Finishing behind 

I am delusional. 

5k to raise money for C&K swim dues. I paid .YES I willingly parted with money for the uh…privilege of walking/huffing/sweating and genuinely embarrassing myself. 

I am the same woman who had back fat so bad she has to put an overshirt over her tank top. Yep. That’s me. I had to wear track shorts covered in paint streaks because they are all that fit. Yeah I am 5k ready. 

I am also the woman who bought herself a honey-lavender truffle from condor chocolates today as a reward for walking a 5k. And I wonder why I very closely resemble and linebacker. 

But I was determined. 

1/8 of a mile in I cursed myself for thinking there was any hope in hell of my finishing. Unless the stretcher they used to carry to large, limo body out had to cross the finish line to load me into an ambulance. 

My sweet girl and her sweet friends were very graciously walking with me. All of them in jaunty cheer clothes and HUGE bows. How do they stand upright-much less run with those things!! Anyway-she kept giving me little goals. “Let’s run to the stop sign. C’mon let’s go. You can do it.” The bold indicates things said in her super perky cheer voice. 

I hated her. 

The first 4 times I did as she instructed.  The 5th time I was panting so bad I could even tell her no. Probably a good thing since I would have used some “adult words.”

I made it off the asphalt and onto the trails. At this point I am concerned that the friction of my thighs rubbing together was going to start a forest fire!

But I kept going. I was sweating in places I didn’t know could sweat. I stunk. Even the bugs were like “ahh hell no-I don’t want none of that.”

But I kept going.

Miss perky pants and her perky friends decided to take a short cut (cheat) after the first water station: one mile in. I was so short of breath I couldn’t even give her a  mom speech on determination. 

I must have been a sight. 2 shirts. Thighs going “whoosh-whoosh” with every stride. Breathe going “hhhhhhhh” “uuuuuuuuu”. Sweat   dripping. Bright orange tennis shoes slapping the ground like clown feet because I could barely lift them. Alone in the woods. To add insult to injury thru the trees I could hear crowds cheering for finishers. Fi-inn-ish-ers. I had made it, gratefully, to the first water station and runners were done! 

What is the point! I thought  to myself.  But I am no quitter. I kept going  walking. Alone. Exhausted. Embarrassed but moving. 

I kept my head down and my eyes averted at the “cheer stations” where volunteers shouted “keep going” and “you got this”. 

I kept walking. I tugged my shorts and flapped my arms. I panted and panted and panted and almost cried there alone in the woods: fat, out of shape and ashamed. 

And than I met J. 

I had either gotten a second wind or I’d realized the faster I walked the faster I would be DONE and home to my truffle. My strides had gotten longer. Soon I wasn’t alone on the trail. A woman and her son were in front of me. 

In sympathy I noticed that the little guy seemed over it! I couldn’t hear his words but I could tell he was asking how much farther-how much longer. His mom noticed me and told him to move over so I could pass. I was about to just that when my downward angled eyes noticed hard plastic pieces tucked into the boys nikes. They were braces. “Don’t worry about me passing!” I said. 

The woman took the boys hand and gave him some encouragement. We all kept walking. Passing him didn’t feel right so I slowed my pace and stayed behind. 

A little bit later he appeared to be agitated and irritated and over the whole darn thing. She encouraged him to keep moving. She looked back at me as quietly said,”this is my J-he has cerebral palsy-this is his first race.” (She gave me his real first name but I don’t want to put it here)

“You are doing so great!” I said to him.  

And so we walked. Me behind J and his mom. (Probably a little closer than their noses wished.)

We’d walk. They would talk. Every little bit I’d encourage him. She kept urging him to try and run a little. So he did. I did too. We all shuffled our feet in a slow jog. When he slowed to a walk we did too. 

At one point we realized we were both parents of summer swimmers. So we talked about that a bit. “J wants to try next year. We are going to get a few private lessons first so he’s more comfortable.” So we talked a little more about swimming. 

Once again he seem to wither a bit.  “You know J-I wanted to quit back there but I didn’t. I saw you walking and what an awesome job you are doing so I kept going.”

