love

inner Momma voice

I’ve written before about inner speech. I even took the time to kind of explain it for those of you that don’t really know much about brain development.
Inner speech is pretty much the most important thing any of us have. But, the importance comes down to the type of inner speech one has.
If you read the linked posts, you know I have critical inner speech. I had a mother who loved me but that didn’t always come across in the way she spoke to me. And those moments when I hear her in my brain, I am immediately a little girl again. Only I’ve spent a good bit of time actively learning new ways to use my inner voice. It’s a minefield up in that brain of mine…which probably isn’t good considering the pinball thoughts that tend to roll and crash around in there…but, with concentrated effort, I’m learning to hear kinder, much less critical thoughts.

Thing 2 was in crisis mode on Saturday. We texted a great deal and had a long conversation.
She sent this text after we talked.

My joy knew no bounds! Here inner speech was positive. It was kind. It was self-loving. And she knew it came from me!
In that moment I was overwhelmed with the knowledge that I had not ruined her!!
What a relief!

Now that’s not to say that when her inner speech is about chilling and breathing she doesn’t also hear things like, “Jesus Christ, Magdeline!” in a frustrated voice. I mean, I know I’m critical. I don’t honestly think I stood a chance not being…consider my own inner speech.
And while I’m sure my second daughter has some critical or even negative inner speech, it truly warms my heart that she has soothing and positive inner speech. That she can hear her Momma’s voice in her head and it’s kind and loving. That she can choose to use those words to take the best possible care of herself.

I’m going to call this a win for Thing 2.
You know, I also think I’m going to call this a parenting win!

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Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

heal it

I’m in a strange place this morning. So many feels.
Feeling every feel with great acuity.
I find it overwhelming. But not in a bad way, exactly.

On Thing 2’s mix, there is a song called Heal It by a band called Dog is Dead. It’s hitting me hard this morning. I want to turn off her mix…but can’t bring myself to do it.

The chorus, “If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it.” feels particularly powerful. And I’m talking tear inducing powerful.
And I stop and ask myself aloud, “What is with you this morning?”
Because these tears seem to come from nowhere.
Only they come from everywhere.
Every single moment of my life when I couldn’t heal until I was fully broken comes rushing in.
Sometimes you must become absolutely powerless to gain the ability to move forward.
Feeling powerless is devastating. But feeling powerless to help those you love goes beyond that devastation. And when I think of being broken before being able to heal I consider moments or particular incidents in which the people I love most were breaking to the point of broken before the healing could begin.

I find it especially painful to know that I could not ease my own suffering or the suffering of those I love most during these breaking to broken times. The suffering eases when the healing begins. It’s the natural course of things.

This morning I’m feeling ‘rode hard and put up wet’. The weight of my short forty-six years feels like a long one hundred and forty-six years.
I feel all the moments I failed. As a daughter. As a wife. As a mother. As a human being.
But the most incredible thing about all these feelings, is that I also feel the ease of suffering that comes with healing. I feel the hope of what’s to come. I feel the triumphs and joys. I feel the pride and love of being a human being successful in life.

The tears are still welling up this morning. But I don’t ask myself about them. I accept them with love and grace and gratitude.

Here’s Dog is Dead with Heal It.
I’ve shared the lyrics below.
Please listen responsibly.

Come and meet me by the hotel
Yeah, you always lived a terrible life
And thorough the blisters and the heart swells
You always did whatever you liked
It’s a messy situation
No need to feel like you’re on the inside
And with a little conversation
What will take for us to talk for a while
It just takes a little time
When your body breaks on the inside
And we can’t heal it!
And we can’t heal it!
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
Come and see me like you always did
Come and see me when you’re dunking in time
And it’s a feeling that I know too well
Take a beating backing back in the fire
Merry-merry-round when the sun shine
Cause it only makes us sad when it’s burning their eyes
I won’t believe in…
I said won’t believe in ordeal sick in my mind
Which just takes a little time
When your money breaks on your side
And you can’t heal it, can’t heal it!
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
If you don’t feel right, never feel, never hide
Take a random chance, start another fight
And we froze so small, in your… see the world
Take another chance, make another…
..you die, and you don’t know why
Take another one, take another one!
When the men see the light
It’s a birthday light for another chance
Start another fight!
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it
If you can’t break, then we can’t heal it

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

lifting them up in love and light

They say death comes in threes.
I don’t exactly know who “they” are…but that’s what they say.

