EMBRACING THE I DONT KNOWS & MOVING FORWARD

I’ve heard it called a mid life crisis. I pictured a 50 year old man with a bit of a gut, a receding hairline he’s trying to save, and a sports car he shouldn’t have bought. I pictured him flirting with younger women and making a fool of himself. I pictured a cheesy shirt and some jewelry he shouldn’t be wearing and a dirty martini. Its what I pictured. What crept up and slapped me square in the face was what it really is. Not so much a crisis as a stage of life. A transition. A skin shedding. A wing spreading. A death and a rebirth….and most shocking of all….not a HIM at all.

Admitting Im in a “transitional phase” (as the experts like to call it) is humbling, embarrassing, cathartic, cleansing, funny, and disappointing all at once. Im only 44 years old. Ill be 45 in a few months but I don’t think theres an actuall time stamp on when this shit happens to you. You can be 38. You can be 58. Its not exactly about an age but more about whats going on in your life. And whats going on in my life? Ha. Great question. Wish I had an answer for that. Since the age of I don’t even recall Ive pretty much had my shit together. I knew I wanted to be married, have a family, have a home, plant roots and be a Mom. In 24 months my oldest leaves for college. My youngest will be doing online school so it matters not where he lives. So it goes without saying I’ve given some thought to what this means.
For the first time in forever the NEXT place I go, live, stay, adventure….it wont matter how good the school district is or what the property values are or how far of a commute it is to work or school or grocery stores. It wont matter that a great preschool is nearby. It wont matter if its within 30 minutes of soccer fields or tumbling gyms or indoor bounce houses or any of that. ANY of that. It was so very difficult for me to become a Mom. I had MANY miscarriages. The one in the 5th month was the worst. And the most painful. I thought Id never get to be a Mom. So when I became one I was ecstatic and grateful and thought I’d found the identity I’d needed. Wanted. A name to call me- MOM. I have loved every damn second. The tantrums, diapers, potty training, first day of Kindergarten, sleepless nights, swim lessons, soccer games, all of it. All. Of. It. How crazy privileged I’ve been to get to do this parent thing. Some don’t get to.
There’s been a grieving in me for things that wont ever be. I wont ever live near my parents and they wont make every game my kid cheers at and there wont be weekly Sunday dinners with cousins and large family gatherings and accepting that has been hard. And sad. And cathartic. And DECIDING that I get to decide what life looks like now, whats normal, whats ok….took time.
I think we all go through this whole “transitional phase”. Maybe some just slide by it almost unnoticed. Maybe some don’t even blink at it. Maybe some are so happy to be getting on to the next phase of life that its a happy time. Maybe some are sad. Maybe some feel they are losing some purpose and identity as their kids leave. And maybe a few are like me- kind of flailing. Flapping their wings and trying to fly away while keeping one foot in the nest with the kids. Trying to figure out if this is what being “grown up” means. Trying to find what and who you are at this next phase.
Its a strange thing getting older. I feel more confident, sexy, smart, sure footed and calm than I ever did when I was actually younger and prettier and had less wrinkles and was rocking a pair of shorts. Maybe God gives you the nicer body and face when you’re younger to make up for the idiocy that engulfs your brain. I would NOT trade the things I know for the younger body. Not in a million years.
The type A in me wants to know what happens next. Where will I be? Where will I live? Who will be in my life? How will love look? Is it a cabin on a mountain, secluded, just me and the mountains to hike. An occasional trip to the local pub to grab a beer and a conversation. Will it be a little cottage on a beach and days spent running in the sand (ok walking) and a suntan and waves and walks into town for good food. Will it be a condo downtown near all the “stuff” and I can walk to coffee and shops and see people all the time. Honestly any of those sound amazing. As long as there’s no fences. NO FENCES. Not knowing is scary. Not having kids here all the time is scary. Not knowing what life holds is scary. But its also fucking amazing. So just like the day I became a Mom- scared shitless, not knowing what the hell was in front of me, how Id screw this kid up, how Id get through it all…..I get to look ahead at a new phase and be scared shitless….and excited..and anxious…and not know. So I’ll flap my wings a little, test them out, I’ll laugh and I’ll cry and I’ll pray and I’ll dance in my socks and I’ll put one foot in front of the other…..because backwards is no place to go.
fc37272394911e9ea3a644aefd55fd2d
Advertisements

INDECISIVE

Im tired. Im very tired. Im tired of being “ok”. Of having it “all together”. Of being the wife of the dude with brain rot that is strong and works her business and leads a team and coaches cheer and stays in shape and makes people laugh and parents two kids. Im tired.