And we walked. At one point J and his mom were discussing cross country running. I heard her say “I wondered if maybe this was something you’d want to do but now I am not so sure” we were all dodging roots and crevices and a slippery little incline. “I might like swimming,”he said,”but I can do anything I want to do!” And she answered,”Yes, yes you can.” I felt so lucky to be behind them and getting to hear the interchange. 

And we kept walking. We made it to the 2nd water station. By now we were being passed by the true runners who were running the course in reverse as a cool down. 

Being passed no longer bothered me. 

We started up a hill. A gaggle of cheerleaders were at the top. “Ohhhh- cheerleaders,” said the mom.”you want to be running when you pass them.” This time he gave no argument. “Maybe I should start now,”he said. So he picked up his feet and ran-not shuffled- up the hill right past the cheering girls. His mom and I picked up the pace and ran UP THE HILL- behind him. Lord why couldn’t the cheerleaders have been on a flat stretch I wondered. 

We made it up the hill and around the bend before we all slowed again. He had a pep in his step now. Our pace got a little faster. 

Soon the cheering got louder. J’s dad had come down to meet him. J had run ahead to him. The mom and I were talking and strolling along. The cheering got louder. J started running. “Go and finish with him,” I said. She jogged to catch up with him. 

Up another incline and around the bend waited the finish line. Groups were cheering us on. J was ahead. I jogged to close the gap. I wanted to be there when he finished. Friends of his brothers called his name and cheered as he got closer. It was electric. I heard my sweet girl shout,”go mama! Go mama! I am so proud of you!” It made me feel awesome. But not as awesome as what I saw next. 

J crossed the finish line. 

His brother was waiting there. J launched himself into his brothers arms. I saw his mom burst into happy tears. I saw tears on J’s face. 

I’ve never been so happy to finish behind some one in my life. I felt honored to have seen the finish. Proud of a little boy I didn’t know. 

I saw him again as we were leaving. I called out how awesome he did and how props I was. He shouted back that I’d done a great job too. It was the sweetest thing. Here-a boy who had to work so hard to finish was congratulating me for doing the same. 

I am not going to eat my truffle tonight. Am I proud of myself? A little. But I did something that was hard for me because of choices I’d made (like the truffle). Celebrating that felt silly after watching J finish overcoming odds that he didn’t choose. 

I finished behind a little hero tonight. And I am so glad I did. 


Happy day 

Oh happy day!

Really. What a happy day. 

Serenaded. Spoiled. Treated. 

People who know me celebrating with me. People celebrating me in their own way. I love having people. 

This year I eased into my birthday. No expectations. No grand resolutions. No extensive plans for what this year would or should hold. This year just is what it is. I am who I am. Life will be what it will be.

And that’s okay. 

That’s enough. 

And how incredible it feels to just let happy happen. 

How incredible it feels to let the little things be the big things and not want for anything more.

My work family loves me. We’ve weathered a storm and have come out on the other side a little battered, a lot bruised, smaller in size but ready to face what comes next. Together. 

They showered me with love today. A little Jesus, a little vodka and some chicken salad. What more could a girl want? Seriously what more could a girl want than good people to work with…good people who make her a better person? People who drink a little and pray a lot? 

Tomorrow I’ll be with my tribe. The woman who taught me that real friends are worth the wait. That real friends just love you—no strings, no motives, nothing but raw honest love. I didn’t find them until late in life but it was so with the wait. Tomorrow we will be loud and laugh with abandon. We will drink a little and cuss a lot. It will be good to me in my little tribe again. The woman who changed everything…

Today I had new friends call to sing me happy birthday. My mom and dad sang to me like they did when I was a little girl. My aunt called. My family wished me well in texts and Facebook messages. 

And my babies…my sweet babies. A new member of my little clan gave me incredible roses. My sweet girl drew me a picture. My big babies did it all: confetti, balloons, yellow roses, a turtle charm and a new bracelet charm. They picked up. They planned a night in…my favorite kind of night. Fancy frozen pizza. Low fat ice cream. Action movies. They lit candles and sprayed air fresh. Every little thing I love they managed to have on hand for my birthday. Most importantly they were there. For me. With me. And they didn’t seem to want to be anywhere else. 

