Strength 


My blog is filled with triumphant stories of my fella swimming and rants about my eldest daughter.  This is the opposite.

I love this picture. The poise, the quiet determination and the visual lines it displays. That’s MY DAUGHTER. I sometimes shake my head in disbelief that this spunky, spirited creature is mine. Despite seeing an amazon, a warrior, when is see this picture, I also see her hands-curled every so slightly like they’ve done since she was my baby. She’s all woman in this picture but I still see a small glimpse of my baby girl. 

Swimming isn’t…excuse me wasn’t her thing. She played softball. I talked her into swimming because, hey, she was at the pool anyway with her brother. Might as well be IN IT. 

Like everything else she does she put her all into it and has excelled. She played softball, ran track and cheered. But in may she literally dove right in and raced side by side swimmers that have been practicing all year. And she damn near beat them!

Her style is pure strength and is very different from her brothers but it’s equally as effective. She doesn’t win with flourish-her wins are quiet and hard earned and always seem to catch her by suprise.

Like everything else she does she is her own worse critic. I see her shaking her head in the water when she’s displeased with a turn. She is barely out of the water before she is asking what her time was. She knows, to the second, what she swam last race and judges herself harshly if time isn’t dropped.  After each race she can tell you exactly where she faltered or exactly where her stamina left her. And each tome it’s a little later than the time before. 

She doesn’t choose the easy way out–not my girl—she goes straight for that Mack daddy of races-the IM. All 4 strokes at race speed. It’s daunting even for the experienced swimmer. Equally as impressive, for me at least, is that she elects to swim the same stroke as her brother. 

My girl is humble about her abilities. She’s quiet about her wins. She’s irritated at herself for her loses. I know she’s set a goal for herself to make the all-star team and the state team. I see her working, hard, toward that goal. 

And I am proud.

My girl and I butt heads. Often. I say black and she argues white. She ask for my opinion, I provide it and she argues that I am wrong. Her tone irritates me. My voice irritates her. She rolls her eyes and  I raise my voice. She flips that pony tail and I flip my lid. We are volatile. 

Yet she is my most thoughtful child. She is the one with the biggest heart. It’s her that thinks of my first.

I am proud of all of my babies but I show it least about her. And that’s wrong. She’s amazing. She’s beautiful. She’s mesmerizing when she wants to be. Her strength and power are impressive. She’s a strong willed, strong minded young woman who attacks life. She is a power all her own. She is a fighter and though these traits makes parenting her hard they also make me proud and give me confidence that she has what it takes to make her way in this world. 

What more could a mother ask for?


This photo is incredible. I see, not the 14 year old girl, but the young woman she is. I don’t see a side pony tail and an impish little smile. I look at this and see raw power and true grit. I see strength and energy; poise and beauty all on one tiny package. I see a strong young woman who isn’t afraid. And she that makes my heart happy. 

iiii nnneeveeer kknnneww

Can you read the sentence above? Could you read a paragraph like this? A book? Could you digest what the words mean? 

This is how my Sadie sees words. 

Well…that’s not true. She actually sees the books like this:


The little girl holding the umbrella? That’s Sadie’s close up world. So if she can make out the word she has to decipher what it looks like before her brain can tell her what it means. 

And  it’s doubled because at a certain distance Sadie’s eyes converge and she sees double. 

And that’s been her world. 

And I never knew. 

And she didn’t know it wasn’t right. It was her normal. 

Only her normal makes her have to work twice as hard to make sense out of the letters she is able to discern.  Once she gets tired she probably has to work even harder because one eye is seeing one thing and the other eye is off doing its own thing. 

And I never knew. 


Here she is with her big brown eyes and adorable smile. Notice her eyes? They aren’t quite aligned. But it’s minimal. Easily overlooked. The picture is at an odd angle. They are hayes eyes and change shapes. Those are all the lies I am telling myself. 


Here she is after “working” at the doctors office for a few hours. I said,”Sadie-quit doing that…I want to get a good picture of your new glasses.” She asked what she should stop doing. This is normal for her. Nothing she is seeing with her eyes and varying random angles registers as out-of-the-ordinary. Because it is her ordinary!

And I never knew. 

“Oh..am I freaking you out?” She innocently asked. 

I didn’t think I could feel like a worse mother. I was wrong. 

