one helluva ride.

I don’t even know WHERE to begin.  What to tell you, what to feel.  It’s been over a month and I have on many occasions thought and NEEDED to write, to get everything out, but there’s soooo much.  Some is mine to share, some is for others.  I have so many highs, so many lows in the past month.

I have lost track of how many times I have said, out loud to anyone who would listen, “I need a hug.”

I have counted every time someone came to my rescue.  There were times, those hugs kept me going…

Things have been happening in my life for several months, like a “season” and truth be told, I am stronger, I am wiser and I have learned that I am smaller than the whole…I have lived, more than that…I am surviving.

It’s been a season of sickness, of surgery, of fear, of happy, of tears, of new beginnings, new fight stirred in one’s soul, deeper connections, more love, more laughter, more growth and…new babies.

I accept the fact and am finally at home in the role of “go-to.”  Most people in my orbit, as I am told, see me as a source of strength, what they don’t understand….I draw my strength from them.  From their love, their heart, their friendship.  They give it to me and in turn, I am able to return it.  As someone said to me, “don’t you see? You could KEEP it all for yourself, your beauty lies in the fact that you take that strength and return it, plus some.”

I don’t see it like that, but it meant and continues to mean the world to me.  It gives me a peace and yes, strength, knowing that my tribe, circles around me….loving me, protecting me and holding me up.  God’s Will, in my life.

I again, am watching my mom in the hospital.  I am determined for the last time.  She is amazing, two hip replacements, two knee replacements and countless “fixes” to the new joints…she has spent 40% of the last 10 years in the hospital…and even now, when I go see her, she smiles.  It’s truly an example of her unending will to be better.  And I refuse to watch her whither or feel sorry for herself…with her last setback, I just told her…”No, you will NOT spend Christmas here…I will NOT host Christmas here…you will be at my house, one way or another…”  And she saw, in my face, that I wouldn’t back down.  She won’t either.

I am watching a couple of loved ones fight battles that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  And all I can do is sit by, hold their hand and fight FOR them.  As I told one of them, “you get today to be sad, tomorrow we fucking fight.”  And they are.  It’s brought us closer and has made me see them in such a different and so honorable a light, it’s amazing.  I have been told “thank you for what you have done.”  And I sit, thinking, “what have I done?”

The other one, has battled as quietly and gracefully as I have ever seen.  Outside of the immediate family, I am the only one who knows anything.  And when they called to check in with me, I quietly stopped, said a prayer and was met with, “I am grateful beyond words for your sweet soul.  I thank you for praying with me, I didn’t know you were so faithful and I can hear it in your voice.  It’s beautiful.”

I don’t know if I could be as strong and as positive if it was me, but I pray that I could do these things with as much grace as either of them have.  I am honored they are sharing their battles with me.  I love them both and there isn’t a day that I don’t have both of them on my mind almost all the time.  I know in the end….these are some kick ass people and they will win their battles, I get to be their cheerleader.

My children are growing, literally and figuratively.  Both are 6’+ now and are showing signs of the greatness they both possess.  The daughter is growing in her relationship and in her path, knowing what she has to do in life as an adult, feeling her way through it and finally meeting it head on and dealing with it.  The Boy, knowing what he wants, has set his sights on his school work and his football.  He is training in off-season and is growing as an athlete.  I am beyond overwhelmed that I, at one time, carried each of these amazing beings in my belly.  That for the first nine months of their existence, they fit inside me and needed only me for their every need.  Kinda like now, only now they are too big for my belly…

My relationship with my wife is a constant source of love and encouragement.  I dare say, without her, I would be a shell.  I can’t put into words the amount of love, respect and awe I feel.  I look at her and am amazed everyday that she chose me.  ME.  Out of everyone, she chose me to marry, me to share her name, me to walk through this life with her.  I look forward to growing old with her, to watching the Boy and the Daughter marry, to enjoying our travels, our grandchildren and our lives.  Together.  I don’t have the right words, but ohmygoditsfuckingamazingandiamtheluckiestwomanever!!!!