Truth is…Im not really ok. I have not exactly been ok since my 121 mile hike. My personal life is a mess. I have some job decisions to make and trying to figure out whether to follow my head or heart is hard. There’s 17 girls depending on me. My son wants to do online school. 90 minute classes are hard people. For a kid with severe ADHD. While your honor kid walked the stage…my son struggled just to sit still in class. We will find a school for him. But damnit its hard. Its hard to be his Mom.
My daughter has an autoimmune disease that leaves her in tears most nights. She cried last night for a few hours. In pain. And I can’t fix it. I have an autoimmune disorder as well. I think most people forget that. Or don’t know it. But I hurt. All the time. ALL. THE. TIME.
If one more dirty old man messages me about what he wants to do with my “fit little body” I may lose it. Im a fitness coach. Its my job. Fuck you if you can’t respect that.
Some days I wanna get in my Jeep and drive over the mountain and not come back. A LOT of days.
The guilt I feel is overwhelming. Completely and totally overwhelming. Guilt over wanting to run. Guilt over being a shitty parent. Guilt over not doing my job to the best of my ability. Guilt over my Dad dying. Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.
I have tried to fit in to every mold of what I should be. A mom, wife, suburban soccer parent. I’ve tried. I’ve tried. Because its what you’re “supposed” to be. And every single ounce of my fiber just can’t do it. I can’t BE what Im “supposed” to be. I can only be me or I’ll suffocate. And the guilt that follows that is heavy.
Ive always been a very decisive person. ALWAYS. I make a decision, right or wrong, and do it. I love decisiveness. Its mature. Its solid. Its not annoying. I like it. Ive made many wrong decisions but I don’t care. It was a decision. In my business I tell my coaches to stop thinking so much and just DO. A bad decision is better than no decision. But for the first time in my entire life Im indecisive. Im stuck. Im unsure. And I do not like it. I have so so so many decisions to make and I have felt paralyzed by that.
I walked 121 miles. Because my dear friend’s 11 year old son died. And its all I could do. And I was walking to and from and for and I thought 121 miles would bring some answers for me too. But this brain of mine isn’t quiet and it brought up more questions than answers. And it pissed me off. And I have writer’s block. And I have decisions to make and I have to step up. And Im tired.
I guess it means Im human. And Im not really ok with that. A friend from High School posted the other day that the people that grew up where we grew up are “different”, “special”. And we are. And I want to be superhuman. I want to be all of the things. Mom, friend, fit, happy, decisive, leader, coach. All of the things. The one thing I didn’t count on was being human. So I will sit with that. I will accept that sometimes the answer is “I don’t know.” And that has to be enough. I will accept that the answers will come…..in time. The decisions will be made…eventually. And that maybe its God’s way of saying “slow the fuck down, it’s ok weirdo…you don’t HAVE to do everything.”
A hike has always brought me answers. Writing has always come easy. I could always read the fine print.
Hikes bring more questions now. Writing is harder. And I had to get readers to see close up.
Shit changes. And maybe thats what has me frazzled. Funny thing getting older. You realize that the older you get….the less you know. And I have always known and still do….its not about the destination at all. Accepting, embracing, holding, crying, laughing and learning from EACH LITTLE STEP ON THIS JOURNEY.
So Ill sit here in my new pineapple knee socks and not make any decisions today and thats ok. Its really, really, really ok.
18870774_10213284783180079_2146255668_n

121 MILES. A WALK FOR CARSON. A WALK BACK TO ME.

I remember the dumbest thing anyone said to me after my Dad was killed was “everything happens for a reason”. I cannot express how stupid and shitty that is to hear when you’ve lost someone. And the day my friend called to tell me her 11 year old son had died I remember hoping no one would say that shit to her. Because there is no reason. No reason. No reason. You cannot give me a reason for a boy who’s 11 years old to die. You can’t. You wont. There isn’t one. The truth is, at 44, what I don’t know is much greater than what I do know but I know this….shitty awful things happen. They just do. There doesn’t need to be a reason or an explanation or a lesson learned from every event. Sometimes we are dealt some almost unbearable tragedies. And there is nothing you can do, say, pray for, create, offer that can make it hurt any less. Walking through grief can be one of the loneliest, heart wrenching, physically and mentally painful things you’ll ever do. I just didn’t want her to walk alone.

