Thursday
Jul232015

All of the Things Are Unfair

In case you hadn't already figured it out, Alexis had a REALLY fun time in New York City. She is a self-proclaimed city girl who thrives on bright lights and crowds and late-night shopping, so basically she was born to exist in Time Square.

Which, it's interesting how Times Square doesn't make her twitch like it does me. I don't get particularly anxious in crowds, but if I can cut over a block and avoid a big mass of people? I'm doing it.

Not Alexis, though. She wants to be in the center of the chaos.

I'm not entirely sure how I ended up with an extrovert, but there it is. Oh, and here it is.

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I mean, seriously. If you ask anybody who was at the McDonald's party, I'm sure they could tell you that the little kid with brown curly hair had ALL OF THE FUN.

Meanwhile, Little Miss Mila stayed in Pittsburgh. For the very first time in her life, I wasn't at her beck and call all night long. Now, if you ask the husband, she has slept through the night nearly her entire life. Mind you, asking the husband is asking someone who can sleep through a marching band playing Uptown Funk while jumping on the bed. He doesn't do nights. Period.

The first night Mila performed exactly as I cruelly wanted her to perform. Which is to say, she was TERRIBLE. She was up every few hours and pissed off that she was up, but really that's nothing new. She does that at least once per week. When it happens on my watch, she and I end up on the living room couch or in the guest room until she simmers down.

The husband is absolutely certain that the first night they were home alone, Mila had the worst night of her life. He's very wrong, but it's cool that she shared some of the love with him.

But then the next night, she was nice. She woke up once, but went back to sleep fairly easily.

The last night, she slept through the night.

SHE HATES ME. THAT IS THE PROOF.

The child only rarely sleeps through the night. It's terribly unfair that she used one of those special events on a night when I didn't gain from it. But then again, I did spend that night all alone in a hotel bed. Alexis and I had two full-size beds, so I kicked her over to her own. So, all night. No touching. No talking. No poking. No kicking. NOTHING.

It was glorious.

But I'm still annoyed that Mila gave the husband a sleep through the night sort of experience. She hasn't done it a single time since we returned, so it's just not fair.

Not fair at all.

Wednesday
Jul222015

Fixing Broken Promises

Hindsight being what it is, I now see the promise for what it was -- another series of meaningless words buried in a mountain of meaningless words.

Some people in our lives do that. I don't think it's intentional. They say things without thinking about the fact that you're taking them seriously. The don't realize they are getting your hopes up. And maybe they really do intend to make good on those promises.

Maybe.

Regardless, many years ago, a family member with the means to make it happen flippantly threw out a promise to take a quick weekend trip to New York City to see a show on Broadway. There was discussion about which show and even the beginning of concrete plans, except they weren't concrete. For whatever reason, the trip never happened.

It's okay, though, because not long after that promise was thrown out, I became an adult. I became an adult who does adult things like declare I AM GOING TO BROADWAY NO MATTER WHAT THE END.

It took me a few years, but on what was probably my 40th or 50th trip to New York City (I used to go there a lot for work when I was a consultant), I finally made it happen. As luck would have it, Alexis was fortunate to be a part of my little scheme because overcompensation. It's my speciality.

The thing about Alexis is that she is very much so lacking in perspective. She's a good kid, sure, but she doesn't know how good she has it. I think it's hard to appreciate having access to things when you've never not had that access, but it's a good problem to have. It's good that she doesn't know what it's like to want something you can't possibly have.

That lack of perspective thing is why I was faaaaaaar more excited about walking a few blocks to see Aladdin on Broadway. Alexis would have been perfectly happy to stand in Times Square and look around, but I was on a mission. Tickets had been acquired and FINALLY! BROADWAY!

Another part of why I was more excited than Alexis was because Aladdin is totally my jam. It's my very favorite of all of the Disney movies and has been since it first was released a quadzillion years ago. Seeing it on Broadway before it ever tours? ZOMG!

A few things about the show, though. Abu, who is absolutely the greatest character Disney has ever created, is not in the Broadway version. I suppose it makes sense that they wouldn't want to have an actual monkey jumping around on stage. Still, I admit to missing his cursing little cranky face.

Another thing about the show is that HOLY WOW IS IT GOOD. I mean, we're talking possibly better than Lion King good. The Genie could just stand on stage and look around, not saying a word, and he would be hilarious. James Monroe Iglehart is absolutely phenomenal.

He's so phenomenal that Little Miss Too Cool for the Room made it about five minutes into the show before she leaned in and whispered, "Mom! This is the best ever."

It might have happened a few years later than I initially expected, but it really was the best ever.

Tuesday
Jul212015

Watching Voices of the Year Through a New Set of Eyes

There is one thing about a BlogHer conference that is a must. It's a must whether you are a blogger or a casual internet user, a woman or a man, or whatever. I think the only thing that matters is that you're human. Every human should experience Voices of the Year.

Strong words, right? They're true. Everyone should experience Voices of the Year.

Voices of the Year is the one event I know of where the power of words is celebrated as the walls that weave their way through the internet are shoved aside. The very short description of what it's about is that a handful of content creators are honored for crafting something powerful. Of that handful of people, a few of them get a chance to stand at the front of a full room and read their words out loud. The written word comes to life and is given more power through the voice of the author. It's a very big deal to have your work celebrated at Voices of the Year.

Each and every one of the posts that is read has the potential to change your view of the world.

That is why I took Alexis to Voices of the Year. While the topics of the posts that are read often swerve a little outside of the box of "safe topics" for someone her age, it's still an experience worth having.

And this is where I admit that this year's Voices of the Year fell short for me. There are a lot of reasons, but the main one was that Voices of the Year was mixed with the SheKnows Femvertising Awards. One minute the celebration was about the power of one person's words. The next it was about honoring a brand that did something fantastic to empower women.

I'd like to celebrate both things. It's important to recognize brands that are getting it right. It's also important to recognize people that are getting it right. However, mixing the two cheapened them both, in my opinion.

One minute a man was reading an incredible post that evoked a river of tears. It was a powerful, important, timely post. Just as he walked off of the stage, the room flipped a switch and suddenly a brand was on display, their carefully packaged advertising campaign front and center.

Oof.

That said, throughout the roller coaster that was this year's Voices of the Year, I sat quietly watching Alexis' reaction. I watched her process the powerful words. I watched her eyes carefully as she sat engrossed in award winning ads.

And I wanted to apologize.

I wanted to apologize to my 9 year-old that we were honoring words that shouldn't need to be said.

Between the words about racism and the empowerment of women -- both very important topics that need to be talked about -- I couldn't help but think "We should already be past this."

This campaign in particular, the "Like a Girl" campaign by Dove, included a video that both Alexis and I loved. But, really? It's 2015 and we haven't managed to quit using "Like a girl" as an insult yet? How is that possible?

I thought my generation would have fixed these things by now.

Instead it's going to be up to Alexis' generation to finish what we started.

And that sucks.