To the lady in the milk aisle


To the woman in the Publix milk aisle on Tuesday:

Thank you. Not a frivolous thank you but an honest to goodness-you gave me one of my coolest moments of my life- you made a difference-kind of thank you. 

When you decided to say hi you had no idea that I’ve been questioning why I write of late. You didn’t know I have been paralyzed thinking that my blog was self-indulgent and worthless. 

You did not know that I am coming out of the other side of a sadness that’s made me retreat from friends and hide from life. 

You didn’t know that I am terrified of my job status, nervous about the summer when we are not as “busy” and that all this keeps me awake for hours each night. I feel worn out and I look even worse. But you didn’t see that. 

You didn’t know that saying,”you don’t know me but I read your blog,” would do for me. You didn’t know that being able to share that moment with my 14 year old daughter (who loves to write) was priceless. You didn’t see is squealing and laughing and hugging right there in the Publix parking lot. You don’t know that she had looked at me….PROUDLY…and said,”I am so excited mom. I’ve been waiting for someone to say something like that to you!” Anything that makes a teenage girl look at her mom proudly is significant. Seriously significant. 

Telling me that you enjoy reading and that you can relate gave me a validation I desperately needed. Knowing my words made another mom smile or nod as if to say oh i totally get that or I am not alone...gives me purpose. 

Right there in the milk aisle you took the time to speak. You provided encouragement and support to another mom. Do you have any idea how special that makes you???? You made a huge difference to another person. Thank you. 

Thank you for adding “I can tell you put your heart into it.” I do. Knowing someone notices that made my heart flutter. In that moment I knew joy. Simple, meaningful joy! 

You probably thought you were just buying groceries and speaking to a stranger. You didn’t know the positive impact that brief encounter would have. 

You certainly had no idea that your gesture would inspire me to pay it forward. Knowing how incredible you made me feel I was eager to make someone else feel as good. So I did. Your gesture will, hopefully, continue to have a positive ripple effect for a long time to come. 

I love to write. Writing has kept me sane, healed my heart and allowed me to NOT put my children in an orphanage (kidding). My teen daughter has my blog to thank for making it to 14. I’ve hoped to make people laugh. I’ve written when I’ve wanted to cry. I’ve used my written words to tell people how much they matter to me because I am not good at conversation or speaking what I feel. So I write. And I always worry about what I write. I am always embarrassed and fearful that I will be laughed out. Ridiculed. Scoffed at. But I keep writing. 

And you’ve read it. And you took the time to tell me you enjoyed it. 

I was buying there to buy milk because I suck at grocery shopping. Over the weekend I had purchased 3 boxes of cereal, little Debbie’s, a pre-cooked chicken…but I forgot the milk. It was one of those weeks that I’d spent my grocery money but didn’t have the makings of a meal.  I’d spent 20 minutes putting away groceries when I was asked,”what’s for dinner?” And I had nothing to offer but little Debbie’s, 3 boxes of cereal with no milk and some sparkling wine. I was kicking myself for being stupid when you spoke. 

Oh and I was feeling guilty for feeding my babies the Tuesday  $5.99 pizza from papa johns -AGAIN–and I was feeling like a slacker for throwing some pineapple and watermelon in the buggy to make it a “well rounded” meal. 

But you didn’t know any of that. You just took the time to speak and to say something nice. 

Thank you!

May we all take a few minutes each day to say something nice to a stranger .

Me

Sweethearts

It’s been a hard but rewarding week to be a mom.

My baby girl is still sad. We are talking a lot about heaven and missing miss Brittany. Today she asked if we could call her. Everyday she asks a question in a different way that I think she’s hoping I’ll say yes to…can I call her? Will I see her? Each time I have to say no it makes her sad all over again. “I miss her” she keeps saying. All I can say is I know baby. 

It hasn’t all been sad. She’s smiled some. Tonight she even managed to dance and dab through a soccer game. 

But she’s back in my bed. She is still tender enough that I feel like I need to protect her. She is a sweetheart with a sweet heart. 


My big girl spent the week learning cheers and bolstering her courage go try out for the North Oconee High School cheer squad. Today was the day. I hid cards on all of her many bags with messages like “no matter what happens I am so proud of you” and “you are amazing, spirited and incredible no matter how the day ends”. I wanted to be positive but realistic. 69 girls. Girls who has longer cheer backgrounds, tumbling lessons and years of experience. 


