A Lesson Learned From a Lack of Sympathy


It was a cold, rainy day in February of 1995 that I stood on a pier in 26624_519604171384387_214086220_nNorfolk, Virginia and watched  tiny tug boats drag and push the mighty USS Wasp into port. It took hours for this feat to take place and you’d think I’d be bored, but no. Those hours were spent with other family members waiting for their sailors and Marines to come home, too. They were spent in the company of those who understood that military sacrifice doesn’t begin and end with enlistment. It includes the spouses, children and parents of our enlisted men and women, those left behind to carry on when they give the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.



Two very important words that seem to be lost on Donald Trump these days as evidenced by his callous treatment of the Khan family after the loss of their son, Captain Humayan Khan.

I watched Mr. Khan’s speech at the DNC from so many perspectives. I identified with his loss on many levels, because, while I didn’t lose my husband to war during his time in the Navy, I could have. And I lived with that fear every day for four years. I sincerely appreciated the sentiment when higher ranking officers thanked me for my husband’s service. I needed to hear them. I needed to know that his sacrifices meant something. I can only imagine that they are needed a thousand times more for the Khan family given that their son paid with his life.

Add to this Donald Trump, candidate for Commander-in-Chief. “I’d like to hear his wife say something.” What is the Khan family supposed to glean from that? Instead of sympathy, empathy, kindness or compassion, all Trump could offer in response was a xenophobic, racist comment alluding to his own ignorance. He belittled their loss and offered nothing in the way of comfort.

As I watched Mrs. Khan standing there, silent and stoic, I put myself in her shoes. It’s not too difficult. I have a son whose life plan involves military enlistment in two year’s time. In my mind she was a pillar of strength, holding it together in front of a gargantuan picture of her son’s face—a face she never dreamed she’d have to say a final goodbye to and keep living herself. That would be enough to bring me to my knees, a snotty, blubbering mess on national television. As a father, Trump couldn’t even identify with that loss and grief. He couldn’t recognize the strength it took for Mrs. Khan to simply be present at that moment, silent but no less strong for her lost son.

Mr. and Mrs. Khan sacrificed, too. Above and beyond the sacrifices every parent makes for their children, they made the sacrifices all our military families nationwide make. There are missed holidays and birthdays because of their service. Missed births and funerals because of their call to duty for our country. Children are raised without a parent, many of them meeting each other for the first time in an airport or on a pier–the children, waiting hesitantly by the legs of the adult that brought them, a little bit afraid of the stranger they call Mommy or Daddy. Service members’ families stand in their stead at these life events to ensure that they are represented and remembered while they are off fighting for something bigger than themselves. And while that fills many of us with pride, it also fills us with fear, worry and loneliness.

When the worst happens and we lose that family member in service to his/her country, we expect the Commander-in-Chief to recognize their service and their sacrifice. We expect the highest ranking member of our military to recognize our sacrifice as family as well as our loss. Because I am an American mother whose son may well be off to war very soon, I will enter my second go ’round of worry and steadfast representation while he sacrifices all in service to his country. And I refuse to do it knowing I voted into office the man who cared so little for a soldier’s life he couldn’t even offer up condolences to his grieving parents. If a simple “I’m sorry for your loss” isn’t within his vocabulary, then, come November, may it be the only sentence Donald Trump hears.

IWA Podcast interview

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the International Writers Association’s Robert J. Moore. In November I joined this group and met Robert, a truly kind and, I must say, the happiest guy I’ve ever met.

Stop by the podcast and follow it to get it in your inbox. Give it a review on iTunes and pass it along to friends and others you know who might like it or benefit from the great info there. Thanks for listening!

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Thoughts on body image and anchors

A comment from my last post got me thinking and I wanted to respond to her with this, but it was much too long to leave in the comments section. So, this post is for her.

My husband is half Polish and half Serbian. The matriarch of the Serbian half of his family was Grandma Mary. She was the epitome of every stereotype one has of what grandmas should be. She was sweet and kind, always filling you to overflowing with food and never ran short on love. I was fortunate enough to have a few short years with her before she passed away in 1998.

She was a member of St. George’s Serbian Orthodox Church in Lorain. At her funeral, her priest, a young, handsome man from the former Yugoslavia, gave a eulogy that has stuck with me. In my sadness over her passing, his words had a profound effect on me and they apply to so much, in so many instances.youaremore

He was talking about how we shouldn’t be sad that she died. She had gone on to do the thing God created her, created all of us, to do. He placed his hand on the highly polished casket and said, “Do not mourn this body. This is vanity.” He went on to explain that our bodies are only anchors to this earth and aren’t meant to last.


Think about anchors for a minute. What are they? They are nothing more than huge hunks of heavy metal that keep boats and ships from sailing off into the horizon. No one pays much attention to them or what they look like. Some anchors keep fishing boats in place so fishermen can catch dinner for their families, or trawlers can catch seafood for many families. Some anchors hold luxurious yachts in place, vessels so beautiful it staggers the imagination. Still others hold humble boats where they need to be so someone can travel from one place to the next. Regardless, anchors have one simple job and that’s all they’re good for, right?


Or they could be more.