There’s was nothing I could say. In fact, my friend comforted me as I cried on the phone when she told me. I felt like Id been stabbed in the gut. I cannot begin to imagine how she felt, how she feels, how she’ll feel every second of every day forever. I’ve been fortunate enough to have some very very special friends in my life. April is one of them. I love her. I love her heart. I love how smart she is and witty and kind and that she can do 20 things perfectly at once without getting rattled. I have always admired her for that. I can barely do 2 things at once….moderately. So that next day when I woke up with swollen eyes and my gut hurting, I wondered what the fuck I was supposed to do to help. There is nothing I can do to make it better. And I thought about the walk through grief. All who’ve experienced a great loss have taken that walk.
Its a walk you take alone. Its a walk you cry on. Its a walk you laugh on. Its a walk you sometimes run on and sometimes stand still on. Its a walk you can’t escape, can’t hide from, can’t go around or avoid. Its a long, winding, crooked, relentless walk. And it never ever ever ever ends. There wont be a day 6 years from now or 26 years from now she wont be on the walk. There wont be. And the first 11 days of that walk are almost no different than the 8,456th day of that walk. But maybe I just thought if I could walk for 11 days I may be able to somehow take a little of it for her. Somehow. That maybe my steps would ease her’s just a tiny bit. Maybe not. I don’t know. But I had to walk.
I don’t think I thought about how far 11 miles was. Its far. Its far at sea level let alone 7,600+ feet altitude where I live. Its far and its long and when you don’t have enough battery left on your phone to play music its quiet. Very very very quiet. I thought about the quiet she will hear. Quiet can be so beautiful sometimes and so very painful at others. I had about 44 hours of hiking time. Most of it alone. Just me. Sometimes music. I sang, talked to goats, ran from goats, ran from turkeys, watched a lot of birds, rabbits, squirrels and deer.
One day I saw a deer jump a fence someone had around their house and eat all of their newly planted petunias. I stood still for 10 minutes and watched the deer. She looked at me every few minutes to see what I was doing. Probably thinking “dumbasses think a fence can stop us”. She ate all if those petunias, then gracefully leapt over the fence like it was nothing and left.
One day a herd of deer just stood in front of me. They didn’t move. I slowed my pace, took little steps hoping they’d move. They didn’t. They didn’t give a shit about me or my walk or my blisters or my hip pain. I walked around them.
One day on the Santa Fe Trail I was alone, no music. Lots of space and time between me seeing anyone at all. A teenage boy came riding past on his bike. He put his hand out, slapped mine in a high five and said “keep on keepin on”. He had red hair. Like Carson’s. That made me smile.
One day I huddled under a tree alone with hail pelting my head. I started to cry then I just got pissed. Seriously….WTF.
One day I walked up to the backside of a farm with goats and donkeys (local residents of Palmer Lake will know what Im talking about). I wanted to pet the goat. The goat did not want to be pet. Asshole turned on me, ran at me, head butted me. And like a bigger asshole I screamed, ran and tried to reason with him. Goats don’t like me. Lesson learned.
One day with no music I decided to sing. Thank God no one could hear me. I decided I’d just sing some of my favorite songs to pass the time. But Ill be damned if I just couldn’t think of any lyrics. Except for one song. “Silent Night”. I have no earthly idea why the hell I’d remember all the words to a Christmas Carol and not an N.W.A. song or Eminem song. But I belted out all the verses to “Silent Night” about 3 times in a row. Then I listened to the words carefully. And I cried.
The first mile was the hardest. The last mile was the easiest. I don’t have enough words to thank everyone who sent me messages and texts and called me and hiked with me. No words. All the gratitude my heart can muster to you all.
So many hours and so much to think about and so many revelations I could never write them all down. Love is such a funny thing. Some of us avoid it. Or try to. We think if we don’t love we wont hurt. Maybe thats true. Maybe walking alone is part of life. You gotta learn to walk alone sometimes. And when friends can’t, you need to walk for them. Carry it for them. You avoid seeing hurt when you walk alone. You avoid getting disappointed in others. In boys. In love. You avoid connection that can lead to heartbreak. You avoid a lot of pain. But God….you sure fucking miss a lot too. You can try to walk off regret, love, heartache, pain, grief. You can walk to something. Or from something. Or maybe you just walk because you can. And its absolutely all you CAN do. It doesn’t all have to make sense. And there doesn’t have to be a reason. There really doesn’t.
I find my church on a mountain. I take my tears and leave them there. It is magical place. A place I return to as often as I can. Maybe I walked for Carson. Maybe I walked for April. Maybe I walked because I was sad. Or angry. Maybe I walked for selfish reasons. Maybe I walked back to me. Maybe thats all it was. I don’t think things always have to be complicated or explained. Or deep or meaningful or make sense. Sometimes maybe you just walk. Because you can. But I know this…a hike is never ever JUST a hike.
f4135e86de208771305490470a38071a

SOMEONE WAS MISSING

My Mom’s retirement party was awesome. So many friends from her years as a teacher and so many friends from her most current role with the Flower Mound Police Department.  She was very lucky to have two amazing careers. We were lucky to watch her navigate finishing college with 3 small kids and starting a career while taking care of a family. We surprised the crap out of her. It was so cool. She thought I’d flown back to Denver. The look on her face was great. Worth all the scheming.

