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Yep. I get it. I know you’re angry. I know you feel that our country is in turmoil and we need to do something to find some way to get the United States of America back on track. But Donald Trump is not the answer to our problems.
I will give you all my Tory Burch handbags if you agree not to vote for him. I will buy you dinner and drinks, and drive you home afterwards. I will babysit for your kids for three weekends in a row- just please, please, please don’t vote for him.
In all seriousness, I’m just going to take a moment here and list some of the things The Donald has said at one time or another, and then we can discuss…
I can’t even.
First of all, the way The Donald talks about and refers to women is sexist, wrong, and disgusting. He has no respect for women, and I can only imagine how every single woman who would work in the White House under his Presidency (God forbid), would have to suffer from his humiliation and disrespect on a daily basis. You couldn’t pay me enough to work for someone who thinks so little of my tiny woman brain. Plus, since I’ve put on a few pounds after having two very large children and doing the “aging gracefully” thing, I’m sure The Donald would rate me as a “2”. But, of course, he’s a “10”. (I just puked a little in my mouth).
If you have a daughter, how would you feel if he talked about her the way he talks about women he doesn’t like (the majority of our female population)? Would that be okay with you? Would it be perfectly acceptable for him to call your daughter names and accuse her of having “blood coming out of her” just because your daughter gave him a few hard questions to answer during a debate? And please don’t pretend that you buy his after-the-fact lie that the blood coming out of “her wherever” was supposed to be her nose. You aren’t that stupid. I know you’re not. I’m definitely not that stupid.
To his credit, he has said his daughter is smart. That’s good. One point for The Donald for that remark, but then he lets all of America know that she’s real hot, and if he weren’t her dad, he’d be “dating” her. Um...no words.
And, Dude, seriously- the comments about Mexicans. Come on, now. Is this what people REALLY think and believe? Do normal, everyday, good-hearted people REALLY think that Mexicans coming into our country are rapists? I mean, unfortunately, there are rapists everywhere. And for realz, Donny, not all of the Mexicans coming here from Mexico are rapists. The majority of the Mexicans entering the U.S are not rapists. In fact, I’ll bet you a MILLION dollars (because we know, we know, you are FILTHY rich, and you can afford it- you can stop reminding us), that only a VERY small percentage of Mexicans coming into our country are rapists. In fact, there may very well be no Mexicans coming into our country at this time who are rapists. It’s possible. Think about it. And don’t even get me started on all the grammar errors in that group of ridiculous nonsense he spouted out about Mexicans. My head hurts just reading the quote.
I don’t think The Donald should be talking about other people’s marriages, no matter who it is. He’s got no room to talk about marriage train wrecks and cheating spouses. Pretty sure he’s been there, done that. Saying he’s a “traditionalist” (he did, he said it), when asked about gay marriage, is just plain ludicrous. Wouldn’t a “traditionalist” also believe that more than one divorce should be a bit frowned upon? And wasn’t The Donald still married when he started seeing the second (or third, I can’t keep track), wife? Traditional he’s not, and that’s okay. I don’t have a lot of room to judge anyone when it comes to failed marriages, but please don’t pretend that you’re above anyone else when it comes to the union of marriage. You suck at it, just like many of the rest of us little people, Donny.
I especially love it when The Donald attacks people if they dare to disagree with him. It’s not just a normal, “Hey- your opinion is wrong and mine is right”, he has to bully the person by calling him/her names, saying that person is stupid, and humiliating the person in every way possible. When watching him do this to others, I think, “Am I back in middle school, because this sounds like the bullies in middle school.” What a terrific role model he is for our young people (that’s me, being sarcastic). Should we start teaching our kids that the way to win an argument isn’t by showing that you are confident, smart, and by knowing the facts, instead, you should call your opposing debater “a fat, ugly, pig”, and then you should say something about how you want to “punch him in the face” or “catch him on fire.” Awesome.
And, for the love of God, Donny, don’t ever talk about blood coming out of a woman again unless you are at the scene of a brutal murder and you are reporting the crime to law enforcement. I honestly cannot believe that real, rational, normal Americans think this kind of talk by someone who might potentially be the leader of the free world (puked in my mouth again), is acceptable. It’s not. It’s not okay. It’s not funny. It’s repugnant and it’s dangerous.
I also have a real problem with people who refuse to apologize when they do something wrong. I’d have at least a sliver of respect for The Donald if he’d just admit when he does or says something inappropriate and would apologize. You see, that’s another thing I try to teach my boys. If you do something wrong, you take ownership of it and you apologize to whomever it is that you hurt. It’s the definition of a good person and it’s the right thing to do as a human being. This world would be a much better place if people would stop blaming others for their mistakes and instead just suck it up, admit the wrongdoing, and say, “I’m sorry,” The Donald is the King of blaming others and never acknowledging his own mistakes. Again, it reminds me of middle school. However, most of the middle school children I know do a much better job of apologizing than The Donald does.
I’ve always taught my children that whomever the President may be, even if you don’t like him or his politics, you must always respect him (or her). Everyone should have respect for the office, and for the leader of our country (no matter what a douchebag he might be).