She was proud of her tryout. And we talked a long time about that being enough. She was brave for trying. Strong for believing. Precious as she performed and showed great work ethic as she practiced upstairs well after her bedtime last night when she thought I didn’t know. I told her that was enough. She was a good sport and pretended to believe me. 

I am not sure who was more nervous…me or her…as we waited 45 minutes for the list to post. I lie. I was more nervous. I was petrified. I practiced my “this does not determine your worth” speech a thousand times in my head. Until she turned to me and said,”If my name is not on that list just let me get in the car. No pep talks. No talk. Okay. Just be normal. Just take me home. I’ll be okay. No pep talks, okay?” Well hell-I’d worked to hard on one! But I agreed. 

When the list posted girls, still on tryout attire, complete with required bows swarmed. I got out of the car holding my breath. I saw girls look, quietly turn and brisk walk away fighting back tears. I didn’t see my girl. My baby girl said,”I think I hear her momma. I hear kinsley!!” Crying or cheering I wanted to ask. I went to my toes to try and catch a glimpse. 

 

I am the mom of a North Oconee High School junior varsity cheerleader. 

That makes me proud. It makes me prouder still that she whooped once when she made it but restrained from saying anymore because she was aware that not eveyone around her got the same good news. A sweetheart with a sweet heart. 

Sitting at my desk yesterday I get this text. 


Later that same day my sweet boy comes to my office. Presents me with a Reese’s cup and a Diet Coke. To help ease the sting?  He gave me his 1/2 smile-the one he saves for me-and gently broke the news: He had received his senior portrait packet. He said when he got it he turned to his BFF and said,”this is gonna kill my mom.” He wasn’t wrong. But he came to tell me, in person, and bought me my favorites. A sweetheart with a sweet heart. 

Tonight I read a letter, from a college expressing interest in my fella. A school with a swim team. A school that liked his swim times. A school in Wisconsin. Ah hell no was my immediate reaction. But on reality…well…it won’t be my choice. 

My babies all faced something this week. And I faced it right along with them. Each heartbreak, each nerve wracking moment, each victory and each milestone. It’s been a big, hard, rewarding week. A big week to be a mom. 

I will miss her

There are hard things you do as a mother–watch your little ones get hurt, seeing them learn painful life lessons, ground them when they do wrong so they learn what’s  right—and they are hard. 

It’s hard to have them let go of your hand and toddle off the big kid school. 

It’s hard to watch them drive away. 

It’s hard to dry their tears when their heart gets broken for the first time.

Those are hard. 

Today I had to do the impossible. 

My little one is socially awkward and painfully shy. When she find someone she likes we jokingly (although it’s not in jest) the stalker. She immediately bounds. She loves that person fiercely. She clings to them. She gives out squishy hugs often. When she loves she loves hard. 

My bug goes to the rec department for after school. It’s not ideal. It’s k-5th on a loud, noisy gym. You find your own playmates. For someone timid and nervous about making friends this is hard. But it was our only option. So we made the most of it. 

Her tales of after school were of not glowing. It was loud. The big kids were mean. No one would play with her. They called her fat. They made fun of her when she did handstands and her belly showed. I teared up more than once on the way home.

But then things changed. She got in the care one day and announced she had a new best friend. She had someone play that played with her. She was happy. She was connected. 

With Brittany.

Brittany was a counselor who took time with my girl. They made friends. They played and hugged and did all the things that made Sadie feel safe, content and happy. 

And today I had to tell my sensitive, big hearted little girl that her beloved Miss Brittany wouldn’t be coming back. 

About 1p I got an email. 

At 1:45 I got a personal call because the other counselors knew how close Sadie and Brittany were. 

At 3p I was sitting in a cold, sterile room when they told all the kindergarteners-third graders very efficiently and matter of factly explained that their beloved miss Brittany was in a car accident and died and that she was in heaven and wouldn’t be coming back. 

My 7 year old was sitting in a counselors lap. She saw me but wouldn’t make eye contact. I saw her face after the news was told. 

As planned they delivered the news and then hustled the kids to activities. Those that were visibly upset were encouraged to stay behind and talk to one of the counselors they brought in to help. 

