Thursday, November 10, 2016

Why I Am Hurting After this Election

Before President-Elect Trump, her future seemed brighter.
Like many Americans, I've been hurting big time since the election results came in. First I was in shock- my country wouldn't do this (elect a man who was endorsed by the KKK, bragged about sexually assulting women, etc., etc., etc.) Then I was sad, so incredibly sad.

In the last two days, I've had several facebook conversations with Trump voters- some that I know and some I do not- because I sincerely wanted to understand what they were thinking. Maybe if I understood, I thought, my suffering would be less.  

Anger is a secondary emotion. Hurt almost always lies underneath the anger. Trump insulted veterans, women, Muslims, immigrants, people of color, people of size, and disabled people. He didn't offer apologies. He instigated hate at his rallies. His call to "Make America Great Again" in and of itself insulted minorities. What time period was he referring to? American history has not been kind to anyone except white men. The "good old days" were not great for women or minorities.   

Each vote for Trump FEELS like a validation of all those hateful comments. And that hurts. Big time. I'm not hurt by him, I had already written him off as a narcissist incapable of empathy. Rather, I am hurt that 50% of the people in this already great country validated the hate he peddled. The people who "held their noses" or overlooked his hate and voted for him anyway. 

Today I had lunch with two sweet friends after yoga. We made small talk and one asked how I was doing. I said I wasn't doing well and that I was really hurt by this election. The talk turned to how people were rioting and wasn't that terrible? Why can't the people who voted for Hillary accept it and move on?

It is terrible. It's terrible because hate cannot be conquered by hate. It's terrible because the Trump people will now just write off all protestors as "crazy liberals" who are violent and hypocritical and sore losers. It's terrible because it's not ok to destroy property and hurt people because you are angry. But I said that I understood their anger. I don't condone it but I understand it. People are HURTING. People are scared. People feel they are not seen. People feel they do not matter. 

One friend said this is why she didn't talk politics. I could tell I was making her uncomfortable. The topic of conversation was changed to her child now in middle school and yadayadayada. I couldn't hear a word. I felt unheard. I felt my hurt was being dismissed. I couldn't eat my lunch. I started to sob. I said "how are we going to heal as a country if we can't even have these discussions with friends?" I said I didn't want to have friends that only talked about things on a superficial level and who didn't try to understand why I was hurting. They said they weren't taking the elections personally. 

And BING BING BING- there was the source of my pain. I was taking it personally. 

I thought we were making steady progress and that my daughter would not have to endure the blatant racism my husband had endured. I am a mama bear and I am hurt beyond words that my beautiful and long-awaited child is not valued in our society as much as their white children. Literally. The fees for her adoption were less because she was part black. They are lowest for full black children. The waiting time for black children is significantly shorter. And STILL black baby boys are being shipped overseas because they aren't all being adopted here. Why are some people pro-baby when it comes to unborn children but not pro-baby for the ones that are already born? How can someone be staunchly anti-abortion but then not adopt? Where do they think those babies go? Why are the unborn babies seen and valued when babies (and people) of color aren't? What about the suffering right in front of our eyes? How can a vote for a serial cheater (of women and small businesses) and a documented liar who now says he is pro-life in order to get elected be the vote of the conservative Christians? What is Christian about his statements and his actions? Who really wants to claim his "values" as their own?

One of my lunch friends was not familiar with my husband's recent press coverage. I told her of his role in the Dallas Police shootings and his comments to the media. How he has experienced racism his whole life. How he condems violence but understands the fear of police because he experiences it. He lives it. I told her how he has had patients coming into the hospital literally dying on a stretcher who said they didn't want a black man to be their doctor. (And he was the only trauma surgeon there!) I cannot fathom having so much hate for a group of people that you are willing to DIE rather than have one SAVE YOUR LIFE. And can you imagine how that must feel to be so despised? Just because of your skin pigment? And a lot of white people that I know honestly believe that racism doesn't really exist anymore because they don't see it or experience it. I will tell you I myself was naive about a lot of it until I witnessed it. And I had a very reasonable fear that a white supremacist was going to come to our house and shoot us because my husband spoke out. 

Our country has a long and complicated history with "all men were created equal." For many, many years, "all men" meant white men and not people of color or women. So, my fellow Americans, do you REALLY believe that ALL MEN (AND WOMEN) ARE CREATED EQUAL? And if we truly believe that, why do black babies cost less? They were created the same way (physically and spiritually.)

