I have scars that remind me of old stories. Some happened so long again I can barely remember; I know if I asked my parents about them, they would surely know some of the answers of where my external scars came from.
I have two scars on my right hand from trying to do hand stands. She challenged me to how many we could do each and when we collapsed to the ground, she scratched me.
Another scar, on the inside of my right knee where the corner of the screen door ripped through my skin after my Dad had repeatedly told me that was going to happen if I didn’t move from where I was sitting. I didn’t move and I now have a six-inch scar on the inside of my knee from the screen door tearing through.
I have a scar just under my belly button about 10 inches long from a C-section horizontally just beneath this scar…there is an internal scar I can’t see, running vertically about 10 inches an emergency to save one of my sons. I have a scar from my first love – shattered and broken. It is now just a memory.
I am sure if we all thought about our scars we could list them. I have created scars on my body…self expression…designs and patterns that I want to be remembered. They are all apart of my body now and on my skin for all to see. I chose each of them for a very specific reason and they will forever be on me. Would I do this again…yes.
Scars are easy to spot or see on most of our bodies. There is an entirely different type of scar that may be so deep that no one knows it’s there. One has buried it and only a few will ever know it’s there. These scars can change you; redefine you. These scars strip us down to the core, make us define our ourselves and create an entirely new way of looking at the world.
These scars turn our lives inside out. They break our hearts, tear us apart, and make us wonder if we will survive. These scars, I believe are more than one sided…there is a cause and effect to everything and there are always two different ways to look at any given situation. I believe that these scars require conscious decisions…guided by our individual faith.
I have made a handful of these types of scars inside of myself and because I have made them, they in turn have affected others around me…and scarred them as well. We cannot change any of our scars but we all can make the conscious decision as to how they will effect the rest of our lives and how we look at them in our current lives. We can change how we react to them in the here and now. If they happened years ago, we can still learn from them. We can allow ourselves to keep them close but at bay as long as we keep moving forward.
Do not dwell on things of the past, we will never get those moments back and who wants to move forward constantly looking over their shoulders? If people look beyond what is rooted within them; their children for example…one can never get that time back and the children will change and evolve as they get older. Someday, one will get that knock on the door, hear the ring of their phone, an email and that child will reach for them. The children will want to know why, where, how; they will want to know you – the biological parent. At this point, the parent and child will have lost so much time….and the building may begin but there will be so much lost time. This indescribable scar can never be the most difficult to heal.
“I love you, I love you more, not possible, yes possible.”
You will officially become a teenager (13) tomorrow. I love the young man you are becoming.
Every morning when I come to wake you, I slowly open your door and you are curled up in a ball under one blanket. You don’t care for a top sheet or quilt and if I make your bed by morning, its balled up on the floor next to the bed. You politely tell me, “I just need this blanket”. Of course, you would have expensive taste – a handmade $70 blanket. You wake slowly most mornings. Weekdays I use my long hair to tickle your ears and face and you roll over ignoring me. When you fall asleep you still rock back and forth – just as you did as an infant. This is so funny to me – your friends will come over and are baffled as to what and why you do this.
You always have a smile and your laughter…. that genuine laughter that fills a room after practical jokes makes my heart full. Sometimes you make yourself laugh so hard.
As you grow, I want you to learn to speak up for yourself and for what you want, it is okay to get off the road and explore what is around you, before you choose a road. At school, rather than flying through the homework and everyday tasks because they were put in front of you – I want you to begin to think deeply, if you don’t understand, ask, if you want to know why you are being taught something, ask (respectfully), and if you can fly through your schooling years as fast as you are now and each homework assignment you get (I dare you to slow down, later in life you will learn why education was/is so important to me and to your grandparents, we have all been in the trenches with classrooms of kids. I had a few exceptional teachers and in those few they changed my life in their own way. My dad was one of these teachers (retired now), he taught music for 40 years and still every time we visit what does he do…just like kicking off his shoes at the end of the day…within moments the piano, guitar, and his voice fills the room. Do what you dream of!
