Is this the real life, is this just fantasy?

So with apologies to Freddie Mercury and Queen, I can’t seem to get these words out my head these days. For about 6 months now, I’ve been sort of doing a social media withdrawal. At first it was just to ride out a storm and then it was to stop being part of too much drama and then it morphed into not enough time nor interest and now my social media activities have evolved more into a minor hobby than a 24/7 event. I don’t miss it. And here’s why.

More and more I was being bombarded (a strong word, I know, but that’s how I felt sometimes) with stuff I didn’t care about or topics I couldn’t or wouldn’t engage with others on or countless photos of women, teenagers and young girls with the ever-present hand on their hip. (And, as a side note, is the hand-on-the-hip now a chromosome that all women are born with? Discuss amongst yourselves).

I saw people posting dozens of selfies a day. Some people look good although the mouth-open-to-make-it-look-like-I’m-laughing-and-having-a-fabulous-time pose is not a good look on anyone. I have taken 2 decent selfies in my life and I’m grateful I even have that many. I’m OK with stopping there.

I am online friends (a term I use loosely because most times a Facebook friend is not a real friend at all) with people who have too much time on their hands and have decided their new calling in life is to provide non-stop political commentary every day. I get it; we should all be involved and care about out country and its future. But after your tenth post of the day proclaiming Hillary Clinton the devil or reminding me that Donald Trump is the anti-Christ, I don’t care any more. Your world is black and white and there’s no convincing you otherwise. My world – and I suspect a lot of people’s world – is grey but that doesn’t make good copy online.

There’s one person in particular who fancies himself a political pundit and who I only wish had displayed a tiny bit of the passion and commitment he does pushing his agenda online towards his job when he was a former co-worker. There’s a former classmate, who I truly didn’t know at all when we went to school together, who vilified me and threatened me so awfully and publicly on social media to the point where she had to be reported. And then there are just the plain old drama queens. Life is hard; I get it. But everyone’s life is hard to some extent and if you were to hold up your set of problems and compare them to any given person, you’d be ashamed at what we complain about. Sometimes less is more and silence can certainly be golden. But social media means more is not enough and noise generates interest.

A few weeks ago I found myself in a total social media blackout, by chance rather than design. After spending another lovely day with my Mom (me driving her car), I got home and discovered I had left my cell phone in her car’s cupholder. I haven’t had a landline in years so I did a little research and found I could make a call to her through my iPad. Problem solved. But the next morning, when I was going to call her again on the iPad to arrange where we’d meet up, I couldn’t get a connection online. I couldn’t imagine what had happened until I got a lovely pop-up window on my computer from my benevolent cable company telling me my service had been shut off.  Somehow I had forgotten to pay my monthly bill (and, by the way, Comcast deserves their reputation as one of the worst companies in America for customer service but that’s another story for another day). I couldn’t pay them until I got my phone back so, once that happened, I had to hop in my car and search my neighborhood to find a WiFi hotspot so I could set up an electronic payment. And even after I paid them, it took a good long time to get my connections back. I was shipwrecked on a social media-free island.

Aside from being an annoyance, the longer it lasted the more liberating it felt. I read a book. I took a nap. I cleaned out my closets. I wrapped my Christmas gifts that need to be shipped off soon. I caught up on laundry. It was great; it was productive; it was a blessing in disguise because having a cell phone is both a blessing and a curse. The blessings are obvious; the curse perhaps less so. Getting into the habit of checking e-mail, looking at Instagram, reading a tweet is a time-sucking and usually non-fulfilling exercise. Not being able to do it was freeing. I was almost sorry when I had access again.

Many of you (and I love you all who have) have e-mailed or texted me privately and asked me why I am less active on social media. I have, of course, other reasons for scaling back, reasons I have shared with those who’ve asked. But ultimately I looked at the time I was spending on all types of social media and weighed it against my priorities, my goals, my downtime, my dreams. And it didn’t even come close. My time left in this world is a running clock and I don’t want to live it behind a screen. It’s not your real life and it’s not mine either. So I’ll happily cheer your success, like your picture, wish you happy birthday, pray for you or your loved ones when you ask. But for now, my real world is out there, not in here and I’m going to do my best to embrace what lives beyond the screen.