My sister, I believe, has met her match.  I think.  She’s a tough cookie.  And the niece is tougher.  TRUST me….mob enforcers are more yielding than the niece.  Sweet Jesus.  I miss my sister, but it’s the beginning and it’s all new…I remember this…and in time, there will be balance.  There BETTER be balance….I don’t share my toys well and we all know the baby sister was my first and favorite toy…but I am proud of her, she’s done things to make her life better and I feel positive things for her are quickly on the horizon.

Have I told you yet how much better my life is because of my Kenner?  Because she is the best friend I can ever have.  The Jelly to my Peanut Butter, the ying to my yang.  The Mary to my Rhoda.  My biggest warrior and best alibi.  The only way you could ever truly “get” our relationship is to be in the middle of our text conversations…they are so ridiculous to the outsider, but they get me through EVERYTHING.  Throughout this “season,” she’s been there…when I needed a joke or for her to tell me to just shut up, stand up and deal with it…she’s been there….and to make it allllll the better, she got the wife on her side.  DAMN.IT.  I love when she’s here, I am sad when I watch her leave.  I love making her smile, I love making her laugh.  She is alternately the little angel on one shoulder and the little devil on the other.  She’s my rock-star.  I am a better person because she likes me, hell, I’m a better person because she gets me.

I gotta say it….and it may sound a bit butt-kissy….but I have the greatest job….EVER!!!  I mean, Bossman has given me whatever time I have needed this year for my life….from doctors, to vacations to I’m-gonna-lose-it-if-you-dont-give-me-a-damn-day-off, to the every single day I can’t get to work on time to save my life….he’s been there.  When I needed just to get all the bullshit out to letting me hire/move/rearrange/give raises/time off to those who need it, he’s been there.  I work with an awesome group of people who pretty much just move over and let the control freak (me) drive…they know I am loud, I get cranky and they know when to avoid eye contact (everyotherMonday)…they also know I will do everything in my power to help them any way I can and they return the favor.  From my fellow managers to the reps, to the warehouse/production folks to my amazing staff…I am very lucky…I get to go somewhere that I love to be everyday.

Well, until I win the lottery, then I will love to be in Fiji…everyday.

Best of all….we got to welcome a baby…my Little Miss.  She’s beautiful, got a head full of hair and smells like a baby!  She’s 6 lbs, 10 ozs of perfection and we love her so.  I have discovered the wife is alllllll about the baby presents and every time we are at a store, we are in the baby section.  Little Miss will want for nothing and her Aunties will see to that.  I love seeing new relationships, new families develop.  The smiles between them, the way they are starting to finish each others sentences, knowing what one needs without a single word.  I wish this for everyone…it’s called bliss.

yep, this “season” has been one helluva ride.  I have loved every happy, sad, frustrating, teaching, laughing, scary moment.  I can’t wait for what tomorrow holds.

I got this.

Tyrannical Dialogue.

Gotta love the Boy. He is a smartass of the highest order. I have NO idea where he gets that…

Today went something.like.this:

the Boy:  “I need a new iPod..”

Me: “instead of a new TV?”

tB: “no, in addition to…”

tB: “I’m a technology kid mom!!! My TV has a built-in VHS…what is that!!?!!? It’s grammas old TV…where do you even get VHS…what is it !!?!?”

M: “it’s VCR tapes and don’t worry…it’s old, it needs to go be with Jesus.”

M: “you want an iPod for Christmas, then you can just play games in the guest room.”

tB: “I need technology, I crave technology…”  {he sings along to Justin Bieber…again}

tB: “can I play my game tonight?”

M: “no.”

tB:  “why not?”

M: “because it’s school week, those are the rules, AND you’re grounded AND I said so.”

tB: “what if I do all my homework? AND do it correctly?”

M: “no.” {serious side eye from me…}

tB: “all my chores?”

