Monthly Archives: December 2014

GOING HOME. AND WORDS IN CONCRETE.

We got home last night from a seven day visit to Texas. Home. To Colorado. Why I feel guilty saying that is a mystery but I do. A little. Or maybe just worried that I’ll offend someone. But I do have two places I feel at home now. And I guess I really don’t need to apologize for that.

Seven days of family, friends, babies, fried food, tacos and beer. I am full. My heart is full and I already miss them so much.

But Im gonna go ahead and confess some things I realized about going home. And most importantly I know now…you can’t.

First of all as I crossed the state line into Texas there was no red carpet, no clapping, and no cheesy music from a John Hughes film playing in the background. Slightly disappointed but whatever, people are busy right. After 13 hours in a car with my family and dog I would’ve been happy to pull into a driveway in Kazakhstan. You know why? I bet THEY have a Fuzzy’s Taco!

We ate ourselves sick, got to see many of our friends and play with our nieces and nephew. I got to hug my Mom. I got to make fun of my brother. I got to see my grandma. I got ice tea brought to me ALREADY SWEETENED! I ate tacos till I burst. I got to see my Beachbody Coaches that live in that area. I got to drink GIANT beers with Kristen and Michelle and Erika and Janna. I got to shop at a MALL!!! I knew the Cowboy game would be aired without even thinking about it. And I got to watch them DESTROY the Colts. My lips got unchapped (Texas humidity). It was a good trip. It was a great trip.

I planned to go “visit my Dad”. God thats so creepy sounding. I hate that. He was buried in a mosoleum thing in Carrollton near my grandpa. He is also near my friend Nancy and my brother’s friend, Clayton. I always say hi to them when I go too. I planned on going. I really did. But I didn’t. Its a very pretty place. His name is etched in a pretty stone with the dates on it and its actually eye level for me so I don’t look like a moron shouting to a wall six feet above my head. Yes I know-you dont ACTUALLY have too speak directly to the stone. Sometimes I can be literal. And I want to make sure he hears me- he had selective hearing like most men.
It’s ok to laugh- really.

But I didn’t go. Instead I asked my husband to drive me to the house I grew up in on Addington Drive in Carrollton. I lived there from the time I was 5 until I moved away to college when I was 18. It is so full of memories it is bursting. I wanted to knock on the door and tell the people that live there now all the secrets that house holds. How important it is. That in 1984 I convinced my sister she was Mary Lou Retton and she should double vault off of the swing set. She broke both arms. I got in BIG trouble. That the greatest version of suburban Flash Dance EVER was recreated on the patio in the summer of ’85 with the help of my sister’s friends Lori and Kelly (and Im sure I made Lance dance too). That my bedroom window screen pops off quite easily- and I snuck out of that sucker more times than I can count. That I spent so many hours on that front step in the middle of the night talking…to whomever showed up at my window…. That I could turn my car off and let it coast just to the right spot in front of the house at 2:00am so they couldn’t hear me coming home. (Though Im pretty sure Dad ALWAYS knew). That the bald spot in the yard remains from my attempt at “chewing tobacco” that resulted in vomit-fest 1990. That the front yard held so many damn signs screaming about our accomplishments it was sad. Kelly’s soccer and cheer signs, my cheer signs, Nick’s “Im not in jail” signs. LOL Kidding little brother (well not really but whatever sign he had Im sure he stole).

The trees are bigger. The house looks so much smaller. The step I sat on countless nights for hours on end talking looks so tiny. I wish – oh how I wish I’d recorded those conversations. Or maybe not. I think now it all belonged right there at 1905 Addington Dr., right then from 1979-1991. Right exactly when the trees were short enough to see all the way down the block. Right when Depeche Mode played in my car while we sat on the steps drinking…sweet tea…ya…sweet tea. Those conversations and those people and those smells and that music and those feelings belong RIGHT THERE. To that time. And they pass and new memories are made. You cannot go home again. You can’t. Because it is a feeling and a moment that can’t be recaptured and you shouldn’t try. And that’s ok. Enjoy the very moment you are in right now because this moment will become a beautiful memory too.

