Category Archives: Uncategorized

MY SON IS PERFECT

When Patrick & I went for the 5th sonogram of my pregnancy with Andy I was about 16-17 weeks pregnant. Id lost so many pregnancies that I was considered “higher risk” so I was having more sonograms done than normal. This particular sonogram was to determine if our baby was at risk for Spina Bifida. As that had ben the cause of the loss of our first pregnancy. We’d told the sonographer we really didn’t want to know the sex. We had a healthy 1 year old baby girl at the time and surely didn’t care about the sex. I only wanted healthy. And I completely assumed it would be a girl. I was a girl Mom. Thats all I knew. So when she first placed the scanner on my belly and it just happened to be perfectly placed over the baby’s VERY obvious penis it was clear we were either having a baby with 3 legs or a boy. Even I could tell.

And what the ever loving fuck was I going to do with a boy? Holy shit. I only knew how it felt to have a girl. How would I bathe him? How would I hold him? How would I teach him to pee? I was extremely unequipped to deal with this. About as unequipped as I’d been before I had Maddie. And lo and behold….as biology often does….it all got figured out. I never knew I could love anything or anyone as much as I do my kids. That moment they were born, I was born. My heart grew. My soul was completed. And my girl is amazing. She’s very smart, funny, sarcastic, talented, she cheers, does DECA, does well in school and socially and overall is a pretty amazing person.
Andy was what the PC police would call “a handful”, “hyperactive”, “hard to discipline”, “strong willed”. In other words…he was an asshole. He climbed walls, ran away, escaped his crib at age 11 months, never listened and generally drove us nuts. But that kid loved me. He wouldn’t hug or love on anyone BUT me. He’d drive me crazy all day misbehaving to the point I’d want to lock him in a closet then crawl up in my lap and hug me so tight I thought my heart would burst. There is NOTHING…and I mean NOTHING like the relationship between a mother and son.
Relatives and well meaning people (of an older generation) suggested that he needed to be spanked, corporally punished….you know- beat the shit out of him. Id tried time outs and every other thing in the books to discipline Andy. To no avail. So I listened to those people. I spanked him. Several times as a toddler. And all of these years later I stand here and say UNEQUIVOCALLY, without a doubt, 100%….. I regret that. I should have NEVER EVER laid a hand on that child. He became aggressive when I started physically punishing him and biting other kids and his sister. I pretty quickly realized that hitting someone doesn’t exactly teach them NOT to hit. It had absolutely no positive outcome for us.
As Andy entered school it was a never ending schedule of conferences with teachers and administrators and advisors. It was meetings about behavior and how to get him to do homework. It was special schedules and rewards and consequences and tutors and hours and hours and hours and hours of tears. And frustration and anxiety and feelings of failure as a parent and anger and not understanding what we’d done wrong. What I’d done wrong. And so I listened, again, to the people tell me he needed to be medicated for his severe ADHD. Against what my heart told me to do. I was tired. And I was desperate. And we were all pretty miserable. And the years continued, the grades made no real improvement and the hate for school only grew. On top of that…the medication had some pretty YUCKY consequences. And this kid BEGGED me by 6th grade to stop making him take the meds. He looked me in the eyes and said “please, please do not make me take it anymore.” And I decided something in that moment….I decided my son’s LIFE and happiness and peace FAR outweighed my desire for him to excel in school. For him to get A’s and Bs. For him to “fit the mold”, “follow the crowd”, and ever be a teacher’s ideal student.
Andy is hilarious. And bright. And artistic and talented with complex structures. He’s witty and and has a lot of common sense. He makes me laugh. He apologizes when he hurts my feelings. And those things I know. What I DON’T know…is if the disease his father has is hereditary. No one knows. My kids are acutely aware of the possibility of them having Ataxia. So am I. Every second of every hour of every day. You can’t let that knowledge run your life. You can’t let it keep you from doing things, from moving forward and living your life. But you know what you CAN let it do…..you can let it help you see all of the beautiful things in your kid with ADHD. The coolness in him. The artist in him. The way he sees things differently. It can give you the perspective that he may not excel in a traditional classroom or aim to go to Harvard…..but he’s HERE. In this moment, able to ride his bike and laugh and draw and hug me. And every moment that he can do those things is a moment I am grateful for. My dear friend lost her 11 year old son this year. An hour long argument over getting a B instead of a C in Science seems a little ridiculous in comparison. Perspective.
Would I be happy if he got better grades? Sure. Would I be happy if he was more organized, more driven? Sure. Id certainly be happy getting less emails and calls from the school. But I love that kid more than life itself. I love his blue eyes. I love his crazy hair, his dimples, and his ability to make me laugh. And for all of the people who told me “stop breastfeeding…he needs milk to supplement”, “spank him- he needs discipline”, “put him on meds so he can sit still”…..shame on me for listening. Shame on me for thinking for one hot second you knew what was better for my son than I did. Shame on me.
Being just like everyone else is so fucking boring. So lame. So expected. And so unoriginal. I hope with all my heart he knows that he should embrace all of the things he is. And forget the things he isn’t. That straight A’s don’t make you kind. A teacher’s award doesn’t mean your compassionate. Sitting still for a 90 minute Economics class doesn’t make you any better than anyone else. In fact- it means you miss 90 minutes of doing something more fun. I make no apologies for the way I parent him. And I hope he NEVER makes any apologies for who he is. All I ever wanted for either of my kids was to be healthy, happy and peaceful. Because without those things…..what in the world would all the rest mean anyway?
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THANK YOU DALLAS

