Suburban Snapshots

Meet me at the Polls for a
Cup of Burnt Coffee and a Sticker

Friday, November 02, 2012

Four years ago I was an anxious new mom with a 6-month-old daughter and a small freelance business. Steve was at home with Anna after a layoff, and I commuted an hour to work photographing newborns on straight commission.

We enrolled Anna in state medical coverage while Steve and I willed ourselves healthy. I bought milk and juice with WIC vouchers. Steve took odd electrical or labor jobs and for a while we got by, but in March of 2009 we realized that for the first time in 5 years of being homeowners, we couldn't make our mortgage payment. We missed it, took the hit to our credit reports and applied for a government loan modification.

Three-and-a-half years ago I started a meaningful full-time job with a good salary and amazing benefits. Steve remained the "daycare parent", taking electrical work whenever he could, but not having a regular job left him feeling inadequate and frustrated.

Two years ago, he started shift work at a warehouse. The regular paycheck was a huge improvement, and going off to work helped put his head in a better place. But the overnights were hard on all of us, and 9 months later he applied for a new job closer to home.

One year ago, Steve got that position with the City and since then we've been able to chip away at debt, pay our bills on time, and send Anna to school 5 days a week, where she's thriving. We both continue to take side work and are building our savings.

On Tuesday, we'll go to the local high school and cast our votes. We are doing better than we were 4 years ago. We're raising a daughter who I want to one day earn as much as the men in her field, who I want to have ready access to birth control in all its forms, who I want to be the boss of her own body when it's time for me to relinquish that responsibility. I love people who deserve the freedom to marry without judgement or restriction, to share benefits, and to be treated as equals with all that implies. And I want people who struggled as we did deciding between groceries and doctor visits to have better options.

Whatever your priorities are, whatever informs your decision, understand how important your vote is and show up at the polls. Know your local issues, commit to your values, and cast your ballot.

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