Two of my Dad’s friends came as well. My Dad worked at UPS for a LOOOOONG time. And made many friends there. And his two close friends that came to the party have both retired from UPS. I grew up knowing all of these people. Cheer Moms, teachers, truck drivers, friends, family, they were all so kind to come. And as I looked around the party my eyes landed on my Dad’s two friends. Just like at my Nanny’s funeral recently when I looked at my Uncle Louie and cried…I became emotional. Someone was missing.
He worked so long and so hard and saved so much money for his retirement. Mom too. They had big plans. To travel and go and spend our inheritance. It truly is not fair. That he doesn’t get to retire. To enjoy the years of rest and travel and grandkids and beer drinking in the driveway. And its not fair that we don’t get that either. That his kids and wife don’t get that time with him. He took care of us for so very long. Devoted hours to a job to provide Guess jeans and cheer uniforms and soccer fees. And watching my Mom give a speech alone was emotional.
Im so happy for her. And where she is in her life. But it will never be ok. And thats something to sit with. All of the milestones that pass make you realize that life is just not fair sometimes. And thats true for everyone. But in that very selfish, self-absorbed moment at my Mom’s retirement party I was just sad. Me. Sad for me. Sad for Mom. And I missed him even more. I know he raised a beer to celebrate her. I know, logically, its death. And thats a part of life That we all deal with. But at that moment all logic flew out the window. And I allowed the sadness. And the “I miss you’s” to come.
I hope that where he is he gets a big fat retirement party. And beer. In kegs. And music. And a celebration. Im gonna go climb a mountain now. He’d want that. He’d climb them with me if he was here. Dont wait for retirement to relax, travel, drink a beer, sleep late, climb a mountain. Do it NOW. NOW is all you are ever promised.18236434_10212968301068224_910179568_o

UNCLE LOUIS & MY SELFISH ASS

There are still days I struggle to “fit in”. I know I don’t need to. I know it doesn’t matter. I know I love myself now for all that I am and am not. But I admit- there are days I still struggle to be her. The Mom of 2 with the mini-van who goes to Pilates class and church regularly and makes dinner every night and goes door to door with her kid selling girl scout cookies and can’t wait to host Thanksgiving dinner. Admitting you aren’t those things is hard. And feels vulnerable. And like every other perfect wife and Mom looks at you as if you’re a failure. As if you’re selfish and awful.

I chose to get married and have kids. In fact…after MANY pregnancy losses I REALLY chose to have kids. And those 2 mean the WORLD to me. Ill stab a mother fucker if they hurt my kids. Dont doubt that. But there is no denying who I am and how I do things is so very different than most. And even though Im ok with it. It doesn’t make it easier.
At my grandmother’s funeral recently I stood at her graveside and whispered “and now the women go.” In the past 11 years I lost both grandfathers and my Dad and my second Mom, Lynda. The man I married has a disease that will take him. And it does not escape me that everyone leaves. Everyone. All the men go. In every way. Death, running, whatever it is…they go. And perhaps its the knowledge that they all leave that makes me who I am. The girl who is not attached. Who can’t attach. Who runs. Who does things differently. Who’d live in a tiny house on the side of a mountain alone if she could.
I have a degree in Psychology. I know how the mind works. I know the fear of abandonment is real and all of the defense mechanisms that one creates to squelch that fear.
I know what wanderlust is. I know that wanting to get in your car and drive far away and hike alone is probably not normal. I think I realized Im not exactly “normal” a long time ago. Whatever that is. 🙂 And in this past year I am really ok with it. Not being normal.
I cuss a lot. I don’t like weak women. Or subservient women…being that is my biggest fear. I love to be alone. I love to be with my friends. I LOVE beer. I don’t really love wine. I truly HATE shopping. I do it online now. The thought of a house in the suburbs makes me want to throw up. I couldn’t care less about my furniture, my kitchen appliances, my decor, my throw pillows ( I have none), or what color scheme my house is (there is none). I eat cereal for dinner often. I’d pick Johnny Cash over Luke Bryan 10 times over. I own a shotgun. I hate bigots. I have absolutely no comprehension of why anyone thinks gay people shouldn’t get married. Why the hell is it anyone else’s business? I love high heels and lipstick and having big hair & Im barely 5 feet tall but Ill start and finish a bar fight without a blink. I might lose- but I wont stop swinging. I believe in big, awesome love that causes butterflies- and not accepting less than that- EVER!
My kids are funny. They can survive on their own now. I let them watch Friday, the movie, when they were like 10 and 11. What else do you need? The thought of a brunch/tea party with the “ladies” makes me want to smoke a joint. I’d rather throw on a ball cap and climb a mountain with my girls. Brunch is dumb. And for people who slept too late to eat breakfast. Women who have no friends and never go out with them and only have their husbands to tag on Facebook are weird to me. I love rap music. I love country music. I love music. I miss my Dad. Weirdly- I think of my Pawpa more often. When I saw my Pawpa’s only surviving brother, Louis, at my grandmother’s funeral recently- I lost it. Id held it together for so long. But his face is Pawpa’s face. And I fell limp into a 90 year old man’s arms and cried like an infant in a cemetery. And he held me and patted my back and just said “I know…I know…”. And he did.
I know Im different. I know Im atypical. I know Im not the best Mom. I know Im selfish and free-spirited and cuss too much and constantly fight the urge to just run. RUN. Leave it all behind and just go. I hope my kids know that has nothing to do with them and everything to do with WHO I am. And that they love me anyway.
Im learning to love me. Every day. For all the good things I am. Deep, too deep, sensitive, nostalgic, smart, kind, forgiving, happy. And all of the things I am that may not be considered so good.
I posted a song this morning called “Colder Weather” by the Zac Brown Band. And its the story of a man who cannot change who he is. A wanderer, a leaver, a gypsy. But I am the man in the song. The weirdo girl who leaves before she can be left. Who wanders. Who is never satisfied. Who loves big. Who is learning and accepting that I may not be perfect. Far from it. But that’s ok. Every single person who’s crossed my path has taught me something. And a few taught me that being authentically me is the only right thing I can do. Figuring out who you are may take a lifetime. ACCEPTING who you are….well…..THAT is everything!
33e57cc5eed0e8388b4f0750e6a16e78.jpg

