Category Archives: Long Post

Pride & Surprise

What moments and milestones make you most proud? How did God surprise you? (Grit & Virtue)

Every morning, I drag myself into the daycare with Cookie in tow. Eyes still filled with sleep and a silent begging to the lottery gods, I open the door and plant the baby on the floor. I hand over bottles and baby food and ready myself for the next leg of my morning journey. On these mornings, body still aching for the bed, Mrs. J greets us with a smile and asks the rudimentary questions any caregiver should ask. Unsure of how this one morning turned, we got on the topic of my job which then turned into a conversation about me being a writer which steered into the direction of her being a writer too. She wanted to write a book, but was unsure of where to start. A children’s book, go figure. If anyone could, she most definitely should. You have to be sent from God to deal with a room full of slobbering, snotting, crying, peeing/pooping little humans day in and day out. “Hm, I have something for you,” I said. The next morning, I handed her the last (hard) copy of my book. She beamed and said she would read it over the Christmas break and return it when we came back. I waved her off and told her to keep it. It was just collecting dust in a drawer anyway.

There are many moments when I am proud. I am proud of The Boy and all of his accomplishments on the field and his heart off it. I am proud of The Girl and her resourcefulness and her ability to sincerely care for others. I am proud of Young Gun fighting through grief and sadness and still look to the brighter side. I am proud of my parents for still grinding and still giving. I am proud of everyone in my life who does. The only person I am ever, hardly proud of…is me. But this morning, a break in the clouds came and a little warmth buzzed in my belly. This morning, I was proud.

Today was unlike any other. I shuffled into the room, Cookie in hand, ready to just crawl back into bed. “Today I have a purpose!” Mrs. J exclaimed through a broad, gap-toothed smile. For the last few weeks, she has been throwing quotes my way. They are mine. My words. She uses the book/journal as her daily devotional. This morning’s message was to go back to the point in your life when you were doing something that made you happy, really, really happy. She did. She found it was writing. She proceeded to tell me in a rush of words that Today I AM was a blessing. It has helped her so much thus far and she loved it. I sheepishly nodded and smiled. “Great! That was the point. If it helped just one person…” I said with a smile. I kissed Cookie and waved good-bye, smiling to myself just a bit. How ‘bout that.

To actually hold the book in my hands was amazing enough. I had done it. I had taken everything I had gone through over the course of these last four years and managed to make a work of art. I left it on the shelf (literally and figuratively) for the better part of the year due to extenuating circumstances, but in the 11th hour, she appeared again. God surprised me, alright. He not only allowed me to accomplish a major goal, but He made the broken pieces more meaningful than I could have ever imagined. And, yet, He didn’t stop there. He used it all to help someone else become a better them. I shouldn’t be surprised by what He does. But I am.

In the wise words of The Anchorman, I am a glass case of emotion. Just under the surface, there is pride, gratitude, and praise. I am proud of my abilities. I am grateful He chose to use me. I am dancing on the inside thanking Him for loving me enough to put so much greatness in such an unworthy package. Won’t He do?

~Today I HAVE purpose…SM

The Year Two Thousand & Eighteen Notables

“Think through each month, and make a list of all the notable moments, the treasures of 2018.”  (Grit & Virtue)

 

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January – We got to see the baby! For an entire month, I was a nervous wreck! Every ache or pain I felt, I just knew it spelled trouble. We knew there was a little life growing inside but we had no idea if it was okay or if it would stick. In January, we got to have our first glimpse of the newest addition. What a beautiful, amazing sight!

February – I got to meet all of Young Gun’s family and I got to witness how one long, loving life could affect so many people. The unfortunate part was that I was unable to meet the man behind the long, loving life, but the number of people he touched was absolutely unbelievable.

March – We found out the baby was a girl. My husband wanted a little girl and God saw to it. Although, I still believe when my mother-in-law got to heaven that week, her first order of business was to put in a good word and God obliged. March was also when for a brief, sparkling moment, my beautiful friend and I put away everything heart-heavy and became husband and wife.

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April – The Boy’s baseball career started to buzz! He was in the paper, his pitching was amazing and colleges were peeking in to see what he had to offer. It was a blessing to see something blossom right before our eyes. He has been dreaming of playing baseball since before he could read well, and to see it growing before him was amazing.

