Someone once told me I was doing it wrong. DOING IT WRONG. It doesn’t matter what “IT” was. I saw a quote that says “Just because someone is on a different path than you does not mean they are lost.” That person who told me I was doing it wrong….she was wrong. She was very wrong. I have made a million mistakes, some bad decisions, said some words I regretted, hurt some people I shouldn’t have, and all of it has me right here, right now. And there’s no place else Im supposed to be.
I’ve had a few people tell me us “Texans” think we are a country in and of ourselves. That we think we are special. That for some reason we think Texas is “better than” the other states. And they can’t quite figure out WHY we think that. Of course they can’t. You’re either born in it or you’re not. You can’t explain it.
So living in Colorado has opened my eyes to the fact that there ARE other states in America! Of course this is all in jest and Im mostly being sarcastic. I absolutely love Colorado. I don’t think there’s a doubt about that. I belong here now at this point in my life. It is amazing and beautiful and peaceful and I cannot imagine leaving. I am happy. HAPPY! But make no mistake I am a Texan. Fifth generation born and raised there. There are so many stereotypes about Texans. Pretty sure I bust apart all of those stereotypes. Funny. I don’t think it gets more TEXAN than me and I don’t fit MANY of the stereotypes. I do, however, fit a few…..
On Friday nights, in the Fall, in Texas, there is a religion we follow. A drum beat we all march to. A fellowship of sorts that is hard to explain. And I was beyond privileged to be part of that tradition. Friday night High School Football. Until the age of 40 I thought that all High School Football Stadiums would seat over 10,000 people. I thought all towns shut down on Friday nights. I thought all schools dismissed a tad early on Fridays so the Band, Drill Team, Twirlers, Coaches, Cheerleaders and Football players could board the bus and get to the field early for warm-ups.
I cheered at every High School Football game in High School. And until I graduated from High School and went back I had NEVER seen any other perspective of a game in person except from the sidelines. I never really thought about that. For four years as every game was played I stood eye level to the field. I stood below all of the spectators and parents and watched from behind the team. I stood steps away from stinky, smelly, football-pants-wearing players. And believe me that has it’s positives as well as its negatives ;)-.
I only saw plays THROUGH the gaps in the players as they sat on the bench or stood and ran and cheered as we moved the ball. I heard all of the curse words and speeches the coaches were blaring at the players. My feet only touched that rubbery, knobby red track material…unless we were performing at halftime on the field. I never sat in the stands. I never knew what that experience was. It’s funny how different a football game can look depending on your perspective. I’m lucky I had the one I had. And a few times I got a pretty good birds-eye view when I was on top of someones shoulders or on top of a pyramid. This morning on the way to school I asked my daughter if she was excited about this coming Friday night…she said “yes but I don’t get to sit and talk with my friends in the stands”. She has no idea. NO IDEA how great of a “seat” she will have. She will quickly figure that out.
This Friday night is our local High School’s opening game of the season. I will be in the stands. Watching from a different perspective. And by that I mean I will not only be watching from the bleachers with the other parents now….I’ll be watching AS a parent. My daughter will cheer at her FIRST VARSITY football game Friday night. On NO planet does it make sense to me that I have a kid in High School. How the hell did I get that old that fast. Funny- in my head Im still the same girl. Maybe a tad more mature….MAYBE! :)-
I LOVE football. I always have. I watched the Cowboys from the time I was born. When you are a fifth generation Dallas-ite that is what you do. It is engrained in me. Football really is a metaphor for life. The grind, the hard work, the discipline, the aggression and patience, the team work, the camaraderie, the fighting through the pain. I hope she will love it as much as I did. I hope when the band plays the fight song and the lights come on and the sun goes down and the players run out and the people cheer that she will relish every second. I might be more excited than her about this Friday. Maybe that’s because I now know how special it is. I now know how lucky I was to grow up with it.
I took one of those dumb Facebook quizzes recently called “How hippie are you”. I got 50%. And it did not surprise me. I am a peace loving, pot legalizing, nature loving, save the environment, pro gay rights fighting, German car loving, big mouth. But I am also a football loving, competitive, ball crushing, pray before a game, protect my property, kick your ass in a parking lot kind of girl who once owned a Harley. Now go figure THAT out….because I STILL haven’t. In a day and age where so many things separate us…football unites us. If even just for a few hours on Friday nights in the Fall.