When I was 16 I remember driving to downtown Dallas for the first time alone. From the northern suburb of Carrollton (C-Town) where I lived with my family, downtown Dallas seemed a million miles away. I suppose it was. I remember getting turned around and lost and caught up in that tangled web of highway we called the “mixmaster”. Talk about anxiety and panic attack. For those of you under 30, there were no cell phones and no GPS devices in our possession at that time. You 100% relied on your inner compass, an old Atlas your Dad had stashed in your glove box and the Highway Signs. Those were the days. I found my way back home. Eventually. My Dad had always told me “if you get lost look for any highway sign that says NORTH. Head NORTH”. So I did. And made my way back to C-Town via I75 and the scenic farmland of Plano that is now a metropolis of suburbs.

 

 

My Mom and Dad were both born in Dallas. My maternal grandmother and my paternal grandmother were born in Dallas (one in the city and one quite rurally). My Mom’s GREAT grandfather worked for the railroad near Grapevine and my family has been in that area for 5 generations. Or more. I grew up with sweet tea and church on Sundays and new Easter shoes and Cowboys’ games and it was pretty awesome. Dallas means a lot to me. As I grew up and met people in college from other cities and eventually married and moved around….I got to see many cities, meet many people from many backgrounds, most had never even been to Dallas. Its funny- when you’re a kid your entire world consists of about 20 square acres. Back then it did, anyway. I though Dallas was the world! Guess what? Not everybody loves the Dallas Cowboys! ;)-

 

 

I understand why. If you weren’t born there, imerssed in America’s Team, taught to watch Staubach’s every move, knew Landry’s hat backwards and forwards…..then I’m sure Cowboy’s football isn’t all that important to you. It was and IS to me. Dallas is a city of juxtaposition. There are extremely poor people in urban housing that should be condemned. There are very wealthy people in mansions that rival Beverly Hills. There are taco trucks serving the most amazing tacos by people who actually KNOW how to make tacos parked in sketchy neighborhoods. And there are 5 Star restaurants where a tie is required and reservations take months to get. There are black people and hispanic people and Asian people and there’s a lot of concrete. There’s some beautiful art and amazing history. There’s the Oil Barrons’ Ball and Gay Pride Parade. (Guess which one I like better) 😉 There’s a moment in history frozen here at the 6th Street Museum that we’d rather not have had happened….but we accept it, and honor it. There’s amazing music venues and ranches and restaurants and architecture and sports. There’s stadiums that seat a bazillion people and back country hole in the wall dance halls that no one knows about.

 

 

I was born and raised in Dallas. So were my siblings and my parents. It is my home. It will always be my home. My Mom is moving away from Dallas soon. Then I will have  only my brother there. And that kind of hit me. For the better part of 45 years my entire immediate family lived in the Dallas area. It was one stop shopping. I could fly in and see everyone once I moved to Colorado.  I think in my heart I assumed it would always be that way. The truth is…things have changed a lot in 45 years. People used to work for the same company all their lives and families stayed within neighborhoods of each other. We don’t do that so much anymore. With technology and the ease of flying and the ability to move ANYWHERE…..we have. And progress is good I suppose. Moving to Colorado was one of the best decision I ever made. My soul is happy here.

 

 

But there’s a little part of me that is sad. I have friends in Dallas. They are more than enough reason to visit. My Dad and grandparents are buried there. But it seems to just get further away as time passes.  And though I am ELATED to build my home here in the mountains, happier than Ive been in a very long time, excited for things to come….a part of my heart stays in Dallas. Always has. Always will. I love that city for what it gave me, what it made me, what it taught me. I think when I drove away at 18 to college is when I knew you can never really go HOME again. Its never the same. It can’t be.

 

 

There’s some stereotypes of Texans. Of Dallas-ites. Some may be true. Some make me cringe. Ive never seen as many cows and horses or owned a pair of boots until I moved to Colorado- figure that out! But I am unapologetically proud to be a native Texan, a native Dallas-ite. To have grown up in such a place. A vibrant city full of culture surrounded by country.

 

 

I get a little homesick around the Holidays. But Ive come to realize its not about a location. Its about the people I miss. I miss my Dad. More than I can express. I miss my grandparents- all 3 of them. I miss my sister, my brother and my Mom. And I know geography has scattered some of us and thats how it goes I suppose. Funny thing about time…you can’t stop it. We grow, we flourish, we move, we find our own way. But at the root of how we got there was a sharp turn on I35 going South where a billboard with a REAL waterfall and a beer slogan let you know that you were home.

