Friday was a good day.
JoyDad and I both had the day off. Unpaid, since it was a required furlough day for me and he took a "moveable" furlough day. But still, a day off for the both of us, with both kids in school.
Several hours into our spring-cleaning & online activism, we got some lovely news.
The so-called "budget repair" law, passed in an undemocratic sneak-attack the previous week, had been put on hold by a Dane County judge!
Judge MaryAnn Sumi of the Dane County court agreed with Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne that the apparent violation of Wisconsin's open meetings law was sufficiently serious to warrant a temporary restraining order, preventing the law from going into effect until the court can hold a full hearing the week of March 28. (The law was scheduled to be published March 25, to take effect March 26).
JoyDad and I decided to go downtown and celebrate. After all, if the law were to delay our paycheck-whacks even one week, that's over $100 we'd have available again to pump back into the local economy!
So we went to the Capitol around noon. I carried a sign that thanked the judge on one side, and on the other said "Rule Against the Bill!" Got lots of thumbs-up and car honks. (In Madison these days, you don't just lay on the horn to support the protesters. Instead, you tap the horn to the cadence of the chant: "This is what democracy looks like!") We walked through the Capitol, and then joined a group singing protest songs at the top of State Street for a while.
Then we walked down State Street and found a restaurant with supportive signs in the windows, and had a lovely lunch. We made sure to tell them exactly why we felt able to do so, and why we chose them in particular.
And the sun was shining, and our crocuses were blooming in the flowerbed, and we felt some of the first real hope we've felt in an entire month of unrelenting bad news. Not that this is over, by any means. The majority party will appeal every step of the way, probably up to the Wisconsin Supreme Court if it gets that far. (Vote JoAnne Kloppenburg for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice April 5!) They can even take up the bill again from scratch, give appropriate notice, and presumably pass it again. But the public outcry would be immense, it would be an admission that they didn't do it right the first time, and the protest movement would only gain new steam.
And then! I took Joy to her swimming lesson after school, which is just about her favorite part of the week. I got to see her hoist herself out of the pool on her own, at the place where the water was too deep to get a boost from the bottom. I got to see her propel herself from one platform to another one five feet away, all under her own steam. I got to see her blow bubbles in the water (in between drinking it.) And I didn't even have to do a big clean up in the locker room of the generally-inevitable laxative effects of water-play -- she waited till later that evening!!
Saturday, too, was a good day.
Joy and I attended a birthday party for one of her classmates in the afternoon, an invite-the-whole-class affair. It was held at the apartment-dwelling of the birthday girl, probably about 10 kids in a small space with hard surfaces. The noise was pretty intense.
Joy, however, hung in remarkably well. We had a good 20 minutes before she began a big protest, and then we were able to go into the hall and walk the stairs and laundry-room for a while and calm down enough for a second try. I had provided ribbons for her own use, so the wrapped packages wouldn't be too much a temptation.
Since it was all classmates, they are well-acquainted with spending time with her and were very sweet. The birthday girl made sure that Joy got a turn with the blindfold from the pin-the-tail game -- we turned it into a peek-a-boo game, and then Joy did manage to take a turn sticking a tail onto the donkey (after everyone else was done, and without blindfold or spin.) At a later point I asked another little girl if Joy could play with some discarded paper from an unwrapped present. Not only did she bring that paper over, a minute later she came around again bearing a curly ribbon for Joy's use!
We made it through over an hour in total, long enough to enjoy some cake. Joy wasn't the only kid who cried during that time, and none of the other crying was caused by her. And as we left, there was another kid who was also overwhelmed by the noise -- the hostess was just calling his mom to come pick him up.
SO included. It felt great.
One more "good" to share.
Rose and JoyDad got to take a turn at the Capitol while Joy & I were at the party, but I got my turn in the evening. I joined an interfaith vigil that meets every night now for an hour at the Capitol, 7-8pm.
We weren't a big group, and we weren't allowed to light our candles -- a couple of law-enforcement fellows very nicely told us that they had their orders regarding the defacing qualities of dripping wax. (One of our number spoke up, "That's OK, these guys are public workers, they're on our side!" and got some discreet grins and nods from the cops.)
We held signs, and sang. Last night's organizers had also printed out brightly-colored slips of paper with relevant quotes from various scriptures and philosophers and other leaders and thinkers. We took turns reading quotes and then taped them into a collage. I also took some chalk and put one of the quotes onto the pavement:
"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest." — Elie Wiesel
Among our number were two boys on the autism spectrum. One of them played a hand drum enthusiastically as we sang. He wrote his own message in chalk to the Governor on the Capitol's very front step after the vigil, just as I was leaving. I believe the message was taking a turn for the rude... but y'know, this young man has the right. He's among the ones who stand to lose the most.
Two very good days.