Women’s Marches – Strong Women Part 3 (and the 100th entry here)

Hey Four!

This weekend has been something so surreal. Friday, this country swore in the 45th president. Saturday 300+ cities in this country held gatherings and marches. This is a historic time that you are coming in to and I can only say that I am both terrified and emboldened at the same time. Your dad left on Thursday to go to a conference in Chicago and the hotel was right across from the huge park where the women’s march assembled. I will get to the story of that in a sec. However, let me catch up on what happened on Thursday night (well, actually Friday morning).

Despite what some people believe, the facts are that we had the warmest year on record for 2016 and it seems like we are off to the same pattern thus far for 2017. Yesterday was absolutely springtime like, Chicago had a high of 61 degrees in January…crazy! So back to Thursday, we had been in a drizzly, rainy, thunderstormy, foggy cycle all week. On Thursday night, while being home alone, it was raining pretty steadily when all of a sudden at 2:40 in the morning the power went off. It stayed quiet and dark until about 3:30, when the ComEd trucks came rumbling down the street with their bright orange lights flashing. About 45 minutes later there was a surge of power with the lights getting very, very bright and then instantly fading to brown. The brown lasted a couple of minutes then the power was back off. I lit some candles and waited. The rain was letting up to more of a mist. Then the power did that big surge thing again and went quickly out. A few seconds later, there was another surge with lights getting very bright. There were popping sounds along the bedroom wall and the oven began to beep constantly with all of the digital display flickering. I put on my coat and walked the outside of the house trying to see if there was anything to explain the popping I heard. When I came back in and checked the wall of the bedroom there was a distinct burnt wire smell.

As I was considering calling the fire department, they showed up. The neighbors to the north had already called about the same thing. So as the firefighters were walking up the driveway I called out to one and asked if they could check me next. A younger guy came over right away and checked throughout the bedroom. I was a little embarrassed for the piles of blankets and laundry that were all over the place. It still smelled like burnt wire, but not as much. Then his lieutenant and a female firefighter came over. And, yes, I did take a two pics of the craziness in our front yard at 4 in the morning. They checked everything on the first floor. While they were doing that the power came back on and stayed on. Then they checked the basement. The lieutenant did not like the look of our panel and the not-to-code wires there. But finally, around 5 a.m. they were done and off. I could not go back to sleep after that as it was all just too intense and my adrenaline was on over drive. So, I stayed awake and watched the news coverage of the inauguration. Around 7 a.m. I sent off the email with the pics to the husband. He was shocked and worried, but I told him everything was ok.

The rest of Friday was watching news, texting my neighbor who was “in mourning” as she is super involved in political movements and this result was quite the opposite from what she was hoping for, then running to work to attempt the organization of weekend activities, and then to the sister-in-law’s to hang out. Spending time with her was nice. We found a funny show on Netflix and watched four episodes. It was super foggy when I drove home and I had enjoyed my phone calls from your dad who was “a little toasted” as he put it. There were free drinks at some of the conference social events, so he was enjoying himself with his work friends. I had the benefit of him missing me and telling me how much he loves me. It was cute!

Saturday was all about the women’s marches. Some experts are claiming that Saturday was the largest single day protest movement ever. It was something to behold. The news I was watching had six screens going with coverage from cities across America and around the world. There was even a march in Antartica. My facebook feed was going crazy with pictures from people all over the country. Your dad walked across the street and took photos of the crowds that were so high energy. He said he was even moved to tears being in the midst of it all. I wish I could have been there, but that would be way too much excitement for you little one. Chicago had originally planned on a crowd of 22,000. That is the population of the town I grew up in. Then as the weekend drew near, the expectation grew to 50,000 and additional street closures were ordered. As the morning started it was clear that the crowd would be at 75,000…but then in Chicago and in cities everywhere, the expected numbers were blown away. Chicago ended up with rough estimates of 150,000 – even though we had heard as high as 250,000 (or a quarter of a million…which when you say it that way is crazy). There were women, men, kids, elderly, ethnic minorities, celebrities, politicians, religious leaders, and humankind of all backgrounds there together (so very different from the white-washed crowd of the previous day’s event).

While some reports said that it wasn’t clear what the march was really all about as there were so many different things written on posters, I think that is exactly what made it cool. Marchers were protesting and gathering under one giant umbrella of opposition to a wide variety of things. It is when activists limit and divide things into categories that I think the overall opposition weakens. I mean, when one group is strictly protesting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, and another group is protesting the current administration’s plans for immigration reform it may seem like the two groups have nothing in common. However, it was all lumped together. I also read that there were pro-lifers who were banned from the march. I didn’t see or hear about it at the time, just later. As a woman who is trying so very hard to be a mom, and as a Catholic, and as someone who grew up with parents who said if anything ever happened please tell them so that we could arrange for an adoption…yes, all of that is part of the pro-life mentality. But the reality is that if women are allowed pro-choice they can chose of their own will if they will be pro-life or elect to do something with a choice that is really theirs to make. Each and every situation is unique and my views shouldn’t be imposed on another women’s life. I never really made a clear stance on that until this weekend. I thought in doing so, I would go to Hell, but each person’s place with God is his or her’s to develop over the course however long their lifetime is. So, I feel badly that the pro-life women were allegedly excluded, but I guess I can understand why that was the case.