 

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MOTIVATION IS A FUCKING MYTH

As an online fitness coach I’ve heard the phrase “I wish I had your motivation” about 1,000 times. It always makes me giggle a little. Trust me…you do NOT wish you had my level of motivation. On a scale of 1-10 I’d say I consistently sit at a 3 on the motivation scale. It’s the truth. When you see pictures of me scaling rocks, climbing mountains, doing “Insane” workouts, working for abs, and hiking LONG trails…..it has almost NOTHING to do with motivation. There are only 2 things that get me moving- that make me push harder physically, that send me spider-manning up rock walls…..FOMO and what I like to call “The Stephen Hawking Effect”.
I know- weird. But here’s the deal…..
FOMO is, as we know, Fear Of Missing Out. I have it. I have a fear everyday that someone, somewhere is doing something fun that Im missing out on. That there’s a trail someone is on and they see a bear, a new rock formation and ascent to above 10,000 feet to take amazing pictures. And Im not in those pictures. There’s a group of women who climb Pikes Peak in under 7 hours and camp and climb back down. I want to hang with them. There’s a rock formation that Im perfectly capable of climbing but its over 14,000 feet in elevation and because I’m not in good enough shape I miss the climb. There’s a bull riding competition for women over 50 and because I didn’t train my core just a little bit more, I lose my balance, fall off the bull and lose the competition. All of THAT pushes me. I watched an incredible film last week on extreme rock climbing and the running joke throughout was “If Ryan calls you- don’t pick up the phone”. Its in reference to how extreme “Ryan’s” climbs are and how he expects his fellow climbers to walk through extreme conditions to get to these crazy climbs.  If I relax my fitness regimen and let my health slip, my core be less strong, my balance be untrained, my flexibility decrease……then when “Ryan” calls…I may hesitate to go. And I DONT want to hesitate. When someone asks me to do something fun, extreme, physically challenging…..I want to say YES without hesitation because I know Im physically ready for it. And THAT keeps me working out.
The second reason I workout and do all the scary things is what I call “The Stephen Hawking Effect”. Its very very very very simple.
 An estimated 48.9 million people in America are disabled. I am not. I am able. 
 
 
Trapped in a wheelchair, born without legs, cannot see mountains, cannot hear wildlife, cannot run, cannot walk, cannot dance….cannot. I imagine that those 48.9 million people would give all that they have to trade places with me. To be able to walk, run, hear, see. What a fucking asshole that CHOOSES to sit. That CHOOSES to not run or smell or hear see. If you CAN….you SHOULD. And that is all there is to that. Or by all means….sit on the couch, watch “Real Housewives”, and bitch about your gut.
 
 
So it aint motivation. It aint some inspirational Tony Robbins quote. It aint a feeling of “wow Im so damn excited to get up and sweat my ass off”. Motivation is dumb. Its non existent for me most of the time. Its a “catch phrase” a “feel good term”, a thing you THINK you’re supposed to feel because its quoted so much. Fuck motivation. Do it because “Ryan” might call someday. Do it because Stephen Hawking can’t. Just do it.
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A HOSPITAL FLOOR & THE BUSINESS OF BUSINESS

Its hard to admit you failed. And Im not sure I really like that word anyway. FAILED. Ive been told to embrace it by the CEO of Beachbody. So many success stories were proceeded by tons of failure. Michael Jordan, Einstein, Steve Jobs….the list is endless. But we, as a society with a short attention span, focus on the million hoops made, the scientific break throughs and the billion dollar company that IS Apple. We don’t really look at or focus on the FAILURES that came before. I went into Beachbody Coaching almost 4 years ago, gung ho, full steam ahead, and became successful and built a team and a paycheck and a few awards and titles and rank advancements later I felt pretty good. And then life happened.

 

I could blame my lack of focus in my business on a divorce, brain rot, moving, illness, spending all of my energy on coaching cheer. I could. It would all be true. 2017 has been extremely difficult for me. EXTREMELY. I don’t recall a time in my life of more stress, sadness, tragedy, anxiety, change and fear. I am a tough cookie. In many ways. In other ways I am human. I am fragile and mortal and sad and stressed and want to curl up and give up. My 20 year marriage ended this year. My grandmother died this year. My dear friend’s son took his life this year. I walked 121 miles this year. In 11 days. My physical body was not 100% this year. My workouts were off. My nutrition has been off. I moved this year. I left a job I love this year. Quitting my position as assistant cheer coach has made me more sad than I expected. I met a Dude this year. That I did NOT want to care for. If timing is everything then fate picked the absolute WORST (or best if you look at it differently) time for a Dude to walk into my life. (Or fall in my lap 😉 ) And sitting in that hospital room alone after they wheeled him away for emergency testing and surgery last week brought back a flood of memories.
I spent so much time crying in hospitals. I lost several pregnancies late. LATE. As in 5 months in late. I spent hours waiting for test results about brain rot in hospitals. So anxious I couldn’t breathe. My daughter was tested for thyroid cancer and I sat in a waiting room wanting to die. And trade places with her. And I sat in a hospital room in Houston last week alone. Its a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And if my anxiety level was any higher Im pretty sure Id have had a heart attack. I stared at the floor in that room and questioned everything Id ever done. I have made mistakes. Ive hurt others. Ive hurt myself. I question my ability to parent. I question my ability to let others in. To love. And to be successful. I let my team down this year- my Beachbody team. I had JUST ENOUGH energy to end a marriage and move and find the will to put my pants on each day….so my team got nothing from me. And for that I am sad. I have apologized to them. They are some amazing people.
I needed this time, this year, this space, this break….from everything. To try to find me and get mentally healthy. I think my body needed rest. Ive slept a lot lately. Im in the business of making healthy bodies. Of fitness and working out and building muscle. And I think it escaped me that the mind and the soul are just as important as the body. And mine needed rest. And time. Im a few pounds heavier than last year. I don’t have a 6 pack currently. I don’t have the energy I had last year. My fitness is not at its prime. But Im ready for a fresh start. Im ready. And I don’t regret taking the time to get my mind and soul right. I don’t. My body was screaming for rest. And I only get one body.
You don’t wake up one day and its all better. You don’t. I wont wake up January 1st and be “over” all the things that happened in 2017. It doesn’t happen like that. Though I wish it did. Its a process. And Im learning to respect the process. I am ready to be physically FIT again. Im ready to have a FIT business again and do what I do. Im good at it. I love my job. Ive committed to an “INSANE DECEMBER”. Gonna do the hardest Beachbody workout EVER for 30 days—INSANITY MAX 30— and document my journey. Im going to get back to my team. And leading by example. And healthy eating. And reading. And doing the things that fill me up. Its time. Im ready. And I need to be me. I also need to forgive myself for the time off. For the breakdown. For the mistakes. For everything. Truth be told…..I am HAPPY. A happy I never knew I could be. It doesn’t look perfect. But my soul feels good. And I realized the moment I looked down at the floor in that hospital room last week….that I am enough. I am strong. I am worthy. I am capable. And a good cry washes away a lot of shit. 🙂
Its ok to fall down. Its not ok to say there.
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AN EARLY TREE- SOME OPEN SPACES