May – Mommy and I chucked the deuce to an item on our bucket list…JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE!!! We had amazeball seats and the show was a-mazing! We had been waiting years (yes, years) to see him in concert and we finally made it. I still owe her money for my ticket, but the debt is soooo worth it.

June – BABY SHOWER! Oh my goodness what a wonderful, beautiful showing of love. Friends, old and new, the family from out of state, Mommy, the kids, and even The Ex and his person were there. Cookie received so, so much that we barely had room enough to receive it all.

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July – The Mother/Daughter Team was back at it in Atlanta, but this time it was Sam Smith. What a surprisingly wonderful show! We had such a great time. Me and my 8-month pregnant waddling self hung in there. Cookie had a great time too!

August – Both of my girls had birthdays. Earlier in the month, we welcomed Cookie into the world and two weeks later we celebrated a beautiful young lady and her Sweet 16. School started too and we had a Class of 2019 man in the house and a fresh Junior (Class of 2020). What a year of extremes…

September – Young Gun and I went on our first date post-baby and we chose to celebrate with a Childish Gambino concert. I surprised him with floor seats. He was so stoked. We almost got within touching distance of Gambino, but security blocked us (booo). It was an amazing show. To top it all off, big Bro and Sis got some baby watching action in.

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October – Me and my girls went out for brunch one morning. The Girl and I were awake and Cookie woke up too and I just said: “Let’s go to brunch.” We left the boys snoring in the bed and had a wonderful mid-morning. I didn’t have a ton of cash, but the little I had, we used on yummy pancakes, waffles, hot chocolate, and tea. Time (and money) well spent.

November – Cookie went to daycare for the first time. At first, it was bitter, but seeing her progress in such a short time helped to turn the bitter sweet. Seeing just how well cared for she is and the fun she has is wonderful. And (as much as I complained about it), it was actually nice to get back to a semblance of a routine.

December – I found my voice (and breath)…again *swoon*

~SM

Being Helpful

I have about $34 to my name currently. I also have a $20 bill nestled safely and sweetly in my wallet. It has lived there for the past 3 weeks. On top of the $34 and the $20 I have about $1000+ I will  spend in the next few days for a baseball trip–of which I currently do not have. Go figure. The only reason why I have not drowned my sorrows in cake and ice cream just yet is because I have faith that He will make everything okay. But you know what they say…faith without work is dead. So, I decided to put in a little bit of work.

I hate asking for help. I would sit in the dark with only candles for light before I opened my mouth to ask for help. It is unfortunate, but it is who I am. I am learning, however, that that is what family and friends are for. So I put a little bit of my head on their shoulders when my back is crushing the wall. This week (please reference the $1000+ above) my spine is cracking the drywall. I asked for help.

My aunt and uncle were one of the first to answer the call. When my uncle answered the call, he reminded me to tithe. It was a funny thing he had mentioned it because it was nothing more than confirmation. Just a week prior I had prayed about my situation (as a whole) and what I should do and the only thing that came back was that. It stayed on my mind for days afterward–you know that nagging pull and tug? Yes, that was it. Okay God, I understand. I have a plan. Starting July 1 I would have it all in place. So–yea–the thing about God and plans….

Remember the mention of that sweet little $20 bill I have tucked away? It is no longer tucked–in my wallet anyway. YG came into the office looking for food to feed his face. He also mentioned that he was trying to drum up cab fare for a lady who had been sitting in the lobby trying to figure out how she would get to where she needed to go. Angel tap, mental nod, bye bye $20. He took a $20 bill out of his wallet ready to hand it to her and I slipped my $20 out too. “You sure?” He said. “Yup.” I said. “Ok, I will try to get you your money back.” I shook my head. “No need. I don’t want it back.” And truthfully, I didn’t.

Someone sewed a seed for me in my time of need and it seemed only fitting that I did the same. The Angel tap didn’t hurt either. I have learned not to argue with God or to hem and haw at His instruction. We have no idea what His plan is. It feels good to be helpful when I am in need of help. To be able to give openly knowing it is His will and for His good and not my own, feels right. I like feeling good and right. It also feels kinda cool to get my sweet little $20 back…she didn’t need quite so much after all 🙂

~SM

What Is The Point?