And that feels best of all. Having people in my life that know. Know me. Know what makes me smile. Know what I like. To be known is the very best gift of all. 

Every part of today was an A+ moment. Every part. Not because it was big or grand or extravagant. It’s easy to find joy and awe in big moments. Today was perfect in its simplicity. Simple and pure. Today was not what I expected. It was more. 

My fellas girl came and seemed happy to hang with us. Having her here, with us, made the day complete. It’s one more person snuggled up with us on the couch. 

Today people showed me…all on their own way…that they are happy I am alive. And having people happy that I am alive makes me happy. 

It’s a happy day. 

Stepping out

Can you go out on faith when it involves a trip?  A vacation? Something personal?

It sounds selfish so I doubt it counts as a true walk of faith BUT it feels like kismet. 

My fella. My guy. My first. My buddy turns 18 in October. Eight. Teen. It’s a big one. It’s the last one as a child. I want it to be big, to feel big and to create a memory that will last forever.

My girl turns 15 in October. 15 is a hard one. It’s a restless year. A year of waiting. The year BEFORE you get the freedom of driving and dating and all the good parts of being a teen. But it’s still a milestone. 15 still needs to be celebrated. 

The past few weeks  I’ve watched people I’ve worked with walk away. After 17, 20, 30 years they leave with a box and a tear. After months…years…of putting work first that scared me. I don’t want to leave and have regrets. I don’t want to have postponed life until all my projects got done or all my emails were answered. I want both. I want to work hard and love what I do WHILE playing hard with the people I love. I want to work so I can play. I don’t want to resent one because it got in the way of the other. 

So I thought about a plan. A plan that felt extravagant and BIG. A celebration. For them. For me. For us.

And it all just fell into place. Piece by piece by piece. An idea. That’s all I had. An idea and a desire. 

In a random conversation about places we’d all love to go someday my fella gave an answer to a place that was possible. 

I got an email that my credit card limit was being raised. 

My daughter reminded me of the best experience she’s ever had. 

We could take our trip and be away on his day and hers. 

Swim season starts the week after the birthdays.

Every little detail just came easy. 

It felt like it was meant to be. So I keep moving forward. One step. The next and than one more. If, at any point in time, things fell apart we would just step back and punt. But nothing did. 

Well almost nothing. The only twinge in the plan was my fella worried that the day he left was the day his girl came into town. I knew it was love when he really had to weigh out the options. He struggled but came out deciding that he would sacrifice a few days with his love for an adventure. 

Man. That was close. 

It’s not logical. A single mom who just recently wasn’t certain she would have a job doesn’t really have business spontaneously planning a family trip. I should be frugal and careful. Put away, put up, keep back…that’s smarter. 

But I am going to not take the careful way. Not this time. I am going to trust and, on faith, do this. I am going to take advantage of circumstances that are making this possible. I am going to give me guy one of his bucket list items. And that feels awesome. 

I am going to spoil my girl. And that feels awesome. 

We are going on an adventure before he begins his own adventure next year.  We’ve all worked hard to get to this point. Together. So we are going to play. Together. 

And it’s requiring a little bit of faith but that feels good too. 

Mike drop

Several years ago I had a campaign to find the a+ moment in each day. It was a way of reminding myself that no matter how bad the day was there was always a gem, a hidden treasure to cherish. Life is about the small moments—and I tend to get tied up in the rush or the stress and forget that. I haven’t been as diligent as I should about finding the A+ in each day. But it’s time to get back to it.
This morning was easy. School started earlier this week. It was hard. The stress of the first day, the changing routines, the early mornings and the rush to get out the door all started back with a vengeance. This morning we were all tired. It took a little longer to get baby girl out of bed then it should have. Which meant I was already behind and antsy. The 2 bigs and our houseguest were all upstairs, probably tripping over one another, getting ready. The dogs were playing and running here and there. Baby girl wouldn’t get out of bed. I was out of underwear that fit so I was already uncomfortable and squirmy. My first belt didn’t even consider going around me. The sole of my shoe had separated from the foot part so I was flopping around like drunken clown. I’d caught the dog drinking water from the dirty fish bowl which irked me because no one had watered the dogs and the fish was living in filth (like the rest of us). Baby girls hair was tangled and she wouldn’t let me comb it. Never even saw the big princess which meant she was wearing something she didn’t think would pass inspection. We were late. I was nervous about the elementary drop off. Chaos. Back to school chaos.