“I am sorry baby…momma shouldn’t have said that,” because when her eye did to this extreme I would tell her to stop because it freaked me out. It was always most prevalent when she was making a goony face and crossing her eyes. I thought it was a parlor trick like touching your tongue to your nose or making your ears wiggle. I had even used to old standard,”if you don’t stop your face is going to freeze that way!”

I didn’t know it took conscience work–literal effort for her to stop. 

All those red days at school where she would come home dejected and sad because she’d had a bad day…now I wonder how many of those days were reading days. How many times had she has to read the same sentence only to still not understand it’s meaning before she threw in the old To hell with it flag and misbehaved?  

How many times did she get an answer wrong because her brain saw the numbers differently…say left to right? And how many times did she genuinely not understand why it was wrong because 12+1 does equal 13. And sometimes that is exactly what 21+1 looked like to her. I can almost see her sassy brain saying,”fine-don’t believe me?!? I’ll just break a rule or two.” Out of frustration was it easier to move her clip then to go over the same problem that she saw the same way for the 5th time?

I don’t know that is what caused some of her behaviors but I damn sure wouldn’t blame her (now) of they did! 

I never knew. I punished her for bad behavior. Part of the punishment???? Reading alone or writing…2 things that I now know are difficult for her to do. 

I even have a blog somewhere semi-complaining about the amount of time it took us to read a single bedtime story! 

Yes, I know her brain works in ways that are mysterious to me. I understand she’s got more then fuzzy words and double vision yo contend with. But that’s all software. It was my job as her momma to give her the hardware she needed to make that software in her brain work. And I wasn’t doing my job. 

And I never knew. 

And she never knew to tell me. 

Now we know. 

She’ll have glasses-bifocals to wear to strengthen her eye. The bottom will correct her hypermetropia. Added magnification will take some strain off her eyes. Bi-focals on a ADHD child. I can’t stand reading glasses on top of my contacts and I have to ask her to maneuver bi-focal?????

Hopefully the glasses, if we can navigate them, will help the esophoria. I don’t know if the glasses will help the saccidoc eye movements she also contends with. I do know that after a month of wearing the glasses for any close activity work….

…this is the same child who has lost 4-four-Quatro pairs of goggles in the few weeks she’s been swimming. Now we are going to have to have her keep up with a pair of way more expensive than goggles glasses?…

I, as usual, digress. After 4 weeks of keeping up, getting used to and wearing said glasses we get to re-evaluate and see if her 4th nerve palsy would aid from vision therapy. 

For those of you counting there were 4 non-Libby-sounding-words in the sentences above. Those were the 4 diagnosis we left the doctor with today. 

And I never knew. 

Hey fella!

Dear fella-

I’ve spent most of your life telling you, “a good man does the right thing even when no one is looking.” I hope those words matter to you. I hope you always strive to do the right thing. Do I think you always do the right thing? No.  But perfection  was never my expectation. I want for you to alway TRY to do the right thing. To always want to do the right thing…even when I am not watching. When that happens my job here will be done. 

I have a question. An honest question- not a rhetorical (look it up) one. It’s one I may should have asked a long time ago. But I didn’t. Maybe I was too busy trying to create you into how I would answer this question—

Who do YOU want to be when people ARE looking?

Have I given you the tools to be who you want to be?

I’ve always encouraged you to lead…not follow. But I never asked-Do you want to be a leader?

I’ve taught you the importance of manners so you are well thought of by all the adults you meet. From all accounts I think you want this because I get constant reports on how well mannered you are in public.

My lessons have been that I a pro-teacher. I’ve taken the teachers side on more than one occasion. Occasions when your grades slipped or your mouth ranneth over. I’ve grounded and yelled and lectured and pleaded. But I don’t know that I ever asked,”do you care about being a good student?”  Was being the life of the class, the one to make everyone laugh more important to you? I ask because I pushed you into harder class, asked for higher grades and demanded more attention to assignments. I made you take medicine that dulled your personality but improved your attention. Was that what you wanted?

You are so clever, so smart and so curious. I know standard test and normal lectures aren’t your style of learning. But test scores aren’t the only measure of your intelligence…did I make you think that they were? 

Honest. Kind. Hard working….I can’t imagine that you don’t want those things for yourself. 