Remember that scene in Dreamgirls when Deena asks the other two what’s the point? I am asking the same question. Deena asked that question of her group-mates because she was frustrated. They knew they had done an outstanding job, but once again they got the door shut in their faces. So, out of frustration she expressed her interest in finding out what the hell is the point of it all. I don’t ask in frustration, but more out of curiosity.

I was plucking a couple hairs and wondered why. I put lotion on my feet this morning and asked myself what for. I put on a dress and make up and made my way out the door to drive twenty minutes to work and for what? I get up, get dressed, go to work, come home and do it all over again, but for what? Why? To make a set amount of money just to pay someone all of said money? To buy things of no value or momentary value? Don’t you ever wonder, like really really wonder why we are doing what we do? Why do we bother?

If you believe in God then you believe He has a plan and purpose for your life. You wouldn’t be here if He didn’t. But He knows the plan–you don’t. So, while He’s working the plan and you are either right on target or running around in circles like a headless chicken, there is a point we just don’t know what it is. So what is the point of the not knowing? Is it to teach us something and if so, does it really matter? We’ll be dead when the lesson is learned. Right?

Why in the world are we here? Why are there some rich, some poor, some in between? Why are their nutty people and seemingly sane people? Why are there marriages that last 50 years and some that only last 5 days? Why are there single people longing for love and why are their coupled people cheating? Why do we wear make up and look for better jobs? Why do we have passions yet can’t find a way to live them? What. Is. The. Point? Perhaps we’ll never know…well…anytime soon that is.

~SM

Feeling Replaceable

The biggest problem with loss is the feeling of being replaceable. Sure, it is nice to be the dumper or the two-week-noticer, but when you are not, it doesn’t feel so good. I got a taste of that when I was unexpectadely reminded that even though I am the mother, there is always room for one more.

It is something you think about when you have an ex anything and there are kids involved. You forget there is the potential for your off spring to bond with another adult. You ex has bonded, but you could give two shits about that particular bond (matter of fact you have often wished they got stuck together like humping dogs in the street). No. What worries you most is her (or him) glopping themselves onto your kids with fun stuff like shopping and outings and your kids sticking. After all, you are the rule setter, the drill sergeant, the taxi, the bill payer, the yeller, the spanker, the bad guy and on the tired days the ‘i don’t care’ guy. You don’t get the luxury of every other weekend fun in the sun spoil time with your children. Your spoil time and your mom time is intermingled together and it can be hard to tell the difference. To them…you are just mom…and to you…well…maybe you are not entirely replaceable but you certainly aren’t alone and it hurts.

It hurts somewhere way deep down, in a place no one can quite touch, when you think about being replaced. When your boss lays you off to replace you with someone younger and cheaper–it hurts. When your significant other breaks it off to replace you with whomever–it hurts. When your kids replace you with a girl/boyfriend, or just activities and friends in general–it hurts. But I suppose it doesn’t have to.

Looking at it behind mature lenses, we are truly irreplaceable. Someone can fill our seat momentarily, sure, but we are marvelously, wonderfully made uniquely enough so that no one person can step comfortably in our footsteps. There is only one you. There is only one me. Of course…I prefer to seethe and throw a tantrum about the potential of the Replacement, but that’s only because that feels better than being all yogi-om and mature. Realistically (here’s the mature crap again), I should know my worth and I should know my place within this world and in the hearts of those who truly love me. Why…I am smwart. I am kand. I am impowtant. Can’t take that away, no matter how much glitter and gold is thrown in the air.

~SM

Death (And Other Grown-Up) Prepping

I am a single, 35 year old mother of 2 with no life insurance, disability insurance, retirement fund or emergency fund. If a bird shits on my life the wrong way everything collapses. I am on the brink of turning 36 and I suppose it is time for me to become a real, live grown-up. First thing first—Death Prepping.

The hardest thing a person will probably ever do for themselves and for their families is create, read and sign their Last Will & Testament. I spent last night’s baseball practice reading and re-reading my Will. It puts lots of things into perspective, especially when you do not have much to leave behind.