Now at my age, just as I was inspired by a precious few educators, you can be too!! As they inspire (you might not realize it but they can be inspired by you,) pay attention to why you might be learning what you are, it is not always about being the best or the first in everything. Observing and even being knocked down can teach you so much. And both will happen to you!
Small random acts of kindness might not seem important but they are and they show others who you truly are…you sharing a part of your kindness with someone can make a difference! There is always someone you know who needs help getting up, give them a boost. Pay attention and be authentic. You only have a certain amount of moments in your life.
Open doors, pull out chairs, try as hard as possible to NOT have a sharp tongue, do not judge others because you don’t know what they might be struggling with, continue to say please and thank you, pray, if someone is upset, hand them a tissue and take the time to notice them, to listen if requested. Be gentle with others hearts, always love your family hard and deeply. The day will come where you stand in front of “your” mountain, don’t quit, it is going to be tough and maybe the toughest at whatever age it will happen…do not concede! Go up, over, through or around, ask for help but never stop.
I want you to challenge your mind as you have with the same determination you have now. These things will make a difference in others, just smiling can make a difference for someone else and FOR YOU! As you move into your teen years know that I love you. Even if you hate me at times. You have a strong heart, pay attention to what is going on around you and to what you feel, and don’t ever be afraid to speak up!
Austin, you work hard at everything you do, so hard. You often would rather be in the shop working or trying to fix something you found in a field, garage sale, or someone’s garbage – a weed wacker, old cell phones, an engine, swamp coolers, computers…as I clean the house I often find a trail of parts and pieces from one room to the next. Anything from tools, screws, bolts, parts to cell phones, circuit boards, wires, electrical tape. It’s crazy! I am often frustrated with the mess and then I remind myself what better way for you to discovery, learn, and inspire. (You are not organized but your mind is unreal, you draw from others ideas and create your own in a matter of hours). You create and recycle old parts to make something new that is actually useful. We joked for your birthday; a box full of broken stuff from Goodwill and it would be the perfect gift for you! You don’t need the gifts. The box of junk would make you thrilled and so happy because- it isn’t junk to you – it’s a treasure and sparks new ideas in you!
You are competitive in sports; you push yourself to be better. Last night in the snow you decide you better go outside and shovel 8 inches of snow below the basketball hoop because practice starts in a few days and you need to…well, practice. It was icy, snowing, dark, and I watched you shoveling as you slipped all over the place and just when I thought you were getting no where, I heard the bouncing of your basketball!
You are officially 5”5, my height. You don’t seem to ever be sad or down but you do get quiet and when you do you always come to me without words and lean on my shoulder and in those moments I don’t need words, I ask you and you shrug, we sit together for awhile; then off you go and your chatter begins again.
You are a work in progress and believe me when I say, you can always change your perspective. Try and see the world through other’s eyes. Always be open to others no matter how you unique they are. You will figure out why it was so important to me that people never used the word different when it came to you and your brother. I realized “unique” was the perfect word…everyone is unique to only themselves!! You and Cole are unique!
Stay close to that brother of yours, both of you are something, amazing together, you will need each other more than you know as you get older and always, always protect each other.
Happy Birthday!! World, look out my son, Austin is 13!!
Always remember… “I love you, I love you more, not possible, yes possible.”
I watch my kids whirl around me as if I’m in the center of a tornado, standing still. I watch them growing and circling me in an upward spiral going faster and faster and I simply cannot keep up.
I spend so much time not missing events: packing football pads, muddy cleats, backpacks that I can barely lift, now basketballs, building animal cells out of Styrofoam, “trying” to help with common core math, who needs new shoes, new math binders, conferences; there is so much “stuff” that kids need, use, and want but when it comes right down to it – the best thing I can give them is my love, my heart, teach them to be kind, polite, and well-mannered young men. Beyond that, simply being with them in all their moments. My hope is that by loving them, it teaches them how to reciprocate love to others.
I realize now and can see clearly what was happening in my idea of a beautiful childhood. I was loved and cared for in such a way, I was sheltered from the monsters under the bed. I couldn’t have asked for or been blessed with better parents, I love my siblings and I know whatever the status of our relationship is, in any day – everyone in my family would show up and I have NO doubt about that. This gives me an incredible amount of courage and strength.