Thank you for reading along this far. I am grateful that you are trying to hear me. What I ask now, is for you to be still. Trump does not appear to be capable of empathy. Are you? Can you put yourself in the "other's" (pun intended) shoes? 

How would you FEEL if your precious son was killed serving his country? Then your ultimate sacrifice was belittled by the man running for president? And that man was validated by being elected president? (Trump is now going to be commander-in-chief. How are people of color, women, other religions, etc currently serving in the military going to feel about giving their lives for the country that elected him and ignored them? Why would minorities join the military now after he (and our country) insulted them?)

How would you FEEL if your daughter was sexually assaulted? Then a man who boasts about sexual assault was validated by being elected president?  

How would you FEEL if you were unseen, unheard, and unvalidated? 

Tonight I told a black friend that my husband wasn't as upset by this election as I was. We realized it was because he has felt marginalized by this country his whole life. But for me, this election was a slap in the face. Because I believed things were getting better. I believed the future was brighter for my precious, priceless, miracle daughter. And I'm grieving that the America I believed in said with their votes that her future may now not be as bright as their white childrens' future. For me, it's personal. My black friend told me that she was proud to be an American but that her America wasn't proud of her. It broke my heart. Because to many Americans, that is their truth. And I don't want that to be the truth for my daughter. 

As I typed this, she ran into our kitchen in her Elsa pajama top and Wonder Woman underwear full of giggles and joy and love and light. "Mama!!! Put that down and come with me! We are having a tickle fight. Do you want to tickle me?" And my heart breaks because I see her innocence and I know it will soon be shattered by the hateful messages that were just validated. I feel the injustice of this election. I am hurt. I grieve. Trump does not deserve to be her president. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Reflections on Becoming Unexpected Activists (Or Our Life went Crazy Pants)

 Photo Source

Here's what I learned when my husband opened his mouth, cried on international TV, and our life went crazy pants:

1. You really NEVER know what is coming next in life. Good or bad. Control is an illusion.  
2. Pack a basic black dress you can wear twice OR pack a second dress. (See number 1.) You just never know what is coming next. Like, that time we were asked to meet the President the very next day and I only had packed one dress- that I was already wearing that night. On T.V.
3. Be present on the journey. Whatever you are experiencing will likely end soon, so hold on tight and enjoy the ride. (Or throw your arms in the air and scream like hell.) Maybe take notes and take pictures. But be sure to FEEL the wind in your hair and your stomach dropping on the downhill. It's a challenge to be present- I'm a work in progress on this one. But I'm committed to the practice and I've gotten somewhat better through the years.
4. Don't read the comments. (I did not do well with this one, I admit.) It amazes me how people watch the same video yet receive messages that are polar opposites. It's a bit scary, actually. But as BrenĂ© Brown says, the bystanders' opinions don't matter. The only opinions that matter are the ones in the arena. Frankly, I think when people automatically assume the worst of someone, it reflects more on the judger than the judgee. (I'm pretty sure I made those words up. And I'm going to keep them in here anyway.)
5. Don't be afraid to DARE GREATLY. Brian and I read Brené Brown's book, Daring Greatly as our own little book club. Brian feels it was life-changing. (And therefore it's life-changing for me too, as my life changed/changes when his does.) Brian only moved people at that press conference because he was courageous enough to be vulnerable. He showed emotion and people FELT that. Vulnerability leads to connection. (If only he had shown emotion the first 14 years we were together...but hey, that leads me to the next point.)
6. Live for the now and believe in the future. Breathe, believe, receive. GREAT things are coming your way. (And excuse me now- I'm going to get a bit spiritual and use the G word) God's plans for you are SO MUCH BIGGER than you can possibly imagine. He will use your pain for good. He will take a man who hadn't cried for 35 years, break him open, and then have him cry on international TV. He took a man who very rarely spoke about race with anyone, who was incredibly private, who turned down press interviews in the past and gave him the courage to Be the Change. I'm telling you- if a year-and-a-half ago you would have told me my husband was going to cry (just cry!) I would have laughed IN YOUR FACE. I used to tell him that I could die and he still probably wouldn't cry.   