I read through the Will, imagining The Girl and The Boy sitting in a lawyer’s office listening to him read my last wishes. Morbid. But necessary. Being prepared for your death is less about you–it is about who you are leaving behind.

I think the thought of doing a Living Will came from (don’t judge me) Grey’s Anatomy. Derrick dying, Meredith having to make whatever decisions, Bailey bugging Ben about what he wanted to do in case it was left up to her–it all translated into real life. What if something did happen to me? Would my loved ones know what I wanted? Hell…did I really know what I wanted? The Will was easy to deal with…the Living Will was what had me reeling.

Thinking about what I wanted done in the event of something I cannot possibly predict was hands down harsh. What if I am pregnant? Do they save me and then the baby? Or just let me go and save the baby? What if they want to amputate a limb? Will it save my life? Can they leave the limb and still figure out a way to save me? How long, if at all, do I want to be hooked up to machines? Who will I appoint to carry out these wishes and pray they do not let their emotions get in the way? See…I told ya…harsh.

To ease some of the morbid tension between my future self and my sick/dead self, I decided to focus on something a little bit more cheery: Retirement. My plan has been (and continues to be) to live out the rest of my days in a Charleston beach house with the ocean as my back yard, teaching horny 20 year olds about literature and writing. I refuse to be 65 skrimping to live. I want to actually set my bills to auto-pay. I want to have several commas in my savings accounts and no negatives in my checking accounts. I want to be able to live in peace with no financial worries.

Planning for your death, sickness, and retired life is exhausting. I was so tired by the time I got done with all of that, I had to go to bed early. But, when I laid my head down on the pillow, I felt accomplished. I felt ready. I felt…like a grown-up.

~SM

Everything I Learned…I Learned From Fast Cars & Toretto

I remember sitting in the theater, packed and hot–teeming with anticipation, waiting for the first glimpses of tricked out foreign cars and mysterious macho actors. From the first scene to the last, I sat on the edge of my seat wishing I, too, could rip through city streets and zip under 18 wheelers. That night, I learned about the Rush.

The Rush is a feeling you get when your body is crackling with electricity. The smile on your face is pure joy. The palms of your hands are sweaty with anticipation. The beat of your heart is beyond normal. The Rush reminds you that you are alive. Every idea, every dream, every ‘what if’ spins around until they blur and you realize you are capable of everything.

I remember sitting in the theater, all of us feeling the sting of the loss of Letty, feeling so heavy in the seat. From the moment she died until the end, nothing quite felt the same. None of it felt….good…except Toretto’s love. That night, I learned about Love & Loss.

We all know Love & Loss–no further explanation needed. That was the night I actually questioned Love…what it was and what it really felt like…if I actually had it. I knew Loss, or at least some version of what I envisioned Loss to be, but I did not know Loss as it was connected to Love.

I remember standing in the isle, shortly after the credits finished rolling. The theater crowd was thinning but when we heard voices, we all froze. Something more was happening. Life was changing. Letty was alive and everything as we knew it was about to be turned upside down. We all stood, frozen, mouths agape at the thought of what was to come. That night I learned of what Possibility felt like.

I buzzed about the Possibilities of Letty for the rest of the afternoon. Possibility is endless. I started to see the Possibility in everything. What if, What would happen if, Where could, How should, Why…. With Possibility, Life becomes much more exciting and unpredictable. The end never seems so fixed when Possibility is involved.

It all sounds kinda nerdy, I guess, but when sitting in the theater watching silver screen friends (who happen to be real life friends) say good-bye to one of their own it didn’t feel nerdy at all. It felt incomplete. It was sad. I was sad. Everything I had learned over the last decade, I had learned through fast cars, corny one liners and bad ass drivers….and here it was….finished yet not on their/our terms.

I walked out of the theater neither interested in staying past the credit roll or bothering to see if there would be a ‘what’s next’. I took the experience, a decade and some change long, and packed it away. I packed away the Love & Loss, the Possibility, the Unfinished, and the Rush and put them on a mental shelf to be revisited later when in need. I smiled to myself thinking of something Toretto said (by which I currently live), “I live life a quarter mile at a time…” That’s all we have really.

~SM