Twice blessed

Tomorrow is a special day for someone very special to me. When I count my blessings I count her twice: once as a leader and once as a friend.

She said “I believe in you” when no one else did. She took my strengths and gave them a home. She believed in me when my belief in myself was a little shaky and she only wavered once. Her confidence gave me confidence. 

It was her that taught me doing the right thing isn’t always easy. But doing the right thing is always right. 

I’ve learned that loyalty is earned and she’s earned mine. Unwavering loyalty. 

She’s taught me the glass can always be half full. She laughs and sees the good in everything even going so far as to see my pessimism as positive sometimes. Often she sees good that no one else can see. 

She’s beaten odds and epitomizes strength. The fight make her stronger but not harder. I admire that. 

Her faith is as much a part of her as her smile, her micheviousness and the twinkle in her eyes. I’ve learned a lot about faith from her words but more importantly by her actions. She lives a humble, giving and faithful life that defines what I  seek when learning to be faithful. She radiates in her faith and compels others to find their own. 

She’s beautiful. She’s also one of the most intelligent people I know-she’s street smart and all knowing. She’s quick witted and kind hearted. She’s loving and kind and hardworking. She’s an inspiration. 

I work hard hoping to make her proud. I work hard to try and help ease her workload. I work hard for her because I will always owe her for taking a chance on me. 

She’s taught me how to lead-not boss. Her lessons are illustrated-not preached. Lessons like:

  • Empowerment is stronger than commands
  • Respect is earned
  • Be the hardest worker on the team and others will follow
  • Lead my example
  • Encouragement gets more done than criticism
  • Help nuture others strengths and help them polish their weaknesses
  • Support-don’t dictate
  • Trust others and be someone others can trust

It was this lady that first knew the unforeseen direction my life took a few years ago. She didn’t say a lot, didn’t ask a lot of questions, didn’t demand a lot of answers but she hugged me when I needed it. Quietly she gave my babies an Easter when I couldn’t and she wouldn’t allow me to see it as charity. She asked me to see it as a gift. 

We’ve been down some long and dark roads but we’ve found our way together. I don’t know where the road we are on now leads but I’ll follow her until there is no road left. 

I am blessed to have her lead me and even more blessed to have her as my friend. I don’t share much with her now but I know I could. 

I admire her and respect her. I look up to her and learn from her. I am proud to work with her and for her and am prouder still that I am able to say I love her. 

Her day is tomorrow and I hope it’s happy. She deserves happiness for all the joy she brings to others. 

HUSH..should have canceled the pity party

As southern mamas like to say,”HUSH or I will give you something to cry about!” Mother Nature/the universe/karma/fate…whatever it is has some southern woman in her that’s for sure.

The day after I write Both are True about how sometimes getting out of bed is all I can manage the world, in its infinite wacked  sense of humor, gives me the ole one-two and knocks me on my ample backside.

Shingles hit-AGAIN. It’s a busy, short staffed week and all hands needed to be on deck. As a leader I needed to be busy, helping and getting stuff done. Instead I am sent home armed with meds and feeling like I’d been hit by a Mack truck. And than the truck backed over me…and then ran over me again. If you’ve had shingles you will get it.

…and its family night at the bugs school…she’s been looking forward to it all week. I can’t go. Her brother is working so he can’t take her. I put out a plea for help (which I hate to do) to her dad. Let’s just skip to the end and tell you she doesn’t get to go to family night. Tears ensue. Lots of tears. And I felt horrible.

Boy came home from work in tears. He’d gotten some harsh criticism at work that broke his heart. I couldn’t fix it for him. He’s sad…I am sad.

Friday I try to get up to go to work. Meds and pain have other ideas. Alrighty then. I’ll go to plan b…Work laptop frozen and can’t be unlocked remotely. I have no plan c. I can’t even work if my brain would let me. I go back to sleep and sleep the entire day.

Friday afternoon-Man-child strikes off to a swim meet in another state solo. First swim meet I’ve ever missed. He’s staying at his grandparents house alone as they are at the beach. He was excited thinking his cousin would hang out with him. To my dismay his cousin blew him off to go to a party and he’s been alone all day. He swam with no one watching and he’s been alone in a big, empty house. Middle girl loses both her middle-school tournament games and BAM! her season is over. She’s distraught and crying. One child is making his first long drive. Baby girl is sad because she was the only one to miss family night. I feel like hammered hell and want to cry. We are a hot mess.

