Mama tried

Handmade Halloween. I did it despite my current state. It was cuter in my mind. 

Made me nostalgic for the years when my oomph matched my ideas and my little one actually looked like I’d pictured her in my mind…

Obviously in years past I’ve had a little more energy towards my handmade Halloween projects. 

Someday I hope she’ll remember that I tried. I hope she’ll forget that the year she was 6 I sat around more then before, that I was short(er) tempered and that everything I did seemed at 1/2 speed and 1/2 way. Instead I hope she’ll remember that I laughed when I talked about her as an octopus or that seeing pictures of her as a flower “plot” always makes me smile. I hope she will remember that I made bows for her sister and swim presents for her brother and that for her I made costumes. I hope that’s what she will tell her little ones one day. 

Mama tried baby-mama tried.

Little fella no more 

My little fella turned 17 today. 

At lunch, before we ate, he made a speech,”thanks for today. I know coming to a swim meet wasn’t how you wanted to spend your day, but I am happy I got to spend the day with my girls.” 

My fella. 

I still see him as the little fella with the hat turned backwards with a mischievous glint in his gray eyes and a half smile full of impish humor. To me, he’s the same little guy that used to climb in my lap or snuggle beside me in bed. 

Today-driving from Atlanta he leaned over and laid his head on my shoulder and he was suddenly 6 again. 

But he’s 17. He works, gets himself up for 5:30a swim practice and holds down a full advanced class school schedule. He no longer wants matchbox cars-instead he wants to ‘toughen’ up the truck he’s allowed to drive. We don’t talk Legos anymore. Now it’s talk of rims and wheels and chrome what-cha-ma-call-it’s. He carries more burdens now-looking after his sisters and me. Responibilites of debt and the weight of want. He’s has his first love and had his heart broken. He’s heard tough feedback and been let down a time or two. He’s understanding that the life you want doesn’t come easy or fairly. He’s 17.

But I still see my little fella–so sweet and funny. So full of swagger and oomph. He will always be that to me. 

“I can get into rated r movies without an adult now,” he proclaimed riding down the road. This just moments after he’d lais his bushy head in my shoulder. I almost admonished him and said ‘not without my permission’ but I didn’t. Because he really doesn’t need my permission for that now. 

Today in the mail there were flyers from colleges. This time next year we will be talking financial aid and school visits. This time next year he will be getting ready to leave this nest I’ve created for him. Part of me is proud but a bigger part of me is heartbroken. I just can’t imagine not getting a hug from my fella every night. I can’t fathom not seeing him, his hat still backwards, smiling at me or thank ing me for coming to his swim meets. 

He’s 17. He’s making a life of his own. He’s facing difficulties and having to make decisions on how to get through them. All on his own. 

I am not finished teaching this little fella of mine, but my role is different now. I can offer advice, make roles and set boundaries-and I do-but more and more he’s having to face things on his own. 

I know this is how it’s supposed to be. My job is to teach him and to prepare him to go off on his own. I didn’t know it would be so hard. I didn’t realize that every step he took on his own would be away from me. 

My fella is so full of life on the outside but inside he’s a little sad and a little scared. He’s not a big fella. He talks too much and has to fight hard to focus. He has big dreams but he’s having to achieve them the hard way-working twice as hard as some of his friends-to even get close to what he wants. And what he wants often eludes him. While I know this will build his character I also feel bad-wishing his lot in life were a little easier-that things were a little more attainable or that just once he felt like he could breathe and let the world come to him. But it’s not that way for my little guy. 

He loves us. He adores his baby sister and she him. He’s proud of his 3 year-3 day younger sister. He’s patient with me. He does his best to be the little man of the house. He calls us ‘his girls’ and smiles that smile of his when I tell him how much I love him. 

17. It’s not yet a man but it’s so far from a boy. He’s caught in the in-between. It’s one of those birthdays you tolerate to get to the next milestone-18 when the world considers you as adult or 21 when its all legal and binding. For him-it’s a waiting year. For me it’s so much more—17. 

I am so proud of this little fella of mine. He’s not perfect. But he’s great. I am lucky enough to call him mine. I am his biggest fan-his biggest champion and his first love. 

He’s growing out his hair-and I let him-even though it’s wooly and wild and unkept. I know he’s trying to figure out who he is and who he will become. I see glimpses of a man I will be very proud of. I also still see tiny glimpses of that little fella who stole my heart 17 years ago today. We named him a big name that day  -Colton Henry and over the years I’ve watched him grow into the name. 