I am able to see life in a different way now. A beautifully complicated mess of opportunities. Living in the moments we have, today, tomorrow, and what happens in the next two hours or this evening. We have choices to make and in those choices we choose to live in those moments or sit complacent and think about what they could’ve been like. In my strongest and weakest moments, I strive to master perfection in these choices. But this is where I have begun to see life and myself differently. We all have these moments that can have an impact on our lives, that we will remember forever or maybe just an ember that blows from the campfire and disappears into the night. But I write to keep my moments, insignificant or not, alive. I feel alive everyday through my moments and how I choose to use them!!
When the twins were born, I can remember Cole’s entire hand holding the tip of my pinkie and being too afraid to even touch Austin. Their chests concave, literally skin and bones, and the ventilators helping them to breathe. I was terrified, so terrified if they would live of die in those moments.
In nearly a month my twins will be 13 and damn, I am so proud and have been blessed by God that these two miracles are in my life. And seriously, where the hell have the years gone??
This morning, the house was in shambles, Christmas lights reflecting in windows, I was doing laundry, writing checks for the next sport (basketball), lacing new shoes, feeding the dog, loading the dishwasher, and like every morning trying to get Cole out of the shower (he never fails to take every ounce of hot water) and my heart was full. Yes, this happens mostly every morning sometimes the tasks change but the basic idea is always the same.
Life can change from day to day. What you choose to do with your day is up to you but somewhere remember there are people out there who in their current state cannot control what is happening. Everyone needs time to digest, make a plan, and decide what is best for them and their families.
Go after what you want, remember where you came from and who helped you get there, don’t look back because we cannot change the past, if you want something different – something you feel compelled to do or change from your history – change it now, if you need a kick in ass to get you moving, I am sure you know someone who is ready and willing! And maybe if something or someone catches you off guard in a moment and you let yourself be with whatever it is; you may learn more than you ever thought you could. It could possibly change your entire perspective on life.
Tackle football has now been added to the mix for my boys, along with 7th grade, and the amount of homework has tripled at least.
I pick my boys up every evening after practice. I have seen them for years play organized sports on many fields. The first day I saw them playing in full pads and helmets, I felt as if I was run over by a train that smashed through my chest. I had a mom moment, if you are a mom you have had these moments.
All of a sudden my chest was heavy, I took a long deep breath in, and blinked rapidly to fight back the tears. I wasn’t sad, upset, or frustrated—I was proud and wondered, how the hell did we get here? WTF, they were just in diapers. And, will I be able to watch them get pummeled into the ground when someone else’s child is running full speed ahead toward either of them.
Okay, okay…I know my kids are not in the NFL but in my mind, that’s what I see…you know, the replays of the NFL tackles on game day where the feed is played in slow motion so every one can say, “damn, that was a hard hit”. Their first game is next Wednesday and they are so excited…I am terrified! We will have to wait and see how that plays out…
I am told this is a rite of passage for kids…it kicks off their future years in sports that will carry them through until high school. I can already picture the excitement on their faces on game day.
I can still remember all of those days I had in school. I remember playing as a team and working together, what it felt like to when we won and also, when we lost. Juggling homework, a job, and sports made me work even harder through school, it taught me how to balance my time and it forced me to be responsible to figure out what worked for me to keep all of it organized.
I know, my kids are no where near graduation day. However, each day that passes they get closer and I have to trust more that I have instilled in them what is right and what is wrong, to think about the decisions they make on a daily basis because that decision can have a positive or negative outcome (which they have to face either way). And well, for this momma I need to suck it up a bit and realize they will keep growing and nothing I do or say is going to stop that. No matter what happens next Wednesday on field, I will be one proud momma! But, every day between now and that day, I need to get my shit together because this will be the first of many games and I don’t want to be the crazy mom in the bleachers crying and cheering on the team!
“You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”
There are times when family comes together whether it be for Labor Day, Birthdays, or the most celebrated holidays like Christmas but then there are other times that you plan to see each other for no other reason but to just “visit” my family often says. It is the event of just “being” in the same space, same moment, just laughing together…even if you had plans during your time together to forage the bounty of agriculture around you, go to a famous water park, or finally have family photos taken because you are all together. It is these moments that the days and hours don’t matter. Just take that cliché’ term and really “relish in the moments” you have together. No one really knows how much time we have left in this life.