Here are a few links from some of my favorite interviews from that time:

Dallas Trauma Surgeon Reflects on Irony of Treating Wounded Police Officers
With Ari Shapiro on NPR All Things Considered, July 15, 2016  (5 min 40 sec)

A History of White Delusion
Nicolas Kristof, The New York Times, July 14, 2016

Parkland Doctor's Candid Words Resonated with Black Professionals
Maria Halkias, The Dallas Morning News, July 15th, 2016

Surgeon Who Tried to Save Dallas Cops
BBC World Service, August 4, 2016 (50 min.)

Monday, August 15, 2016

You Only Have to Bloom.

I found this quote today and wrote it in my art journal (along with a little doodle). 
Something inside me was pushing to post it on here too. 
So, who else besides me needed to hear this message today?

Transformation doesn't ask that you stop being you. 
It demands that you find a way back to the authenticity and strength
that's already inside of you. 
You only have to bloom.
-Cheryl Strayed

Thursday, August 11, 2016

That Day We Met the President (Unexpected Activists- Part 5)

Here it is. The post you have been waiting for. (Is anyone still out there reading this? Bueller, Bueller?) I know, I know. It's part FIVE. (In my defense, I don't like long blog posts. Reading them OR writing them. So I apologize in advance that this one is a bit long. Part 6 just seemed like toooooo much.) You've made it all the way from Part 1 through Part 4. And now we're ready to meet the President of the United States of America.

Thursday July 14, 2016
We woke up early that morning after only a few hours of sleep. Brian and I packed and got dressed and we then attempted to wake Beni. Normally, she is up at the crack of dawn and trying to pull me out of bed. But I swear, whenever we HAVE to be somewhere, she sleeps in. After some coaxing, and a reminder that she got to wear her new sparkly dress, sparkly shoes, and sparkly accessories, she allowed Brian to dress her while she laid there. He even brushed her teeth with in-bed service. We left the room sometime after 6:30am and grabbed a cab to Penn Station. 

Cab ride to Penn Station

At the train station, we found a Dunkin Donuts (I've missed you, DD coffee) and grabbed some coffee nirvana for me and some munchkins for the munchkin. And us too, of course! Public transportation, I've missed you too. Although, I realize it's easy to miss you because right now it's not cold, raining, and something I HAVE to do. Every. Single. Day. But it was incredible to be back on the East Coast and experiencing the hustle and bustle of a "real" city. 

After a short wait and some people watching, we boarded our train. Somehow we ended up on the quiet car, but it ended up being a blessing. One man was asked to leave after talking on his cell phone and I told Abeni he was kicked off the train car because he was too loud. (That was technically true AND was effective in keeping her quiet the whole way. Score one for Mama!) We all fell asleep with the gentle motion of the train and the sound of the wheels. But not before I posted this message on Facebook to my friends:

After arriving at the DC train station, we headed to a hotel near the ABC taping venue. Brian's hospital had sent a communications expert (thanks Mike!) to provide him with guidance about what he could and could not say (nothing about legislation since B was a state of TX employee.) We had lunch, freshened up in Mike's room, and all left in a rush to make it to the venue. 

Arriving at the DC train station

Once at the venue, we waited outside while the Secret Service swept the theater for security. We entered through metal detectors and they did a quick search of my purse and Beni's koala backpack. It was loaded with activities that would hopefully keep her entertained while Brian and I were at the taping. Once inside, we waited for quite a while longer. I sent this update to my Facebook friends. 

And then, without any warning (for a last minute potty break), Brian and I were ushered to our seats. I called out to Mike, "Take good care of our precious treasure!" Brian was seated in the front row and I was seated directly behind him. David Muir came in and talked to us for a while, and then THE PRESIDENT walked in. I'm trying not to use the word "surreal" too much, but that's the overwhelming feeling that filled me. 

That's Brian's big head there on the left. 

After two-hours, David Muir said- this is the last question- and it was over. Brian was disappointed he did not get to ask his question. Then the President went around the room to shake hands. Brian got a quick handshake. Everyone had a few seconds with POTUS as he walked around the circular room. Brian urged me to move from my second row seat and move into his path so I could meet him. I tried to maneuver into his path but the Secret Service agents were human obstacles.  