In the pool you’ve created your own identity. I can’t take credit for one second of your determination, your heart, your drive or your character on the pool. When I see you swim—be it winning or losing–I think I see glimpses of the man you will be. And I am proud. I see you shake hands after every single race. And I am proud. I see you take the blocks and I am proud. I see you make goals and then work to achieve them…and I am proud. I hope the boy that swims is the man you want to be. 


I believe you are all those things outside of the pool as well. Do you? Do you see your worth outside of the pool? I do. 

In the pool you earn respect. Not just from me but from others as well. I’ve heard little boys talk about you in awe. I’ve had adults come up and compliment you on races. I’ve seen you finish in times no one thought possible. 

All that you are in the pool….that’s what I want you to be  in life. In school, at work, in your relationships…do you want that too?

I also watch you try to be the life of the party– The funniest one in the room. I’ve seen you swagger into a room full of confidence and ego. Is that the you that you want to be? 

I watch you being the kindest, most gentle and loving brother imaginable. I’ve also seen you be quite the jerk. Who do you want to be? That’s silly. I know who you want to be when it comes to your sisters. You are protective and proud and take your responsibilities of being the older brother seriously…I know the kind of brother you want to be and I think you, for the most part, are succeeding. 

Sharing a bite


I’ve seen you handle responsibilities with a grace that most adults don’t posses. You’ve juggled advanced classes, daily swim practices, a job and your sisters and managed to smile all the while. I’ve also seen you get lost on video games and Netflix and forget things like senior picture appointments, chores and homework. I’ve seen you get so caught up in yourself that you’ve abandoned everything else. Which one do you want? Be careful not to get so caught up that your forget who you want the world to see. 

Pickup truck and boots; a charcoal gray suit and bow tie, a speedo and goggles-I’ve seen you comfortable and at home in all of them. 


What do you want to be? What do you want to do? 

The decisions you make now will all impact The Who you will someday be. At your age it’s so hard to understand that but it’s true. 

Have fun, enjoy life, have experiences, work hard, find a passion but don’t rush life, always take time to be kind and always make decisions you can be proud of. No matter who you want to be I believe these things matter. 

No matter who you want to be I can’t help but offer some advice that will ring true for anything you decide to do or be. No matter what path you want in life these will help get you there. You’ve heard it all before but I am your momma and it’s my job to keep reminding you of these things:

  • Work before you play. 
  • Early is on time and on time is late. 
  • School is your job.
  • Treat girls with respect. Always ask yourself ‘how would I want a guy treating kinsley or Sadie?’ And act accordingly.
  • There is a time to work and a time to play.
  • You earn privileges. 
  • Life isn’t fair. 
  • Earn what you want. 
  • Treat everyone kindly. 
  • Trust and respect have to be earned. And kept. Neither are guaranteed.
  • Make a promise-keep a promise. 
  • Open car doors and hold doors for strangers 
  • Be thankful 
  • Every girl you meet is someone’s daughter or sister 
  • You never know who is watching.
  • Honesty is always the best policy. 
  • So everything with sincerity.
  • Make time for family.
  • Driving is one of those privileges…not a right. 
  • Don’t forget to pray. 
  • Always look for ways to help.
  • Turn off and unplug sometimes so you don’t miss out on life
  • Get outdide sometimes 

Remember I am always your biggest fan,

Mom 

I am no Wonder Woman!

The following tale can be seen one of two ways….devastatingly humiliating or as evidence that I have really, really amazing friends. 

After spending the morning at a swim meet I decided to meet my friends for a movie.  Before meeting them I ducked into a bath and body works to ‘sample’ some fragrant body mist to hide the ‘outdoorsy’ odor that follows one after 4 hours in the blazing sun. 

Afterward I questioned my decision as I now smelled like a overly ripe fruit that had been sitting in the sun too long. Way too long. Off to a good start. 

Opening weekend of WONDER WOMAN, we, the bad ass, independent women that we are, gathered for some adult beverages and the movie. 

Afterwards as we were discussing the film one of my friends made mention that I must have really liked it since I was visibly on the edge of my seat. 

I scratched my hip and said,”actually I think I have a tick. It was starting to hurt,”I admitted. 