And we drove around to the alley behind my house. And I took a picture of some more concrete with some names in it. In 1980 my Dad and Grandpa poured a third driveway. He etched my name in it because I was 7 years old and I “helped” pour the driveway. He wrote “JENNY ’80”. Then I think he felt bad so he added the two other stupid sibling’s names but let it be known they DID NOT HELP POUR THE DRIVEWAY. And WAY more close to my Dad I felt than in any cemetery….

20141228-083241-30761484.jpg

Advertisements

CONFESSIONS OF A SCROOGE

I have written two blogs in the past week. One is about Texas and one is about dreams for the new year. I have not published either. Because this one has been in my mind and I have not wanted to share it so I guess it means I SHOULD share it. Normal people don’t spill their guts all over Facebook and the Internet. Normal people go to a therapist and pay big money to “work through their shit”. I write. It’s cheaper.

I have an amazing husband, two great kids, a house and food and my health and I get to stay home for my job. I am such a lucky girl. And grateful. And very aware of how fortunate I am. So bitching about things seems so stupid. But Im gonna anyway. And the reason Im gonna is so that maybe that one person out there who also feels this way will know they are not alone. Here we go…

I don’t love the Holidays. THERE. I said it. I know Im an awful horrible person. Whatever. I just don’t. And at my age Im too tired to pretend I do. Im too tired to make cookies and be joyful. Mostly during December I want to punch someone in the face. Like hard. Then I want to run away to an island and stay there until January 2nd. I know its sad and bad and sacrilegious and Im a terrible, scroogy, anti-Holiday, bah-humbug gal. I just cannot hide and pretend anymore. Now. Ive outed myself. Whew…I feel better.

On one of my awesome hikes recently with my three close friends we discussed this feeling I have and they patiently listened to me gripe. Love them. And they love me DESPITE my shit. In my head there is this Norman Rockwell painting of Christmas. A fireplace, a tree, 2.4 well behaved children opening presents, all of the grandparents and a baked ham with hot rolls on the table. There are cousins and mistletoe and Christmas music playing and everyone is wearing a pretty sweater and drinking hot cocoa. PERFECTION.

In reality my teenagers sleep late, gripe when they have to get up that morning, throw biscuits that Ive burned at each other, complain about the presents they get and spend the day on Instagram. Just what Baby Jesus pictured Im sure. And I’ve come to realize its not just this modern day crap version of Christmas morning that bugs me its a few more things that run pretty deep.

So many people are un happy during the Holidays. And for those that have lost loved ones its understandable. It’s just not the same and you know that no matter how hard you try it will NEVER EVER be “the same”. My Dad has been dead for eight years. EIGHT! Thats a long time. Some…many of my friends have lost loved ones just this past year. Its fresh pain. I remember the first few Christmases after my Dad died I/we tried to make it all normal. It wasn’t. It couldn’t be. Normal is such a weird word. I think Ive decided that “normal” just means “how its always been”. And if you’ve lost someone close to you there is no normal. Ever, ever again. And that is so very sad. The loss of normal. The loss of tradition and routine and family. The loss of how things “were supposed to be”.

This pressure at the Holidays to make everything perfect and be joyful and happy and cheerful and spread good tidings has chapped my ass. I miss my Dad everyday but his birthday and Christmas and during Cowboys games are worse. Yes…eight years later. Still. It doesn’t get easier really. It just feels like its been longer since Ive seen him so I miss him more. And I think of my dear friend, Michelle who lost her daughter, Sydney. This will be their second Holiday without their daughter. Unimaginable. Awful. Not ok. Holidays are not joyful for everyone. They are not “perfect” for everyone. They are not “normal” for everyone.

This is the third Christmas that my husband will have Brain Rot. He is worse now than in 2012. But he is here. For that I am extremely grateful. And my posts and blogs about our positive attitude and gusto for living life to the fullest here in Colorado are all true. ALL TRUE! But for me to tell you Im all full of gratefulness and cheer and joy would be a lie. Sometimes, lots of times, it sucks. It really REALLY sucks. And the thoughts of how life would be, will be, without him are there. And damn it Im a strong, STRONG, tough girl but sometimes it’s hard.

