Thursday, December 8, 2016

to my sweet girls.

Dear T and NL,

At this very moment it is flurrying outside. Your mom just sent me a video of the two of you in your big ol' puffer coats, playing in your backyard. Never mind that it's actually FREEZING outside, you don't care one bit. I hope you never lose that adventurous spirit. I have a feeling you won't: you are part of a family that lives for the everyday adventure.

When your mom and dad told me that your mom was pregnant, I screamed louder than I have in years (I used to use my high-pitched scream to my advantage — remember this when you need a secret weapon of some kind), and then when we found out you were twins?! Suffice it to say we were surprised and absolutely joyful that you were coming in a pair.

You're lucky because you have the most incredible parents, the very best grandparents, and I'd like to think your aunts and uncles are pretty fabulous, too. But what's best is that you are going to carve your very own space for yourself in this big, beautiful world. And you'll light it up with your essence because that's what you already do.

And I hope you always, always remember to look to that light within when you need a little boost or peace of mind or bravery or courage or confidence to get a job done. See, in this world, as a girl or woman, it is a radical act to love yourself unapologetically. And I hope you'll always choose to be radical. I hope you'll always remember that your light within is literally inextinguishable. You'll use it to guide yourself and sometimes you'll use it to guide your sister and sometimes you'll even use it to guide people you hardly know. It's the most powerful tool you possess. And it's been yours from the very beginning.

I love you so much more than I could ever possibly say. I cannot wait to see where your light will take you — to incredible, beautiful, unimaginable heights, of that I am sure.

Love forever and even after that,
Aunt RaRa

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

giving a face to obamacare.


Today, I want to give a face to the Affordable Care Act. As a teacher, I was always pretty well taken care of when it came to health insurance and we were fortunate enough to use my coverage for both myself and for Jeffrey.

At the end of last school year, I decided not to return to my teaching career for the 2016-2017 school year. This is something that I haven’t really mentioned here, mostly because it was an incredibly difficult decision — one that was ultimately the right choice for my mental health and well being, but still broke my heart.

Because Jeffrey is self-employed, we didn’t have his benefits to fall back on. I soon became self-employed as well and so we had to enroll in ObamaCare. The ACA is an imperfect system with many kinks that need to be worked out and changes that need to be made — I am not disputing that — but Jeffrey and I rely on this system in order to ensure that we have the health coverage that we need and deserve as hardworking Americans.

Our insurance isn’t cheap. We pay a monthly premium based on our income bracket and we chose from lots of different plans, many of which offered coverages that were actually sadly laughable.

I can’t pretend to understand why so many Americans would actively fight to dismantle this act. It allows millions of people to feel safe and secure and confident that, should something tragic or devastating (or otherwise health-related) happen to themselves or a loved one, they won’t be left high and dry. Jeffrey and I work hard and we pay a steep premium to make sure we have decent care.

(As a disclaimer, this post is written with nothing but love and also concern for my little family and other friends I hold dear who rely on the ACA. My intention isn’t to start a battle, but rather to share my experience and hopefully shed light on why the ACA  is, in my opinion, an essential piece of American legislation that deserves to stay put.)
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