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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

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

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

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

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

Expecting The Unexpected

Which unexpected roadblocks [has] hindered your progress and productivity [last] year and how can you overcome them? (Grit & Virtue)

Roadblocks. They suck. A younger me had been partying with friends and a couple of us decided to go out for a drink run.  On our way to the grocery store, we saw the road washed in blue light. It was a roadblock. A huge mobile holding cell was on one side of the street and cops were crawling all over. I freaked out. They would know I had been drinking (at 20)  and I swore up and down they would drag me out of the car and throw me in the mobile cell and cart me away. My friend told me to calm down and shut up. Obviously, we made it through with no problems. The police officer barely looked in my direction. Had I continued to spazz out and look shifty, I am pretty sure he would have. That stupid roadblock suddenly killed any buzz–ever.

The little buzz of newlywed-dom and pregnancy was squashed on multiple occasions by way of roadblocks last year. For some of them, I had to tell myself to calm down and shut up. For others, I had to just power through. I am pretty sure I did not handle every hinderance correctly (actually, one, in particular, I am pretty sure I didn’t, but that is neither here nor there).

The important thing is that it was handled. The roadblocks themselves (at this point) are really not as important. The important take away here is that I/we overcame them…some way some how. Courage and strength prevailed, buzz killed or naw.

Unexpected stuff happens. It is indeed a thing. I think for a while things were going so well I had forgotten the unexpected was lurking like a creeper. I just flew by the seat of my pants and allowed my feet to be off the ground with a new relationship, job, financial security, and blah blah without giving a second thought to what might be standing in the way. Lesson learned…bigly.

While I couldn’t quite get my initial glow back from the informal hangout and Coronas, I was able to reset and still enjoy the rest of the evening. The same can be said for the glow of the good moments experienced recently. I am able, now, to reset and still enjoy what is left. Roadblocks and mobile jail cells will pop up every now and then. It won’t surprise me when it does. I will just stop, breathe, shut up and roll with it.

~SM