Let’s pause here. Yes, this is the very thing that turns me from a strong, independent woman to a squirming, sniveling idiot. And this is the 4…count them…4th tick of the very young summer season. Think the universe is trying to toughen me up. Or kill me. I can’t decide which. Not celebrating feminism here!

“Ohhhhh!”

“Ughhhhh!”

This trio of brilliant, successful women were as grossed out as I was. Well, not quite as grossed out, since none of them burst into tears. 

“Where?” 

“My hip,” I said rubbing the area. For reference-we were in the common area outside of the glass fronted theater.

“Let me see,” said the nurse. 

“It’s okay. I am going to Pinterest to see which essential oil they don’t like,” I said. Yes, my answer to a tick is to use Pinterest. 

“For gods sake…she’s a nurse!”

I was outruled. I mumbled about this being the height of humiliation. I looked around and no one was there. I moved the waistband of my shorts down a notch. “Yep! It’s a tick!” They said. “We gotta get it out. Anyone have any tweezers?” Out of her purse one friend holds up a shiny pair of nail clippers. “Will this do?”

I must have looked mortified because my friend pointed to the back parking lot. “Not here! I am parked back there.”

So here we go…a parade of women. Only one of us was mortified. 

“I think I’ve got hemostats and alcohol swabs in the car,” says the nurse. Lord have mercy this was starting to sound like major surgery. 

“Really…I can take care of it,” I tried to argue. Even I knew that was stupid. No way-no how could I reach back and tug out a tick from my…ummm…well from where it was. 

Halfway to the car I realized my momma was right. You should never leave home without good underwear on. I was pretty sure I had on some old, saggy, maternity granny panties that had long ago lost any sense of color. I moaned.

To add to the horror my new friend…yes lads and lasses…part of this merry little band was someone I had literally met as we were walking into the movie. Talk about an indoctrination. She’ll never look at me the same way again. Literally-she will never, ever, be able to look at me without reliving this particular, horrifying moment. She fit right into our group though because she was the one that clarified,  “For the record…that’s not your hip. That’s your ass.”

I’ve been accused of having a bug up my ass on more then one occasion. I never expected to have a bug on my ass. Neverless a bug that would require assistance from another human being to remove. 

Let’s recap. I stink…either from sweat or overpriced, overly scented, teen dream body spray. I have on the worlds saddest, most pitiful underwear. I am about to drop trou in front of someone I have only just met while another friend leans in close to my least attractive body part to remove a bug. In a parking lot. In broad daylight. After watching Wonder Woman. 

I’ll pause while you laugh. I need a slug of wine to finish the tale of my tail anyway. 

So…we are all caught up?

My friend pops the hatch on her suburua. I eye the cargo area. My nurse friend is still talking about sterile fields and my new friend has her phone out to document the moment. I refuse to get prone. Instead I plant my hands and my feet and assume the position that every drunk, redneck woman assumes on every episode of COPS. 

The sun is shining. The phone is pointed at my arse. My friend is helping the clippers like a neurosurgeon going in for the first cut and I am spread eagle and semi exposed to the world. Yep, I’ve reached a new level of humiliation.

“You are going to feel some pressure….” 

“Ouch!”

“Agh…don’t drop it…you have to kill it. Kill it!”

“It’s got a white dot!”

All this happened at the same moment. All while my ample end-which looked exactly like the underbelly of a bottom-dwelling-never-seen-the sun-catfish was exposed. 

In the end…pun intended…the tick was out (my dignity along with it), the offensive creature was killed and we’d all had a rousing laugh. 

“Welcome to the cool kids,” quipped the car owner to the new girl. 

On my way home I stopped and got some skeeter spray. I am not doing this again!

And because it couldn’t get any worse I will go ahead and let you share in my horrification. And if that’s not a word it will be after this experience.

25 lessons of summer

1. Leaving sushi in your car. Overnight. In may. With the windows up is never, ever a good idea. 

2. It takes 4 days of vacation before you finally lose the furrowed lines on your brow. It takes 1 day for it to come back when your vacation is over. 

3. Reading a map with no concept of north or south is the same as NOT knowing how to read a map. 

4. Sometimes all you need is some fresh air, a bubbling stream and a few hours of skipping rocks. There is nothing like hearing your son say to your baby girl, “grandpa taught me to do it and now I am going to teach you.”

