Pride

June is Pride month. It is a month to celebrate the LQBTQIA+ community. It is far more than rainbows and parades. While the rainbows and parades are important to increase visibility, the work is year round and ongoing.
Pride is about celebrating celebrating people. Pride is about protecting those trans and queer young people. Pride is about validating intersections. Pride is about honoring those that paved the way like Marsha P. Johnson and those at the Stonewall Riots. Pride is about respecting those that can not or have not come out yet. Pride is about fighting for equal rights. Pride is about doing hard shit. Pride is about love.
My Pride is that of a mom to a gay son. My. Pride is that of an ally. I serve as a safe place for those who don’t have loving and accepting family. I coach parents on how to accept the child in front of them. I coach colleagues in how to ask about and honor pronouns. I serve as a safe space in my school. I am still learning and growing in my journey. I am far from perfect but I follow my heart.
This is why I partner and volunteer with Free Mom Hugs. This organization is a group of affirming parents and allies who love the LGBTQ+ community unconditionally. They are dedicated to educating families, church, and civic leaders encouraging them to not only affirm the LGBTQ+ community but to celebrate them. Each year at pride I walk in the parade just giving hugs and listening to the spoken and unspoken words of so many. I have heard stories….so many stories. Some bring tears of joy and some bring the tears of searing pain. But it is in those moments, there is so much LOVE. Love, acceptance and affirmation…..and did I mention LOVE?
This year I have taken on the task of organizing our group for the Chicago Pride Parade. The Parade has been moved to October this year, and for that I am so grateful as I am hoping for cooler weather!
If you are someone in need of a virtual hug, an in person hug, a listening ear, or just to be seen…. I am here for you. If you need support and do not know where to turn for help. I am here for you. If you are a parent who is learning to navigate a different path and want a friend to walk with you. I am here for you. I am here for you. My head and heart are judgment free zones. I may not have all the answers for you, but I can help find resources that will not only help you but others as well.
For those that are not accepted as they are, I am your mama now. I see you. You matter. I love you!
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Kids

These kids.
My kids.
They have been though a lot as individuals and together.
They are the cause of my grey hair, my tears and my laugh lines.
They are the source of my pride and the origin of my insanity!
They build each other up more than they tear each other down.
They may be at different ages and stages of life, but watching them share space as they grow and mature fills up my momma heart.
I find peace in the fact that long after I am gone, they will still have each other….. and the memories of our times together.
I have, and always will be, their Kristine (mom)… whether they like it or not…. they can work that out in therapy!
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Help

We all need it sometimes but admitting that to ourselves and others is no easy task. I grew up with the understanding that asking for help was a sign of weakness. So….. I never asked for help. I learned to figure shit out on my own. I grew up BI (Before Internet). The library, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Dear Abby and late night TV were my go-to help advisors. 
I love to help others. Helping people fills me up and I love when I can make life better/easier for another human. In the past few years I learned that asking for help is not weakness but a sign a strength. What I also realized was that I needed to give people the opportunity to help me… especially my kids. 
I used to get angry that my kids didn’t help around the house and when/if they did, it was not good enough for me or the way that I would do it. I have realized we all do our best and can not assume anything. My children and friends are not mind readers. If I can be vulnerable and brave enough to ask for help, others are more than willing to step up to assist. I have also had to let go of the notion that my way is the only way to do things. My children and my friends have great ideas. They are all thoughtful as well as generous if I let go of my ideas of perfection. I have even learned some things along the way!
I am grateful that I am growing as a human. I am proud of myself for stepping out of my comfortable, albeit lonely, space allowing others in to help me when I need it…and even when I don’t realize that I need it!
Love yourself enough to allow others to help you once in a while. It will benefit all involved and you will all grow closer together.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Love

The 14 days of love challenge began in February 1. For the first 14 days of this month I will write a note for each of my kids with “I love you because…” with a different reason each day. I used to write each one a post it note and leave a Hershey kiss, however now that they are older, I send a text each day and then send the kisses at the end with an additional small gift.
It gets more difficult as the days progress as I try to find reasons they don’t think I see. Try it with the people you love. Challenge yourself.
Peace
#tutulady
#forwardisapace

Connection

2021 Pay-It-Forward:
The first five people to connect with me will receive from me, sometime within the calendar year, a handwritten note, perhaps with a gift attached. There will likely be no warning and it will happen whenever the mood strikes me.
Let’s all pay it forward this year!
🖊
Pay it forward!!
Let’s connect!! Peace, #tutulady #forwardisapace