Archive for the ‘Amy’s constant obesssion with current events’ Category

We Were Alison & Adam- August 27, 2015

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Yesterday I woke up ready for my past and present worlds to collide. Yesterday of all days. It blows my mind. An old news friend sent me a Facebook message recently asking about my new job as a Stroller Strides Instructor for FIT4MOM. She does a health and fitness segment each week and was wondering about coming to our class with her new baby and do a story. I couldn’t wait to see her and catch up. I was excited to get our team of instructors together and have all our fun moms share our class. As I pulled into the parking lot I got a push notification on my phone. I looked at it and had to catch my breath.

A reporter and a photographer at a station in Roanoke, VA were shot and killed on live television this morning. What!? I didn’t have time to read an article. I hopped out of the car and loaded the stroller. I was co-teaching the class, handling interviews and helping the crew.

interview collage

I saw the photographer Chris and gave him a hug. It had been awhile. This brave man attached a GoPro camera to my stroller right at kid level. Bless him. They couldn’t wait to knock, shake or chew on his expensive equipment. I said, “Hey, did you hear about what happened in Virginia?!” He said that he had. We shared a knowing glance of shock at the news. I was excited to see Caitlin and her family. We put it out of our minds. We had work to do. I put on my “spokesperson” hat and did the interview and taught class.

Afterwards I got emotional. I fought back tears explaining to others what had happened. I kept it together for the kids. When I got home and started watching the coverage I lost it.

I lost it because I was Alison Parker. In my twenties I was excited to report the news in my hometown. Just like Alison I fell in love with a guy in the newsroom. Before I was a reporter I was a producer. Sometimes I was in the control room and watched my then-fiance out in the field as a sports reporter, much like Adam Ward’s fiancee did yesterday.

I can’t tell you how many early mornings I did stories just like the one Alison and Adam were covering. You know the ones. The revitalization/economic impact/local reservoir news stories. I did hundreds of them. We all did. We still do. I say “we” because even after you’ve been out of the business for awhile it is still a part of you. It always will be. I sent messages to former colleagues. I texted Mark, my early morning photographer for awhile. He was my “work little brother.” News people have this strange kinship. It’s like we’ve been to battle together so we’re sort of brethren forever.

So, how come I got to marry my newsroom sweetheart and they didn’t? How come I got to do what I wanted to do in my news career and walk away when I wanted to and they didn’t?

All of us have stories of a crazy former coworker who got axed for some reason or another. You know,  they were that egotistical guy or girl who couldn’t take criticism and seemed like a loose cannon. They’re mad because someone got the promotion/better schedule over them. Whatever. It happens all the time. It’s a tough business. Awful hours. Disenfranchised people. No one goes into journalism to get rich. We all know this in J school! If you don’t learn those lessons in college, a mean News Director or scary EP will beat them into you. We all expect the weird loose cannon guy/girl to talk about how bad it was working at your station when they get to their next station, but shoot you during a live shot while interviewing the Chamber of Commerce representative?! Really?!

WDBJ likely doesn’t report from many war zones. Most of your local news crews don’t. Yes, we’re in some hazardous and potentially dangerous situations often. Now, it’s like this man made everywhere a war zone.

He committed murder in the sickest way possible. He documented it. He put it out on social media. Then in an act of someone who hasn’t been in a newsroom in awhile, he FAXED it to ABC News. I guess he made it to network. Via fax. Pathetic.

This isn’t about me or my past career. I know that, but I’m just so sad. I made Rice Krispie treats for the news crew Tuesday night to give them after class Wednesday. I joked that news people do better when “fed and watered.” How strange that it happened to be the day that I wanted to hug my former colleagues and thank them.

News people, stay strong. Stay safe. Keep your heads up. I already know you’ll do what you do best, eat free baked goods from the break room and keep risking your lives to tell the world’s stories. Thank you.

