30 days of highs, lows and an inappropriate observation. 

In no particular order, the following has happened in the last 30 days…

  • The wife and I realized we were hosting Thanksgiving and had seating for FOUR.  five, if you rolled the chair in from the computer desk.  
  • Found a table we fell in love with, then when the time came to purchase it, it was $200 cheaper than we initially planned for. 
  • The wife and I put that bitch of a table AND six chairs together.  It took 5 hours, but we did it and didn’t kill each other or the Boy. 
  • I proceeded to cook dinner for 15 and rendered myself damn near immobile by end of the day. 
  • Slept for 15 hours and woke up with the flu.  Or something else closely resembling death. 
  • I quarantined myself to the bedroom for 36 hours and the wife and Boy still got sick.
  • I have not watched a single episode of SVU in 10 days and I now know what withdrawal feels like…I don’t know how much more I can handle.  
  • I tried to watch Blackhat and thought I was losing my hearing…and my mind.  
  • Codiene cough syrup sleep is the best drool inducing sleep, ever.
  • Spent an evening with two of the most important friends I have and was allowed to finally rage and weep and mourn the end of a friendship while reigniting another one.
  • I have reconnected with a few dear people that I let my pride pull me away from.
  • I have realized that you can teach this old dog new tricks. 
  • I haven’t had a soda or junk food in 5 months and I feel incredible. 
  • A 46 year old gay man and a 17 year old boy will have the same reaction to a conversation that involves a vagina. 
  • That soul mates aren’t always romantic and I have several people who have filled my soul and made me whole. 
  • The wife and I have changed shower heads.  Twice.  We are waiting for our butch cards to arrive in the mail. Any day now. 
  • Our Christmas decorations are displayed before December 20th. 
  • We have lights on the outside…and they all work. 
  • I will find a nutcracker to buy in every store I walk into.  Including 7-11 or Petsmart. Don’t judge me.  
  • I am a magnet for all sorts of bullshit.  And that I handle said bullshit with amazing patience.  
  • I had to explain what “going HAM” was to the wife after I had used it correctly in a conversation.  
  • Used “on fleek” in the correct context.  
  • Have not yet had my freak out about the Boys upcoming surgery. But   we aren’t there yet.  
  • Have created a “to do” list with the wife of projects that are impressive and massive. 
  • Have learned I am inpatient about these projects. 
  • Had in depth discussions about vinyl vs. aluminum windows, gutters and landscaping.  
  • I watch too much HGTV. 
  • I need to play AND WIN the lottery. 
  • Bordered on a deep, uncomfortable conversation about tithing and God if I was to win the lottery. 
  • My hairdresser is convinced that my Vitamin D deficiency is due to my entry into menopause. Like I am joining a club…
  • Had an extremely awkward and hilarious conversation about panties with someone I was shocked to have such a conversation with.  
  • I have come to accept the fact I will not be seeing Star Wars the opening weekend.  And I’m okay with that.  
  • I have fallen in love with me again. Finally.  It feels wonderful. 

Here’s to more highs, more lows and more conversations about vaginas, panties and household improvements.

What’s been going on in your world???

Another day. Another year.

There’s no other daddy like mine.  He was the best daddy I could have ever had.

My earliest memory is with my dad.  I was 3 1/2. My dad had taken me to see Cinderella.  Mom was home with my baby sister.  It was Christmas time and I remember looking at the colorful lights through the frosty windows as we drove down the street.  I remember him opening the door for his  “little lady”, the way I felt safe.  And proud.  I was daddy’s date.  I was dressed up and had on my black shiny dress shoes and my mom had done my hair in pretty pigtails…including ribbons that matched my dress.  I was a very loved child.  I remember the screen, the movie, the songs,  I was entranced.  And I was with the most important man in my life.

He was my hero and larger than life.  He was taken from us too quickly.

