Yes, yes, yes, I realize I am a few days late in that salutation, but the New Year saw me traveling back from Colorado to Texas. A three day drive this time (dropped Kendall off in Dallas) in which I had mile after mile, hour after hour to contemplate all manner of things...
- My kids have some pretty stellar tastes in music. Kendall and Toby took turns DJing, offering up everything from Halsey to Kate Nash to Panic At The Disco, to Jake Bugg (I think I shall add an extra P to my last name - Sharpp), to the Moana, In The Heights, and Hamilton soundtracks.
- Kendall and Toby are endless wells of internet memes. I am not kidding. They speak in them, joke in them, reference them constantly. So much so that I told them, "Without the internet, your lives would be memeingless." (Tip your waiter, I'm here all week.)
- Cow psychology. Yes, I drove Kendall nuts wondering out loud if they get cold? Lonely? Afraid of the dark? Do they know they are bored? And how awesome it must be to be a cow and not know who Donald Trump is. And then that night, as I lay on my hotel bed, I Googled "Cow Psychology" and regaled her with studies done about cow friendships, boss cows, and their enjoyment of playtime. She, for her part, threatened to kill me lest I not shut up. Now, I hear things like that as a challenge and greeted Day Two of the drive with comments such as, "I herd your threat, but am uncowed by it." "Are you not mooved by knowing they are udderly enchanted by playing?" "I swear if Vine was still a thing, I would make boVine after boVine to milk your sympathies."
- Kendall likes to threaten me with death.
- And, of course, I spent a lot of time thinking about life - what we have weathered, where it is taking us, what the future may bring.
2016 was pretty incredible for the Sharps. Obviously, the most notable part being coming out publicly with Toby as a family in transition with him. I can tell you that, for me, I did not fear that step. Mother love being the strongest, most fiercesome force in the world. Being brave for my children is not a challenge, it is as simple as it is organic. Fueled by an Irish temper, a strong sense of right and wrong, and a complete disdain for bullshit? Well, assholes have more to fear of me than me of them.
I can tell you that we are in a place that we really don't think about it all the time. Pronouns come as easily as saying "my son" "your brother." Toby is just Toby - wildly talented, hilariously funny, brave, strong - exactly who he was before all the dots were connected. And having been in Telluride for the past two weeks. there was such freedom and joy in knowing no one knew him as anyone but who we introduced him as: Toby, our son. It added to what was a wonderful Christmas in the mountains.
Kendall came out with long time friends of ours - their son is a ski instructor there this season, Culley and Sean flew in on Christmas Day, and my sister and brother-in-law were there as well. We played, skied, laughed, snuggled, and did what we Sharps do - make home wherever we are all together. This time, it was Rudy's suite in one of his properties there. Pop up Christmas tree, stockings hung by the doorknobs with care, and the bliss of simply being together.
The new job is big and challenging, but Rudy is already a rockstar there, leading by example and giving them the direction and vision they need. And while he worked every day we were there, he managed to sneak away to ski a few runs with me, take me, Culley and Sean out to dinner, and enjoy his family just being in the same place with him for a while.
That last part was at the fore of most of the miles I drove - my main resolution for 2017 - BE WITH MY HUSBAND.
We have lived this life for well over 9 years now. And we have done well at it. But being with him for two weeks only makes it that much harder to leave and highlights the fact that together is so much better than apart. So, my goal is to put the house on the market in the spring and finally be married full time again.
While we were in Colorado, Toby interviewed at the Rocky Mountain College of Art & Design and is now home preparing his digital portfolio for submission. If he is accepted, he will start taking their online classes initially, then move to Denver and complete a BFA at their campus. He is hungry to get back into school, needs to be challenged far more than was possible at UT Dallas, and begin moving his life along its path again. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE having him around - after years of it being just the two of us, we coexist really well - but he is ready, so I am ready.
I thought about YOU - yes, YOU, all of you as the miles gathered on the odometer. You pulled it off again. You gave hope and love and joy to complete strangers across this land of ours. You fed their souls as much as their tummies, you warmed their outsides with clothing, their hearts with your love. I am hopeful we may get more pictures over the next few weeks (or reports from my elf helpers), but for now, here is one of some of the children you clothed and fed and made Merry for. From Elf Terri T, "Thank you so much for everything to make L's holiday easier on her and amazing for the kiddos. Here's a pic. They're not smiling because gramma got them with the sun in their eyes!"
