Friday, February 21, 2014

Newsflash: Your Kids Can Still Have Birthdays Without Possibly Killing Mine

Recently I shared a post called "Food Allergies Aren't Fancy" from one of my favorite bloggers, Carly Lane Morgan, about her family's struggles dealing with her daughter's severe nut allergy. Full disclosure, Carly is my sister-in-law and her daughter is my niece. I have seen first hand how difficult and emotional dealing with severe allergies can be through them. And yet, they have a lovely, kind, and wonderful daughter that, through Carly and her husband's diligent and endless work lives a normal, albeit nut free, life.

So, when this tone-deaf post titled "Why Do Your Kid's Allergies Mean My Kid Can't Have a Birthday?"  by Carina Hoskisson came up on my news feed, I was immediately in defensive mode.  Later, Carly and I were discussing the piece and she kindly agreed to write a reply for Ask Your Dad. The sensational title is mine, but the words from here on out are hers.

Love, Dad (John)

Newsflash: Your Kids Can Still Have Birthdays Without Possibly Killing Mine

A Reply to "Why Do Your Kid's Allergies Mean My Kid Can't Have a Birthday?"

by Carly Lane Morgan

When someone asks the question, "Why should my kid have to eat nut-free snacks just because your kid has an allergy?" it is really tough not to have a knee-jerk reaction as an allergy parent. The first instinct is to clench the jaw, square the shoulders, and create a body block between your child and the adult who apparently doesn't care if they live or die. That's part of the reality of fighting live-or-die battles every day that you're in charge of a kid with food allergies. It all becomes a fight.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bad Dreams of Friendly Spiders

“Dad… dad…”

Her voice isn't quite an echo in the subtle haze of 2:30 AM. The twilight, the ether in-between sleep and awake has grown thin these last few years. I am easily stirred now. Had she approached me in college and whispered in my ear, I would have integrated her words into whatever dream I was currently having, rolled over and continued my undervalued slumber, unencumbered by parental responsibility. But no more. I know without opening my eyes that my daughter is standing next to my bed. I know that she is inches from my face. And I know, from just the slow, quiet repetition of my name, my new name, that she is scared. 

“What’s wrong honey?”

Before the words have left my dry lips she's reached out for me, and I for her, and she's been pulled into bed with us. She buries her face in my chest, tucks away in the crook of my arm, much like she once did on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Back then she had peeked up out of the darkness and half whispered, half cried, “Don’t let the pirates grab me, daddy.” 

Tonight it is a spider – a friendly spider. 

“I saw a spider. He talked to me.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Quick Note About the Lady Who Thinks Frozen is a Secret Gay Plot

Elsa from Frozen
What is she plotting?

So there is this post by a fellow Utah'n going around about how the Disney movie "Frozen" is a secret and subversive plot to further the "Gay Agenda". I've seen it in my Facebook newsfeed at least 10 times today. Usually with an added comment resembling "WTF is this lady's problem?"

I disagree with her about how the movie is a hidden plot to forward the "gay agenda," but I have to admit that her observations about how being forced to hide something your whole life, and being convinced that exposing your true self would endanger you and others around you, would be something that is relatable and recognizable to many LGBT folks, are actually pretty spot on.

The problem is, she spends 22 (yes I counted) paragraphs of posturing before she tries to make her argument... and then ANOTHER sidebar about how she really, truly doesn't hate gay people. Then she proceeds to pour hate sauce over her whole argument and makes it completely unpalatable. By then, I, like many others, had determined that the author had some... issues.

That being said, I left Frozen with many similar observations about the film's empowering message. The difference is that I found them to be awesome and inspiring instead of subversive and harmful. I don't think the movie is specifically about being "gay", but I do think that it was intentionally built around the themes of being "your true self" and not the "self" society tells you to be. I doubt the parallels to current events escaped the folks at Disney. Still, that theme doesn't just apply to LGBT people, but can apply to anyone who is deemed "different" and consequently marginalized, oppressed, or repressed because of who they are.

Side note: I think it is funny that people think there is a hidden "gay agenda." The agenda is anything but hidden. Acceptance, equal rights, equal treatment under the law, safety, love etc. Hell, there are giant parades where the goals are written on signs and often covered with glitter. That's not very secret.

Keep up the good work friends.

Your ally,

John (Dad)

P.S. In case you missed it, I did take issue with one part of Frozen. Regardless, it is easily among my top 3 Disney Movies ever. Beautiful, moving, and fun. 5 Stars. Oh, what the heck, 10 Stars.