Finding The Extraordinary In The Not-So-Ordinary November Moments

November 2016 is certainly going to be etched in my memory for a long time to come…our presidential election rocked the country and has left me feeling unsettled, unstable and unsure about how my life – and the lives of most Americans-will be altered.

Before the election, I shared my thoughts about Donald Trump in my post “It’s Time To Let Donald Trump Be The Poster Boy For Rape Culture”. I’m still waiting to hear more about the pending assault cases against him.

After the election, I wrote “For All The Little Girls Who Are Watching This Election” to share my thoughts/fears/sadness about not seeing our first female president elected. With two young adult children, I definitely worry about how our new administration could impact their futures.

I find myself quieting this month; shutting down the news, limiting my screen time and focusing more than ever on my locus of control. I spent the election week confined to bed, watching and listening and reading in disbelief to the stunning results. I’ve baked a lot of bread, cleaned out clutter and reveled in special family time over Thanksgiving. I’ve kept my thoughts scribbled in my journal, waiting to come to a place where I can make sense of how I will move forward to stand up for my children, my students, and what I believe to be a dangerous shift in administration. I’m concentrating on places I can make change, and trying to engage my students and push them to think critically. I wrote a post sharing 4 Reasons Why I Love Teaching With Chromebooks that you might enjoy.

I thought I’d show you what life has been like around here, and how I’ve slowed down to find my center and soften into what I know is safe and real.  I’ve been active on Instagram, sharing my ordinary, extraordinary moments – I’d love to connect with you there, too! Find me @mamawolfeto2.

reflect quote
I find myself doing this a lot lately.

 

California garden
I love living in California – I love fall planting, preparing for beautiful spring and summer blooms. It gives me hope.

 

anniversary
We met when I was 19 and he was 18. We married 9 years later…and just celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary!

 

rainboots
I spent my first day of vacation watching my alma mater, Cal,  lose to Stanford…in the rain. My feet were the only dry spot on my body.

 

Carmel photographer
One of my favorite days of Thanksgiving vacation was spent in one of my favorite places, Carmel. I had to drag my boy home.

 

Point Lobos
If you’ve ever been to Point Lobos with your daughter who you haven’t seen for three months and ten days, you’ll know why my smile is so huge.

 

I love looking back on these last thirty days; I take such comfort in the small joys of life. What were the extraordinary, ordinary moments of your November? I’d love to hear what’s filling your days and feeding your spirit! Let me know in the comments below, and I wish you joy and peace today and every day.

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp

For All The Little Girls Who Are Watching This Election

my dreamers, 2000
my dreamers, 2000

For all the little girls who are watching this election,

My 20 year-old daughter voted in her first election this year. She’s practicing ‘adulting’ – she learned how to register, how to complete her ballot and vote early.

She grew up in house with vocal, political parents but in her own quiet way, she listened and absorbed the importance of using her voice.

My son is just shy of voting age. When he was little I remember him arguing with adults against George Bush. He used to hum the NPR song, and like so many children, developed views that similarly aligned to his parents’.

Last night my daughter began texting me about the returns. Although she knew her state would go red, she was scared. I tried to be optimistic, but my own fears were beginning to cascade and eventually, I dozed off. I couldn’t take it anymore.

It was unbelievable.

I slept fitfully, wondering if when I woke there would be some chance that the election would have gone our way. I wished for an intervention, for a collective ‘coming to our senses’ that never happened.

Her early morning text woke me up.

I wasn’t sure what to say, or how to convince her that everything would be OK. I scrambled my thoughts together and reminded her of all the kind people in the world. To surround herself with friends, and to work harder to help those up that others want to take down. I told her to watch Hillary’s concession speech; I thought it might help. I hoped. I reminded her that not everyone voting for him voted for his racist and sexist and bigoted policies, but that they voted for what he thought he represented, despite how he has shown us who he is.

My 17 year-old son stumbled into the room, hair tousled from sleep. He told me that last night, just as he was going to bed, he heard commotion from the nearby college campus. He heard changing: “F-D-T” and Snapchatted a college friend who confirmed the protest march happening. He said he had wanted to go, but didn’t. And as grateful as I was that he hadn’t left the house at midnight, secretly I would have understood.

I told him that as a white male he has privilege, not necessarily deserved privilege, and if there was any time to protest, it was now. I reminded him that he must work harder now to show kindness and compassion and prove that he isn’t aligned with the bigot America elected.

I’ve always been a listener, a people watcher. I grew up in the same idyllic California town where I now raise my own children. I wasn’t raised by especially political parents, and for most of my childhood I was reluctant to use my voice. I was shy and quiet and would much rather watch than participate.

It was the 1984 elections that woke me up – the moment when I realized what Reaganism really was and that I had to make some adult decisions about who I was and what I believed in. And my opinions lost, by a landslide.

I realized that adulting was hard, and that people didn’t always agree with me – even in my own family.

But I kept on voting, and talking, and standing up for what I believe in. I knew my children were watching.

So today, I’ve been letting the election news sit with me. I’ve been thinking about how to put my thoughts down in a way that might do justice to the overwhelming sense of sadness and fear I have. I’ve been scanning Facebook and online news and trying to think about what meaning I can make of all this.

And I’ve realized that so much of my sadness comes from the loss of a dream – a dream that my children would grow up always seeing our values validated in our country. That despite working and raising children for two decades, I could launch them into adulthood with confidence that the world would be somehow different – that my children wouldn’t feel the same sting of sexism I’ve felt, or live in a world where one of them would be paid more than the other. I’m grieving the lost ideals I had that not only would they grow up in a country that operated on shared beliefs of equity and fairness and Supreme Court decisions that could impact them and their generation. I’m sad that this election won’t show my children that the world they will be adulting in isn’t moving forward, but that half of America is merely showing them who they really are – and that they should believe them.

Watching Hillary’s concession speech did help us. As expected, she showed us who she really is – and that’s when my tears began to fall. But they weren’t tears for her, of for me, or for my mother or grandmother. When Hillary began to close her speech I cried tears for my children – for all children – who are learning to be an adult the hard way and I cried for “…all of the little girls who are watching this, (to) never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

We didn’t get to watch the glass ceiling being broken. We didn’t see our family values upheld, nor did we see a tough mama elected – and we didn’t see that love trumps hate –  not yet.

                                               

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
TwitterFacebookLinkedInPinterestGoogle PlusYelp