We’re All Invited.

Okay, the Royal Wedding of Prince Henry of Wales and HRH Meghan, Duke and Duchess of Sussex are now still swirling in everyone’s minds. I personally didn’t watch the wedding because I am still quite sore over the Alfie Evans affair, so I have pretty much declared a boycott of all things British, right down to tossing out all my Twinings tea (good Lord, you have NO idea how much that hurt) and cancelling my subscription to BritBox (oh, Doctor Who and Blackadder, how I miss you most dreadfully). I still have a few Burberry items of which to divest, but I’d be stark raving mad to jettison them outright.

But anyway, with occasions such as these, go anywhere on social media and you’ll find the usual characters, in the U.S. especially, proclaiming how ridiculous the whole affair is, and how we fought for independence from the Crown more than 200 years ago so we wouldn’t have to care a wit about this. There will also be those who complain about how much money the whole thing cost. I’ll admit, I’m not too keen on that last aspect myself, but what you gonna do, right? However, there are many reasons why we SHOULD care and it really does matter.

I won’t get in to the obvious by stating that Meghan Markle is Black, though she is not the first woman of color to become part of a royal family. She is not the first divorcée. She is not the first American. So, all that is out of the way. Why this does matter is because it is a magnificent how of pageantry. It is a positive demonstration, one of love. It gives us, at least most of us, something to look forward to. Royal weddings don’t happen every day. This is something that the whole world can look forward to and unite over. They’re beautiful. They’re magical. They help us escape from everything for a few hours. No pain, no tragedy. Just all beauty and light. Majestic pomp and circumstance. Every traditional girl’s dream. Even for us commoners, a wedding is meant to be a beautiful and joyous occasion, to be shared with well-wishers.

Also, royal weddings have a positive economic impact, the British one at least. People plan their vacations to coincide with the festivities. They buy memorabilia. Commemorative stamps are commissioned by the Royal Mail. Women wait with bated breath to see what the gown, flower arrangements, and cake will look like. Fascinators fly off the shelves at milliners all around the world. Bridal and dress designers scramble to duplicate the fashions. This all means something.

Honestly, what it really all comes dow to is our innate desire to find and witness those things that are beautiful and fantastic. We crave it. We need it. It’s what makes life worth living. It helps us dream. It keeps us going. It brings us together. It makes us forget, even for a moment, that which we must return and face when the high comes down.

So, to all those naysayers and party-poopers who want to rain on everyone’s parade and berate them for taking an interest, I say, have a seat, have a pint, and shut your gob.

Every Parent’s Nightmare

I have been crying for five days. I have lost sleep for just that long as well. Why have I done this? Over a child I never met. For parents with whom I’ve spoken. Why, you say? Due to a horrible, horrible injustice. I know that there are many people before me who have written about this already, but this has affected me so that I feel as if I have to get this out of me as much as I can, so please, bear with me.

For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to the news, a lovely 23 month old boy, Alfie Evans, lost his battle with an illness that was NEVER officially diagnosed. He passed away in a Liverpool, UK pediatric hospital, Alder Hey, which was identified in the past as being at the center of a scandal involving the harvesting and sale of children’s body parts. This hospital had also gained a reputation of giving substandard care to children and even tracking some into a death spiral. Essentially, they had written certain children off. A pediatric surgeon, Edwin Jesudason, blew the whistle on the hospital, resulting in his being blacklisted by the NHS.

This hospital, Alder Hey, held the child AGAINST the will of the parents, citing that they were acting “in the best interest of the child”. They FORBADE the parents to take the child to another facility, or even home. They determined that the child should be removed from life support, which they did, removing all tubes and ventilation. The denied the child food and drink, expecting him to expire within hours. But the child held on, for FIVE DAYS.  The father even resorted to giving the poor child mouth to mouth. Could you imagine having to do that? They claimed that any independent breathing the child was doing was possibly due to spasms caused by seizures.

Judge Anthony Hayden, repeatedly rejected the parents’ appeals to take their child from the facility and transport him to Italy, who, with the Vatican, granted the child Italian citizenship and who were willing to transport him to Italy for treatment at Bambino Gesú hospital. Not only that, the hospital had police officers guarding the entrances to the hospital, forbidding anyone in and out, while enraged citizens protested on the campus. Attempts to sneak any kind of provisions to the child were thwarted. A Catholic priest who was administering to the child was thrown out of the hospital room because he DARED to admonish the hospital staff. The hospital staff chased off the Italian airport personnel waiting to transport him. They claimed that transporting him would cause him even more suffering. Mind you, all these determinations were done WITHOUT and OFFICIAL DIAGNOSIS. What’s more is that they claimed that they were not willing to work with the parents because of a “bad attitude”. Can you believe that?!

People around the world held prayer vigils, donated money to the family, called on leaders to intercede. I was one of them. Every time I saw that beautiful child, I imagined my own children, particularly my youngest child, who is only one year older than Alfie was, and who, when sleeping, looked just like that beautiful child. It tore my heart out, it destroyed me. This was someone’s child, and could very well have been anyone else’s child.