I find it is true.
In the last two weeks, three people I love very much have experienced death.
Now, I was only truly close to one of the deceased. The mother of a girl I grew up with. Amy’s mother loved and taught and mothered me just as she did her own five children.

The other two deaths are further removed. Each of them is the father of a guy I love. I never met these fathers, but I love their sons a great deal.

My friend Jack’s father left a whole in his world and he’s been struggling so. It pains me to know this, to know that I really can’t help. He has to heal in his own way.

I got a message from Thing 2 this morning, she wanted me to know her arrival time might be delayed. The young man who is her true and dearest friend has to bury his father some time in the coming week. I’ve know the young man since he was an awkward preteen in middle school, with an unhealthy crush on my daughter. He grew and matured as a young man. I loved to watch as he took the stage with both my girls in high school. Turns out he and Thing 2 were meant to be the best of friends!

My heart is heavy for my friends. Dealing with this painful grief. So if you don’t mind, would you all join me in lifting them up in love and light?
Love and light to you, Amy and Jack and Lane.

It just occurred to me to wonder if I’m feeling this love so strongly on this particular day? Today is the anniversary of my own father’s death.

I’m going to love and light myself a little bit today, too.

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

twenty three years

Today is Thing 1’s birthday. She’s twenty three. Older than I was when she was born.
I find it hard to believe it’s been twenty three years since I first clapped eyes on her. The time has gone by in only a moment! Yet I feel like I’ve been her mom since the dawn of time. (in the best possible way)
We had some rough times. Times I never expected to recover from.
We had beautiful times that I wish I could somehow bottle, open up and swim around in once again.

She wrote to me earlier this week, “I miss us.” in response to the resurfacing of something her sister said years ago. A moment in time when the three of us were an unstoppable unit of girl power and giggles. A mom and her two girls just living and loving and laughing together.
I miss us too.
But even though I miss us, I know that I raised two very strong willed and independently minded young women. I know I did my job providing the best possible foundation for them to continue to build their lives. I know that power resides in them and they’re going to use it to the best of their abilities when they set themselves to it. I know the natural course of life is for them to create nests of their own. They don’t need to be in my nest anymore, they can create their own, and they can live and love and laugh as women.
I am proud of who they are.
I’m just a bit sad that we’re no longer “us”.
Both of these are OK.

Thing 1 was the human personification of every hope and dream I ever had. Yet she exceeds them. She challenged me every step of the way. But I realize now, she was meant to do. She is who she is to help me become who I am supposed to be.
She will call me to tell me to goofiest things. She will ask for advice. She was the one who most encouraged my decision to return to therapy. She reminds me that I wasn’t always “sick” and that I’ll get through this and will come out the other side better off.
There are times when I want to “kick her in the face”. There are times I want to hold her close and whisper sweet things to her. I think that’s only natural.

We’ve lived through twenty three years of some of the best and worst things I’ve ever experienced. But here’s the deal, they made us “us” and I choose to celebrate that.
She recently posted this photo on social media. I was moved to tears. All the hard work, and all the love, and all the laughter, and all the pain, and all the silliness created this Momma and this daughter. And it means something just as powerful to her.
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Woo Hoo! Birthday Birthday! Happiest day to you, Bear! I love you more than the whole wide world.