There are so many “holidays” to be together but what about all the months, days, and moments together?? My family was together over the weekend…two birthdays and an anniversary celebrated together. There is hustle and bustle, getting to this place and that, everyone having their own idea about what should or should not happen when we are all together. But that all falls away when you come together with the people you KNOW will always be there.
It was in the moments of sitting in my living room reading “meme’s” from the internet with my sister and our kids in the back room playing that I looked over at her and realized I could just be in the same room with her and know that my life could be peeled back like the skin of an onion and all “my tribe” would be in those layers. In the same space with her makes me feel whole, understood, and complete. She is of my “people”!
Over the years I have gained and lost people in my life…sometimes for the best and for the worst of reasons but these people were placed in my life for a purpose. I have celebrated the holidays with these people. Some are easier to let go of than others. I have learned that other than a few select humans; my family is what is–still, concrete, and steadfast in my life.
I have been told by many over the years to “not over think it” but that is just part of who I am and I don’t think it is necessarily always a negative quality but with some, I think this is how they see it. I admit, to thinking about the consequences of my actions, the things that I say and what will happen even before I have said them, way too much. I think about the words I am wanting to say to someone and then spend too much time trying to figure out if I am going to say them or ask them too much and often, I spend days going back and forth and thus, torturing myself with this second guessing and draining behavior in my life. This was all self inflicted!
There were times in the past that I spent endless amounts of time biting my tongue and trying to be the way I thought others thought I should be because I hate confrontation. I hate the feeling that others might think I am being rude or confrontational. However, who I was, was coming at an expense. There comes a point where you must say what you need too because it begins to tear you apart as a person. This can be where you start to lose who you are or were. So, don’t it! Please don’t!
There are very few people I let into my life some riskier than others but I trust, have faith, and believe the best of them. I will not lie but yes, I do get let down. I will still keep risking this because the value of a relationship/friendship sometimes can change your life forever.
The one true thing I know is that family will always be there. No matter what the circumstances. I could call anyone in my family and if I needed them, no matter what the day. My family is steadfast and loves me unconditionally.
I woke from a terrible nights sleep with plans to hang with a friend for the day. It was the only thing that got me going this morning. Some days it’s just the coffee, other days it’s a text, and some day’s life surprises you. It’s those days that I want every day. The ones that knock you back on your heels and something spontaneous catches you off guard. I want more of those days!
As for today, plans change as they do and my plans got cancelled so I spent an hour writing, randomly cleaning, and generally, feeling pathetic. I put that on myself, I choose to behave like a toddler. Instead of wallowing in my messy hair, pjs, and old teal slippers, I called my sister who told me to put my big girl panties on and go do something. So, I made a new plan to have a me day!
Then I got another text and plans changed again. So, rather than trying to dwell on why, when, what the hell? Should I go with my new plan or the original one? I switched gears and was in the car.
I went with it! Isn’t that what life should really be about? Just going for it. Or the cliché’ “just do it”. With in an hour, I was throwing my head back in laughter and I realized I was in the beginning of one of those days that would knock me back on me heels. There is something to be said for a day of solitude and quiet contentment but sometimes you just need another person. And yesterday I spent the day with a dear friend.
I was with one of my tribe yesterday. She gets me and laughs as much as I do and has a slightly inappropriate sense of humor and nothing is off limits. Our slightly edgy attitude I am sure makes people notice us but I think it is just because we are sincerely laughing the entire time we are together. And damn, laughter is the best medicine. (I can think of one other thing better but I will keep this PG-13.)
Funny how fast your mood can change? You can feel one way and it changes in the blink of an eye by the people you surround yourself with. Life is too short for feeling miserable in the few moments we may or may not have left in our lives on this earth. Don’t hold back, try everything, and don’t let someone else’s shit drag you down. And lately, I am trying to teach myself to stop thinking so much and stop asking why, who, what, where, and when. (Insert: I have always been an over-thinker and recently, I have been encouraged to get out of my own head!! This is powerful once you start but I have fallen off the wagon a few times.)