A friend asked me the other day what I would do if The Donald became our President (full fledged vomit now exiting my mouth). I gave her the wrong answer on that day. I told her that he wouldn’t get my respect, but I was wrong. I’d be going against everything I believe and all the things I’ve taught my kids if I talked poorly and disrespected our President. If The Donald becomes President (now I’m having heart palpitations), I will do my very best to give him the respect I believe the President of the United States deserves, even if that President does not respect me (and he won’t).
He won’t respect me because he could care less what a middle-aged, slightly overweight, stay-at-home mom, struggling writer thinks about him or any of the decisions he makes on MY behalf. I’m pretty darn sure that The Donald wouldn’t do well working FOR someone. He’s always the boss, and he makes that very clear. What would happen if he became our President (rather have a hot poker in the eye), and he simply could NOT bring himself for work for the American people? That scares me, because our President SHOULD care what I and every other parent, working adult, unemployed adult, child, teacher, mentally ill person, cancer patient, mail carrier, law enforcement officer, soldier, and every other American citizen thinks or feels or needs. But this guy, The Donald, I think he only cares about one thing- The Donald.
Please don’t embarrass our country by putting this man in the Oval Office. Please don’t allow him to be the representative of who Americans are and what we believe. I shudder when I hear of my friends living in other countries talk about The Donald and how in the world anyone in the United States of America could or would stand behind such a vulgar, egotistical, women-hating, blow hard.
I don’t care what your politics are, whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat. Vote for anyone other than this narcissistic, woman-hating, bully. I would vote for my thirteen-year-old son before I’d vote for The Donald. And, quite honestly, I think at this point, my thirteen-year-old son is more dignified and more qualified. He’s certainly more respectful, kind, and sincere. And, most of the time, my kid says, “I’m sorry”, when he hurts my feelings or does something wrong.
Don’t let your anger and discontent with the world today cloud your good judgement. Deep down inside I think you know this man cannot be our President. Do the right thing and vote for anyone else. Do it for our kids, if nothing else, because they need someone to look up to who can admit when he’s wrong, who talks respectfully and kindly about ALL people in the world, and who loves the United States of America more than he loves getting good television ratings, winning, and criticizing anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with everything he believes.
I’ll simply close by saying to you all…
Goodluck and God bless the United States of America.
It’s December. I want to sit on the couch next to my Christmas tree drinking hot cocoa and think about how much fun we’ll have Christmas morning. I want to look outside at all the lights and decorations and feel the joy of the season. But how do I do it when there’s so much uncertainty and sadness in the world?
I think about sending my boys to college one day and I wonder, “Will they be safe? Will they have to worry that someone will come into one of their classrooms and start shooting?” I just don’t know. It could happen.
I don’t want to let my boys go anywhere, but I know I have to let them live, even though there are monsters out there who want to kill them. My boys, who have never hurt another human being in their lives, are hated simply because they are Americans.
When I was a young girl, I wasn’t concerned with these things. I worried about tornados or maybe my house catching on fire when we had “Fire Prevention Week” at school, but I never had to worry about a world full of strangers who despised me just because I was born in America.
And now my youngest son comes home from school every so often and asks me if ISIS is going to come to Michigan and kill us all.
I’ve always been the type of person who tried not to let anyone intimidate me. I went to New York City a month after 9/11. I wasn’t going to let terrorists keep me from living my life. But now I’m a mother, and I’ve become afraid to let my boys go.
I took them to see a movie the other night, and I was scanning the theatre the moment we sat down. I was looking for every exit sign and planning our escape, just in case some maniac in full gear, loaded with guns and ammo, came in shooting.
A few weeks ago, when my husband took my oldest son to a football game, I worried. I had to talk myself down, saying there would be no way my husband would ever let anything happen to my boy. I told myself I was being ridiculous and that they would both have a great time and be just fine.
I’m not totally paralyzed with fear yet. I still send them to school. I still walked into that theatre, bought them popcorn, and watched the movie. But as time goes on, and as we are continually attacked, my fear grows.
I want to stand up and tell the world that I’m not afraid, but I can only pretend. Because now that I have two sons whom I’ve sworn to love and protect, I am afraid, and I hate to admit it. I hate that the killers are winning. They are scaring me, and I’m losing the brave, fearless woman I once was.
These terrorists and murderers must have been young once. They were babies at one time. They had mothers. I wonder now, if their mothers see them and know what they do, how those mothers must feel. What shame it must be to know that your babies are killing other innocent babies and then celebrating it for all the world to see.
Or maybe these savages never had mothers, or at least not the kind of mothers who raised them with love and protection. Something had to have been missing somewhere along the way to have them grow up with no hearts.
I don’t have much of a choice. I’m going to let my kids live, let them go to the movies and football games, and to the mall because they need to live their lives. I know it’s better for them to experience all they can while they are still young. Although locking them in our house might keep them safer, that’s no real life for them at all.
