Monday, June 12, 2017

Why Wonderwoman Didn't Make Me Feel so Wonderful

I was kind of excited to take my boys to see the new Wonderwoman movie.  From the comments and reviews it sounded like it had the makings of something good: 
  •  Female heroine. 
  • No damsel in distress (or at least one that wasn't going to save her own day). 
  • Brave women,kicking butt
and I even heard the word  "empowering".

I was kinda expecting a new take on this:

And then I saw the movie.

 And before I say anything more I need to point out 
Yes.  I know.  It's just a movie.  It's fiction.  It's D.C.  I also know this:
It's not like it used to be better.

But here is the deal.  This time I thought it was going to be better.  This time I thought it might be fresh.  I actually believed the empowerment hype.  And then I saw the movie. 
And some people left that movie thinking "wow!  It's so awesome to have a powerful female heroine!" or "how great to have a brave, strong female lead"  or "what a great new role model for girls!" 

And I left that movie thinking...

That was a really fun movie!  That was entertaining!  But I was also thinking Wow, I really need to do more leg work.  And ab work.  And change my diet.  And consider intensive botox or facial something or other that fixes faces that don't look 19. And I definitely should put down this popcorn bucket.  I need to fix myself!!!  Stat!

Because at the end of  all the movies we all just really want a kickass superhero but we really, REALLY want a beautiful kickass superhero.  And we want her to fall in love.  Or make people fall in love with her.  And we want to wear her sexy costumes.  And we want to look like her in her sexy costumes.  And well, that's not so empowering.  And when I thought back to the movie I thought well, they did have a female strong villain, that's something, right?  But I'm still not even sure I want to think about what it means that the villain is made to look ugly by disfiguring her face.  I mean, they made this woman:

look like this:
And she was terrifying.  But what am I supposed to do with the fact that what made her so terrifying (other than the fact she was creating a horrific gas that melts gas masks on people's faces) was that her face was disfigured?  

Yeah, yeah, I get it!  It's a comic.  It is part of the story line.  It's a movie.  Wonderwoman is the daughter of Zeus!   It's a movie!  Yes, it is a movie.  And it's one more reminder that if we all really want to be wonderwoman, we better look pretty perfect.  Strong and Beautiful.  Soft surface, hard core.  Big breasts, no waist. Independent, not threatening.  Sexy, not sexual.   The real enemy isn't Ares, it's  cellulite and aging.

And really, that just kind of sucks.  I prefer my wonderwomen to be real super heroes.  My life is surrounded by them:  I helped make one:

And Hollywood, it's not like you can't give us real life super heroes.   After all, you did:
  I know plenty of them:  chemists, teachers, runners ( I actually know one woman who is all three of these things), attorneys,  business owners, school bus drivers, social workers, activists, musicians, athletes, school lunch ladies, accountants, mothers, friends, fighters-of-what-really-matters.  Being Zeus's beautiful badass daughter is pretty spectacular but being a sixth grade math teacher who makes kids love math and stays after school so the nerdy ones can have a pokemon club?  That is some serious wonderwoman stuff.  

So please Hollywood, show us more of these WonderWomen--the kind that don't make me want to buy makeup, do more squats or figure out how to get rid of wrinkles and not eat movie popcorn.

Showing those kind of women?  Now THAT would be all kinds of wonderful.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dear Maddie and Jonathan

For Maddie and Jonathan's wedding they asked their moms to write letters to read to them during the ceremony.  I think later they will want to go back and read through the letters--pretty sure that a lot of that day is a crazy, beautiful, fun, sweet blur to them, so I thought I could post the letter here.  It was pretty hard to write a letter to my daughter on her wedding day.  I wanted to say all the things.  I don't know what all the things are.  I felt like a huge fake trying to give advice since she had a front row seat to just how flawed her parents are and just how real life marriage can be.  It was past midnight the night before the wedding and I said a prayer and started typing and these are the words that came out.

Dear Maddie and Jonathan,

I thought in true Mucci fashion, I would give my advice  in a rap.    Tom Baker, Could you please come lay down a beat for me?  Okay,  Just kidding.  I’m not going to rap.  Besides, it took me too long to  rhyme ferris forever.  Wear us whenever?  Declare us withersoever?  (and now you are going to spend the rest of this ceremony trying to rhyme ferris forever). 

