me

magic or illusion

I saw this post on Beau’s Instagram and it rang true in me.

How many people have you encountered that are magic?
How many people have you encountered that are just illusions of magic?
My suspicion is more of the later.

People who are just the illusion of magic are the worst! Most times they’re simply reflecting your own magic back at you. Of course you can’t see that happening because you’re being dazzled by the magic. You don’t realize you’re being dazzled by your own damn magic!
Sometimes it’s actually worse than that. Sometimes these just illusion people are actually leeching your magic.
Though, to be perfectly honest, I think that’s when you begin to realize that something is amiss. It’s not exactly as it seems. You’re experiencing the drain of your own magic therefore you’re much less dazzled than if your magic is simply being reflected back at you.

I know some people who are magic.
Chock full of magic. Magic coming off them in waves. Even if their magic isn’t turned all the way on.
You know, some of the most magical people don’t even realize the extent of their own magic.
Perhaps that’s what makes them magic?

I know some people who are just illusions of magic.
Chock full of smoke and mirrors. Bullshit coming off them in waves. Even if their bullshit isn’t turned all the way on.
These are the least magical people, and they’re so desperate to appear magical they’ll stop at nothing to keep up appearances.
Poseurs.
But skilled. These illusionists can pass themselves off as the real thing.

Can a ‘trained eye’ distinguish the difference between actual magic and the illusion of magic? I honestly don’t know the answer to that. I do know that once you’ve experienced a few illusionists, you learn to better spot real magic.

I’ve always believed there’s a bit of magic down deep in each of us.
I find myself wondering if magic or just the illusion of magic comes down to intent.
Is real magic simply happening in your daily goings on?
Is the illusion of magic is caused by manipulation of that tiny nugget of magic to elicit some sort of response?

Some people are magic, others are just the illusion of it.
Powerfully thought provoking words for me this morning.

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little surprise for me

YBW brought in the mail the other day and stood at the kitchen island opening it.
A moment later, he handed me this:

Yes, I squealed!
Yes, I clapped like a little girl!
Yes, I jumped up and down while I did it!

What a sweet surprise!
And I was surprised!
I asked him if he wanted to go with me to see them and he declined. He texted me from his office the day they went on sale asking if I wanted him to buy tickets, I declined. I didn’t want to drag him to see a band he’s only mildly interested in.
Turns out he had other plans.

I’ve adored Vampire Weekend since their debut album in 2008!
They remain in constant rotation in my music.
I’m so excited!

What a thoughtful gift from my husband.
He knows what I love and he wants me to be able to have as much of it as I can.
His kindness never ceases to amaze me.
I’m so grateful. Not just for this lovely gift, but for him simply being himself.

What a wonderful way to end the Summer!

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name that bee

I can’t make this stuff up, y’all.
This is what Thing 1 and I get up to on a summer afternoon.

I sent a message to the girls in our group chat that I passed the third course. (YAY!)
Thing 1 replied with a Wahoo!
Then sent a pic of Baby K with the caption “Baby K says Go Birdie!”

What follows is just us being us…

Thing 1 and Thing C are big Batman fans and this little Batman along with some other Batman things were gifts from Uncle Thing C for Baby K.
I sent the bee because it was so damn cute I couldn’t stand it! It was on her registry and I sent something else randomly and the bee went too. I sent it with a card that said, “Baby K, Bee a good girl! Birdie loves you!”
Thing 1 said she reached out for the bee then gave it kisses. (OMG how cute is that!?!)
Apparently today, she’s kissing Batman.
So, it’s not bee specific, it’s lovey specific..?

Here’s Baby K with the bee.

What do y’all think?
How about some name suggestions for Baby K’s bee?
I promise to give you credit!

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nine days – the countdown to Baby K


OHMYGOD!!

This little nugget of adorable will be here in NINE DAYS!
AND, she’s bringing her mommy and daddy with her!
I’m so happy, I swear I might burst!!

Birdie and Baby K back together again!
SQUEEEEEEEE!

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y’all gotta watch Fleabag

Discovered this show quite by accident. (Thanks, Prime!)

Initially I was like, WTF!?! This chick is effed-up beyond reason. But the more I watched, the more I considered that there is a bit of Fleabag in each of us. We all have secrets. We all do stupid things. We’re all gorgeously flawed in one way or another. And it helps to remember each one of us is impacted differently by grief.

I laughed till I cried. I covered my eyes in horror. I may have shown the TV the back of my middle finger when I realized there was only 6 episodes.
But then…

Andrew Scott as the priest is life!