My dad taught me respect, for myself, for others  He taught me how to love, unconditionally and with all of me.  He taught me to live with no regret.  To learn lessons from my mistakes. To not have any expectations of others, to accept people for who they are and that the people who seem the most damaged are the ones who need my friendship the most.  To never judge a person based on others perceptions, make up my own mind.

He gave me strength.

He taught me that I need to dig in, give 100% of myself, so if I walk away from a person or situation,  I can do so, knowing I could do nothing more than I did.  That I never left with questions unanswered.

Well, I have one unanswered question…

Dad, why did you leave?

I ask this question when I get scared, when I get sad…and I realize that it is the most selfish question I can ever ask.  And I feel horrible and petty and small.

Then I have to work my way around it, in my way, to make it work in my head.  Dad had to go because he was needed somewhere else.  God had other plans for him.  It has to be enough.  And remarkably, it is.

Every day, I miss him.  Every year, it’s just as hard.

As much as I miss him,  I don’t like to think about today.  And I can remember, in minute detail, every moment of that day.  I can remember what I was wearing, what the weather was like, how the sirens sounded…all of it.  clearly.  damn.it.

I don’t want to think about him, it reminds me of how much I miss him, how big the hole in my heart is.  How I am no longer Daddy’s Girl or his “little lady,” that there are no more frosty Christmases with him…that I can’t hold his hand or feel his hug.

And yet, I never want to forget it.

Yes, it’s been 16 years today that you left us.

Dad, you are still part of my life, everyday.

I’ll see you again.

Bye for now.

 

 

Mommy World.

My kids have two mommies.

It’s okay…I acknowledge it isn’t for everyone, but it’s perfect for us.  I am bio-mom.  I carried these two bundles of joy,  I shared a heartbeat with each of them.  I’ve loved each of them 9 months longer than anyone else ever will.  I have made my share of mistakes, I have made your share, my neighbors share, my 3rd cousin twice removed’s share….I have screwed it up more than I care to think about, but I own it.

These two are of me, they look like me, act like me, sound like me.

I have taught them the truth may hurt, but everyone is WORTH the truth.

I have taught them that even though they are head and shoulders taller than me, I can still put them in their place.

I have taught them to respect themselves, because in life, many others won’t.

I have taught them that yes, adults do suck sometimes, and even the ones that say they love you and won’t leave, do.  It’s not their fault, it’s on the other person.  They aren’t to give them any energy.

I have taught them unconditional love.  Period.  No excuses, no reason.  Love is love….and there is always room for more of it.

I have taught them that I will walk through fire for them.  I love them to my very core and there isn’t anything they can do to change that.

Then I gave them the Wife.  And it’s changed our lives, all of us.  I have known her for 30 years, we have been a family for 4 years…it gets better every day.

I once asked the wife why she loved them so much, her answer was simple, “In the beginning, I loved them because I love you and I see how much you love them…how do you not love someone so much? Now, I love them because we have our own relationships, we have our own things…they are as much mine.”  She’s the goods.

She hasn’t “thanked” me yet for these relationships, but she hasn’t run for the hills either.

So everyone understands, my kids have two mommies.  It’s okay.

I had a conversation with the sister today that made me think about what actually constitutes a family.  See, I had two mommies, no…not in THAT way, I had my bio-mom and my step-mom.  Everyone should have a step-parent like mine.  She never felt like a step-parent and she never treated me like less.  I love her everyday and think of her often.  She left my life after the divorce, but in my heart, she left me with a sister, a brother and a 2nd mommy that I will always love and lessons I will never forget.

In today’s society, there are so many single parents, by choice, by death, by separation, the list goes on and on…here’s my take on it….

there are so many that need love, need guidance, need structure and support…why shut folks down?  Because of their sexuality?  Seems short-sighted and petty.  Maybe that’s just me.

My kids got/get asked all the time “your mom is gay???” and both without missing a beat, without hesitation, “yes.” Simple and true.

Yes, they have been picked on.   But I’ll let you in on a secret; kids pick on kids, regardless of whether or not mommy is a fag.  All kinds of reasons….