I think when I was younger I just assumed I’d never leave Texas. I am a 5th generation Texan. Seriously- thats a LOT of years and a LOT of family born and raised there. There’s this sense of security and safety that comes from staying near family. From living where you are familiar. From knowing there are a 100 relatives within arms reach. Especially if your parents are there. And when Patrick & I bought our last house in Texas it was 2.5 miles from my parents house. I cannot express to the degree at which I was certain, CERTAIN it would remain that way.
No matter how old you get having your parents near is a very cool thing. Well….most of the time. We had built in babysitters when we needed them. And the thought that if I ever needed anything or had to “escape” or feel like a little girl again for just a bit-was supported by the fact that in 5 minutes I could be at their house. My parents’ house.
I had never lived outside of Texas. I was born and raised in North Dallas. I went to college in East Texas and Patrick & I lived in Austin for a few years before kids. That is as far as I had ventured…Austin. Damn cool city by the way. Although I don’t have an NRA card or know any farmers or have ever ridden a bull as all the stereotypes would assume- I am Texan through and through.
When my Dad was killed I was 33. My kids were 4 and 5. And my plan went to shit. How dare he die. How dare my ideal image of life go up in flames. God damn deer. It’s funny that a lot of people I know live what I’d call a “charmed life”. They do not know tragedy or loss or illness or any of that crap. And I would be lying if I didn’t have a tinge of jealousy over that. That ideal life is pretty cool.
When I left for college it was 3 hours from home. I cried. I was nervous and scared and I’d never lived in a dorm or away from home before. But as I’ve blogged about before my second Mom, Lynda, convinced me it would be the right thing. And she was so very right. Im so grateful for leaving home and learning and failing and falling and getting back up on my own. SO. GRATEFUL.
So my Dad died suddenly and Patrick got brain rot and my pretty little plan unraveled. And when your husband has brain rot and asks how you feel about leaving your home and heading for the mountains you pause a second and then remember Lynda saying “GO”. Because why not?
So up and moving your life across the country is quite normal for a lot of people. Military families do it all the time. They are better than me, though. And to this girl- moving to Colorado was HUGE. HUGE. And the honest truth is I had to have a conversation with myself about my future. If my husband is no longer around and my kids are off at college am I going to be OK in Colorado with no family? Alone? It’s just a question I had no choice but to ponder. I never considered myself all that strong or independent. I liked having family around, I liked having support, I didn’t like being alone or left to handle things on my own. But that was before. Before motorcycle accidents and brain rot. And that girl had to grow up.
In the days and weeks after Dad died I was sick to my stomach at the thought of my Mom alone in her house. I hated that for her and wondered how she was going to survive. Now I know I was an idiot- she is a very strong person. And so am I.
I cry and worry and get anxiety and hate brain rot and have my bad days. But I KNOW I am a tough girl. Unfortunately I watched my Mom be that. Fortunately I got that from her.
It’s funny the things you think about as your kids get older. Maddie starts High School in the Fall…Andy wont be far behind…God willing….and that means in 5 years it’s just Patrick & I. That is crazy to me. CRAZY. The time flew. And I know…I know and am acutely aware that it could be just me. Of course not one of us knows exactly the amount of time we have on Earth. Tomorrow is not guaranteed for anyone. Im so grateful for the wisdom and strength and bravery and fortitude that was passed down to me that gave us the courage to move at the very time we probably should have stayed close to family. But life is short and opportunities arise at the strangest of times and if Im going to pass down to my kids the strength, the courage, the fortitude, the “why not” attitude….I needed to shit or get off the pot as my Grandad used to say. Actions speak loudly. I have embraced every part of Colorado. It has been the perfect place for my family. It is. Patrick is happy. My soul is happy and my kids are happy. Texas will ALWAYS be home. ALWAYS. But sometimes I think that fate or God or whatever you want to call it knows exactly where we are supposed to be at each turn in our lives. I am right where I am supposed to be.
My hat’s off to all the single parents out there, to all of our military families, to those who’ve lost loved ones, to the ones who have felt “all on their own”….YOU are the brave ones.
As I get older I realized that the things worth doing, the things you SHOULD do are the things that make you nervous and scared and anxious. If it doesn’t make you those things……is it really worth doing? Do scary things. You are braver than you think.