Ain’t even glittering 

When she was 1-I made invitations jauntily tied with little bows, handmade SCP monogram stickers for the mason jars filled with candy and handmade monogram cupcake stickers. A-door-a-bull.

She had a handmade shirt that matched her cupcakes. Her hat was custom made. It was a pink explosion of happiness.

2. She cried with her grandpa holding her because we were singing happy birthday. Even the cut strawberries didn’t make it better. 

Thanks to 2 by 3 we discovered she didn’t really love parties. Duh. So that year we didn’t even attempt a part. Instead,  I made 30 functioning pinwheels from scrapbook paper to too her school cupcakes. Each was different. No 2 alike. I am pretty sure I still don’t have fingerprints due to the 6 degree burns I sufferered thanks to the massive amounts of hot  glue that this particular project took. Ah-door-Ahhh-bull but STUPID. Seriously. What the hell was the point of that craft idiocy??? The birthday treat of a build-a-bear ended in tragedy when it was closed for renovations. Oops. Ringling-brothers came to our rescue. 

4–still in the middle of my work nightmare I gave myself an out and bought cupcakes. The guilt led me to party city where I allowed the 4 year old to pick out whatever she wanted to  go on top. 4 year olds aren’t known for their restraint. $50 later…(too bad I didn’t know we weren’t a dual income family at the time) she got everything she wanted and I only had to figure out how to her all the…pretty decorations to stay on the cupcakes. We didn’t even attempt a party and instead sprited her away for a Chattanooga, tn adventure. Really too bad I didn’t know we weren’t a dual income family at the time. But I digress. 

It is with a heavy heart and a grateful wallet that I admit that this year I didn’t even pretend to kid myself that I was capable of any sort of creating. I borrowed a Sam’s card and straight up ordered this years delicacies using my borrowed name. (I felt like a teen practicing her name before using her sisters ID.) luckily my Daughter is shy so she didn’t scream,”Dat not your name,” when the clerked thanked Ms. Garrett for her order. 

For $14.95 I’ve got 30 iced cupcakes with a Frozen ring plopped right smack-dab-in-the-middle.  Oh yeah! 

My daughter will turn 5 without me turning on the glue gun or even a single shake of my glitter. I don’t know whether to congratulate myself for my restraint or berrate myself for letting the year of brutal disappointments claim another victim. Knowing me-I’ll do a little of both. 

My code 

I am a pretty simple girl at heart. My core beliefs are simple:

  • Right is right
  • Wrong is wrong
  • Work hard
  • Do the right thing even when no one is watching
  • Have faith
  • Be loyal 
  • Be honest
  • Do what needs to be done
  • Believe
  • Be someone others can believe in
  • Be strong
  • Be kind
  • Admit when you are wrong
  • Don’t give up but know when to quit 
  • Be thankful and say thank you
  • Earn what you want
  • Help

In my simple mind there are simple rules in this life. You follow the rules. You give 100%-100% of the time. You do the right things for the right reasons and the right things happen. I believed that. 

I teach my children that life isn’t fair but I don’t think I believed it. I expect fair. Not free…but I do expect fair. I believed in that too.

And I clung to these beliefs. My faith was bulit on these simple truths. Even when things went contray to these beliefs– I kept the faith. I kept believing. It was all I knew to do. 

What do you do when you lose faith? 

What do you do when the simple rules you live by fail you?  I mean it..what do you do?

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

My little family had a great fall.  We broke.  I painstakingly gathered all the broken and shattered, pieces picked up every shard and then carefully put them back together.  It took time. It wasn’t easy but I thought I’d done it.  I thought I had us all back together again.

And all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put Humpty together again

But I didn’t. I was wrong.  We are broken.  Once something is broken it’s much more fragile, more delicate and cracks more easily than before. Something broken isn’t as strong when it’s pieced back together. I know that but I didn’t understand that.  Until now.

We go about our days doing what we are supposed to do, saying what we are supposed to say and I thought it was enough.  Like brushing off your hands after stumble to wipe away the dirt…I brushed my hands together and said, ‘that’s it.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and let’s get back to it.  No one is hurt here.  We are fine.  And I tried to believe it.