But as I watch them walk out the door, I will still worry. I will still pray. I will still plan our escape. I will always be watching. And if the time ever comes when we face the most frightening situation, I’m not going down without a fight, no matter how scared I might be.
Maybe when the monsters were babies, they didn’t have mothers who fought for them. Maybe they had to survive on their own. I’m going to choose to believe they never had mothers because if they did, and their mothers were like me, that’s just the most scary thing of all.
Getting old sucks. It’s not fair that a forty-five year old woman can get pimples, grow hair in places hair shouldn’t be, and has to basically starve herself to lose a pound. I hate it! But I have to admit, there is one thing about growing older I love, and that’s the relationships I’ve built with my girlfriends. It seems those relationships are only getting better with age, which makes getting more gray hair and wrinkles almost bearable. Almost.
Lucky for me, I’ve had the same best friend since I was five years old. She lived on the same street in the town we grew up in, just one house away from mine. Her dad was a cop named Rick, my dad was a cop named Rick. She had a younger brother, I had a younger sister. It was perfect, and it still is. We may not talk every day or every week. Even a month might go by and we forget to call or text, but the minute we see each other or talk on the telephone, it’s like no time has ever passed. We pick up right where we left off. She’s the godmother of my eldest son, and I’m the godmother of her son. We chat about our children, our husbands, how much we miss each other, and when we’re going to plan our next girl’s trip to Florida. We’ve never fought, and we’ve supported each other through the best and worst times of our lives. She’s more like a sister to me than a friend, and a cherish each and every moments we’ve shared.
I have two wonderful girlfriends who live near me and throughout the days, we text. Sometimes we text hundreds of times per day, and sometimes it’s just a few times per week. But we share almost everything. I’ll tell them what I had for breakfast, why I am frustrated about the stains on my living room couch, or how we are all going to plan one day during the week that we will get together and exercise (although that hasn’t happened yet). If I don’t hear from one of them on a particular day, I always text a few times, just to make sure she’s okay. When I’m feeling down, these ladies lift me up. If I have good news to share, they are two of the first people I tell.
The “Texting Ladies”, are part of a rotating group of fun, sweet, and loyal women I’m lucky to call my friends. We meet for tacos and margaritas on some “Taco Tuesdays” at one of our favorite restaurants. We make dates to spend Halloween together and watch our children run around neighborhoods trying to get as many pieces of candy they possibly can. We plan “play dates” (my children tell me that I shouldn’t call them that anymore), for our kids and drink coffee while they play basketball in my driveway.
Most importantly, we’ve got each other’s backs. I know that if I ever needed anything, all these women would be there for me. I don’t know that I could say that about friends I had in my twenties. Not that those friends were bad, but back then, weren’t we all a little scattered and self-absorbed? Growing older, we let a lot of our insecurities go, we don’t care as much about material things, we care more about the people in our lives who are important to us.
I have a friend who brings me chicken pot pie when I’m sick and who brought candy to my son when he was suffering from severe migraines. I have friends who support my extremely long process of becoming a “real” author, even though I’ve been writing one chapter book for over a year now. I have a friend who motivates me to eat healthy and exercise, but who will occasionally make me a key lime pie because she knows they are my favorite. She even told me it was “okay to eat a slice of that pie for breakfast as long as I add a little protein, too.” Now, THAT’S a friend.
I have a friend who loves Halloween just as much as I do, who is terrified of spiders, and who reads everything I write while being completely honest about how good or how bad it is. Most people don’t realize how valuable that can be, but I do. I couldn’t appreciate her more.
I have friends who have taught my sons in school and who have taken the time to really get to know them and bring out the very best in them. These amazing teacher friends of mine have gone above and beyond so many times for my kids and me, that I really can never repay them for all they’ve done for us.
Some of my loyal friends have joined the PTA because I asked them to, or chaired events because I’ve begged. They’ve worked tirelessly on projects with me, and quietly stood by while I received all the credit for the work because I just happened to be the PTA President at the time.
If I walk on the treadmill, my friends applaud me. If I finish a picture book, they read it, and they encourage me to write more. If I have a day that I don’t get out of my pajamas and I watch horror movies all day, my friends don’t judge. When I tell them I need botox and liposuction, they disagree, or they tell me they’ll go with me to see the plastic surgeon. And that’s a plus.
All I know is that I can’t live without these women in my life. They make growing older less painful and more fun. There are things we can share that I can’t share with anyone else. They understand my weirdness, and they love me anyway. They know I brag too much about my kids, and they don’t care. They realize I talk way too much, but they just sit back and listen.
What I think I’m trying to say here is this; I am the luckiest person in the world. I have the best friends anyone could ever hope for. Growing old still sucks, but if I have to do it, at least I have these ladies doing it alongside me, and that makes it all better.
Sometimes, when we think of middle school aged children, we imagine surly moods, acne, hormones, and the occasional breaking of rules. All of this stuff is pretty normal and comes with the territory. What doesn’t come to mind is a middle school kid who spends most of his free time figuring out how he can help others.