FINE LINES

As I age there are lots of wrinkles on my face. LOTS. In fact, this reminds me—I need to find a groupon for Botox. And I don’t want to hear shit about how its poisonous….so is my face looking like an 82 year old man’s butt. So shut it. I don’t love the big huge wrinkles but its a funny thing….Im actually, truthfully kind of fond of the fine lines. You know- the ones that are very thin and fine and come out of the sides of your eyes and really show up when you laugh or cry or smile. I actually, honestly like them. Those fine lines.
I took a little trip to Estes Park to meet a dear friend for some hiking the other day. When I jumped in my Jeep I just looked at the crack that runs horizontally across the windshield. You see- for those that don’t own Jeeps or live in the mountains…Jeep windshields are disposable. Truly. I have a 2015 Jeep and am on windshield number 3. The rocks and debris seem to hit the small rectangular piece of glass just right and they crack easily. It might be the roads Im traveling too ;)-. Anyway- Ive given up getting it fixed or replaced with every crack and just live with it. So I got in the Jeep Wednesday morning and looked at that crack as I started down the road. Its positioned in just a spot where below it is the road and above it was the horizon…the mountains. Quite poetic. You’d think a fine line across the windshield on a long car ride through the mountains would bother me. I actually, honestly like it. Its a sign of imperfection. A sign my Jeep has been places. Up trails and on mountains and in the woods. It has earned the fine lines. Just like me laughing, crying, smiling….has earned me the fine lines on my face.
I am married to a dude who’s brain is shrinking. My grandmother, who I was very close to died last week. I still struggle with the loss of my Dad so tragically. I have a joint disorder that causes pain most of the time. I run my own business. I have two kids who need me. Rely on me. Lets just say the stress level has been above average as of late. In every area of my life. So leaving on a Wednesday to drive solo to the mountains to get away, to hike, to drink beer may seem crazy. And I began to think on my drive. I began to wonder- am I RUNNING AWAY or RUNNING TO? Am I escaping, running, getting away from? Or am I growing, learning, resting, finding some peace on this little trip? And I realized….there’s a very fine line between the two.
The guilt associated with accepting that Im running away, escaping reality, leaving my responsibilities behind is real. Its overwhelming. And I accept it. The glee associated with driving my Jeep into the mountains with no cell service and moose and elk and hiking and beer in a random roadside pub is real too. And I accept it. And I need it. And its selfish and awful to some. And so very necessary for my soul.
There are fine lines that run across my face. They come from YEARS of shit and happiness and joy and laughter and crying and adventure. Theres a fine line running across the windshield on my Jeep. It got there by rocks from some back road trail hitting it…and spreading. When that Jeep took me to some mountain I climbed. There’s a fine line between me loving myself and taking care of myself by going to the mountains where Im happy and being a Mom who’s just running away form all the shitty shit at home. And I accept that too. It is all that it is. I accept the selfish, ugly, childlike, shirking responsibility part of me…..along with the part that is teaching my kids to follow your heart, be who you really are, travel alone, climb mountains, drink beer, don’t be afraid of LIVING LIFE.
There’s just a fine line and a few inches between love and hate, good and bad, adventure and danger, running to and running from….I’ve learned that walking that fine line is the best place to be….for me.
17342554_10212496437871939_1732672217941249628_n