I caught a little flack yesterday for putting up my Christmas tree early. Even from the Dude. And thats ok. I know it was all in jest. But its more than a tree this year. So much more.

In 17 years I have never spent a Holiday away from my children. Never. For 20 years Ive been a wife through the Holidays. Ive never decorated a tree alone. There’s so many things Ive never done alone. This has been a year of many firsts for me. More than I can count. Scary, exhilarating, anxiety-ridden, joyful, painful firsts. My Mom is spending Thanksgiving with my sister. My kids are spending Thanksgiving with their Dad. I was prepared to spend the day alone- well- with the Cowboys of course. Dude wasn’t having it and insisted I go to Houston with him. Im grateful for that. But I could’ve done it alone. Im a lot stronger than many think. Than I think.
I had a rough week. I needed a Christmas tree. I don’t care that its only November 16th. I needed the tree. And I needed to buy it alone. Despite the crazy lady in the Walmart parking lot telling me I was emitting toxins into the planet- it was nice to go get my little plastic tree alone. I missed my kids. I always miss my kids. Even when they are right in front of me. They are my heart.
So I got my tree home and assembled it alone (all 6 feet of it) pre lit and everything. You know- rocket science and shit. Then I realized all of my ornaments were at my old house. I started messing with the “branches”. To try to fill in the very empty looking spots. You know that Charlie Brown/fake tree/plastic/aluminum showing look…..ya- not so Christmas-y. I must’ve rearranged and moved branches for an hour trying to fill in all of the open spaces. So it looked more like a tree and less like a weed. And I sat down and stared at it. No matter what I did, or rearranged,  or tried to fix or fill….there was just some open spots. Some empty spots. I cried. And I decided it was ok. Its ok to see some of the wires, the aluminum pole, the “fakeness”, the flaws. Its really really really ok. Makes my tree exactly what it is- MY tree. Some holes cannot be filled. And aren’t meant to be.
So I know its early. I know we haven’t celebrated the holiday where we stole America from the Native Americans yet. I know. But I don’t care. And though I’m not exactly one to care what others think…this one is for the “newly” single people at the Holidays. For those who lost someone this year. Or last year. Or 11 years ago. For those going through divorce or break ups. For those with children away at college for the first time. For those that are celebrating their Holidays so very differently this year than they ever have before. You do YOU baby! Screw the masses. Screw the opinions. Screw the way its “supposed to be”.
You see- there’s no WRONG way to do things. There’s just not. And it took me my whole life to realize people try to tell you there is. But we all have our own way. And sometimes things change. So I put up and decorated my Christmas tree on November 16th this year. Maybe next year I’ll do it on Halloween. Maybe in 2019 I’ll do it on December 24th. Maybe one day I wont do a tree at all. And all of that…..ALL OF THAT…is perfectly ok. 🙂
Well Ive been afraid of changing,
Cuz I built my life around you.
But time makes you bolder, children get older
And Im getting older…. too.
     S.N. “Landslide”
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2017- A YEAR IN PICTURES

