It’s up to all of us to have a Safehome

I am trying to raise a moral, upstanding, socially conscious little girl (okay, she’s taller than me now but she will always be my baby). Part of that process is teaching Rosie that not everyone is as lucky as she which we’ve illustrated every year by selecting a different charity and donating our time each holiday season (and yes, I still want my gold star for that). This year we’ve loaded backpacks with food, boxed up coats and clothes for a holiday store and we’re gearing up for our annual toy drive and plan to fill our garage with lots of joy.

Choosing this year’s charity was easy for me. Middle school brings an entire new set of life lessons and at twelve my child is now old enough to begin to learn about abuse- both verbal and physical. It’s time to teach her about positive relationships so when she starts to become interested in boys (okay, she’s  noticing a little) that she knows how she wants to be treated and the types of behavior that are inappropriate. So this year, I choose a charity that I feel supports that mission-Safehome.

I am lucky. I’ve never been abused. But, I did date a boy once with a violent temper. And, one icy evening as he was dragging me out of a high school basketball game to the car, I slipped and fell and broke my elbow. At the time, I didn’t give it another thought. He was mad. He screamed at me a lot. But, I didn’t know any different. I grew up in a home where my parents fought all the time so I didn’t know it wasn’t normal.  Luckily, we went to college and he cheated on my with a sorority sister so the relationship ended on it’s own. But, what if it hadn’t?

Millions of women live in fear in their own homes however they may not recognize that the behaviors exhibited are abnormal and even harmful to the entire family. The Safehome website provides a wealth of information in a non-threatening way so a woman sitting at home can ask herself some hard questions and come to the realization that yes, it is abuse and it’s time to go. If unclear, there’s a 24 hour hotline to call that is always manned by a friend. Once a woman makes the decision to leave, there’s a comprehensive checklist to work through the process and a friendly face to greet them at the facility.

Families arrive at a confidential safe location to start their lives over and are provided with transitional housing, counseling and a host of other services. There are hot meals, warm baths, friends and support all around. And, for many it’s the first time in a long time that their children can play in the absence of fear.

What has endeared Safehome to me (on top of the fact that they save lives every day), is the Healthy Relationships program that they provide to middle and high schools. As a mom of a tween, I am teaching my child about positive relationships and sexual harassment but as we learned when they had “the talk” in grade school, not every child has an engaged parent. Safehome’s in-school curriculum provides and eight-week program that addresses all the issues to educate teens on healthy relationships. This in turn, should break the cycle for many.

So, how can you help this holiday season?

  • First, if you know a friend in trouble, please be sure that they know about Safehome. Many women in abusive situations feel powerless and don’t know there are resources out there. The Safehome website is http://www.safehome-ks.org and the crisis hotline is 913.262.2868. (Not in Johnson County, the KC Metro line is 816.408.5463)
  • Second, you can make a direct donation ranging from a glass of cold milk to a good night’s sleep right here.
  • Third, Rosie and I will be collecting toys and much needed items for Safehome between November 26th and December 10th. Visit Safehome’s wish list (which is fairly consistent throughout the year) and take a trip to the store or just reach into your cabinets. Want to make a child’s holiday dreams come true? Buy a new toy. All items can be dropped under the bench on our porch. If you’d like an itemized receipt, please email me the list of donated items and I’ll work with Safehome to make that happen.
  • Fourth, step up. Sponsor a lunch, attend a fundraiser or volunteer your time.

Finally, if you have a tween or teen, take the time to sit down with them and talk about their relationships. I got lucky that my potentially abusive relationship in high school fizzled out but I can honestly say that I didn’t know it was toxic at the time. Abuse prevention starts at home with comprehensive education. Don’t be afraid to tackle tough subjects. It’s up to us as parents to raise healthy little adults.

To learn about other Kansas City charities and how you can make the season brighter for others, visit these great blogs:

Everyday Truth– Bear Hugs
Back to Allen– The Children’s Place
Whatcha Makin Now-Wayside Waifs
Soleful Suitcases– KC Rescue Mission
Wayward Dogs– Midwest Adopt-a-Bull
Sarah Scoop– Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Laughing Cat Creations– Turning Point
Blogchickabowow– Jewish Family Services
Healthnut Foodie – Ronald McDonald House
Raising the Barrs– Hillcrest Transitional Housing
KC Edventures– Toys for Tots & Children’s Mercy
The Happy Family Movement– Rose Brooks Women’s Center

Giving Thanks (Finally)

At the start of the month, it seemed as if everyone was jumping on the Facebook bandwagon sharing 21 days of thanks. Everyone but me. Not once did I feel compelled to post a thankful status. And, this caused me to pause.