My girl got in the parchute game line. She wouldn’t look at me. One they way out the door I heard her say,”where is miss Brittany?” The line paused. A counselor leaned down and said,”did you not hear Ms. Lisa?” Sadie shook her head no indicating she had no idea what was said. I knew she’d heard. I was watching her face when she heard it. She’d heard but not understood.  I rushed to her and gathered her on my arms and repeated the news. Her eyes big, she listened and then said,”I have to go to the gym for parachute games.” I let her go. 

A few minutes later, boundaries be damned, I marched into the gym and peeked around the corner. There was my bug lifting and pulling the paprchute whiles kids chased balls and played tag under it. She saw me and gave the the saddest smile I’ve ever seen. I sat on the bleachers where she could see me. 

It wasn’t long before she came running to me with tears in her eyes. She laid her head down in my lap. “Want to go home baby?” She shook her head no. “What to play with your friends?” She shook her head no. “Want me to sit here with you?” She shook her head yes. So we sat there. Me rubbing her back and her fighting tears. 

And so went the afternoon. She’d sit a bit and then run and join in the games. Then she’s run back to me. I told her I wouldn’t leave. Several times I had to tell her. “Momma will sit here as long as you want,” she nodded and ran off again. 

It wasn’t long before she was back. “I wish she was alive,” she said. I solemnly nodded. She crawled up for a hug. “I miss her.” 

Then off the went. 

The next visit,”will I see her again?” No. I told her. Not here. She walked away this time. 

Back and forth we went. Sometimes she wanted very specific details about where and why and how. I have her what a 7 year old could handle. But, as hard as it was, I answered every question. 

“Momma her dog!!!! She will miss her dog. She has a doggy!” This time tears did spill over. I wrapped her in my arms and told her that her dog would miss her but that someone in her family would take good care of the dog. After that she was ready to leave. 

We did homework. In between quarters and dome counting she would suddenly remember and ask a question. Her little mind seemed to need details. What road? Where was she sitting? Was it her fault for speeding? Did she ride in a ambulance? Did she go to a hospital? Was her mom sad? And on and on it went. “I wish she were alive.” Was how it ended. 

In the bathtub she asked if she was going to die. My grandmother died after her 100th birthday. My little one must have picked up on that somewhere along the way because she very pointedly asked how old her grandpa was, how old was gramsey, how old was I, how long until she was 100. I knew she was looking for assurances that those she lived wouldn’t leave her too. 

Just before bed  she sat came beside me and said,”I need help spelling some words.” Okay. She plopped up beside me in the couch, snuggled in close in her too big t-shirt, giant notebook and blue marker. She looked so innocent, so sweet and so sad. 

With her blue marker, her favorite color poised over the notebook paper she said, “I need to know how to spell Brittany.” With my heart in my throat I watched her painstakingly sound out the words she wanted to use. 


You have to do hard things as a mom but today was one of the hardest mommy moments I’ve ever had. 

My girl had a full family one day and a split family the next. She had her own room in the house we brought her home to one day and was uprooted just a few weeks later. She went from 2 parents who doted on her to blue days and blue weekends. For someone so insecure she’s lost a lot at a young age. 

“Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry,” I heard her quietly chanting to herself at one point. I hugged her close and told her it was okay to be sad and to cry. So she did. And my heart broke with every tear. 

She dried her eyes and reached back for her notebook and markers. 

This time she diligently drew a picture. “This is my mommy on the swing. My daddy has a swing too. Colton and Kinsley are her on the slide with me,” she explained. “We are pink and my daddy is blue.” She said. I listened and then asked if she wanted to call her daddy. She did. 

My girl lost someone important to her today. She doesn’t really grasp it fully yet but the hurt reminded her of losing other people and things. It seemed to resonate with her-this feeling of loving and then that person going away. 

She’s in my bed. On my side. Her thumb in her mouth. I told her sometimes you needed your mommy when you were sad. Truth me told I need her close tonight. I can’t fix it. Can’t make it hurt less. I can’t explain it. I can just love her and hold her and tell her it’s okay to be sad and to cry. I can be there. 

As a mom you have to do hard and horrible things. My heart and prayers are with the moms of the 2 killed this weekend. They are enduring the worst thing a mother will ever have to do. 