M: “no.”

tB: “all your chores?

M: “no.”

tB: “take a shower? Do my laundry? Brush my teeth?” 

M: “no, no ,no…you will take a shower, maybe even two…you smell like a sweaty dog, you finished your laundry yesterday and you WILL brush your teeth..”

tB: “man, you are a tyrant!”

M: “do you know what a tyrant is?”

tB: “a beautiful loving mother that lets her favorite son play XBox?”

M: “no.”

I’m Coming Out.

I am typically a day late, so bear with me.  National Coming Out Day was the 11th.  So I’m technically 8 days late.  But I think better late than never.

I read about my various friends experiences with coming out last week on Facebook.  And honestly, I know some really brave folks.  I don’t mean brave because they are big and brawny or can kick someone’s ass in 2.2 seconds.  Brave because they didn’t let society define them.  They didn’t hide their “secret”…they told those closest to them WHO they were, HOW they loved and accepted the fact that whether or not they had support, they were going to be authentic to themselves.

Some of these folks came out 30 years ago, some 10 years, some last year, last month, last week.  And don’t for one moment think that these people aren’t brave.

I thought about this all week last week.  To say something.  Only my story, to me, isn’t extraordinary.  It’s quite tame.  This week, changed that…I was asked to be the subject of an interview.  A college student contacted me and asked me to tell him my story.  To tell him about me for a paper he is writing for his Humanities class in college.  Me. 

Personally, I think I have LOTS to say.  Daily.  Ask my staff.  Or my kids…or my wife.  I can do some talking.

But this is a person, who doesn’t know me, wanting to know me.  Holy hell….am I THAT interesting?  Can’t be…I have 6, count ’em SIX followers on Twitter…which could be either really funny or really sad, depending on my mood that day.  I truly keep it to do the “poor man’s copyright” on the ol’ blog…but I have occasionally tweeted.  I don’t think I am exceptionally quirky.  But hey…6 folks like me.

So anyhoo…an interview, tomorrow.  About me, my struggles as a gay woman, mother and wife.  Where I’ve been, who I am.  Wow…

You know, I wasn’t always gay.  No, well….maybe….but I didn’t feel it.  I was married before.  To a man.  Well…to a male, I don’t think I would ever actually call him a man; to be one, you gotta act like one.  He doesn’t.  Ever.

For the first 10 years of my life, I had the Beaver Cleaver existence.  Mom, Dad, blonde baby sister, dog.  Mom stayed home, dad had the job…I fought off a teething baby sister.  My world was perfect.

At 10, my parents divorced.  At 11 my dad remarried, my mom came out to me.  On Christmas Eve.  I still didn’t even think about boys, other than the Nolan boys…but I digress…

I will say, I met one girl when I was twelve that I crushed on.  I crushed on her for twenty-seven years….lucky for me…she married me.  I never once, in all the time that I got butterflies around her, did I think, “hmmmm…..could I be gay?”  No I only thought, “my mom’s friend is HOT!”

Fast forward 23 years…I have been married, had two children and divorced.  In the last year of my marriage, I befriended someone who in time, I began to develop strong feelings for.  Very strong feelings…hi-evah…this someone, was a girl.  And when the daughter saw me kiss her, run in the house sending the Boy out to “fetch me” for my mom…my coming out was something like this:

the Mother:  “the daughter saw you kissing so-and-so.  It’s okay, you just need to handle up on this.”

I stared at the floor and thought:  shhhhiiiiit.  And I asked myself “hmmm…..could I be gay?”

The answer I found was, yes.  I was.

And I was completely okay with it.  Once the shock wore off of it for my kids, my mom exclaimed, “I KNEW it!!!”  My sister said, “Thank God it was you!!!  Now everyone can quit saying it’s me!” and the Respondent said “That’s why you divorced me you dyke!” (it wasn’t, but who cares?)

I slowly moved forward with this…we were just “friends” to everyone at work…to my neighbors, to anyone.