2017 began with the knowledge that my marriage would end. Id known it. But its a helluva way to start a year. Theres only about 6 weeks left in this year. And its been a week of reflection for me. To say Ive walked through every emotion that exists more than a few times would be an understatement. I was trying to think of just ONE word to describe 2017. The word that continues to come to mind is “rebirth”. And though it sounds new and fresh and happy….and it can be…..rebirth is preceded by some painful shit. And at 45, not many of us have come this far with no pain. I am no exception.
My divorce became real and then my grandmother died in March. On what would’ve been my parent’s 45th wedding anniversary. She was my Dad’s mother. She was my Nanny. She made me chocolate chip cookies and dresses and quilts and came to all of my football games to watch me cheer and taught me to sew and came to see me in college when a boy broke my heart. The hardest thing I ever had to do in my life was tell her that her child was dead. That my Dad had been killed in an accident. No parent should outlive a child. Its not ok. At any age. I miss her. I miss Pawpa. I miss my Dad. And sometimes I feel like they are somewhere without me.
In April I got to go to the Dominican Republic with my Beachbody friends. I don’t know that there’s words for that trip. Theres something about being on a beach a million miles away that cleanses you a little. Had a few good cries and many great laughs there. And I’ll never EVER forget that trip.
My friend’s 11 year old son took his life shortly after my grandmother died. I was there when Carson was born. I felt numb for several days. And then I began to walk. And I walked  11 miles a day for 11 days and didn’t stop. I walked 121 miles. Because I felt so unbelievably sad and distressed and lost and helpless that I just didn’t know what else to do. And if the year was a birthing process- Id say the physical pain of those 11 days and the mental cleansing that accompanied it were the hardest parts. Being alone with your own thoughts and no music for that many hours insists upon some serious self reflection. And guilt and shame and regret and sadness and joy and happiness and loss and all of it. All. of. It.
In June I met someone who has no idea how they changed my life. And though they were only there for a brief bit- it mattered.
July brought New Orleans. Amazing. Patrick is from there. I’ve been a million times. That city means more to me than I can say. The memories, the food, the music, the smells and sounds and rawness. What a cathartic trip- to return new, to a place that was old. Thank you, Donna.
I moved out and got a rent home in August and that was HUGE and scary and I don’t think Ive ever cried tears of happiness and sadness so much together in my life. I can’t even describe what its like to be so happy and have my kids here & laughing and leaving the toilet seat down and buying my own favorite foods and looking out the back window to see a mountain. I also can’t describe how quiet it is sometimes and how much silence can pierce. When the kids are gone and Im alone and ALONE. I remember aching for silence when they were very young. Needing some solace. I like the quiet. Until I don’t. Ironic.
And I met a dude. Not meaning to. AT ALL. Last thing I ever wanted was to meet someone. Good grief. Horrible timing. I don’t think there could be one more person to tell me to take it slow, be alone, do “me” for awhile, concentrate on myself and wallow in the solitude. Funny thing is…..I’ve been doing all of that for YEARS. Just no one knew it. You can be surrounded by people and feel very alone. So I’ll listen to the advice like I do with everything else…..with one ear closed. And I’ll do whats right for me and my heart and that is all. Because good lord people- life is fucking short. Very short. Be happy when you can. “Enjoy the wave” 😉 Even if your wave moves “too fast” for some.
I slept in a hay field in Nebraska to watch a total solar eclipse in August. It was the absolute coolest thing Ive ever seen in my life. Hands down. No words can capture it.
In September I spent 3 days backpacking through the Snowy Range of Wyoming. I slept in a tent and caught fish and cooked them for dinner. I lit a fire and climbed boulders and had no cell service for over 3 days and it was fucking awesome!! I’d do it again tomorrow if I could. Id do it every day if I could. I am so very much stronger than I ever thought I was. More capable. More resilient.
In September I also stood front row at the Zac Brown concert in Dallas. Thank you again, Donna. Fucking BAD ASS!! Seriously. BAD ASS!!
In October I made the FINAL decision that I was going to buy land and pursue building my own home. Scared shitless once again. This journey will NOT be easy or without obstacles. But I guess nothing worthwhile really is.
I learned to rock climb this year. I learned to fly fish, backpack, set up my own cable, how to dig a septic tank. I fed llamas and shook hands with Zac Brown. I buried my grandma and ended a marriage and walked 121 miles in 11 days and cried and laughed and met a guy. I learned some lessons about true friendship and judgement. I got two new tattoos. One to honor a boy. One to honor a journey. I found who I am. Im learning to be ok with her. I got a friend back, I watched a football team go undefeated, I saw some mountains I’d never seen and went on some VERY special drives ;). Im going to Houston for Thanksgiving. With the Dude. I will miss my kids more than there are words for as Ive NEVER EVER spent a Holiday away from them. And so it goes.
I don’t know what 2018 holds. And I like it that way. I know 2017 was hard. And sad and amazing and full of tears and laughter and friends and new beginnings and forgiveness. And being on the downslope to 50 is a good place to be. I love more. I have more patience. Im slightly more mature and working through the remainder of my shit that I need to work through. I am always grateful for good things. Its harder to be thankful for hard things. But I am. What a year. What a trip around the sun. Here’s to whats been and what will be. Thank you for the lessons and the gifts, 2017.
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WHAT KIND OF MOM ARE YOU