I also thought it might be a good idea to pass out my new invention that I have invented just for occasions like this.  You can wear it and use it at the same time.  Functional and fashionable (and it glows in the dark).    sO I may need this handy for the rest of my speech.

As I look over there and see that beautiful woman today she takes my breath away. 


But in so many ways when I think of Maddie I will always think of this picture  


Notice the big fresh scrape on her chin that she got earlier in the day from hitting the mirror of a parked car on her scooter.  And that is Maddie—she knocked the crud out of her self, skinned her face but somehow expects that when she climbs on that rigged up scooter with her safety helmet on that good things are going to happen.  And that has been one of the greatest blessings of my life—raising a daughter who truly believes every day that good things are going to happen.  And they have. And today, we stand here in the middle of such goodness and love and our hearts bust with hope for you and Jonathan, Maddie. 

In Hebrews it talks about running the race set before us.  You know I love that scripture because it talks about running but really, I love it when I think of you and Jonathan because I am reminded of this huge cheering crowd of people around you.  You both are so loved.  You have grandparents who have sewed for you, painted for you, built things for you, cooked things for you, and prayed and prayed for you and cheerleaded every step of your relationship publicly on Facebook.

 You both have amazing churches of people who have celebrated your every step.  We are surrounded by friends who would do just about anything for you at any time.  


We parents pray for God to send someone perfect for our child and Jonathan, there you are.  You are sweet.  You are so incredibly patient and kind and you are rock solid.  You balance out Maddie’s hyper.  You laugh at her dumb jokes, many of which she gets from her dad.  You know how to embrace the awkward.   You know when she needs a Dr. Pepper and  you know when she needs some snacks and you appreciate how she wants to turn even simple moments into a party and you care about making a home where there is love and grace and Jesus and there is nothing I could ask more for in the man who will marry my daughter.  


You both have such an adventure ahead.  And it will not always be Dr. pepper and sunshine.  Because the truth is love is messy.  We fail each other.  We hurt each other.  WE are impatient and selfish and hangry and sometimes just not nice.  Do the best you can but if you can work at one thing as a couple it is this.  Breathe grace.  I just love sweet Mason in that video when he says that when things are difficult, in the end..just love.  Make your sweet home one where people will come in and breathe in the grace. 

In 2nd Corinthians Paul writes”  You are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. “  Paul is telling the people that their lives are his letter to explain who Jesus is and the letter is written by the Holy Spirit.  And Maddie and Jonathan, your lives are our letter—your dad and I and Tom and Carol.  And Your life letter tells your story.  We are so incredibly proud of your story and so humbled to be part of it.  It’s a story of parents who have been far from perfect and pretty much always  awkward, of brothers who are annoying but adore you, of  funny goofy days and very hard days but mostly of grace and love.  And now you are headed into this incredible opportunity to build a home in a community that is going to be perfect for you—for the two of you together, to love on students, to teach, to learn, and there is no doubt that this is the next part of the letter that God had planned for you for so long. 

About that next part,   be gentle with us parents.  Remember that two minute phone silence that we had when you told me you thought you all might be getting married?  It wasn’t because I don’t adore Jonathan or because I thought you weren’t  mature enough to marry.  It was because I wasn’t ready for you to grow up.  I have loved  every single part of being your mom.  

I loved watching you climb the steps of the bus on your first day of kindergarten, watch you make up bad dances in the yard with Taylor and Marissa, I’ve loved you standing in the kitchen and learning to cook things with me, and I will never forget the night you came in and climbed in bed with your dad and I and said “Jonathan and I kissed for the first time tonight” and your face was the sweetest thing I have ever seen.  And we are seldom ready as parents to move to the next moment.  And we all feel a little like you looked in that picture with your safety helmet on, ski poles, skateboards tied together ready to fly down the driveway.    Like you Maddie moo, we know good things are going to happen..sometimes we just need to sit at the top of the driveway for a bit.

We adore you both.  Pretty soon the preacher will say you are husband and wife but it is your covenant to each other that will make you husband and wife, your decision to get up every morning and commit to love each other and do the best you can and to grow a marriage that is marriage your way .  Be for each other.    Tell dumb jokes.  Have Netflix marathons.  Try new wines.   Play board games.  Eat Reeses Puffs regularly.   And love…just love.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

one more year...23 lessons in 23 years

This is an anniversary update for an old blog post.  Since tomorrow is 22 years I thought I better make sure I would add 21 and 22 on.