  • Mommy is fat.  (it’s okay, I am)
  • Mommy isn’t blonde.  (tried it once, not pretty)
  • Mommy isn’t a stay at home mommy.  (Bossman would cry)
  • The daughter’s hair was too short.
  • The boy’s hair was too long.
  • We didn’t live in the right part of the neighborhood.
  • We didn’t have a hot tub.

Kids learn what we teach them.  These two have learned there are lots of different ways to love others, that it’s okay to have one parent, or two, or two mommies, daddies, step parents, foster, adopted, whatever…they have learned family isn’t always genetic.

Sometimes, the right one walks in the door.  This person will take away the hurt and replace it with love and honor.  This person will show a child it’s okay to trust, to love someone who isn’t “the norm.”

Besides, my definition of normal is way different from yours.  Example, I think it’s completely normal to have 7 pairs of the same shoe in different colors or the same purse in 4 different colors.

What? not normal?

told.you.so.

Birthday Dialogue.

So today is the wife’s birthday…I am going to allow her to be the center of attention.

I do not LIKE being the center of attention…

She knows this…

And I am sure this evening’s events went WAY better than she planned.  Because no one can make an ass out of themselves in quite the fashion that I can…whoo-whee…

SO….birthday dinner.  With the family.  This event is usually an EVENT unto itself.  With the Daughter, the Boy, the Sister & Niece and the Mother (of all mothers)…typically, dinner ends up with one, two or three of the kids crying and/or fighting.  It typically ends up with the adults, now including the Daughter, consuming large quantities of alcohol and me guaranteeing its the last family meal of this kind in public…and yet…we seem to keep doing this, year after year, celebration after celebration.

Why, you ask?

Because I do love my family…they drive me five kinds of insane, but they are mine.  Genetically, we are almost all the same crazy, ‘cept the wife, who willingly married into it after EXTENSIVE warnings to run away from me as quickly as she could.  (no shit…I SERIOUSLY warned her.  she loves me in spite of it. go figure)….and THIS family, we laugh until we cry and our sides are hurting…I laugh more with my family than almost anyone else I know (‘cept Kenner) and it’s the best gift in the world…my sister and my mother, will put me into tears of laughter damn near every time we are around each other.  I love my family.

Anyhoo…(I tend to ramble)…back to birthday dinner for the wife.  I made sure on top of everything else, I got the wife everything she said she wanted with the exception of one gift that she has to pick out (her camera, pervs….) and her favorite…red.velvet.cake.

They dig in…once the family gets their cake…the wife decides to share with a little boy and his father a table away.  She strolls over, visits for a split second and comes back.  It’s when she comes back, that she gets me.  REALLY gets me.  It goes a little…like…this…

the Niece:  Why’d you do that?  Who is that boy?  How old is he?

the Wife:  I wanted to share my birthday cake.  His name is Nicholas, he’s 7 1/2 and will be 8 on September 23rd. 

the Sister:  Awwww…that’s sweet of you.

Me:  Yes baby, you are sweet!  I love you!!!

{I look towards the table and make eye contact with both}

Me:  {loudly and with my hand raised in the air waving like a mad woman!} Happy Early Birthday Nicholas!!!

the Wife:  ummmm, {snicker, giggle} that’s not his name, I don’t know who he is or how old he is.  I made that shit up because the Niece was asking. {she can barely get this sentence out before dissolving into a fit of laughter…}

Me:  *blink*blink*cricket*blink*  shit….

{man and son are staring at me like I just grew a second head on my shoulder.}

the Sister:  wha-?  bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah  *snort * giggle* bwahahahahahahahahahaha…classic.  You are an idiot.

Me:  Shut up.

the Wife:  I didn’t think you would DO that!  I didn’t have enough time to ask those questions!  Did you really think I asked all that in the 5 seconds I was over there???

Me:  SHUT up.  Yes!!!

Me:  you are BOTH dicks.  {only makes them laugh louder!}

And I had to sit there….with the entire table giggling, snorting and staring at me, then back at the other table only to erupt in laughter again.