Front porch cousins 

My cousins were my first best friends. We spent many a day on this front porch. From drumming up mischief, making fun of one another and taking turns seeing who was going to ask grandpa for a trip to the ice cream store…it all happened in this front porch. 

How manu conversations did we have while we waited THE FULL HOUR our parents told is we had to wait to go swimming after eating? Longest hour of my life! 

Bare footed, often clad in only bathing suits, mouths sticky with rivlets of sugar from long melted popsicles…we must have looked a sight hanging it like banshees on the front stoop of this ancient antebellum home. 

Screen doors slamming, the pitter patter of bare feet on hard word floors, occasional sounds of “your it”; the clink of silver ware, the muted sounds of adults talking in the distance and the sporadic outburst of innocent laughter…it all made up the sounds of our childhood. 

At some point the conversations shifted from cooties and buggers to dating and holding hands. We watched as one by one-one of us would leave the porch in an old bettle bug or a bright yellow Nissan headed out to a football game or a date. 

Not long after that the conversations were about potential husbands or wives. More than one of us started our married life right here on the front porch. Some leaped off the porch-put his new wife on his motorcycle roared off into the night. He wasn’t the only one. More than one tuxedo clad gent and white gowned bride shared a kiss or held a hand right here on this front porch. 

This Easter we gathered back. It’s not Nanny’s house any longer. Now it’s nanny/Danny’s. We gathered together for the first time in a very long time to share a Sunday meal. And a tradition would have it we had warm, homemade banana pudding, baked from scratch cakes, mashed potatoes and spinach casserole. There were 3 kinds of beans-pretty from the garden outback. Gelatin salad and deviled eggs; mac-a-man-cheese, rolls and more than one kind of meat. It was a feast-just like it’s always been. 

And just like years passed after the meal we all made our way to the front porch–hiding from dish duty even after all these years. We took out spots. Kids jumped out of every door. They were in trees, running in the yard, standing on the gravel admiring their first cars and sneaking candy. Only this time we weren’t the ones with sticky hands and blue colored lips. This time it was out children and we were the ones yelling,”don’t climb too high” or “you are going to put someone’s eye out with that things!” 

I wanted to get a picture to capture us back on the front porch-where we belong. Very typically..

I am bossing eveyone around. Slick was laughing at me trying to be the boss. Sandi with a I was reminding me she was older and Jeff was about to say something to make is all laugh. 


We try again. This time Jeff did say something funny-and probably inappropriate judging from Sandi’s face. Slick was egging him on while I remained determined to get my picture. 

Finally I got one.


Somthing special happened on the front porch. Another generation of cousins, and best friends, was there to take on the tradition of making one anther laugh, sharing dreams and making plans. As life is supposed to be a cycle started again–right there on the front porch. 

There next to the slamming screen door 4 more cousins smiles-arms entwined-genuinely liking one another. 

One by one the screen door slammed and someone came out say goodbye. One by one the family peeled off…and when there are more than 50 of you…that’s a lot of screen door-slamming-front -porch-hugging! One by one we called goodbye just like we’d always done. 

Front porch cousins …those are the best kind!

New to me


My den transformation is almost complete. Today my new to me couch got moved it! I have a history with couches…so having one that’s mine, all mine, in my new little place makes me proud. 

So proud, in fact, that I am sitting on my new to me couch, in my calm and relaxing den, sipppng on some currahee vineyard wine, listening to my crackling candle with the dog curled up at my feet. And I am not lonely. 

My boy and me

My son came home from spring break and immediately made plans for the evening. My baby girl is at a party with with a band and a jumpy house in another state with people I used to call family. My big girl is being spoiled with shopping sprees. It’s the 6th night in a row I’ve been all alone. That’s gotta to be a first for me. 

Last night I had dinner with some friends. Friends  I’d been too busy to catch up with until For weeks. After my 60th work hour this week-I drove to downtown Athens. Fought the crowds (there was a graduation down there for gods sake!) I walked 6 blocks. I toured the restaurant twice before texting “where are you?” They replied with the name of the restaurant I was in. But they weren’t there! I asked the hostess if he had tabled a group of Women waiting on someone. He had not. He then mentioned there were 3 locations if said restaurant in town. I uttered a not-so-ladylike word and embarrassedly exited stage right. 

“We have wine waiting” was all they said when I admitted my faux paus. 