Teaching her to skip rocks


5. Letting go is hard. Giving space and freedom when all you want to do is hold them close is hard.  Knowing they want to break free is hard. Watching them do it is harder still. 

6. 2 dogs is NOT the same as one dog. 

7. Weight gain is not for the weak. It takes WORK to carry the weight, the embarrassment and the shame of being fat. 

8. On that same note I wish I was as fat as I thought I was the first time I thought I was fat. 

9. We are 2 weeks into summer and I am already exhausted. Swim teams, shifting schedules, kids here there and yon is exhausting. Even a colored coded spreadsheet and a slide rule hasn’t made it any easier. 

9. There is no joy like spending a beautiful summer day and $45 dollars in quarters at a laundromat getting every piece of dirty laundry on the house finally washed and dried. There is no agony like 3 hours later having a laundry basket overflowing with wet beach towels, swim suits and all the dirty clothes from the day. A woman’s work is truly never done. 

10. The whole sushi thing…don’t do it. 

11. Only granddaughters can make their grandpas wear sombreros. And there is no better way to spend a birthday than surrounded by the ladies in your life (if you are a grandpa).


12. Being an aunt is pretty freaking cool. Being aunt to a neice who likes adventure is even better. Hearing, “this is the best night of my life” after an adventure with your niece is the best!


13. There is a special place in heaven for mothers that survive teenage daughters. I hope I make it there. 

14. Teen age boys fall in love fast and hard. And sisters of teenage boys that are in love fall just as hard and fast for the girl their brother loves.

15. It’s the last summer swim season for my fella. 11 years of summer swim. And it all ends this July. My heart isn’t ready.

16. When you are surrounded by your little ones 24-7 you secretly long for 5 minutes to yourself. 5 minutes of being alone and all you want is your babies back. 

17. I’ve seen more of the top of my daughters head than any other part of her body this summer. 


18. Any email after the 1324th is just ridiculous. Ask me how I know. 

19. It’s not easy being the mean momma. It’s necessary–but it’s not easy. 

20. They don’t stay little long. Facebook memory hop is all the proof you need of that. 
21. A $35 dollar pie is no tastier then a $9.99 Sara Lee one. 

22. Yes, traveling to NYC to get edible cookie dough is totally worth it. No, buying 3 scoops in the heat of summer while on a 3 hour bus tour in rush hour traffic is not ideal. This I know. 


23. I now know the difference between a macron and a macaroon. I wish I didn’t. I love macaroons which certainly isn’t helping with the weight issue. But boy-oh-boy….macaroons where have you been all my life!!!

24. The start of something always signals the end of something else. 

25. 2 weeks on…8 more to go. 

First and Last

IMG_6902.JPG

They say there are 2 loves in your life—your first and your last.

This weekend, going through old pictures, I came face to face with my first.

David E. Lane II. He wore starched shirts, bow ties (before they were cool), pressed khaki’s, round spectacles and a signet ring. Pre-med. A reserve in the United States Marine Corps. He was the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. I was intimidated to the core. For weeks, I’d rush back to the dorm before the class I shared with him. I’d dress up in my cutest outfits, freshen up my make-up and tease out my hair—don’t judge—it was the late 80’s/early 90’s. And by cute outfits I meant denim shorts with a fold down waist, a belt created from a bandana complete with beads. All my outfits had matching bows, yes, bows and I wore cute while socks on my loafer clad feet. Once I wore black ballet flats with gross grain ribbons that tied up the ankles. Oh I thought I was cute in those shoes. The only issue is that it began raining on my way over there. The rain caused the ink in the ribbon to bleed in rivulets down my ankles and across my feet. It was horrendous. These were pre-cell phone days. I ducked into a building, used a pay phone to call my cousin. “Hurry!” I screamed into the phone. “and bring a wet washcloth.” He must have heard the sheer panic in my voice because he came right away, with a washcloth. No telling where he managed to find that. I can guarantee you it wasn’t in his dorm room!

He was cool. He was different. The starched shirts when everyone else was in t-shirts were a by-product of his Marine training. He wasn’t a Jr…he was a II. He drove a car like I’d never seen before. He wasn’t a young kid straight from high school living the college life of kegs and all night parties. He’s completed basic training. He was a trained solider. He appreciated education and all it had to offer. He didn’t want to know how many skips you were allowed before you failed. He was taking theatre classes to fulfill a fine arts requirement. He loved to learn, he was smart and he had a goal that a good education would make possible.