Twenty years ago on a blistering hot day I was waiting in the lobby of Kirkwood Road Christian Church getting ready to walk down the aisle to marry Jeff and I was a wreck.  The truth is,  if you had taken bets from friends, family and the general public I’m guessing many folks would have bet that this week we wouldn’t be celebrating our 20th anniversary.  It’s not that those folks would be so negative or hateful that they would have bet against us.  Heck..I think if it had been my money, I would have bet against us.  We just had lots of odds stacked against us: both of us with parents divorced, both of us very opposite and both of us opinionated, stubborn, control freaks.   I would like to say we were madly, passionately in love with each other and knew  our love could beat those odds so we chose to marry.  The real story is that we were just at that age where our friends were getting married, we thought we loved each other and it just sort of felt like the time to do it.  I know, romantic, isn’t it?  

And let me tell you, those first few years?  They were not romantic at all.  In fact, they were hell.  No money, pregnant three months after our wedding day and I had moved to St. Louis where I had few friends and no family.  Jeff was working a job that he hated and we both wanted to kill each other a lot of the time.  We both blamed each other for our unhappiness. We both had this idea of what the other person needed to do—for my part, I would push Jeff so hard to want to go to church more—in fact I wanted him to be more “churchy.”   This, of course, made Jeff  just resent church people in general and especially me.  I pushed. Jeff pushed back. Things got worse.  By the time Maddie was two we were walking through a parking lot at a store each holding one of Maddie’s hand when Jeff looked down and said, “she doesn’t really know what she is holding together here, does she?” 

If you are following me so far you  know that the rest of this story (so far) is long and certainly another blog (or two or three) but that would be so much writing that I’m going to shoot to the today part of the story.  20 years of marriage have gone by and I love my husband so much more today than I could ever have imagined.  I adore him. He still drives me insane.  We still fight all the time but we fight differently.  We are still stubborn, selfish control freaks. We have made countless mistakes.  But we have worked so hard at having a good marriage and being good parents.  God changed us.  And by changing us, he changed our marriage.  I just sort of think that we might be that couple that others can look at us and say, “well, shoot, if they can make it there’s hope for us all.”

So, in honor of all that and of 20 years of marriage (and the longest blog ever) I decided that I would come up with 20 things I have learned from 20 years of marriage.  Some the easy way. Some the hard way.    Here goes.

20 things learned from 20 years of marriage:

1.       Sometimes you are not really mad.  You are hungry. Or tired. Or both.  Take a nap, eat a sandwich and then decide if you are mad.

2.       Cheap dates are some of the best kinds of dates.  I love a nice dinner out and a show but I also love a bike ride and ice cream.

3.       For the love of your marriage and all things that equal peace do not decide to clean out your spouse’s high school crap treasures.

4.       People often pray for the  their child’s spouse that God will give them a great spouse.  They should also pray for the in-laws their child will have one day, that God will give them great in-laws.  I won the in-law lottery.  Seriously, I have the best in-laws (two sets!)  I could have ever dreamed and prayed for.   Additionally, I got these amazing grandparents in my life that I had always longed to have.

5.       No matter how great it sounds, Cheez-Its do not make good meat loaf.  Thankful for a husband and kids who have traveled through lots of culinary journeys with me.

6.       The grass is never as green as you think it is in someone else’s yard.  Love your own grass.  As soon as I start comparing my marriage I inevitably find that I need to do something, buy something, change something and most of the time these things all leave me really crabby at Jeff.  What a waste of precious time.  Guess there’s a reason that commandment says not to covet.

7.       There are few things better for your marriage than having game/card-playing friends.  Being able to call folks over for a cheap night of cards and laughs is the best thing ever. Invest time, energy, and prayer in finding other friends that you both like.  That is a big reason why our marriage struggled so much early on—it took us so long to find “our” friends.  (I still sort of think there should be some online site, similar to online dating sites, for people to go find friends.  Is that weird?)

8.       Okay, so this next tip we did not figure out until a year ago.  But  This is huge.  As soon as you have enough money (perhaps why this didn’t happen for years in our marriage) invest in a really good king sized mattress.  If you are particularly mean, like Jeff and me, give your old mattress to one of your kids and remind them they were made on it.  Teenagers love hearing that kind of thing.