Nanny

There’s been some hard things Ive had to do in my life. Miscarriages- very late term. Friends’ deaths. Burying my Dad. Getting a Brain Rot diagnosis. But I don’t think there’s ever been anything as difficult as telling my Grandmother that her child died. That child was my Dad. Kids aren’t supposed to die before their parents. They just aren’t. Its un natural. And unfortunately Ive known a few people who’ve lost children way too young. And though my Dad was 53 when he was killed…he was still her child. And telling her that he was dead….just moments after I’d found out myself…it’s just something I’ll never forget. And I’ll always live with. And in that moment of raw, intense grief I thought mostly of my own loss. My Dad died. Way too young. Very violently. And I sat in my grief and felt it so deeply I can’t express. And I regret not knowing in that moment that the loss I felt…however deep and intense…could not compare to hers.
There is no loss greater than that of a child. None.
Allie Christeen Griffin was born in Denton, Texas in 1926. On a farm. Her father died when she was 5 years old in a logging accident. Her mother died when she was 18 of cancer. She was an orphan at 18. I cannot even imagine. She went on to get a job in Denton where she’d meet my grandfather, fall in love, have a very long marriage and 2 kids. She helped raise me. When my super young parents had me they had to work. So she kept me several days a week. She made me cookies and taught me to sew and read to me and took walks with me. I was an only grandchild for 6 years so I was a bit spoiled. And unbelievably lucky to live so near all of my grandparents.
She helped me buy my first car. She told me to go away for college. Her & Pawpa told me how unbelievably important an education was. And helped pay for that too. Not enough words for how grateful I am for that. When my heart broke, she came to see me at college with my Mom. She was at my High School graduation. She was at my college graduation. She was at every football and basketball game I cheered at. She made me dresses and hemmed many a prom dress for me. She made a quilt out of my college sorority t-shirts. She got to see my babies grow up. She was my Nanny. I love her. She is who I am built like. Physically.
She is with Pawpa & Dad now. The pain I’ve felt since losing my Dad is immeasurable. So thinking of how her heart has been broken for the last decade makes me sad. My Dad loved her. I loved her. I always will. And be grateful for it all.
When my Pawpa was dying of cancer she was at his bedside and he was laying there with one eye open. She asked him to please sleep and close his eyes. He said he needed to keep at least one eye on her because she was pretty & might get away. Once in awhile the fates get it right. Fate got it right with them. I am sad. But my heart is full of gratitude for being blessed with such an amazing grandmother. And an amazing example. Just like my Dad often did- she told me she was proud of me. And THAT..…….is everything.
She gave me her old jewelry box full of costume jewelry YEARS ago. It smells like her when I open it. I wear the jewelry…often. I think I’ll wear it more often now.
Love you, Nanny. Peace for you now.
This song has always reminded me of you- now it is quite fitting….
“You greet another son, you lose another one
On some sunny day and always stay, Mary”
17140957_10212380283928163_431352909_n

JUST GET ME THERE

Yesterday my almost 17 year old daughter texted me from school that she didn’t feel well. I picked her up & brought her home. She laid in my lap for a bit then we both took a nap in my room. At 1:00pm on a Monday I took a nap in my big king bed with my big 16 year old, crazy smart, independent, gets straight A’s, never cries, unemotional daughter. I didn’t sleep. I mostly just started at her.

I remember being 18 & my heart was broken and I thought “Just get me to adulthood and a grown up life and none of this bullshit will hurt anymore”. I remember being 30 years old and having two babies, 1 and 3 and being an anxious ball of nerves. I remember they wouldn’t sleep. EVER. Or eat anything. I was exhausted and grumpy and anxious and barely left the house for fear of an all out wild tantrum in Target. And all I could think at the time was “God I cannot WAIT until they are older”. “I cannot wait until they sleep and don’t cry and don’t scream at each other and don’t follow me into the bathroom all the time.” “When they get older” things will be better. I’ll have a life again. Let me just get them grown. Let me just get older.
During Christmas time I always remember thinking “Holy crap just get me through these Holidays. I hate the holidays. Stressful. Just let it end.” When the kids were in elementary school I thought “Good grief just get them out of elementary school so there’s less class parties and field trips and crap.” Just get me past elementary school. Running 30 places in one week for soccer, cheer, school, DECA, friends’ houses had me wishing the time away so Maddie could drive and my taxi days would end.
As I laid next to Maddie yesterday I realized it took me 44 years to realize a LOT of things. Maybe its the magic age for me. Who knows. I guess Im a slow study. But it took me 44 years to learn Im not heading SOMEWHERE. There’s not a DESTINATION. Theres no rush to get to a dot on a map or a finish line or a goal. Its truly TRULY not about the destination. Its about the moments. And there’s some regret for not appreciating the little moments. The tantrums, days without a shower, screaming babies, running around like a taxi. I didn’t appreciate all of that. Not as much as I should’ve. I have always ALWAYS believed if I could “Just get past”, “Just get through”, “Just move further down the timeline”….that some magical room appeared where I’d have no stress, no anxiety, no worry, and be happy to have reached this finish line.
Only there isn’t a finish line to celebrate. Until I die. While I was running this race there were views. There were late night secret concerts. There was a walk in Vegas one night. There was a lunch with an old friend. There was a quarterback. There was a song in a car and a girl who died too young & that song still reminds me of her. Glad we had that song. There was a boy on some bleachers & an old man telling us not to fight. There was loss and joy and a moment on a back road near Aspen. There was a night in a lawn chair with my Dad. There was fishing in a boat with my Grandad. There was an ARD meeting at school where I learned to love my son for all that he is and isn’t. And quit fighting what I thought he SHOULD be. There was a drink in a brewery. There was the night before Maddie was born that I rocked in a chair all night. The last night before I became a Mom. And life changed. There was a dance to “Once in A Blue Moon”. There was a moment in an elevator. There was a conversation on a bus to a football game. There was a beer in a cemetery. There was a breakdown on a mountain I thought I couldn’t climb. And a man who helped me do it anyway. There was a conversation on my front steps at 2am when I was 18. There were elephants and dancing and music and concerts and funerals and weddings and kids’ plays at school and my Nanny’s cookies and sitting in church staring at a cute boy and sidewalks and a red car and a race and ice cream and yogurt and sitting on the hood of a car drinking Yoohoo and dreaming. And a million other beautiful, amazing, joyful moments I wish I’d savored……just a little bit more.
All the moments. All the little moments. And THAT is what its about. Life. And staring into her beautiful face yesterday in my bed, laying next to me, I realized that. There’s nowhere to GET TO. Im already there. In every single little moment. Now I know to stop and soak it all in. All of it.
It’s pretty cool being 44. Every little thing is pretty cool if you just look at it long enough. Soak it all in. Every. Little. Moment.img_0136img_0011