These characters are of questionable moral fiber.
This show is raw and in your face. (I’m talking ‘C word’ raw)

I felt all the feels.
I honestly haven’t laughed this much in longer than I can remember.
Some of the best fourth wall breaks I’ve ever seen. (sorry, Deadpool)

If you’re not easily offended, get on your Amazon Prime and watch this show!
If you are easily offended, well, I’m actually quite sad for you.
Black comedy is an acquired taste.

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I’m doing it!

I’ve been completely immersed in coursework. Reading, writing, and creating (more complicated than necessary) annotated bibliographies.
I passed the first of five courses in April. I’m four-fifths of the way to passing the second course. I’m fourteen-twentieths of the way through passing the third course.
The fifth and final task for the second course is that I must write an essay about how the books I read for this course impacted my personal education philosophies.
I’m over here like:

The fifteenth through twentieth portion of the third task is the last five annotated bibliographies. I’ve got all the prep work done, just need to plug summarized information into the template.

I already have a huge portion of my thesis compiled, so writing that paper will be simpler than some. That’s the fourth task.
The final task is creating a power point presentation that summarizes the thesis paper. (Waste of time, much?)

The girls, Husband N, Baby K, and Jessica are coming the third week of July for the party to celebrate Baby K. Thing 1, Husband N, and Baby K will be here for a bit over two weeks, and we’ve already started talking about how Husband N might go home, and Thing 1 and Baby K might stay here a bit longer and I’d take them home later in August. I’m not sure how long Thing 2 will be here. Jessica will be here for five days.
We’ll have a houseful! But I’m excited!!

My plan is to finish course two and three in the next week or ten days so I’ve got nothing pressing as I get ready for them to be here, and while they’re here I can simply enjoy being together.

I’ve worked so hard the last two weeks I can hardly believe it!
I’m taking breaks enough to go to the farmers market and day drink with Holly on Thursdays. Yesterday I finally had enough and decided to brave the heat and go run errands.
Today I’m debating on how much I’ll work. But YBW is on his computer and I have no idea what Thing G is doing, so I guess I’m on my own today. I can go out in the heat and be around random folks, or I can stay put and get stuff done. Or, perhaps a bit of both? Who knows.

For the first time since I began this journey of coursework I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My term ends September thirtieth, but I plan to finish in August.
And that’s it. I’m finished with this degree plan.
I find myself wondering what I’ll do with my time once I’m not always doing coursework.
The first thing on the list is read read read. (is that actually the first three things on the list?) I’m going to tackle my TBR stack! I’m going to read for pleasure, not what’s assigned me. I’m going to sit with my stack of Southern Living magazines and devour them.

My girls are incredibly supportive of my journey. They’re quick with praise as I report my progress this term. Thing 2 has remarked on my tenacity, and that she gets hers from me. I shared with them that I’m not only doing this for myself, sticking with this commitment I made to myself even though it’s taken so much longer than anticipated. I shared that I’m doing it for them too. So they see their mom as a woman who made a commitment to herself and is working hard to keep it.

You know, since I started this degree plan, I’ve lived through a separation and divorce. My eldest graduating high school and going away to college. The sudden and unexpected deaths of both my parents. Packing up my life in South Carolina and moving it to Virginia. Two weddings, mine, and Thing 1’s. My brain injury. The death of my precious mother in law. The birth of my first grandbaby!
And those are just the big ones!
I’m not mentioning the day to day highs and lows. Simply living life, work and home and friends.
This journey started with a whole lot of hubris. I thought I had it all under control.
This journey is coming to a close with a whole lot of beautiful humility.
I’m proud of this journey! I wanted to give up so many times! But I never did. Even when I was sick. I kept on and kept on and now I’m nearing the end with joy and verve! I did the hard work that got me to this place. I will finish the hard work in the next two months.
I’m doing it!
And soon I can shout “I DID IT!!”.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

uncomfy as f**k

I’ve hit the wall as it comes to the Thing G situation.

This kid.
Oh, this kid deserves so much more than he’s giving himself.
While I was wrapped firmly in the baby bubble, he rear-ended someone and cracked the radiator in the car. He flunked one college course for the second time and pulled a C and D in the remaining two classes. This is after he dropped two classes in March and told his father and me he’d get a job in April.

