State of the Union—Family Style by Cheryl L. Butler

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butler_cherylWell, that’s always fun—listening to the President’s State of the Union address.  Given one’s current mood, political preference or if we’re presently getting along with our spouse can many times determine if we like what we just heard or are shaking our heads and grumbling… “Haven’t we already heard that before?”   I’m not touching politics with a ten-foot pole so rather than discuss the actual speech most of us just listened to on January 27th, I have become inspired to write my own.

This State of the Union, however has nothing to do with Wall Street, Homeland Security or International Policies—it is specifically geared to the people who I serve three meals a day to (no, make that about ten!) and who’s laundry I sort, wash and fold 7 days a week—my loving family.

As I proudly stood in front of my Presidential Seal–a makeshift poster board I had decorated with Betty Crocker boxes, empty toilet roll spools, a pair of dirty socks, a photo of my pre-mommy self, our upcoming Little League Schedule (that took up ½ the board!), and a few other incidentals that represented a “day in the life of” this family, I looked them each in the eye and humbly began speaking from my teleprompter—the magnifying mirror I use to help me apply my mid-life lipstick color—coral raisin—in a matte finish.

Mr. Husband, Madame Black Lab, and esteemed members who make up the eight Butler children–our Constitution does not declare that from time to time, the little woman—also known as your wife, lab’s best friend, and doting mother report in about the state of our family, but if it’s good enough for Congress, well—then it’s good enough for me.

While I realize you will all find it hard to believe, although things in your world seem to be near perfect, there are a few issues in “our family” world that need a bit of attention.

Domestic Issues

  • Our Furniture—It is a pleasure to have a sectional sofa that is made in the United States, not China, but let’s all try to remember one thing—the stuffing that is gently dangling from the arms and the back of the recliner should be treated with the utmost respect.  This fine piece of chenille needs to last your mother another 14 years—when our little Annie heads off to college.  (And…it may need to accompany your father and I to a retirement community such as Shady Pines, so please, no more using it for art projects and the like.
  • Going Green—Remember how excited you kids were to come home from school and announce all the earth-saving measures being taken at school to reuse, renew, and restore?  I wasn’t allowed to throw out a single item that still had life in it.  Well, I am pleased as punch to announce this family’s new recycling and conservation efforts, and I know I’ll have your full support and enthusiasm—just like you showed for school.  The heels of all loafs of bread are now as important as the middles—please get used to it.  I will happily unplug my blinking neon “The Kitchen is Closed” sign if you are willing to take 7- minute showers as opposed to 40- minute ones and will do so in the dark.  Hand me downs in a large family are just part of the deal if we want to continue with the luxuries of electricity and grocery shopping—hey, I do my part, who do you think gets your father’s old leisure knits?

The Economy & International Affairs

  • I’ll be brief.  It’s not looking too good for our vacation to Europe this spring.

Health Care Reform

  • Paid family member sick days continue to be a sore subject, specifically for a certain mother who tries desperately never to become ill, especially if it should interfere with her children’s lives—attending sporting events, helping with homework, providing taxi services at a moment’s notice, preparing hot, tasty meals 7 nights a week (stop rolling your eyes—they might not always be tasty but they do have a temperature), and of course, being available to be your private nurse when any of you take ill.  Congress may not have come up with a way to give me a paycheck yet, but the speaker of this house has unanimously decided that my sick days can now be taken in a horizontal position and in the comfort of my Winnie the Pooh bathrobe.

In closing I would like to leave you with a few thoughts.  We have just finished another jam-packed year in the Butler household—some of it difficult, some of it outrageous, (we only left one child accidentally behind at Sunday school and he’s no longer having nightmares, so for that I am grateful) but most of it was filled with joy.  With the continuing challenges that lie ahead of us during this brand new year (a new driver in the family, six kids on eight different baseball teams, weaning me off the hot glue gun that I bought myself for Christmas) let’s seize this moment – to start anew, to help with household chores, to never forget Mother’s Day and above all, cherish the fact that you belong to a family who loves, supports and appreciates you for the individuals you are, even though you’ve all decided those frozen meatballs in a bag are much more delicious than the ones I spend hours making from scratch. We’re all in this together, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Thank you. God Bless You. And God Bless every family in these United States of America.

Copyright 2010 Cheryl Butler

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