WDBJ color bars

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Princess Charlotte- May 4, 2015

Monday, May 4th, 2015

This morning I got tweets and texts. My Facebook wall got messages like this:

Royal baby name

It was no surprise. Charlotte was a popular choice for the royal baby name from everything I had read. Charlotte Elizabeth Diana is truly beautiful and fitting. I LOVE it.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you know that our baby name choice for our first born was seriously considered. I was a tad possessive about it, which is totally insane. Turns out, I was ahead of the trend! A Clinton and now a Windsor. It’s fitting since many of you know I’ve been trying to get in touch with Kate for years. I’m a bit of an anglophile.

We told our Charlotte that it was a possibility that the baby princess would share her name. She was skeptical and moody this weekend when she said, “That’s my name!” I her defense, she was tired.

I couldn’t wait to tell her when I picked her up from preschool midday today. I pulled her outside to tell her and quickly film her reaction. I was so proud when she had a change of heart. Take a look. I added subtitles because her classmates were yelling, trying to get her attention and it was loud. See, Charlotte’s are so popular! Now, more popular than ever.

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Explaining Gay Marriage To A 4-Year-Old April 14, 2015

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

This weekend my step-brother had the honor of being a “Bridesman” and standing alongside two of his best friends as they got married. This wedding had two beautiful brides.

I was going through the pictures posted on Facebook. My 4-year-old curled up next to me and asked what I was looking at. I replied, “Uncle Bryce was in a wedding this weekend. His friends got married.” I looked at her curious face as she giggled at a shot of her uncle on the dance floor with his shoes off, clearly at the end of the night.

I wasn’t sure she had ever seen a same-sex couple before. I clicked to the next picture of the wedding party. She looked for her uncle.

Would she ask me about it? Of course she would.

The next picture was a lovely shot of the happy couple. I said, “There they are. They look so happy!” She looked a little confused. She said, “They got married? Two girls can’t get married!” I said, “Yes they can! If they love each other they can. If two men love each other they can get married too.” She said, “But you’re a girl and daddy is a boy and you’re married, right?” “Right, I married Daddy because that’s who I love,” I replied. She looked at my wedding ring. “They have rings too?” I assured her they did.

She looked back at the screen and said, “Oh, okay. Mommy! I love the flowers in her hair! Can I have flowers like that?”

Boom. Same-sex marriage explained and accepted.

k k wedding

Congratulations Kimber and Kaylee. Blessings to your marriage.

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Explaining Tragedy- April 9, 2015

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

Explaining tragedy

When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded in 1986 I was about 4 1/2 years old. I was a preschooler in Cary, NC preparing for kindergarten. I don’t remember much of it. I know the story well, as it has been retold to us through videos in science and history classes through the years. That image of the sudden white cloud over Cape Canaveral is haunting and awful. I hate watching it like I hate watching video of the planes go into the World Trade Center towers in 2001. I get that knot in my gut. I have to look away.

What I remember very vividly is the sadness, even as a little kid. I remember standing under my mom as she watched the funeral for the astronauts on TV and crying. I asked her why she was crying and asked what had happened that would make her so sad. She explained how 7 astronauts died when something went terribly wrong. It was an accident.

That’s when I learned that bad things happen sometimes.

Tuesday evening after dinner my 4-year-old daughter was playing with her little brother in the living room. The top of the CBS Evening News came on. Scott Pelly announced with all his white-haired seriousness that they would lead the newscast with breaking news out of N. Charleston, SC. That’s when I saw that awful video that we’ve all seen now. A police officer, Michael Slager, shot and killed Walter Scott as he was running away. I got that gut knot. I gasped. But quietly, so as not to startle my children or draw their attention to such graphic video. They were busy playing and not watching. This incident in South Carolina was not an accident.

Just a couple of weeks earlier my husband was watching coverage of the Germanwings plane crash. Video showed crews combing the French mountainside for remains. This was also not an accident. My daughter looked at the screen and asked, “Daddy, what happened to that airplane?” He said “Nothing sweetie,” and diverted her attention. Later he told me, “We need to be careful about what we have on TV around the kids. She doesn’t need to know that planes crash.”

This gave me pause. I don’t disagree with my husband, but it’s a difficult issue to address. When I was that age I learned the brutal reality that space shuttles explode, why shouldn’t she learn that planes crash?