I’ve been extremely lucky in the parent department. Two people who were 19 years old certainly didn’t face great odds in 1972 when they found out they were pregnant. And despite all the things that should’ve gone wrong….some things went right. And Gary & Karen made it. And they had me and married and 5 and 7 years later had a few other rugrats. I grew up in very close proximity to my two sets of grandparents. We all lived in C-Town. I cannot think of a better childhood than the one I had. I am so acutely aware of how lucky I am. My parents stayed married. My grandparents stayed married. I wanted for nothing. There was never abuse or addiction or neglect or anything bad. My parents were not perfect. None are. But they were darn close.
In the course of a divorce there are so many feelings I can’t even begin to explain. A LOT of you know. Some of you don’t. I wouldn’t wish divorce on ANYONE. EVER. It fucking sucks. Shame, guilt, fear, anxiety, sadness, worry, stress, disappointment….among a million other feelings have encompassed me in the past 2 years. And being such a public person and not sharing my journey was weird. But I chose to remain private about it. Out of respect for everyone involved. And I cannot say enough what a great person Patrick is. And a great Dad. I hit the lottery there too. And perhaps in the midst of all of the “falling apart” I felt so shameful I didn’t want to talk about it. Speaking about it made it real. Very few people knew what was actually happening. I shut out a lot of people. Including my Mom. I regret that.
My Mom is pretty amazing. The love of her life died at the age of 53. After 33 years together. And she held it together better than most would. I would be lying if I said I had the perfect relationship with my Mom. It was tense in High School. It was tense recently. I am horrible at calling people. I hate the phone. HATE. So I don’t return phone calls and I don’t stay in touch like I should and I am not the best daughter. My sister, Kelly, gets that award. Rightfully so.
Sometimes the people we are closest to are the ones we hurt the most. Because we feel comfortable being an asshole to them. We know they HAVE to love us and forgive us. I cannot say I would go back and do the divorce differently. As my second Mom, Lynda, often said “don’t be shoulda on yourself”. Meaning- don’t look back with regret. You did the very best you could at that moment with what you had. Maybe I wouldn’t have shut people out. But its the only way I knew to survive. Admitting you failed at a marriage is fucking horrible. Its shameful. It feels awful, And there’s nothing anyone could ever say to you to make you feel worse than you already do. And traveling alone was all I knew to do.
Becoming a Mom was the best thing that ever EVER happened to me. I had so very many miscarriages that I never thought Id be able to be a Mom. So Im grateful. Beyond words. And grateful I had children with the man I did. I, like most Moms probably, beat myself up daily for not being a better Mom. For making mistakes. Cussing too much. Laughing at dick jokes they make. Blaring mysoginistic rap music. Forgetting to pick them up. Not making cookies. Not “looking my age”. But more than any of that I regret that I took a family from them. My heart is broken for that. It will never mend. It will never be ok. I will always and forever feel like I failed a little as a Mom. The decisions I made to end a marriage (a long time ago) took YEARS to make and I hurt and struggled and ached over what to do. Nothing about it was easy.
I shut out my sister and my Mom and those closest to me during a very difficult time. And for that I apologize. I wish I could fix a lot of things. I wish I could take back some things I said. I wish I was a better human sometimes. I make mistakes. I am so unbelievably grateful for my grandmothers, my Mom and my sister. There have never been 4 better Moms. Never. I come from a strong line of women. Who feel deeply and think too much and come across as brick houses but have hearts of butter. I literally almost cry every time I look at my daughter. Every time. I know she makes fun of me for it. But there is no love like that for a child. It has taken me 45 years to realize its ok to be me. To be happy. To be the kind of Mom I am. Its ok. And I hope and pray and wish for my girl that she will be her own kind of woman someday. And her own kind of Mom if she chooses to be one.
I cant promise I wont feel guilt any longer or regret or shame. Im human. I can almost guarantee it. I can guarantee Ill fuck up on occasion. I can hope, though, with all Ive been through….that I can forgive myself. That I can apologize. That I can be ok with being me. Learning to forgive myself has proven to be one of the hardest things Ive had to do. Here’s to all the Moms. The ones who do it right. The ones who do it “wrong”. The ones who struggle. The ones who cuss. The ones who knew the moment that first child was born that their hearts no longer belonged to themselves. May you love and forgive yourself. And live. LIVE.
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A HOME FOR MY NEW STEPPING STONE. MY OWN DIRT.

I am not the girl I used to be. I am older. I am wiser. I am calmer. I am peaceful. I am more. I need and want less. And am happy with little. Never was it ever about THINGS.
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I wrote a blog last week about my Dad’s 65th Birthday. I didn’t post it. It was too difficult to. It was about how he’d finally be retiring and getting to do the things he always wanted to do. How he’d ride his Harley more, FEDEX his UPS uniforms back to the company (LOL) and visit Colorado more. He was a good saver. He and my Mom planned for 33 years before he died. They had a savings account and he contributed a lot to retirement so he could LIVE someday. The way he wanted to. And the fact that at 53 he left the Earth and never got to retire, never got to ride more, travel more, LIVE more, kinda crushes me.
For many MANY years I’ve had a dream to have a little home in the mountains. Further into the mountains I mean. No cement. The dream has evolved and changed over the years. I truly thought I’d go with a husband. I thought there’d be 25th and 50th Wedding Anniversaries. I thought a lot of things. Letting go of what you thought would be is very difficult. Very. Life has certainly NOT turned out the way I expected it would. Many MANY things are vastly different than I anticipated. So for about a second and a half I was resolved to the fact that I’d rent a little place for the rest of my life. I moved into this rent house with the help of only 3 girlfriends. The 4 of us managed to move all of my furniture and things. Just us. My friends ROCK. And I love this house. Its fun and old and quirky. But its not mine. I don’t own it.
And sometimes when my kids are gone. At school. Or with their Dad. I just sit in the big kitchen and cry. Sometimes the tears are happy. There are moments Im proud of myself for being brave enough to leave a situation I needed to leave. For showing my daughter what happy means. For installing curtains alone and finding a $25 garage sale table and carrying it into this house with my own arms. There’s times the tears are sad. And I mourn a lost life. I mourn where I THOUGHT I’d be. Im sad for things that ended and things I couldn’t fix and for my kids. And I mourn that I own nothing but my Jeep. I felt homeless while sitting in a home. I felt after 20 years of home ownership that Id LOST all Id worked for. And then I realized something. I don’t have to give up my dream. It just might look a little different.
So in sitting with my finances and current situation and analyzing (to death) how I can afford to live on my own I found a solution. I can buy some mountain land and build a tiny home. And be debt free. No mortgage, no rent, very VERY low utilities. And what that means is FREEDOM. I can still travel, hike, backpack across America, whatever the hell I want. So its not a 3 bedroom mountain home with a large family room and huge fireplace anymore. Its not expensive flooring and fixtures and mudrooms and TONS of land. Not anymore. Its small. Very small. Its not super fancy. But its MINE. And its all I can think about. Ive always been the “spouse who signs on the line next to the buyer” when we’ve bought homes before. Ive never even bought a car alone. The thought of a home. Some land. Some space. Some mountain views and a porch to drink my coffee on while I watch deer and wildlife walk by…..it takes my breath away. It makes me cry. Because all the THINGS in the world cannot make me feel as peaceful and full as the security of a little tiny house and a majestic view that is all mine.
Its the beginning of this journey for me….trying to find land, getting a tiny home built that I can pay for out right. Just the beginning. And Id be lying if I said Im not scared shitless. But I spent 2 hours yesterday researching septic tank installation on a mountain. And how you can own llamas on private property. And how much a snow plow cover for the front of my Jeep would cost. And it made me more happy than any visit to any spa, any pedicure, any stay in a fancy hotel has ever made me feel. We all dream differently. And that’s ok. Dreams can change, evolve, grow, be put off, or in my case……be put on fast forward.
My Dad fully expected to see 65 years old. He fully expected to retire and have money and live out the dream he wanted to. He made it to 53. Im 45 now. Im not promised 65. Im not promised TOMORROW. So Im not going to wait. And its going to be frustrating and time consuming and I know Ill run into obstacles. But the new stepping stone my friend, Christine, made for me, is going to have a home. It’s going to go in dirt that is mine. I just cannot put it in someone else’s dirt. There’s dreams to make come true. And I’ll crawl, walk, run to make them happen. I can’t leave my stepping stone with no place to call home.
“And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high”
         John Denver
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ROADS

