Posts Tagged With: Thing 2

it’s cool boy, real cool

Thing 2’s mix Cool Boy, Real Cool arrived Monday. I’ve been listening to it nonstop.

I’m amazed at how autobiographical it truly is. I can hear her in every single song. And even though there are definite moments of “f**k you for that”, there is also a great deal of hope.
I find my daughter’s method of self expression fascinating.

I’m currently obsessed with this song.
Here’s Bukowski by Modest Mouse.
Please listen responsibly.

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

squirrel study

Outside the window in our back living room there is a tree. This tree is an extremely popular hang out for squirrels.
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Now I know most people don’t like squirrels. Honestly, that makes me kind of sad because I just love squirrels. They’re kind of adorable and they do the funniest things!

I love to watch them in this tree, sometimes there is more than one. They chase and play and race up and down and over the branches. On this particular day there was only one, and mostly he (she?) was having a bath.
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Once he was clean, he began to consider how he might explore his environment.
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I love how his little hand is holding onto that teeny branch.

Then it got interesting when he did a series of somersault-like things around the branch.
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He did it a couple of times in a row before he went back to bathing.
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What a funny little guy!

When Thing 1 and Thing 2 were little girls, we had a squirrel that loved to hang out on our back porch out by the pool. They realized their father put treats out for the squirrel so they named him “Little Buddy” because he was Daddy’s little squirrel buddy. Soon, Little Buddy began to bring around a friend. They named him “Fatso” because he was a really big squirrel. When we moved to SC, Thing 2 was rather serious about bringing Little Buddy and Fatso with us. She was concerned the new people who were going to live in our house might not take good care of them and they would be sad and miss us. She also pronounced the word squirtle instead of squirrel. I still say squirtle when I see or talk about squirrels.

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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.

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

Wait a minute! I’m a grown up?

I believe I’ve remarked before about how I sometimes don’t feel like a real adult…it could be that I haven’t written about it, but I know I’ve talked about it in day to day life.
Sure, I did do grown up things. Sure I had adult responsibilities, but I never really felt like a grown up. Not exactly “fake it till you make it”, more like “feelings follow actions”. So I acted like a grown up to the best of my ability.

The first time I officially felt like an adult was when Thing 2 was moved to the NICU. Sure I was already a mom, but I was a young mom and I was still growing up while I was being Thing 1’s mom.
The second time I felt like a proper adult was when I took my suicidal first born to the hospital. Leaving her there in on the adolescent mental health floor of the hospital was the hardest thing I’d ever done.

So far, both times I’ve considered myself a real adult involved leaving my babies in a hospital and going home without them.
Other things happen in life that make you feel like a real adult. Finding your first “real” full time job. Divorce comes to mind.
When my mother died, I didn’t have that feeling of being an adult. I think it was because I was experiencing shock and disbelief. I’ve since wondered if it’s because I was never treated like a grown up in my relationship with her.
The day my father died, I never felt more like a child but I’d never behaved more like an adult. Isn’t it curious how that works?

You know you’re an adult when people you know, respect, and love need important things from you. Help with children, support after a death in the family. A strong sounding board for the tough questions.
I was an adult when I stood in church surrounded by all the people I love most and pledged my life to YBW.
I was a grown up for my friend and mentor when her beloved died. And that realization just hit me.
Today, I did a real adult kind of thing when I had to write a recommendation letter for my friend in Arizona’s application to graduate school.

So it’s occurring to me the more I write this post that I really must be an adult.
It feels normal and natural, like the most comfortable article of clothing I own.
But I don’t always want to wear that, you know? Sometimes I want to wear impractical clothing…oftentimes in the form of shoes.
It feels like I’m still figuring out how to be a proper adult. It also feels like I’m still figuring out how to be me as an adult.
But the jokes on me, right?
I’m an adult.
And I don’t suck at it.
I guess I never realized that.
Perhaps I didn’t want to?
I’m not sure how I feel about this. And I guess that’s OK too. I can wear my grown up clothes, but put on my impractical non-adult shoes every now and then when I need to.

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happy birthday to Thing 2

Today is Thing 2’s nineteenth birthday!
My sweet angel baby has been in the world for nineteen years.
She is a miracle. She almost died twice before she was eight weeks old. She’s a fighter. A survivor.
I went into the NICU to see her before she was even twelve hours old. I reached to touch her little hand and she grabbed my finger so tightly. In that moment my whole life changed. I fell in love in an entirely new way. In that moment I knew she was going to be fine. She was so strong, that tiny little girl.
She is my gift from God.
She is light and love and deep dark feelings. She of the waspish tongue and deliciously dry wit. She is hopes and dreams even though she’s forgotten how to hope and dream.
I love her more than the moon and the stars.

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Gah! It IS the rabbit!