Brian chatting with David Muir, ABC newscaster

And then, there he was. The President of the United States was looking right at me. 
Me: (grabbing his hand) It is such an honor to meet you, Mr. President. 
Obama: Thank you.
Then there was a pause. I assumed he would keep moving on to the next person, so I didn't say anything else. But he didn't move on! 
Obama: So, what is your name?
Me: (very animated) I'm Kathianne Williams. My husband, Brian Williams, (I gestured to Brian behind me. B had strategically placed himself to get a photo of me with the POTUS.) was the surgeon who took care of the policemen that were shot in Dallas. 
Obama: (to Brian) Oh hey man! (shaking B's hand and then grabbing B's tie) Yeah, he dresses like a surgeon.

And then, miraculously, there was another pause. I had NOT planned anything to say. I wasn't even sure I would get to meet the President. So, I don't know WHERE this came from, because I am usually kicking myself later for not saying something "better." But I opened my mouth, and this came out of nowhere:

Me: (grabbing his hand and pulling Obama even closer) I just want to tell you, that when you were ignaugurated, I wrote a letter to my biracial daughter. I wrote to her that I was so happy that she would never know a world in which only white men were president. 
Obama: Thank you. Please tell her I said hello. She must be what? Eight years old now?
Me: No, five.

And then he moved on to the next person. I hope he put it together that I wasn't confused on my timeline; it was just that I wrote the letter to my daughter before she was even born. Because I had to do A LOT of waiting for her, remember? And do you remember the blog post I wrote several years ago about my letter to Beni on his inauguration? (Please follow the link and read that one.) Looking back now, it all feels magical. I wrote the letter to her in January of 2009, published the blog post in January of 2013, and then met the President and told him about it in July 2016. It was a full-circle moment. A moment when everything seems to fall into place and the Universe is in order.  

Can you tell from this photo that I am squeezing his hand kind of hard? 
I was holding his one hand with two of mine at one point. Ha! 
Brian said that the President wasn't going anywhere with my grip.  

Meanwhile, Brian was saying to me, "I thought I had to be quick to take the photo, but you were talking to him forever! After a while, I just held the button down and took a burst of photos." Sadly, we didn't get a photo of Brian with the President, and he didn't really get to say much to him. He's still a bit bummed about that. Frankly, I am just amazed at myself that I thought on my feet and took advantage of the moment. Yippee!!! 

We then collected Beni from Mike (she was alive and happy and had eaten a lot of candy and played with the young relatives of Eric Garner). It was a rush to get back to his hotel for our bags, then into a car for a long drive to BWI airport. Then it was a long flight back to Dallas. We landed at Love Field, but our car was at DFW (from the NYC flight) so we had to take a car service back to DFW. Then drive home from there.  

All in all, it was a VERY looooong day. So long, in fact, that the memories we made will last a lifetime.

Please stay tuned for 2 more posts. One is a final reflection on the events from my point of view. The other is an interview of Brian H. Williams, MD. He was interviewed by Don Lemon of CNN, Ari Shapiro of NPR, and Gayle King of CBS, but he has not faced the toughest interviewer yet! Kathianne Williams of Nourish.Create.Bloom!!! Feel free to write any questions you might have for Brian in the comments below. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Accidental Activists- Part 4

Thanks for following along so far up to Part 3. It's not long now until we meet the POTUS!

On Wednesday afternoon, we arrived in New York City. That night we were invited to be in the audience of CNN's Black, White, and Blue: America 2016- town hall on a nation divided. Brian was invited by the moderator himself, Don Lemon, and was going to ask a question. 

Photo taken from inside the cab
A car service (complete with carseat) picked us up at La Guardia. I felt like a VIP. *smile* Our hotel was located directly across from Central Park and a few blocks from the Time Warner Building. For some miraculous reason, our room was upgraded to a suite (that was larger than the apartment we'd had for 6 years in Boston.) By the time we checked in, we had 2 and 1/2 hours until the babysitter arrived to walk to the mall, find clothes for tomorrow, and be back at the hotel. We had only packed for 24 hours (and NOT for meeting the President.) Frankly, it was the best excuse I'd ever had to buy a new dress. It seems like it would be exciting, right? We were speed shopping. After a cross country flight. With a travel-weary 5-year-old. (That last part takes the glamour right out of it.) 