The way I see it, they ARE more. Anchors, and the job they do, can be an allegory for ourselves and the lives we lead. Our bodies are like anchors, very much like what Grandma Mary’s priest said. They keep us here, focused in our lives, on what we are supposed to do. They are attached to the bigger picture of what our lives were meant to be. Some of us were meant to be here to tend to our families the best way we can. Some of us were meant to take care of others. Some people are here to lead beautiful lives, while still others are here to spread humility. None of those are possible without their heavy anchor.

If we can look at those yachts, trawlers and boats and see the goodness and beauty there without a second thought to what their anchors look like, why do we spend so much time on the vanity that surrounds what our bodies look like? The real beauty of what we are, what makes us the beautiful creatures God intended, is within us. It’s what we take with us when we’re called home. We leave our anchors behind and sail off into the horizon.

Remember that the next time you look in the mirror and criticize yourself.

You are more than your anchor.

You are more than your body.

Your body is linked to the very best you have to offer, and that is so much more than the outside.

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Plus Size: My take on the debate

I have a reputation, among my sons at least, of being a little…militant?…when it comes to pointing out the equality of the sexes. I don’t tolerate machismo here. I don’t tolerate females being viewed as the weaker sex. I don’t tolerate ANY of that crap. It isn’t just because I’m the only female in the house besides the dog and the bearded dragon, either. It’s because I honestly believe that there is nothing I can’t do that I don’t want to do. It’s because I have a responsibility to my sons, their future spouses and possible future daughters to cut that shit off at the knees. My boys need to be the change we wish to see in the world.You are beautiful.You are worthwhile.You are amazing.Those are all labels, too.

My sons tease me relentlessly for my stance on all things equal. We were watching television one night and someone said something I had perceived as sexist (unbeknownst to me, I was doing something else as the boys watched).  My oldest son said, “Uh oh, Tony. Mom made The Face.”

“Oh, no. Not The Face!” Tony said with feigned dismay. They both burst out in giggles.

“The Face?” I asked. “What face?”

Jimmy said, “You know? The one that says, ‘Feminist Powers, Activate!’ ” Again, they burst out laughing.

The next look I gave them elicited instant apologies from both of them.

Then, today, I read an article about Amy Schumer being upset about being grouped in with celebrities like Melissa McCarthy and Adele on Glamour magazine’s cover. She was angry because she was labeled “plus size.” Frankly, it pissed me off.

Yes, I hate labels. They suck. I would abolish them if possible.  Let’s make that clear. You know what side of that line I stand on.

And, don’t get me wrong. I like Amy Schumer. The woman is hilarious when she isn’t sticking her foot in her mouth.


When is it okay to make your living touting the fact that you aren’t the ideal size and shape that people desire, but can still “catch a dick” –her terms, not mine–but not want the label? Last time I checked you don’t get to put yourself out there as a comedienne and make your self-deprecating humor that is supposed to be construed as body positive, and then get all hurt when someone labels you as the very thing you poke fun at yourself as being. You don’t get to play the “I’m a comic and all bets are off” when it comes to cracking jokes and hurting other people’s feelings, but then when your feelings get hurt, cry foul. This is one time I have to say that the comedy schtick she’s buttered her bread with is what earned her that placement on the cover, nothing else.

Now, more to the point. There’s a movement starting to abolish the label “Plus Size.” I get it. It’s a “nice” way of referring to someone as fat. As a plus size woman, I’m here to tell you, I’m not fooling anyone. You see a picture of me and you are seeing a woman who is overweight, fat, plus size, or any other label you want to slap on that refers to the fact that I carry around extra poundage. There is no one on this planet who is going to look at a picture of me next to Uma Thurman and say they see two women. They are going to say that they see Uma Thurman and a fat lady. End of story.

Where the difference comes in is in how I choose to use that label. Just like Uma Thurman isn’t the sum of who she is based solely on her name, I am not the sum of who I am based solely on someone else’s opinion of me being overweight, fat, heavy or plus size. I am more than the number on my scale. I am more than my weight. I am more than my BMI.

Am I overweight? Yes. I am. I am also a mother. I am a writer. I am a wife. I am a friend. I am a daughter-in-law. I am a sister-in-law. I am an aunt. I am a citizen of Ohio. I am a citizen of the United States. I am a hard worker. I am a worrier. I am a million other tiny things, as well as a million other big things. And I am also fat.

So, here is how I see it. As long as when you see me you see Miranda the wife, friend, aunt, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, citizen, hard worker, writer and worrier who is overweight, we’re fine. Because, like it or not, when it all comes down to the lowest common denominator, I am a lot of labels. We all are, and not all of them we wear proudly.

And, not to get too The Help on you all here, but…

You are beautiful.

You are worthwhile.

You are amazing.

Those are all labels, too.

So, ladies, you be who you were meant to be. Let nothing stand in your way. If I let every label anyone ever stuck on me keep me from doing something, I’d have thrown in the towel somewhere around four years old. Screw them and their labels.

Melissa McCarthy is gorgeous and funny and crazy-talented. Her weight hasn’t stopped her from being amazing.

Adele is beautiful, talented, funny and so very personable. Her weight hasn’t stopped her from taking the music industry by storm.

Amy Schumer is funny and, sorry to say, so desperately in need of someone to ground her from Twitter and Instagram. However, her weight certainly isn’t standing in the way of any brass ring she sets her sights on.

So, why should yours?


Don’t forget to get Plus Size Mama: An overweight mom gets real about weight loss when it comes out May 10th! Follow me on Facebook here and here!