Don’t let your babies grow up to be adults…

You know, parenting sucks.  Period.

There, I said it.  You don’t have to.

They don’t come with a guidebook.  There isn’t a contract you sign, you just hang on by your fingernails and hope.  There may be praying involved.  Lots of praying.

You grow this person.  You spend 9 months dreaming of your baby girl, or your baby boy.  You spend 9 months pinning hope and dreams on them,  what they will grow up to be, how they will be…who they will be.  You pin all YOUR hopes and dreams on making their lives better than your own.  That you will do anything and everything to ensure they have the world.

9 months.  9 months of your body changing, your insides moving around to accommodate this little being that you are growing with all these hopes and dreams.  Never once do you think that you started changing and accommodating to grow them, you will spend your lifetime changing and accommodating for them.

It’s true.  You will.

I have spent the better part of my life putting my children first in my life.  Before myself.  Most mommies will tell you they do the same thing, we all do.  We all say “I’m going to put me first!” and it may last for an afternoon…but let’s be real, we are terrible at the follow through.

We bathe, nurse, change diapers, feed, teach them to read, tie their shoes, recite their ABC’s and ride a bike.  We are there with a band aid and a hug for when they get hurt.  A cracker when they are hungry and a story with voices when they are sleepy.  We are superheroes and we shrug it off like it’s nothing.

Ladies, it is EVERYTHING.

We spend our whole lives as mommies in control of everything.  From naptime to bath time, we control their world.  We decide what they eat, what they wear, what they watch and who their friends are.  We are Zeus.  And while they are young, that’s okay.

As they get older, they want freedom.  Freedom to make their own decisions, own experiences and their own friends.  We allow this, in small doses.  Just enough so they feel freedom, but not enough that they go off the rails.

Then they become teenagers…God.help.us.  It is a battle to the death.  Over clothes, curfews, makeup, boys, girls, grades and respect.  It is a battle royale that you think you won’t make it through, but I promise you…it gets worse.

See, they graduate, they become “adults.”  Only, they haven’t listened to anything you have told them as teenagers and now blame you for not teaching them how to be an adult.  They hurl words at you that would peel your skin off, they make sure you know exactly how inept and stupid you are.  How you have not prepared them for the real world.

Now, don’t get me wrong…these are still your babies.  You still would lay down your life for them.  Now it’s time to change the rules.

You are no longer the mommy to children.  You are the mother to adult children.  This is different.  No longer are you required to dress them, bathe them, negotiate curfews and grades.

Now you have to treat them as adults.  Just as the world does and how they are perceived.  You won’t do them any favors by treating them like children when everyone else treats them like adults.  In fact, you are hurting them.  (Not that I speak from experience)  You are not making them capable of creating and maintaining adult relationships.  You aren’t teaching them action and consequence.

You have to make sure they understand actions, consequence and personal accountability and responsibility.  Teach them compassion.

If you think raising your child to be outspoken and bold will work out.  Ask their first co-worker or bosses.  While these are good traits to have, they need to be tempered with respect and compromise.  Because the real world isn’t about who is the biggest bad-ass.  It’s about who has the work ethic and who gets the job done.  Yelling at the boss about what you think is right or wrong isn’t going to get you promoted.  It’s going to get you fired.

They will always be your babies, I get that.  They will always need their mommy.  But as adults, they need mommy to be truthful and honest and level them with the truth when they get too out of hand.  When they need a reality check, to know they aren’t always right, they aren’t always wrong, but that they need to be still and listen to the other things.  Mommy needs to be a steady rock.

Remember YOUR hopes and dreams you pinned on them…they may not be THEIR hopes and dreams.  And that’s okay…you did NOTHING wrong.  You gave them opportunity and hope.  You gave them imagination and dreams.  Now you have to let them find their way.

As your children grow up, you grow up.  You learn things about yourself that you pushed aside and forgot about, long ago.

Children need to be taught that everyone has something to learn, all the time, at every age.  I am 47 and I have yet to stop learning.  Currently, I am learning that I don’t deserve to allow anyone to run all over me in the name of family and love.  I don’t have to allow anyone to question my love or my integrity.  No.one.