Eventually I made it to the RIGHT restaurant.  Where, as promised, they waited.  With wine. Multiple bottles. My tribe is amazing. I hadn’t seen them very much lately and was honestly worried about the dinner. Silly me. Within 2 sips of wine we were caught up, laughing (or crying) depending on who was talking. It felt Like 5 minutes instead of 5 weeks since we had seen one another. These were the woman I trusted enough to let call BS when BS it was. These were the woman who knew my pain. This same group of woman also knew my strengths and reminded me of them. A lot. The me they see is always new to me. I like the woman they see!

Every one of these ladies had seen me through a tough time. They’d each done something extraordinarily kind for me. So it felt good when I bought dinner. I gave the waiter a tip that left him smiling because that’s what my friend would have wanted. Not money back or gifts in kind. They are generous because that’s their spirit. Last night I got to be generous too. I left smiling. They had me smiling. I gave our waiter smile. Paying it forward. Being able to do so is a little new to me. 

This weekend has been about independence of sorts. I’d worked incredibly hard and had completed an extremely hard task. A task that everyone would have screamed about had it gone wrong. The fact that it was a non-event actually meant that my months of hard work had paid off. The pride I felt was a little new to me. 

I’d been bold and brave and asked my friends to dinner. I’d given myself the gift if making my home something I could be proud of. I felt strong again.

So strong that I canceled the dating subscription that had me so depressed. My friends had, as always, amazing advice. Don’t look for a companion to make me happy. Start recreating a me that I can be proud of and the happy will come. 

I feel like I started today. My brand-new-to-me couch, in my relaxing den with pretty floors helped. So did the wine. So did last nights company. They gave me the courage to be by myself without being lonely. They reminded me that no one else can make me happy. That’s up to me. 

Tonight I am looking around my sweet cozy house and I am not beating myself up because it’s small. I am celebrating that’s it’s mine and that I did this on my own. I see feminine touches. I see things that make me smile. I see eclectic little touches that not everyone would find enchanting-but I do. 

It’s funny how sometimes you have to look at the same old things with new eyes to appreciate what’s there. My den is new to me. My couch is new to me. My comfort at being home, alone, again, is new to me. 

