How Voting Made Me a Better Parent

You may have noticed the fancy new I Voted widget on the top of my sidebar.

I voted

I’m just going to throw this out there even though it’s not really politically correct to talk about these things or something — I’m a Democrat. That should come as no surprise to any of you and if it does, well just whose blog have you been reading?

Anyway, I vote. I’m a big voter. I was one of those preteens and teenagers who got physically sick at the thought of not being able to vote, so I gathered every possible source of information on all of the candidates every voting period and sent it all to my friends and family and hounded them to vote. The thrill, for me, wasn’t even about getting them to vote for my candidates, but getting them to vote for theirs, even if their views were wildly different from mine.

Nowadays I don’t do as much digging or as much hounding, because let’s face it — I’m not really friends with all too many people and those who vote, do and those who don’t, don’t; there’s not much I can do about it after all these years. I still post on Facebook and try to explain why I’m leaning towards certain people but hell, even I sometimes blindly vote Democrat simply because I know they basically care about the same issues I do and I know I don’t like the Republicans’ point of view. It’s that simple.

But I still get out there and vote, every single time.

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My father and I, while getting along great lately, do not agree on politics. At all. We get into heated debates and have recently finally agreed to disagree.

So it came as quite a shock when, after not speaking about this election whatsoever, yesterday my dad comes to me and says “If you vote Democrat I’m kicking you out. Seriously, I will disown you.” When he said seriously he meant it.

At first I thought maybe I wouldn’t vote this time. Missing one election can’t be that big of a deal, right? I would just stay home and all would be okay. I told my dad I just wouldn’t vote and he was happy and I was happy and all was well in the world.

Until I saw a friend post this on Facebook:

democrats who stay home elect republicans

And then I thought Fuck, he’s right. This is exactly how I used to think. I wasn’t getting soft, was I?

I didn’t want to lie to my father, but I didn’t mind omitting certain details of my day. I made up an elaborate plan to sneak out my window and vote. Seriously. Then my dad went in his room and Jack told me he needed cigarettes so I just used a WaWa run as an excuse.

I voted. I voted Democrat. And no one in my house has any idea.

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I don’t know what will come of this election. I don’t know if my dad will find out that I voted, or, if he does, if he’ll actually kick me out. I don’t know much of anything, really.

But one thing did come out of tonight. I learned something I will never say to my son.

I will never, ever, never ever ever tell my son I will disown him for standing up for his beliefs. Even if they differ wildly from my own.

I will love him regardless. I will support him immeasurably. I will put aside my love for my country, the country I want, if it ever interferes with my love for my son. (Please note: this does not include him committing crimes like murder or treason or terrorism or anything, so don’t read too into this.)

My son comes first. Getting out and voting comes second. Who he votes for, or who I vote for, doesn’t even pale in comparison. It’s not on the list.

I will never force my son to choose between his beliefs and me. Because I will raise him to be a strong, independent man who can make up his own mind, and I will trust him. I will trust him to know that voting is important. I will trust him to know which issues matter the most to him. I will trust him to use his mind for good, even if his version of good is different from my own.

I will never disown him, because he will always be mine.

Holden Nonsense Shenanigans

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What’s Wrong with Kids Today

I live two blocks away from a bunch of fields and sports-areas. Football, cheerleading, track, softball, baseball, soccer, hockey. There’s a designated field or area for each sport. It’s nice and all, in that it’s a kid-friendly neighborhood, but it’s also highly annoying.

A few weeks ago Holden and I decided to walk down and watch a baseball game. Holden loves baseball so I thought it’d be good for him. I was wrong.

The kids playing couldn’t have been older than ten. But balls were flying over the fence like crazy — I was slightly afraid for my child’s life.

One of them accidentally slid right into another one. The sliding one look frazzled and slightly embarrassed as he slowly regained his balance and stood up; the slid-into one turned fucking red and stormed off.

His parents just happened to be standing right in front of me. The mom went off to see if he was okay, and when she returned she proudly announced that her baby boy said “he’s lucky I didn’t fucking hit him!” Then they continued to talk about how awesome their kid was and how horrible the other one was, and how they kind of wanted to hit him themselves. All because the other kid accidentally slid into theirs. Acci-fucking-dentally.

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I Hit My Child (GASP)

OHMYGODNOSHEDIDN’T. That’s what you’re thinking, right? Well, just hold on a minute.

Everyone, and I mean everyone has different parenting styles. Even people who aren’t parents.

And because of that, everyone has an opinion on how you raise your kids. No parent likes this. Ever. I see post after post online from fed-up parents begging others to stop judging them. But I’ve also mostly seen parents get mad at non-parents for judging them. But that’s actually kind of understandable.

If you’re not a parent (or a guardian or nanny or very involved aunt or uncle or — you get the point), you don’t know what it’s like to drag a screaming child behind you by the foot as you’re simply tying to do the grocery shopping so, you know, they don’t starve to death.

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