Friday night/Saturday morning. A 3:30 a sudden flash woke me up from a dead, medicated sleep. My bedroom sits on a covered deck this connects my garage to my house. There is a gate so you can enter from the swatch of yard and a door that leads to the garage. My double wonder sits a few inches off the deck itself.

Needless to say seeing a flashlight on my deck sent waves of panic through me. Especially with my little bug tucked right in my bed with me.

I didn’t have time to panic before 2  things happens simultaneously happened: the dog (also in my bed) went beserk and someone began beating on my door. Loudly and insistently.

I donned my threadbare, orange chenille robe, grabbed the dog my its collar and fled the room before the bug woke up and added to the chaos.

I peaked out the curtain and the dog became Cujo in my arms and the pounding changed over to the doorbell being pressed again and again and again. Holy hell.

From my bent posture from trying to maintain the wild dog and from trying to be discreet and only peer from the bottom of the curtain…oh lord…all I saw was a gun and a zillion watt flashlight aimed at my eyes.

“Ma’am I need you to step outside,” a voice called out. The flashlight moved a bit and I saw a badge. The dog was ripping my arm off on her haste to her to the voice. “Can I put my dog up first?” He answered affirmatively so I hauled 45 pounds of pure muscle in the direction opposite of the direction she wanted to go.

I crate her, adjusted my glasses, tightened my robe and  checked on the bug who was, miraculously snoring. Then I went back to the door. I peeked again. I was medicated after all. Sure enough-there stood a policemen and a zillion power flashlight. I timidly opened the door.

“Ma’am..your neighbor interrupted a perpatrator in your garage. I need you to tell me of anything is missing,” he held the flashlight away from my face and motioned for me to go ahead of him.

My worst nightmare. Not being robbed…I didn’t even imagine that happening…this was worse…having people in my garage! “Uh…how will I know?” I asked feebly.

The officer laughed,”it took me a time or two to get to the right path to find the door,” forget the threadbare orange robe, forget the coke bottle glasses or the morning breath…that was humiliating. Having an officer of the law trying to navigate the messiness of my garage. He must have sensed my mortification because he said,”I have lots of stuff in mine too. At least yours is organized,” nice try dude. Pushing everything to one wall so you can make room for a couch, a chair and 2 cars does not organization make.

The offer used his light to highlight all the ummm….organized parts of my garage. The bikes were there. The cars were there. Beyond that I didn’t know what should/shouldn’t be there. The neighbor who had saved the day was showing me exactly where the white van was backed up to my garage and exactly where he saw the man. “There was something not right. That dude was creepy!” He proclaimed. Right where he was illustrating the would be rubber had stood was my 1964 1/2 mustang. “Could he have been after this?” I asked. They didn’t know.

To add insult to injury after the policeman left I realized I have locked myself out of my house. At 4a I am standing on a dark deck on a tiredass robe with my glasses on while my little one snores the night away. Good times.

I took the hero a pie to thank him today. While waiting on him to answer the door his townhouse neighbor who is a few sandwiches shy of a picnic let her dog ‘parky out and he attacked me little bug. Scared her and me and managed to nip her little hand. After that drama subsided I found out they caught the man. He had several purses from the neighborhood as well as a motorcycle and a go cart. Was my car on his list?

So…to sum up…I’ve been knocked down my a nasty little condition, failed as an employee, disappointed my babies my failing as a mom, avoided a theft but am now scared $&@less, told off my nephew who hurt my sons feelings (again) and didn’t kill a neighbor who let her dog scare my girl to pieces. And I did it all without getting any help even when I humbled myself to ask for it. That’s what I get for whining about being sad, huh.

Looks like the universe gave me something to cry about.

Both are true

I post a lot of happy, smiling pictures. They are true.

I try to put a comic spin on the daily dramas that make up our days. Those are true. Very true.

I celebrate victories and see the good, the amazing, the wonder of little moments. Again-those are true moments in our lives.