AWAKE MY SOUL

I think because maybe Im from the South, white, female, or maybe look a certain way….people assume some things about me. It’s ok. We all do it. We all assume things about people, pre judge them, think we KNOW. It’s human nature to judge, assume, think we know. It’s also human nature to push our own beliefs onto others. We think that what WE believe to be true for us is what should be true for everyone else. We do. We think our own political beliefs, religious beliefs, morals, values, reign so supreme that everyone should abide by them. Guess what…it doesn’t work that way. It just doesn’t. And just because things have always been a certain way- doesn’t mean they always should be.

I don’t go to church. I like God though. I like to shoot guns and I love gay people. They should be able to get married, be as miserable as straight people are, then get divorced. What the fuck business is it of yours anyway? NONE. I hate romantic comedies. I love movies with fast car chases and guns. I think pot should be legal everywhere. Its absolutely ridiculous that its not (my belief). I think people should take personal responsibility for themselves. And not complain so much. I think organ donation shouldn’t be a choice. You’re dead. You don’t need that shit anymore…give it away.  And I believe in God enough to know we should give medical care, love ,compassion and refuge to everyone who needs it. I’d rather be in a ball cap and hiking shoes than glammed up—but I LOVE getting glammed up sometimes. I carried lipgloss to the top of my 14 mile hike up Pikes Peak. Because no self-respecting girl summits a mountain with un-glossed lips. Im cynical. Im sensitive. Im nostalgic. I’m smarter than people think I am. Someone called me “obviously hot” recently and Im not sure I like that. I don’t want to be obviously anything.
I can’t remember anything. I can squat a lot of weight- more than you’d think. Im self-conscious of the ass that people sometimes compliment. I have two tattoos and plan on more. I don’t know how I feel about marriage. True story. For me anyway. What works for YOU doesn’t work for everyone- and you assuming it does and thinking it should makes YOU the one with issues. I’d rather listen to old music than new music. Wine gives me a headache- I try to be sophisticated and act like I like drinking it but truth is Id be happier in a tank top and cut off jean shorts in a lawn chair drinking Coors. Im a hippie who wants to smell good. I love Texas. Despite leaving it. I hope my Mom knows that. Im my VERY happiest on top of a mountain. Alone. I like to speak in public. I dream of living alone in a cabin in the mountains. I love rap music. I can still do a very good toe-touch at 44 years old.
I have a secret (not so secret) crush on Jason Bateman. I love Aspen. A lot. I sometimes hope I get reincarnated as Hunter S. Thompson- because how fucking insane would that be??!! I love my friends so very much. I’d kill for them. Id bury bodies for them. I sometimes wonder if I should be a parent. And how much my kids’ therapy will cost. I’d rather be complimented on my writing than my abs. Im funny. I think Im funny. I got arrested in Mexico once. Lets not tell Karen Ellis that. I ran through the McDonalds drive through in my wedding dress just minutes before I walked down the aisle and ate a happy meal. I believe in soul mates. I believe in crazy, balls to the wall love. I love to have fun. Id rather go to a concert and walk around all night in a city than go to a fancy restaurant. I actually HATE fancy restaurants. The best dates cost the least amount of money. Sandals with socks should be illegal (my belief).
I think you can search for the meaning of your life for all of your life. And that is ok. I believe in going as fast and as hard as you can for as long as you can. And then you’ll know when its time to take the steps a little slower. To look around a little more. I believe in the crazy amazing shit you feel deep in your soul when Charlie Robison is playing live. I say yes more now. Than I ever did before. I think people can change behaviors but never really change who they are deep inside. I think maybe you were always that person deep inside…you just finally learned its ok to set your soul free.
If I could pack a back pack and get on a trail and hike 1,000 miles with no cell service I would. And I might. But I’ll have lipgloss of course.
And I believe in love. And me. And hope. And letting my kids know its perfectly ok to be who you REALLY are without fear of judgment from those around you. The opinions of others have no bearing on the life you were meant to live. So live it. Be true to YOU. You do you 😉
img_9336