My sons grades have slipped into the abyss.  I’ve grounded, argued, pled, begged, yelled, ignored…I’ve done it all.  Today during yet another discussion about the falling grades my son became  humpty-dumpty.  

At one point I said something like…”this is life.” And he fell apart.   His response shattered all my illusions that we were okay.

“I hate my life, okay, HATE it!” the raw pain in his voice stopped my heart.  “I try and pretend like I am whole but I am not.  Divorced kids aren’t whole mom!!!” Angrily he rubbed his face to wipe away his tears. ” I am 5’3” in high school mom.  Do you know how bad that sucks? People laugh because I swim but I can’t not swim mom, I can’t.  All my friends talk about their mom and dad and I can’t.  I HATE telling people you’ve been divorced twice.”  As long as I Iive I don’t think I will ever be able to forget those words.  They hurt in a place I can’t even name.  I didn’t interrupt him.

 “They always ask why and all I can tell them is I don’t know about the first one but the second time was because my step dad lied, HE LIED TO US MOM, he looked right at us and lied. He lied about not having a job—all that time he was lying.  He lied about everything.  And now look at us mom—look at what it did to us mom.”

“That was a year ago…we’ve moved on.  We are fine,” I began.

“We are not FINE! I have no privacy, Kinsley’s mad all the time. My dad has no where to live and and Sadie…how could  he do that to Sadie?” He’s said that before-that the thing he hates most about this situation is that it hurt Sadie. He’s still frantically wiping his face as he finishes, “…and  I have to take care of y’all.”

I do interrupt him here. “Whoa!  You are the child here, Colton, not the adult. Taking care of us is on me…that is not your job…..”

“It is my job mom.  I am the man.  I am the only man to take care of 3 girls.”  My little fella sat there crying feeling the weight of manhood so heavy on his shoulders.  I re-iterated that taking care of us was my worry…not his…but I could see he didn’t accept it. “…and I know it’s not but sometimes I feel like it’s all my fault.”

“It hurt, it sucked, it was bad, it was awful…” I admitted, “ but we aren’t defined by what happened to us. We are defined by how we handle it.  We have a roof, we have food, we have each other…you guys have your school and your activities and everything that’s important to you,” And I thought that was enough I wanted to say. But I didn’t. “You have a choice to make every day.  You can choose to be sad or angry or you can choose to NOT wallow and to move on.  You can choose to be happy. You can’t use this as an excuse anymore.  Your job is school and you are not doing your job.  Do you see me not doing my job or not going to work because I am sad?  NO. Do you see wallowing?”

“Yes…sometimes!  You come home and I know it’s been a bad or a sad day. I can see it mom,” The façade I had about us being okay evaporated. Truth be told I use all I have to get thru the day, to do my job and hopefully do it well, to scurry and hurry to get everyone where they need to be and to get them fed and bathed. I worry about making ends-meet.  I fret over decisions. At the end of the day I’ve used up all my resolve. I don’t cry. I don’t get angry. I don’t talk about it. I just stop. I settle into my chair and hold my baby girl and I watch tv. I stay busy until there is no where else I have to be and then I stop. And he sees this. 

“You can be angry. You can be sad. You can be whatever you need to be as long as you get rid of it. But you have to get rid of it. You can’t carry this…you can’t.” 

And then there is an awful silence. I don’t know how to fill it. My throat burns with the effort it takes to not cry. The phrase you’ve been divorced twice rings in my head and echoes with every beat of my heavy heart. I know I should let it go. I know I should. But I can’t. I just can’t. “I am sorry I embarrass you. I am embarrassed to be divorced twice. I am embarrassed you have to tell people that. This isn’t how I imagined things would be. This isn’t how I wanted things to be. I didn’t want this for me or for y’all. But it happened. And I had to make some very hard choices. I did what I had to do. You aren’t alone. You have me. You have a dad that loves you. I love you. None of this….look at me…none of this is your fault. None if it.” 

He can’t do this anymore. He has no fight left. He has nothing left. 

