Posts Tagged With: love

I DID IT!!

I did it!

My paper passed with flying colors on Tuesday afternoon! Shortly thereafter, I submitted my final project.
I finally stopped checking to see if it passed yesterday when I received that text from my adviser!

My first term started April 2009.
My last term started April 2019.
It took me ten years to finish this degree plan.
Ten of the roughest, yet most wonderful years of my life.

I couldn’t have done it without the love and support of my family!
Thing 1 and Thing 2 were my cheerleaders. Supportive when I was down and didn’t think I’d ever finish, celebrating when I was successful. This last term, they were almost as invested in these courses as I was.
As much as I did it for myself, I did it for them.

When I shared the news with Thing 1, her pride and joy were reflected in her voice. That did my momma heart good! My girl is proud of me! I’m so grateful for that!

I didn’t get to talk with Thing 2, but she texted me:

YBW was on his way home from work when I called him.
“Hi baby!” he said.
“I DID IT!”
His pride and joy were enormous!
How did I want to celebrate?
I said, “I just want to hug you!”

To be perfectly honest, I expected to feel relieved to no longer have the albatross ’round my neck.
I was in no way prepared to experience the range and intensity of my feels!
I had no idea how aware I would feel of the years of hard work.
I didn’t realize how proud I would feel.
I was (and remain) unbelievably aware of my gratitude.

I did it!
But I didn’t do it by myself, y’all.
My precious husband has loved and supported me through this process.
His gentle encouragement. His assistance to help me through the dreaded math courses.
His kindness when I wanted to give up, but couldn’t let myself.
I could never have done this without him.
He loved and encouraged me. Cheered my successes. Asked the difficult questions when I needed to hear them.

He was the first one to use the phrase ‘college graduate’.
All the feels!

I knew I couldn’t decide on a place to celebrate with dinner, so I chose to celebrate with cocktails!

Just YBW and me, quietly toasting the pay off of my hard work.

I am chock full of love and gratitude.
My cup truly runneth over!

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summer gratitude

As we move into fall, I’m thinking about everything that filled my heart with joy this summer, and y’all, that list is long!
I have so much to be grateful for!

June:
sleeping in my own bed for the first time in six weeks
seeing Amber for the first time since March
date day with Mike and Josie
Describe the Night at the Woolly Mammoth (last play of the season)
impromptu trip to Williamsburg with Mike and Josie
two of my three alternative health care providers
dinner with Nora and Dale

July:
porchlife

all three of my alternative health care providers
dinner with Meredith and Beau’s family
celebrating Nora’s birthday (she and Thing 2 are birthday twins)
Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, and Baby K here!
pedis with my girls
Spending the day with Thing C and Girlfriend L
drinking bubbly with my girls
Bubbly & Baby party to celebrate Baby K being in our world
2 Silos with YBW, Thing 1, Thing 2, Husband N, Baby K, and Jessica
stopping cocktails on the way to the airport with Thing 2

August:
Thing 2 and Baby K here for two more weeks
model home tours
porchlife

going away party to celebrate Mike and Josie’s college bound daughter
all three alternative health care providers
Good Eats: The Return
drinking beer, cracking crab legs and peeling shrimp at Blue Ridge

the never ending road trip with Thing 1 and Baby K
seeing Thing 2 and Boyfriend J during a pit stop in Columbia
spending the second day back to school day drinking with Holly
shoot day with YBW
discovering Natty Boh with YBW
Vampire Weekend
YBW’s bestie from high school here with his fam
Nat’s game (Tony hit two dingers!)
finishing my paper

September looks like it’s starting out slow, but that’s fine by me, I’m learning to take it easy. I’m learning the journey is where it’s at. (Though, to be perfectly honest, I’m all about ‘getting there’.)
I’ve already got some stuff on the calendar for next week, but I’m curious to see what pops up.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with YBW as we move into Autumn.
Ready to make new so many new reasons to be grateful!

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collecting my reflections

In the last month I’ve had a house full of daughters, a son-in-law, and one sweet baby.
Organized and hosted the most wonderful party to celebrate Baby K.

welcome to the Bubbly & Baby to celebrate Baby K

Who’s that baby?
a guessing game

yummies and goodies

a monogrammed cake was one of my ‘must haves’

*all photos credited to Thing 2 and used with permission*

I spent precious time with my girls.
We shopped. Visited with friends. Attended a party to celebrate a friend’s daughter going away to college.

Yesterday, I made the long journey home from GA where I left Thing 1 and Baby K at home. (Husband N was here for two weeks and returned home empty handed, while Thing 1 and Baby K stayed here with us for another two weeks.)

Now here I am, daughter-less and baby-less, which I don’t love in the least.
But, the truth of the matter is I’m content to be me.

