Freestyle Friday: Baby….I Lived!

Music is the soundtrack to our lives. It doesn’t matter if it’s hip hop, classical, rock, r & b, neo soul…music is a universal language that can explain or enlighten or ignite in a way that nothing else can. For some it is the tune or the beat that gets the point across, but for me (majority of the time) it is the lyrics.

I have heard this song plenty of times but just this week I heard the song. It has given me life every day and I am pretty sure as I continue the journey, it will continue to do so. For those of you who have heard the song, you know what I’m talking about…for those of you who have not–take a listen to the words and I bet you will start looking at your journey a little differently.

~SM

Calling Dr. Van Dunk…

There is a picture of me with a pen to my lips smiling. I was about three. I remember Mommy reading to me at night and being drawn in by the words more than the pictures. When people would ask what I wanted to be when I grew up I would say a best selling children’s book author and Shelia E.  It is quite obvious I haven’t quite reached either goal–yet.

When I reached high school, I decided being Shelia E was a long shot, but becoming an Editor-in-Chief of a major magazine, living in an NY loft apartment with a closet full of amazing clothes and a revolving bed full of Adonises was achievable. I could graduate early, go to college early, BS/Masters/PhD in one six year fell swoop, retire by 35, dedicate 10 years or so to writing books, maybe get married, perhaps have one kid and by the time I was 45 settle down at a university and teach English to uninterested 18 year olds. I was a woman with a plan.

I understand the journey I have been lucky enough to take is just that–a journey. Journeys are not meant to wrap up nice and neat. They are continuous excursions with moving parts. They are never point A/point B simple. That’s what trips are for. This journey is ever changing and nothing is set in stone, and after some growth it finally clicked: My travels are not done until I am taken outta here.

I have 5 years until my nest is completely empty and what happens after that? I want to go back to school. Yes, I have attempted it before–quite a few times actually–and yes, I have said I was going back before only to get derailed. The plan (EIC, Adonises, NY loft, etc) was skewed a bit. It got a little clouded, but why can’t I pick up where the dream left off? I am 35 now. Not retired, but I am 35. I can still dedicate 10 years to writing. I can still maneuver through BS/Masters/PhD landing in a classroom at 45 with uninterested 18 year old students calling me Dr. Van Dunk. That is possible…all of it…and for once I am not afraid of any possibility.

~SM

Young Gun: The Kiddie Mix & Mingle

Young Gun came in knowing I had children. He understood the dynamic of my family life. He knew my rules about coming to the house, and meeting the children. He was patient and kind with it all. Still is actually.  The children understood I would date. They understood there would be phone conversations and dates on kid-free weekends. The children knew I would not bring anyone into their lives or their home with out careful consideration. Everyone understood that separation, for me, was paramount. Soooo why now does it seem like everyone is moving ahead and I am standing still?

When I left The He, I had a long list of rules. I would not date anyone right away. I would not sleep with anyone right away. No one was allowed in my home. No one was allowed to meet the children. (There are more, but I won’t dare bore you with the rest) I have stuck to every rule, except now, things are moving faster and they are changing.

One of the many bullet points in the parental job description is to protect. As a parent, my job is to shield the kids from as much harm as I can. Logically, I know I can’t protect them from life itself, but I can protect them from the mistakes I make. What if it doesn’t work? What if we end up hating each other? What if it’s too soon? What if the kids love him but he doesn’t like them? What if he gets too attached? What if we all get too attached? There is an intricate web being weaved here and I am desperately trying not to get the kids caught.

I suppose it is a mute point, right now anyway. No one is hanging out with anybody just yet. I still have to wrap my head around a few things as it is. When the time is right, when I am comfortable with it enough to consider letting both parties mingle, it will happen. Until then, I just need for the outside to slow down….just a little.

~SM

Hairy Pits & Naughty Bits

Sitting on the side of the tub slathered in Veet from head to toe (practically), patiently waiting for the 5-10 minutes to pass, it hit me: this is why dating is better than marriage.  From November  to April, it would be lumber jack season under my clothes. Since being single, I have been keeping the standard two week appointment with the smelly hair remover and her gal pal. But why? What is the difference between hairy married me and smooth single me? Simple. Comfort (ok and lack of caring or attraction and perhaps spousal baggage but I digress).

When I became a mother, I quickly learned kids could care less about hairy pits and wo-stache. They only care (and have only ever cared) about being fed, warm/cool, and dry.  Once your attention is being split between life, wifely crap and motherly junk, shaving your legs past the knee or your pits in the dead of winter is far less a priority. Eventually, The He stops worrying about it (even though he’d probably like to say something about your wooly mammoth status) and you do too.

I can honestly admit that while I was a pretty good wife, I also got comfortable. When you live with someone for well over a decade and you have seen sickness, health, bad moments, good moments, and everything else in between, you lose sight of a lot. Comfort ensues.  And comfort leads fairly easily into laziness which then leads into just not caring at all.

I can say I care more now than before. Part of that is due to being single and the other part is due to me actually seeing my worth through the weeds (and the hair). I am spending time, no matter how much or how little, to take care of me. From the working out to the eating right to the self-dates to the shaving/waxing/tweezing/hair removal creaming, it is all a part of taking care of someone very near and dear: Me. Comfort is fine–we all get there and I am sure I will find myself comfortable again. Laziness (perhaps on a football Sunday) can be a necessary evil. Not caring, too, can become a necessary evil, depending on the situation. But to allow those things to cloud your judgement when it comes to valuing yourself–well–that’s just simply unacceptable. Thank God I learned that lesson and I am pretty sure my pits and naughty bits are thanking me too 🙂

~SM

Being Temporary

Everything for me is temporary. The fairytales–the Cinderella stories–stop being a way of life after a while. It is generally when something changes…a death, the end of a marriage, the loss of a child, the detour of a career….the rearranging of a life due to cataclysmic events causes one to look at life through the looking glass of temporary. Most everything is only meant for a specific time, thus creating space for tables to turn and growth to appear. It never really occurred to me, until recently, how much of life is temporary. It was……….freeing.