I want to stop him but I don’t know what else to say. I want to hug him tight but he doesn’t seem to want a hug right now. He shuffles toward the stairs. At the last minute he turns to me,”I am not embarrassed of you mom. I am proud to call you my mom. You never have missed a swim meet. You cheer for me. My friends think it’s cool they way you cheer for me,” he looks so burdened standing there. He’s a boy carrying the burdens of a man on a little boys shoulders. His soul is older then it should be. “I am trying mom. I really am,” and then he walks away. 

I choke back sobs that I can’t let escape. He’s broken and I thought I had fixed all the cracks and had put back all the pieces but I haven’t. Some breaks I just can’t fix. There are some pieces I just don’t have. 

But I’ll keep trying. I’ll pick him up and dust him off and put him right back up on the wall. And I’ll do it Everytime. 

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall–

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

And all the kings horses and all the kings men couldn’t put humtpty together again.

But I am his mama and I can. 

Post script: 

Thanks to a wise and caring friend I started picking the pieces up again. My fella is at a great school with great support and with one phone call he met his guidance conselor who is meeting him Saturday at school to let him use the schools computers so he can catch up on his assignments. I don’t know if it was getting it out or if something I said helped, but he’s lighter tonight. He feels better. I on the other hand…..

Unexpected adventure

The 2015 B.A.S.S master classic was at lake hartwell this weekend. Now this isn’t any old fishing tournament….It’s the Super Bowl of fishing. The World Series of the sport.

My parents live in Lake Hartwell. My uncle own a fishing camp in Florida and has hosted one of the qualifying events so he knows some of the guys. He even hooked (haha) it up so that one of the anglers (learned that’s what you can men who fish) stayed with my parents when he came up to learn the lake. So though we aren’t avid fish followers my parents had some ties that made it interesting. They invited is along.

Wow. Holy cow kind of wow. First of all there was a bass expo would was full of prizes and giveaways and excitement. We won hats, samples bourbon, stood in line for prize wheels and got into the spirit of the day. Other then the $37.00 concession meal it was all free and fun.

From there we moved to the weigh in. Bad a-s-s bass. Tricked out trucks and $70,000 boats filed into a packed arena with hand-picked music blaring and lights pulsing. 56 anglers hoped on stage from their boats that were driven inside and brought their prize catches to be weighed. Only 25 would make it to the final day so every ounce counted. My parents housebuddy didn’t fair so well….he jumped from boat to stage empty handed which had to suck.

After the weigh in the anglers were interviewed briefly and they were all do darn nice and humble and funny that you found yourself liking and rooting for all of them.

This morning over my dad’s famous SOS we found the live GoPro coverage of the anglers fishing live. Midway through the meal my 12 year old daughter suggested we go back for the weigh-in. Even she was into it. So we all piled back into the car and off we went.

And today was just as cool! The excitement was palpable. The bi-lo center was packed to the gills. We ended up in the nosebleed section. It was so exciting and drama-riddled…it sucked you right in. My little one hooped and cheered like she knew what was happening. My 12-year old chatted with her Grandpa about tricking out his poontoon with LED lighting while he encouraged her to pick up a pole and become the first woman angler to win the classic. My mom bought this awesome fishing jerseys for us all so we looked the part. We all got into it.

It was an awesome, innocent, fun day full of simple pleasures and family. I didn’t know we’d end up having such and adventure when my mom suggested we go. In the end we saw a hometown boy win $1,000,000 on his home lake in the fishing tournament of his dreams and had an unexpected adventure in the process.



Sleeping quadruple in a double bed

Snow-maggedon 2015.

It began as a school holiday. 15 year old man child was watching wild child so it was already an adventurous day. I had the luxury of a 7:30pm overseas call for work so my schedule was a bit topsy turvy. Big girl was spending her 3rd day with a friend. We were all over the place.