I wasn’t thinking about an A+ moment. I was really focusing on not screaming at anyone.

Had I been trying to find the good in the crazy I might have noticed:

  • · Somehow I remembered to pack a lunch. I’d cooked all week and had leftovers on hand!
  • · I found a belt.
  •  Baby girl put her own hair in a ponytail.
  • · Baby girl thought she looked spiffy in a new dress her grandmother had gotten her so she was actually smiling.
  • · The dogs got clean water.
  • · The fish would survive another 12 hours
  • · If big girl didn’t come downstairs at least we wouldn’t fight.
  • · I didn’t use my daughters toothbrush but did manage to get my teeth brush (hey that didn’t happen on Wednesday).
  • · I had the presence of mind to grab a backup pair of shoes.
  • · I said good-bye—that doesn’t always happen either.

As it was I almost missed the best A+ I could ask for!

We were rushing out the door and I heard fella yell from upstairs, “Bug…wait a minute.” I admit I rolled me eyes. She did too.
“What bubba?” she asked. I heard fumbling from the stairs.
“Give me a hug,” he demanded. It wasn’t her weekend to be with us so I thought he just needed a little extra love. I told her to give him her best squishy hug. I was satisfied with that being THE moment.
While they were hugging there was some weirdness movements happening. I saw baby girl pull away from the hug with a HUGE grin on her face and her hand behind her back. I am talking FACE splitting grin. “What’s that about?” I asked.
“Bubba gave me a dollar. For ice cream!” she yelled as he said grinned and said, “SHHHHHH….it’s supposed to be secret!” He wanted it to be a secret between him and her. I loved that even more.
Out the door we went. Little one clutching her $1 proudly. The night before we’d gone for a walk—the family. Well we walked and she sort of rode her bike. Fella and bug had raced at one point. After the race was over they were in front of us. She, on her bright pink bike with wobbly training wheels wearing her unicorn bike helmet. He, hat backwards, yellow shirt stretched tight against his muscles, was walking beside her with one hand on top of her helmet and the other clutching his phone. I’d wished I’d had my phone at that moment to capture the sweetness of the moment. Big brother and little sister bonding without a single word. Now I really wished I had taken the picture because it would have perfectly accompanied this blog!
When I got to work I texted him. “that was a really nice thing to do” his response “she deserve it”.
And that, ladies and gents, is an A+ moment. 17 year old unemployed senior stops what he’s doing to a) hug his sister goodbye b) think to give her a dollar c) actually giving her the dollar all because it’s Friday and he wants to reward her with ice cream.
It’s not nearly as impressive when writing but that folks is where I drop the mike. A+ moment.

Kicking and Screaming-litearlly

Facebook is full of smiling faces holding signs that say “first day of…”. New clothes-clean book bags-shiny shoes, eager eyes and broad grins are in every post.  Well, almost every post.

And then there is us. We put the D in dysfunction.

First, first day of high school and last first day of high school and 2nd grade—should make for happy pictures.  Should.

Big boy is waaayyyy too big for his britches. He is sullen because I won’t let him go to waffle house before his last first day of high school. This is despite the come to jesus meeting last night about ‘work before play’ and ‘responsibilities’ and ‘respect’.  He somehow missed every single aspect of the message.  Or he somehow convinced himself that, as a senior, the message couldn’t possibly apply to HIM.  So he’s pouting.  His hair which girl calls PRINCE CHARMING hair is soaking wet and floppy.  I make him remove his backward hat for the picture.  He does a hair toss to get the hair out of his eyes.  Lord.  I am irritated

Girl, nervous about her first, first day of high school, is prancing around dramatically. Her jeans are so tight I am afraid they are going to literally bust the seams before she even makes it to school.  She’s pouting now too because her brother put her up to asking if she could go to Waffle House to celebrate her first, first day of high school.  And, since her brother would have to take her, she would pay for his.  She obviously missed part of the come to jesus meeting notes too.  My NO to Waffle House has her pouting too.  I ask her to take off her 50 pound book bag for a first day of school picture so she doesn’t look like the hunchback of notre dame.  That irked her.  Which irked me.

