Tag Archives: family

The Planner Failed To Plan

You ever know about something early yet nothing gets done? It isn’t entirely your fault, though. Life happened, kids got all needy with their needs and your financial sitch got dicey a few times. You knew none of that was going to get in the way. You saw said thing coming and then it all pretty much went to shit.

I am a little light in the pocket and on a normal April Thursday, I would not be phased. Only, this April Thursday is different. It is the wrong time. Graduation is a month away.

Remember said thing you saw coming? Imagine you saw it coming eighteen years ago and stood idly by while the slowest train in history pulled into the station. You had a daily reminder living and growing before your very eyes yet you didn’t plan. For shame.

On paper, before kids, it is easy to say “We will save $5 a week until he/she is 18.” Or “We after they are born we will start saving for college.” But when life hands you lemons and you have no patience for lemonade you wave off their little $5. Suddenly the furnace is broken or you need just one more day of gas or you have no job and you think ‘I have plenty of time.’ And instead of saving you start surviving.

Here, eighteen years later I realize (painfully) the planner failed to plan. Aint that somethin’? The one person who can compile planners, charts and papers at the drop of a hat didn’t prepare for this moment. And here I stand staring blankly at the nothingness I have to offer.

Life lesson #75: plan for the inevitable. There are a few things that happen in life we have the responsibility to actually prepare for death, birth, flat tires, car breakdowns, and at least one hospital visit. If you have kids, high school graduation always comes (at the same time in life…go figure).

Luckily, most high school graduates who are itching to take the real world by storm don’t care much about dinners or brunches celebrating their accomplishment. About 99% of these young men and women are clamoring to shed the flimsy gowns and uniform dress attire and head to the nearest party. Spending their first moments of freedom with their elders and parents isn’t exactly top of mind. And because of that, I release myself from all the guilt of not being planner perfect and responsible.

Even though I would prefer to have the graduation brunch of a lifetime with cloth napkins and delish chef specialties, I know it isn’t worth the trouble. He really won’t care. And even though I failed to plan for the inevitable, it isn’t decorations or amazing graduation gifts he is concerned with. Deep down, what matters to him most is that we are there. He cares that we are somewhere in the crowd proud of him for being his own kind of great.

~SM

Hard Head = Soft Arss

Oh, the joy of selfish, self-centered, selfish (did I say that twice?) teenagers. They are truly what makes the world go ‘round. Them and all their ‘Me Me Me’. It makes the world a much better place and it provides parents of said teens a respite from the everyday struggles of Life Life Life. Said no one ever.

Being a parent of a teen makes you question every wrong thing you ever did…EVER. I find myself sitting in the dark going over the boneheaded, disrespectful, annoying, self-centered things I ever did to The Parents. I was often met with general hissed words that went something like ‘as much as your mother/father does for you….the least you could do is…stop being so damn selfish….’ You know, typical parent to teen conversation.

But parents are dumb. They don’t know anything. They have no clue how it feels to be [insert asshole teenage issue here]. They are all old and stuff. What do they know?

Welp, parents know more than you, assclown…is what she doesn’t say to her eighteen-year-old-self-absorbed-know-it-all child. Instead, I stand down. I wave the white flag and snicker behind their back. Know why? Yea, you do. You know why. You know the moment they step foot onto that real-world sidewalk life comes fast. Cars break down, paychecks get sucked up by everything but wants, love hurts, food does not just magically appear in the pantry, and the decision between a gallon of milk or a gallon of gas is life changing. See, they don’t know that. They have no idea what they are about to walk into.

But those are lessons you just simply cannot teach. They just have to cut teeth on ’em, as the old folks say. It is a train wreck hard for us to watch, but for them it is necessary.

When the teenage monster rears its ugly, hormonal, pimply, smelly head, I rarely say a thing. There will come a time when they are sitting in the dark and think back on every idiotic moment and cringe. They may or may not apologize. They may or may not pick up the phone just to hear my voice or come visit just for a hug, but I will know they know. Life isn’t so easy, is it? Can’t always have your way, can you? Pouting doesn’t work out there, does it? Mmmmhm…didn’t think so. It is okay, you needed to figure it out for yourself. No amount of yelling, grounding or PS4/iPhone snatching was going to get through that thick skull. Only life can do that (wink).

~SM

Faith Over Fret

In just a few short months, The Boy will be living on his own hours away. Over the summers, he would be far away for weeks and months at a time. I never worried much. He was safe. He was not out in the world alone, figuring it out. He was never really far from reach. But with adulthood looming ahead, I am worrying myself to death.