I completely replanted the beds in front of our house. Had everything ripped out and started new. Lots of new shrubbery, and I’m simply waiting for it to fill in.
But a curious thing keeps happening. My butterfly bushes keep losing their leaves. There’s no real rhyme nor reason to it, some days there are leaves and blossoms too. Later that same day they’re gone.

Something is eating my butterfly bushes.
A family of bunnies lives in our woods, but Thing C saw a deer walking through our yard into the woods early one morning so I thought we’d found the culprit.

Thing 2 and I were texting about this phenomenon while she was on the train up here two weeks ago. It started because I told her I was going outside to spread mulch before the sun moved round to the front of the house.
I reported the news I was back in the house.

Thing 2: What shade of mulch did you scatter?

Me: Black. Like your soul.

Thing 2: Hehehe!! I thought it and you beat me to it!

Me: I redid the front beds. Everything is growing in nicely. But some f**king deer is eating the leaves of my butterfly bushes. YBW asked me if I wanted him to shoot the deer. Hahahaha

Thing 2: What a good husband you have! So caring, so loving. So willing to spill blood for your beloved leaves. That’s real love right there, get the guys who write legends over here, stat!

Me: Might be Little D’s bunny family instead of a deer, but Thing C saw a deer walking through the yard so that made me thing deer.

Thing 2: Nope. No way it’s the bunnies. Impossible. Crazy talk. Gotta be the deer, you gotta kill ’em. Front yard ain’t big enough for any leaf eating Bambis, ya hear??

That was two weeks ago tomorrow.
In that time, there was a gorgeous pink blossom just beginning to show it’s color.

Thing 2 left here this morning right before the guys came to paint the exterior of the house.
I walked around with the foreman going over the contract. As we came around from the back of the house one of the bunnies was hopping across the yard from the driveway into the woods.
When I rounded the corner there were no leaves on the butterfly bushes. No blossoms. Just green sticks poking out through the mulch.

When I came back inside I sent this text to both Thing 2 and YBW: GAH!!!!!!!! It IS the rabbit!!!! There were leaves on the bushes when (Thing 2) left but I walked around the house with the painting guy and the bunny was going from the garage door area to the woods and THERE WERE NO LEAVES ON THE BUSHES!!!!!

Thing 2: What a little f**ker!!!

Me: I KNOW! I’m so pissed!! Cute and fuzzy little bastard!!! Ate the f**king blooming flower too!! Dick.

YBW: Oh yeah!! I saw the little f**ker run away this when I went out this morning.

Me: That rabbit is a dick.

YBW: Bunny stew?

So apparently YBW is all about getting rid of my pests, first the deer (who, it turns out, didn’t deserve it) and now the rabbits.
Where are those legend writing guys anyway?

We’re such foulmouthed human beings, but I don’t care. That rabbit is an asshole. The whole damn rabbit family is a bunch of assholes.

I’m trying to do a good thing here, planting things to attract pollinators. And those damn rabbits are thwarting me at every turn.
I’m about to research to find out how to discourage the dick rabbit from eating my plants.
Never a dull moment. It’s always an adventure.

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

mother’s day

I struggle with Mother’s Day.
My birthday is always the week of Mother’s Day. Sometimes even falls on that particular Sunday. I don’t remember it bothering me until I became a mom. First one precious little girl and later, two precious little girls called me their mommy. They were SO focused and excited about Mother’s Day that my birthday often fell by the wayside.
When they got old enough to understand, I explained how much I loved their beautiful appreciation of me. I explained that I was their mommy every day. That it was the most special thing EVERY DAY. But that my birthday was only one day and it was special. It took a bit for them to get it, but they knew how important I made their birthdays and they began to come around. So while Mother’s Day remained special, “birthday birthday” became the focus that second week of May.

Mother’s Day is painful for me because I don’t have my mom anymore. However complicated our relationship was, she was my mother and I loved her.
I took Thing C and Thing G to get cards for their mom. I went with YBW to get a card for his mom. I spent the day with YBW and his mom.
It was agony.
I no longer have a mom. It hurts more than I can even communicate.
Thing 1 called to tell me Happy Mother’s Day. She thanked me for being her mom. She talked about the life she’s building. She talked about going back to school. She told me she sent a little gift, but it was going to be late. She told me how much she loved me.
My heart sang with joy!
Thing 2 did nothing. (I don’t know if she was being purposefully hurtful or not…I honestly don’t think it matters. It was hurtful enough.) People that I did not actually give birth to called and texted to wish me Happy Mother’s Day. I’m just sayin’.

When my girls were little and I was teaching preschool, I was blessed to be surrounded by some of the most truly awe inspiring women I’ve ever known.
We were a family. If something happened to one of us, joy or sorrow, it happened to all of us. These women helped me realize who I could be. They let me help them see things from my unique and sometimes brash perspective. (I may or may not have publicly accused the director of being on crack at a faculty meeting…in my defense, it opened a new way of talking about a serious topic.)