The sister is still laughing at it.

Yup….Happy Birthday honey…I have a whole year to plot, er, plan my revenge, er, your party…

My Grand Day.

It’s Friday, I wanna be at work.  I thought taking the day off to care for a sick family member would be easy…I wanna be at work…NOW!!!

So…it’s Spring Break….should be a week of fun for kids and exhaustion for parents…

The Boy and the Niece went to gramma’s for the week…where upon all children (there’s about 7 of ’em) that run around and play together….got a virus. A 24 hour bug, if you will…

Today is the Niece’s turn to have it.  At my house.  Whee!!!

The Sister just started a new job and couldn’t take off, the gramma is sick, my uncle is in the hospital and the Boy is doing his best to hold food down…so it was up to me to take care of the Niece….not a big deal…I got this.

Only….this child can puke.  Alot.

The sister and the niece get to my house early….the deal was, I would go to work for a few hours and the Daughter would stay up with the Niece for a couple of hours.  I asked her last night, before she went out.  Repeat, BEFORE SHE WENT OUT…

well….7:30-ish rolls around…and I can’t get the Daughter up.  Hangovers do that….

SO the sister hands me a pair of shorts that were in the front yard when she walks in.  (will be important soon) and the Niece got sick on the ride over…with the Sisters driving, who can blame her….so we change her, get her laid on the couch and all is well…

For a couple of hours….then we hear someone from the Daughters room, offering anything to the porcelain gods to make it stop…

Puke #2 of the Day….

All quiets down and then the 21 year olds leave after they explain the evening in which the Daughter won a chugging contest, on the bar…and the friend ended up shortless in my front yard (‘member?).  I am 41, I quit asking questions…I prolly don’t want the answers.  At.All.

….so I make the Niece a bland lunch….and we settle in to pay-per-view Mr. Popper’s Peguins.

Bland is bad.

In 7.3 minutes she looks at me….runs for the bathroom and well….BAM!

Puke #3 of the day…

Second time today that I have washed clothes….this time we added a bathroom rug.

The daughter and the friend have returned with chicken and rice.  They are hungover….they are still piecing the night together…they realize that they have to wash the Daughter’s bedspread, the car, the Daughter (friend puked on said Daughter) and they stand up to gather items to go wash…(my washer is busy, ‘member?)

Right then…the smallest of the pups sneaks in, ninja-like to the Daughter’s room and steals a chicken tender.  It’s as big as she is.

Does anyone NOT know that you don’t steal chicken and rice from hungover 21-year olds?  Cause Bella didn’t get the memo…she takes off hauling ass into the yard, with her tender, intent on NOT sharing with any of the other pups, who are hot on her trail.

Keep up folks, I have a puking 8-year-old, a puking 21 year old….washer running, a chicken tender stealing dog and two other dogs ganging up on the little on with the tender…

I wanna go to work.

So I text the sister to tell her that I am impressed with the Niece’s manners while puking and that the Daughter’s friend has also been puking, so it’s been an exciting day.  She laughs.  At me.  Over a text.  Did I mention the sister is a dick?  JUST kidding!!!

So I text the wife to tell her much the same.  She laughs.  At me.  Over a text.  Did I mention the wife is a dick?  JUST kidding!!!

Maybe….

Mothers.

So today is Mother’s Day…a day to celebrate all things Mother.  Guess I should say something nice about my momster…

Wait…Ima mommy….celebrate ME!

Well, I am blessed and grateful beyond words for my two tax deductions.  They are a constant source of laughter, head scratching, hand wringing and laundry.  (I don’t care what the Daughter says, if I have to take it from the washer and dryer to put in a basket or on your chair…I am still assisting with your laundry…)

I get them.  As much I am allowed to get them.  They are kids, their whole goal in life is to attempt to keep things from me and give me as much grief as possible.  There are things that I know that I wish I didn’t know and things they don’t know that I know that they wish I didn’t know. 