We’re in the last full week of June and the kid is not employed. Not actively putting forth any effort to become employed, and won’t be returning to school because of his lack of effort.
I want to do two things simultaneously. I want to shake him till his teeth rattle to get his life together, and I want to hug him tight and fix his life.
Here’s the rub, I can do neither of these things.
First of all, I have no power when it comes to the kid. I cannot lay down rules and expect them to be followed. I cannot even wait for natural consequences to fall upon him. He is immune. In all truth, this kid has never actually experienced a consequence. And if he actually has, it’s somehow been lost on him.

Both my therapist and the therapist YBW and I see together have suggested we make life less comfortable for him. That if he experiences a new level of discomfort, he’ll have to make changes to remain comfortable.
I’ve stopped buying junk for him to eat.
He solved that problem by going out and purchasing his own junk.
I asked him what happened when the money ran out. I told him his dad wasn’t going to put anymore money in his account, that the money that was in there was because he needed to eat on campus and put gas in the car to get to campus.
He said to me, “Hopefully I’ll have a job by then.”
Kid won’t have a job if he doesn’t actively seek one.
I honestly don’t know if he understands that he won’t get paid at a job until he’s been there a couple of weeks.

YBW tells me I don’t love Thing G.
That’s infuriating!
I don’t treat the kid the way YBW treats him, therefore I do not love him?
I’m so tired of fighting to prove to my husband that I love his son.
I’m over here just trying to survive in this household.

You know, I’ve been accused of not loving this kid so many times I don’t even choose to listen to it anymore.
I do love him!
If I didn’t love him, I wouldn’t give a fuck what he did or did not do, or what happens to him. I care deeply. I see a bright, capable young man absolutely avoiding his own life. I watch him get bogged down in his own fear and anxiety to the point he simply chooses to avoid life in general. It hurts my heart. I have to believe it isn’t what he wants, however, he simply cannot get himself together.

What hurts me the most is that YBW thinks I don’t see the conflict within him. That he wants to simultaneously shake the kid till his teeth rattle, and hold him close.
I see that struggle in him. I see him want more for his son. I also see him trapped by his understanding of his commitment to raising his son.
I see him torn between knowing the kid needs to get his life together and how to facilitate that, and his sacred commitment to keep his son safe.
I observe him not making the connection that sometimes keeping a child safe is actively doing the opposite. I observe him making that connection, but being powerless to act upon it because his idea of facilitating the kid getting his life together and keeping him safe seem at complete odds.
Let me be very clear, I can only use my words to describe what I see going on with my husband. He might have different words to express it.

I was fascinated by his response to a question asked by our therapist.
She asked him to describe his parenting philosophy. She was specific he limit it to five words or less.
His response was “Take care of them.”
I was not asked to respond aloud, but I too, answered the question.
My response was “Build a them foundation.”
My eyes were opened that afternoon. And in that moment I understood my husband in a completely different way.

He’s quick to point out that I think he’s a failure as a parent.
On the contrary, one of the things I love most about him is how much of a loving father he is.
In the past, I’ve asked, “Why don’t they know how to do that?” or “Why didn’t they learn that?” What he heard was, “You didn’t teach them therefore you failed as a dad.”
I don’t think he failed as a dad. I think he is a kind and loving dad. A dad who would sacrifice by any means necessary for his kids to have the life he thinks they deserve.
He’s not failed in taking care of them. He’s elevated taking care of his sons into an art form.
The love in my husband flows in his very veins. He is a nurturer of epic proportion.
He either doesn’t see my acknowledgement of that, or he chooses to ignore it. I honestly don’t know which.

I know what he thinks I think of him. And y’all, it ain’t nice.
He is wrong.
I don’t think any of the things he thinks I think of him.
I’ve figured out I can’t really do anything about that. I can only love him and go from there.

We’re so different.
It starts at our upbringing.
I was raised by my emotionally unavailable single mother, and later, my fully devoted maternal grandfather.
Before we lived with Grandaddy, we were poor. I mean poor. I had clothes to wear to school, but never enough food in my belly. I had to be helpful around the house. I had to be helpful with my little brother. I knew how to cook and clean and half-ass parent by the time I was in second grade.
I’m not sob-story-ing it. I’m just saying that was my life. I didn’t know it wasn’t the same as other kids.

YBW was raised by a stay at home mom who did everything for her family. YBW was the 1980s embodiment of 1950s Beaver Cleaver. Hot breakfast was waiting for him every morning when he woke. Clothes were washed and pressed for him. He got called in from playing to wash his hands and come to the dinner table. His mom made his bed each day after he left for school. He was next level well cared for. I don’t know if he knew it wasn’t the same for other kids.