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2:08 AM

So today is my great kid’s birthday, his 23rd in fact. A number that is astonishing to me in so many ways because I know it was just yesterday that I was in the great and lamented St. Vincent’s Hospital in Manhattan celebrating this miracle that I had been given. (His other parent was there too but he gets no part in this story because of his actions and inactions since then).

Every year since he was born, I have celebrated his exact moment of birth – 2:08 am – by setting my alarm and sneaking into his room when he was a toddler, a young boy, a teenager and a college freshman and giving him a kiss and telling him how much he was loved. He never woke up once in all the years I did this, even though he knew it was coming. (He is blessed with the gift of deep sleep, that kid is).

Since he flew the coop to Sin City and his new college, I’ve still set my alarm for the middle of the night but nowadays I call him and settle for reminding him that he is and was the one I loved above all. My sun, my moon, my stars.

So as I did a few months ago for my Mom, my words are (part of) my gift to my great kid this year. Because I want you all to know what a special person he is.

From the time he was young, he had a soft spot for the mistreated, the underdog, the down-on-their-luck folks he encountered. I like to think this was learned from being blessed with having my darling Dad as his grandfather. A man who adored his first-born grandson, who – with my Mom – turned their lives upside down to relocate back here to be part of and a presence in his life every day. He learned how to play – and cheat at, truth be told – miniature golf when he was young from my Dad. When he was sick and I just had to go to work, he would spend the day with one or both of my parents, learning that caring for someone you love is just what you do no matter what.

The very first time I really thought I was watching the spirit of my Dad come through him was one Christmas Eve when we were at Mass, waiting for the service to start. For any of you who’ve done Christmas Eve services, you know that if you want a seat for the 5:00 service, you need to be there at 4:00. And that’s what we had done, patiently waiting for Mass to start. A classmate of my great kid and his Mom were directly across the aisle from us, in a small row saving some seats for the Dad and his classmate’s autistic sister who wouldn’t arrive until right before Mass started.

The usher kept trying to seat people in that row while the Mom kept trying to explain why she was saving the seats. The usher, I know, was only trying to get people seated but he became increasingly frustrated and a bit rude to her, telling her she couldn’t save the seats. After the last time he did this, my great kid looked over at her and grabbed my hand to get my attention. The Mom was weeping, embarrassed and upset that she’d have to let someone else sit there and that her husband and daughter wouldn’t have a place to sit when they arrived.

And – without a word from me – my great kid got up, walked across the aisle and sat with her and his classmate to fill up the row so that the usher wouldn’t bother her anymore. She looked over at me and mouthed “thank you” but I had nothing to do with it. It was Brendan’s kind heart and compassionate soul, qualities he had learned from my Dad, that had made that happen. What he did mattered in her life and to her family and to me too, so much so that I still remember it as clearly today – 15 or so years later – as if it had just happened.

He’s hopped on a plane on more than one occasion to surprise me, often at the time I’ve needed him the most. When my Mom was hospitalized last year, he flew home – after begging and pleading with his college professors to let him work remotely for a few days – and ended up staying for 10 days until my Mom got home and started to get better. To spare my Mom the agony of having to put my Dad’s cat to sleep when he became so ill he couldn’t even walk any more, he and my sister took the cat to our vet and then – after it was over – walked in the house, hugged me and wept over the loss. Because it was one of his last links to my Dad and it broke his heart. But it was more important to him to spare my Mom that experience than to worry about his own reaction to it.

He is loyal and true, standing up for people when they need an advocate or a friend. He is passionate about what he believes in and smart as a whip. He’s a hard worker, a good friend, a boy – a man now – with a heart of gold, a heart I can only hope no one ever breaks (or they’ll have to answer to me). He makes me want to be a better person and a better mother every day. He inspires me, he loves me and supports me and believes in me even when I don’t believe in myself.

So as his birthday starts to wind down, I will tell you what I tell him all the time, quoting from the great book and movie, The Help. Brendan, you is kind, you is smart, you is important. And I am blessed.

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The Last Time I Saw You Was The Last Time I Saw You

So – to quote one of the few soap operas still on television – like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. As you get older, everything seems to be speeding up. Hours fly by in the blink of an eye, days are gone without you even noticing, holidays seem to arrive sooner and sooner and then, once again, it’s New Year’s Eve and you’re wherever you normally are and thinking how did this year fly by so fast. And, if you’re like me, remembering so many things, so many times, so many people and taking stock of your life.

