Posts Tagged With: pride

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

best of both worlds

Dear all men, everywhere,

Sometimes women say things with great thought but not necessarily with great feeling. You see, we think we know what we want. We think we know who we are. We think these things because it’s what we’re taught, or society steers us in that direction.
Most of us are educated and capable human beings. But we think things should be a certain way. In fact, we’re so busy thinking that we sometimes forget to feel.
(Bet y’all thought it was the other way ’round, didn’t you?)

We do forget to feel. To let how we feel help guide us.

I realized recently that I’ve been guided by thinking.
I maintain that I’m strong and independent in my own right. I’m the queen of my queendom. There is no king because if there’s a king, the queen has no power. Therefore, I rule with my prince-consort, but I rule.
I’ve spent my entire adult life thinking this.
I’ve been so hellbent on being free that I will take on everything.

As far as I was concerned they are two sides of a coin: be your own queen, or be some man’s princess.
Well, up on my soapbox I’d go as fast as I possibly could. I’d shout about Girl Power! and equality, and the like. The responsibilities modern women have and the debt we owe the women who came before us.

But I’m beginning to feel as though it is a hard, and sometimes lonely, way to be.
I can’t always rule the world, after all, I am just one girl, and sometimes I just want to lay my head in someone’s lap and have them pet my hair. I want to be petted and spoiled. Treated like a princess.

It’s not all or nothing. It’s not two sides of one coin. At least it doesn’t have to be. Why has it taken me forty five years to understand it is actually safe, and even healthy to be both?

So, to every man I told ‘I’m the queen but you’re not my king.’ Well, actually I meant it and I’m better off for it…none of you were right for that job.

But, I have this theory.
(And this is where the ladies should also pay attention.)

The right man is willing to accept you as his queen, but still treats you like a princess. That’s when you get the best of both worlds. So, don’t think you should thumb your nose at it. Don’t be prideful. Accept it and see how lovely life might begin to feel.

My friend and mentor and her beloved were like this. She was his queen and he worshiped her. But he also treated her like a princess and “spoiled” her with love. It was truly something to behold.
I know one other couple that is close to this, and as time goes on, they’ll achieve this perfect balance. My friend Nora and her husband Dale. They are on their way to mastering this way of being.

Can I be both warrior queen and fairy princess?
I guess we’ll find out.

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

imagination spools

Two of my little students came to me this morning: Miss Robynbird! Come see what we built! Hurry! You have to see!
(Kinda hard to say no to that!)
Two little blonde heads bouncing with excitement as we walk to the back of the classroom together. And then I see what they built!

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Tell me about it. I say to them.
He says: J and I built it together!
She says: We used all the spools.
I see that. Can you tell me more about it?
She says: They’re all in a line.
He hugs me with joy: We did it!


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I know nothing of their intent.
I don’t know what they think it was.
All I know is that they did it together and their pride was BIG!

You know, when it comes right down to it, I don’t really need to know any more than that.

Categories: education | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

What “should” it be?

I’m going to have to swear off social media for a few days.
I keep seeing my friends with children the same age as Thing 2, children the same age as Thing 2 I’m “friends” with posting about graduation and it’s breaking my heart.
I’m excited and proud for my friends who share their pride and joy about this important milestone. I’m excited for these kids who count down the moments until they’re “free”. (Just stay in high school a bit longer, y’all, the real world can sometimes suck balls.)

I should be doing the same kind of sharing. I should be expressing my pride and joy that Thing 2 is graduating from high school. She should be sharing this roller coaster ride that her peers are on.
Should.
Should is a real bitch of a word. It’s mean and hateful.

I trusted Thing 2 enough to make the choice to get her high school equivalent. She trusted that choice. She appears to have no regrets. I trust that, too.

Graduation isn’t for the graduate.
Graduation is for the parents.

Graduation is for this particular Mommy.

The day Thing 1 graduated was of profound importance to me. I have never been more moved in my adult life as I was that day. To watch my baby take that ceremonial walk was more powerful than I can put into words.
Since that day, I’ve waited to experience similar feelings for Thing 2. My disappointment is bigger than I realized.
I’m not disappointed in her.
I’m disappointed to miss out on that moment with and for her, those feelings about her.

