Reblog – “In Their Corner”

March 30, 2012 § 2 Comments

(photo credit:  Aliza Worthington)I wrote this last May after hearing about an absolutely horrific, avoidable car accident in which several teenagers (one of them was an acquaintance’s niece) lost their lives.  Some of them, slowly.

I’m reblogging it because Spring Break is upon us, and after that, Senior Weeks, Prom season, then graduation parties.  Catonsville Patch re-ran it before New Year’s Eve.  I don’t know if they will run it yet again.

I’ve made some new friends since both postings, and I am not egotistical enough to believe they have the time or inclination to dig back into the archives of my Catonsville Patch blog posts.  So at risk of seeming redundant, I’m re-posting a very important talk to have with your kids.  If you’ve already read this, feel free to ignore.  Or, read it again.  I AM egotistical enough to consider it a pretty good read.  🙂

Thanks in advance for not considering this shameless self-promotion.  It is one of my favorite pieces, but if it motivates some parents to speak up and with their teens, all the better.

Have wondrous and safe spring breaks and beyond, all!

“The Worthington Post – In Their Corner” (originally published in Catonsville Patch, May 2011.)

The Accidental Seder (Phlegm isn’t a Plague?)

March 26, 2012 § 23 Comments

I know it's hard to believe, but I do have some Jew-y stuff in my house!

It all started a couple of years ago, when my hubby, kids and I were visiting my sister and her fam over Spring Break.  Okay, wait…it started a couple of weeks before that – when my awesome friend, Mitch, was reeling from disbelief that I’d never seen the movie, “The Ten Commandments.”  The one with the NRA enthusiast and the King of Siam?  Correctly deducing that this meant I was a horrible Jew and had not actively been passing on critical knowledge (not to mention that great movie) to my children  he launched into an interrogation consisting of questions like, “Does Emma know what the word ‘kosher’ means?”  and “Does Nicky know how to spell Chanukkah?” or questions of that nature.  (By the way…no, and no.)  I said, “Oy, leave me alone, already!” and he backed off.

So, a couple of weeks later, having dinner at my sister’s house, I relayed this silly interaction between me and Mitch.  I said, “Can you believe he was FREAKING out that I’d never seen ‘The Ten Commandments?'”  Both Rachel (my sister) and Gary (her husband) put down their forks, looked at me in disbelief, and said, “You’ve NEVER SEEN ‘The Ten Commandments????”  “Come on!”  “Yes, you have!!!”  “You MUST have!!!”  Sigh.  No.  Maybe parts of it, but I don’t recall ever seeing the movie in its entirety.  “But…it’s like… a Passover TRADITION!”  To which my son (then 11) asked, “What’s ‘The Ten Commandments?”  We told him it was a famous movie telling the story of Moses and the story behind Passover.  To which he replied…

…”What’s Passover?”

Hooooo boy.  The jig was up.  Judgement day was here.  I’d officially failed as a Jew-mom.  Stammering, trying to regain any pathetic sense of Jewish street cred I may have had, I started telling him and Emma (the youngest had hopefully left the table by now…) the story of Passover.  Rachel and Gary, bless their hearts, jumped in to try to help me.  Let’s be honest, though.  Those two suffer from Jew-deficiency as much as I do, though they HAD, clearly, seen “The Ten Commandments.”  I appreciated the effort, though, and I needed all the help I could get.

We stumbled through what we remembered of the story, and how Jews celebrate and honor the holiday of Passover.  In our large, multi-generational seders growing up, I was the second youngest, and always read the 4 questions (in English, because who knew how to read Hebrew, for Christ’s sake?).  This was years later, and I confess to not remembering them all.  Do I get a pass because I was past 40?

Then there was the matter of the ten plagues.  Here we improvised, remembering what we could, and filling in the rest with things like “Phlegm,” “Unruly Cowlicks,” and “Loss of internet connection,” or something equally ridiculous.

We were able to explain with some credibility why Jews eat Matzoh, and why slavery is wrong, and asked Nicky if he wanted to hear any more about Passover.

“Not really,” he said and shrugged, so we changed the subject.  Dinner went on, the kiddos meandered off, and it slowly dawned on me that it was one of the nights of Passover.  I said, verrrrry quietly to Rachel, Gary and Dave, “Don’t look now, but I think we may have just sorta had a seder…”  They were all, “Hey, yeah!”  You know, a seder in the sense that it was one of the eight nights of Passover, and we  told the kids the Passover story as best we knew how and for as long as they would listen.

We may have been eating pizza, I’m not sure, but who cares?

p.s.  I still haven’t seen “The Ten Commandments.”

Shadows

March 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

He does plumbing AND legos!

Sea Turtles = Humans!