I’d had this image of what Robert Frost meant when he wrote the poem. What I WANTED it to mean. He was a rebel. The one who went against the grain. Did his own thing. Fought the man. The establishment. Kicked convention to the curb. Parted ways with social norms and flipped them off on his way out. I wanted it to be this. And then I read the poem. I mean Id read it before many times. But yesterday I REALLY read it. Not from an angst teenager’s view or that of a young adult wanting to change the world. This time I read it from a 45 year old’s point of view. And its funny what you hear, what you see, what you learn……when you REALLY listen.

 

Its no secret Ive chosen to live my life a little unconventionally. I’ve been all about being different and unique and original and not following the crowd. Ive made a point to point out Im not conservative or religious in anyway because that is exactly what people expect when they see a blonde woman from Dallas. I’ve raised my kids to NEVER accept what is told to them as fact. To research and learn for themselves. To never follow a crowd. To blaze your own path and never stop fighting for what you believe in. And in my head Robert Frost’s poem embodied all of that. All of the bravery it takes to go down an unfamiliar path and buck the system. Until I REALLY read it again.

 

Saturday I went rock climbing with Dude and a few people I’d never met before. As usual I jumped in the car and said “lets go” with absolutely no clue where we were going. I rarely know where Im going anymore. I just go. It was a beautiful, familiar drive. The Aspen trees are stunning. The oranges and yellows and lime greens just pepper the mountain side and it looks like a painting. I love mountain driving in the Fall. Sometimes when we rock climb the walk from where we park the car to where we actually climb rocks is very short. Sometimes its far. And carrying a backpack full of supplies, water, ropes, etc….its not super easy climbing uphill with all that weight on your back at high altitudes. This was a trek. We had to walk pretty damn far from the car to the rock face. And it was all uphill. And rocky. And at places a little scary. But the hike started on a road before it ventured off into barely worn woods.

 

Climbing has become something very emotional for me. I don’t quite yet know why. But I cry every single time I do it. Maybe because its scary as shit. Maybe because its frustrating. Maybe because Im an old dog trying to learn new tricks. Maybe just because it symbolizes moving on. And it helps me purge. I don’t know. But I had a rough go of it the weekend before. And so these 2 climbs I did Saturday were awesome. Successful. I actually topped a 5.9. For those with no clue what that means….doesn’t matter…I climbed a step higher in difficulty than I ever had before. Pretty cool. The views were probably the best views Ive seen on any of the climbs Ive been on. Crazy amazing beautiful. Id make the hike in JUST for the views. Truly. The climbing is just icing.

 

So the walk out was better than the walk in. I felt accomplished. I felt proud. I felt happy. I don’t know if most 45 year old Moms are scaling the sides of mountains but they should be. And we navigated the brush and unmarked path down until we hit the main road. And one of the girls walking with us mentioned taking the road less traveled as we pushed through. I smiled and thought of that poem I love so much. It was an incredibly good drive home. I wont forget that drive. Ever. 😉

 

When I got home I pulled the poem up online to read. And something caught my attention. The title. My entire fucking life Id thought the title was “The Road Less Traveled”. Perhaps because thats what I wanted it to be. Its not, you know. Frost titled it “The Road Not Taken”. Its peppered with regret. Its peppered with the angst that he had to make a decision. That it wasn’t so easy to take the path he chose. He struggled with it. He even says in line 2 “And sorry I could not travel both”. He was sorry he had to choose. He was sorry he couldn’t have both lives, travel both paths. At the end of the poem he talks about leaving that other path for another day but knowing in his head that day would probably never come and he doubted he’d ever come back to travel the other path. I cried. Surprise. The poem was about the road he DIDN”T take.