So my thoughts and my love are with those this week and next who are NOT filled with the JOY. NOT surrounded by their loved ones. NOT having a perfect Christmas. Im not sure that there really is such a thing. And that is OK. That is VERY OK. As I often say life throws us some shit sometimes and the only choice we have is to put one foot in front of the other. I saw a quote recently on the Momastery Blog that I follow and I loved it. It made me realize that I might just miss out on some really perfect moments if i keep being sad about the moments that have passed. Love to the scrooges out there this Christmas Day. You are not alone! Look for the little perfect moments.

20141216-065415-24855600.jpg

FOUR AND A HALF YEARS

She keeps saying it and I keep glossing over it. But for some reason this weekend it hit me. She is leaving in four and a half years. “Going faaaar away to college” she says. UGH. My stomach HURTS. I swear to you she was just yesterday four and a half years old. We were trying to decide if we should hold her back in Pre-K for one more year since she has a summer birthday. Thank God we did. I got one more year with her. Or this blog could be titled “THREE AND A HALF YEARS” and I’d be having more of a nervous breakdown than I already am.

So in my head I am still about 19. My body sometimes feels every bit of 42 but Im pretty sure Im still the idiot 19 year old girl I once was. How the hell I have a kid talking about college is beyond me. I swear there are days I still wake up and think “shit there are 2 humans relying on me to keep them alive”. But really they aren’t. They are potty trained (for the most part 😉 ), they make their own plans with friends, they shower themselves (mostly), they feed themselves, they come and go as they please and Im pretty much done parenting Maddie. Andy still needs reminding that his teeth are not self-cleaning.

I always heard adults saying “enjoy their childhood it goes VERY fast”. They were so right. I blinked and she was a lady. A person. She’s always been opinionated and wise beyond her years but SHIT. College? She’s asking to visit campuses and discuss what places have what majors and what universities have strong support for women on campus. Seriously? My college search criteria consisted of “what school has bars within walking distance?”. Who’s kid is this?

Looking back on Elementary School it is mostly a blur. All of the grades kind of run together. Literally FLEW by. We are about to register her for High School classes. I will likely vomit during the process. How am I even old enough to have a high school aged kid? Wasn’t I JUST in High School? She gets her driver’s permit in 8 months. Holy Hell. This is all going way too fast at this point. I am so very proud of my daughter. She gets straight A’s in honors classes, is the Secretary of Student Council, is very disciplined in Cheerleading and works hard three to four times a week at practice. She is a decent guitar player and at times I see her be so sweet to her brother when she thinks Im not watching. She truly loves her friends. She is a good person and we could not be prouder. I often say she ended up great DESPITE her Mother but Im just going to go ahead and take a little credit…my mini-me 🙂

Above all of her accomplishments I am most proud of how strong she is. She battles a daily barrage of health problems, weakness, exhaustion and aches and pains that a stupid autoimmune disorder dishes out to her and still pushes on. And God Bless the man who decides to spend his life with her. She is a HANDFUL. Strong-willed, opinionated, and mouthy. I have no idea where that comes from….yes I do. A long line of Ellis/Cannon/Harris women that don’t take any shit. A kind heart and a strong gut.

Four and a half years is going to fly by. I know it. I dread it. Its a funny mixed bag of emotions. A sadness that my sweet first born, beautiful child will fly away from home and things will never be the same. Alongside a swelling pride that I helped raise a person I know is going to change the world. I guess its true that kids are just on loan to us…and the goal really is for them to fly. I plan to enjoy every second of the next four and a half years.

20141208-092426-33866873.jpg

WHY I HATE PINTEREST AND PENGUINS

There are a few defining moments in our lives. That never leave us. Despite how hard we try to forget them or bury them or act as if they never happened some are just too traumatic to forget. And with December 1st EVERY DAMN year one of my defining moments returns to my head & stings like a shot of Goldschlager coming back up after a night of drinking….not that I would have any idea at all how bad that stings.

