Tag Archives: the girl

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

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

 

 

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 (Parental) Hair Debate

I have always been against people telling me what to do with my hair. It’s. Just. Hair. It’s hair! Cut it and it will grow back. Color it and it will grow out. Shave it and it will come back. Braid it and they can come out. Hair is hair is hair. It’s hair. So when the Ex and I had a debate about the Girl’s hair last night, I could not help but to get a little pissed.

First things first, I have never been a parent before. Second things second, I have never been a divorced parent before. I am flying by the seat of my pants and have been doing so for the last 14 years. So far, the children are not (a) thieves, (b) murderers, (c) gangsters (d) whores (e) rapists and/or (f) on Maury with any of the above. Of course they lack more to be desired, but they are teenagers. Spoiled teenagers with a large side of attitude and ungratefulness, but that can be easily fixed (ask the Boy who I wrestle to the ground and show who’s boss when it is needed). All of that being said, there is something to this parenting game I have learned over this 14 year stint: allow expression.

I am a free spirit and I parent sorta accordingly. You want to wear stripes and polka dots with monkey slippers? Go for it. You want to paint your room and draw on the walls? Have at it. I. Don’t. Care. Express yourself in the safest, most benign manner, and it can save the world from frustrated angry individuals (imo). Of course there are somethings I fight: sagging pants, odd body piercings, skank wear, certain music, R-rated movies, and personal bubble popping. Other than that, life is a coloring book with blank pictures–I encourage coloring outside the lines. The Ex obviously feels differently.

The Girl wanted to get her hair done, and I obliged. I preferred her in an afro, but she preferred herself in some sort of relaxed style. Fine. Your hair. Not mine. This time she asked if she could get it colored. I obliged. The Girl ended up with beautiful burgundy red highlights. Instead of him gushing over her hair, boosting her self-esteem, he proceeded to debate with me over her hair being colored. “She’s 12!” He says. “She doesn’t need color in her hair. I am her father and I have a say in something that big. Blah blah blah.” Is it that big of a deal, really?

Hair, clothes, nail polish, art work, tattoos even–is all an extension of the person and their need for expression. Everything has a limit and maturity date. The Girl has suffered quite a bit at the hands of adults and mother nature. She has had her home sold, her family changed, major surgery, and puberty knocking at her door in a 12 month span. The least I can do, as her mother/supporter/cheerleader, is allow her to test life and move outside of the lines…just a little bit. He had a point. She is 12. Which, for me, is all the more reason to allow her to express herself safely. She is an artist at heart–always has been–why not allow her to move within that? If you made it to the end of this long post, riddle me this: Was I wrong for allowing her to do it? Was I wrong for not telling him? Should her hair be a joint adult decision? I am curious to know.

~SM