I am learning that no one is entitled to anything.  Everything I have, I have worked my ass of to get.  My whole life.  No one has handed me a single solitary thing.  At 47, I deserve what I have, I will share with those that deserve it and everyone else will have to take care of themselves. I am learning my self-respect isn’t tied to what others think of me, but what I know in my heart.

I am learning that I need to have patience and to bite my tongue.  Because as your babies become adults, they have to learn so much…they aren’t the center of the universe.  Nothing is handed to them.  They will have to work, and work hard.  They will need to learn patience, respect and compromise. There is much this world has to teach them…

…but without mommies, they wouldn’t even know how to tie their shoes.

World AIDS Day

December 1st is World AIDS Day.  A day to bring global awareness to this terrible disease that affects nearly every person drawing breath. Either directly or indirectly.

It’s devastating, this disease. The history of it, the lack of funding, the fear, the misinformation…the stigma.

I have been deeply affected by this disease since I was 10. Much too young to understand this or to even fear it. I grew up in the 80’s, in the midst of the outbreak, the explosion of fear and bad information. Only for me, it affected me because I was confused, I didn’t understand.

My mom came out when I was 10 and proceeded to quickly surround me with some of the most amazing people I have ever or will ever know. To say these men loved and adored me was a complete understatement. They took to me, loved me like I was their own and gave me unconditional support and love. These perfect loving creatures touched my life and I will never be the same.

Watching them as I got older and they got sicker, there was this ache, this slow loss. The realization that these gentle people were not going to be part of my life much longer, I did everything I could to hold on longer, tighter to them. To create memories that I still cling to. To say I miss each of them doesn’t do my feelings justice. I ache to see them once more. I carry them in my heart.

I have grown up in the drag circuit… the benefits, food drives, celebrations, parades…all with the common thread of love and the goal of eradication, of control, of surviving.

I’ve got folks in my life that are positive. They are living. Not just surviving, but being the example that in this day in age, you can LIVE with this disease. I don’t see them as people with a disease, I see them, just as them. Perfectly loving, teaching, showing the world not to judge…they don’t shy away from it, the fight with a fierceness that takes my breath away

We, the human race, have GOT to work together towards a cure. We have to help those that can’t help themselves. There are countries that don’t have access to the medicine or knowledge that is necessary to live and survive, we have to give them hope, we have to give them help.

Visit http://www.aids.gov or www.worldaidsday.org, reach out, educate yourself, help.

We are our brothers keeper, it’s up to each of us, it’s within each of us.

And for so many, for Michael, Michael, Matt, Stevie, Steve and my sweet Dan…I love and miss you. Every minute of every day. Thank you for teaching me love, acceptance and grace. It was an honor to be your girl…

Words outta his mouth.

I want to share a bittersweet moment with you…

Tonight, I realized tomorrow is my dad’s birthday…he would have been 73…we were talking about what he would have been like at 73. I made the comment that I wished I could see him, or hear him…

I went about the business of making dinner and put it out of my mind.

After dinner, I walked out on the patio to see the wife, she looked up from Facebook and simply said, “Hello baby!”

It stopped me in my tracks. I asked, “why did you just say that?!? You never say that!!!”

She looked at me like she was in trouble and said, “I don’t know, I’m sorry!”

I said, “no, you don’t understand…my dad was the only one who ever said that to me!!!” I was covered in goosey bumps…and tears.

Known fact….I’m a daddy’s girl. To my core.
Known fact…I miss that man everyday.

Here’s the unknown story…
when I would call my dad! it started with “Hi dad!” And his response to me…”Hello baby!”

More unknown story…
after he passed away, I would hear, in my head…”hello baby!” Quietly, to me. Sometimes, I thought I was losing my mind…then after a while, I quit hearing it. I miss it.

Until tonight. So…

Hi dad! I miss you…

Sometimes It Hurts.

I miss my dad tonight.  I mean, I miss him, deeply.  There are times that I would give everything I own to have a moment with him.  Just one more moment, to tell him I love him, to tell him how proud I am to be his daughter.