A few weeks ago, my darling Dad’s younger brother died, the last of the three Burke brothers to go. A man whose life was very difficult when he was young. A disinterested mother, an alcoholic father, a home life filled with struggle to put food on the table and keep the lights on in the house. He often said that if it weren’t for my father – who kept an eye out for him, took him under his wing, got him his first job delivering papers, bought him his first television – he wouldn’t have survived. But survive he did and blossom as well,   overcoming his own demons to marry and raise 3 daughters of his own, just as my Dad had. He always called my Dad his Bubba, a holdover from the days when he was young and couldn’t pronounce the word brother. And Bubba became shortened to Bub and – to this day – some people still refer to my Dad as Uncle Bub.

The last time I saw my uncle was at my Dad’s funeral almost 5 years ago. He was as heartbroken as much as we were because he was the person there who had known my Dad the longest. We spoke at length, consoling each other, sharing stories and when I left him saying that I missed my Dad so much already, he said that he missed him too. And those were the last words he ever said to me and that was the last time I ever saw him.

So when he passed away, it got me thinking that you never truly can know if the last time you see someone will ultimately be the last time you ever see them. If we knew it would be the last time, could we bear it? I don’t think I could. Would you try to say everything you should have but haven’t? Would you pull them in for a hug and not let go? Would you hope that your mind would take all those lovely snapshots of them and store them so you can call upon them when you need to see that person again, even if it’s just as a memory?

The last time I saw the love of my life we were leaving a hotel after spending some time together. He was headed towards his car, I was headed towards the airport. I missed him, of course, as soon as he was out of sight but our time apart wouldn’t be forever. And he knew how much I loved him and I knew no one had ever or would ever love me or get me the way he did. And then life got in the way and we weren’t able to see each other for a while but we talked every day, hours every day. That would do until our lives, our schedules, our daily commitments cooperated.

They never did, of course. And then he got sick, very sick, very quickly. He was gone in a few months and I was and I am and I always will be heartbroken. And I look back and think if I had only known that was the last time I would ever see him, what more would I have said? What dreams would I have shared? I don’t know but I have to hope that he knew, that he knows that I said everything in my heart, everything that mattered to him when I had the chance. I have to hope that he left this world knowing how much he was loved.

There are other people, of course, that if I knew that the last time I saw them was going to be the last time I saw them I would confront them and ask them why they had wounded me with their words, hurt me with their deeds, scarred me with their total lack of empathy or self-awareness or compassion. If I knew that seeing them again was not going to be an option and that their absence from my life would be the period to their chapter in my story, I’d have perhaps been angrier or demanded explanations or asked them why. I’ll never know most of the answers and some days, many days that is a very tough place to inhabit. Is knowing worse than not knowing? I wish I had the answer.

So I’d rather focus on the good stuff and try to live my life in such a way that – if tomorrow is the last time I see someone, or the last time they see me – our memories are happy ones with no words unsaid, no hugs not shared, no hands not held, no dreams not chased, no plans not made. I want to remember those I love with happy thoughts, no matter how long we haven’t talked or how much distance separates us. And I want them to remember that I loved them, I cherished them, I counted on them, I prayed for them, I wanted only good things for them. If that happens for us, then I know I will never regret this life I’ve lived and it won’t matter that the last time they saw me was going to be the last time they saw me. Because we said it all and that’s all any of us can hope for.

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Make America Great Again

So even though it’s 432 days (I counted, really I did) until the next Presidential election, we’re already in the thick of it with every Sunday talking head show, every news broadcast, every magazine cover already promoting or bemoaning or posturing or pontificating about that uniquely American method of the slash-and-burn, bullying and slick-talking process we engage in to elect the person who leads our country. Already I’m tired of it.

And Donald Trump is, not surprisingly, sucking up all the air and energy out of this beauty pageant of candidates. Trump always follows the golden rule: he who has the gold rules. So that he can garner attention by speaking louder than anyone else is not a surprise. He’s on offense; everyone else is playing defense, probably as well as the New York Jets play defense. And his big catchphrase is that we need to make America great again.

I object.

My America is great and always has been. No matter what your financial situation is, we’re better off than many millions of people around the world. We have clean water to drink, we have food to eat, we have fresh air to breathe. We have freedoms like few other countries: to speak our minds without fear of retribution, to worship our God freely, to travel without fear of detainment, to prosper and succeed when given the opportunity.