I realized one day, folks aren’t stupid.  Whether I was admitting it or not, folks knew, they could see it.  I was only kidding myself.  I was comfortable in my skin, in my relationship…but I wasn’t admitting it.

Then I stopped.   And the first time I introduced her to someone as my partner, I literally felt the weight lift.  There wasn’t any judgement, there wasn’t a clap of thunder, a bolt of lightning.  I was simply a gay woman, with a partner.

There was one person, ONE, that I knew I had to tell, but she was on a different continental shelf.  She was living in another country.  She is my best friend….I knew I would have to tell her on the phone…how do you do that?  God must have known, because she came home for a while during her husband’s tour of duty in Iraq.

She came over, took one look at me, took one look at my girlfriend and just knew…and she was happy for me.  She didn’t judge me FOR ONE SECOND!!! She knew if I felt right, then it was right.  (I only wish I had listened to her about WHO I loved, not “who” I loved…the bestie, not a fan of the first girlfriend)

Fast forward four years later, the first relationship has ended…and enter the Crush Who Became the Wife.  It’s the healthiest relationship I have ever been in.  And it shows.  Folks who know me, those who have known me all along, say I am happier, shinier and lighter than they have ever seen me.

In a conversation in the past few years, I told the bestie that she was the one person I was most afraid of telling.  She looked at me with such a look of shock.  I will NEVER forget her words:  “Why would I care about who you love?  I love you!  If this makes you happy, who am I to judge you about ANYTHING?!?!?”  And I burst into tears!

I don’t make excuses.  I don’t judge.  I live how I live.  I respect and honor anyone who crosses my path, anyone who shares the 3rd Rock with me.  I am simply me.

I have been blessed.  I haven’t had many struggles, I haven’t had the fight that many other have experienced.  Literally the only person who has ever flipped me any shit, has been the Respondent.  And the only time I have given it two moments pause, is when he discusses it with my children.  Cause THAT’S classy.  He’s a dick.

I have been blessed.  I have not lost a single, solitary friend or family member because I am gay.  In fact, I have made some incredibly beautiful friends, inside and out.  Some of the most loving, accepting, honorable people have crossed my life since (1) my mother came out and (2) since I came out.

No, I didn’t have to stand in front of a room full of people to come out.  I literally stared at a floor, feeling like a kid who got caught with my hand in the cookie jar…and took a deep breath, went and talked to the daughter and that.was.it.

Don’t think there haven’t been conversations with the kids along the way, when they have questions, I answer them honestly.  It’s open, honest and raw at times.  But in seven years, they have grown to see that mommy is more secure, more peaceful and less “me” than I used to be.  And nowadays…they don’t care.

The Boy tells his friends his mom is a cop.  All the time.  To which I respond, “No, your mom is an accountant.”  To which HE responds, “Mom….that’s not cool.  So I am gonna tell them about my other mom….okay?”  The daughter, yeah, pretty much the same thing…only, she does this when it’s convenient; meaning, when she’s in a pinch, mom’s a cop.  Otherwise, she doesn’t claim EITHER of us.  Most people look at how in love we are and I have been told on more occasions I can count, by my “breeder” friends, that they wish they had what I have.  That they had the love in their life that I have in mine.  That they hope they find that.  And they say this to a GAY GIRL who is in love with a GIRL.  And I know, they know, exactly what they mean.  It’s beyond gender; it’s simple, pure love.

I wonder if I had to come out, really come out, would I have had the strength to be as brave as my friends.  Would I have been able to stand there, bracing myself for the judgement, for the distance, for the stares, looks, whispers?  Could I have been as brave as my family of choice?

I don’t know.

So to you, my brave, brave brothers and sisters, I raise a flawless toast to you.  I love each of you and am in awe of your bravery, your capacity for love and for the forgiveness you have needed for those who have judged you.  I stand beside each of you, with a common thread that sews us together…

We have broken the mold.  We have stood against what society has deemed normal.  And we love, out loud.

