Tag Archives: happy

Settling Into Oldish

Whenever I would tease Mommy about getting older, she would smile and say she was happier to be getting older. At twenty years her junior, I could not understand. Older meant things were falling apart and wrinkles. Older meant menopause and drooping everything. Old age meant walkers and medicines. Why be happy about that? Seventy-four days away from the big four-oh, I think I get it.

As you age, you settle more into yourself. The tightly wound ball of confusion that once was you at twenty is now settled and relaxed at fifty. She was excited about the relaxing part. The settling. I get it.

Now that it is my turn for ribbing from youngins, I find myself thinking about Mommy. She hasn’t quite embraced the housecoat (with the snap buttons, ‘member those?) but she has settled in. She isn’t wearing weaves and lashes, but upon suggestion (from The Boy) she will listen to a little Chief Keef. She often proclaims her ‘too old for [insert foolishness here]’ motto and leaves it where they land, but she can entertain an in house Nerf gun fight foolishness, too. She is where she is and that is okay. As I slide into another year, another grey I find myself working toward okay as well.

I’m is what I’m is, all greys and droopy whatever. It takes a minute to remember things and I can’t handle too much nonsense (my patience is -5). I own a housecoat with snap buttons and side pockets. I listen to Young Thug religiously and I live to binge watch Riverdale. Yes, I know what Bitcoin is but I also remember when pay phones were a thing and they took actual coins. I groan when walking up/down stairs, and I swear when it rains my bones hurt. But as I come ’round the mountain, I am quite all right with all of it. With every year I am blessed enough to see, more wisdom and more comfort are settling in. Thank God.

~SM

Thou Shalt Not Give

The Baby laid in her crib wailing. It started as a soft “Hey, parents, I’m waking up” and graduated to a “Yo! Let’s go, let’s go!” It was about 2 or 3 a.m. I had been with her around the clock, milking myself like a cow, changing diapers, entertaining blank infant stares and nursing a body slowly coming back together. The last thing I needed (and wanted) on an early Saturday morning was another dirty diaper and a sleepy breastfeeding session. So…I let her cry.

I refused to get up. At that moment, I was being selfish and quite honestly, I did not care. Her father, snoring softly beside me, was just as capable of changing, feeding and patting to sleep like me. Not only was I in recovery, but I was also smack dab in the middle of my fall semester and dealing with a heap load of OPS (Other People’s $#!%). I lay there, pretending to sleep and listened as she wailed louder and louder until YG struggled from sleep. YG had worked all day and a part of me felt terrible, but the sensible twin ordered me to stay in position. “Be selfish,” she said.

Why when we need/want to do something for ourselves do we think it is wrong? Is sanity wrong? Is loving yourself first wrong? In all actuality, it is perfectly healthy to put you first. Children do it all of the time, which is why Big Bird and the like teach sharing is caring. And it is. Sharing is an act of kindness. It is love…but, err, are we expected to be kind all of the time? It is impossible. Even Big Bird has his days.

Giving to you is more important than doling out pieces of yourself to others. Sure, what they need may be urgent and of course, some self-sacrifice might have to happen, but no one is in constant need of your everything. It is okay to say no. It is okay to not do for others so you can do for you. You are in the right for turning that love and kindness outside in.

Don’t wake up with the baby if someone capable is within three feet. Let them gladiate. Refuse to not get in the shower first. Jump in and use all the hot water. Sorry, not sorry. Rebel against not spending that measly $15 on yourself. New planner? Why yes, you will. Stand firm and wave off the dinner inquisition with a loaf of bread and a jar of PB. They will live. Do. You. It is okay. The kitchen might be a little worse for wear or the fam might have to eat ramen noodles for breakfast, but taking a moment, your moment, will create a healthier, happier you. Because let’s face it, misery invites grays and wrinkles–and we are all better off without those.

~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

Loving Longtime

My parents celebrated forty-one years of marriage recently. Forty. One. That does not even count the years of dating. For forty-one years, this man and woman have endured sickness, health, wife-strikes (which will go down in history as the best ever), bad gifts, amazing surprises, yours truly and three grandchildren. For forty-one years this man has loved this woman, and this woman has loved this man. They have weathered big storms, both literal and figurative, losses and gains. They not only grew up together, but they grew together. For more than half their lives they have loved one another in light and in dark.

It takes more than human strength not to wrap your hands around a neck and squeeze, especially after enduring their bs on a daily. Just hearing them cough can send a person into fits of crazy, but somehow people manage. If flesh was in charge, we would all be under the jailhouse. Thank God it isn’t. Thank God we get to choose love, or shall I say, love chooses us. It sneaks in when we know little more than our mother’s voices and builds a foundation.