ROADS

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 19 weeks along and the obstetrician said “something is wrong”. Something is wrong. There was no heartbeat. Our baby had passed away in utero. It wasn’t my first miscarriage. And it wouldn’t be my last. But damn that one hurt more than the others. I curled up in a ball and promised God or whoever that I would do whatever to have a healthy baby. Anything. I wondered what I’d done to deserve this much pain. And if I’d ever be a Mom. I thought about the kind of Mom I’d be. The kind of child I’d have. And though I’d suffer one more pregnancy loss before Maddie came along….I got to find out what being a Mom is. And I will never, EVER take that privilege for granted.

On my 16th Birthday my Dad took me to the DMV and I got my drivers license and I drove myself to school that day and life was never the same again. There’s a freedom that comes with driving that is like no other. And lets be honest…once a kid has that license…your relationship with them is never the same again. I drove where I wanted. And pre-GPS, pre-cell phone days, its likely my parents had no clue where I was most of the time.
Maddie got her license today. In the blink of an eye I went from staring at her breathing ALL NIGHT long to make sure she was alive to watching her drive away alone in a car. There were days, especially when I had two awful toddlers, that I thought parenthood was the dumbest thing I’d ever done. They never slept. They climbed the walls. I rarely showered. I had no life. I felt like I would be eternally stuck in a house with non-speaking, non-toilet trained, non-logical mini humans that obviously hated me.
And then I blinked. And she drove away.
I feel myself aging. My skin is less taught. I have age spots. I cannot see at night very well. I hurt a little more after workouts…for longer than before. And mostly I feel a slowing down. A patience in me I never had before. And its sort of beautiful. I was such a helicopter parent for so long. Saving them, rescuing forgotten homework and left lunch boxes. Finishing book reports for them. I quit doing that a few years ago. It came naturally. Slowly. Over time. They failed. They fell. They still do. Often. But if Im there to catch them every time, to fix it for them, to make it right, Im not letting them become adults. And it hasn’t been as hard as I thought it would be. Letting go. For a control freak, thats a BIG deal. I could put a band aid on a scraped knee….but the “boo boo’s” that happen now…broken hearts, broken friendships, tough decisions…I can’t fix those. There’s not a band aid for that. And as much as it hurts to watch I know they will be stronger for it. No life can be fully lived without some sorrow.
There’s this RIDICULOUS feeling I have about my 16 year old daughter. I trust her. Dumb. No one should ever trust a 16 year old. I don’t trust her to never drink or never smoke pot or never make a bad decision EVER in the remainder of time she’s in this house. That would be ignorant. I watch other parents think that they have “that one kid that would never”. You are wrong. You are VERY wrong. They all do. You just don’t know it. And I know she will. But I have a strange feeling of trust. That when she does, if she does, she’ll make the right decision.
When I was 18 I was at a friend’s New Years Eve party. I drank too much. It had iced on the roads. At 2 ish am I had a choice. I could slowly drive home in the Z24 Chevy Cavalier. Or I could make a phone call. I made the phone call. My Dad drove to pick me up from my friend’s house. On the drive home he said “thank you for calling”. That’s all he said. I went to bed and at 7:00 am he banged on my door and said “get up we have to go get your car, I have things to do. Asshole. My head was pounding. He made me pick up dog crap all day in the yard. With a hangover. The smell made me vomit. I deserved it.
I hope she knows she can call me. I hope she knows enough to trust herself and her instincts. I hope Ive done good. I hope she lets people in. And maybe trusts a little. And listens to music loudly in the car and jams out and waves at cute boys and drives her friends to cheer practice. I hope she knows what comes with all that freedom. She doesn’t leave for college for 2.5 years but today seemed like an ending of sorts. Because I know it is. And I cried. Damn, time flies. Here’s to all the roads she will travel. I hope a few are dirt. And I hope a few lead back to me occasionally. e1cb7376d39c09e102943c45607fb50c