To you I say, thank you for blazing a path with me, for the now, for the future.

And with that, I Am OUT!

Zero to Life.

I have realized it is October.  No shit.  Not October.  Where did this year go?!?!! I mean, fall is my favorite time of the year Halloween seems to “kick off” the holiday season for me….but really? where did time go?

I haven’t been on here much, ‘cept a dash here and there.  It’s been a roller coaster of a year.  That culminated on last Wednesday night with me having to explain to the wife how I break down.  Yep….it’s been a year.

From health issues for me that I would like to think I have completely dealt with to the daughter being on her own and me not tucking her in at night or even knowing when she gets home for the first time in 21 years…to the son discovering girls and vice versa…it’s been a hell of a ride.  From the loss of our beloved Doodle to the promotion of the wife to Lieutenant…it’s been a hell of a ride.  From hospitals to home hunting…you guessed it, it’s been a hell of a year.

I have for the most part been pretty level-headed.  I’d like to think that’s my gift in life…no matter what stress life throws at me, I can typically manage it.  I stay pretty calm.  I said “pretty calm”…don’t think there haven’t been lose-my-shit moments…but they are there, no matter how few and far between.  (don’t ask my kids)

But a couple of weeks ago, things started piling up on me.  I found that I couldn’t seem to complete one task, not even a simple one.  Hell, last Wednesday, I had gotten to a point, I couldn’t complete a sentence, much less a thought…and I literally stopped…I couldn’t handle one more thing.

So we had plans for the weekend that got re-arranged.  And it was a blessing in disguise…I didn’t do anything.  I didn’t leave the house…I literally hit Control-Alt-Delete on my life and re-charged.  For 48 hours….

I finally got centered and it was amazing today…I got stuff done, I got my point across, I got resolutions and found that in the middle of my whirlwind, I actually GOT stuff done, I just couldn’t see it.

I realize now, I had put such an emphasis on other people…that I had lost the most important thing…myself.  My feelings were on my sleeve…I was allowing my feelings to be hurt by people that (1) didn’t know they were affecting me and (2) probably wouldn’t have cared if they knew.  I was allowing my emotions to be dictated by folks that (1) couldn’t be responsible for their own bullshit and (2) probably didn’t know how to accept responsibility.

I have to do this from time to time…take an inventory of what matters to me.  Because of my nature, I allow others problems to affect me.  I know, I have said in the past that I wouldn’t do that any more…but it’s a hard habit to break.  I don’t allow it to affect me as it used to but I am still THAT person that folks go to when they have a problem…sometimes just to talk, sometimes to seek my advice (eeek!) and sometimes, they just want a hug.  (I love those times!)

My wife, my children, my family…they are the cornerstone of who I am.  They define me.  I live for these people.  I would not be who I am without the love that I have for my wife, daughter, son, mother, sister, niece, uncles, aunts and cousins…I would not have the capacity to love them or my friends that I hold so dear, if not for the path that they line for me.  The people who matter, they center me.  The love I receive from them, near and far, genetic, by marriage or simply chosen…overwhelms me.  I love my treasured peoples…even when I don’t tell them enough.  My hope is they always remember that…

I have GOT to learn how to let go.  It isn’t an option. I am beginning to realize that it’s necessary for my survival.

I have GOT to learn how to put down things that don’t work.  I only have a certain amount of time left on this rock, I have to spend it surrounded by people who want to share my time, surrounded by things that challenge me, inspire me…push me to be a better person.

Yes, my time out put a ton of stuff in perspective.  I need to focus more on my life, my family…less on the “things” that we acquire…cause I can’t take it with me, but I can certainly make an everlasting memory with my loved ones.

I had to slow down.  I had to catch my breath.

One of my sayings is “life got in my way.”  I need to remember that my life is what I make it.  My life should BE my way, not IN my way.

10, 9, 8, 7. 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1….*inhale*exhale*

Remember that Stephanie…my life should BE my way, not IN my way…

Namaste.