March 19, 2012 § 8 Comments

Full disclosure – I did not take this picture, nor do I know who did.  I don’t know if it’s new, or if it’s been around for a while.  I don’t even know if this is an argument any actual thinking human being is attempting to make, or if this guy is being filmed as an extra on a movie set.  Either way, it’s going around fb as an anti-choice statement by people I DO know – AND LIKE – and I felt like responding.  😀

I considered a serious rebuttal to the implied nonsense in this guy’s sign.  Then, I decided to treat this mentality like the joke that it is.  I created a chart.  Charts are logical, right?  (Click on it to enlarge…)

I was soooooo tempted to go back and make a better chart – one that really disproved this flippant comparison.  You know, how protecting sea turtle eggs had no future consequences for the mothers who lay them; how laying the eggs and leaving to go on with their sea turtle lives could not with any intellectual honesty be compared to the medical and emotional issues that must be weighed when a human female gets pregnant; the financial implications of helping a sea turtle hatch as opposed to forcing a woman to go through a pregnancy, birth a child, give the child up for adoption OR keep the child and raise him or her through adulthood; how a sea turtle mommy is not at risk for the emotional trauma that a human mommy is no matter WHICH decision she makes regarding pregnancy, birth and parenthood – because in my zeal for intellectual honesty, I must NEVER minimize the heartbreak and guilt that goes along with the decision to TERMINATE a pregnancy.

I didn’t, though, because when I set out to write this, I vowed to treat this chart with the same level of complex thought as anyone who would seriously try to make the argument in the sign the guy in this picture is holding.

An Open Letter to Pro-Lifers

March 1, 2012 § 27 Comments

I could tell you I was raped.  (I wasn’t.) I could tell you I am a victim of incest.  (I’m not.)  I could tell you my life would be in danger if I got pregnant.  (Partly true, but for this discussion, let’s say not.)  I could tell you I’m mentally challenged or ill.  (I don’t think so, but let’s please not open THAT up to debate…) These are some of the scenarios even the most ardent advocates in the Pro-Life movement might allow themselves and those they love flexibility where safe and legal abortion is concerned.  Might.

Let’s talk about a different scenario – one that is completely true.  I am a 42-year-old woman.  I have been married to my college sweetheart since I was 21 years old, and I have had sex with ONLY him for well over 21 years.  I use birth control.  We have three children: a 15-year-old daughter, a 13-year-old son, and an 8-year-old son.  They are (thank god and knock wood) magnificent, kind, intelligent, healthy kids.  I am fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom, comfortable financially, we have health insurance, many friends, a good support system, etc., etc., etc.

What if MY birth control fails?  I don’t have any of the extreme situations mentioned in the first paragraph.  By all accounts, a woman my age and with my resources should be able to manage just fine with a fourth child.  The child would likely be healthy, well-cared for, raised with boundless love, etc., etc., etc.

But what if I didn’t WANT to have another child?

I repeat, what if I did not WANT to?

Even though I could?  Even though the pregnancy occurred through an act of love between two married, consenting adults?  Even though chances are the child would be fine – we would ALL be fine?

What if I didn’t WANT to?  Should I be forbidden access to a safe and legal abortion?

Should the potential of the embryo inside me to grow into a human being and be born and bring light to the world and cure cancer and colonize the moon outweigh my wishes?

My wishes to cherish and spend as much time as possible with the three children I already have before I blink and they are out of the house with families of their own?

My wishes to keep the undefinable, debilitating exhaustion of new parenthood relegated to a distant memory?

My wishes to not have a car seat and stroller at this stage of my life?

My wishes to nourish myself, now that I finally have some time and something creative and productive to do with it?

My wishes to have two free hands and a clear mind as I prepare my daughter for college, my first son for high school and my youngest son for his first season of swim team?

My wishes that my days of volunteering in pre-school be over?

My wishes that one day soon I will be watching what I want on T.V.?

Can you look me in the eyes and tell me my wishes for all these things, and how hard I’ve worked for them, are less important than the potential clump of cells in my uterus?

I understand why you consider a growing blastula, embryo, fetus an absolute miracle, a cherished life form, something to be protected.  I feel the same way.  I understand your religious and moral reasons for feeling passionately about this life form, such as it is.  I respect your zeal, your advocacy, your feelings.

I simply feel that I should have the right to put myself, the life (and lives) I’ve already created for myself and my ALREADY ALIVE family ahead of the potential life of a non-viable fetus. I am entitled to be respected in my ability to weigh and decide matters of such an intense personal nature for myself and my own family, understanding that anything I choose will come with unintended, possibly devastating consequences.

I understand why you might see an abortion clinic and those who utilize it as tragic and unjust.  I know the image you have of women who get abortions range from sympathetic (sad and in need of help) to judgemental (irresponsible sluts who use it as a form of birth control.)

I would argue, though, that people who fall into the image in that last category are few and far between.  Furthermore, people who use abortion as a cheap and easy fix for their irresponsible behavior (if such people exist) are presenting symptoms of much deeper societal ills than the fact that safe and legal abortions are available to them.  Just like people who use guns in an irresponsible, devastating way are reflective of a much deeper ill than the fact that guns are legal.

Finally, I would ask you this.  Can YOU understand MY needs?  Can YOU respect MY wishes?  Can you honestly say you are in a better position than I am to determine what is best for me and my entire family and our futures?  Can you assert in good conscience that this most sacred and personal individual choice of mine (and YOURS) should be limited to the following options:

1.  having another baby,
2.  carrying the pregnancy to term and giving the baby up for adoption, or
3.  a back-alley abortion?

Can you understand why, upon hearing about proposed (thankfully defeated) bill for mandatory, unwanted transvaginal ultrasounds, upon hearing about Congress proposing to allow ANY employer to opt out of providing healthcare plans that include access to birth control and abortion, that so many women AND men are looking around us with wild, crazed eyes and asking, “WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THIS COUNTRY?”

Where Am I?

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