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

love not hate, and certain unalienable rights

Yesterday was a huge deal for women in my country. Women, no, not just women. People all over the country marched in protest. Marched in love. Marched because they could.
And I was greatly moved.
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I debated heading downtown yesterday, but truly hadn’t made enough of a plan to get it together. I missed a once in a lifetime opportunity to participate, but I was able to spectate. And honestly, that’s perfectly acceptable to me. I experienced it and it continues to impact me.
I was saying to YBW today that I don’t regret not going. That I am truly humbled by being able to watch it happen. That I’m humbled and proud to know so many amazing human beings. That our first amendment is a living breathing thing. That hundreds of thousands of people were able to exercise that beautiful right to take to the streets to say and show what they’re passionate about.

Gloria Steinem’s speech reminded me of being a little girl in the 70s. I did not like that she called out Trump…but I liked other things she said.

I think Madonna needed to shut her mouth before she even opened it.
To me it’s not about how horrible Donald Trump is. It’s about showing the world how strongly (these particular) Americans feel about human rights.

A friend of mine posted about her mother and uncles participating in the March on Washington with Dr. King. That she was marching for the same reasons as they did. Marching to honor them. Marching for her young daughters.
I was amazed at photos and posts on social media! Girls I held when they were babies marching. Mothers of children I’ve taught.
It was truly awe-inspiring to watch.

I read comments written by women who question the motives. And I began to wonder what that must feel like…to not be at all impressed by something that began as a facebook post became hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children standing up for freedom.
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This was posted by a woman I’ve known since we were nine and ten years old.
What troubles me about my country being so polarized is that this march was perceived as a “We hate Trump” rally.
Now sure, some of those people do hate him. Some of them are simply exercising their first amendment right. Some are truly all about the preservation of basic human rights.
It feels to me that this woman I’ve known since I was a little girl is focusing on hate and ‘party lines’ rather than perhaps considering that it’s not about hate. That it may be about something more.
That perhaps it might be better to strive for some unity rather than remaining so deeply divided.

This dad and his little daughter in Annapolis know what’s up.
equal-greater-than-divided

I don’t worship Hillary Clinton. I truly felt as though the election in November was a decision between the lesser of two evils. Yet, I couldn’t in good conscience abstain from voting. I could not dishonor the women who came before me in that way.
I don’t idolize her. I don’t demonize him.
I just want to believe that all the hard work that was put into building my country will be honored by everyone with political power.
Though I understand that concept of “not my president” I think it’s awful. He is our president. We have no choice now. Like it or not, if you’re an American citizen, he is your president. Acceptance is where it’s at. You can accept without liking it.
We must stop perpetuating this whole ‘us against them’ mentality. Divided we fail! We are all Americans. We are all human beings.

I’m so proud to be a woman.
A woman in a country in which women have had the right to vote for less than one hundred years! This is a bigger deal than most people ever stop to consider!
What those Suffragettes went through so women could vote…
What the Greatest Generation when through during the Second World War…
What those men and women went through in the time of the Civil Rights Movement…
What same sex couples went through for marriage equality…
What the LGBTQ people are going through to be respected as human beings…
I believe so strongly that we cannot ignore our past. We must honor it. And if we can, we must learn from it.

I read one remark (written by a woman, mind you) that the march seemed to be all about being able to have an abortion. And I thought, ‘Wow are you truly missing the point! It’s about the unalienable rights of all human beings.’ At least for me that’s what it is.
Being able to have an abortion is no longer an issue of concern for me. But it is for my daughters. It is for girls I’ve taught. I don’t believe abortion should be used as birth control. But I do believe every person should have the basic human right to choose what to do with and for their own body.

What the men and women who came before us went through to get us where we are is worth honoring. What those men and women did yesterday is worth honoring.
There will always be haters. On either side of any topic.
But for me, yesterday was about love.
Love for human beings.
what-could-go-right
What can go right if we let go of hate and embrace each other?

Categories: education, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

feeling inspired

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Inspiration sometimes comes from the most surprising places. Thing 2 shared this old photo on facebook this morning. She has been uberpositive of late and it moves me greatly!

