Tag Archives: family

Life & Time

I stepped into a friend’s beautiful home, full of warmth and the air thick with love, lugging The Baby, bags and The Kids. I sat across from an old friend, his face a little older, middle a smidge softer, and gray streaking his beard. We talked about his job and kids. It was sort of surreal to see us in this space. My babies (save the last one) were no longer babies, neither were his. At one time, both sets could be held on a lap or in the crook of an arm, but no longer. They were too busy running by or engrossed by whatever technology held their interest. Somehow, the time had flown.

Somehow life had been lived in the space of these almost twenty years. A lot of life had been lived. Adventures had been had, ideals had been formed and then questioned. Morals had been strengthened or lost…God, Himself, had made a lasting impression. Time was a moving, living, breathing thing, and we had moved, lived and breathed right along with it.

When I drove away, long-legged kids folded in their positions, heads bowed to the iPhone god, I thought about how I had gotten here. How had I ended up with two young adults, a new tiny one and all the attached adventure and wisdom? How had I made it past the devil’s tricks and my own stupidity? How had I found God and lost Him? How had I face planted and gotten back up? How had it all come to pass, and I was still able to tell all about it?

The how will forever be a mystery. The why, too. The awe, though, continues to take my breath away. I have lived. Man, oh man, have I lived. No, I have not been outside the country or brought down Goliath, but in my own little way, I have lived. It has been a ride, let me tell ya. Yes, there are days I would rather just sleep through it until I am ready to deal, but overall, it has been a fun ride chock full o’ nuts and laughter and joy and love. Boy…the stories I could tell (wink), but I won’t. I will keep them as my own little treasure, and when the days get long and my heart is heavy I will dig them up and take a peek. I will grab a snack, settle under the covers, Lifeflix…and chill 😉

~SM

Thank God for Baseball

Running through the day ahead, I stopped at the thought of the game tonight. My throat tightens, my eyes water and I wave tears away before they fall. For anyone who has children, it is safe to say they save you. There is a moment when the every day becomes too much and, as if they can read your thoughts, they come with a word, a smile or a moment. This act comes far and few between as they enter the space between being a child and putting away childish things, but it still does. And when it does, it means even more.

My children have saved me and they never knew. They have managed to take care of me just by being themselves. Seeing The Girl cross-legged in her bed in the wee hours, hair piled atop her head, laptop open, notebooks and text books strewn everywhere ignites hope. Seeing her see her possibility gives me life. Watching the baby rock back and forth on her tiny knees, raring to take off to nowhere, breathes life into my soul. And then…there is baseball.

Our lives have been lived on highways and byways, our Saturdays and Sundays swallowed whole. Our bank accounts drained for the purpose of investing in purpose. There is something to be said about the end of a long, hot ball game Saturday. Everything is dropped at the door, shoes are tossed in which ever direction they are kicked, everyone sighs with the release of home in their bones. The early 8 AM game and the late 8 PM nail biter have long since rolled off the shoulders and everyone is spent. And it will  happen all over again tomorrow. The long week of rushing from work to kids to drive-thru to practice to home to barely sleeping and repeat is also ahead of you, but you would never trade it for peace and quiet. You need this. You breathe this. You are a part of the dream and by proxy, you dream this.

I sat at work, waving away the tears thinking of him standing on the mound—smile slipping from under the game face and the arrogant walk off before blue even marks his last k with a barked “strike!” Today, he would save me. He would take away thoughts how’s, what’s and why’s. He would temporarily lift the weight. He wouldn’t know it as he leans forward, feet planted in the dusty red of the infield. He would never realize as he stands in the box trying like hell to hit his mark. Nothing about his glance to the bleachers and his wink would tell he knows, but I do. I know. For a few hours, I get to breathe. Baseball and all that comes with it has saved me…

~SM

The Possible Underneath

We are struggling pretty hard these days. We get paid on Friday morning and by Friday morning we are broke (yea, you read that right). I am barely keeping the car company off my ass, and most nights I spend the wee hours of the morning hoping the loud pickup trucks ambling by are not tow trucks. Rent is paid late, but seriously who has $1500 on the first, ever?  I slowly pass by the almond butters, the salmons and the exotic fruits and veggies for the staples: peanut butter, fish sticks and iceberg lettuce (or frozen brocc). We are in the sweet spot of making too much on paper but making too little in the real world. It can be hard to dream under these circumstances, yes? Ah…but I manage.

Don’t get me wrong, we have joyous moments. We play board games with the kids (when we tie them down) or throw caution to the wind and rent an odd movie or two (The Oath is so random). We forget about bills, empty bank accounts and pickup trucks rolling by for stretches at a time. A slobbery smile from Cookie or an out of place dance move from The Girl or an absurd comment from The Boy peek under the blanket of stress, for a moment. And in the quiet moments, when the house is quiet and the only sound is stillness, I dream.