This amazing kid goes to school with my son, and they’ve become good friends. HIs name is Caleb, and he is the founder of the Caleb White Project, a Detroit-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping those in need. This past weekend, my family and I headed to Detroit to do some volunteer work for Caleb’s organization. Since I had worked in the nonprofit sector for nearly nine years, I knew what to expect when working at a large event. What I didn’t expect were the friends we all made that day.
That morning, my husband and I woke our boys early, put ourselves into the car, and drove downtown with assistance from Mercedes, my beloved navigation system that I cannot live without. Mercedes drove us into a pretty sad looking neighborhood. There were several houses with no windows, graffiti, broken sidewalks, and closed businesses. But in the middle of this suffering neighborhood, there stood a bright light, The Beulah First Missionary Baptist Church.
Decorated with balloons and streamers, the church parking lot was filled with volunteers from the church, as well as other people from my neck of the woods. There were many smiling faces racing around trying to get everything set up before our guests were to arrive. One man stood out. He was tall and slender, his face had the biggest smile, and he held a megaphone so he could help instruct the volunteers. Just by looking at his face, I could tell he was happy, excited, and ready to have a great day. He greeted us when we entered the parking lot, welcomed us to the church, and introduced himself as the Pastor. I liked him immediately.
We joined Caleb and his mom (who looks like a cross between a model and a twenty-two-year-old college student, and who is a nice as she is beautiful), in preparing for the day. My boys were volunteering in the game tent where there were all sorts of board games, footballs, prizes, and more. My husband and I were in charge of monitoring the bounce house.
Caleb had organized this entire event, and the party had everything anyone would ever want. It was a perfect “Back To School” party. There were hot dogs and chips for lunch, snow cones and cotton candy for dessert. There was a spinning apple ride, relay races on bouncey balls, the aforementioned games and bounce house, nice clothing to give away, beauticians on hand to style hair and give haircuts, manicures, and face painting. They even had a nurse there, a prayer table, restrooms, and lots of bottled water. The best part was that for every child who attended the party, he or she would leave with a backpack filled with school supplies, because Caleb has said, “No kid should ever have to start school without school supplies and a backpack.” Caleb is right.
The families arrived just a few minutes after 10:00 am. The children were excited and beaming. I noticed that just about every child came dressed in his/her very best shirt, shorts, or dress. All the girls had perfect hairstyles, so many with beautiful braids tied with colorful matching barrettes and hair ties. Boys wore colorful t-shirts and brand new tennis shoes. Some of the dresses worn by the girls were so fancy and beautiful. Everyone looked so nice; you could tell this was a very special day.
It was a blast to monitor the bounce house, and also a lot of work. There was a lot of bouncing going on that day!
We had two little girls, dressed in matching shorts and t-shirts, hair done in braids with matching hair ties, who jumped so high I thought I’d have to go inside the house and get them off the ceiling at some point. We had Cameron, whose favorite thing was to bounce and kick (karate-style), and chat with my husband about school, how much he wanted to learn karate, his new t-shirt and shoes, and his love of sno-cones. When he found out both my boys did Taekwondo, he asked me if I could go get them so they could show him some moves. I did, and my boys and Cameron jumped and kicked together. My boys said Cameron could kick really high, and would make an excellent Taekwondo student.
There was a group of tween girls who taught me how to play “Dead Man” (sounds a lot worse than it is), inside the bounce house, but let me know that it’s more fun to play on a trampoline. There was so much giggling going on in the house when they were playing that game, I couldn’t help but laugh myself. It was obvious that Dead Man was a fun game, despite its scary name.
We met Jackson, who was one of our youngest volunteers, and who kept my husband and me laughing all day long while he did tricks for us, told us jokes, and tried to hide from his mom (also a volunteer), when she tried to get him to take a break from all that bouncing.
There was Marcus and Miles whose great-grandmother brought them to the party. Their favorite part of the party was the cotton candy, but they liked the hot dogs, too. I got a chance to talk with their great-grandma, who has a few kids of her own, several grandchildren, and even more great-grandchildren. She was actually called, “Nana”, and I found out later that not only was she great-grandmother to Marcus and Miles, but to Cameron, too. I told her what a lucky lady she was to have such nice boys. She agreed.
We probably let too many older kids get in that bounce house and jump that day, but I wasn’t going to tell them they couldn’t jump. They were just having way too much fun. One boy could do front and back flips over and over again, and I couldn’t figure out how in the world he wasn’t getting dizzy. He certainly made it look easy!
I was amazed at how many of these children, who didn’t know me at all, talked with me with such ease, let me pick them up and help them into the bounce house, and came to me to get a hug when they bumped their elbows on other kids’ heads while bouncing. Every child said “thank you.” Every child said “you’re welcome.” And one of those tween girls told me how much she liked my toenail polish. I felt almost cool for a few seconds.
What I felt the most, though, was that I belonged. I felt like we all belonged. We all belonged there together, on the corner of that little street in Detroit, laughing, talking, playing, and eating. It didn’t matter where we lived, the amount of money in our bank accounts, or the color of our skin. We were all meant to be there together that day to have a party and to make new friends.