I was cast in my very first college show with him. It was a horrible show! To this day I don’t understand what Woyzeck was about or what my character had to do with anything. But I had a part…and so did he. For that reason and that reason ALONE I will always remember that show with the fondest of hearts. I would take the stage, again in my cutesy little outfits. Peach short suit with silver trim. Pleated skort and fuzzy read sweater or red pants with suspenders and a jaunty black and white shirt. I might have been terrified and shy but I looked good.   Hahaha I was so tongue tied I could barely mumble my words in the scene we shared. Hour after hour, night after night, I gazed at him wishing I were smarter, prettier, braver or more interesting so I could talk to him. He tried to start a few conversations but I was a total introvert and couldn’t….just couldn’t…converse.

One on horrible, stormy afternoon he pulled up the door of the Stone Center where I stood shivering in under the door jamb. My dorm was a mile away. Literally. He pulled up in his Isuzu Impulse and told me to get it. I lied and told him I had a ride. I wanted to get in that car but I was so shy that I couldn’t. Later he told me he followed me home, in the rain.

One night at a cast party that my friend Beth MADE ME GO TO things changed. I walked into the room and saw him sitting there in jeans, a collared shirt and his round glasses. I can still feel the way my heart pounded in my chest. Especially when he crooked a finger and beckoned me over. “Sit down and put your arm around me. We are going to talk.” So I did. And we talked and talked and talked and talked. The party ended and we walked around campus. For hours. It was the night before parent’s night so in the wee hours of the morning he walked me home. Outside the dorm he said, “What’s our real name?” I answered Elizabeth. “That’s what I am going to call you.”

My favorite television show as Little House in the Prairie . This was a total little house on the Prairie moment!!!!

From that moment on he never called me anything else. I thought it was the most romantic gesture ever.

The play, as weird as it was, and it was WEIRD. I think it was written by a German man suffering from syphilis. UGH. As odd and strange as it we were invited to perform at the Alabama Shakespeare festival in Montgomery, Alabama. As an actress, quite a feat. As a young girl with a crush performing there paled only in comparison to David saying, “Come ride with us,” as we were all getting in cars to travel. The car was full. I told him so. He patted his lap. My heart stopped, my breath caught and I panicked. In the end I rode from Jacksonville, Al to Montgomery, Al in a compact car sitting in his lap. This was a pre-seat belt era.

And so it began…my first love, my first romance. And it was everything I’d ever dreamed about. He was romantic, thoughtful, confident and smart. He was a marine and one weekend per month donned his uniform and oooo-laaaaa-la. A confident man in a uniform. Instant love. There were love letters, sweet dates, flowers and spontaneous trips. It was the romance I’d always dreamed of.

Eventually I brought him home to meet my parents. More and more he traveled home with me. We were building our lake house so there were often friends of my parents or aunts and uncles there to help. It was those friends who nicknamed him G. For gnat. “You ae just like gnat…always flying around, pesky and irritating,” they teased. So he became G to them from that moment forward.

My world came crashing down when he was placed on active duty and was sent to California to prepare for deployment. In a grand, romantic (but stupid) gesture he snuck away from his platoon and flew home to spend New Year’s with me. Kissing my solider at midnight before he left for war. It was the magic found on the big screen. It was the plot of every romantic movie I’d ever seen. Only it was real and he was the hero and I was the heroine. He was Tom Hanks and I was Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail.

This was the Dessert Storm era. My love’s unit was activated and he was deployed. On tv I watched the shock and awe campaign. The highlight of my day was rushing to the student center to mail my letter and to check my mailbox. It was a petrifying time. I was a young girl, in love, watching a war unfold knowing my love was somewhere in it. To this day I can’t hear the Smithereens Baby Be Good song without remembering exactly how I felt sitting alone, in the dorm room, holding letters and watching CNN.