But we – individually and as a country – can be greater because growth is always a good thing. Here are some good ideas (at least I think they are) about how we can start.

Let’s bring back civility into our world. Please and thank you go a long way whether you’re dealing with the guy who serves your coffee or the cleaning person in your office or your child’s teacher or the police officer who protects your neighborhood every day.

Let’s stop calling each other names. Every immigrant is not a rapist or a drug lord. Women are not cows or beasts. Senator John McCain is a war hero, not a dummy. I could go on but you get the gist of what I’m saying. This is what passes for intelligent dialogue from someone running for the greatest position in our country. But why would we want to be that person or have that person represent us so that we have a President who believes insulting people is how you achieve maximum results?

We should be celebrating people, being kind to each other, lifting each other up. Every day I try to pay my blessings forward, whether it’s telling someone I like the way they look to thanking the stranger for opening a door when my arms are full of packages to waving my gratitude at the person who lets me merge in to a busy lane of traffic to the acquaintance who I give a shoutout to for liking something I said on social media. It makes me feel better and I hope it makes them feel good too. And it costs you nothing, save a few moments of your time, and can be a defining moment in that person’s day, or maybe even their life.

Let’s help each other when we can. If you’ve never been down on your luck, bravo to you and remember to count your blessings. But that doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on someone who needs some temporary help because of a situation that may or may not be anything they have any control over. Don’t blame or shame someone who has to ask for help because if you take away their pride, you might be taking away all they have left. It takes a very strong person to humble themselves and ask for help. Let’s honor their strength, instead of labeling them with stereotypical words. Believe me, I have been in the position of having to ask for help when I found myself in dire straits. That I had angels who supported me in every way made all the difference in my ability to face my challenges the next day with a renewed determination to move forward.

Let’s educate ourselves and our children to make this world and our country a better place. Read a book to your kids, write a poem, listen to your parents tell their stories again and again and write them down so you’ll remember them when they’re gone. Pick up the phone and call your friends, walk your dog and say hi to your neighbors, write a check to your favorite charity. Donate your old clothes, listen to your cubicle mate’s problems without judging, thank a veteran. Hug someone, kiss someone, tell them you love them before they’re gone and the chance has vanished like the sun setting.

Make your life count. Make a difference. Make America greater. But you’re wrong, Mr. Trump; America is already great and you can’t convince me otherwise.

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Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

So I’ve been taking a social media break for a while for reasons important only to me and not worth wasting your time with. In the past, I might have commented long and loud about that insufferable creature, Donald Trump, and the particular brand of divisiveness and hate and insulting rhetoric he has been spewing. But no one really cares what I think about this and my opinion is not going to change your opinion on this or any other subject if we’re on opposites sides of a topic. Still, this whole Trump debacle really irks me and made me wonder why he – and others too, lots of others – don’t apologize or say they’re sorry or mask a faux apology by offering it up in a passive-aggressive package to you when you’ve been wronged. Since when did “sorry” become a four-letter word?

It’s neither political nor partisan to call John McCain a war hero and Trump disrespected not only the Senator but all veterans when he once again let his mouth go into auto drive before he had turned his brain on to engage mode. But instead of saying “I misspoke. I was wrong. I chose my words carelessly. I’m sorry”, we got lots of posturing and demands that the Senator apologize to him.

And it got me wondering whether Trump has ever apologized to anyone in his adult life. Did he apologize to any of his wives when he (allegedly) cheated on them and moved on to the next younger model? Did he apologize to his creditors as they were forced to write off his company’s bad debts when he filed for corporate bankruptcy not once, not twice but four times? Did he apologize to the President when he accused him of having a fake birth certificate? If he offered an apology on any of these occasions, I must have missed it.

I have spent more time than I care to recall apologizing to people for imagined slights, most specifically the other person in my ill-advised marriage who – like Trump – was never wrong about anything. It was easier to apologize and keep the peace then be honest and try to present rational arguments to someone for whom rationality was the equivalent of learning Greek; it wasn’t ever going to happen.