But there is another side of my truth. The side that isn’t pretty or “shareable”. But it’s true too. 

We stay busy. Intentionally. When we are busy I function. I can do goody bags and bows, cheer at meets and spend hours at a ball field. I can do that. I do do that. 

The truth is that I don’t do unstructured time well. On days with nothing planned I struggle. I struggle to get out of bed. That is another of my truths. 

I am lonely. I am sad. I miss being a part of a partnership. It hurts my heart that my daughter meets lots of her daddy’s “friends”. My life as a mom is full and complete. My life outside of motherhood is empty. I don’t have a hobby. No outside interest. Outside of my babies I….well there isn’t much outside of my babies.

I abhor Friday’s because I am afraid of weekends. Friday is a chill day meant for relaxing and kicking back to celebrate ending a week. I don’t know how to relax and kick back. I know how to function with a task or a plan. Without one I just feel lost. 

And I hate it. 

But it’s true. 

I am blessed with family. Blessed with helpful babies. Blessed with a job that pays my bills and allows me to feed and clothe my children. I know this. I am thankful. I say my prayers and never forget to be thankful and appreciative for all I have. 

But being thankful and blessed doesn’t change that I  am cursed with sadness. Sad about things that I seem helpless to fix. Sad to be such an introvert when I want to be someone comfortable in social settings. Sad to be alone when life is meant to be a partnership. Sad to have so many blessings in my life yet still feeling so Sad. Sad to not know what my life looks like when my babies are gone. 

That’s part of my truth.

There are days when getting out of my bed seems like more than I can do. I usually do it anyway because I am accountable and hard working and accept my responsibilities. But there are days when I can’t. Weekend days when my little bug is away and my bigs are living their  lives–as they should. 

I try to let no one see that part of me. It’s shameful and embarrassing to admit but it’s there. I’ve always prided myself on “picking myself up by the bootstraps” and getting on with it. But every once in awhile those bootstraps break and I just wallow.

Self-pity? Maybe. Overwhelmed? Probably. Scared? Definitely. Lost? Yep. 

The other day someone said “it must be nice to not have a care in the world.” I looked around to see who they were taking to but I was the only one standing there. I laughed and asked what they were talking about. They explained that they see my Facebook and read all the victories and see all try smiles and always thought to themselves how different their life was from mine. It wasn’t the time to go into my laundry list of worries and frets and stresses and woes. Instead I just told them that there is always more to life then what you see on Facebook. There are 2 sides to every story. 

And so this is the other side of my story. 

Living with my decision

The decision to divorce was mine. The reasons were ours. I felt like it was the only choice-the only option left. 

Right or wrong I’ve lived with that decision. Some agreed with it and others didn’t. Like politics there are always 2 sides.  
I don’t second guess my decision a lot…I can’t. Regrets take up space and energy and I don’t have an abundance of either. 
But I do live with that decision every day. 
There are times, like tonight, when living with that decision is hard. 
Tucking my little bug in I asked about the bear part of her day. Her answer, “going to my daddy’s friends.” And then went on, in detail, to tell me about her adventures with the pretty lady with curls in her hair who asked her questions about her gymnastics and liked to sit close to her daddy. She told the story as a 6 year old sees things so I didn’t understand some things but others were abundantly clear. The clear part was a fun-filled day she spent with another woman’s family. 
And I was jealous. 
Jealous that my bug saw a total family day that I wasn’t a part of. Jealous that she saw hugs from adults that like one another. Honestly Envious that he moved on and while I was left living with my decision-alone. 
I should be glad she had an adventure. And maybe a small part of me is. I am happy she met someone that was kind to her. I am pleased to know that she got to see that adults can spend time together and be happy at doing so. 
I let her tell her story and didn’t ask questions. Didn’t show any emotion. I told her I was happy she has new friends and happy she had a good time. I praised her for being brave enough to go off the diving board and made the proper sounds of amazement that this family had a pool right in their backyard. I am confident she didn’t know or see the sad that washed over me as she told me about the best part of her day. And she won’t see. Her happiness shouldn’t make me sad. And it doesn’t. 
But living with my decision does. 
Not because it was the wrong decision. Given the circumstances I made the best decision I could for me and mine. I don’t, can’t, back down from that. But that decision changed my life. That decision changed their lives. And now that it is over and done seeing how differently his life and mine are rebuilding isn’t easy. 

