Mom like me

Carla Axtman

As I sift through the various commentary and links on my Twitter and Facebook news streams, I find myself almost always looking for those that come from Oregonian columnist Anna Griffin. Not so much because I'm a regular reader of her column (I run hot and cold like that. If I get busy elsewhere, my Oregonian columnist reading goes by the wayside rather quickly). I do this because Anna is just like me.

I seek out Anna's social media musings because I love the little anecdotes about her spouse and their kids. Her warm sense of humor and rather wry attitude about the trials and tribulations of parenting are extremely relatable. Anna's a mom--and like every other mom I know experiences highs and lows when it comes to raising a family. Anna just happens to do an exceptionally good job of typing it into her Twitter window.

That same attitude showed up in Anna's Thanksgiving column today. In it, Anna articulates her newly minted life philosphy: "No Whining on the Yacht". Or in other words, if you're generally happy and healthy, and overall life is good to you--stop complaining. A good code to live by, especially in terms of keeping things in perspective.

But what struck me about the column wasn't Anna's turning over of a new leaf. It was the fact that she's a mother, raising her kids with their other parent (also known as a family)--doing the very best she knows how to do. And yet because Anna is a lesbian, she's not allowed in Oregon to marry the person that she loves and with whom she is raising her kids.

There are those who might consider this point to be "whining on the yacht". But I don't agree. As a straight woman, I have the legal right to marry the person that I love and with that we can grow old together--with all the privileges that come with it. I don't have to carry a bunch of documents around to prove I'm someone's wife or mom if they're in the hospital or enrolling in health care. Anna Griffin, and every other LGBT person, should be treated the same as I am.

The only difference between Anna and me (besides the fact that she's a better writer and a much better journalist) is that she fell in love with a woman and created a family. I fell in love with a man instead. Anna is doing all the same kinds of things I did with my kids when they were little: birthday parties, trick-or-treating, zoo trips and science fair projects. She takes them to the pediatrician when they have a fever and kisses their tears away when they're sad or frightened. She referees sibling quarrels and reads bedtime stories. I'm willing to bet that when her kid is in a school play or performance, she's right up front with a video camera, beaming with mommy pride.

She's a mom with a family. Just like me. She deserves to be able to marry the person that she loves. Just. Like. Me.

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    Carla, what a touching article this was. Blessings to Anna, You, and all the
    different "flavors" moms out there.

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    Awesome, Carla, just Awesome.

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    And despite all she has to deal with, Anna writes, "No whining on the yacht. Or, more realistically, no whining until you stop and give heartfelt thanks for how unbelievably, undeservedly lucky we are."

    I can think of so many situations where this applies- when you've been disappointed or let down, when you've fallen off the horse and have to get back on, when life is really seeming sucky, unfair and frustrating till you put some thought into it. It's a great frame for not just Thanksgiving, but for living life.

    Having that positive attitude will make going out and working for positive change easier in the new year too...and there is so much we need to work for- equal rights being at or near the top of the list. Don't mistake being thankful or positive for being a pushover, either. On the contrary, it gives us even more reason to keep pushing forward.

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    Agreed Carla. Great post.

    In a hundred years or so (hope fully less)people will wonder what was the big deal? (I wonder that today).

    One thing that annoys me is the "tolerance" ideal. If I were gay I wouldn't want to be just "tolerated."

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    Oddly, Anna picked up this phrase from my esteemed and admirably progressive rep, Earl Blumenauer. If it refers only to private life, yes, I agree wholeheartedly. We love our lives in Oregon and have so much to be grateful for and thankful for. But if "no whining on the yacht" really refers to the ship of state as she seems to think, and isn't just a reflection of Earl's personal strength and fortitude, there's a problem. With two wars raging into the indefinite future (a group of Oregon Guard troops just shipped out), the global economy tanked once again by one of capitalism's periodic blowouts, and our middle class itself collapsing because the big bosses think we can be replaced by the labor and the consumption of Asia, even on Thanksgiving there's no time for complacency about the direction of our ship.

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    Carla, a simple, "I agree" is what I have to say. Happy Thanksgiving.

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    "Geoffrey Ludt is wrong on so many issues, I lack room to list them.

    By 'wrong,' I mean that the founder of the Oregon Tea Party Patriots disagrees with most Oregonians, if election returns are any indication. And yet, Ludt doesn't have horns or foam at the mouth. He's not, as far as I can tell, a bigot. He didn't join the tea party because he hates President Obama or loves Sarah Palin, but because he worries about what kind of world we're leaving our children.

    I actually like the guy..." -Anna Griffin

    Great example of Ms. Griffin sharing common ground, being a parent herself, with someone she may have a disagreement or two with philosophically but nonetheless reaches out too.

    More of this please, and of course equal treatment for parents and couples of all kinds.

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