I know that I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything or anyone.

I do believe I owe a few apologies, first to my mother, then to my children….as it is Mother’s Day….so much more the fitting.

Mommy, from the bottom of my heart, I apologize for…

  • Trying to sell my baby sister for rocks.  I was three…and I really liked those rocks.
  • Having an aversion to clothing, yet a love for the ice cream truck, and these two things were not mutually exclusive….
  • Riding the dog like a horse.  All the time.
  • Hiding my toothbrush.  And my shoes.  And said baby sister.  (I was three…)

 And for my children, I apologize for…

  • Every tape we owned of Barney and Teletubbies.  I know, I know….but still, it’s a giant Purple Dinosaur and well, what the hell were the Teletubbies?
  • 7:30PM bedtime.  Mommy needed some down time.  And wine….
  • Awkward clothing that was “so cute” at the time.  Please don’t dress me like that in the home…
  • Velcro tennis shoes.  ’nuff said…

 I have grown up and learned so much from these two. 

  • I have learned that it is important to teach them, to lead by example.  As much as you think they don’t pick up on, they will…whether you want them to or not!
  • They have taught me that pure love, is unconditional.  No matter how hard they push at me, I will love them to my end. 
  • No matter how hard they scream and yell, I can always get an octave higher.
  • There are no known cures for housework allergies.  Meaning, no matter how much I beg, plead, hint or bribe, they will get downright ill at the mere thought of a vacuum, duster or mop.  And dishes?  forget.it.

I have been given a gift from these two that will forever be the best gift anyone can ever give me.

Truth.

I have had conversations with both of my kids that have led each of them to share with me what I have hope and prayed to have shared with them.  The one thing I thought they weren’t doing, they were….they were listening…they were watching.  Me. 

According to my tax deductions, they have learned:

  • Family is family.  No matter how they fuck up.  No matter how much we fight….we are family.  We come together to celebrate, to mourn, to support and to mock unmercifully.  We are family.  No one gets in between us and those we consider as such. 
  • Family is more than genetics.  Yes, some people suck…but keep the ones worth loving. 
  • Speak up.  Find your voice.  If you don’t agree with something, say something.  (This HAS come back on me a time or two in SPECTACULAR fashion…)
  • I will do anything and everything I can to ensure they are happy, healthy and safe. 
  • Hugs help.  Everything.  Everytime. 
  • Chew with your mouth closed.  Be respectful and pick up after yourself.  Specifically, this rule applies when they are at someone else’s home.  Because that’s what I hear…“You’re children are so well-behaved!!!  So respectful!!!”  I just stare blankly and wonder if they are talking about mine….but apparently they are…

Folks always think they parent better than the next fool out there, how they would do things different if they had my two, or their own…if you think you can do better, go pop a couple out….let me know in twenty years how you did.  I am proud of mine.  My mom is proud of me.  I will be proud of the parents my children will be. 

My job, my mommy job, is the best thing I have ever done.  I am at my core, a mommy….I was born to be one.

Road Trip Dialogue.

So it’s been a week of wedded bliss.  Still….no horns, no tail…I should probably be safe now.  I think. 

So…..yep, a whole week.  Week of shiny, cheek hurting smiles and I am happier each day. 

Iowa is a long drive.  Seriously a long effin drive…through alot of small towns, speed traps, and barren fields.  When I say long, it doesn’t do it justice.  Think a walkabout…only not through the Australian outback, but across Oklahoma and Kansas….yeah, THAT long.

In an inspired or insane moment (you decide) I decided to jot down some anecdotes and some of the funnier things that were said.  In just reading them back, I can giggle, or laugh until I pee.

Let’s begin, shall we?