We are all held captive by the prospect of forever. When we are young, we think we will be young forever. When we are heart broken, we think it will last forever. When the storm comes, it feels like forever. Yet, when we reach that infamous forever marker, there’s the appearance of another path or another birthday or another growth spurt….and our faces get long. We never expected there not to be a forever. Realistically speaking, nothing….not one single solitary thing lasts always. God’s love aside, everything we encounter, from birth to death, is but a passing encounter.

I stood in the bathroom mirror washing my face and I noticed lines. Albeit they are probably undetectable to most, but to me they were glaring. I began pulling and repositioning my skin just to see what a small nip or tuck would do and I stopped as suddenly as I started. This, I thought, fades. It is only temporary.

At that moment, I realized the choice presented: I could tap into every 35-year-old-didn’t-quite-take-care-of-herself-to-the-best-of-her-ability flaw or I could be okay with the knowledge that nothing is permanent. I chose the latter.

I finished my routine, nodded in satisfaction, and shut off the light. I said my prayers and crawled into bed not thinking of my age or the state of a 36, 40 or 50 year old Sommer. I drifted off to sleep resting in the peace of the temporary. When you know that you know nothing lasts forever, peace abounds and you are able to drop the load of the expectations, rules and material things being dragged kicking and screaming into the future and just….be. What difference will I make? What risks will I take? What love can I give? Who can I hold or help? Where can I see? Those are the questions I drifted to sleep to….that’s the kind of temporary I want to be.

~SM

The Boy: A Born Day Love Letter

Boy,

Maybe one day, when you are old and gray (like me lol) you will come across this letter. I will not dare give it to you now, you will not be able to absorb most of what I am about to say.

God gives us choice, free will. He allows us to come and go, be and do as we see fit, and yet there are times in life (usually the big moments) He introduces us to something greater than ourselves. Such was the case with you.

Your father and I have not done everything right, but if we have done just the least little bit correct, it was having you and your sister. Most parents will look at their children and say they are cute or special, but for us this is not the case. You are truly special. It has been all over you, even before you were born.  I knew it watching you move from one side of my belly to the other. I knew it watching you attempt to run long before you learned to walk (or crawl for that matter). I knew it seeing you step onto the baseball field for the first time.

You have grown into an amazing young man with such love and such heart it is almost scary to think of you out in the world with such depth. Not everyone will see it, nor should they be privy to it. You may not always understand your own depth or your own emotions, and that is perfectly okay. God crafted you to be exactly who you are for the greater good. You, son, will forever serve the greater good if you keep yourself humble, thankful, loving, and giving.

Never stop growing. Always be a student of the game. Keep competing. Keep protecting. Keep striving. Keep pushing. Nothing can stop you from that which is divinely yours. People/Things will try to break your concentration…to change your tracks…but keep your head on and keep it clear. Hold onto your vision and you will, indeed, reach the prizes awaiting.

I am uncertain if you will ever become what you are hoping. I am uncertain if I will ever get to sit in the outfield, right behind you, watching you draped in pinstripes. I am uncertain if I will ever see you awarded for an honor or a broken record. I am uncertain of your path or your destination, but I am certain about one thing and this only: You are truly, deeply, unconditionally loved.

Yours Always,

Mommy

Changing Status

There. I said it. I have been keeping it close to the chest for a few days now, unsure of the reaction it would elicit (unsure of my own reaction).

It feels strange. Not that anything has changed per say, but just the fact that there is now another layer being added to our–uhh–The Us is an odd fit (saying the word ‘relationship’ when speaking of the romantic variety is hard to actually say…it gets stuck in my throat…it’s a work in progress).

For the past 5 months or so, Young Gun and I have been conversing on a friendly (but a little more than friendly) level. Butterflies, stolen flirty glances, and swift middle school kisses have floated in and out of our pretend relationship for a while. I made sure to keep all options open (as did he) and just simply enjoy the pretend. Funny thing about pretending–if you do it long enough, you are bound to start the real thing.

Quite honestly (despite the apparent inability to say the word ‘relationship’), I am happier. He does not expect me or want me to be anything other than myself. He totally digs my fro, prefers jeans, sneeks, and a naked face over 5″ heels and short skirts, and believes I can do whatever I put my mind to. When I told him about The Marathon, he didn’t double over in laughter for 10 minutes (yes…that actually happened to me before). When my hair is huge & ridiculously fro-ish, he gives me a high five and smiles. When he sees me in jeans and a tee shirt, it is like metal to a magnet. I can say weird stuff or laugh at terrible jokes or drag him to see awful chick flicks and he accepts it all. He constantly reminds me to not open the door for myself or carry things when he is around.  He knows which weekends are my free weekends without me ever saying a word. He is respectful of my children and the space I require for them. I. Am. Happier.

I am still riding this ride one day at a time. I am still just having fun. I am still just keeping pace. I am still putting focus where it is needed. There is no pressure to be anything other than myself; no pressure to do anything other than what I do; no pressure to go where I don’t normally go. He is simple. This is simple. We are simple. And after the long journey I had before, simple (and slow) is just fine by me. Now…about those wedding dresses….(NOT!)  😛

~SM