New to me is a good place to be 

Pick me

Remember those humiliating, embarrassing, hurtful moments in PE or recess where ‘teams’ were being selected? You’d stand there in your little white ked with, biting your nails and pretending to be aloof and cool even though you are quivering on the inside? Sweat would form even though the sport hadn’t started yet?
You knew you wouldn’t be picked first…those picks were for the popular kids. C’mon-every kid knows there place in the middle school pecking order. You didn’t expect second pick either…those were for the athletic kids. Third was a reach because there was that B-team popular kid or that non-starter-yet –on-a-team kid. But by the fourth pick when you weren’t pointed at indicating you were picked your mouth became dry, you felt an embarrassed flush start at your neck and it became harder and harder to look nonchalant. When the fifth picked passed you by the flush became warmer and warmer as it inched higher and higher on your face, you began rocking back and forth on wobbly legs and you began the silent chant ‘pickme!pickme!pickme!’ By pick six, though hate yourself for it, the chant ‘pickme!pickme!pickme’ becomes louder and louder until you are sure those around you can hear it. Tears form though you fight to hold them at bay. You look away as if you aren’t mortified to be picked last. The next pick come and goes leaving that hand in your mouth shaking, the tears welling so high you are sure they will spill over making the situation that much worse. It is time or the last pick. You see the captain look at his selected team as if to say, “Sorry guys…she’s all that’s left.” You shuffle your way to the group praying the earth would open and swallow you whole.
I’d thought I’d outgrown that feeling. I thought, in adulthood, you didn’t have to withstand such humiliation and agony.
I was wrong.  
In adulthood the ‘pickme!pickme!pickme!’ is louder and more desperate then the awkward girls standing in the playground waiting to be chosen. The shame is greater each time you aren’t picked. You second guess your life. What could I have done differently? Why wasn’t I good enough? What if I never get picked? Why does no one want me? Why…why….why?  
And you never get answers. The ‘teams’ are bigger. There are more options, more selections which makes being passed over harder and harder with each pick. As an adult you do cry. Hard. You try and find solace in wine. You lose sleep over not being wanted, not being picked.
‘pickme!pickme!pickme!’
You work harder. You try harder. You make yourself be more open. You try and find all the good in you there is to find so you and focus on the good, not the bad. But then another pick passes you by.  Other people are selected all around you.
‘pickme!pickme!pickme!’
It is all you hear in your head. It consumes you. The desire to be picked is all you think about. All you want. You pick about the pics. I can do {fill in the blank} better than that one. Hmph…what are they thinking! I am a better choice than that one. You want to shout out all the reasons why you should be picked. And you do but still….
‘pickme!pickme!pickme!’
Desperation kicks in. You cry, beg, get ugly, whine, cajole , entice, coax, persuade, wheedle, plead, beseech and implore; you appeal, weep, sob, bawl and wail. But the next pick comes and….
‘pickme!pickme!pickme!’
The voice becomes a whisper, a flutter because you a starting to realize you aren’t the one. You aren’t going to be picked. As an adult you don’t have to be selected. There is no coach overseeing the picking to be sure every kid makes the team. No one care if you do or if you don’t. When the dream team is picked they gather a hug of comraderies, they cheer and celebrate, they move away-never looking back-leaving you standing there, unpicked, unselected and unwanted.
‘pickme!pickme!pickme!’
Even as they walk away, together, as a team you stand there repeating this over and over in your mind in the false hope that if they would just turn around and see you they would realize they’d made a mistake. They would rush back, PICK YOU, and life would go on its merry way. And you would be happy.
‘pickme!pickme!pickme!’
You tell yourself you don’t care. You tell yourself your worth isn’t in someone ‘selecting you’. You are more than a pick. More than they see. You do your best to tell yourself that it’s their loss. You furiously wipe away your tears as if you can make them go away if you wipe fast enough. You look for other teams, teams where you belong, teams that WANT you. But your heart was set on one particular team. You wanted to wear their colors and anything else just seems second best… that’s what you tell yourself. Because it’s easier than admitting that you are terrified that no other team will want you either and that’s just more shame then you can bare. You make yourself smaller and smaller hoping you will become so small you just fade away and nobody notices you left behind, not picked.
At some point the ‘pickme!pickme!pickme!’ becomes a single, sad statement, “They didn’t pick me.”

I will never 

I will never let my babies have a pacifier. That last all of 3 hours. 

I will never sit on the backseat just to appease my baby. Yep. I’ve done that.

I will never get divorced. We know how that goes. I never wanted get divorced. 

I will never tell my children “because I said so”.  Started using that phrase 2 years in. 

I will never we let a dog sleep on…

See how well that worked out.

I will never drive a mini van. So far so good on that one.

I will never be a soccer mom.

Yep…that’s mine. Yep…that’s a soccer ball.


The older I get…and I am feeling older my the say…I find the wisdom in the saying never say never because, inevitably, you do what you claimed you would never do. 

I will never make that mistake again….until you do.

I will never miss a game/track meet/swim meet. But you do. 

I will never feed my children cereal for dinner. Ummm hmmm

I will never let my kids go to school in mid-matches clothes….and then there was Sadie. 

I will never let myself….

I will never regret a decision….

I will never gain that weight back. Hello stress and pre-menopause. 

I will never put work first. But then you become the sole provider and you find yourself having to make tough choices. 

I will never..

The older I get the more I wonder if the universe has a strange sense of humor and hears “I will never” and says “here, hold my beer.”

Or is it a lesson? I will never….but then eventually you do and you realize how silly or stupid it was to declare you won’t do anything. I’ll never be a soccer mom. Why!? One look at my daughters smile. One moment of seeing her interacting with other children and all the reasons I said I will never…became meaningless. 

Sometimes the thing you will never do is the one thing you want to do because there is comfort in doing something you’ve done before.

I will never let my children sleep with me.

My current view.


Sometimes you do the thing you swore you would never do and you realize you were right all along. You make the same decision or the same mistake and have to re-build, re-create or re-live something that hurt the first time. 

I will never…I feel like a fool for all the times I’ve said that. Because the truth is we never really know what we will or won’t do until faced with the choice, the circumstances or the situation. 

There are things I wishes I’d never done. Things I wished I would have done. Choices I would have made differently. Things I would have said, or would never have said. 

But I’ll never look back…

Yeah, that hasn’t worked out so well either.