But I have also apologized many times when I have hurt – mostly unintentionally, I hope – not only people I loved and cared about but also some I knew only casually. I’ve said I’m sorry to people for saying something that offended or bothered them. I’ve apologized to friends for unintentionally creating a tempest in a teapot by mentioning an idea in passing. I’ve regretted the times I’ve been impatient or short-tempered with my great kid, the person I love more than any other, and told him so many times over. And I do apologize when I know I have wronged someone because words wound, particularly words said in haste without benefit of being filtered through your common sense before they’re uttered.

An unkind word, a misspoken phrase, a passive-aggressive posting on social media – they’re all like a pealing bell. Because once said, they can’t be taken back; the bell can’t be unrung. So when – not if (because we all inadvertently say or do the wrong thing occasionally and hurt someone) – you cause pain or anguish or sadness to someone with your words, please say you’re sorry. With a nod to the great Elton John, sorry shouldn’t be the hardest word.

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There Are No Back Roads Anymore

So a few weeks ago I spent a glorious weekend with my sisters, my Mom and my Burke cousins celebrating my birthday and the not-often-enough opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and relive (mostly with laughter but sometimes with tears) the moments we’ve all shared throughout our lives. We were out in the Hamptons, a wonderful place to be once you get there but it’s the getting there – and the getting back – that is mind-numbingly slow. An area designed to keep the locals safe from the invasion of seasonal tourists and wannabes by consisting for a good chunk of the trip of one lane of traffic each way.

Not surprisingly my sister – who is able to ferret out the fastest way to get anywhere – had found a route comprised of back roads out of the Hamptons years ago, a route guaranteed to slice a nice amount of time off the journey home. Except now everyone knows about the back roads and – in a statement so common-sensical that I had to remember it – she said “there are no back roads anymore”.

And it got me thinking that while maybe that’s true for some things, it might be just the opposite for so many others. We all have our routines, our practices, our schedules that give us comfort by their regularity. We know where we have to be, what we have to do, sometimes even what we’re supposed to say because we traverse the road that’s set in front of us and perhaps never question if it’s the right road. Or if it was the right road at one time, is it still the road we need to be headed down? Should we be looking for the back roads, the ones that take us out of our comfort zone? The ones that force us to look at things differently, to make different decisions, to consider things we might not have before. Would you make the same decision today that you made yesterday if even one thing was different?

About 7 years ago, I started to wonder why time seemed to be slipping through my fingers so quickly. Work, of course, was one reason. A 50+ hour week and a 3-hour round trip commute each day didn’t leave much time for myself, let alone to spend with my great kid, who was on the cusp of beginning his journey towards college. Nor did it allow that much time to spend with my parents or friends or other family. Life seemed an endless loop of the shampoo equivalent of lather, rinse, repeat. I woke up at 4:30 and went to bed at 9:00 and tried to sandwich everything I needed to into that time period without giving short shrift to anyone or anything. I wouldn’t use the term “succeeded” but I somehow pulled it off. Some days were easy; most were not. And I know that there are millions of others like me who faced the same life-juggling moments every day. Where is the balance?

So after much thought and time and prayer, I decided to take the back road. I crunched the numbers with the help of a brilliant financial guy (thank you, Shaun) and told my company I was leaving at the end of that month. No pleas for me to stay, no thank you for your contributions to helping our bottom line, no fuss, no fanfare. (Although my fellow workers and my customers were ever so kind and sent me such lovely words that I printed and saved each e-mail that was sent my way). My back road was a chance for the company to shed itself of a too-highly-compensated, over-the-hill employee (not that they ever said that in words but they didn’t have to) and a better chance for me to open the door onto a new future, one that let me do all sorts of things yet to be determined.

Now it’s 7 years later and my life has taken lots of twists and turns. The plusses are immeasurable. My time with my son, my parents, my friends is a gift that I never will regret. The opportunities to write both professionally and personally (through this little blog, which I am ever so grateful when someone reads it and tells me it meant something to them). The chance to travel a bit and meet people I would never have met otherwise. The phone conversations I’ve had with nary a thought about rushing the other person to finish because I had laundry to fold or dinner to cook or homework to check. All of it was a blessing and still is.

But some things haven’t worked out the way I had hoped because I took that back road. I won’t bore you with what hasn’t been successful or fulfilling because I’ve tried to take a lesson from each – I won’t call them failures – experience. When the writing gig ended, I was able to find a great local job working for a wonderful woman whose life work has been enabling and empowering and caring for our seniors. I’ve learned a lot, I think I’ve helped some people and what I do matters.