Dreamer Dialogue.

We all dream.  It’s a fact. I don’t always remember my dreams.  But I do have colorful dreams.  Like my staff members showing up for work in prom dresses.  Or my dad showing up in the lobby at work.  Or I am an Olympian.  Shut.up.

I typically remember them in pieces.  Random snippets that I share with the wife.  This mornings conversation goes something like this…

the Wife:  “I hate cold weather!”  {we are sitting outside}

Me:  “Me too…but I’m not cold yet…”

M:  “I had a weird dream last night!”

tW:  “What happened?”  {as she continues to read the paper}

M:  “I don’t really remember much, but I was in cubicle world at *previous employer* and I was shooting at things, I think zombies.  And it’s freezing!”  {it’s 51*…but it was 78* two days ago!}

tW:  “Zombies?  really?”  {absolutely humoring me and not paying any attention}

M:  “Yes, but I was a total bad ass.  I had guns strapped to my legs and everything!”

tW:  {snicker} “Guns? Strapped to your leg?” {snicker}

M:  “Yep, I was like a ninja…I think I saw a commerical for Resident Evil before I turned off the TV.  I was a total bad ass!”

tW:  “Want some hot cocoa?”

M:  “Bad asses don’t drink hot cocoa…”

At such time, the wife looses her mind…she can’t breathe and she’s turning purple she’s laughing so hard at me.  Which I didn’t find amusing.  At.All.

However, the cup of hot cocoa she made me was delish…

 

Football Dialogue.

The Boy is too funny..at almost 6′ and only 14, I forget sometimes he’s still a kid…today was the first day of football practice…he was exhausted and excited about the new season, only there’s a. “wrinkle” this year…and it goes.like.this.

the Boy:  “so yeah…there’s a girl on our team.”

Me: “oh?”

tB: “yeah, I thought she was a dude, but she had long hair, mom, she’s HUGE, not fat, I think she’s bigger than me!!!…”

M: “is she good?”

tB: “I guess, only…”

M: “what?”

tB: “I don’t know HOW to tackle her.”

M: “why do you need to?”

tB: “mom, she’s offense, I’m defense…I have to…but…”

M: “oh, for the love of all things holy, what?!?”

tB: “I don’t know WHERE TO TACKLE her!!!!”  (what is making this even better, are the hand gestures across his chest…and the look of horror on his face.)

{blink, blink}

tB: “I think I’ll just tackle her around the waist…or the back and hold on until they whistle for end of play…yeah that’s it…”

M:  {giggle, snort, giggle more}

M:  “That’s my boy…”

Matrimonial Dialogue.

I have been happily married for a year and a half.  We have perfected this delicate dance we do, we acknowledge the give and take that is necessary for all successful relationships.

However, the wife forgets that I write a blog.

So, we have this ongoing joke about a friend that I maintain has a girlcrush on my wife.  Not a bad thing, I am not even a little bit threatened or insecure.  I just like to give her shit about it.  A lot.  Most would say it’s passive aggressive, but to know me…it’s just funny to me.

We are talking one evening about the girlcrush…the wife denying, me laughing…she comes across so naive about such things…but she’s hot and I don’t for one second blame the friend…I lived 28 years with a girlcrush on her before she became mine…so I get it.

Meanwhile…on the patio, the conversation goes something.like.this…

the Wife:  “She doesn’t have a crush on me….”

Me:  “She does, honey…it’s okay….I don’t blame her.”

tW:  “We’re just friends…”

M:  “A friend you take to lunch, go to happy hours with, yeah, that friend…I don’t even get lunch with you.  She gets long  lunches, that you buy…out of our account…total girlcrush.”

M:  “All the while, the little Mrs. is at home, cooking dinner, doing your laundry…”

tW:  “But I bought you a new washer & dryer to do the laundry.”

M:  “Like I said, I do your laundry…”

tW:  “You lose my socks.”

{crickets}

I am expecting new diamonds any time