I took a screenshot to share.
It got me thinking:
Love the you that you are!
And love the you that you were. Sure, those you(s) need work…so do the work! But always love yourself unconditionally while you do the work.
Treat yourself with kindness!
You deserve to be treated with kindness. That starts in you, be kind to yourself. How else will others know to treat you with kindness?
Share your inspiration!
Stories of ‘failures’ are just as powerful as stories of ‘success’. We all “wore Crocs” at some point in our lives. That is both a good and perhaps a not so good thing. Embrace it. Let it be a source of hope and inspiration!

And in the words of my daughter: “Just freaking worship yourselves, okay?”
You deserve it!

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

be the Queen of your own world

kathy-kinney

Years (and years and years) ago I told my therapist I wanted to be Queen of the World. She suggested I consider being “the Queen of yourself”.
That stuck with me.
I’ll never be Queen of the World, but I sure as hell can be Queen of myself. Queen of my own world.

It’s how you choose to function in the world that helps you be the Queen of your own world. Remember that because it is so important. We can’t control what happens around us, we can only control how we respond to it.
I have moments of foaming at the mouth and losing my s**t when things don’t go my way. But by actively living my intention, I continue to learn how to respond, and practice responding to those moments with grace, love, and gratitude.

I am the Queen of myself.
I rule my own world.
Works for me…ruling the whole world sounds a might exhausting.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Santa bring my baby back to me.

I don’t think about it any more than I have to.
I’ve only written about it once.
I heard a song today that made it all come crashing back.

I realize I have only flashes. Only moments. I have no full memories of that time.
I remember Thing 1 begging for help.
I remember being in the ER at Richland.
I remember going to Palmetto Baptist and being separated from her.
I remember saying goodbye and leaving her there. I held her close and told her how brave she was.
I remember falling to my knees in tears on Taylor Street before I could even make it to my car.
I remember explaining to Thing 2 where her sister was.
I remember leaving work early every day to be home in time for Thing 2 to get off the bus so she wouldn’t come home to an empty house.
I remember how painful it was to visit the hospital or talk with Thing 1 on the phone.
I remember singing ‘All I Want for Christmas is You’ with Thing 2. So hopeful she’d be well enough to come home to us for Christmas.
I remember ‘Santa Bring My Baby Back to Me’ having an entirely new meaning that Christmas.

The pain of that time was excruciating. The healing process even more so.
I don’t intentionally ignore the fact of it. I just don’t choose to get up to my ass in it. Sometimes it sneaks up on me and I don’t have a choice but to feel it. Today was one of those days.
Leaving my suicidal first born in the mental health hospital was one of the absolute worst experiences for my family.
All I wanted for Christmas was my child to come home. And she did. And it was awful.
We lived through it.
We came out the other side irrevocably changed.

When I heard the My Chemical Romance version of All I Want for Christmas is You this afternoon, I was up to my ass in what it felt like that Christmas six years ago.

As I write this, I am filled with love. The love of a mother who nearly lost not just one, but both of her babies. That love is precious. That love is sacred. Those girls are my heart. And that means I have all I want for Christmas.

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think of a special wish

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My last night in Charleston, we opened the wish paper Jessica bought for me.
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How cute is this!?! It even came with it’s own little pencil for us to write our wishes.
“Think of a special wish.”

We went through the package and instructions a couple times to make sure we knew what we were doing.
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So pretty much you write a wish on the red tissue paper then wad it up into a ball before smoothing it out into a little funnel.
We’ve got this!