There are differences. In 1986, my parents knew the odds of me ever going on a space shuttle were pretty much nil. Those odds remain to this day. My child has already been on an airplane multiple times. She will probably travel by plane many more times in her life.

The biggest difference is that someone purposely crashed that plane. We couldn’t excuse or explain this tragedy through the veil of an accident. There is no way anyone, especially a child, watching that cell phone camera footage of Walter Scott dying could say “Well, it was an accident. Bad things happen sometimes.”

Then I started thinking about children the same age as mine who are dealing with the realization that not only do bad things happen, but PEOPLE  do bad things too. I thought of the young black children participating in protests in Ferguson, MO with t-shirts reading “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” and carrying signs with #BlackLivesMatter. For these kids, the deaths of Michael Brown and Walter Scott are clear examples of people hurting someone the same race as them and sending their communities into turmoil.

What do those parents tell their children about these tragedies? How do I, as a white parent raising white children, address this issue? When does any parent of any race explain that a supposedly mentally ill person killed dozens of people by crashing an airplane?

I’m not saying I’m going to sit my kid down for Anderson Cooper 360 and make her watch CNN’s coverage of the N. Charleston shooting, but I’m going to be honest when she asks me about the tragedies shown by the news and mass media. I will be selective and cautious with my words, no doubt. But, I don’t think I can wait for the “perfect tragedy” to explain that bad things happen or that bad people exist. I fear that will become very real very fast for this generation.

 

 

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Girl Shirt Boy Shirt- February 10, 2015

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

I wanted to dress the kids in their Tar Heel gear in honor of the beloved long-time men’s head basketball coach Dean Smith. He died this weekend. When I had a boy after having a girl there were surprisingly quite a few outfits and onesies I could pass down to Baby Brother from Big Sister. Yellow and green pajamas, plain white undershirts and sports shirts come to mind.

We had lots of sports stuff. All our family’s alma maters, both NFL teams and our NHL team. The shirts go on and on. I found this one in Henry’s size.

tar heels shirt cropped

I looked at him. Something looked funny. It took me a second, then I noticed the little white hearts and the puckered sleeves. Oh, technically this is a “girls shirt.” I thought for a second about leaving him in it. If it took me that long to notice, who cares, right? I chuckled and changed his shirt.

Then I got frustrated that I chuckled at this situation. I was frustrated at myself for changing my son’s clothes. I imagined for a second that my children were reversed, that I had a boy first and a girl second. If a little sister were to wear her brother’s old t-shirt it would be “cool” or “fun.” If my son wears his sister’s shirt, it’s humorous or even degrading. Even as a one-year-old it somehow emasculates him to wear a “girl shirt.” It goes back to the “guys dressing in drag is funny” thing. I love the little hearts, personally. For my daughter it was awesome. We’re girly-girls but we also love sports and cheering on our teams. That’s just who we are. But, I changed my son’s shirt.

If I can accomplish one thing as a mother raising a son it would be that one day he is in a locker room, on a playground or gym and corrects another boy for using the term “like a girl” in a derogatory way. (That Super Bowl ad. Loved it!) Even if he never corrects another, I have done my job if he never says someone is “like a girl” in a bad way.

It’s funny, though. I never said the word “princess” to my daughter and she found the pink sparkly magic all by herself. I never said the word “train” to my son and he is suddenly fanatical about trains and trucks. There is something to be said for “kid stuff” in general, though. My daughter loves “Cars,” my son watches “Sofia The First.”

If I’m such a feminist, then why did I change his clothes? Well, I figure I’ll start my kids out in the traditional garb of their gender and they can make their own decisions later. My daughter loves dresses. That’s what she likes and chooses to wear. If one day my son wants to wear his sister’s old “Frozen” shirt. I’ll cringe for whatever ridicule he may face. I’ll warn him some people may be rude about it, but I’ll let him make the decision.

Before the basketball tournaments I’ll find a “boys” Tar Heels shirt for him. I’ll be a feminist example through actions, not wardrobe.

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