When someone I loved and trusted betrayed me, rather than go down the bitter road, I chose a different path. I felt sorry for them, that their life had been such as to bring them to a point where they needed to hurt others. I couldn’t change what had happened – none of us can because we can’t turn back the clock – but I could learn and grow from it, make the best out of it that I could. And doing that led me down another back road, a road where I learned to reach out to people and accept their kind offers of friendship and support. I was and am blessed with friends and family who lift me up each and every day.

So while there may be no more literal back roads any more, making a decision to take life’s back roads (and a great shout-out to my DC girl, Carol, who pointed me in the right direction when writing this) may be the best thing you can do. Be open to what may not seem comfortable. Be receptive to things that might have scared you before. Be willing to try something different or new. Try. Try harder. Try again. Find your back road to happiness. It’s out there, I promise you.

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Two Days

So a few days ago my mother and I were having our daily morning conversation (snuck in between me leaving the house, hitting Dunkin Donuts and arriving at work; hands-free talking, of course) and bemoaning what was going on in the world. There had been yet another random terrorist attack on a beach, innocent people slain for no apparent reason. Two dangerous men were still on the loose as they had been for nearly 3 weeks with no one being able to track them down. Another hate crime was being reported. Yet another angry man with a gun had killed people in a house of worship.

And I told her what I always do, that it pains me to know my great kid is growing up in a world like this. When I grew up – in a galaxy long ago and far away – everyone kept an eye out for each other. During the summer, you went outside after breakfast and – except for a lunch and dinner break – stayed out until it got dark. And that’s how you knew when it was time to go home. The street lights came on and it was like magic. Kids raced off to their homes (which were really apartments or railroad flats in the neighborhood I grew up in) and, if we were lucky, we got to watch a little television. Life was simpler, we didn’t have fears, we trusted and knew our neighbors, we didn’t worry because we didn’t have to. Nothing bad ever happened.

When you have children, you hope that their world, their life, their future will be better than yours. And all that changed on September 11, 2001, at least for my great kid and me. Did you ever feel truly safe again after that? Do you worry that something bad is always lurking around the corner? Did you ever think this is the future my kids, and their kids, have in front of them? That they’ll never have a truly safe childhood has always pained me.

But there are days when I am still optimistic about this world, our country, my great kid’s future being better. And two of those days happened this past week.

I once had great health care through my former employer and it was pretty affordable. And then I didn’t (a long and tedious tale about how much a company values your contributions to their bottom line until they don’t any more). Until the Affordable Care Act came along, I struggled every year trying to balance good coverage with affordable costs. But after the ACA became law, I was able to get very good health insurance at a price I could truly afford. I was grateful, so grateful that our lawmakers recognized that everyone is entitled to be able to get good health care.

And then the challenges to the law started and – without revisiting history because most of them are brought by people who’ve never had to worry a moment about being able to afford their health care coverage – they finally got resolved once and for all this week when our nation’s highest court upheld the law. And I knew that my son – who will also lose his health care this year when his father stops covering him – will be able to get health care on his own. I won’t have to worry for either one of us that we’ll be bankrupted by medical costs because we don’t have medical insurance or that we’ll be forced to make a decision about paying for health care as opposed to giving it up. It was a good day for America. That was Day One.

The very next day, the Supreme Court declared that gay marriage is legal. I am a religious person, deeply so, and I understand people being unhappy with this based on religious reasons, I truly do. But my God is a loving God who embraces all people and loves them regardless of who they are or who they love. And since it doesn’t affect my life one little bit who someone marries (except for my own ill-advised marriage, which affected me a whole lot), I don’t know why it matters to any of these angry people who would rather spew hate than embrace love. What I do know, though, is that when my son said to me that night that he had never been more proud to be an American, I rejoiced because it meant he knew that when our founding fathers said that we’re all created equal, they didn’t intend to exclude people.

So for the first time in a very long time, I have optimism that the future my son – and your kids and your grandkids – will face will be better. Because more people have been included in our country instead of being excluded or marginalized. Because we all are better served when we all have access to the same benefits and rights that others have always had. Because we’re the greatest country on earth and we should all want each other to succeed and thrive. Because it’s time to live and let live and love and let love. Our time here is limited and we only pass this way once but this past week our future, our kids’ future just got brighter. Embrace life, embrace freedom, embrace love. It’s easier than you think.

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