This year, was by far the oddest I’ve had in my entire life. I went from being self-employed, to having my dream job, losing said dream job and sitting on unemployment for two months while all my friends begged me to stop cooking and crafting and go back to work (in my defense I was trying. It just took a long time to get hired). I walked away from a volunteer position that I had put my heart and soul into because the drama was about to kill me. And, I spent $6,200 on COBRA, had three separate insurance policies and still couldn’t get adequate treatment for my asthma resulting in four bursts of Prednisone.

Needless to say, by the time we hit the top of November, I was fat, irritable and to confess a little depressed. I was one month into a new job that I wasn’t quite married to yet, struggling to play tennis and trying to figure out the direction I was heading. And, the only way to move forward was to look back and reevaluate everything in my life and decide what was really important. And, that is what made me grateful.

So, today I give thanks. And, as I do so, I let go of all the bullshit of the past year. Here it is (in no particular order)

  • Thanks to my hubby who has unconditionally loved me for 20 years and put up with the fact that I will always be a big risk taker and while it is scary at times and I don’t always know the destination, I still seem to get where I am going.
  • A big shout out to God for giving me the opportunity to be a mother (and a good one at that). While I don’t always like the tween attitude and I miss the little girl that used to sit in my lap, I am proud that Rosie is turning out to be as lovely inside as out (and I’d like to give another shout out to the big woman for giving the Rosebud the chance to make state choir and get her mind off of not being able to dance. Well played.)
  • Cheers to my crazy parents who gave me the chance to fail over and over so I could roll with the punches as an adult and never be afraid.
  • Kudos to my sister who put up with all my crap as a kid so we could come out the other side and be best friends. What a funny, sunny gal she is.
  • I am glad that I finally got old enough or mature enough to learn how to say “no thank you” and walk away without guilt.
  • I am pleased as punch that I qualified for unemployment so we didn’t have to make a bigger lifestyle adjustment after paying for health insurance. Our house stayed cool in the summer, there was food on the table and while we had to let go of luxuries, we didn’t want for anything.
  • I am blessed to have so many good, supportive friends who cheered me along while I had glue gun in hand. I especially want to thank those that took the time to pick up the phone instead of thinking that they talked to me because we were on social media at the same time.
  • I am grateful for the Plum District opportunity. It gave me the chance to meet some of the most amazing women and make lifelong friends. And, it got me back into an industry that I absolutely adore. I don’t think I would’ve had the chance to join LivingSocial without spending six months in pink.

Here’s the beauty of the past year. There’s not a lot life can throw me that I can’t handle. And, the person I was at the top of the year, isn’t the same one I became as the it progressed. Believe it or not, I actually liked seeing the person I used to be years ago when I had free time. I enjoyed baking and painting and crafting. So that part of this year, I will be taking with me on the next steps on my journey.

So now, I must go bake a pie. Kiss my family and be grateful.  What are you thankful for this year?

 

 

 

Barely surviving Bieber’s break-up

“Oh my God!” Rosie screams into the phone. “Have you heard the news? I can’t believe she would do this to him.”

Kicking back listening, you would’ve thought she was talking about the most popular middle school couple. The one that’s secretly “going out” but everyone knows they like each other because they are both so popular and cool that they are on tween-dar (yes, that is radar for the under 13 set) all day long. Since Rosie seemed to know all the nitty gritty surrounding the couple (and when I eavesdropped it sounded like she knew them really well), I wasn’t that interested. Until she had the same conversation with at least 20 more friends. And, each time it got a little more dramatic.

“It was his first true love,” she whispered to one BFF.

“I can’t believe she’d just break up with him when he’s out of town,” she lamented to another.

“He dedicated a whole day to her. Flew across the country…”

Okay. That got my interest. Yes, we go to a middle school with some privileged kids, but a twelve year-old that can afford to hop a plane. Hmmmm….

“Rosie,” I said. “I hate to butt in. But who are you talking about?”

“OH MAMA,” she started sobbing. “You won’t believe it. Selena dumped Justin.”

Um. No. I didn’t believe it. And not because I thought the 20-something Disney star and the nearly out-of-his-teens pop star would ever amount to anything more than a publicity stunt. I was stunned that these kids were talking about them like they knew all the intimate details of their lives. Like they were friends.

When I was a kid, I occasionally popped for a Teen Beat magazine but that was as close as I got to any stars. Today, these kids have the virtual world, and even though I’ve adhered the the rules on Facebook that Rosie must be 13, I did let her go on Instagram when she got her new phone last month. And, guess who she immediately followed- the Biebs.