We started our day with an impromptu photo-shoot for me at a vineyard and I drug my friend along. Followed by some wine bottling, yes, I said wine bottling. (A first for both of us.) My wrists are killing me but I am willingly going back tomorrow for more. We bottle and capped a few hundred bottles and I was spurted about five times in the face with wine, I did have white on early today but quickly changed. Damn, was I lucky. So, I didn’t actually get to taste the wine but did as it ran down my face to my lips as I sprayed myself. (Insert: very inappropriate thought.) After a quick taste of the aged dessert wine we were off to return a few bras, get school supplies, see a movie…and in no particular order.
We talked over each other, listened to music so loud we were slightly yelling at each other, trying to figure out what to do next, and started about seven different conversations.
As we landed ourselves in Victoria’s Secret it was a great laugh to watch all the men/boys walking around a few steps behind each of their ladies…embarrassed as if they didn’t want to show that they really wanted their ladies to buy the inappropriate lacey undergarments while their ladies were only picking up the granny panties. It was awesome, we were there for an hour and I did not see a single man/boy touch a single pair of panties. (Insert: these guys are going to tear the lingerie off their woman’s body later, so why not touch it now? Baffling!) I was interested in looking at bras, panties, and sexy silk and lace things which were in one corner of the store.
Giggling to myself as I got a thong stuck on a few hangers which I could not figure out how I did and my awful attempt to untangle them with one hand, coffee and purse in my other, I shoved the shitty mess back in the rack and escaped from a lady coming toward me in her black outfit and pink measuring tape over her shoulder. (What is it about the sales women wanting to confirm your bra size? If you know what size shirt, jeans, and shoes you wear…no one ever asks you to confirm that shit…if I am shopping for a bra and panties, I don’t need that confirmed either…. especially by a woman who continuously calls everyone in the dressing room “kitten” …. yes, “kitten”! WTF! Someone needs to teach her a new word! (Side note: I have hated the word “panties” my entire life and am so proud that I now have typed it repeatedly but it will never fall from these lips! Small victories, right!) After the kitten lady gave us a loud talk about women’s bodies being soft and men loving it, after all we gave them babies…I was sincerely puzzled by her anorexia skinny body and her passion behind what she was trying to convince us of and that my friend kept trying to quiet me from laughing after the kitten lady could not figure out our issues with side boob.
Needless to say, I knocked some planners, yes, school planners from the store into the trash can and curiously tried to picture the mother who would buy a lingerie brand planner for their young daughter?? With the swipe of my credit card from the grouchiest sales girl in the store, I wanted to go get “kitten” lady to give some of her spice to “Heather”. She reeked of bad attitude and should not be allowed at any check-out counter dealing with people.
Next stop, theatre. We bought tickets to see Bad Moms which some may think, how cliché’. But all moms should watch this movie! We always go to the same theatre where you can eat, drink, and watch all in one place…that is NOT our own home!! We got there early and laughter proceeded as always and she was trying to shut me up as she laughed just as loud. The theatre was not empty and it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. So, our laughter broke the silence up a bit. We ordered our cocktails and food and the lights dimmed. It was in that moment my kids decided to start calling me and texting me. (I promised I would always answer.) It is strange to me that they always want me when I am gone when they could walk 100 yards to the shop and ask their dad. I wasn’t going to start being a “bad mom” in that moment so I answered the phone and my one son had made an entire plan about having dinner with grandma and spending the night…and the only thing I could do where I was as the movie had started was say, “call your dad!”
The movie was perfect, I have felt all the things as a mom that were portrayed in that movie and if all of you moms out there can’t admit to feeling to at least one of those things, I just don’t believe you! It must have been senior day…because the people in the theater were either so old they don’t remember what it was like to have kids, never had kids, were on a date, or too young to simple understand the concept of being a parent! However, we were our own pair of mom’s laughing through the entire movie because it was all relative and things that we have felt and totally exaggerated!! Again, more laughter for the day!!