 

I think when you make difficult choices in life people don’t see the pain that goes behind those decisions. When you live a big, bold, crazy, adventurous life out loud. When you’re happy. When you find the path you wanted and you get to be yourself finally. The world sees the happy. The world sees it and thinks how easy it must’ve been to choose the life you have. They don’t know you lamented for years. They don’t know you prayed and cried and didn’t sleep for months. They don’t know you made huge mistakes and have regrets and begged life to let you take both paths. You desperately tried to find a way to live both lives. To make everyone happy. To make it all ok. You fought to NOT be you so you wouldn’t ruffle feathers. You tried and struggled and hurt and decisions were never made lightly.

 

That road I chose. This road I chose. I walk it big and slowly and stop and smell every rose. Because there was another road. I could’ve chosen. It wasn’t a bad road. It wasn’t any LESS than the path I did choose. It just wasn’t MY road. It doesn’t mean I don’t wonder. I don’t feel sad. I don’t contemplate what might’ve been. Sometimes choices are simple. Sometimes hard. Sometimes painful. That Road Not Taken will always be there. It just wasn’t  MY road. But it deserves the title. Because. Because it will always ALWAYS make me appreciate even more, the road I DID choose.

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BiG DREAMS, SMALL HOUSES AND A DECLARATION

I love the city. I love being in it. The noise, smells, people, shops lined in a row so I can go in every single one and look at things. I love the loudness of it and the idea that I can get bread, coffee and a new jacket all on the same block. God it’s so cool. You can walk everywhere and its electric and eclectic and full of life. I always thought I’d want to live in the middle of a city once my kids were grown. And when I dreamed that it seemed a million years away. Now….not so much.
My daughter will be 18 years old next summer. And then she goes to college the next Fall. I always thought my dreams were FAR AWAY and I had a long time to plan it all out. I woke up one day and I was looking at a 45 year old woman about to be an empty nester in 2 years. Holy shit. My dreams have evolved over the years. As probably everyone’s have. I think I used to want a pool and a big closet and a thousand pair of shoes and a Porsche. That was a good dream. For the girl I was. I am not her anymore. I don’t want a thousand pair of shoes. Or a big closet. Or a pool. But I’d damn sure take an old classic Porsche convertible.
Moving to Colorado was something that changed everything in my life. Including what I dreamed about. I realized I love being outside WAY more than I like being inside. I like dirt trails more than streets. I like mountain views more than skyscrapers. I like quiet. And space. And a big huge beautiful open blue sky. I prefer to wear hiking shoes most of the time to heels. I wear less makeup now than when I was 35. So very weird. I never would have guessed. I still love the city. Visiting it. Shopping. On occasion. I still love being around people. Coffee in a shop on a patio. The noise. The electricity.
But my heart and soul just belong in the mountains. I find so much peace there. I am calm, have no anxiety, less worry, I feel at home and at ease and un judged on a mountain. On a trail. I feel no guilt. No shame. No need to please. No desire to check social media. No pull to be the most successful or the richest or the favorite or the top producing anything while up there.
So my dream isn’t 10 years away anymore. Yours isn’t either. Mine is around the corner. And I plan to make it happen. 45 years flew by. In the blink of an eye. I wont wake up at 55 years old and still be “planning” for the future. My Dad didn’t get to be 55. A lot of people don’t. We woke up one day and said “let’s move to Colorado”….so we did. Period. I want that house in the mountains. So I will make it happen. Thats all there is to that. Dreams are only dreams unless you make them happen. There is no reason and no excuse and no dilemma and no obstacle too big to stop you from doing what you want to do. You can be scared. You can be broke. You can have responsibilities. You can have a job, kids, older parents, bills, whatever. Its all an excuse. I had all of those things when I left Texas. I can’t imagine if I’d let any of that stop me.
You live and learn man. You learn life is short. VERY short. Too short for huge closets and dealing with 1,000 pair of shoes. Too short to be unhappy. Too short to work your ass off for someone else. Too short to not MAKE your dreams come true. Many pregnancy losses changed me. My Dad’s death changed me. Brain rot changed me. Moving changed me. Colorado changed me. Getting older changed me. Divorce changed me. And though most of it was so incredibly painful, so hard to go through, so lonely, so devastating, so hurtful….Im truly not sure anymore that I would change any of it. It makes me cry writing that. Because I wouldn’t wish a motorcycle accident, a brain disease, or a divorce on ANYONE. Being human means you get afflicted with a heart, and feelings, and the ability to love. It means you get hurt, you get sad, you get disappointed, you get devastated.  It also means- you GET to be happy, you GET to experience sadness and devastation and love and all of the butterflies and all of the good and all of the beautiful. And I wouldn’t trade the good things to avoid the bad.
I’ve seen parts of the world I never dreamed I would. Ive met amazing friends. Ive been to late night secret concerts. Ive climbed rocks and mountains. Ive delivered 2 humans. Ive been married and loved and called Mom. Ive felt pride and joy and accomplishment. Ive seen a total solar eclipse. I understand loss. I empathize better. I am all that I am, because of my experiences. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
I see more mountains, less traffic, more dirt and a tiny house in my future.
“…It turned my whole world around, and I kinda like it..”
        Not Ready To Make Nice, The Dixie Chicks
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