Possibility is a constant. It never fades. It is always there to be rummaged through. It is why I lose myself in the stillness and dream. I dream of writing. I dream of creating a space all my own. I dream of vacations. I dream of being better than Sir King. I dream of my children rolling their eyes at the mention of my books from a stranger/classmate/teacher. I dream of big oaks and a conversation with Madam O. I dream about me, the little green sprout, pushing through the cold, uncomfortable blanket of snow.

It is not impossible. Nothing is impossible. It feels like it. My God does it feel like it, but underneath all of this heavy, there is something…possible. No, this isn’t comfy. It affects the sight and the mind. It makes things appear so much different than it is making it hard to navigate. It is easy to get lost when everything is covered. But the minuscule, lush green beacon of light poking through the blinding white is a reminder that everything is possible….I just have to hang on and dig a little deeper. I have to rummage through the possible and grab something, anything, and try it on for size. There is nothing to lose but opportunities not seized.

~SM

Humble Much?

Each of my children is special. Yes, most parents believe that and they should, but it is clear to see from an early age that each of my littles has a serious purpose. One was born with a spirit of observation and understanding. Another the spirit of pure, easy joy. And, another with the spirit of accomplishment. Only one, however, was born with the hardest of heads and the softest of…

The Boy was forced into this world (after deciding in utero that being in there was way better than being out here). Shortly after he was rolled out onto the scene (literally), his brain was trying to make the body do the impossible. Crawl? Please. I would rather walk. Walk? No thank you. I would rather run. And, eventually, when his body and mind began to work in tandem he did just that.

The Ex and I endured years of him running, jumping and dare deviling. On any given day, strangers stop him to shake his hand or wave hello. “How do you know them?” I ask. As a youngin I would get a direct answer like “Oh, he’s Coach so and so” or “I played against him in [insert sport here]”, but today I get a cocky smile, a wink, and a “Cmon Mommy. I’m [The Boy].” Humble much?

As he grew into a young man and life started getting a smidge difficult, I would remind him to attempt humbleness. To him, everything is easy because…well…he’s [The Boy]. Until it isn’t. And when it isn’t we are subjected to fits of silence and the banana face.

There is something peaceful about being humble. The action of stripping off the ego and admitting you are not [insert egotistical thought here] feels freeing. Breath comes easier, shoulders lower, muscles relax. We are no longer fighting against what we truly don’t know. We are no longer swimming upstream.

Last night, his room washed in darkness, his long body sprawled across the bed, and his head covered I wanted to tell him to be humble. His most recent nemesis (the driving test) had him pouting and struggling to understand why he could not pass. He was [The Boy], after all. “Yes,” I wanted to say, “you are amazing. Yes, you are special. Yes, God blessed you to be a master in your gift, but not everything in your path will be easy. Sometimes, son, you have to step down, tamp down the confidence. Humility is most important because in the humble is where the learning happens.” Instead, I just stood in the doorway and watched him ignore me. After a moment, I shut his door and walked away without a word. This time he would have to find it out on his own. Hard heads make for soft behinds. Pretty soon, he will get tired of having a sore ass.

~SM

Best Wishes To My Beloved

Beloved,

Time is moving so quickly, yet to you, it probably feels as though it is moving at a snail’s pace. Life is about to come at us fast as if it hasn’t already. We will look back on this day (and all the others) and wonder where the time had gone. I have loved many, but none like you. We are forever connected, no matter how our roles may change.

You will leave. You will grow. You will find trouble and love and adventure mixed together along the way. You will get your heart broken and have moments of loneliness. Tears will fall, time will fly and life will be electric–buzzing around you with possibility.

I will leave. I will grow toward gray. I have found my trouble and love and adventure all mixed together along this journey. My heart has been broken and I have cried. Tears fell, the time has flown and the electricity of life is still buzzing, just perhaps not as loudly.  What little advice I can offer is to keep your feet on the ground as much as you can. Be humble in the moments when the world calls you to be anything but. Hold your heart open and extend the softer side of yourself during the time when being hardhearted is easiest. Speak after and think it through first. Words, your words, are bond. Mean what you say but hear the other side. Admit when you are wrong and be open to learning, always. Don’t just look ahead, but find some time to broaden your vision to see it all.

I have not been perfect.  But that is the beauty of life, you see. In the imperfection lies the meat of living. Embrace your imperfections and never stop moving. Always push forward, especially when you don’t feel you can. An inch is just as far as a mile. Watch. Listen. Learn.

Life is coming and it is coming fast. Before long you will have loves of your own, bills of your own and hard decisions of your own. Don’t be afraid to look back, to ask, to grow, to cry, to love, to listen, to be silent, to be you. Put all trust in Him and grab onto Him to steady yourself before you stumble. Greet every day with a smile, even when dark clouds are overhead.