I came home to an empty house filled with solitude after my two drinks…something kicked in…the writer in me. I had half away made it down the hall turned the shower on half undressed and well, put my clothes back on and turned the water off. In that moment, in the quiet…I grabbed my computer and I couldn’t stop writing.
Sitting alone in my house, I wrote and laughed, wrote and laughed. Yes, out loud. So, although my day didn’t go the way I planned it would, I did figure out how to just be in the moment the entire day (I did something new bottled wine), relished in the sound of laughter, and rounded off the day doing what I am most passionate about – writing.
There are times I second guess myself out of fear, being let down or someone else letting me down. Why is this? Am I truly just trying to make others happy or should I focus more on own happiness and make that be number one. So many people say you have to make yourself be happy first but isn’t that a load gun… ready to fire, type statement for all of us?
I feel I have to be the best mom possible to my children and I do put my own happiness aside because I am their mom. I figure it will all come back around when they graduate. I don’t know if this is right or wrong but part of me says I have to keep working on me…in five years what will be left of me if I don’t start focusing on me now. My children will be very busy in athletics, socially, and trying as hard as they can in school, just to complete high school and leave home.
I already feel my kids pulling away. It’s no longer cool to hold hands with me or put their arm around me when they are near their friends. It seems they want me less and less and Dad more and more. I wish I had a road map to being the best mom, the right mom, and give them exactly what they need when they need it. But the other side of me says, I would be doing them a grave dis-service because they are at the point where I need to let them figure somethings out on their own. (But not too much.)
I may be terribly judged for making this statement…but heaven for bid, I say something that most parents already think. Parents need parent time and it needs to be a priority. Moms and Dads both need time away from their children. Not because, you will both be running away from the kids screaming, “I can’t do this any more,” but because when you are in the full swing of parenting, people get tired, they focus only on the kids, and forget about the relationship and no one should neglect their partner for so long that one of them just starts to feel numb.
Romance, Intimacy, Sex, Conversations about things other than the kids, Foreplay, time without children, cannot be forgotten.
My children are pretty wonderful! I know I am biased but when they go to their grandparents for a night or two and they jump out of the car upon their return and run to me arms wide open. I know I have done something right. My children are loved deeply and they themselves know how to love. They run to their dad in the same way. My kids come running full speed ahead and wrap their arms around me and squeeze like it could be our last embrace. Every single hug I get from them is this way.
As you have probably figured by my writing, I have twin boys who are twelve and my husband is the eldest of 3 brothers. The gene pool is heavily weighted on my husband’s side…its something crazy like 36 grandchildren and all but one is a girl!! Now, to me that’s a pretty loaded pool of testosterone.
When I got pregnant I remember thinking I wanted a girl but down to my core I knew I was having boys. At first, babies were babies to me-a lot of work and they must be taken care of or literally they wouldn’t survive. As months and years pass now, I have two pre-teen boys that are somewhat independent, love to succeed and want to succeed, desperately want their parents to be proud of them as we both are. And I find myself loosening the reigns a bit, I don’t want to do this because they will always be my babies but they aren’t babies any more.
Each of my son’s have strengths and weakness and their uniqueness to each other and others their age is something for them to be proud of. I have heard for years that my child is different in this way or that and I often cringe at these words where my fists unconsciously squeeze together. See, the word different has a negative notion to it and it defiantly does to my son. So, when someone calls him different I turn into momma bear and in my head their face hits my fist. Now, I am a rational person and do have my best moments when protecting my children’s right in school. But when they are violated I come running in like a bull in a china shop. I am proud of the advocate I am for my children. I would help anyone out their if they struggled in this area.
All of us are unique, special, gifted and some things come easier for others but what someone else struggles with you might succeed at. It is my job to show and teach my children to step in and help others with regard to this.
It is a constant battle for me to remind my sons that I want them to have a strong work ethic, a heart of gold, kindness, how to be gentlemen, and it is ok to fail as long as you get up and go after it even harder than the time before!! I want both of my sons to understand that the reward takes work, back breaking work and you will reap great reward from hard work. There is a time for each of us to win and each of us to fall short. I want them to know graciousness and courage as they move to their teenage years!