Tag Archives: birthdays

LAWN CHAIRS AND BIRTHDAYS

I cannot believe you would be 63 today. That’s old. You’d think it was old. I guess I didn’t realize how young you really were. Im 43 years old now. FOURTY THREE. You died at the age of 53. Damn that is so young. So. Young. Not sure I can even picture you being 63. Less hair, more sentimental, more emotional, more nostalgic, still riding that Harley and RETIRED. Its sucks shit you didn’t get to enjoy retirement. I mean really. Thats just not cool. You’d have gone on a lot of rides with Dennis Im sure. You’d have taken Mom on more trips. You’d have gotten that damn pool because Mom would’ve won that argument and your grandkids would’ve loved it. I wonder if I would have left Texas.

As all great conversations are held over beer in a lawn chair on a driveway…..we’d have had an hour or so one today. We would have had red velvet cake and beer and turned the garage radio on and sat in the lawn chairs on the drive and solved the world’s problems. Dad there is a great possibility that the presidential race next year will have 2 women. Yes Im serious. I think its badass. I don’t care what your politics are its about time! Its funny I used to care more about politics. I don’t really give a shit anymore. Life’s too short and meant to be lived outside, away from the tv. I just don’t care about that anymore. We often disagreed on political issues but it was so fun arguing/talking to you about them. I have a feeling your granddaughter is going to change the world.

You would’ve been sad about Patrick. More than any of us I think. You were very much the most emotional one in the family. Well, except Kelly…you know that. Poor thing cries if you look at her funny. She got that from you. I’ve cried a LOT in the past 9 years Dad. Brain rot sucks. It so totally sucks. And motorcycle accidents suck. And cancer sucks. I don’t cry as much anymore. It doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. I do. Every single day. The pain of loss gets less INTENSE over time but it never ever goes away. And the funny thing is the longer you are gone the more I miss you. You would’ve offered advice on the driveway about saving enough money for me and the kids to be ok without Patrick. You’d have said “you’ll always have a place here”. I would have felt that security. I don’t have that now but Im ok. I promise. I often wonder if I’d have left Texas if you had lived. I don’t know the answer. I really don’t. But I do know I am right where I am supposed to be now. I found a strength in me I NEVER knew was there. You’d be proud of that. You would.

When UPS trucks drive by I think of you. When CCR comes on the radio I think of you. When Harley’s drive by I think of you. When Coors is around I think of you. When I open the spare room closet and your 3,000 Harley t-shirts are hanging there I think of you. When I start a conversation with “well lemme ask you this….” I hear you. Its funny. When I find myself standing on my couch with a clenched fist screaming at those damn Dallas Cowboys and everyone is looking at me like Im crazy…yep…I came by that genetically. By the way- you don’t even want to know how its going this season. I like all those little reminders.

Colorado is as beautiful and amazing and awesome as you always said. I wish you’d gotten to live here. Last year I went to where you had your accident. What a beautiful last sight you got to see. I see why you loved it here so much. Im going to climb every damn mountain, walk every trail, stare at every beautiful sight for ya. For Patrick. Because I can. Dad- I climbed Pikes Peak. Pretty sure you knew that. Leaving Texas was hard. Not as hard as it would’ve been to live the rest of my life and wonder. I hope you get that. I hope you know. Im sure you do.

Dad music is still shitty. The classics are still better. I choose Bob Segar and Fleetwood Mac and Zeppelin over current pop everyday. You’d be glad. Somethings just cannot be done better. I still choose beer over fru-fru drinks. I still don’t wear white below the waist after Labor Day. I still let the other cars leave the line first when the light turns green. I still check my oil consistently. I never leave home without money. And my friends laugh but I take toilet paper on every hike. I learned the importance of that from you and your sock story!

Maddie & Andy are amazing. You’d love watching them play soccer and watching Maddie cheer. I can hear you saying a thousand times how much you “loved watching me cheer” and this is “deja vu” and “time flies so enjoy every minute”. I am. I am.

I know you’d also say work less and play more. Im working on that. I get it now. I hope there’s a long winding beautiful road where you are and access to a low rider today. I hope you get to have a Coors too. I will. Happy Birthday old man. Until next year.

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I HOPE THERE’S COORS LIGHT IN HEAVEN….HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD

My Dad would be 62 years old today! SIXTY-TWO. He would joke about how OOOOLLLLDDD that is. His hair would be more gray and there’d be less of it. He MIGHT be a tad grouchier than at 53. I know he’d be more sentimental…he was a total SAP. I also know he’d still be drinking beer, sitting in a chair in the driveway and listening to that damn garage radio.

SIXTY-TWO. He’d sit outside in that chair next to me and be all Neil Young-ish reminiscing about being young and children and parents and time passing too fast. He’d tell me how proud of me he is. That my kids are awesome. That it totally sucks ass about Patrick’s brain rot and that he and Mom would be here for us no matter what. He’d talk about Pawpa and how much he missed his Dad.

I won’t hear it all physically but I will hear it in my head. Thats enough.

He would have Coors Light. Because there is no other beer. Obviously. Funny the things that go through your head when you think about someone in the “afterlife”. My biggest hope is that there is Coors Light in Heaven. If there wasn’t before he was there I know he’s rallied to have it delivered. Oh and obviously music…there’s GOT to be music. Preferably classic rock if he has anything to say about it.