9.       Keeping score means someone is always losing.  The whole game of  “I did the laundry and the dishes and you just played with Max and ran to the bank so I am the best person and you should be so grateful that I am in your life” never gets us anywhere but in a big fight.  We have learned this but we still play this script out pretty frequently.

10.   Toilet paper goes over the roll or under the roll? Doesn’t matter.  Just be grateful there is toilet paper.  Toothpaste squeezed from the bottom up? Buy two tubes of toothpaste.

11.   There is nothing as sexy as watching my husband doing dishes or playing with our kids.

12.   Unless it is him with tears in his eyes watching  the kids in a school play, a lacrosse game or a church worship service.  The man is proud of his kids.

13.   Likewise, there is nothing more beautiful than the sound of him praying for me and the kids.  Gets me every time.

14.   Never throw the checkbook.  That argument couples get in where you say “if you think you can manage the checkbook better have at it” and then you throw it at the other person?  Maybe you have never had that argument.  But couples that have know that it really is a crappy set up.  Because secretly, if you throw the checkbook at the other person and tell them to do it you are rooting for them to fail.  And guess what happens if they fail?  Yep, you have a screwed up checkbook and you are still mad.

15.    If you tell your wife you have a really special Christmas present for her that you are super excited to give to her it should not be a bowl. 

16.   Doing marriage is hard.  Doing marriage in front of teenagers is super hard.  I think right now the hardest part of marriage is having my kids watch every stupid mistake we make, every dumb fight we have and every bit of our selfishness.  I pray  they also see grace, forgiveness and a sense of humor.

17.   Speaking of doing marriage in front of kids:  When you get mad and you have a temper and slam the door and it bangs on the wall and leaves a denty-hole thing in the wall your child will show the denty hole thing to people when they come  over and tell them how it got there.  Just sayin.

18.   And speaking of getting good and mad:  When you do get really mad,  do not go running home to your parents or to your best friend and trash your spouse.  As good as that feels at the time,  you will make up with your spouse and long after the make up sex is over your parents and best friend may still think your spouse is a jerk.  If you need to vent (and I am a venter so I need to vent) find a friend who will remind you of why you love your spouse and send you back to them.

19.   Go to at least one ballroom dance lesson together. Run at least one race together.  Play in a golf league together even though one of you sucks.  Camp in a tent to remind yourself to buy a camper.  Have a song that makes you both laugh at the memory of that song (devil went down to Georgia).  Skinny dip.   Skip the flowers and the chocolates unless you just love flowers and chocolate.  Do your own kind of romance. 

20.   Last tip. Most important one:  Don’t miss it.  So many days I waste so much time planning and busying myself through the next thing that I forget to breathe it all in.  Is our marriage perfect? Nope.  The stuff that dreams are made of? Depends on the dreams.  Even when things are so stressful and crappy and crazy is it blessed?  Yep.  Absolutely.

21.  Take the Brady Bunch Trip.  
Take a big ole honking trip that involves putting your family in a minivan, staying in some cheap, fairly crappy hotels, and stopping when you are ready to stop.  At some point, when you are half way through the state of California and when your van is full of smelly, singing, joke telling,  grumpy teenagers and one 8 year old then you'll know what happy is.

 22.  Be a cheerleader not a coach.
There might be a time that you and your spouse decide to do some sort of activity together.  Say this activity involves running.  You might think that your job as a spouse is to provide coaching.  WRONG.  Your job, as a spouse, is to be a cheerleader.  Practice this:  You rock!  You amaze me!  I am so lucky to be married to someone who can run like you!  Wow, do  you look sexy in running clothes!  I can tell you what cheerleading does not look like.  It does not look like this:

Seriously, though, wouldn't that motivate you to have such an encouraging spouse as I was obviously being in this picture? So many times in marriage we get the choice of either trying to fix our spouse by coaching them (which means helping them be more like ourselves) or encouraging them and cheering them on.  So, here's my point.  Choose cheerleader.  

23.  Notice them. 

not gonna lie.  This has been the hardest year of our marriage.  Who knew the hardest year would be at year 23?  I was sorta expecting this year to be a gravy year. It wasn't.  And I have learned a lot.  Some lessons I did not want to learn.  But for this updated post, this is the lesson.  Don't forget to notice each other.  We all want to be noticed, in a million different ways and we want the one we love to WANT to hang out with us, to think about us, to miss us.   Don't treat the one you love like another thing on the to do list.  Don't forget  they are your best friend.