It was 7th grade. I was 13 years old. It was Home Ec class. I had signed up for it because I needed this elective and I thought it’d be easy. Idiot. We were doing the sewing section of the semester. Our project which made up a LARGE portion of our grade was to sew a pair of sweatpants then put them on and wear them for the class. My Nanny is an amazing seamstress so she helped me pick out the material. Red. Thick knit. Like old school Jerzee sweats we used to wear. Not easy to sew through I tell you. And looking back if my Nanny had loved me she would have taken me to KMART, bought some premade sweatpants and cut the tag out. By this point she knew me well enough to know this had disaster written all over it. But, unfortunately, she is part of the crazy honest side of my family….

We had to utilize time given in class to sit at the sewing machines and sew. This was NOT a take home project. I proceeded to sew. And sew. And sew. And cut thread and play with the bobbin thingy and use my pattern sheets to trace on my thick red material. And when I finished they looked ok. And we were sent to the bathroom to put them on and wear them into class to model them and get our final grade. Let me further explain that at this particular time in my life I had an unfortunate mullet perm, braces, an inclination for wearing horrible sweater vests and thick THICK glasses. I would find my “cute” a year or two later but I was FAAAAAR from that at this point.

I put the pants on. I took them off. I turned them around. I put them on again. I took them off. I turned them inside out. I turned around. I tried every which way to get the sweatpants on correctly then realized…oh god….i sewed the legs together. Literally…sewed the legs together from the crotch to just below the knee. SWEET. I waddled like a penguin into class in tears (and glasses and a bad perm) and felt the weight of 20 some odd junior high kids laughing. Im pretty damn sure that sadistic teacher laughed too. I got a C. In Home Ec. Talk about foreshadowing…..

Fast forward to two kids and me attempting to make “party treats” for birthdays. Or bake and decorate cupcakes. Or mend Maddie’s sweater. Or paint her name on a cute chalkboard for her room. Or bedazzle some flip flops for a summer swim party. ALLLLL above situations were hive-inducing, anxiety causing moments that resulted in disasters that would not pass for a second grader’s work. I cannot craft. I cannot sew. I cannot scrap book. I cannot decorate chotchkys. I don’t even know what a chotchky is. Every stupid Christmas ornament I ever had to help my kids decorate for some stupid, asinine class party that some asshole of a Mom who is GREAT at crafts and who churns her own butter and makes all of her cookies from scratch and sews her children custom clothes put together and organized, ended in tears and a Santa Clause painted with sharpie that resembled JJ from Good Times more than Jolly Old St Nick. And don’t get me started on those stupid pipe cleaner reindeer plates. God damn it.

I feel that you crafty people use the time period from December 1st through Christmas to deflate the egos of us non-super-humans. You post your quilts and blankets that you hand-put-together…or whatever the term is. You post your little Santa cookies that look like Martha Stewart made them by hand but YOU swear you just “threw together last minute for silly little Bobby’s Christmas Party tomorrow.” Your decoupage, your homemade treats, your wreaths made of homespun gold…all of it….makes me hate you. And please don’t take this personally. It’s more of a self hatred that I am projecting on you. Because you can and I CANT. Once when I tried to hand paint party favors for Maddie’s birthday party she took one look and said “Mom…know your strengths…this is NOT one.”

Hell. So I just want you to know that my strengths are clicking on “purchase now” on Amazon, finding cute ornaments at Pier 1, buying cookies from the bakery, and throwing every picture Ive EVER taken of my family into a shoe box and hopefully one day…oh hell who am I kidding. Those pictures are never leaving that box. It’s a digital world now. My kids may as well not have existed before 2005.

I hate you. I do. But its only out of jealousy. You should embrace your gift of crafting and brag about it all over the Facebook and Instagram. And when I “like” it know that I really do like it just not you. And I will like you again January 1st. I am good at drinking wine. I think I’ll go drink some now in my wine glass that I painted last week at my Chi Omega Alum event. And so what if my owl resembles some scary, skinny buzzard….the wine tastes the same whether the glass is cute or not! ;)-

20141201-063045-23445872.jpg