What we Choose

10th November 2016

On the morning of November 8th, I stumbled out of bed before the sun, laced up my Nikes and headed out the door to Ashford Park Elementary school. I arrived to a snaking line of quiet people. I hoped they didn’t mind my sweaty face. At least I brushed my teeth.

A few minutes later, a kind woman named Janice handed me a voter card. Maybe it was the endorphins kicking in, but there was something profoundly special to be had by standing in a voting booth at 7:15 am.

Let’s recount. I ran here. No one stopped me on the street. I never feared for my safety jogging in the dark. I arrived at the polling place. No one hassled me. I was handed a voter card. No one tried to keep me from expressing my opinion. And then I clicked a button on a screen for the candidate of my choice. No one forced my hand. And you know what, I got to choose a WOMAN as President of the United States of America.

No matter which side of the aisle you sit on, let’s not forget how incredible important every step of that routine was. You were given the freedom to make your own decision. Your choice wasn’t dictated to you by your race, your gender, your religion or someone else’s opinion. Your choice was in fact, yours.

November 9th was a little tougher to swallow. I’m sad. I’m angered. I’m tired. As the sun set yesterday, I forced myself to pull those Nikes back out of the closet and lace up, because, hey, endorphins.

This morning, my outlook is a little different than it was 48 hours ago. Maybe I’m reaching a new state of grief 😉 Here’s the conclusion: no man or woman in the White House is going to dictate how I spend today, tomorrow, or next week and nor should they any of us.

The best way to move forward is to choose to move forward. For me, that means I’ll choose to love, including those with whom I disagree or don’t understand. I’ll choose to listen, including to ideas I find troublesome. I’ll choose to talk and read and learn and act. I’ll choose to lift up the little girl with a dream and tell her she’s valued, she’s equal, she matters and she can do whatever the heck she wants to do. I’ll keep choosing.

We have work to do. It’s going to take time to put this one behind us. But guess what, we all get play a part in that work. We get to choose how to move forward. For millions of people around the world, choosing isn’t a reality. Let’s not forget that. This isn’t Donald’s work. Or Hillary’s work. It’s all of ours. Let’s put on our big girl pants and choose to make the world a better place. Together.

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To my baby sister on her 21st birthday

25th March 2016

I don’t recall begging our parents for another sibling. I had one of those. He was my dinosaur bone seeking, bike ramp building, lava monster avoiding, best friend.

But the day you arrived, that changed.

It was a different kind of Christmas morning to wake up and have your aunt share the news: you were big siblings and a baby sister was coming home. We had never been prouder, Erik and I.

As you began to walk, talk, run and pull bows out of your hair, it became clear that we were destined to be opposites. I coveted dresses, you despised them. I kept shy, you stole the show. For years, our relationship was grounded more often in yelling than rainbows and hugs.

We heard it over, over and over again: someday she’ll be your best friend.

I can report that bit is true, moms never make mistakes. Here we are, not tiptoeing, but sauntering through our twenties, side by side. I had an inkling we would reach this point, but no amount of family stories can prepare you for what I’ve encountered.

You are my opposite in nearly every way, and I thank God every day for that. In some way, with seven less years on this Earth, you’ve taught us all more than a thing or two and for that, thank you.

Thank you for reminding me to never accept anything but the best. Be that friends, former boyfriends, or a great pair of shoes. Never lose your incredibly high standards, the rest of the world could stand to meet them.

Thank you for showing me that confidence is the best thing a girl can wear. You astonish us all with your ability to command a room, hold your head high and stand your ground, no matter who or what you are up against.

Thank you for constantly pulling me back down to earth and stressing the importance of a good day spent in bed, wearing leggings instead of pants and reminding me that yes, it can wait, Sweet Home Alabama is on T.V.

As you celebrate your 21st birthday, my wish for you is to never cease your ability to make us all to be a little braver, more rambunctious and more compassionate in every moment we encounter. Cheers to endless taco date nights, champagne toasts, movie nights and crossing our fingers that no soul encounters our judgmental gif conversations.

7,671 days after day one, I’m just as proud to wear that big sister title, if only I still had a t-shirt to go with it. Happy Birthday.

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Lessons in Investing from Miss Sandra

14th February 2016

During my sophomore year at UGA I mustered up the courage to step away from the University meal plan. It only lasted four days.

While I’m certain I was one of the very few on campus who took advantage of prepared dining hall meals past my twenty-first birthday, the food wasn’t the only perk. There was the omni-present offer of lunch dates, the late night cereal runs and of course, the staff.

Last month, I stumbled upon a blog post from Yik Yak with a familiar face who I hadn’t thought of in quite some time: Miss Sandra. You can read the Yak’s story for yourself, but if you aren’t familiar, Miss Sandra works the checkin counter at Snelling, UGA’s most centrally located and 24-hour dining hall.

Miss Sandra sees thousands of students every week and she’s been loving on them for years. While the hugs are fantastic, I never considered that she actually remembered each one she dole out.

Today, P and I celebrate our second married Valentine’s Day and in 2016 we’ll celebrate a decade since we started dating. After a lengthy breakup our sophomore year, Miss Sandra was the first to notice when we passed the card swipe station in Snelling together.

A different kind of smile spread across her face and her greeting was new, “oooh ya’ll are dating again aren’t you?” She didn’t just recognize us, she remembered us, together.

I’d like to think we could walk in today and she’d still remember us, though it wouldn’t matter if she didn’t. Miss Sandra hasn’t just mastered kind, she’s mastered what it means to invest in being kind. And according to Yik Yak, she’s still at Snelling, investing in each student who walks through her door in the same way, almost a decade later.

P and I shortly after our first Valentine’s Day in 2007