I believe witnessing your child’s graduation is a rite of passage for a parent in way a child can never understand the importance of. A sense of closure as well as a new beginning.
I’m wondering how I’ll experience that with Thing 2. What will that look like? Because it won’t look like a blue cap and gown at Colonial Life Arena in a few days time.

Perhaps it will surprise me when I least expect it.
But that frightens me! If it happens when I least expect it, how will I know the weight and magnitude? How will I know it if I’m not expecting it?
What does a rite of passage look like if it’s unexpected?

I can’t answer these questions.
I can only love my girl like I always have. I’m going to keep trusting her choices. I’m going to trust that we’ll experience our own particular rite of passage and it will fill me with equal amounts of awe and pride and never-ending unconditional love.

I celebrate with my friends in theory…somewhere in my deep in heart. I just can’t do it with photos and memories and hashtags and the like. It’s too painful.
Is that selfish? Or petty? Or simple self-preservation?
Dunno. Don’t care.
Just know I can’t look at other people’s babies in caps and gowns right now.

Thing 2 sometimes reads my words…so these are specifically for her:
You’re savvy enough to know this isn’t about you so I hope it isn’t hurtful for you to read. Your choices are yours to make. I support your right to make choices. I have faith in your ability to make mostly good ones. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and I love you more than the moon and the stars.

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

Say it proud!

Rick Bragg writes a column for Southern Living Magazine titled “Southern Journal”. This journal entry for May is called “Donkey Business (How I went from a proud rancher of bulls to a jackass man)”.
Mr Bragg writes about feeling a bit ashamed about being a writer. He writes that he feels other southern men judge him for not having a more manly profession. In the column, he explains how his family’s property had Hereford cattle until one day his mother asked to sell them off because she’d been chased by one of the bulls.
Like most good southern children, boys especially, he wasn’t about to disobey his Mama and the cattle were no more.
Which resulted in him no longer being able to tell folks he “raised bulls”.
Apparently, his Mama then decided the land looked lonely and wanted miniature donkeys…wackiness ensues.
And now when Mr Bragg is asked by some “real man” what he does, he tells him he’s a writer because he surely doesn’t want folks to know they are mini donkey on his family’s land.
(P.S. Mr Bragg, you are a beautiful writer, shout it out with pride!)

This struck my funny bone. The humor and telling of the story.
It struck my heart too.
Once upon a time, I was a very young stay at home mom…not college educated…”just” a mom. These years were the happiest years of my life, which I would trade for absolutely nothing and sometimes wish I could revisit. But I remember being in groups of people and when it came time to share what I “did” I would say: I’m a stay at home mom.
I wouldn’t feel prideful when I said it, I would feel less than.
I knew it was the most important job I would ever have. I knew I wanted to raise my own children. I knew I wanted to be the person they could trust most in this world to keep them safe.
But at that time I assumed the “rest of the world” with their fancy degrees and their office jobs would just look down their noses at me.

I remember the first time someone looked at me with awe when I told them what I did. Clearly the “rest of the world” understood the dedication and love and work that went into being someone’s (Two someones.) mommy all the live long day.
I saw respect in that face. The respect I had earned through my hard work at this labor of love. The respect I deserved.
It took me a while to understand how to reconcile the way it felt. It seemed to me that I might be viewed by the “rest of the world” as someone of no importance because my worth wasn’t in my job like most of the people I knew.
Only it wasn’t my worth that was in my job. I had the most important (and lifelong!) job in the history of all jobs. My job was to help, create a foundation for the girls to build their lives upon. My worth was irrelevant in my job. My job was to start them on the paths to their own worth.

It wasn’t much longer I didn’t hesitate to say I was a mommy. When I tell people now that I was a stay at home mom for fifteen years, I say it with pride and joy. I say it as though nothing I’ve done (as “work”) before or since matters a fraction as much.

I’m forty four years old. It took me a long time to stop comparing myself to the “rest of the world” probably longer than it should have…but that’s a story for another day.
I am me. The me I am because of the live I’ve lived. The choices I’ve made. Being a mom made me stronger than I might have been otherwise.

Sure, they might be miniature donkeys instead of Hereford cattle…but they’re my mini donkeys. And I’m their Mommy.

Categories: me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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