They say when you are close to death life flashes before your eyes. Welp, I can tell you when your kids start driving and becoming more independent, their life flashes before your eyes, too. All the wonderfully wicked things that could happen run rampant in your brain. Suddenly, 48 Hours Mystery and Dateline are all too real and you twist your stomach into a pretzel imagining the worst. The thought of following them everywhere or at the very least putting a hidden camera in their car no longer seems far fetched. Them walking the dog at dusk feels like a kamikaze mission now when before you wished they would go outside if only for five minutes. My days and nights are spent in a silent panic over the inevitable–they are leaving.

This place is big, bad and scary. And sure, really, really icky stuff happens out here, but if we worry too much we will have ulcers and wrinkles. Fretting never did anyone any good. Part of growing is falling. Part of getting the recipe just so is taste testing. Worrying about the parts of life we have no control over is worse than the thing we fear happening actually happening. There is nothing, no ting, worse than the thought of something fearful. When the Boogie Man jumps out and the roller coaster ride is over, all is right with the world. It wasn’t as bad as you thought.

Faith is an important part of life, whether you believe in a higher power or not, we all have faith in something. We believe in the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Whatever we are fearing, it just simply is not that bad. It may feel bad and it may cut to the marrow, but we are capable of making it through. We were built to make it through.

By the time I hand deliver The Boy to his new life, I will have a handle on the fretting. It feels worse than it is. He is right where he is meant to be, going on the path he was meant to be traveling. He is here for a reason, unbeknownst to me. I was just the vessel and the taxi and the caf and the atm. I have to have enough faith to overcome the fret and trust the process. Besides, I don’t need not one more gray hair–I have a complete collection already (and you don’t even want to know where).

~SM

My Wife Did That

Yesterday evening I was watching a friend and his wife interact. I thought about how far he had come since we met and I knew she had something to do with his current position. I flashed back to a bit of a conversation Mommy and I had and she repeated something my dad said.  “I have nothing to do with that. My wife did all of that.” I imagine my friend said the same about his wife too. My wife did that. I reflected on my own doings and wondered—am I making people better oooorrrr…..?

Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty sure I have bettered the life of a person or two, but how well? And who exactly am I making better? As a mother, I should be elevating The Kids to be better, not just feel victorious when they remember to brush teeth or there are no dried boogers on cheeks, right? As a daughter I should be doing more—old age cometh quicketh, am I right? As a wife, I should be helping my husband get into position. True?

One important gig we have is to not only grow and elevate ourselves but to also add to those we touch. Life boils down to position. If we are out of position, we can barely change our socks regularly never mind help someone else. In position, though, we are able to assist those around us while still growing ourselves.

The measure of a person is in their reflection. If you are an a-hole, your reflection is most likely an a-holish collection of goodies. If you are happy, the same. Giving, same. The lives you touch will be reflective of you. That is not to say people will not take advantage or be dicks, but in some way, shape or form your influence will be reflected in their lives—even if fleeting.

I suppose the children going out into the world speaking proper English and not terrorizing old ladies is sufficient enough. The Parents’ getting to enjoy four extensions of themselves is okay for now. Young Gun having enough room to figure it all out is what he needs most presently. When I check outta here, I want to hear the words ‘Well done’ and get a holy high-five. The fruits of my labor and love should be enough to feed those who pass by and in turn feed those they pass. I want to know that I was able to add to someone more than take away. I want to be a help and a blessing. I want my reflection to be better than mediocre. Or at least have someone say, My wife did that.

~SM

Family Mending

In just a few days, I will experience a one year wedding anniversary for the second time. To look back beyond the last 365 days, the way I saw things going is not exactly how they turned out. For instance, I never quite expected to be celebrating one year of wedded bliss yet again, with a whole new person–my person–I might add. I most definitely never saw our beautifully complicated little family coexisting in legit bliss—give or take a few bumps here and there.

It was never intentional, the family we created. We (the adults) never saw any of this coming. I often tell YG when people make decisions it never affects only them. There is a ripple effect and it disrupts even the most secured. What we do today, no matter how minuscule, can have a profound effect on tomorrow. All of our decisions set the course for this moment, right here, to unfold exactly as it has. It is a little funny to see/hear people’s reactions when they find out who our cast of characters in this odd play is.