“SMILE!” I growl.

Little, big girl doesn’t even make the first picture. She’s sitting on the potty screaming, “I am going to throw up! I am going to throw up!” as she tries to go poop-in-in.  Of course she announces that has to poop-in-in as we get ready to head out the door.  She’s a sitter and takes about 20 minutes to go poop-in-in on a good day.  We don’t have 20 minutes and this isn’t a good day.

Happy first day.

Sullen boy and girl leave first even though they aren’t allowed to go to Waffle House and their school starts 30 minutes later than baby girls. Hopefully the jeans survived her climbing into the truck.  I wouldn’t bet on it. If they did bust her brother wouldn’t have turned around to let her change. Evidently seniors get to school 30minutes early to sit in their cars until the first bell rings.  It’s a ‘thing’. I was told.  Sounds stupid to me but hey…what do I know…

Baby girl is in the back seat crying. Sobbing is a better description.

I forget my lunch, am barely dressed and pretty sure I forgot deodorant.   I DID brush my teeth but in the chaos I used my daughter’s toothbrush. Gross.  Regardless, I am in the car babbling to my baby girl about all the really cool things I remember about her classroom.  It’s a lame attempt to distract her but it’s my only option at this point.  I channel my inner pollyana to sound cheerful and upbeat.  She’s not fooled.

We barely get out of the subdivision when BAM! We come to a complete stop.  There are miles of cars.  Evidently every parent in Oconee County has decided to drive their child to school today.  Bumper to bumper traffic is so good for our fraying nerves.  I keep babbling. She keeps crying.

It doesn’t get any better as we near the elementary school. Here every parent, grandparent and aunt and uncle decided to escort Sally Sue and Studly Sam to elementary school.  I am not kidding.  Cars are parked on both sides of the road. Cars are parked in the car rider line.  Cars are parked in the middle of the school entrance.  Seriously. Some dumb….well, some idiot, pulled up and parked right at the entrance where all the cars have to pass.  Did they not consider that hundreds of parents would have to pass????  Obviously not.  I want to cuss but can’t because I am still trying to be Miss Ray of Sunshine for my girl.

The car rider line is like an obstacle course. I can barely maneuver.  Of course I have to talk the entire time about the cool things my little bug could expect to see in her classroom.  If I dared take a moment to breath she would scream, “Keep talking! Keep talking!” Not so easy to do when you are dodging parked cars and entire families…no lie…2 parents, another adult, 3 older siblings all walking in one elementary school child.  Of course they have to walk in the middle of the road since there is no room on either side due to the parked cars.  And of course they are lolly-gagging like there aren’t 200 hundred cars stopped, waiting, for them to meander into the school building.

While stopped for the parade I watched another set of cars leap the curb to park in the grass. 2 sets of parents got out to walk a child in.  4 adults for 1 child.  It didn’t look like a kindergartner either.  Really people? They are going to school, not off to war.

Bug sees it too and askd, “Are you going to go in with me and take me to my class?”

“Oh no,” I say, “Only little kids get walked in,” I pray she won’t notice that the kids being escorted in is obviously in 5th grade  “You are in second grade.  You are a big girl so you can go in by yourself.”

“Oh….” Pure dejection. “I guess that’s true.”

I don’t add that if I walk her in today I’ll never get out of there alive. I’ll also have to walk her in every day for 2 weeks.  We have to do this the hard way today to set the expectation.

“I wrote down your teachers name on a card. Look for her name over the door.  Look at the card; when you see a match-when you see a name with the same letters on the card–that’s your classroom!”

We inch closer to the area where teachers are waiting to help kids with rational parents get out of the car.  The closer we get the higher my voice gets and the faster tears fall from her eyes.  I see her little fingers twisting and curling and twisting and curling. She’s wiggling nervously in the back seat.  My heart it is my throat at her obvious terror.  At this point there is nothing I can do to help.