I don’t fault him for recreating his. It hurts a little how easily it seems to be for him to do so but I don’t fault him. I don’t fault the pretty lady with curly hair either. I fell for him once too. I don’t fault anyone but that doesn’t make it easier. 
Living with my decision means I have to share. I share my daughter every other weekend and once per week. My decision meant I wasn’t with her when Santa visited last year. I wasn’t the one to take her trick or treating in the costume I made for her. I wasn’t the one that got to play in the sea and sand or see her wonderment at holding a live star fish. And now I have to share the “best part of her day”.
Making the decision was hard. I thought it was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I was wrong. Living with the decision is far harder. 

Learning what they see

She was literally about to be introduced when I made it to the field. It was 8th grader recognition night. Parents got to escort their daughters on the field. There were posters and flowers and yes-goody bags. It was a big day for my big girl. My parents came and sat on the stands watching and cheering. Her brother changed his work schedule and took a Saturday shift to replace the shift he was supposed to work today so that, he too, could be in the stands. 

While my big girl played my little girl took to the empty field behind us. Unbeknownst to her she too had an audience. I watched as she played her own game-alone. In her mis-matches long socks (like her sisters) she stood on the pitchers mound and wound up-just like her sisters friends do). She pitched an imaginary ball. Then, quickly, she darted to the batters box where she-just like her sister- took a batters stance. She hit the imaginary ball that she has just pitched to herself. It must have been a homerun because as fast as her little legs would carry her she rounded first, second, home and then (unlike her sister) slid into home. She then clapped for herself and ran into the dugout singing a softball cheer-just like her sister does. 

Later she came to “visit” us in the stands. Her face was dirty. Her white shirt was covered in red dust as were her little red shorts. One leg was still covered in a purple softball sock. The other in a blue argyle dress sock. Her little hand left a dirt handprint on her grandpas shoulder when she used him as a brave to climb up to the top of the bleachers. Her little face was ruddy and sweaty but she was smiling proudly. Perhaps because of her homerun?

Later that night she asked me to take her picture. Notice her little leg tucked cocked and tucked behind her? Her hand on her hip? Wonder where she learned that pose? 

After the game my big girl got a very big hug (or 5) from a very cute fella. My son grabbed my daughters bat and teased that he would handle THAT. 

My dad reminded my girl that she couldn’t “date” until he interviewed the boy. He’s always told his granddaughters this and they always smile. The smile was a might more nervous as I called out for her to introduce her potential guy to her grandpa. My dad didn’t interview him but he did talk to him. He told my girl that she secret to success is a short memory…she had struck out at her first at bat tonight. He wanted her to remember that she had to forget that as soon as it happened so she could focus on the next play-the next at bat. As she sat in my bed later tonight her eyes sparkled as she replayed her grandpas words. Her soon-to-be-beau was a football player and agreed with the wisdom. He thought it was cool that her grandpa gave her such good advice and talked to him. She was beaming. 

I guess the moral of my night is that they are watching. These children of mine. They are watching and learning from everything they see and from everything they see the adults in their lives do. 

My daughter will remember I made it tonight. She will know I shared the importance of her night with goody bags. She’ll remember her grandparents in the stands. She knew she was loved tonight. 

My baby girl mimicked every softball move her sisters team made. She knows every cheer, every action and every nuance of her big sister. She’s learning from what she sees. She is listening to the life lessons being offered. After all it was her grandpa that told her to protect her wheelhouse that led to her homerun in her first game. 

My son sees my dad protect his girls and he mimics that with the bat routine. He has introduced himself to the boy. He’s made his presence known. 

They don’t mimic all the lessons I am trying to teach. They don’t pick up after themselves or go above and beyond in the chore department but they are learning. My son woke himself up at 4:30am (he didn’t learn that from me) to go to swim practice because he’s got to work the rest of the week. He’s displaying an incredible work ethic that has suprised me. Bit maybe it shouldn’t. My work ethic is something I am proud of. Maybe he watched and learned that from me? 