Beni was the big winner and ended up with two adorable and sparkly dresses, coordinating sweaters (one with sequins), along with a pair of black sparkly sneakers and two glittery headbands (one with cat ears, one with a crown. Of course.) Brian got a new suit, 2 shirts, 2 ties, socks, and had the suit tailored for him within 30 minutes. There was 30 minutes left for me to find something. (We mamas often only get "the last 30 minutes" for ourselves.) I got... a pink cashmere cardigan to wear over the dress I'd already had to change the look. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a dress suitable to meet THE POTUS. Fortunately the dress I'd brought was black and not very memorable. And I'm certain no one but me was very concerned with my appearance. 

After a sweaty speed walk back to the hotel, I ordered Beni a $30 kids meal (of which she only ate 3 bites). Her meal arrived right after the $35/hr (plus cab fare home) babysitter the hotel concierge arranged for us. (My dear friend, Alexis, was unable to stay with Beni and we didn't have time to ask anyone else we knew in NYC.) I got dressed in less than 10 minutes, gave the sitter, named Honeybee (yes I clarified that), the deets on Beni's bedtime routine, and we were off. To the CNN studio. In the elevator I looked at Brian and said, "We just left our daughter in the care of someone we'd never met named Honeybee." Life was surreal.

Inbetween commerical breaks
At the Time Warner building, we were escorted from the main lobby to the CNN foyer on the 5th floor. When we got off the elevator, about 5-8 men were standing and talking. They all recognized Brian and introduced themselves. At one point, the large flat screen TV in the lobby showed scenes from one of the slain DPD officer's funeral service. Brian had a strong emotional reaction and all the men became silent. He went to the restroom to collect himself. I was/am still not used to seeing this level of emotion from him. 

Behind the scenes
While we were waiting to be taken from the CNN lobby to the studio, Brian was receiving texts from ABC producers about the show the next day in DC. There was a problem getting the Secret Service clearance for our daughter. We didn't have her social security memorized, and hadn't even known about the DC trip until after we landed in NYC. I sent a frantic text and Facebook message to our dear accountant (we love you Dianne Moore in ATL!) requesting her to get it for me if she was able. A few minutes after I sent the text, the ABC producer told Brian that George Stephanopoulis was calling the White House himself to request they clear our daughter even without her social security number. since she was only 5. (Yes. I just said that.) George Stephanpoulis called the White House to discuss OUR CHILD. My dear Readers, I don't think I can express how bizarre it felt to be living this. 

Brian was taken up to the "green room" to have his face powdered. Next to Bishop TD Jakes. And of course I know who TD Jakes is. I watch Oprah.

Eventually, we were led into the studio. It seemed so much smaller in person than it did on TV. The show was 2 hours and live. Brian was one of the audience members who asked a question. After the show, Don Lemon said to Brian- Hey! You didn't cry on national tv tonight! 

Don Lemon taking a selfie with Brian

It was 12:30am by the time we left the Time Warner building. We had 30 minutes to get back to Honeybee (she was great with our daughter, BTW) and Beni. We grabbed Subway (the only quick restaurant we saw open in the next two blocks) and headed back to the hotel. Sadly, we needed to leave the apartment-sized room to catch a 7:30am train to DC. We didn't get to enjoy the suite, Central Park, NYC, or visit with any friends. But we were meeting the President (!!!), and that made up for it all. 

Stay tuned for the final installment- meeting the POTUS! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Accidental Activists- Part 3

Thank you for following along so far on Part 1 and Part 2 of this journey. Brian and I continue to be touched by your words of encouragement and support. We are so very grateful. 

Tuesday July 12, 2016
Early Tuesday, Brian was interviewed by Gayle King from CBS This Morning. (Click here to see a 56 second clip of this interview.) 

He kept his promise to me and told Ms. King I was the biggest fan of her BFF, Oprah. He then said, "Y'all are welcome at the house anytime for dinner." Ha! She laughed (but I'm serious!) Ms. King did ask for his digits though- and crazier things have happened in this past month- so who knows. As I wrote in Part 2, I'm a renewed believer in miracles. 

Brian had several more interviews that morning and attended the Dallas Police Department Memorial Service that afternoon. Below is a photo he texted me from his seat. 