I have had the pleasure and the privilege to love you. I will continue to love you from afar as you inch away from home base. Just know, no matter what I have or where I am, I am your home and home is always open.

Enjoy this moment and all of those moments coming. I know I will.

With Love Always,

Me

Surrendering the Extremes

“What instances do you need to grieve or surrender?” (Grit & Virtue)

Twenty-eighteen was a year of extremes…to say the least.

My family and I celebrated (or should have) a lot of wonderful moments last year, but each moment seemed to be tainted by something. Young Gun and I got married in March, and while, for a brief moment, we were able to be in the moment, newlywed thoughts and actions quickly dissipated. The conversation swung to funerals and cremations. The day we found out Cookie was a girl, we were able to smile and celebrate for a brief moment, and then sadness seeped in as YG settled into the realization his mother was not there (and would not be) for any of it, as of four days prior.

My 39th birthday was covered with a small fog of sadness as my furry friend of 15 years was recently buried in our backyard. Our celebration of YG’s first Father’s Day was short lived as he spent the day hurt by selfishness. The birth of our beautiful new addition was short in celebration. After only six hours, she was whisked away to the NICU. For Thanksgiving, the excitement of Cookie’s grandparents and extended family getting to meet her was extinguished quickly.

Our first Christmas Eve blended family celebration packed with hot chocolate and Christmas movie line-up was dampened by Young Gun being sick. Christmas itself was mediocre at best because we were broke, severely. With games sprawled out on the table and anticipation bubbling for us to celebrate new beginnings, New Year’s Eve was shaping up to be a first that was not dampened/tainted/ruined by anything. Except…it was.

Looking back at the turds floating in our punch bowls last year, I could easily dwell on each of them. I could carry bitterness with me and be cautious about anything shaping up to be joyous this go ‘round, but I refuse. Yes, some of the big moments in our lives were dampened by a circumstance, but we cannot allow that to steal our joy. It was absent enough.

After today, I don’t plan on looking back at these moments from this vantage point. The moments meant to be joyous will stay that way in my mind. Under the rubble there is goodness. I am going to dig it out, dust it off and put it in a new shelter. I will protect the goodness a bit better this time and make sure that before I allow anything to steal joy, I check it at the door.

~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

Cinderelly, Cinderelly, All I Hear Is Cinderelly

I have a problem. Well, okay, more than one (obviously), but one of the biggest problems I have is giving away too much. I thought I learned my lesson, but apparently I am a serial giver. And I am also a doer because it takes more energy for me to bitch than do. There are dishes in the sink, so I do them. There is a trash avalanche about to happen, so I rectify it. There is a light bulb blown, so I change it. There is a dead dog, so I bury it (well,  attempted…long story). Whatever needs doing, I do it because it is there to get done and these people I live with have terrible initiative. Sure! Let’s be hoarders! Said no one…ever.

I do not know how not to do. My mother is a flitter, too. She flits from one end of the house to the other—sorta like a humming bird. I don’t even know if she owns pajamas or if she just sleeps in her clothes. My dad, he’s a doer too, but there are levels to his doing. He is cutting grass, doing man stuff to cars, wood, machines, whatever. When his man stuff is over with, he parks it unless he’s hungry or thirsty. Meanwhile, at opposite ends of the house, the flitter is buzzing about. Honestly, I think my dad sometimes just finds stuff to do because all of her buzzing, but then he gives up because he knows she can do this all night.

I have become a flitter, only less gracefully. My mom manages to do it while popping chocolate kisses in her mouth like it is the easiest thing in the world. Me? I run around like a mad woman: boobs popping out, one shoe on, hair everywhere, ashy everything. I am dusty, sooty Cinderella.

On average, I get about a good three to five hours of sleep a day. If I manage to get five hours it is because I fall asleep in the bathroom (yes, on the toilet–don’t judge). I am up at 3 or 4 a.m. and I don’t touch the bed (or pajamas) until well after midnight. I am working, driving, doing dishes, cooking dinner, washing clothes, washing tiny humans, feeding tiny humans and walking flea ridden dogs—amongst other things. I do take blame for some of the load. I put it on my shoulders, sure. Running around like a banshee pointing fingers and giving directions is just not my thing. Instead, I explode.

I cannot remember what triggered me exactly. I think it was the folded up clothes I neatly placed on The Boy’s bed. Something about him sleeping, my eye bags begging for rest and the house being library silent sent me over the edge. I told Young Gun all about my Cinderelly thoughts and soot filled despair. I. Was. Tired. As far as I was concerned, all I needed was a tank of gas and a pair of undies and I was out the door. I quit dis bish. For months and months and months I have been hauling a pretty hefty load with little help (and I was pregnant for most of them I might add). I was holding onto everyone’s feelings, best interests and chores, while good ol’ Cinderelly was being ignored. Young Gun reminded me of the problem: I stopped putting myself first.