Funny I never thought of my Dad as old. NEVER. Perhaps because most of the time he acted like a 13 year old idiot boy. He just never “grew up”. I think that’s a wise way to live. Maybe some people are never meant to get old. Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, JFK. I dunno. It doesn’t matter. My Dad didn’t get to “get old” here on Earth. So if there is any yin to the yang, if karma exists, if what comes around goes around, if it all makes sense in the end….then there has GOT to be Coors Light in Heaven! 🙂

Happy 62nd Birthday to my Dad wherever he is. I will put two chairs in the driveway and have a few beers to honor him…he’d want it that way!

The Cowboys play the Seahawks today, Dad. I’m sure you’ll hear me screaming!

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LOSSES, MILESTONES & FOURTEEN

My daughter turns 14 this Sunday. Fourteen is not necessarily some milestone birthday. I mean its not 13, its not 16, its not 18 or 21. It’s just 14. But its not. For some reason this particular birthday is causing me to reflect and be nostalgic and a bit sad. She’s such a person now. With all the good and bad that comes with that…a REAL PERSON. She has opinions & grit & sarcasm & kindness & sassiness & determination & attitude & a deep, way-too-young understanding of the world. Shit.

I lost several pregnancies before I had Maddie. Several pregnancies that were far into term. It sucked. Turns out I had a blood clotting disorder. Once it was discovered then taking blood thinners during my pregnancy resulted in a very healthy baby- SCORE! I wanted her so badly. I never knew how badly I wanted her until she was here. Now there are days I’d like her to go FAR FAR away. The joys of teen-hood.

But in all honestly I like my kids so much better now than a few years ago. I was not a fun person to be around when I had 2 toddlers. The noise, snot, bodily fluids, screaming, tantrums and lack of sleep were just too much. And that was all me! The kids weren’t easy either.

I do, however, truly appreciate those years. It felt like I lived in a little world where only me & my kids existed. Day in and day out was ultimately just about survival. For all three of us. Maddie was my buddy. We talked a lot. I missed adult conversation since I was a stay at home Mom and so I’d just talk to her as if she were an adult. We watched CNN together & talked about big stuff. I never allowed Barney in my house. NEVER. Hated that purple dinosaur. I just was not a great “baby” Mom. Don’t judge. Survival man- it was all about survival.

And then they got old.

And I like them better. I am more suited to parenting teens I think. My sarcasm, lack of empathy and repulsion to poop lend to older kids. And my kids get it. Especially Maddie. There are times I want to wring her neck. She’s so damn opinionated and strong-willed and sarcastic and funny and smarter than me (sometimes). Its so frustrating. And then I realize- holy crap she’s me! Well ain’t Karma a bitch. Im sure Karen Ellis is laughing & I know wherever my Dad is that he gets the irony. I caused some serious distress to my parents for a few years there. And the apple and the tree and the falling….I get it.

Along with all of the “bad” she got from me she also got the “good”. A lot of that good is from her Dad- definitely the smarts. Im no dummy but he’s like serious smart. Like what-the-hell-was-he-thinking-marrying-me-smart. So glad she’ll most likely pass Algebra and Chemistry. But I passed on some good too: The hard-headedness, the sarcasm, the thick skin, the lack of sensitivity, the over-thinking, the obsession with making things right for those that have been “un-righted”, a love for Buddha, a disdain for brussel sprouts and unfairness, a need to be on time, a love for music (thats a big one). OK did I say “good” things. Maybe all of those things aren’t considered good but its cool to see a little bit of yourself in your kids. Its weird. And good.

I hope she is more than me. I hope she is smarter than me. I hope she makes better decisions than I did. I hope she is more successful than me. I hope she doesn’t have any trouble having children if she wants them because that just sucks. I wish as we all do that I could put a bubble around her and protect her from pain. From boys and broken hearts. From financial worries. From disappointment. From people who will let her down. But I can’t. And I shouldn’t.

My approach and philosophy to parenting is certainly not conventional. I probably let them watch things they shouldn’t. I cuss a lot. In front of them. Always have. I fight with their Dad in front of them. And apologize in front of them. I don’t cook well. I don’t save them from school stuff- they forget their assignment then they get a zero. I explained the birds & the bees when they were very young. I’ve always talked about sex, drugs, whatever, as if it were ok to talk about. These little people did not come with a manual. Sometimes Im just winging it and crossing my fingers. Im in awe of all you parents who have your shit together.

Funny thing is they both are turning out pretty normal. Whatever that means. Andy is so sweet to me and hugs me and is so affectionate and such a huge pain in my ass. Maddie is….amazing. Im in awe of her talents academically, musically and artistically. She can make me want to stab my eyes out one day and make me beam with pride the next. She’s smart as a whip and she’s going to rule the world one day. Either that or ride a bus to Berkeley with a guy named Moonbeam and live off of the Earth. Either way I’ll worry. And be proud.

Fourteen. In a few years she’ll be driving & I shudder at what that means. The freedom that comes with that. All I can do is hope I have not ruined her too much, that therapy won’t be too expensive and that she’s kind to me in her memoir. Its so amazingly cool bringing life into the world. Its even more amazing watching it become a person. Proud of my little person. Happy Birthday Madelyn Renee.

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