Monthly Archives: November 2015

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom- Thanksgiving Edition

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Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated across the United States this Thursday. When my daughter was little she used to call it “Giftgiving” because it seemed harder for her to say it correctly. However I think that is an accurate description of the day. We should be giving thanks for our gifts. We were taught that this day signified a day when the first settlers shared a feast with the native peoples in peace and harmony. That, however, is not exactly the correct history of neither the birth of this nation nor the treatment of the people who were found here. Those European settlers, escaping political and religious persecution in their own countries, landed on these shores to start a new life and in many cases, the native peoples were just in the way.

The world today is in a tumultuous place. Terrorism has become organized and the attacks worldwide over the past month have left everyone reeling. It seemed easy to turn off the news when attacks happened in far off places, after all those countries are in constant turmoil, or so western media would have one believe. But suddenly that famous city of Light and culture, Paris, was hit not once, but twice in a year. Devastating coordinated attacks. And suddenly they have everyone’s attention.

The biggest backlash for these actions are falling on the Syrian refugees who, like our early American forefathers, are fleeing political, religious persecution and violence in their own country in the hope of finding a better life. Many countries are opening their doors to this mass influx of men, women and children. It is a massive and complicated undertaking. But it is the right thing to do. However, many of the leaders and prospective leaders in the United States are using these attacks to foster fear of the unknown. Now it is widely preached that refugees should not be accepted into this country because the terrorists can hide among their numbers and come in that way. Many governors have already said they will not accept refugees into their state. They do not see that by taking this action, the terrorists have already beaten them. I am so proud to live in a state where the governor has refused to be dictated by fear and fear mongering. He has stated that we will take refugees here. He will not allow our humanity to be compromised by those who have sacrificed theirs.

The people who would lead this country are preaching hate and intolerance. There has been a suggestion that only certain religious groups be admitted. Other suggestions are that certain ethnic groups wear identity badges or carry certain ID cards. How little we have learned from the past! Native peoples were pushed from their lands and relocated into reservation land, their populations decimated from illness, violence and neglect after the first settlers landed on these shores. American citizens of Japanese descent had property, money and possessions taken from them and they were herded into internment camps on US soil after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Jewish people were forced to wear yellow stars in Europe during WW2. Palestinian people are required to have ID cards and pass through fences and checkpoints to go to work. How can this be right? Will the racism and profiling never stop?

Am I afraid? Yes, I am afraid. But I am just as afraid of the people who would serve as my president as I am of the person strapping on a bomb filled vest and walking into a busy marketplace. Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind”.

A moving moment after the Paris attacks was the image of a lone musician, playing John Lennon’s “Imagine” on his piano outside of the Bataclan Concert Hall. He wanted to remind the world that we could still imagine a place without hate and war even if we have to dream it first. Terrorists can only take our spirits if we let them.

And so this Thursday I will celebrate Giftgiving. I am blessed with the gift of birth and circumstance. By the grace of God, go I. I am blessed with the gift of food filling my home with wonderful smells, a warm fire in my living room, the cadence of my children’s voices as they laugh together safe in my home. I cannot minimize these blessings. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

I sincerely hope we can bring peace on earth in my children’s lifetime. Their world is so different then the world was when I was their age. And yet they are not sad or fearful. They vow to live as they want on their terms. They are cautious but live happy, full lives. They enjoy their city of music and life. For this I am grateful because it means the terrorists will never win. And that in itself is a gift.

Happy Giftgiving to you and yours.

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Chapter 15

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It’s the time of year for celebrations. All sorts of celebrations. In my own little family we spend early October to the end of December celebrating all of our birthdays and a wedding anniversary that is the same day as my parent’s wedding anniversary. In the same time frame we have many extended family birthdays, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We have friends who celebrate Diwali, Hanukkah and sometimes Ramadan, depending on the Arabic calendar. Some celebrate more then one. Many celebrations. Wonderful celebrations.

When my children were young I vowed to create celebrations that would become traditions they could remember and carry on throughout their lives. Birthday parties were always specially planned and very fun affairs. I am gratified that as young adults they have continue to celebrate their birthdays in style. Each holiday had its own special foods. Christmas Eve had its own book and then its own movie. Graduations meant walking in commencement ceremonies. July 4th has a BBQ. The Winter Solstice demands a moon dance.

And so it is with growing sadness that I watch the people of the world fight and argue over their celebrations. If one person’s celebration is not like their neighbor’s, that seems to be cause for contention. The most recent kerfuffle seems to be over the fact that a famous coffee company has changed the motifs on their cups this season and so no longer represents a certain group’s celebrations. I cannot grasp the validity of this concern. Why on earth should that even make a difference? Are these people claiming their own celebrations are now ruined because the expensive coffee they buy does not represent what they celebrate? Perhaps they need new celebrations. Or perhaps the meaning of their celebration has become so lost in material symbols that they themselves feel lost.

November is the month when we of this country celebrate gratitude. There have been many traditions started to help us realize how lucky we truly are. 30 Days of Gratitude is one. Writing a gratitude journal is another. Just giving thanks or counting one’s blessings works for others. It is a wonderful tradition but unfortunate that we only highlight it one month a year. And yet even that does not seem to allow some to look beyond their own lives to really appreciate how grateful we should be.

When I turned the page of my calendar to November, the quote on that page just grabbed me and has had me thinking about gratitude since then. The quote by WT Purkiser stated that it is what we make of our lives that is true Thanksgiving. We are all blessed. We all have gifts. And yet we do not always use them to the fullest. I myself am guilty of that. I have spent years bemoaning that my life was one way and not the other. Such wasted time. On the cusp of this milestone, I regret the time I had spent not counting the blessings I had in front of me. Not that it is too late or I hope it is not. Change can happen at any time. I hope that with this aging, I will have wisdom to see what is in front of me and to do what I can with the gifts that I have.

Now I count my blessings and am grateful that they are many. That I have reached this age. That my children are happy and healthy and living vibrant lives. That my husband and I are still crazy after all these years. That there is no war in my country and plenty of food. That I am healthy and still have access to excellent healthcare. That I can celebrate what I want without fear of persecution. That I do not have to run away from danger to an unwelcoming new place. I have so, so much to celebrate.

In the dictionary, the first meaning of the word celebrate is to “rejoice”. I should not judge any other person’s tradition or belief for celebration and none should judge mine. Just to greet another day is a reason to rejoice. I plan to make the most of it.