Months later I was there in a navy blue and gold short suit with a double-breasted jacket and gold trim the day he came home. Seeing him, hanging out of the bus sky light calling my name is still one of the singular best moments of my life. That first hug…oh that first hug…every girl should have a hug like that once in her life. In what seemed like a totally heart-stopping gesture he had Elizabeth tattooed on his hip when all of his Marine buddies were having total BA tattoos done when they were shipped back to friendlier lands. I used to wonder what he ended up going with that tattoo.

My family threw him a coming home party. I wore an American flag Laura Ashley style jumper with a red and white collar. Somewhere amidst the flags and the welcome home hugs the moonshine came out. I wasn’t there but I’ve heard stories that he asked my dad if he could marry me just before the moonshine kicked in with full force and passed out.

Days later he took the train from Alabama and proposed with a carat, round cut diamond ring.

Months later he looked at me and said, “I can’t. I just can’t.” And with my first love I had my first heart break. And as hard as I loved him I mourned losing him as equally hard. My grief overflowed and I found myself in an emotional tailspin. That is another blog for another day and a story I am not quite ready to tell. Suffice it to say…I was broken.

He graduated and went to Officer Candidate School. Weeks, months would go by and then I would get an unexpected call, from him, and the whole thing would start over again. Intense times of falling right back in love only to be told “I am sorry” again before he went away. Over and over it happened.

Like most memories only the good times remain. The fights. The temper he brought back from Iraq. The family issues he brought with them….those have faded with time. All that’s left is the memories of being loved the way I’d always dreamt of being loved. DEL II will forever be idolized as perfect in my mind.

It was during this time—this horrible, horrible time in my life that I met what I later thought would become my last love.  He was my friend at a time when my life felt over. He had a crush on me at a time I never felt like I would be loved again. I was struggling to recover and he wanted more. But he waited. He kept trying. He wooed me with fur bunnies, letters and trips to the circus. I didn’t rush into anything with him. It developed over time. It developed as a friendship.

We met when I was given the leading role in a play. The lead actor had to drop out and he was suddenly there—dark and moody, my romantic lead. Art imitates life. Our lives took on the plot of the play we were in

There were 4 of us in that play that developed a close friendship. I graduated with them as my best friends. He and I had dabbled in dating but he always wanted more than I could give with my broken heart. He had a temper and could be quite childish when he didn’t get his way. I wouldn’t give him his way so he pouted and went away,

It was years and a failed marriage—on his part and mine—before we reconnected.

And so began what I thought was the last romance of my life. And that was okay. I’d had a passionate, emotional, stuff dreams were made of first love and I was going to end in a love built in history and friendship. It was like the best of both worlds.

And for a while it was just as I’d dreamed. We got married under a fiery orange and electric yellow tree in New Hampshire. We bought a house. He became a Poppy, an extra dad to my children. Soon he became a father to a daughter all his own.

But that didn’t go as planned either. And for the 2nd time in my life I watched love leave.

Why?

It’s still a question I ask. Why did David say “I can’t, I just can’t”? Why did the last make the choices he made knowing that it would lead to the end of us? And the questions don’t stop there

What about me makes me so hard to love? Why am I attracted to men who break my heart? Why is it easier to leave me then to love me? Why is the one thing I want—to love and to be loved—so unattainable for me? Is it over? Did I have my first love and my last love and now I just wait out my life alone? What do I have to change, to do to be in order to be part of a WE and not just a ME?

Sometime I ask these questions in sorrow. Sometimes I ask them in anger not understanding why I am where I am. Sometimes I feel sorry for myself. Sometimes I am totally content being a mom and having a good job and my own little home. Sometimes I ask out of honest curiosity. Sometimes I wail out my questions in jealousy as I see lives all around me being lived out the way I wanted to live out mine.

I miss being loved. I’ve had it twice but lost it both times. I miss taking care of someone. I wasn’t always good at it and would love to have the chance to redeem myself. I miss making plans and having someone the help carry them out. I miss having a complete family. I didn’t have that with my first love but I had that with my last love. With my first love I’d dreamed of what it would be like to be a home, to be have children and to make a family. With my last love I’d given him a ready-made family and created a bigger, blended family. But it wasn’t enough.

I wish I had a crystal ball or a time machine. I’d go back and learn from my mistakes. I’d fall in love with a carefree heart but with a wiser mind. I’d know the flags so I could avoid the pitfalls. Would I make the same choices? Of course. No matter how much I’ve been let down or hurt I have 3 incredible, unique and amazing babies.

