As They Appear

There’s that whole thing when you are driving about things appearing smaller—or perhaps it’s larger—then they really are. Put another way—the thing you imagine would be pretty straightforward isn’t necessarily so simple. If I have learned one thing about parenting, in fact about families regardless of where in the constellation you fall, it’s that this is so: what seems simple sometimes isn’t. Old life-y life is just that way, life-y. Would that telling yourself this even mantra-like could be enough to make it sink in. That, too, isn’t the case. You have to experience it. You have to have the feelings about this truth. And then, you have repeat experience and feeling and experience and feeling. Eventually, perhaps, you accept life is life-y and messy and not run by sheer will or plan or wish or routine.

Until then… I spent some time early in the week upon return from a very kid-filled time away letting the reality that it’s only February and the school year has a long ways to go and we have some work ahead. There’s also some sorting ahead. Focused upon the continuing saga of stuff and space in my house, I went through a bunch more “stuff.” I culled papers to file, tossed a good two bags’ worth more and found new homes for stray pens and stray film and stray batteries and the like. I still have many empty or nearly empty boxes and bins to put away and a bit more besides. I got further in personalizing my cubby, which means the clear-my-former-study process is going pretty well, actually. Meantime, I fielded the question of if you drop one activity what else can you do and thought about the preschool’s newsletter and prepped for a meeting. Needless to say, the management aspects and the mess are less delightful than gazing at my cubby. But it’s all mine, every loose end.


We arrived back home from our trip with a bag of key limes in the duffel bag because the young teen was desperate to make a key lime pie and the tiny, barely equipped kitchen in the condo wasn’t set up for baking. Dutifully, I purchased the sweetened condensed milk and the graham crackers. He did a great job making the pie, even though the meringue slid from the custard in the oven to the drip pan below. The pie was deemed “not wonderful and not terrible.” He was not frustrated about the less than entirely satisfying result FTW (that’s for the win and it really was that, a win).


Meantime, in the big old world, watching this brouhaha over contraception and religion and women’s equality has been… like seeing a movie I knew was going to be made be made. It’s as terrible as I feared it would be over two decades ago when we lost Federal Funding for abortion. Like a long, tumble of the dominoes with the soundtrack muted, this has all been falling in this very direction for a very long (frustrating) time.

This is why I’m excited to participate in the Third Annual National Network of Abortion FundsNational Access Bowlathon. I’ve done so virtually, and I plan to do so again, except locally there’s a TEAM this year. GO, Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts! I’ve signed on as part of that team, regardless of whether I end up physically bowling. It’s an organization dear to my heart (long ago, I helped to start it). And locals may be inspired to go bowl on April 15th. Other folks please donate anyway. Reproductive justice—and paying for an abortion out of pocket when money is an issue, or telling is an issue—and for that matter equality is much bigger than appears in the rear view mirror—and looms as critical, especially when the dominoes are crashing down.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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