Just one moment that would never end…

I used to hear his voice, I used to smell something that would bring him back in such a way, I could literally imagine he was in the room.  I would hear someone laugh and swear it was him.  Once, at a Garth Brooks concert after his death, I swear on all things holy, I saw him.  A couple of rows down…almost close enough to touch….and then I blinked and he was gone.

I do okay 99% of the time.  I know that I carry him in my heart, I know that he surrounds me and still loves me. I have never doubted his love or pride for me, or for being the father of the Tullos Girls.  That we were his world.

But that 1% of the time, the  loss is hard to bear.  It’s like a boulder sitting on my chest to a point that I can’t breathe.  I just want to understand, but it’s not mine to question.

Tonight, there’s been a lot of reflection of my life, certain parts of my life that have shaped me and at some point hurt me.  After the discussion, I looked at the wife, and said “I just really need my dad right now.  To see him, to have him hug me and hold me strong.”  All she could do is hold me and hug me…and let me hurt.

I realized that there are things in my life that as much as I want to think I have let it go, over the years, I have grown as a person, that I have simply pushed it down so far that I don’t access it.  It’s things that I will never put out here, it’s things I won’t share with many….the wife, the sister, the bestie…and the daughter…because these are the ones that at my core, I trust, with my raw places…with my hurt, my insecurity and my scars.  These strong women, they love me through it, because of it…and because they have lived through much of it, if not all of it, with me.

The wife told me that I needed to write about it…as this blog is my therapy.  I don’t believe in conventional therapy, it’s not for me…too many trust issues.  But I told her, it’s not for blog consumption…I will share with you much of who I am, but you don’t need that…you come here for cornhole jokes, gay rules and my exasperation as the mother of two mouthy beautiful mini me’s that tower over me and can’t cook….you know fun stuff.

No…I won’t drag you into it…no need to peek behind the curtain…what you see is what you are gonna get.  I once heard that blogs are just a place for narcissism and egotistical people who want to scream “mememememememe!” I’m NOT that person.  I put words out here to be enjoyed…

Tonight, is mememememememe….for just a moment.

I miss him tonight, he could make this go away.  He could pick this boulder up and set it aside.  He could make me lighter and stronger.  My memories of him make me stronger daily.

Sometimes it hurts.  Too much.  Sometimes I wonder if I will make it through this…then I have to suck it up, pick myself up, push it back down and breathe.

Right now, it hurts.

 

Taco Night.

I love to cook.  For friends, for family.  I love being in the kitchen, creating dishes that will nourish and bring us together.  How the room begins to take on energy and life…the laughter, the smiles, the conversation.  I have found when I am in the kitchen cooking, folks come there…to be in the room, some to snack, some to “help,” some to just visit.  The kitchen is truly the heartbeat of our home.

It’s been a rough, hard patch for me and I think because of that, I haven’t had a creative urge.  I have been so ruled by my emotions and my anger and irritation, that nothing has been enjoyable to me.  Not even cooking.

It hit home yesterday, at the Boy’s football game.  They didn’t do well.  In fact, they lost. Terribly.  And the wife and I inadvertently sat in the wrong section and were a few rows back from the opposing team families.  This is relevant only because they were cheering….loudly.  And beating my son’s team.

How DARE they?!?!?  Didn’t they know that these young men were going to be devastated when they got in the car, didn’t they realize that these young men were going to blame themselves, individually for their team loss.  How dare they sit in the stands being noisy, cheery and happy that their own young men were winning!!!!

I don’t mean I was unhappy.  I mean I was completely irritated and spoiling for a fight. Every time one of them clapped or said “Good job!” I got upset.   Loudly upset, daring one of them to turn around, say something  or even shoot me a dirty look.  I am telling you, it hit a low yesterday.

The wife had to point out to me that if it had been our team, our son, I would have been loudly cheering, loudly proclaiming  “Good job!” and clapping until my hands were numb.  She told me that I was way too irritated and it had been a becoming a more frequent occurrence.  That my moods had changed and I was less happy, more quick to anger.

It was sobering.  She has no idea how this hit me.  I have quietly sat and thought about this since yesterday.