So as I was watching these massive marches roll out from the East coast to the West coast, I was so inspired. I had always marveled at the 1960’s mobilization of anti-establishment protests. I was even drawn to the earlier counter-culture movement of the beat poets in the 1950s. My aunt, who in her healthy youth was a highly active member of NOW, didn’t sit on the sidelines for women’s rights. I like to think her efforts made the world more open for her nieces. I think I see a lot of that same energy and power in my neighbor who is a leader in the county’s NOW organization. Whenever I reflected on my aunt her activism was something stunk with me. If she had been alive today (in her mid-60s), she would have been front and center in what I saw Saturday. Seeing how the crowds were so massive and so energized was such a stark contrast to what I watched Friday.

So, out of curiosity when it came time to see the new prez do a press conference standing before the wall in the CIA where clandestine officers who lost thier lives serving their country have a star there to represent their massive sacrifice I about threw up when he spoke off-the-cuff about the negative media coverage asserting his inauguration was anything but a ratings blockbuster. It was horrifying! He was supposed to be mending the rift that he himself created with the institution that makes sure we are safe by keeping us informed of threats from home and abroad. Rather, he re-wrote himself and claimed the media set him up to look like he didn’t support the CIA…not true. He claimed he is at war with the media because they only portray him in a negative light…well when all he does is put negative, fear-mongering, falsehood shit out there to report about it is merely the news reporting on reality. And to then act so glib and so egotistical about his popularity when the photographic evidence does not lie – I was beyond mad. He made no mention of the women’s marches. He made no attempt to say anything unifying or hopeful after delivering one of the strangest on most campaign-y inauguration speeches I have ever heard. It was a giant misstep and one that made me even more afraid for what damage he is going to do as Commander in Chief.

Then, about an hour after that mess, his press secretary, who looks like he needed medical intervention to get through delivering his first-ever remarks at the White House, came on to very angrily state that the media got all of the crowd numbers wrong and what a disgrace it is to report on that…oh, and no questions. Oh my goodness. This guy was a hot mess over these crowd numbers. He used subway riders and protective lawn tarps as an excuse to say the inauguration was indeed the most highly attended and watched event in the history of inaugurations…all very false, and wouldn’t those subway numbers be in part due to the women who were all in town for the following day’s event too? Maybe that didn’t count because everyone who used the subway that day must have been attending the inauguration – obviously.

Having been an AP Language and Composition English teacher, I educated incredibly bright high schoolers on the power and code embedded in rhetoric (and used many political speeches as examples). Both the prez and the mess secretary (not a typo) were revealing a lot with their time at the mic and none of it was good. If this is how they respond to getting called out on a cool reception, what the hell is going to happen when there is a serious, and far-reaching crisis at hand? I hope I never know. So after being stirred to my personal political breaking point and recalling passages of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, I pulled myself together and went to pick up the sister-in-law so that we could drive to Chicago and meet your dad for the final social event of the conference: private access to The Museum of Science and Industry.

It was so cool – and it was your first museum visit! There was huge circular bar set up in the rotunda which was lit with cool lights and had music pumping. Then there were various food stations where you could try different ethnic offerings. We had a bite and a drink (water for me) and then wandered around. It was a lot of walking and with you riding each step on my bladder, I was wincing in pain and trying to not pee myself as I could have gone in and out of bathrooms non-stop. I loved seeing the exhibits and I can’t recall the last time I was there. I had a nice time, but we were out way past my three hour limit, so I was super tired. I think when we were walking through this mist thing to see about future sources of energy, I actually wobbled a little. That was when I told your dad we absolutely needed to go.

We both slept hard when we got home. I was able to sleep decently for a change, but still woke up for the frequent bathroom visits. I had to work a little, and then Sunday was all about your Grandpa E and Grandma G’s 50th wedding anniversary party. When we got there, Aunt D was busy decorating. Her centerpieces were lovely and all of her little touches came together so professionally. She had been completely stressing out over the event, so I am glad that is behind her. There was a great turnout and everyone enjoyed the food and drinks. I didn’t eat that much, because I was having bread and salad that I quickly filled up from eating too fast. Sometimes when I eat too fast I get very uncomfortable. So your dad and I got up to take a little walk so that I could get some fresh air and cool off. That was good. We socialized with the guests and received a lot of well wishes for you, little man. Then we watched your grandparents dance up a storm. I was floored at how much they smiled together when dancing. It made me and your dad want to dance too. We danced to a couple of songs, which I liked a lot, and you were there squished right between us. I was overwhelmed with love in a couple of moments swaying in your dad’s arms. It was super sweet. I also loved seeing Aunt D dance with your grandpa. It was all a really special night celebrating how two people came together and set off a chain reaction that spiraled into the gathering of friends and family that were all there – you included.

So, right now it is 11:15 and your dad is still asleep. We need to leave in 1/2 hour for our doctor appointment for you! I hope we get to do an ultrasound so that I can have some idea of where your feet are and why I don’t feel anything higher up. I want the reassurance that everything will be okay and that we are on track for you to be healthy. I am 7 months now…and I still worry all the time. However, when I think about what we have come through – you, your dad, and me – I know we are all three very strong. So keep growing baby boy. Keep feeding off food and oxygen you need, but also feed off of these meditations of mine on strength. You are a strong little one who is coming into a world where I hope you become an enlightened man, and a wise man can support and respect and grow strength in others. That is what I hope for you. And you are kicking me know as if you get it! Thanks baby! That is it for now. Time to get ready for the doc!  Yay to us for making it to the THIRD TRIMESTER!


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