She also found an app that she can follow all his tweets even though she’s not allowed to go on Twitter yet. So essentially, she tracks his every move. And, when the break up happened with Selena, she read his heartbreak live. And she and her Besties felt every ounce of his pain. For days.

A couple days after the big announcement of the relationship’s demise, I happened across a little blurb on the internet that I found rather interesting. It seems that Selena had some trust issues while Justin was away on tour. And, that might have been caused by a Victoria’s Secret model.  Yes, rumor had it that the Biebs cheated.

I thought about telling Rosie. Especially since it might stop a little bit of the Bieber chatter around the house. If he wasn’t the poor mistreated dumpee anymore, maybe some of the “Poor Justin’s” would stop. However, after mulling it over for an afternoon, I decided not to tell. If she came across it online, so be it. (BTW, she did and of course it wasn’t Justin’s fault).

The chatter around the breakup has started to fade a little, but the Bieber obsession continues. And, since all these lovesick tweens can follow his every move online, I don’t think it’s going away any time soon. Especially since word on the net last week was that he proposed to Selena in an attempt to get her back (there’s nothing more endearing to a 12 year-old than that). God help us all.

 

Me and Megan and the Perfect Middle-Aged Jeans

I’m at Nordy’s looking at the sale rack when these very interesting jeans catch my eye. They have no zipper, a huge waistband and the tags are claiming them to be the best thing since sliced bread. In other words, they look good on “everyone.”

Since Nordstrom has the best salespeople in the world (no snark intended. Even if you shop there once a quarter they know your name, the styles you like and even your sizes. Yes, you read that right. Anyone over the age of 40 has a range. The good Nordy salesperson can eyeball you and figure out what size you are at that very moment) I am approached with much enthusiasm.

“So,” I say to the perky and accommodating gal. “Are these like middle-aged fat lady jeans or what?” (I think this is the point that Rosie started to back away slowly and act like she was interested in the shirt rack across the room).

“Oh no,” she said. “They’re designed to wear with long shirts and the waistband ensures that there’s no zipper bulge.”

Damn, I thought. She’s good. I didn’t even throw her off with the flippant over 40 rotund lady comment.

” And, they are slimming. They make everyone look fabulous!” she gushed.

Sold! I scooped up the ones in my size off the sale rack and moved over to the higher priced ones that had just come in. I had my hand on the perfect pair of size 6’s when and older lady pushed her way towards the rack, started flipping through the jeans and then tore the  6’s from my hand. I stood there dumbfounded as she ran towards the fitting room.

“Rosie,” I screamed. “Did you see that? These jeans must be AMAZING! That crazy lady just stole them right out of my hand.”

“Don’t worry,” said the perfect Nordy clerk. “We’ll get them back. They’re not her size.” And then she winked.

Five minutes later, the older lady emerged and placed all the ill-fitting jeans (it was the pants, not her) at the check-out. Once the clerk gave me the high sign, I swooped in and picked them up.

The first pair of cords, fit like a dream. And, they had just enough spandex to stretch and just enough coverage to make a 40-something gal feel like she could wear leggings again. Even Rosie agreed they were fabulous.

Same thing with the fought-over jeans. They were out of this world. Hid all the bad things and accentuated the good. Fantastic. Until I went to take them off. While they went on easy (and looked marvelous I must add), they were now stuck on my body.

I tried to take them off the normal way. Then I tugged. A lot. Finally, after a couple of very sweaty moments when I had visions of wearing the jeans for the next twenty years or so until they wore out, I had to ask the Rosebud to put down her phone and help extract me from the jeans.

We laughed so hard our sides hurt. My body was contorted into about ten different shapes in an attempt to rid myself of the jeans. Rosie was tugging a leg as I was attempting to frantically pull them down. Then suddenly (almost like the seal breaking on a hard to open jar of pickles), the jeans fell to my ankles. And, we fell on the floor in laughter.

We emerged from the fitting room laughing and approached the Nordy clerk with big smiles on our faces.

“So,” she said. “What did you think?”

“Well, I like the black ones, but these (I pointed at the offending jeans), I got them on just fine but couldn’t get them off. Didn’t you hear us laughing? There’s no way that other lady got her calves in these.”

She gave me an all-knowing look but acted innocent. Then began to ring me up with a smile on her face. We chit-chatted some more and she thanked us for coming in.

“Megan, It was great to see you!” she said to Rosie.

“Megan? Who’s that?” Rosie said. “She usually knows my name.”

A half hour later we figured it out. Rosie had “Team Megan”on the back of her shirt. We drove home still cackling about me getting stuck in the jeans and her being Megan. Oh Norstrom. I’ll be back.

 

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