Jessica wrote her wish.
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And I wrote my wish.
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“Think of special wish.”
It came to me like lightning, the wish I would make. A wish for someone I love with a ferocity like no other.
After we wrote our wishes we made teeny wads out of the red tissue paper. And then, we took them onto the porch and turned them into these chimney stacks.
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The tissue paper flew and our wishes were released into the world and the ashes came resting back down near where they started.
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my mom

Today is the fifth anniversary of the day Mommie died. I’ve been thinking of her so much lately. I miss her in ways that sneak up on me and hit me upside the head like a baseball bat. I’m momentarily stunned and then I feel sad. Or I laugh uncontrollably. Or I get a warm fuzzy feeling. Or I get so angry I grunt and stamp my foot. I firmly believe that all daughters feel these things about their mothers.

I’ve written about my mom before, But I’m not going to talk about our unpacked baggage, or our love of robin birds, or the gift of silly memories. I’m just going to share my mom.

I love this photo!
This is my mom when she was sassy AF. I think she’s so beautiful. This photo was taken in the mid 1960’s. I think my mom stopped being sassy when her mother died. She looks different in any photo taken after 1969, like something’s just a bit off…or something. Now, this is just my theory…but I do know that death of her mother changed her greatly.
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This was taken at our house on Barton Street in Arlington. I suspect my dad took it. It was before I was living in that house, but I don’t know how long after they were married this was taken. Some time in 1970.
I think she’s beautiful in this photo too, but she looks different.
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This photo was taken in April of 1971. The month before I was born. I think she looks tired. But I’ve been that far along in a pregnancy twice in my life and I remember feeling tired.
I’m so glad that the middle part went away for a long time…does it really look good on anyone?
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So, my parents were pretty freaking strange. And quite possibly they shouldn’t have been allowed to bring me home from the hospital. I’m the weird little alien looking baby. My mother is holding me inside my father’s boot (he was a motorcycle cop) as he takes the photograph.
Obviously, I wasn’t a very cute baby…though in my defense, I’m kind of crammed into a big leather boot. That makes for some uncomfortable faces. Summertime 1971.
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I went through years and years of photographs trying to find some of me with my mom. There are tons of photos of me with my dad (before he left) and even more of me with Grandaddy. But few with my mom. She was always behind the camera.
Being behind the lens is something that must run in our blood. I’m a photographer. Thing 2 is a photographer. Thing 1 is kind of a photographer too. Luckily, there are other people with cameras who’ve taken photos of me with my girls, even though I’m almost always behind the lens of my camera.

This is Grandaddy and Mommie and me. I’m not sure why Mommie and I are dressed up and Grandaddy is wearing a¬†sweatshirt. Maybe we girls were going somewhere just the two of us? I don’t know.
I was probably in sixth grade so that would make it 1982…maybe?
(note my awful middle part)
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I did find this one of us working a WETA telethon. (taken before we were actually on the air) I had this mad skill of sticking out my tongue just as the shutter clicked. And our hair is really terrible. This was the next year or so. My mom hated my long hair and cut it all off one afternoon under the guise of giving me a “trim”. Circa 1983?
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This one was taken in November of 2000 by Thing 1. We went to see “Grandmommy” for Thanksgiving. This photo was taken sixteen years ago this same month. I love this photo because we look happy to be together. I recently removed it from the album and put it in a frame.
Positive reinforcement of love.
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Five years ago this day, my mother’s life ended. She died the Monday before Thanksgiving. The girls and I drove down to see her body (before it was cremated) on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.
The little bit of my mother’s ashes that belong to me are in a tiny enamel heart shaped container.
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Sometimes I take it out of the blue velvet box and hold it in my hand. Sometimes I hold that heart to my own heart and imagine that we can feel each other’s love.

A small stuffed robin bird sits atop the blue velvet box. The blue velvet is on a small cedar box filled with memories. The small cedar box is on my bookshelf below my collection of journals. This is the side of the shelves that face my work tables and comfy reading chair. So I can see it whenever I want.
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In some ways, five years is the blink of an eye. In others, it’s a long, dark eternity.
I’ll always have a complicated relationship with my mother. It wasn’t sorted before she died, but that’s because of who she was. And I guess that’s OK too.
I know she loved me. I know I loved her.

Categories: loss, love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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