Tonight I realized that a large part of my job as a parent is letting them see me do the right thing. I know to lead by example—it’s one of the things I learned from my parents–but tonight I realized just how much the little day-to-day observations offer them the biggest life lessons. 

How her mind works

I tuck my bug into bed about 8pm now in an attempt to get her more sleep. More sleep I am hoping equals better behavior to help her be on blue every day.  My bug likes routine so we read 2 books a night. She reads and I help.

The 4 page books can take 30 minutes-easily.  Mainly because of the words she tries to put into the story because they make more sense to her OR for the commentary she provides.

It’s both frustrating and endearing.

Tonight went something like this: 

2 sentences. That’s its. A 10 minute discussion ensued. The dot over the I is the same dot at the end of the sentence. “Why is there a period over a letter? You can’t stop a sentence at puh-iiiii.” I tell her one ends the sentence and one shows her it’s a lower case I. They look the same but they do different things. Her response,”Whatever. She’s got pink anyway. See,” and her chubby little finger points out that glob of pink. I urge her to read on.

3 sentences this time. We spend 3 minutes on the word gosh and why the author chose that particular word. Another 4 minutes in the 2 exclamation points used back-to-back. It was so stinking adorable listening to her painfully sound out every word only to get to the end, see the exclamation point and try to give the last word some “oomph”.

“Dis book is dumb,” she declared. I ask why. “Dis girl is making a big deal cause the other girl used all the pink. Look,” she stabbed at the illustration. “She making a big deal and she doesn’t even like pink. Her favorite color is blue!” The girl was wearing a blue dress.

“Your favorite color is pink but you  wear other colors,”I remind her.

“But dats not what this book is about,”she complains. “Dis girl wanted pink and she had some. Dis girl is mad because she used the pink and pink isn’t even her favorite!” She was gearing up. I turned the page hoping to squelch the tirade that was building.

Ever seen that commercial about a dog going crazy…”squirrel”…and he’s off to chase something else? I can relate.

I turn the page and help her sound out the word friend. Whoosh. It’s the equivalent of yelling squirrel to that dog. She’s gone. Her friend Braxton wants to be a basketball player when he grows up. Her daddy has a friend whose name she doesn’t know who has a dog named waffles. She belly laughs causing me to chuckle. And her teacher has a dog named butter but she doesn’t know why. She loves her teacher and is really glad that kindergarten is over. And did I know why her other teacher says “kiss your brain” all the time? Lila wears long socks and she wants to as well (her words). She draws good. No-not Lila. Her. In art she has a portfolio…do I know what that is? And her teacher tells her not to draw with all the same color.

I almost need to re-read the book at this point. I am lost. I point to the page. “Oh yeah,” she says and goes back to carefully sounding out words. Or to just adding her own. “This is dumb,” she reminds me in the next page when the story ends with the 2 of them making up over ice cream and sprinkles. “It should be chocolate syrup. That would be better.” I agree with her. “And sprinkles are really just candy. They could have said that,” she scoffed. “Why da say sp-winkles when day coulda said candy?” I have no answer. “Or toppings. Why not say  toppings?” Again, I got nothing. “You shoulda weared your glasses, mama, so you could see. Maybe it says toppings not sp-tinkles.” No baby, it says sprinkles. I urge her to tuck up go to sleep. Tucking up means she puts her thumb in her mouth and mumbles “cuddle to my back”. It also signals it’s time for sleep.

By now it’s 8:30. Her brain is buzzing. My head is aching. I kiss her soft check and am reminded that I have to kiss her whole face so no bad dreams come. My girl does love her rituals. I do as ordered and cuddle up to her. Her plump little hand pats my arm in the sweetest little gesture I’ve ever known.

Oh my girl. She doesn’t score well on test and no doubt never will. Her little brain doesn’t work like everyone else’s but it works! She sees and thinks and comprehends things in a way I don’t always understand. She might not be able to regeratate details on the sentence she just read it she’s able to question things and see things from a whole other prespective. I know that won’t help her in first grade…or 2nd or 3rd but I hope someday it serves her well.

“She no even like pink.”