I watched my boys help the really small children play board games, and throw a football with some of the older kids. I watched them teach Cameron a few Taekwondo moves. I watched them sit together with so many of our other volunteer students and guests, eating hot dogs, and telling jokes.
I saw so many of Caleb’s classmates and their families there to help out, as well as one of our school’s vice principals who brought along his children to join in the fun. Many of my fellow middle school moms were there, and it was nice to catch up and talk about what we all did over the summer.
I expected a day of fun, a little work, and great weather. I expected an event that would help teach my kids how important it is to give back, and to make it a priority to volunteer for projects, events, and organizations that mean something and help people in need. What I didn’t expect were the giant bear hugs I got from children who simply wanted me to know how much they appreciated my help and attention, the enthusiasm of a church pastor whose gleefulness was so contagious, every single person who chatted with him left with a bigger smile than when they arrived, and the modesty and unselfishness of a thirteen-year-old boy who started this whole thing because he “just wanted to help other people”. Caleb preferred not to get much attention, but rather liked to sit back and watch his guests enjoy a perfect day.
It was a perfect day. We all came together for a party and everyone had a good time. Hundreds of children had full bellies, overflowing backpacks, and were excited to start a new year of school. And to think it all started because a little boy wanted lots of other little girls and boys to feel special, loved, and happy.
What a day, what an event, what an organization, and what a kid.
Thanks, Caleb, for teaching us all what it means to make a difference.
Since my oldest son is going into the eighth grade, and my youngest into the sixth, I feel that I am now a brilliantly qualified and knowledgeable middle school parent. I thought I’d share all the things I’ve learned having a son in middle school for the past couple of years. I’ve made a list. Pin it to your bulletin board. Hang it on your refrigerator. Keep it in your wallet. Whatever you need to do to keep this list with you, do it. It will save you from anger, frustration and heartache as your child grows, leaves elementary school, and moves on into his or her middle school years. I only have boys, so the list will be written for boys, but I’m pretty sure a lot of these helpful suggestions can work with both sexes. Read carefully and thoroughly, and share with your friends. As middle school parents, we must unite.
9. If you happen to need to enter your child’s middle school at any time during the year, do so quietly and quickly. Watch Animal Planet and observe how the cheetah moves. See how the cheetah moves making no sound, running so fast that you almost cannot see him at all? That’s what you need to be. Be the cheetah. Get in, get your business done, and get out. And by all means, if you see your child, do not speak to him, and certainly do NOT go near him or (God forbid), touch him.
10. If your child wants to invite friends to your house, be sure to have plenty of snacks available, as well as every brand and flavor of soft drink you are able to purchase in the grocery store. While you’re at it, buy a few packs of that flavored water, too. Keep in mind that although you may have all these things available, the children are likely to not eat or drink any of it, but if you do not have it there, the world quite possibly could end. And we don’t want that, do we? So buy all the stuff. Better safe than sorry.
11. If your child does have friends over, do not speak to them. It’s best to nod as they enter the home, hold up a plate of cookies, and gesture to the many varieties of soda you have available for them to drink. Again, smile just a little, not too much. Do not look them in the eye. Busy yourself with laundry or cleaning so they don’t think you are trying to figure out what they are doing in your home.
This is all I have for you thus far. I am sure I will have more rules as my children head into their eighth and sixth grade years. It’s an adventure, that’s for sure. I just hope I’m doing it right, and I hope these rules will help you along the way, too. Feel free to add any of your rules in the comments section below. We all need to learn from one another! Good luck!
Today we are going to talk about names. Well, we’re going to talk about one name- my name. My parents (and my mother blames my dad each time I bring this up to her), named me Tammi. Let me start by saying I mean no offense to all the other Tammi’s, Tammie’s, Tammy’s and Tami’s out there, but I hate my name.
I remember as far back as first grade (I had some issues in first grade, mainly due to a tyrant of a teacher, the Attention-Deficit Disorder that no one knew I had, and the fact that I could not, no matter how hard I tried, figure out how to do mathematics in any way, shape or form), wanting to change my name to “Lisa”. Lisa was a nice, normal name; the name of girls with dark blonde, wavy hair tied back with ribbons, and girls who wore fancy skirts and patent leather shoes. Lisa’s were always smart, they colored in the lines, they didn’t have trouble holding still, and they were very popular. The Lisa’s of the world had lots and lots of friends, and that’s who I wanted to be.
Much to my dismay, anger, and true bewilderment, my family didn’t buy into it, and the horrible teacher I had sent me to the school counselor to discuss my many “problems”. Side note- my mother was very pleased when the counselor informed both her and the teacher from Hell that I was not only a very “normal” child, but in many ways, gifted. You’d have thought this would have done wonders for me; made me live out the rest of my first grade year on a high note, but I think hearing those words from the counselor made my teacher angry and she hated me even more.