I didn’t write in my journal or for this blog in all that time.
I was so busy living in the moment, I didn’t take the time for reflections.
My reflections are shooting out all over the place and I’m racing to collect them.
I need a bit of time with my journal for sure.

I’ve finished the first half of my thesis paper. I’m meeting with the course adviser this afternoon to create a plan to proceed with the second half. My plan is to submit the finished paper by the end of the month. I’ll be OK if it comes back for revision because my term doesn’t end until September 30th. That gives me another whole month to make sure all I’ve dotted all the i(s) and crossed all the t(s). And then I’m finished.

I’m a bit overwhelmed even thinking about all the time that will free up.
How will I spend it?
I don’t want to waste any more time.
I mean, I’ll waste some time, cause I like to watch the TV occasionally, you know?
I want to use my time successfully.
For the betterment of me.
For my own personal pleasure.

I’ll get about that soon enough, right now I’m going to take a moment to miss little nugget of deliciousness.

OK, baby fix, check.
Time to move on to collecting my reflections and planning how to spend my time.
I’ve got this!

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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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sweet birthday baby

Today I’m celebrating twenty-two years of Thing 2!
Even though she’s all grown up, she’s still my sweet baby.
Y’all, she’s only sweet a portion of the time, and she’s not at all a baby. But she is mine, and I love her more than the moon and the stars!

Thing 2 is doing the hard work of figuring out how to be an adult in this world. And however much she feels like she’s getting her ass handed to her, she’s actually making more progress than she realizes.
She’s one of those stubborn sort of girls, the ones who sometimes can’t seem to get out of their own way. (I wonder where she gets that…?) She is sometimes crippled by her own inability to make and trust a decision. She sometimes feels overwhelmed and defeated. But she’s tenacious. She keeps at it. She’s doing the day to day and eventually that will make a dent in the large and looming future.
I worry for her.
But I have faith in her.
She can do it! This thing called life.
She can do it because she’s chock full of muchness.

It seems strange to think of her as my sweet little baby, she hasn’t been that for so long. She’s her, you know? She’s a girl doing her best to live her life. She’s the daughter to two people who haven’t made her life terribly easy. She’s a sister. She’s a friend. She’s a lover. Now she’s an auntie!
In addition to her being all those things, she’s simply herself. I sometimes wonder if she feels like being herself is enough.
I believe it is. I hope she does too!

I won’t be able to smother her with hugs and kisses today, but I will twelve days from now when I collect her at the airport!
The idea of celebrating her in person brings me such joy!

Here’s a photo I absolutely adore.
Thing 2 deep in thought where the sea kisses the shore.
Can you see her muchness?

circa 2003 on the pier at Folly

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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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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: , , , , , , , , , | 5 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

you got this

I got a call from Thing 1 this morning. She was on the way to the doctor. She asked my opinion regarding birth control. I haven’t concerned myself with birth control since my hysterectomy in 2004, so I didn’t feel as though I was going to be much help to her.
She is worried about how getting pregnant will impact her heart health and wants to make sure that doesn’t happen again any time soon.
She’s concerned about hormonal birth control, how it will affect her depression.
I’m concerned about how hormonal birth control will affect her milk production.
She asked what I thought about an IUD. I told her I know that my mom had one fifty years ago and loved it. I know friends who have them now and love them.

Part of me feels like I’m letting her down because I don’t have my finger on the pulse of this information.
I’m a forty-eight year old (menopausal) woman with no uterus. How could I possibly advise a twenty-five year old about safe and effective birth control?
I did tell her that if I was in her place, I would choose an IUD.
Why? My gut just knew.

I don’t know that she wanted well thought out, highly informed opinions or advice. I suspect she just wanted to touch base with her momma while she was considering her choices. Sometimes, you just want to talk to your mom. Sometimes talking to your mom brings you the comfort you crave, even when you’re not exactly sure you need it.

I’m so thankful I don’t have to worry about my reproductive health in the current climate.
I am concerned about the reproductive health of my daughters, and even my granddaughter.
Will they have access to everything they need?
I’m talking about proper medical care, appropriate testing, the ability to receive and fill necessary prescriptions.

I’m hopeful that whatever type of birth control Thing 1 chooses, she has appropriate access to it. That it works to keep her healthy while it helps ensure she doesn’t get pregnant. Not getting pregnant will keep her heart safer. Not getting pregnant will keep her heart healthier.
I want my girl to have a strong and healthy heart. I want Baby K to have a strong and healthy mommy.
I’m not sure what choice she will make, but I do know that I support her in her decision to maintain her health to the best of her ability.

Even if I didn’t have good advice for her this morning, I hope that our quick conversation gave her what she needed.
Sometimes all it takes is hearing your mom’s voice to know you can handle whatever is coming at you.
I see her building a life and family upon the foundation I built for her and I know she’s got this.
Perhaps she just needed to be reminded.

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

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