When I started this blog I promised my family and friends anonymity. That’s why I never use anyone’s real name…apart from my own. My girls and Sundance have expressed their ambivalence regarding this promise. I keep it because YBW is especially protective of his identity, and the identity of his sons. I respect that. Nobody “signed up” to be part of my public words regarding my private life. I want to keep those who need to feel safe feeling safe.
That said, I’m going to use the names of the women from that perfect moment in time when we lived and loved and worked in the safest and most creative environment.

It kind of started this way:
On Sunday, Nicole posted in our private group chat:
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!! I would not have survived young motherhood without you all!!

I was thinking something along those lines when I was washing my hair that morning. I was thinking about some of the women that influenced my life. What I learned from each of them and how I incorporated that into my parenting style, and into my own personal development.

I learned from my mom that always having to be in control will wear you the eff out. That it breaks you and makes you miserable. My mom taught me the value of creativity and expressing opinions because she squashed those out of us as children. She taught me that love is conditional, you must be exactly what someone wants or they can’t love you.
She taught me that you just have to keep fighting for what you believe in. She taught me what true sacrifice looks like. She taught me that a color book and box of crayons eases heartache. She taught me that birthdays are the most important celebration, because the day you came into the world is sacred. She taught me to love books. She taught me Elvis is the King. She taught me that being redhaird is the most precious gift, and that only a few of us ever have the luxury to receive it.
Some of the things she taught me made me a better mom because I did the exact opposite of what she did. Love is unconditional. Creativity and expressing yourself are the most important life stills to possess.
Some of what she taught me formed my most basic ideology. Birthdays are sacred. New crayons are priceless. Books are uniquely portable magic.

Nicole taught me that organized chaos is a great way to raise children. She taught me that love is fierce. She showed me how to see things through the eyes of a child. She taught me the value of true and long lasting friendship.

Jessica taught me that I was more capable than I ever realized. She taught me to listen differently so I could truly hear. She taught me to ask the most important question: What’s best for children? She taught me the value of my own mothering. She taught me when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. She helped me believe in myself at the lowest point in my life. She showed me the fire in my belly still had embers to nurture. She loved me when I couldn’t love myself.

Becca encouraged me to trust my gut, because she never seemed to be able to do that for herself. She taught me to appreciate every contribution. She brought out even more nurturing in me, she needed and still occasionally needs to be taught self-love. She taught me how innocent kindness can change lives. She taught me that my tough as nails hide could benefit from softening up a bit.

Terri taught me to see my firstborn in a new and different light. She provided much comfort and support when I was struggling with learning how to mom a three year old and a new and extremely sick baby. She was an example of love and tenacity through her own terrible illness. She taught me how to approach the enigma that is the three year old with the perfect mix of fear and appreciation.

Nancy taught me that I must embrace and celebrate my gifts. She is the first person who said out loud that I am a writer. That moment caused a change in my life that I will be forever grateful for. She supported me with love and hope when I didn’t know who or what I really was. She taught me that life is so much more than simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Marianne taught me that letting go is so much better than holding on too tightly. She taught me the importance of repetition. She helped me realize that a classroom was one of the most loving environments in the world.

Cory taught me that I matter. She helped me understand how to be a mom and a real person too. She accepted me for who I am. She guided my learning of that most important skill. I’m not great at it, but I am working at it every single day…even all these years later.

Julia encouraged me to take risks. She helped me realize that fear is a part of life, but if I didn’t try new things I might miss out on something extraordinary. She taught me a new kind of patience.

Sara gave me the courage to breathe when I needed to take a step back. She showed me the importance of kindness when Thing 2 and I experienced serious separation anxiety.

Like Nicole, I would never have gotten through young motherhood without these women. The gifts they gave me have gotten me through the last twenty two years.
It takes a village to raise children.
It takes a village to raise parents too.

I’m so blessed to know and love these women. I would not be the woman I am without experiencing their love and support.
I saw Becca this weekend, we talked about how those years were a sacred moment in time. We will never be able to recreate that, but we’re lucky enough to forever be better mothers and better women because of it.

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

Home Opener!

Baseball season is here, y’all!
Nats are at home today! I’m so FREAKING excited I can hardly stand myself!
They won both games in Atlanta. Let’s see what they can do at home!

Here’s the line up against Miami.
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I’ve got the pregame playing on TV. The daddy of one of my preschool students is the home field announcer, I hear his voice introducing our own “Boys of Summer”!

Girlie Thing and Thing 2 “reppin” their boys!
Girlie Thing and Thing 2

Ain’t baseball great!?!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

patience or self-indulgence?