I think one of the biggest things that absolutely blew me away with all this, was the response from so many British citizens on social media. Mind you, some expressed extreme outrage, but far too many of them had an attitude of indifference or resignation. Many of them claimed that the COURTS and the DOCTORS knew MORE than the parents. They parroted the saying that it was “in the best interest of the child”. They claimed that the child was effectively brain dead and would have no sort of life, but when asked whether there was an official diagnosis which many of us didn’t know about and if the child was written off by the NHS then WHY would they care if Italy decided to take the child in and see what they could do, there were crickets. I was being accused of being an American who didn’t know the full story, yet they never divulged what the “full story” was. When presented with the information of the past organ harvesting scandal, I was accused of being an conspiracy theorist and told that that incident happened in the past and that I had “no evidence” of it currently occurring. The words “science” and “evidence” were thrown around a lot. Oh, but never mind that the child was never officially diagnosed, therefore his condition was not know, therefore, there was no definitive way of knowing the outcome. Even other physicians from other countries indicated that Alfie may have been misdiagnosed. Yet, the people would hear none of that. It was like the hospital, the government-run healthcare system, and many of the people, were DETERMINED to see this child die for whatever reason. My guess is that the judge was proud and obstinate, and the hospital didn’t want to admit that maybe they were WRONG. Both appear to have a MAJOR god-complex.

Towards, the end of sweet Alfie’s life, his parents, who can only be described as having been beaten into submission, issued a statement thanking everyone for their support, declaring they would no longer talk to the press, and that they would work with the hospital to “form a relationship”. Just what kind of nonsense is that? Can you imagine? I was BEYOND miffed FOR these parents.

What makes this whole ordeal even more infuriating is that this is NOT the first time that this has happened, or at least not the first time that something like this has gained national attention. It wasn’t more than two years ago that the very same thing happened to another sweet baby, Charlie Gard.To me, and I’m sure many other Americans, this goes FAR beyond the pale because this is indicative of a common practice. This violates virtually EVERYTHING for which we stand. It violates patient rights, parental rights, human rights, liberty, individualism. Pick the words, it violates them.

Now, the parents of Charlie Gard have announced a campaign to change the laws addressing parental rights and the care of their child. I know I for one will be donating any more I can to help with any legal expenses they may incur in their fight.

If we’ve never been through it, we can never fully know the anguish these parents have suffered, but I, and many like me, can only pray for healing, call for a PROFOUND change, and be vigilant to make sure that something like this doesn’t take hold here in this country.

Is It the Thought that Really Counts?

It’s been the subject of jokes for as long as any of us can remember. That getting of the gift that you really don’t want or need, but you’re told to simply smile and say, “Thank you.” You daren’t turn up your nose, or politely decline. You must graciously accept, stifle your disappointment, try to come up with a few examples of how you could possibly wear or use it, all the while in the back of your mind you’re trying to figure out where in your storage closet you can stash it away until it’s safe to donate or regift.

Even Seinfeld dedicated an episode to the subject called, “The Label Maker“. I am also reminded of this eBay commercial for Christmas past. But why, why do we do this? Furthermore, why do we allow it to be done? We are constantly being told not to look a gift-horse in the mouth, to not be ungrateful, to accept whatever gift we’re given because “it’s the thought that counts”. I have always challenged this sentiment.

In my view, I find it more inconsiderate on the part of the gift-giver than it is on the recipient. To me it is a glaring indicator that the giver did not take the time and consideration to learn what kind of person the recipient is and what they would like. It is a waste of money, in my opinion, to buy something that will be relegated to the trash heap. It also threatens to jeopardize the relationship between the two, especially should the giver discover that the recipient has never utilized the item, or even worse, has given it away. Also, it puts the recipient in the awkward situation of having to lie about how much they enjoy the gift or why they haven’t used it yet. It is a source of frustration when the giver actually ASKS the recipient what they would like yet still proceeds to get them something else. Why? What was the purpose of that, getting one’s hopes up only to let them down?

What about those who scoff at the idea of giving a gift card or cash, claiming it’s “so impersonal”? Am I alone in thinking that if the intended recipient specifically requests cash or a gift card so they can have options as to what they will purchase as a gift then it is decidedly NOT impersonal?

How do we delicately and diplomatically impress upon our friends and loved ones that this practice of thoughtless giving needs to STOP without being thought of as a snob and an ingrate? I’m curious, what do YOU think?

 

Dipping My Feet in the Water.

This is the first blog I’ve had in a long time. I’m hoping it will be received well. I hope this will a blog of catharsis, a place where people can go and relate, commiserate, and celebrate. This blog will be primarily about my travails of motherhood, but it will more than just that. I’m more than just a mother, so are you moms out there. I want us to be able to talk about just about anything, and given this society today, I even acknowledge the fact that we will tend to be judgmental. I get it. I’ve made my career on passing judgments. I do however ask that the judgment is tempered. This is a “Bad Mom” blog, not a “Mean Girl” blog. We can challenge each other without clawing each other’s eyes out. Despite what guys think, it’s not as sexy as they think it is. LOL.

Now, on to the reason for the name of this blog. I have named it “The Yemoja Journals” in commemoration of the goddess, Yemoja. Yemoja is the Yoruba water deity who is the protector of women. She governs childbirth, conception, parenting, child safety, love, and healing. She is associated with the moon, water, and feminine mysteries. She is the equivalent of the Virgin Mary. I think it’s fitting, don’t you?

Now, back to the “Bad Mom” blog reference. I say I’m a “Bad Mom” because if any of you have ever seen that movie (it has surprisingly become one of my favorites), you will know that it is about some mothers who decided to say enough is enough when it comes to this fruitless effort to be the perfect mother and the perfect wife. They were brave enough to stand up and finally say, “No. This is driving me crazy. I’m not perfect. I want to just BE.” So, this blog is for anyone who sometimes doesn’t want to be known as “X,Y,Z’s Mom” and be known by their first name. The woman they were BEFORE they got married/had kids. Oh, and this blog is for anyone else who is interested, or mildly curious. So let’s do this, shall we?