passed. Secret service squeezed in, andA1JU2PeCQAADnFI you came out to say what I’d come to realize in those exact long hours:

If, despite my most heartfelt prayer, Michelle is asked to leave the house, joy will still come in the morning.

Thank you for saying exactly that Mrs. Obama. I heard you say:

“No matter what, we are going to be just fine. On Thursday (after the election), no matter where my family will live next winter, on thursday we will go back to picking up our shoes and putting them away.”

Soon after you said that a mom in the crowd hushed her child who was playing in the front rows and you said:

“No!

Don’t shoosh…Let her go!

We’ve got another party over here!”

So, for now, I’m going to finish this thank you note and ask that, although I think I am certainly at least 24 hours too late with this message,

I would like to recommend that the benediction for the inauguration be given by one of my many favorite pastors: Meadowlark Lemon.

I knew he was a Trotter, and am so pleased to read this week that he is a theologian as well:

“True visions have transformed my time on this earth from

mere existence

to joyful living.

 

As the saying goes, if you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it.

A worthwhile life

begins with a bold vision.”

~ from Trust Your Next Shot: A Guide to a Life of Joy, by Meadowlark Lemon and Lee Stuart

Thanks again.

With peace,

Kate

@Chris Handles loves my new book as well.

@Chris Handles loves my new book as well.

Holiday Stress? Watch the Roches Perform Handel’s Hallelujah

Our family had a very, very challenged couple of weeks as we awaited Santa. It feels like Jesus came tumbling by way of a King’s Island roller coaster this year.

On my side of the family – no hitches: all three major trans USA move transitions went fine. All systems, go, go go! (Doing the thankful daughter/sister/mom dance in my mind because when I try to do even a mini office chair samba my brain sort of explodes and my hip dislocates a bit).

Why even try to samba? Because my people are happy and that’s the goal:

1. My brother is in proud dad heaven as my niece grabbed the golden ring of what she wants to do with her life, 2. My cousin who survived hurricane Irene on Long Isle and I still love each other more than anyone, 3. My aunt and uncle’s children seem to be doing especially well this year, and,

4. My father?! Holy smokes. When I talked to him on Christmas day he sounded happier than he has, honestly,

since well before my mother died of colon cancer eight years ago.

What favorite daughter of the best dad in the world isn’t trying to reach THAT brass ring? Eh?

John Fugiel troop Douglas McEwan photog.With a little bit of help from my brother and I, his perfectly laid out plan to organize, sell his home and move permanently to Florida is, as he would say: “Finito!” Done.

It worked! The rewards of his hard work to grieve and retire at the same time seem to be that his new neighbor Rose loves him (he killed and threw away the scary dead snake in the road), my cousins went from enjoying to adoring his company (he reminds them of our grandfather), and even dad’s doctors love him it seems. (Aka: He is being compliant to their plans and in return his kidney disease issues are at a standstill for now).

In addition, though his favorite new walking park let him down mightily by closing off a path so they could chase away alligators by draining a pond, his life seems to be moving at his perfecto pace at last. Hell. After two years of weekly poker losses, he says that he’s now even winning some card hands now.

If you’ve ever met my dad even once for ten minutes, you’d agree that his life is now wonderful indeed.

Boo, and YA world! High fives all around the globe.

I imagine that you, whoever you are: stranger or not, I imagine that you are staring at your PhoneComputerTouch screen and thinking, “and this made your 2012 Christmas a disaster because…?”

…there’s more of course.

On my adoring Sleigh Driver’s side of the family, elder care issues

have come home to roost in epic proportion.

If your Christmas celebrations have you feeling like this:

(click the word BESTBEST if you have 5 minutes to watch and hear a righteous cool Handel’s Messiah rendition.Thank you SO much @JamesMartinSJ and @suzzyroche – that tweet share last night has me confused about whether or not this is the best or worst Christmas season I’ve celebrated in my 45 years.)

Or, if you feel a bit guilty that you didn’t have a crappy or complicated holiday season, just google

sudden onset of dementia

and your heart will break just enough to empathize with my favorite husband.

He has a very, very large German family in a lovely rural Appalachian corner of Ohio. We have all helped take care of his grandmother for a couple of years now as she has had some health issues. Despite those efforts, she has suddenly become what I can only describe as a five foot GermanHandful of frustration and occasional cuteness.

She was and will always be the Matriarch of, I exaggerate not, dozens, which if you count the great-great-greats, is probably more like hundreds.

But. She apparently kept us all fooled that it was perfect apple pie that was keeping us in line and clicking our rosaries for the last 100 years. It was actually her mind.

Over the past 20 years she has become blind, deaf, and in the last year or so has developed mobility issues. We’re trying to figure out what she needs most, and my SO not an “expert at geriatric care” opinion is that “Little Grandma” has been suffering from some normal oxygen loss which results in tired thinking issues. In turn, this is creating a sudden onset of dementia that is moving faster than is easy to manage for her two daughters.

I didn’t expect that my mother in law and I would be at her kitchen table trying to figure out if all of a sudden Little Grandma has Alzheimer’s or not.

You’d think since my mother in law is a librarian and I’ve mostly been a teacher or student we could combine our tired noggins and figure that out at least a little bit.

Not so much over just one cup of lukewarm peppermint tea.

For now, my approach is going to be to watch and re-watch that music video of the Roches singing Alleluia that I found on Twitter while finally giving myself a Christmas sixty minutes alone.

Morning Mumble

G’ morning.

I’ve committed to

1. turn in an essay by 5 p.m. for a local contest called “The Iron Pen.”

2. I think the prizes is that I get to sign up to be volunteer of the month for this community based writing group.

3. I might rather have cash.

4. I don’t want to finish what I’ve started writing.

5. My son is going to wake up any second needing breakfast and blaring cartoons.

6. The toilets are dirty,

7. I’m guessing yours are also.

8. I’m nervous about meeting new people today.

9. I’m not confident that I can finish well what started as, I think, something interesting.

10. I’m going to be 45 years old in 7 days.

k.bye.