Love is a tricky thing. Love endures what we can’t. Love cleans up Stomachbugmagedon hot dog vomit out of the bathroom sink. Love invites forgiveness to sit at the table for birthdays and family dinners. It stands in the cold and rain just for a glimpse of a dream. It brunches on Sundays no matter how exhausted or how long the to-do list may be. Love stands in the gap when we choose not to.

I watch my parents interact. They move quietly around one another, their history and their love filling an entire room. It really is that simple, isn’t it? No extras or absurd rules and judgments. No special colored glasses. Just…love. In its most natural form, it can fill a room and there will still be more left to give.

I am learning, how to operate in love fully. If you have been with me during rush hour you know I have a ways to go, but I am a work in progress. Right now my heart is full with just enough love for myself and The Family, but someday it will grow three sizes (and I might even find the strength of ten Sadie’s plus two). I am taking a page out of The Parents’ playbook. They have endured much, both individually and collectively, but at the very root of it all is love. And in the quiet moments, they show it–no boasting, no impatience, no selfishness–just love.

~SM

Energy Shift

After a long week chocked full o’ vomit and diarrhea (now dubbed Stomachbugmagedon henceforth), a much-needed breath of fresh air was warranted. YG and I snatched up the baby, slipped into a pew, heard some desperately craved Word and took a Sunday ride. Along the ride, we had a bare naked conversation about where we were individually and collectively. I did not like our energy. Neither of us had been the same for a long while. Our lives seemed to be unraveling at the corners and eventually, the whole thing would come apart. But if we could prevent that, then why not? We are everything. Everything is us. What we put out is what we get back. If he hadn’t lost that, I certainly had…it was time I got it back.

Energy is everything. I had forgotten that. I had let myself forget I am apart of this thing called life. Not the ‘life’ we are always talking about—the journeys and the a-ha’s—but life the living, breathing thing. I let the sludge get mixed in with the good and it turned sour. I forgot what I was putting into the world would return to me in the way I presented it.

The moment we walked out of the church, our energy shifted. The second we ended our naked conversation, the air shifted. Things were possible. Yes, somethings might be a little on the tougher side, but it all seemed possible. We saw an open house sign and decided to just go take a look. Buying a home right now is a long way away, but what harm would it do to just pretend for a little while? From the onset, it was perfect for us and when we walked out our lives had shifted. We could no longer afford to fumble around in the dark, walk on eggshells or defer dreams. We had to become one with that which was around us, become one with each other and most importantly, allow God to breathe life onto dusty bones.

We walked out talking excitedly as if we would go home and call our banker right away. We smiled at the thought of The Boy finally getting his own bathroom too little too late. We made plans for the unfinished rooms in the basement. When the day turned to night and everyone was snuggled under their individual covers, I slipped into the shower. I closed my eyes and for the next ten minutes, I pictured myself taking a shower in the home we had walked through…our home.  I turned the water off and smiled. Hope had returned and pretty soon our energy would be right where it should be. Thank God for the shift.

~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

From The Mouths of Babes

For a whole fifteen teenage minutes yesterday, The Girl stood making her case as to why I should start making gift baskets again or go back to G. Mag. She proceeded to say how I needed something for myself and how she was trying to boost my confidence. “I have confidence!” I proclaimed. She didn’t look all that convinced. YG sat on my right, amen-ing from his gallery seat. “Please tell your mother.” He said. “I’ve been telling her this for how long?” He said. Okay, okay. I get it. It is time to stop sleeping. I hear you.

Here’s the thing, though. I made (and stand by) some valid excuses—err points. First, the basket thing is tough. I hate selling stuff. I’m terrible at it. And besides, who would actually spend their hard-earned money on…me?  As far as my baby G. Mag is concerned, I refuse to bring her back without doing it right. I need money, and a lot of it, to do it the way it should be done. Figure it out, they said. *sigh* Don’t worry about the money, they demanded. Invest in yourself, they preached. It isn’t that easy. Is it?

Aside from (the valid) excuses and their ridiculous rebuttals, I do feel like it is time. Something is brewing along the horizon in the distance. The air around me is static and the clouds are pregnant…with something.

I won’t say I am close. I am not. But I am certainly not as far removed as I was. I think the circumstances at the present moment are roaring in my ears. So much so, I can’t hear the sound being made from dreams meant to be touched. Perhaps, that is why on a beautiful Sunday afternoon a 16-year-old with important teenage things to do stood in my face defiantly walking all over my excuses trying to convince me of what was waiting. “If I had talent like you, Mommy,” she said matter of factly, “I’d be using it.” Well…I guess its time I start, hm?

~SM