Brian has received hundreds (and I do mean hundreds) of emails, calls, texts, and letters from people who were moved by his message. Here is one we received that Tuesday from a neighbor. This one touched us both.

Wednesday July 13, 2016
Wednesday morning we headed to DFW airport. CNN was flying us to New York City for Black, White, and Blue, a town hall on race moderated by Don Lemon. Brian was recognized and stopped five times on the way to the restroom near our gate. (Strangers still approach him to thank him for speaking out about his experiences with racism. They offer their prayers and tell them him how his words have impacted them personally.) It was an odd feeling for me (and I'm certain for him) to know that when out in public, people may be looking at us and know who we were. I've always appreciated the anonymity factor that came along with living in a big city. Right before our plane took off, I sent this message to my friends on Facebook:

Brian's phone exploded with texts and emails as soon as we landed in NYC. ABC wanted him to go to Washington, DC the next day for a town hall on race moderated by David Muir. Beni and I were also invited. Since President Obama was going to be present, we needed to let them know asap and provide them with information (including our social security numbers) so the Secret Service could start on our clearance. Say what!?!?! Life was getting more and more surreal by the moment! 

Stay tuned for more.....

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Accidental Activists- Part 2

On Tuesday, I posted Accidental Activists- Part 1. Thank you, dear Readers, for your blog comments, Facebook comments and shares, and private messages. Most of all, thank you for your support for Brian and me on this roller coaster journey. 

Before I get to part 2, I want you all to know that I have B's permission to share all of this. In fact, he is one of my proofreaders. We both believe God has a hand in all of this and we (B and I) are just the instruments. (To show you how much all this affected him, I'll tell you a secret. He could not verbally articulate a belief in God or a greater power prior to all of this happening.) We feel B's role in these events is bigger than us and our "small" problems. Without seeking it, he was given an incredible platform and a chance to give a voice to the voiceless. 

Now, here we go with part 2: 

Monday, July 11th, 2016
9:47 am- I received two texts from Brian (he was at work): 
Can you please call me? And then a minute or so later,
I am reaching out. I need help.

I was just leaving the grocery store but called him back immediately. We talked about how he was feeling and what he was thinking. He mentioned a press conference was scheduled for that afternoon at 1:00pm CST. He was asked to attend. We discussed the possibility of him not doing it because he was feeling very emotional. I told him I thought he had a unique perspective on the Dallas police ambush that no one else in the world had, but that I was also afraid he might "lose it." I wasn't used to him being emotional or him asking me for help. This was all new territory for us. At the end of our call, I encouraged him to try to rest at work, if possible, and to meditate and focus on his breaths.

Here is an abbreviated exchange of the texts we sent to each other after our phone conversation.

B: I will speak from the heart. I will not lose it.
Me: Even if you do lose it and the world comes crumbling down, I will stand by you.
B: Thank you. I'm heading over now. [to the press conference]
Me: Let me know how it goes. Remember, God put you there [at the hospital on the night of the shooting] for a reason. 
B: [Walking into the press conference.] CNN is here.

Neither of us had ANY clue that the press conference was going to be televised live nationally on CNN, MSNBC, or FOX News. And by the time he sent that last text, I was on my way to the gym (and had not set the DVR.) I was on the elliptical machine but hopped off when I saw him on the TV. I held up my phone Say Anything-style, and recorded his close captioned statements. I tapped the guy next to me who was working out on another elliptical machine. He had to pull out an earphone to hear me. "Hey! That's my husband!" Then I proceeded to wave to all the other people in the cardio room and point at the TV screens with one hand (while still holding up my phone and recording with the other hand). "That's my husband!" I'll bet no one heard my excited yell given they all were wearing earphones, so I'm sure that made me appear somewhat unstable. But I was (and still am) such a proud wife. I'm proud that he courageously spoke his truth and expressed his complex feelings regarding this tragic situation. I know him better than anyone else on this earth, so I know just how difficult it was for him to speak out. I can count on one hand the number of times I have seen him get choked up. B very rarely talks about racial issues with others, he is private (people have said he's an enigma) and he does NOT desire to be in the limelight. He didn't know what he was going to say that day, but he told me he felt his mouth open and the words just came spilling out. This was so out of his comfort zone, I'm telling you all now- this was nothing short of a miracle that we all witnessed televised live on national TV.