I have gotten so cranky lately.  I don’t know why.  I have let so many other people rule my emotions and my thoughts.  For no good reason.

This week, we did something I never thought I would be able to do.  We bought a car for the Daughter.  It was more the wife than me, which means so much more, because she did out of love.  Not because she HAS to love the Daughter, but because she WANTS to love her.

I told the wife and the Daughter, we just realized that she needed that one small break…that one step that showed her that she could have faith.  That she could lean on family and that our love for her, our faith in her, would be enough to help carry  her.  She was completely shocked and I loved every tear she cried.  If ever a kid deserved the happy, the moment of good shock, it was the Daughter.  And the wife made this happen.

I can never have the ability to tell her how much this meant to me.  How much it meant to me that she worked for this deal.  I was, am, will always be in awe of the level of her compassion for others.  I can never tell her how grateful I am for her, how her love transforms me daily.

That is a lesson I need to always remember…I am transformed every day.

My New Year’s Commitment, not Resolution, was to allow my family, my home to center me.  To bring me back to my core and remind me that even in the smallest way, I matter, that I am part of something special.  I just have to remember to ALLOW my home to recharge my batteries.  To ALLOW my family to bring me back, to help me find my center.  I tend to forget this lesson.  I tend to push it aside, to bring the work, the outsiders, the negative into my core.

It took some obscene cheering and a wife making an innocent statement to snap me out of it.

I realized that I have an amazing family.  I got to spend some really great quality time with the Daughter on Thursday night, just learning about her as a young woman.  We’ve had many of these times since she’s moved out and I feel better about our relationship now, moreso that I ever have before.  We are closer than ever and I treasure the fact that this person, this beautiful woman is of me….that her values, her morals, her life experiences are of me.  It’s mind-blowing.

So on Thursday, it was decided that we would do “Taco Night” on Sunday.  Taco Night is the Daughter’s favorite meal…and the glee was un-containable.  I would almost think that she fasted for three days to prepare.

I have spent the day recharging….as I committed to at New Year’s.  I have changed from one set of jammies to another.  And did nothing.  I sat, watched TV, read, checked Facebook and just chillllllllled out.  I need this, so much.  This CTRL-ALT-DEL on my life.  It’s become imperative in my life.

I love my job.  I find that there are times, I tend to bring my work home.  I have to be careful, because I am the type of person that can let my job take over my life.  I try to leave it at work, or at the very least, let it go on the 40 minute drive home.  And lately, I haven’t done that.  I have seen my conversations revolve around my day, not around my family.

I needed today to remind me that my family is my everything.  My whole reason to get up, to breathe, to do what I do day in and day out.  I needed to honor the commitment to me.

So after sitting around all day, I began doing my do….I began creating a meal for my family.  In the heart of this home, the food, the smells, the energy….it surrounded me and reminded me that I have a family I have to nourish.  Not only with food, but with faith, with love and with peace.  It’s my job to feed them, to love them and I am good at this job.

So as the family gathered around a table overflowing with good food, we laughed, we shared, we spent cherished time together.  Who knew that guacamole and tortillas could pull me out of my funk.

As I watched the Daughter and the Boyfriend leave, with enough leftovers for a family of four, I knew that tomorrow will hold new promise.

Tomorrow, I will wake up to another day in my blessed life and I won’t take it for granted.

WIth the kitchen cleaned, the Boy tucked in and the house quiet again, I find my end of day…and it will end with me, next to my wife, centered and peaceful.

ahhhhhh…..

Family Tree.

After spending the day with the wife and her family, listening to family stories and how everyone is related, it got me to thinking…

Who Am I?

So this morning, the wife (mostly) and I ordered a copy of my Padre’s birth certificate and decided to start this journey.  The journey of who I am and where I come from.  And just from the seach of genealogy websites, I found my grandfather…

And learned of many members of my family I never knew existed.

Now, I am not the type of person to take this stuff at face value or believe everything I read on the WorldWideWeb…so I am gonna keep digging.  With the wife, on our own…

I am me…part of something bigger.

I can’t wait.