Posts Tagged With: Rick Bragg

the snowy weekend

I saw the first snowflakes begin to fall at 12:30 Friday and finally stop at 10:00 last night.
We shoveled a solid 5″ Friday after dinner. It was already dark out and there was almost an inch of snow on the driveway and sidewalks when we finished. The wind was bitter but that didn’t stop me from grabbing the camera!
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I measured 16″ on the back porch at 8:30 Saturday morning.
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We have the most wonderful neighbor with a snowblower who came and did the driveway and sidewalk to the porch. Made our lives so much easier! We dug out Thing C’s car and shoveled again late in the afternoon.
When we went out this morning we had to dig out the end of our driveway from where the plow came. The snow was almost up to my waist! As soon as we opened a space our neighbor was back to get the last of the snow. Last time it snowed, I made him a giant chicken pot pie. We haven’t yet decided how we’re going to thank him for this huge snow.

Even after all this time, I’m always surprised at how useless Thing G is at anything that requires effort. I was so frustrated at the snow shoveling situation. I got one half of the driveway clear while Thing G wandered aimlessly with a snow shovel in his hands complaining about how cold it was. Thing C, God love that kid. He works hard and never ever complains. He shoveled and shoveled and never once gave up. He did the sidewalk and porch and sidewalk in front of our house all by himself.

I’m fortunate enough to have been brought up by people who made sure I knew how to do practical things. From cars to home repair, to planning and executing most anything “handy”. I can do simple electrical and plumbing work. I know how to hang drywall. I paint like a boss! I can change the oil and tires on a car. I even know how to hotwire a car. (Why my police officer father thought I’d need to know that is curious to me.)
I’m a capable kind of girl.
The former husband used to say that I was “more of a ‘man’ than most men we know”. He meant it as a complement, and he was right.
Being a capable kind of girl is handy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m not afraid of hard work. I’m not afraid of breaking a sweat or getting dirty. I jump in and get the job done. And I’m an excellent planner. So, when I’m working with less capable people, I get frustrated. I try so hard not to, but I just do.
I don’t understand how someone as smart and capable as YBW chooses not to be handy. I think it was the way he was brought up, apparently his dad kind of jerry-rigged most things and was a bit of a shouter. So he didn’t actually learn how to do these practical things properly. I believe that soured him. He’s not incapable, it’s more like he has no real interest in knowing how to do some of those “handy” things.
I know he likes the creature comforts. He’s not unwilling to try to do these handy things.

I’m sad that none of these boys really has any “sense of adventure”. Nobody wanted to walk in the snow to see what was going on in our neighborhood. Nobody wants to go out and “play”. They’re content to sit in front of computers and televisions. It makes me sad. I want to go out and take some photos. I want to do some back flops off the railing into the snow on the back porch. Nobody wants to play in the snow with me.
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Yesterday after a delicious midday meal of chili and cornbread, (Yummy!) we all went our separate ways in the house. Some of us had worked really hard and deserved a break.

I got Rick Bragg’s new book of essays for Christmas.
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I ran a bath and went with Mr Bragg on a lovely southern journey. Honestly, that bath was the most delicious hot soak I’ve had in ages! I was warm through and through for the first time in two days. It was quiet and peaceful and I read a book I’ve been excited about since it was published in September.
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When the snow stopped at 10:00 last night, I took my last measurement.
Exactly 24″.
Two feet of snow fell in thirty four hours.
How cool is that!?!
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I guess I can be as excited as a little girl about the snow but accept that I’ll be disappointed at the way the snow day goes. I guess I’m remembering snow days from when I was little and when my girls were little. When we worked and played together outside, then came in for hot chocolate and played more together inside. The world isn’t like that anymore. This new family I find myself in isn’t like that. That’s not how they roll.
That’s OK, because I just got a text from my neighbor up the street inviting me to come play with her, her five year old daughter and two year old son!
I’m going to play in the snow. Y’all have a great day!

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

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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