A single car stands between us and the teacher helping get students out. I break out into a sweat.  I start talking faster and faster about the couches in her classroom, the bright colors, the baskets, the huge watch on the wall…anything and everything.

It’s our turn. We pull up.  Her favorite teacher opens the door.  And she starts screaming, “I don’t want you, I don’t want you, I don’t want you…..”

The teacher, god bless her, says, “I Love you and we can do this.” She grabs the bugs book bag and tries to grab my hysterical child.

All hell breaks loose. Screaming and crying my darling daughter reaches up and grabs a handful of my hair with one hand and the seat back with another.  She’s a big girl. When she doesn’t want to move there is no moving her.  Current teacher yells to the next teacher in line “we need you!”

I pull up a notch. My head is cocked at a 90 degree angle since a clump is wadded up in my daughters sweaty hand.  She’s still screaming.  A second teacher tries to open the door, which of course, has locked since I had to move up.  I can’t seem to get the unlock button to work.  Oh how that is helping things.

I am trapped in a locked car with a screaming child who has a handful of my hair. 3 teachers are now gathered outside my car door trying to get in to get the screaming child out and I can’t seem to work the locking mechanism.  Oh joy.

Finally. FINALLY I get the button to work.  I push while they pull and my hysterical child pops out of the car.  3 teachers surround her. She’s still crying.

I don’t think my tires actually squealed as I drove away. I don’t think….I could be wrong.  I definitely hit the gas with some force.

It is going to be a long day for both of us.

Happy first day.

I need a better story!

A trip to the ER…

…..a slug of vodka…

Once upon a time those 2 sentences in the same story would have meant a wild night. And a wilder story. 

But this is me we are talking about. And my stories never goes as planned. 

I’d make major milestones with my bigs by allowing them to invite their significant others for the weekend to their grandparents lake house. 

True to form my parents outdid themselves. We spent an afternoon in the lake: jet skiing, jumping rocks, leaping off double decker docks and taking daring plunges off tall bridges. And yes, I joined in dock jumping and bridge diving.

No-it wasn’t after a slug of vodka that made me do it and it wasn’t the jumps that led me to the ER. 

No-that is not me. That’s my fearless son flying. I was a little less daring and jumped from the rail. 

After a delicious dinner we settled around the patio table for some s’mores. Redneck style. 

Fire pit in the  table+wire coat hangers=easy -peesy smores. 

By 9:15 we were all d.o.n.e. The sleeping arrangements and sleeping arrangement rules were laid out. Succinctly. Unapologetically. Specifically. 

I let them gather a bit before we all retreated to our own rooms in opposite sides of the house. Teenagers being teenagers there was some clean up that needed done before Beddie-bye. 

Earlier I told everyone that my favorite part of my parents house was what they called the breezeway. It’s a large, open air, covered patio with swirling fans and comfy furniture. The entire front side is the patio is open-a big movie screen. The star of the show is, When there is a lake, the moon reflects off the water. You can hear bugs and toad frogs and crickets.

I went around the patio collecting semi-full soda cans. I gathered an iPad and an iPod and reached for a sprite can when….

Mother-of-god-holy-hell-shit-shit-ahit—the worst pain I’ve ever felt——including birthing 3 children–exploded in my foot. 

The can dropped, the iPad went flying and I screamed. Loudly. I picked up my phone to see what could possibly be causing this excruciating pain. An inch and a half sinister looking winged beast with a striped body was viciously stuck in my foot. While screaming it tried to shake it off. Nothing. I screamed louder because that’s oh-so-helpful. 

I am not lying…a white fog of sheer pain took over. Somehow that bug got off. Somehow, still screaming I got inside. Scared kids stared at me. My mom was frantically rubbing her famous salt paste on my foot and I was panting, sweating and swearing. 

The pain intensified. With every pulse it felt like molten lava was traveling from the pad of my foot to every part of my body.

After a few minutes my dad asked for a magnifying glass and a needle. I heard someone say,”ahh man-I know that that means…” 

I knew what it meant too but I didn’t care. My mom handed me a cup and said,”this works in the westerns.” I knew what that meant too. With shaking hands I grabbed the glass and drank it all. 

