Much like I wrote almost three years ago when Mark McGwire admitted to using steroids in baseball, another athlete held up by the American people has given up the fight against drug charges. I had watched the Tour de France since before Lance Armstrong won his first race in 1999, but admit I watched it more frequently between 1999 and 2005 when he was on his win streak. My dad was also an athlete with cancer and had admired Lance for his triumphs in both areas of his life, but was very put off by Lance when he divorced his wife Kristin in 2003
I really try to not give too much additional press to some of the more sensational stories that come out of the 24/7 news feeds (*coughCharlieSheencough*), but there was one last week that I can’t let by without giving some of the other side of the story and rambling/ranting a bit.  What am I talking about?  The author of a new book who discusses how she was a better mother when she left her 20-year marriage and two young boys behind.  Um, excuse me?

I realize that people can be misrepresented in the quest to get better book sales or hits on their website (Yes, Tiger Mom, I’m talking about you), but seriously? There’s no way that someone should be making the abandonment of your family into a book.  A blog maybe, but not a book to take on the Today Show circuit. All parents know there are ups and downs to the “job” – no one signs up for the tantrums of 2- or 13-year-olds, but we press on because like it or not, that’s part of being a parent.  I used to say that I never really knew what the term “forever” meant until I gave birth to my twins.  I was FOREVER in charge of the well-being of these tiny little humans and for the rest of my life I was a mom! Holy moly! And there have been many days between then and now where I wanted a weekend off or even just one night, sometimes life just doesn’t work that way. It’s called something that I’m working on with my own kids: responsibility.  I completely understand that women (or men) shouldn’t have to give up their life for 18 years so their kids can grow up in a loving home, but my goodness – how selfish can you get?

I want to read her husband’s side of this story because I’ve seen first-hand how the children fare when Mommy decides she doesn’t want that responsibility anymore and it’s not an improvement for anyone left behind.  My 13-year-old step-daughter was “abandoned” by her birth mom when she was barely two years old. Her birth mom decided she wasn’t really ready to be a mom and left. My daughter grieved and does have some continuing things that she’s working through, but she’s been able to have a fairly stable life provided by her dad and has done okay for herself. There has been more than one occasion over the years where she has questioned if she did something to force her birth mom out or if her birth mom loves/remembers her. No kid should have to go through that. Luckily my husband was able to get help from his family and make sure that his (now our) daughter was cared for and loved. He could handle whatever came his way, but when it came to it, he couldn’t protect his daughter from that pain and that was the hardest part for him.

I realize that parents leave all the time due to all sorts of reasons, but at least when the reason is that the parents aren’t compatible, the kids can (someday) rationalize that it wasn’t their fault. How does the kid that was abandoned because their mom or dad didn’t want to be a parent anymore work through that? And yes, it is abandonment. A child who has had two parents in their life and suddenly doesn’t have one anymore due to a parent’s free-will decision (and not a tragedy) has been abandoned. That is not something that we need to be writing books about – I think every parent would know that not having kids anymore would be a freeing exercise; we don’t have to pay you money to read about it. And if you feel the need to justify your decisions by writing a book, keep it in your journal. Parenthood isn’t for everyone, but please make sure you figure that out BEFORE you become a parent. Maybe that’s her intent? To be a form of birth control by saying that parenthood isn’t for everyone? I think maybe there’s a better way to market yourself without seeming like a selfish b*tch if that’s the case.
(Apologies for the delay in posting this one.  I had it all written out and then couldn't access my blog server to get it posted!)

I’m a little perplexed by the arguments that are being given for the ruling regarding gays to serve openly in the US military.  The judge ruled that it’s not okay for the military to discriminate based on sexual orientation, so the military told its recruiters to allow openly gay people to enlist.  Fair enough in merits, but then others are telling already enlisted service members to not come out yet since there’s still a chance that this might be overturned and DADT would be back in place.  Also fair enough, but that puts the new recruits in a tough position if it is.  I can see that there’s a little confusion for now, but this is a law being overturned, so it always takes a little while to figure out how things will all shake out.

Opponents are saying that there’s too much confusion, so everything should be put on hold.  If I agreed with DADT I would probably say the same thing, but the only reason it’s confusing is because there are people out there that are going to appeal the judge’s ruling.  It would be much less confusing if the military had seen this coming like three YEARS ago and started getting ready for the eventuality.  How hard is it to say “everyone can and will be a part of the team and treat each other with respect”?  Maybe the gay service members can teach the others a thing or two about being tortured since we all know they have gone through their (un)fair share of teasing and bullying.

Why in the world should the military be turning away and discharging the VOLUNTEERS that make up its ranks when we’re in a war?  I realize it takes time to assimilate new groups of people into the rank-and-file, but this isn’t like adding women into the mix where there is a distinctive physical difference.  This is much simpler – no new barracks or bathrooms required!  Let qualified and willing people serve.  Period.  I’m eternally grateful to those soldiers who have been willing to enlist to serve our country.  It is something that I was not personally cut out for, but am fully supportive of those who are.  I don’t draw the line at people who look, act, or feel differently than I do.

I laughed when I read that Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said that “overturning this law will be enormously disruptive for the men and women who defend our country.”  Just like adding black servicemen or women was?  Does that mean we should have not allowed those things to happen?  Isn’t it disruptive to keep trying to “out” fellow soldiers?  Isn’t it disruptive to keep having this conversation about people who have already shown their ability to serve in combat and otherwise?  Let them serve and get over yourself already.

As an aside: Since we aren’t going the way of Israel yet and having everyone at a certain age go through Basic Training (i.e. we’re a 100% volunteer army), I can see this coming back to bite the military if they ever need to use a draft again.  How many people who don’t agree with the war would engage in just enough gay activities as to be either denied entry into the military or kicked out?  Fastest way to get out of a draft without getting in legal trouble?  It’s just something to ponder since I really have no idea what the answer to that would be.  If we’re in a draft situation and desperate for enough bodies in the military, why would you exclude that portion of the population?  If you need able bodies, don’t turn away the willing and able.  And if your answer is different for 100% volunteer versus a draft, maybe you should think about your volunteer answer a little more.
This morning as I arrived at work I discovered that we were the victims of a hit-and-run on our civic hybrid.  We’re approaching seven years of having the car and this is the first “accident” it’s been in.  Through basic reasoning, we know it happened last night while parked outside the tae kwon do school that my husband goes to.  We just didn’t discover it until this morning since it was dark when my hubby came home from tae kwon do and it was dark when I got in the car to drive to work.  (And it was parked in the driveway last night, so we know it didn’t happen at home.)

What a way to start the day!  It was a classic parking lot accident with the damage to the side rear fender and bumper, but it’s not just a little scrape so this isn’t something that someone distracted by kids or a cell phone could have missed doing.  The driver knew and still drove away without leaving any note to apologize or acknowledge the accident.

The sad part is, it’s very likely we know the people who did it since our car is fairly distinctive and everyone at that school knows it.  I’m assuming that the guilty party was a parent of one of my husband’s students and too embarrassed to say anything.  I don’t care if you can’t pay for the damage you caused, at least show some responsibility and own up to it!

I’ve been a bit distracted today in debating whether or not it’s even worth reporting to our insurance for fear that they may raise our rates and it won’t cost too much more than our deductible.  Darn insurance – what do I pay you for if I’m too cheap to make a claim with you?!  Hence the title of this entry: Blog and Run.  Any topic I may have thought I was going to ponder today went out the window and now I’m ranting about my car.  Since rants are rather one-sided, I’m going to keep this one short.

Have you ever been the victim of a hit-and-run?  How did it get resolved?