Let’s get back to the name. Since no one would call me “Lisa” when I was six-years-old, I knew I was stuck. I would always be Tammi. To make matters worse, in my opinion, not only did my parents name me Tammi (with an “i”, mind you), my middle name was Lynn. Tammi Lynn.
I love my mom. But here’s the issue I have with her argument about naming me-- She says my dad was so happy that she was pregnant with me, and when they were discussing names, he asked if I could be called “Tammi Lynn” if I was going to be a girl. He said he thought it was a beautiful name. (WTF?) Apparently, there was also a song and a television show or movie or something about a Tammy, as if that makes it all better.
At that moment, had my mom been at all on top of it, she would have stopped him right there and reminded him who was going to be carrying around the little bundle of joy for nine months and who was the one who’d have to push the full-grown fetus out of the smallest hole possible when the time came. She should have stuck to her guns and told Dad that there was “NO WAY IN HELL” he was naming their baby. Instead, my mom, being the sweet, caring, loving woman she always is, let the man name me. And so it was done; my fate was sealed.
Fast forward several years to the 1980’s. My dad enjoyed watching a television program called “Night Court”. One of the characters on the show, Dan, was a lawyer and a truly awful male chauvinistic pig. I’d sneak into the TV room from time to time while Dad was watching and take a peak. It never failed. Each time that character talked about one of his girlfriends, her name was Tammi, and she always had big boobs, frizzy bleached-blond hair, and I am now quite certain, I didn’t “get” it then, she was always a prostitute. The guy liked hookers, and more often than not, those hookers names were Tammi.
Now that I’m an adult, I’ve learned to live with it. I have refused to watch the movie, “Ted”, not just because I think the idea of a stuffed, vulgar, talking teddy bear is completely stupid, but I know too much about the scene where the bear talks about his girlfriend. You know the one, don’t you? My husband was kind enough to forward the scene to me via email one day. It goes something like this…
The Mark Wahlberg character and the filthy Ted bear are discussing Ted’s new girlfriend and Mark is trying to guess the girlfriend’s name. Ted tells him that it is a “white trash” name. Mark begins to spout off names that are considered “white trash”. There are many- Brittany, Bambi, Ashley, etc., but he stops at the most white trash name of all (according to Mark and the Teddy)-- Tammi. They don’t stop there. They talk about what makes the name even more “white trash”, and that is the fact that the girl’s middle name is “Lynn”. Tammi Lynn. My name. Mother F**#&%&.
How is it possible that there’s a perverted, naughty, little talking teddy bear making millions at the box office discussing how white trash my given name is? It doesn’t get any better than that, folks.
I hesitated to write this blog post, because I didn’t want to make any of the other women out there who share my name upset. Maybe they like the name, and that’s OK. But it’s also my name, and I hate it, so I decided I wanted to write about it. Please don’t be offended. I didn’t name you. Blame your parents. I blame mine. I also blame my parents for not getting me an agent to manage what I was certain to be a lucrative acting career, back when I was ten years old, but that’s a story for another time.
I think this past year, a movie came out starring Melissa McCarthy called Tammy. Surprise- I haven’t seen it. I like Melissa McCarthy. I think she’s hilarious. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay money to see a movie called Tammy. There can be no good to come of that for me, I just know it.
Sometimes I will introduce myself to strangers and they will ask me if I’m “from the South”. The South of what, I think? South side of Indianapolis? No. I was born in southern Indiana, and I don’t think that area would really be considered “The South”. Maybe if I lived further south, I’d feel more “normal”, and less like people expect me to wrestle ‘gators in my spare time and wear cut off jean shorts to the barn dance. Not that there’s anything wrong with any of that, mind you. I just don’t do it because 1) I’m terrified of ‘gators (and most other reptilian-type creatures), and 2) I am not thin enough by any means to pull off a good pair of cut-offs. There are other Tammi’s out there whom I am sure look a lot better in those babies than I do. Most of them starred on that “Night Court” show in the ‘80’s, I’ll bet. 3) I am a terrible dancer, therefore I do not go to any dances in a barn or elsewhere.
Other times I will get into conversations about middle names, and when I tell people mine, they always do the same thing- they think for a few brief moments, look up toward the sky, then they chuckle. Yep. I know. Tammi Lynn. I get it.
Just for kicks, try googling my name- Tammi Lynn. Just check out what comes up on the Internet. I can’t do it; I blush every time. Let’s just say that some of those Tammi Lynn’s are up to no good. But they do look really good in cut-off jean shorts- most of them do, anyway.
I do hope that everyone who reads this post understands that I’m not really angry about all this. I do see the humor in it, and that’s why I’m poking fun at my name and myself. I don’t hate my parents. My dad probably thought Tammi Lynn was the most beautiful name he’d ever heard back when he was in his early 20’s, and ready to become an new father. There was no way he could foresee my name being used as a punchline for nearly every white trash joke in the book. My parents simply loved me and gave me a name they thought would stand up over time. My dad probably saw a little girl with blond pigtails, and a beautiful smile when he thought of what his Tammi Lynn would look like one day.