It didn’t work.

The needle touched my foot. I am pretty sure I used words I didn’t know I knew. 

Someone said “ER” and I screamed  “I’ll go!” I didn’t care. I would have taken a chain saw and taken off my own foot at this point. 

I didn’t even know blood pressure could go over 200. “How much do you weigh?” I don’t freaking know. “Date of last period?” I am 46 lady. That’s about all I could make it through other than to answer 10-10-10 when asked about my pain scale. 

 4 hours, 4 shots and the worlds largest dumb ass of a doctor later….I was still at a 10 despite being told “it should have worked”  when the doctor (and I use that term loosely) came in after 3 hours. Evidently one of the shots I got was supposed to knock out a small elephant. 

10. Still a 10….

…and I didn’t care what should have worked. 

See those dirty smudges? Those are bruises from Where I was squeezing my foot desperately trying to stop the intense pain. 

Japanese hornets are no joke. 

5 hours in the ER, a slug of vodka and 3 narcotics because I stepped on a bug. On my way to bed. At 9:50. It’s not even a good story!

Despite the drama we managed to soak all the fun out of weekend that we could. Keeping in with the redneck theme we loaded down 2 pick up trucks with random floats and floated down the river. 

Well-I set out to give them memories. Guess I delivered!

On the road again

“What advice do you have for me in high school momma?” Teen girl asked. It was one of my favorite parts of the state swim meet–the drive. My girl and I talked–really talked on these trips. 

I love when she talks and I hear her. I love when I talk and she wants to hear me. Not all conversations go that way for teen girls and their mommas. 

The question was sincere. Her desire to listen to what I had to say was real. Hallelujah! 

No pressure. 

  1. Be proud of yourself without caring if your friends are proud.
  2. It’s better to have a few really good friends that you can trust than hundreds of friends you can’t trust. 
  3. Have your own moral compass. You decide what is right and wrong and stand by it. No. Matter. What.
  4. Everyone decision you make should be your own. 
  5. Know what reputation you want to have and let your choices lead to toward that.
  6. What you put out on social media, in pictures or on texts will always exist. Be sure it’s something you can defend or can stand by for the rest of your life. 
  7. Remember high school is about an education. It’s still school.
  8. Study a little every day.
  9. Develop good habits now. Wash your face, excercise, study and take care of yourself…these are habits you will have for the rest of your life. 
  10. Enjoy it! You will never have times like this again. Seize each good moment and learn from each hard moment.
  11. Be kind. Not everyone in high school will be. 
  12. There are things you will be asked to do that you will never, ever come back from. 
  13. If you are ever anywhere that makes you uncomfortable call me. We will have a code that lets me know to get to you immediately no matter what. 
  14. Trust your instincts. 
  15. Someone will hurt you, disappoint you or betray you. Just know that.
  16. Never. Ever. Ever–never try and be dumb to be cute. Intelligence is a gift. Don’t hide from who you are from anyone ever. 
  17. Go to dances and football games; be part of your school…it will always be part of you. 
  18. Don’t be intimidated. You will be but try not to are fierce and strong; witty and smart; sweet and caring. You have nothing to be intimated about. Confidence is a weapon–a shield–a gift. Find it. 
  19. Not everything has to be tight. 
  20. You will make mistakes. That’s what high school is about. But I’ll be here to help you fix them. Never forget I am your mom and that is part of my job. 

What else should I have said?

What advice would you give your child entering 9th grade?

This is the girl that won a gold and silver medal at the state level but is disappointed that she didn’t make it as an individual. This is the girl that checks her gpa everyday. It’s this girl that took herself to a modeling call. It’s this girl that boldly tried out for cheerleading. My girl. 

She’s a different creature than I was. She’s smart and intelligent and beautiful. I was shy and simple and not beautiful. She takes on the world. I hid from it. She is bold. She is kinetic. I want to encourage her to continue to be all of that. I want her to face life and take what she needs unapologetically. I want her to continue to be bold and to shine in her own skin-her own mind. I want her to want more, to aim higher and to not fear the journey. 

Did I give her the advice she needed to do all of that? I hope so.