Despite high hopes my call was not a success. I braved the icy roads and make it home about 9:10. I am met at the door by an urchin. Full on urchin; Hair ratty, tangled and matted to her head. Under man child’s watch she’s obviously found my makeup drawer. She proclaims,”I dit my makeup so I look like a princess.” She failed to mention she is a princess from the WALKING DEAD series. She’s wearing a red-satin flouncy top with rhinestones across the chest. Her legs are crammed into silvery sparkly tights that might have fit when she was a year old. Maybe. They are so tight and stretched that they are opaque. Oh but we aren’t done. She’s got no less than 45 bracelets on her arms. Her feet are clad in black-suede-hi-heeled boots that my cousin sent in a bag of hand-me-down clothes. They are easily 3 sizes too big.

Hot mess.

And she was crying. She’d waited all say to watch her b-ideos (videos) on the iPad but the first swipe of that chunky finger across the shattered screen and a minuscule piece of glass got caught in her skin. You would have thought a great white shark had eaten her hand. About the 95th time she asked me to look at it I admitted I couldn’t even see it. Ms. Drama didn’t handle that so well.

By now it’s 9:44. I haven’t had dinner. I’ve had drama glued to one leg and the dog under the other. Lights were flicking and going out so both child and animal were antsy. If I had a last nerve it was gone at this point.

And than we lost wi-fi. Good lord. The drama that followed that revaluation is embarrassing.

In defeat I demanded everyone was going to bed. With the electricity flickering the girls elected to have a sleepover in my room. I was down for some cuddle time so I didn’t put up a fight.

Round 1: me and big girl in the bed with little one in a sleeping bag looking at me.

Round 2: big girl and dog snoring with their heads on the pillows. Little girl in sleeping bag with me clinging precariously to the side of the bed.

Round 3: big girl talks in her sleep so she woke me up chatting nonsensical words. Dog was obviously chasing something in her sleep because her legs were going a mile a minute. Little girl on floor and me wide awake.

Round 4: I get up to move to the couch. My feet aren’t in the floor solidly when the Dog takes my spot. Big girl still talking and little girl sucking her thumb on the floor.

Round 5: I jolt awake to “you left me!” Baby girl is pissed! I throw back the quilt and she climbs in. I assure her I didn’t leave her-I was kicked out of bed and simply moved to the couch. Mollified she tucks her thumb into her mouth and assumes her position so I can “tuddle to her bagdt” aka cuddle to her back.

Round 6: I am scrubbing the couch while she cries. As I tuddled to her bagdt I was met with the unpleasant sensation of cuddling with a soggy sponge. Man-child obviously paid no heed to the liquid intake while babysitting.

Round 7: couch scrubbed, baby girl naked as a jay bird while I fumble in the dark for clean-dry clothes. Not the best time for a lecture on not wetting the bed but I was delivering it anyway.

Round 8: back to my room. Squish. Remember baby girl sleeping on the floor looking at me? Now I know what woke her up.

Round 9: I am now scrubbing the carpet. Sleeping bag is thrown in the dryer that had been declared “non-repairable”. Girl is really crying now. Dog thinks it’s time to get up so she’s licking and nudging and sniffing and cavorting all over the bed. I am now lecturing in earnest. Baby is really crying now.

Round 10: kick dog out of bed. Settle baby girl into bed. Scoot big girl out of middle of the bed. My body is sighing in relief and I lay back and pull the quilt toward my chin.

Round 11: don’t get the quilt to my chin because I hear dog in the trash. Get up. Step in wet spot on floor. Cuss. Loudly. Scold dog. Move trash can. Go back into my room and …. Girls are both spread eagle and asleep. I find a sliver of space and ease down.

Round 12: dog realizes we are not getting up and rejoins is in the bed. I can’t stretch my legs but at least I have my pillow. Big girl is snoring but not talking. Little girl cracks one eye at me. “You mad at me?” She asks. “Yes,” I answer. It’s 4:15. “You are a big girl. You can’t wet the bed.” I say. I kiss her to ease the sting if my words. I lay down clinging to the edge of the bed. I don’t tuddle to her bagdt.