Maybe that’s my path. Not to be loved or to love a man but to focus all my love on my son and daughters. Maybe I shouldn’t be wasting my time wondering why and, instead, should focus my energy on wanting something else from life. Maybe….

Who knows? This weekend I walked down memory lane and stirred up some old hurts. But I also got to relive some incredible memories. I got the chance to remember my first love. I got to ponder on if I’ve had my last love. If I have then at least I’ve loved and even briefly, been loved.

[lh1]

All kinds of love 

What a weekend! 

The weekend started with me becoming a “mom” to a brown eyed, slightly bow-legged, floppy new dog named Kiki Brittany. Kiki is her name but little bug wanted to add Brittany in memory of her sweet counselor who recently passed away. It was a Symbolic weekend to adopt. 

The decision  defies logic. It’s ridiculous to add another dog into the family…but we did. Or rather colton did. I just said yes.  Heck…I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life. At least this one made my babies happy. 

How could I say no?

Kiki Brittany


Saturday my babies, both dogs and I headed to Toccoa for my sisters wedding.  For the first time I got to see the pavilion named after my dad’s mom and my namesake—Elizabeth Hayes. Evidently she was the queen of the Tugalo and know all the history of the area. She grew up in that area and knew every story, every event and all the history of the area. That was my nanny.


My moms besties came to the wedding to support her. They aren’t my moms but they love my mom and they are like family. My Aunt Debbie was there too. She’s always loved me like her own. And there was my mom…running around making things beautiful and special for my sister. My daughters looked precious and my niece looked so pretty. She hugged me and told someone I was the best aunt ever…okay…I might have swayed that vote with a trip to NYC…but still…what a Thing to hear. My sister was there to get married but I was the one that felt surrounded by love. 


I woke up to a handmade pinch pot and a story that my little one had very proudly written. So proudly that she woke me up at 6:30 am on SUNDAY to open it. 

“…I was so tired because I had a long day and I snuck downstairs to sub (ahhh man I forgot the n) it’s a-pposed a be snuggle-with my mom and she plays with me.” Her daddy has let her pick out other gifts as well. Her proud, Beaming smile as I opened them was priceless. 

My son wrote me the sweetest note. A note that made me cry because it was so heartfelt and perfect. I am raising a good man. As a mom that is the best gift of all. 


My incredible daughter wrote me a note that listed all the reasons she loves me. I hate that she and I had to fight before I read it. Not my best mommy moment. By a long shot. This fight was my fault and I am sad I hurt her fragile little heart. Especially when I read page after page of pure sweetness. If my daughter really sees me the way she describes then I am doing something right. Her note was 4 pages long. I don’t have a picture but it will get its own blog. 

Pancakes on the breezeway and a morning looking through old pictures of my mom’s mom and my mom through the years was a perfect way to spend the day. Here is my talented grandmother with my mom wearing the wedding dress she’d made. 


Before I left my son, dad and I loaded an iron bed into the truck my parents made it possible for my son to drive. But it wasn’t any iron bed. This was the iron bed that had been my dad’s as a little boy. It was the bed my parents had when they got married. And now it’s mine. I love having a piece of my own history. 

I assumed my day was over when we rolled in to our humble little abode at 8pm. But I was wrong. Waiting on me was gift from my secret mom friend. And it was PERFECT. If someone had asked me to name my favorite things I would have picked the things she gave me. To be loved like that tickled me. Even my little one said, “Wow, mom, they know everything you like!” How very, very cool to have someone really know you and love you so much that they know exactly what makes you happy. 


But still it wasn’t over. My son’s friend dropped by flowers and the sweetest card. She said I wasn’t her mother but I had treated her so nicely during a crazy time in her life and she wanted me to know how much it meant. I hadn’t realized how much she needed someone. I’d just treated her like my own but it had mattered to her. 


It was Mother’s Day and I was lucky enough to spend it with my mom. Luckily I got to spend the weekend with other people that love me or that I love like like moms. Being loved and being loved like that makes all right in my world. 

I am the mom to 3, have a mom and have been loved by women who loved me like a mom loves a child. I’ve been lucky to have loved the moms of my parents. I have provided love to someone who needed it. The are all kinds of love and this weekend I got to experience all of it.