“If you don’t take care of you, everything stops,” he said. He also apologized for letting me take point on the whole thing.

It will take some time to get back into the swing of doing for me first, but I can do it. I need it. I am going to take the time to inventory everything around me and figure out what fits best in my life. Whatever does not fit or whatever causes me more aggrevation than not, I’m cutting it.

This is exciting! It is exactly what I need–a plan (teehee).

~SM

 

Swallowing Grief Whole

Death. It’s a thing.

I have lost people to death, both before I could really understand it and after. My first encounter is just but a snippet. I am not even sure if she died that particular day, but I remember seeing my great-grandmother collapse on the floor. I don’t recall seeing her after that. When I was sixteen (or thereabouts), my grandfather died. It stung and I didn’t quite understand why, but I pushed it down, until I couldn’t.  In the last few years, I have lost others, and due to recent events of one in particular, I have been stuffing and stuffing grief down whole. Death. (sigh) It’s a thing.

The moments in my life when death happened, and I had a grasp of its meaning, I found a way to squash whatever I was feeling. Business first, tears later my grandmother says. Only, I am not so sure my tears ever came.  The business of caring for others or filling out paperwork or going to work or taking care of children, or any number of regular, mundane activities that could have waited until I grieved, always came first. Tears never came. With the end of 2018 barreling its way toward closing time, I think the grief I have swallowed is finally catching up. Its closing time, the music is lowering and the lights are about to come on. What was hidden is about to become ugly, real quick.

Enter the ugly. I am just now allowing the thoughts of loss to come. Along with it, unfortunately, comes the thought of expiration dates. It is completely terrifying to know we all have one, yet we have no clue when it is. I am seeing The Kids differently, Young Gun, and my parents. I am filled with fear of loss and all that follows. I feel like I should cling to them, keep them hostage. No open doors. No adventures. No living. I just need them close. I need to smell them and touch them. I need to know they will be okay, always. With every new day, my fear grows and grows. It is little now. I can tell. But it will grow if I don’t figure out a way to regurgitate this grief—all of it.

Death. It’s a thing. It leaves behind the grievers with no clear path to wellness. Our questions cannot be answered. Only vague assumptions can take the place of answers. Only tall tales by those who choose to make themselves look like heroes. The other side is heard nevermore. It’s a thing. A scary, inevitable, colorless, odorless thing. Grief is the only payoff from such an unfair transaction, but it, too, is a thing. A scary, inevitable, colorless, odorless thing. It is a real, whole thing. It should be ingested one piece at a time. Lesson, unfortunately, learned.

~SM

An Open Letter: Thank U, Next

I’m so #$%&ing grateful for your mess. Tis true, Ari didn’t quite say it like that, but that is how I carry it. It is the only way I can put you and your crap to bed. If I had things my way, I would be pushing you into angry bees nests and running my car through your front door, but thank goodness I cannot.

You have made what should have been sweet, bitter and rotten. Your nasty words managed to soak to the bone what should have been good and clean. You built a house with walls of sorrow and unworthiness and crammed in all of the innocence you could find, locking the door behind you. You single-handedly crushed love and replaced it with a great, unwavering disdain. As far as I can tell, you sir/madam are a monster only here for the amusement of everything ugly.

Believe it or not, I don’t hate you. Actually, as I stand here, talking to you, I feel sorry. I am sorry you are so clueless. Sorry, you will miss out on greatness (oh if you only knew). I am sorry you were used as a tool to tear open and poison. I am so, so sorry for you. I can see you wearing your unhappiness like a heavy coat, your head hanging low when no one is looking. I can see the lack of love like an open, festering sore. The secrecy of your lies weighing you down. The smell of the dead bodies you buried oozes from your pores and no matter how much you cover it with beautiful fabrics or flowery fragrances, you still smell it.

I am sorry you felt you were in the right. I am sorry you felt entitled. I am sorry you stumbled and fell. One too many ill-fated cards atop your house will make it all come tumbling down, sooner rather than later. And when it does, I will not have shelter to share. You will have to weather the storm alone.

I thank you for your mess. I thank you for allowing me to see you for who you really are. I thank you for allowing your mask to crack and the truth spill out, if only for a moment. I thank you for the words aplenty and the blame. I am grateful because, without you, there would be no me.

Isn’t it funny how that works? (C’mon. It won’t hurt. You can smile. It is funny.) You spend your days being wicked, and the end result is your misery, yet those who have had to bear the brunt of your abuse come out shiny and new.

I want to shake your hand. Yes, the one that stirs the pot housing your witches brew. I get to go off and be shiny (aren’t you excited for me). I get to be newer and greater and better than you will ever be. I get to witness the moments you only wish you could. I get to stand tall and pretend you don’t exist.

For that, my friend, I say Thank U…Next (wink).

~SM