My sister texted me that she was watching with her kids and they were "glued to the TV." Apparently, they were as excited to see Uncle Brian on TV as I was. My sister's 6-year-old said it was cool that Uncle Brian was now famous but that it was still very sad. Meanwhile, I was trying to read the closed captioning from two different stations- FOX news was playing on a wall-mounted TV and MSNBC was playing on the elliptical machine I was now only standing on. Sadly, I missed the shout out when he said I was helping him get through this tragedy. But, I'm still grateful he said it!  

Brian's text to me after the press conference said it all:
Made my decision out of love, not fear.

After that press conference, he received numerous print, radio, and TV interview requests. Everyone wanted to talk to him. People came out of the woodwork (in a good way!) and were texting and calling and emailing and Facebook posting that they saw B on TV. I continued with normalcy- picking up our daughter from summer camp and taking her to gymnastics class- but things started to feel surreal. While still at gymnastics, Brian texted that Don Lemon wanted B on his CNN show that night. I got a last minute babysitter (thanks Jennifer!) so I could be there to support him, and we headed to a studio downtown.  

Getting ready for the live interview via satellite
Brian got emotional for the second time (in one day!) on national television.

Click below to see segments of the CNN Don Lemon interview.
Dallas Trauma Surgeon: This has to stop 
Surgeon describes treating Dallas officer Part 1
Surgeon describes treating Dallas officer Part 2

When we got home Brian casually mentioned he had more media interviews scheduled early the next morning and one was with Gayle King from CBS. Gayle King, Oprah's BFF! As you all know, to say I am a fan of Oprah is a ginormous understatement. I (not so casually) asked him to please tell Gayle that I am Oprah's biggest supporter. Then we collapsed into bed, wondering just where this roller coaster was headed. 


Stay posted for more of our extraordinary journey including: NYC and the CNN Town Hall, DC and my conversation with the POTUS, and also- are Gayle and Oprah coming for dinner?  

Did Brian's emotional statements impact you in a positive way? Do you feel "the miracle" involved in all of this now that you have some insight from "behind the scenes?" Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.   

Monday, July 18, 2016

Accidental Activists- Part 1

Hello my dear, dear Readers! I've been meaning to get back to blogging for sometime now, but apparently it has taken my husband trending on Twitter and me meeting the POTUS for that to happen. Surreal, I know. My private, introverted husband is all over the interwebs! And for several days last week, he was on television screens all over the world as well.  

Brian and I are both in shock and in awe at the events, the schedule, the serendipity, the context, the impact, the travel, and the significance of the past 10 or so days. On Thursday July 7th, I was just a (somewhat) normal stay-at-home mama. By the following Thursday, I was holding the hand of the President (of the United f-ing States!) and having a conversation with him.

So much has happened that I've put off writing about it out of sheer overwhelm. In order to push past my procrastination and get this posted in a timely manner, I've decided to write about my experiences in stages. Here we go...

Part One

On the night of July 7, 2016, several Dallas police officers were gunned down in the street following a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest. My husband, Brian, was the trauma surgeon on call at Parkland Memorial Hospital that night. He cared for seven of the officers and had to tell the families of the loved ones he was unable to save. While this incident was horrific, I was still somewhat surprised by Brian's level of distress. I knew the recent police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile had been weighing on his mind for several days prior to the police shootings. And I knew he'd had several negative experiences himself with the police. (And of course, I knew he was black.) But we've been together for 15 years, and during that time he's seen a lot of horrendous things in the emergency and operating rooms. Trauma is in his job title. He'd never cried before about his job (heck, he'd never cried the first 14 years I knew him!). I didn't put all the pieces together. And neither did he.

The evening following the police ambush (Friday), we attended a kids disco dance party that we hosted along with another family. The only unusual event was that Lester Holt was going to interview Brian on the NBC Nightly news but B ended up being bumped by Hillary Clinton. On Saturday we went to see The Secret Life of Pets with another family. On Sunday we attended church. The reverend said something along the lines of: Don't be afraid of breaking into pieces. Just choose broken open instead of broken apart. Brian cried. He and I spoke about the irony that he was working that night. He wasn't supposed to be but switched to accommodate a coworker's request. Despite the tragic events that rocked Dallas and our country and Brian's important role in them, our lives were still somewhat normal. 

Then Monday happened...