He’s 17 years old today but it feels like just a moment has passed. 


11:40pm boy hugs me goodnight. He reeks of chicken.

5:00am “momma! I feel like crap. But I am going to swimming.” At least I think that’s what he said. 

6:45 am. “Momma! You have to get up. I have to be at school early for student council. ‘Ahm-up’ I just have muttered. It had been a bad shingles night so I’d taken an anti-itch pill which I don’t normally allow myself on weeknights. They wipe me out. 

7:10am “MOMMA!”oops.

7:20am Straight outta bed-still in my pajamas I get the princess to school on time.

8:20 I get to work. Coffee. Blessed coffee. My boss clocks in before me. I claim “busted” and swipe my badge. 

10:30 I woff down some popcorn. Breakfast. 

10:31am son calls from nurses office. I had just gotten out of my chair for the first time that day. Phone tag ensues. It’s round robin for a bit before I hear that he’s checked out on orders from Nirse. Crap. Guess he did feel bad. 

10:40ish I answer my work phone in my new scripted perky greeting. It’s my daughters teacher. She’s busted out of her shoe. It must have been a blow out. I have to bring her shoes. AGH!

Catch sick boy he agrees he can make the shoe run. 

11:00 ish. “Hey baby,” I start in my sweetest mommy voice only to realize I am holding my work phone to my ear and not my cell phone which means I have just called my boss baby. I spend the next 3 minutes leaving a long rambling message apologizing for calling her baby. I should have just hung up. 

Meanwhile a text pops up “momma why did c leave school?”seems the school app sent my nosy Nellie of a daughter a text about my high school son leaving school. 

1:30 ish I grab some banana pudding and a Diet Coke for lunch. Nutrition of champions I tell ya. Yep that weigh in next week is going to go well. 

2:00 ish I start the process of making sure 3000+ people get paid correctly next week. It’s sort of important. 

2:17 school again. Different teacher. Slight accident on the playground and my girl is wet. In an award worthy mommy moment I ask if there is anything they can put on her. 

2:30 another call. They’ve found clothes but she’s commando. I tell them to put her on the bus to after school and I’ll get there as soon as I can. 

3:00 walk my buddy through filling out clinic forms. 

3:15 I walk him through what tell his boss because he’s supposed to work tonight. 

4:00 I finish the most pressing of assignment. My phone is going crazy. I call it quits and head out to be a mom. 

4:17 I console son who is about to lose it because the strep test about made him throw up. 

5:00 ish arrive to her girl. She comes to the car looking like little orphan Annie. I can’t help it. I bust out laughing. That doesn’t go over well. “Momma!” She complains. Her shorts-obviously boys-are 3 sizes too big. Her shirt too. She has on tennis shoes with no socks. The only thing funnier is thinking of her earlier in her little chiffon dress and tennis shoes before the accident. “What happened?” I managed to ask. Evidentially her playmates made her laugh so hard that she wet her pants. “And MOMMA…I had to go to after school commando!” I laugh harder. It’s not funny-it’s not. But all I can do is laugh. 

“In look dumb. Just dumb,” she grumbles sending me back into the giggles. 

Meanwhile it’s strep and the boy is  out is school until Monday. That doesn’t hurt his feelings. He’s also scheduled to work Friday and Saturday for then Georgia game. Now he can’t. That DOES hurt his feelings. 

We make it to store for antibiotic pick up. Girl is mortified to have to go in like she’s dressed. Every 3 steps she has to stop and hike up her shorts. I laugh each time. She is not amused. I agree to buy and feed the girl a Popsicle to ease her fragile mood. That mollified her for the car ride. Meanwhile I drive and walk my fella through how to manage the work scenario. 

Boy heads to his fathers to sleep it off because his big sister FREAKS OUT when anyone is sick. He mimics her cowering away from him in horror. 

The pop sickle has kicked in–it was sugar free but no one told her that—and my gymnast has some 473 cartwheels and faux handstands inside and commando. It’s not a pretty site. I coerce her into pants. 

I set a reminder in my phone so I don’t leave my big girl at school where she is working concessions to raise cheerleading funds and then gets to stay for a middle school bash. 

Girl is starving. Dog is going crazy and my face hurts. But I am laughing at the absolute absurdity this day has been. 

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.