The bomb we dropped as adults produced a huge shockwave rippling the earth, reaching the farthest corners of our friends and family. There are always options when shockwaves happen. That which has fallen and been destroyed can be repaired or it can be left for dead. The displaced can turn away in search of something new, better, stronger. Not everything is worth repair. Not all foundations are meant to be examined and restructured. Not all relationships are capable of being better. All it takes is a little assessment. When the damage is assessed, what is left…is it important enough to be fixed? When the rumbling ceases and the ground no longer threatens to split wide open, when the structure has fallen, when the foundation is leveled, who is left? Are they important enough to rebuild? Are they important enough to roll up sleeves and dig in with bare hands? Or is it more beneficial to just turn away in search of newer, better, stronger?

Our foundation, as feeble as it was, needed repair. It needed to be given fresh eyes. Nothing we have done thus far has been for us. No dinners, no parties, no cordial conversations were ever for us. We never intentionally sought out this weird, yet functional family. We sought one thing: stability. That was the entire reason to rebuild what was lost. If the foundation was stable (this time), then all who entered, all who were meant to be sheltered from the cold, wind and rain could rest in comfort and love.

We began with forgiveness, added growth,  sprinkled in the release, and covered it with love. We made it big enough to withstand us all and then some. It took time for it to be completed and it certainly was not easy, but for those who enter it is safe, warm and full of love. Time heals wounds, yes. But love erases the ugly scars.

None of this has gone to plan, but that is okay. Seeing the beautiful outcome of what could have been a disaster, everything abandoned—nothing repaired, is more than enough for me. We all learned a valuable lesson about movement. Nothing can ever be if we don’t first move. The optimal direction is forward, but not all are capable. I am just so grateful to the past and the present we were able to step forward for the future. Alright, Alright.

~SM

Twisted Love

When I was a teenager, we had a cat named Dusty. He was an inside/outside kinda guy. On his outdoor excursions, he would bring us gifts. Running up the porch steps only to be halted by a dead bird is definitely not the best greeting. For me, it was gross. For him, though, it was love. Twisted, yea, but cats are special like that. After a while, I got used to his dead little woodland gifts. I found a way to let go of my perceptions and accepted his.

People can be Dustys. They go out and plop dead stuff on the Welcome mat. “Welcome,” they say, “I love you. See?” If you are smart, you roll with it. You pick it up and toss it in the neighbor’s bushes, always giving them the side eye. If you are too hung up on how wrong it is, you leave it to rot and decay. The stink rising to greet you day in and day out. I am guilty of letting other’s Dusty-gifts sit and stew until the stink was unbearable. Stubborn to the core.

Letting go is not my strong suit. I hold onto everything for far too long. But I can be the bigger person. I have proof. I can also be pretty petty (for which I also have proof). In the end, I suppose it is all about letting go of my perception and let others have theirs. What is right and what I feel is right does not negate the fact that from their vantage point they see right, too. Their right is stupid (btw), but who am I to judge? If I let go…If I unclench my fists and rest my heart, I won’t have to smell the stink. I can just chuck it up to a twisted kind of love, toss it over the fence and carry on.

~SM

By Golly, Be Happy

For a year I have watched my beautiful husband endure things no twenty-eight year old should. I have watched him run the gamut of emotion—both good and bad, big and small. I have seen him step above and beyond and I have watched him completely fall apart. I have seen a spirit break before my very eyes. But there have been tiny moments of sunshine he clung to, preventing the quicksand to take him under. No matter how deep the cuts, he clung to something–anything–and managed to still stay on solid ground. How ‘bout that?

Watching him find joy, even the size of a mustard seed, and hold onto it for strength and peace has helped me. It has helped me to find the small and be thankful. Even in the horrible moments when the entire house smells like sick and we are all (even the dog) burying our heads in toilets and trash cans, there is a smile in it. Even when The Baby and The Girl take foul balls like champs, there is a breath of thanks and an ounce of joy there. Even when all he can do is wave at a picture, there is a glimpse of happiness buried beneath the sad.

I am learning how to find the slivers of happy in the pile of difficult. Watching YG has taught me a thing or two about the human spirit. Joy is never far. Yea, letting go is tough and yea, people are completely stupid (understatement), but does that really mean we have to let it consume us—eat away at our happy like cancer? I am making the decision that no matter what comes my way, I will be happy.

I will be happy because there is every reason to be. I need to take small things and hold them close and be grateful. Nope, not much is perfect or even to my liking these days, but daggumit I’mma turn toward the good stuff and bask in it. Why the hell not?

Nothing is ever easy. Life is full of crap shoots and luck of the draws. Money is never, ever right, kids are friggin annoying 23/6, jobs are never perfect, traffic always sucks balls and there is forever never enough time in the day. But that only lasts for a night, doesn’t it? Happiness is right around the corner, we just need to hold on long enough to see it. It ain’t always gonna be right, but by golly, it’s right enough for me to be happy.

~SM