Month: February 2016

How a would-be First Lady saved the day

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Last November, I attended a Marco Rubio rally in Milwaukee with my mom and brother. Just as Marco was about to take the stage in front of a crammed room of supporters, my mom nudged me and said she was feeling faint.

Keep in mind, we were standing, packed like sardines, in the very front row. There wasn’t a chair in sight, and I didn’t think we could pick our way through the crowd to find one. As I was weighing the options, Marco began his speech. A few feet in front of me, a Rubio staffer herded a pack of photographers to the foot of the stage; I took the opportunity to tap him on the shoulder and quickly whisper the issue to him. No problem, he said, as he deftly helped her sit on the floor next to him, assuring me he’d take her to a chair momentarily.

After they left my sight, he did just that. Another staff member brought her cold water, and a volunteer checked on her often for the duration of the rally. She was incredibly well taken care of, and recovered quickly.

When Marco’s speech ended, he and his wife Jeanette chatted and took pictures with the crowd. It occurred to me that I had no idea where my mom had been taken or how to find her; I asked Jeantte, who I’d been talking with, if she might point me in the direction of who I should connect with to find out. She immediately offered to track her down herself. I started to protest, but she waved me off with a smile, insisting it was no problem. And then, the would-be First Lady set off to find my mom.

As it turns out, my mom found us instead. As I was telling her that Jeanette Rubio was off looking for her, she reappeared. We laughed about it together, Jeanette made sure my mom was feeling alright, and we thanked her for her kindness and the superb care given by the Rubio campaign staff.

Our experience with Jeanette gave me some valuable insight into the Rubios themselves. Because while theirs is a family that’s been catapulted onto the national stage, they haven’t lost the human touch that makes them so relatable. The moment I sheepishly explained my predicament to Jeanette, she went into “mom mode.” As a mother myself, I recognized it immediately. Suddenly, the most important thing was reuniting a lost little 31-year-old girl with her mommy, Presidential campaign or not.

While I sense Jeanette Rubio to be a bit of a reluctant campaigner, I’m certain she’s an invaluable asset to both her husband and the campaign itself. She’s compassionate. She’s kind. She’s a problem solver. She’s a mom.

She’s a woman all Americans would be proud to call their First Lady.

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The Love Box

Parents: what is going on with Valentine’s Day boxes?

When I was in grade school, we made them too, of course. I remember cutting an opening on a discarded cardboard box, drawing hearts and arrows, and setting it on my desk during a Friday afternoon class party. We passed out two-inch Hello Kitty and Power Rangers cards with cherry heart-shaped suckers stuck through the sides.

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Photo: Amazon.com

But 2016 is not the 1990s.

We got a note last week in my first-grade daughter’s backpack:

“Bring a handmade Valentine’s box for our class party on Friday!”

Super.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but in 2016, “handmade” does not mean finding an empty Amazon Prime box and covering it in construction paper. From the photos I’ve seen online this week, it involves hours spent meticulously designing and executing exact replicas of Elsa’s Ice Castle.

Don’t get me wrong, I applaud you moms and dads who can craft live-action puppies that eat Valentines and wag their tails after each deposit. I admire your industriousness! I envy your creativity! I marvel at your dedication!

But I think it’s a teensy bit insane.

I have three kids who keep me running from morning until night. They’re great kids, but they’re young and needy. The first-grader needs help with her homework, and to tell me about how Lily chased Charles on the playground today, who by the way broke his pencil during math, and Mom! Are you listening, Mom?

The preschooler needs a peanut butter and jelly sandwich—but not that jelly, and why is it cut in two pieces instead of four like he so clearly meant to order during the second episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse this morning?

The toddler really just needs a nap.

Point being, my house is bustling with childhood. These three little people keep me busy and crazy and utterly fulfilled.

It’s why, when I remembered that Valentine’s Day assignment, we dug through our supply of stickers and markers and pom poms at the kitchen table and made the most of it. We laughed at the funny faces we could make glueing googly eyes onto glittery hearts. We searched for elusive vowels in the box of alphabet stickers. We stamped patterns onto construction paper greetings.

We didn’t stress about making The Greatest Valentine’s Day Box of All Time.

Our kids don’t need our perfection. They need our time. They need our attention. They need us.

And that’s something we all can give.

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