Tracy suggested on the DGMS Facebook page today making use of the donation link throughout the year, not just at Christmas - everyone throwing in a few dollars each payday or per month and letting it build (like the old Christmas Club accounts - thanks, Kerry!) The link is open 24/7/365 - so always feel free to donate anytime.
Besides the magic you made again this year, I thought about the love and support you have always shown my family, especially so when I posted about Toby. If I could roadtrip to each of your doors to hug you in person, I would. Your support has been incredible and so very much appreciated by all of us.
Finally, I thought about what is ahead of all of us. With the initial feelings of the election results having died down, what remains are very real fears about what is to come, what it portends for people of color, immigrants, American Muslims, LGBTQIA people, my son.
We are entering unfriendly, uncharted waters. It is that simple and that frightening. If you are not frightened, or think this is hyperbole, I will look you straight in the eye and tell you you sit in some position of privilege. That you are not black, Hispanic, a follower of Islam, gay, transgender, a refugee, or in need of critical, sustained healthcare. And I will tell you that you are selfish.
So much of what transpired, Russian hacking aside, were millions of selfish people personifying the lyric from Disney's Pocohontas, "You think the only people who are people, are the people who look and think like you."
The lack of empathy, enlightenment, hell, humanity that was shown is what still lingers as most disturbing to me. Trump is a reprobate and opportunist, a grifter and narcissist who would not cross the street to pee on his supporters if they were on fire. He has never wanted to touch or be with the common man. Yet he was the consummate carnival barker throughout his campaign and his rubes bought what he was selling and rushed inside the tent. I would like to say I will pity them when their healthcare vaporizes, when they themselves become targets and victims, but they did this to themselves. They did this to the nation. We must live it, but they must own it. They unleashed and normalized the worst of this country; they embraced the misogyny; they proudly stood shoulder to shoulder with the KKK; they turned their back on facts and ate from the trough of personality and lies.
Trump has not drained the swamp, he has enlarged it, filling it with fellow billionaires, science deniers, and conmen who care not one whit about we citizens, just about what they can get from us to further line their pockets.
I thought about that A LOT.
The next four years will be bleak, dangerous, dark. Which means we - the majority who voted against this nightmare - must stand together, stand tall, stand strong. We must build the only wall that matters - the one that makes them afraid, that will not allow them to strip rights away, to violate the Constitution. Our wall is made of open hearts, open minds, embracing FACTS, not folly. Our wall is smart, intelligence being a weapon to be wielded against their prideful stupidity. Our wall is movable, towards them. Our presence must be felt at all times. Just as it must be felt by all those who have already been named as targets. Advocacy must go far beyond sharing an article or meme or wearing a safety pin. It must now mean ACTION. The immediate willingness to step up and step in when you see harassment, injustice, bullying. We either mean what we say we believe, or we do not. And if we believe it, believe in equality, love, humanity - we can no longer just wring our hands. They laugh at our "bleeding hearts," our temperance, our probity, our use of words like compromise. Which is why they must be met with the only thing they understand - STRENGTH, FORCE.
No, I am not advocating unsolicited violence, but if I see a hijab ripped off someone's head, that person will find themselves on their ass. And if someone comes near my son with ill intent? Get me a fucking fork - that is all it will take. I will gut them with a smile and their blood on my face. At every turn, these loudmouthed, ugly, emboldened wastes must be met with disdain, public shaming, and the very clear message that THEY ARE OUTNUMBERED. They were outvoted in the election, they are outnumbered in the public square.
2017 must be the year that those who "won" get the clear message that they are, in fact, losers. Their ideas, their hate, their ignorance, their profound inhumanity are things to be scorned, traits that will not be allowed to further flourish in this country. Because we will get the reins back.
I just hope the damage is not irreparable when we do.
Which brings me back to the title of this piece and the question mark.
Happy New Year?
I don't know. I just don't know.
I wish I were a cow, Kendall.