When I was probably about four years old, my grandfather bought a fishing boat, and guess what he named that thing? You got it, the Tammi Lynn. How’s that for redemption? I don’t really remember the boat, but I’m told it was a nice one.
And there are some very famous women out there who share my name, I’m sure. How about Tammy Wynette? Tammy Blanchard is an actress, and there was Tammy Faye Baker. Let’s move on from that one, shall we?
So, for me, and all the Tammi Lynn’s of the world (however you might spell it), it’s time to march forward and be proud of all we have accomplished and everything we will do from here on out. I don’t know about all of you, but I’m ready to tease my blond hair, put on my push-up bra, and get out there and tackle the world. Come join me, won’t you?
No names have been changed in this blog post to protect the innocent.
Thanks for listening.
Love, Tammi Lynn :)
My son is finishing his last year at his elementary school in June. It’s an emotional, fun, scary, exciting, and special time for us. We have some great volunteers who have been working very hard to make it a wonderful celebration for a class of students who are leaving the elementary school at the end of the year and heading off to middle school. Traditionally, the party has included breakfast for the students, a “graduation” ceremony, followed by games and fun in the school yard. Lunch is also served, usually pizza, because I’m told that kids like pizza. I know my kid likes pizza. A lot.
This year, the committee decided to try something new. The breakfast will still be provided, along with the ceremony, but instead of games at the school, there will be chartered buses taking the students off-site so they can have a fun afternoon of eating (pizza and soft drinks), playing video/arcade games, crafting, bowling, bounce houses, and other fun activities. We don’t have to worry about rain or bad weather, and we’ll have so many activities planned, I don’t see how any child could possibly be bored.
You would have thought we decided to have the party at a crack house.
This year, more than any in the past, I have heard rumblings of constant complaining from students and parents alike, because they don’t think “the party is going to be fun.” First of all, most of these people have no idea how many fun activities are planned because we are keeping some things a secret. We have been working for months raising money, calling for donations, visiting local businesses for prizes, money, and items so that we can make this a celebration these children will never forget. All of our own children are in the class, so our committee members aren’t really trying to make it a miserable time. Really, we aren’t.
Here is what I can’t stand- the complaining. I honestly can’t believe I’m hearing about it; that children and some parents are actually complaining about the event before it has even happened. I actually have been told that some parents are considering taking their kids home after the ceremony and not having them attend the party. Well, yeah, that makes sense. I mean, kids hate pizza, soda, bowling, bounce houses and arcade games. I’m sure the kids will hate the gift bags and treats they are going to get, too. It really does sound awful, doesn’t it?
What’s the problem? Is a bowling alley not fancy enough for a large group of ten and eleven year olds? Should we have hosted the party at the local country club? Should we have reconsidered having the party in an enclosed building with locked doors, several volunteer parents, lots of food and snacks, and had the party instead in the schoolyard where it has been done for many, many years? Never mind the venue has been given to us nearly for FREE by a very gracious and kind couple who have a son in this same class.
Maybe people don’t like change. Maybe some like the idea of tradition. To those people, I apologize. I do understand that tradition is nice, I really do, but I also think it’s good to embrace change, and maybe even try to give something new a chance. It would also be nice to give some credit to the VOLUNTEERS who have actually worked (with a pretty small budget, I might add), many hours trying to please everyone and organize a nice event for EVERYONE’S children.
It’s especially nice for all of the volunteer committee member’s kids to attend school each day having to listen to their classmates tear down the event and talk about how stupid it’s going to be, once again, BEFORE the event has even happened. I do not know how on earth they can foresee the future and know for sure that the celebration is going to be awful. One committee member’s child was so upset, that child had to leave school because of the teasing and complaining about this stupid party.
It’s a PARTY, people, a PARTY. The kids will be given treats, lunch, gifts, get to make several different crafts, go bowling, bounce in the bounce houses (a HUGE hit with all these kids at all the other school functions, but apparently NOT at this one), surprises, and more. Chartered buses have been reserved for transportation, so they will be safe and comfortable for the FIVE MINUTE ride to the destination. I am profoundly sorry this isn’t good enough for those of you who are complaining about this horrible event. Maybe you should have planned it yourselves. But instead, while my son was suffering from severe migraine headaches for seven months, I have been guilty of helping to plan this horrendous event your children are going to have to suffer through.
I hope those kids of yours will be able to make it through the day and into the sixth grade without irreparable harm and mental anguish.
What’s truly sad is so many of the children complaining are hearing it from their parents complaining. What’s funny is that many of these complaining parents are the ones who haven’t lifted a finger to help gather donations, get prizes, call for quotes on t-shirts, donate decorations, help with the breakfast, or offer any assistance whatsoever.
And while I’m on a roll here… our kids are “graduating” from the fifth grade. FIFTH GRADE. This isn’t a high school graduation. They have not won the Nobel Peace Prize. They are not graduating from college. It’s elementary school. To even be having a party for passing the fifth grade is pretty extravagant, in my opinion. I don’t remember anybody having a party for me when I finished elementary school.