Our upbringing shaped our parenting philosophies.
Take care of them.
Build a them foundation.

This kind of sums up our different parenting philosophies.

image source: imgur.com

However much I am the kangaroo, bear, and monkey, I too am the bird. I knew I could only keep my girls safe and warm and comfy for so long before they would have to fly.
However much I did for them, I taught them to do for themselves. I believe they would tell you they were well cared for as quickly as they would tell you I built them a strong foundation. At least I hope they would. I do know I built them strong foundations upon which they can stand as they begin their own building upon it. And that was my parenting goal.

YBW is all kangaroo, bear, and monkey. I see him working towards the concept of the bird. I see how much it goes against his idea of how to parent. I see he is conflicted. I imagine he wants to facilitate the natural course of development in helping his bird fly without having to actually let go.
These are my words for what I see in him. I don’t actually know his truth.

What I do know is this.
I can no longer stand idly by while Thing G remains disengaged from his own life.
It hurts me deep in my soul that this kid I so love is stagnant.
I can’t unstick him. I can’t help him get himself unstuck.
Nothing I do makes a difference.
I can no longer abide being powerless.

In a conversation with YBW I shared that I’d gotten to the point where I only saw three options for how I was going to deal with my feelings regarding the Thing G situation.
The first is ignore the kid completely. If I’m not engaged I won’t suffer.
YBW asked if this is really practical.
The second is to take point and facilitate his ability to fly.
YBW said he doesn’t want me to ruin my relationship with Thing G by being the ‘bad guy’.
The third is to simply walk away.
YBW accused me of threatening him.

I did not.
The third option is absolute shit. I don’t want it to be an option at all.
I am not saying it’s me or the kid.
I’m saying I am at my wit’s fucking end with this situation. With this kid. I’m tired of being powerless to change the situation. I’m tired of being powerless in the place I live.
I am uncomfortable in this house every single day when the kid is here. I hide out, or leave the house to avoid him.
I am not comfortable enough to move about freely in the place I live.
I’m so tired of feeling like this I could scream!

The kid isn’t uncomfortable enough to change.
YBW isn’t uncomfortable enough to change.
I’m over here uncomfortable as fuck with no real power to change.

How desperate does one girl have to become to create enough change to be comfortable where she lives?

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

didja miss me?

Didja miss me?
I missed y’all!
I was silent for longer than I expected!
I was a straight creeper, reading your blogs, even commenting on some, but not writing at all.
After the sadness and grief of leaving Thing 1 and Baby K, I needed time to fit back into this house, this life.

The first week I was home, I saw girlfriends and got my hair did.
I went back for the last two days of school, mostly to say goodbye to students and staff.
We saw our last play of the season at Woolly Mammoth.
I cleared the DVR of HGTV shows that got recorded in the six weeks I was gone.
I finished the third of five books for one of my last five courses, wrote a quick essay about it, and participated in a book discussion.
YBW and I got invited by friends to go to Williamsburg for a couple of days.

I did a great deal of this:

For the most part, the weather has been beautiful! Cooler temps, lower humidity, and good breezes keep me on the porch. When it was hot and humid last week, well, we were in Williamsburg sweating our balls off. But, I was able to come back home to great porch weather and be out there with my books and iced tea.

I knew it would be hard to come home after being with my daughter’s family. And with the exception of some acute sadness and grief the first three hours in the car the day I left, I’m handling it well.
I miss them. I want to be near them.
But we talk frequently. And they’ll be here in less than thirty days!

We sent Baby K an ipad so we can facetime with them.
Yesterday when YBW came home from work, I was facetiming with Thing 1 and Baby K and he got SO excited! But here’s the thing, Baby K got so excited when she saw her Papa YBW’s face, she broke into a HUGE smile!
That girl smiled at her granddad, y’all! She knows what’s up!
She did not smile at me. She pretty much ignored me while I talked to her mom. She did however, look at me when I said, “Birdie loves you, girl.” And she attempted kisses which pretty much turned into her sticking her tongue out at me when I made kisses at her.
God I miss her!
But seeing her is such fun!

Here’s a pic just in case y’all want to see her too!

Gah! Don’t you just want to squeeze this deliciously fat baby!?!

I have a bit more course work to knock out. Two more books, five more annotated bibliographies, a hefty paper, and I’m finished.
I’m eager to tackle my TBR stack!
This summer I’m all about me on the porch with a stack of books.
Bring it.

I missed writing. Sharing my thoughts with you.
But I needed to circle the wagons a bit as I reacclimated myself into my life here.