I was feeling mighty sorry for myself this morning. Filled with sadness and there were so many tears.
Nothing I did eased me.
This thought plagued me: I’m so tired of feeling sad and sorry for myself.

I’m tired of winter. I’m tired of feeling like hell all the time. Will I ever heal?
I’m failing at finding a job. I’m not keeping up with the house. I’m just a pathetic puddle of whininess and I can’t seem to snap myself out of it!

The weather is finally turning. It’s in the 70s today. I brought all the back porch furniture up from the basement and set it up. Filled the fountain and am now sitting out here listening to the water sounds and The Pierces.
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Thing 2 and I were texting this morning during my sadness. She was kind and reassuring. (I guess today it was her turn to be the Mommy.)
I thanked her and she replied: Of course, Momma ❤ you’re always there for me and I’m here for you. I love you ❤ you’re awesome, don’t lose sight of that because things are crappy.

A bit later I really lost patience with myself and sent this: Shame on me all weepy and whiny when I think about (the young man) being sick and what (that family) is going through I want to slap myself.

She came back with this: Hey now, don’t do that to yourself. Everyone has stuff going on. Yes, their shit is really big and really stinky right now but that doesn’t mean that your shit isn’t any easier or less important. It’s the biggest thing in your world right now so you can’t compare it.

Me: Why are you so wise? How? You truly amaze me.

Thing 2: I may not know a lot about everything but I do know a little bit about a lot of things. And that is something I have always told everyone and will always stick in my head, because that is the truest thing. So feel bad for them and love them, but do not feel guilty because you are “better off” but still feeling bad for yourself.

Me: Thank you! My God, you are amazing!

Thing 2: I try? I don’t see what the big deal is, it just makes sense to me.

Me: It makes total sense. It’s a wisdom that most people your age don’t possess. I have always known you are special. But sometimes you do something that goes beyond.

Thing 2: I am flattered. Thank you.

How does she have that wisdom?
How does she know that it’s OK for me to be miserable even though people I love have worse things to be miserable about?

I wasn’t even excited about the washer and dryer coming. I cannot stress how important it is to note that.
I took pics when they were delivered.
I wrote a blog post about it.
Even though these new machines are a great and wonderful gift, and even though I’ve used them with gusto this afternoon, I have little joy. The underlying sadness is digging in it’s heels.

It’s time for this to stop, it’s gone on too long. I’m beginning to wonder if I can snap out of it. How long before patience becomes self-indulgence?
Perhaps I need one of two things. The first being a swift spiritual kick to the head. The second is to breathe new air. (That’s one of my favorite phrases my friend and mentor says.)
I don’t know. I’m breathing breezy porch air right now…think that’ll help?

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

inexhaustible love

I wrote about a precious young man I love in loving yourself.
I found out this week that he has testicular cancer.
He is twenty-one years old.
He’s had the tumor and one testicle removed but the cancer spread to one (and only one) of his lymph nodes near his right kidney.
He will start chemotherapy on Monday.

When his mom told me she asked that I not tell the girls, that he would want to do that in his own time. Today she asked me to share the news with them, he mustn’t have wanted to go over it again and again.

Thing 1, who calls him her brother, took the news better than I could have hoped. I expected her to fall apart. She didn’t. She held it together, asked intelligent questions, expressed her love for him, his family and for me. I apologized for being the bearer of bad news. She told me she was glad it was me, that I always give it to her straight, answer all her questions, and do it all with so much love.
I sent her a text a couple hours later to see how she was holding up. She already spoke with his boyfriend and was actually talking with him at the time.
She has enough stubborn love to keep him healthy by sheer force of her will.

Thing 2 listened and was uncharacteristically quiet. She asked about his siblings and boyfriend. We talked about him losing his beautiful hair but she decided he’s going to rock the bald! Then she joked about medical marijuana. She chastised herself for cracking wise. But in our family, we laugh at all things, good and bad. It’s a way to keep everything in perspective.
I told her the high percentage rate of curability and that I honestly believed he would be cancer free after his chemo. She was relieved, explaining that she was using my belief as her barometer of concern. She told me she’s learned that I know exactly how much to worry or be hopeful about every situation and that she always takes her cue from me.
However much she thinks she ‘hates people’, she’s one of the most positive human beings and he will be basking in everything she can send to him.

My heart aches for my dear, dear friend and her husband. The fear they must be experiencing. She’s so brave. She loves her kids with such ferocity. But this isn’t something she can sort. She has to wait while God and modern medicine sort it.
Being a parent is simultaneously the most wonderful and horrifically difficult experience. This is one of those times difficult takes center stage. But wonderful waits in the wings in the form of family and friends lifting each other up with love and light.

My love for this young man is inexhaustible.
I know love doesn’t really conquer all. But in this case, I’m going to believe that tremendous amounts of love and a little bit of chemo will kick cancer’s ass!

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

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