So take a breath, people. Think about what you say before you say it in front of your children. It’s possible that some of the kids complaining now might actually have a great time at the party. Think about the people who have worked on this for not only their children but for YOUR children, too. Give them some credit for at least caring enough to try to make this a nice day for YOUR kids.
Stop calling, texting, and talking about this party. Stop whining and moaning about it at the bus stop. Stop comparing this party to another school party that you might think is “better” or more extravagant. This event is simply a nice gesture the children leaving elementary school are PRIVILEGED to be given. We should all feel lucky and grateful that our children attend a school that is willing and supportive enough to let us have a party for them at all. I bet there are hundreds, no probably thousands of children in our country who get absolutely nothing when they complete elementary school, and they move on, thrive, succeed, and probably don’t complain one little bit.
Remember how lucky your children are and instead of teaching them how to complain, whine, and feel entitled, teach them to show respect, be gracious, and give thanks.
I’m out, BIOTCHES.
Baseball season has started, and both of my boys are playing, as they do every spring. I love watching them play, and it’s even more fun when they do well. But I’m going to be honest; I’m not raising any professional athletes over here in little league land.
I love my children very much. There are many things they do well, but I know for sure that my kids are not going to be the next Justin Verlander or Ian Kinsler. I feel OK about that. That’s why I’m happy they have a coach who isn’t overly strict, doesn’t expect miracles, and allows the boys on the team to have fun. He’s not a pushover, by any means, but he knows my children aren’t the best child athletes of all time, and he’s OK with that, too.
It doesn’t hurt that the coach is their dad.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do get competitive from time to time. I remember one year when my boys played on their dad’s team and they had made it to the championship game. It was a pretty big deal, because my boys are nearly two years apart in age, so they don’t always make the cut-off in order to get to play on the same team. That year, it had worked out so they could be on the same team, and they were in the position to win the last game of the year and become the champions. We were all very excited.
My second born son was one of the youngest kids on the team that year. He had been going through a hitting slump and feeling very upset about it. To make a very long story short, we were at the end of the game and down by one run. We had one last chance to bat and score. Our first batter was up and struck out. Our second batter tried, and he struck out. Next up was my baby. If he struck out, we were done.
My heart ached. I started to sweat. I could feel how nervous he was. I knew he could hit the ball, I’d seen him do it, but he hadn’t had a hit in a very long time. I knew that if he struck out and we lost the game, he’d be crushed.
So many thoughts were going through my head, “Why, why, why does it have to be him? Why couldn’t it be one of the best kids on the team batting? Why does it have to be my child?”
My baby got up from the bench, put on his batting helmet, and walked up to home plate. I thought I might throw up. The first pitch came, he swung.
The second pitch was thrown. My sweet, tiny offspring swung the bat with all his might.
At that very moment, I looked over and saw his coach, his dad, looking on. He caught my eye and I knew then that we were both feeling the same thing deep down in our guts. Our hearts were starting to break for our boy, as we knew how this would end. We were both holding back tears, and simply wishing it didn’t have to end like this.
The pitcher looked on, watching my son intently, wound up, and threw that one last pitch. I crossed my fingers, and felt my heart in my throat.
The ball soared through the air and hit our little batter right in the arm.
“He was hit! He’s hit! Yes, he’s hit!” I yelled as I jumped up and down.
I quickly realized what a lunatic everyone at the game thought I was and sat back down as fast as possible. My baby rubbed his arm, took off his helmet, and ran to first base. His smile was as wide as I’d ever seen.
I began to breathe again, and looked at his father. The look of relief on his face was evident, and again, I knew exactly what he was feeling at that very moment. For a few seconds, I flashed back to the time when that little boy was born, and his daddy and I laughed and cried as we held him in our arms and watched his little pink lips shake as he wailed and wiggled.
Our last batter went to bat and struck out. We lost that championship game 1-0.
My sons’ father and I are divorced, so there was no riding home together after the game and discussing the loss. There was no talking about how nervous we were when our child was at bat at the very end, and the relief we felt when he wasn’t the very last one to strike out. But it was OK. There was comfort in knowing that his dad and I were both pulling for him when our son was out there all alone hoping to keep his team alive for just a little bit longer.
It’s days like that when I remember all the good times and forget about the bad. It’s times like those that the divorce doesn’t matter and I know the only two people who really do matter are the boys we both love and do our best to raise together, but separately.
Divorce sucks, and I’m not going to pretend it’s always happiness and roses. I’m remarried now, to a wonderful man who is also the best step-father my boys could ever have. Despite the obvious divorce "suckage", I feel like we are all very lucky.
I have told my boys many times that although I don’t have romantic feelings for their dad anymore, I will always love him because he gave me the two most perfect gifts I could have ever wanted. He gave me those boys and I will always be grateful. I tell my boys all the time that they got the best of both of us.
So baseball is here once again, and I get to watch my boys play together on the same team with their dad as their coach. My husband and I will be at every game cheering them on and making the very best of this imperfect, sometimes odd, non-traditional family we have created.
Baseball always reminds me that we are all very lucky, indeed.