Round 13: big girl snoring. Dog on the bottom 1/2 of my bed. I am working hard to silence my rapidly twisting brain. It’s pitch black. The air is cold. The nights been exhausting. I am overwrought and wrung out. I have to find someway of getting big kids fed, boy child to practice, little girl home from daycare all while needing to be on another night call at my office. I can’t sleep for worrying and wondering how I was going to make it all work.

Suddenly I feel a little arm inch over my waist. I feel her scooch up on the bed until her cheek can rest on the back of my neck. Her chest presses against my back and she whispers in the dark, “it’s okay. I tuddle to your bagdt tonite mama.”

Round 14: finally fall blissfully to sleep with my 2 girls and the dog they love so.


A REAL Declaration



You have NO idea how much I LOVE you! Even though sometimes you get on my nerves, I still love you to death. I love your laugh, it’s really contagious. I love your confidence because it took a lot of braveness to build that up. There are so many more things that it won’t be able to fit this card!

5 sentences written in pencil on a card illustrated with mustaches.

First of all, she made it. Maybe all my year’s of handcrafted valentines have not been for naught. I love that she thought of me, that she took the time to do it and that it is 100% her.

Even though sometimes you get on my nerves, I still love you to death.

100% authentic. That’s my girl. She’s sweet enough to make me a valentine but brutally honest enough to be sure it says EXACTLY what she wants it to say. My girl stating facts…it just is what it is.

I love your laugh, it’s really contagious

I am happier then I should be about this sentence. I don’t feel like I’ve spent much time laughing lately. It makes me feel good to know that when my girl thinks of me she remembers me laughing. I need to remember to do it more. I want her to have this kind of memory. I am also in love with the fact that she uses the work contagious in her valentines. It tells me she thought about what she wanted to say…she didn’t recycle words…she used the words she wanted. I don’t know that the word contagious has ever been used in a declaration of love in the entire history of the day. Leave it to my girl to make it work.

I love your confidence because it took a lot of braveness to build that up.

This one took me by surprise. If you know me, you know that confidence isn’t a strength of mine. It’s not even really a TRAIT I possess. But then I saw ‘braveness’ and my breath caught in my chest. If I could chose anything that Is what I want my daughter to think of when she thinks of me. Brave. I want to her to think of that word because I want her to go through life brazen and bold and confident. I didn’t think I was teaching her to do that but maybe I am. Maybe she sees something I don’t?

I’ve recently spent many a sleepless night wondering what my children will remember about me.

Our days are filled with rushing around, frantic schedules and cries of “we are late!” I worry that someday that’s all they would remember…me rushing around stressed out, 10 minutes late picking one up and 5 minutes late getting the next one where they needed to be. I wanted them to see that I was a hardworking mom who did her best, even when it wasn’t enough, to be everything they needed. Realistically I expected them to have fond memories of me as a slightly frantic, non-morning person who did her best to get everyone where they needed to be as close to when they needed to be there as humanly possible.

Would they remember our adventures? I’ve thought about our Christmas adventure…will they remember driving across states with me to go somewhere they’ve never been or will they remember it as the year they didn’t get SANTA presents? Having my daughter call me brave gave me hope that she remembers it as I intended. I wasn’t brave nor was I confident about driving 10+ hours, maneuvering city traffic and entertaining my BIGS by myself. I was a little nervous-truth-be-told. But maybe I fooled her and she saw me as brave and adventurous and heard me laughing again?

Our nights consist of a hastily thrown together dinner, haphazard chores and settling in for TV. Will they remember the fish sticks, tater tots, white bread and the always present mandarin oranges or will they remember eating at the table talking about ‘best part of the day’? I was worried they would remember that I can’t cook but this funny little valentine made me think maybe the lack of quality cuisine is not what matters most about our family dinners.

As an experienced divorcee -Valentine’s day is a day that most people expect me to loathe. I don’t. Valentine’s day…for me…isn’t a reminder about the love I don’t have. It’s a reminder about the love that I do have. The love I’ve built, the love I’ve taught and the REAL love I get in return in a thousand little-unexpected ways. Like this valentine.

Real love is about honesty. I’ve learned that the hard way this year. Her valentine makes me feel a million times more loved than any hallmark card ever could.


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