Since Easter, everything has been all about Baby K. Well, Thing 1 and Baby K. And I’ve absolutely adored every moment of that time. But I’m beginning to realize not everyone is as hype as me. (mais pourquoi pas, je ne peux pas dire)
I’m beginning to remember that life is a bit bigger than that precious baby bubble.

My (summertime) life is farmers market Thursdays and day drinking with Holly. It’s me porchlifing my ass off. It’s books and magazines stacked up near me to pick up when I can. It’s laundry and groceries and Target runs. It’s weekends with friends, and YBW and I having ‘shoot days‘.

I’m gently stepping out of the bubble to embrace my life.
I feel a little out of practice, but I’m a quick study.
It’s easy to want to be in your life when you love it, and y’all, I do love my life!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

all in my feels

I’ve been living in the teeniest of bubbles for the past three weeks.
The bubble that exists around a brand new baby.
Being with my daughter for the birth of her daughter is a blessing. So much so that words actually fail to express my joy and gratitude.

When it comes to being helpful, I made sure not to overstep when it comes to Baby K. I’m making sure I’m not doing too much around the house.
We started out with me making sure she ate and was hydrated, I prepared her breakfast and lunch, provided her with healthy, lactation promoting snacks, and make sure she had enough water. I took a bigger responsibility in keeping the house in order. Cleaning and tidying, making sure she had access to what she needed.
In these three weeks, she has taken on more household responsibilities in addition to Baby K responsibilities. She’s finding her way in balancing running her home and menagerie, and being a mom.
I have not yet stopped doing the laundry, but we’re making plans on how to make that transition simplest for her.

I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am to spend this time with my granddaughter.
From diapers, burping, and baths, to books, songs, and snuggles, I am making the most of my time with her.
This sacred time will be lost on her, but I am making memories and storing them up.
As many times a day as I can manage, I say, “Birdie loves you, girl.”
My hope is that when Baby K hears those words over the rest of our lives, that it triggers something down deep in her, and she remembers this time in some sort of way.

I am actively in my feels.
I am beginning to prepare myself emotionally for my departure.
I consider sleeping through the night in my own bed, and the simple pleasure of being in the same physical space as YBW. Seeing my friends, and farmer’s market mornings. Really just living my regular life.
In returning to my regular life, I won’t spend every day with Thing 1 and Baby K. I won’t be comfortably enclosed in that precious little bubble. I won’t get to clean up mad blow-out diapies, or sing the lollipop guild song while I ‘dance’ Baby K’s legs around. I won’t be seeing her eyes roll back in her head when she gets sleepy, but won’t give in. I won’t get to hold her close and smell her sweet baby smell.
I won’t be able to spend time with my daughter, listening to her thoughts. We won’t laugh together, or finish each other’s sentences. I won’t get to watch her basking in the joy of her daughter, or experience that moment of joy when she shares her with me.

These thoughts weigh heavy on me. I need to acknowledge and attempt to accept them to ease the reality of parting, but not so much I’m missing out on the joy of being here.
I mean, how could I feel anything but joy looking at this darling little face!?!

I absolutely understand how blessed I am to be here with my daughter and granddaughter. To spend this sacred time with them. I’m grateful for the support of my precious husband in making this possible.
I am chock full of love.
I am chock full of joy.
I am chock full of gratitude.
My cup truly runneth over.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

wrapped up in love

Today is my birthday and mother’s day!

I received cards from the girls.

Thing 2 wrote hers and left it here for me when she went back home 10 days or so ago.

Thing 1 and Husband N gave this to me last night when we all went to dinner to celebrate three mothers.

Today is the forty-eighth anniversary of my birth.
I am humbled and blessed to be celebrated by the people who love me.

Today is the twenty-fifth time I’ve celebrated mother’s day.
I am truly, madly, deeply blessed to have these girls as my daughters.

My very first baby is now a mother!
I have such joy being here to celebrate that with her.

So far, my morning has involved a diaper change, a bottle, and a lovely snuggle with my precious granddaughter.

She’s decided to go back to sleep, so I’m taking a moment to share my joy with y’all while everyone here is still abed.

YBW brought my favorite bubbly when he came. He asked me last night if there was OJ in the fridge here. That means mimosas when everybody wakes up!
In the meantime, I’m enjoying this quiet morning with my cold, fizzy, caffeinated beverage and chatting with Thing 2.

Even though everyone here is sleeping, and my baby daughter is four hours away, I feel all wrapped up in love this morning!

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