  • It takes 4.5 hours to get across the state of Oklahoma.  It is flat and boring.  I took the best naps through Oklahoma and I can guarantee you, I didn’t miss a thing.
  • I can fall asleep in a car in 12 minutes.  Seriously, I’m like a baby…
  • Oklahoma has an amazing amount of speed traps.  A-mazing….
  • I may be the only person that picked up on the fact that right next to a cemetery on Hwy 69, there is a meat processing plant. 
  • I will not purchase anything beefy in Oklahoma, except Slim Jims, because they don’t count as beef.
  • It will take only 4 minutes to lose $10 in a truck stop casino in Oklahoma.  4.minutes.flat.  *sigh*
  • Reversing on the Oklahoma tollway ISN’T fun.  I don’t care who you are…
  • There is probably the NICEST bathroom I have EVER been in at the Choctaw Truck Stop/Casino.  Seriously, so nice, I took PICTURES of it.  And there are TV’s in the mirrors and upon showing these photos to the son, he has now decided he MUST have a TV in his mirror.  You know….to watch CNN while getting ready….?
  • Our GPS is a menopausal bitch. 
  • I hate the voice of our GPS. 
  • There is only so much beef jerky (purchased in Texas) that this chick can eat.  blech.
  • There are no Slim Jims for sale at any convenience store in Oklahoma.  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Zip.
  • I really don’t like travelling through Oklahoma.
  • There is a roundabout at the Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri borders that will leave you dizzy if you listen to the menopausal GPS.  And it will take you twenty minutes to get out of it. 
  • Kris lost her shit in Pittsburg, KS.  I mean, lost her shit.  Is it wrong that I am still laughing at it?  Poor thing.
  • It’s great fun eBaying at 80 mph….That’s Kris, both driving AND eBaying…me?  I hid my head…

So yeah….just a few insights…but the conversations…that’s the cherry on the cake:

{Scene:  I have just awaken from a 30 minute (ok, 1 hour) power nap.  As discreet as I was trying to be about actually sleeping while Kris was driving, she cold busted me when I woke up}
Kris: ” How was your nap?”
Me:  “I’m awake.” {blink, blink} “Want some nuts?”

*****

{Scene: Kris looking out the window through small town Oklahoma, sees a “spectacular” couple on a motorcycle, harassing traffic.}
Kris:  “It’s 11:00 AM on Wednesday, what, are they taking a bike ride around small town Oklahoma while draining the state’s unemployment benefits?!”
Me:  “No look, he has a mechanic’s uniform on, maybe he picked her up to take her to the crack house.”

*****

GPS: “Re-calculating.  Re-calculating.  Re-calculating.”
Kris:  “Shut up.  Shut up.  SHUT UP!”

*****

{Scene:  Still in Oklahoma….Kris is drinking some water, unaware that I have two more bottles.}
Kris: ” We are almost out of water.  It’s gonna be survivor mode baby…”
Me:  “I’m gonna eat your hiney.”
{crickets}
Me:  “But don’t worry, we have two more bottles in back.”

*****

{Scene:  Kris, passing cars, which seemed to be a sport.}
Kris:  “Ha!  85 baby!  THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!!!  Hey…did I save a minute?” {looks at estimated time on GPS} “Yes…that’s the way!  Used a 1/4 tank of gas…”
Me:  “Yes…but you SAVED a minute.”

*****

Kris:  “We have two iPhones, a Garmin and we STILL don’t know where we are?!!?!?!?”
Me:  “I’ll download the Map Quest app, then we’ll have four!!!”

*****

{Scene:  we are NOW in Kansas…halleujah!}
GPS:  “Continue 102 miles on current road.”
Kris:  “WHAT?!?!!??  THIS road?  It’s two fucking lanes.  It’s 45 fucking miles per hour.  WITH stop lights!!!  The GPS is on crack….!!!!  Find me an alternate route!!!”

*****

Kris:  “You know, Kansas and Oklahoma are damn Twinkies….”
Me:  “hmmm?”
Kris:  “They have mule lots, they have John Deere tractor lots.  What the hell is this?”
Me:  “A Kum and Go….convenience store.  They have gas.”

*****

Kris:  “If I can’t get a fucking signal in the middle of Kansas and I miss my eBay bid, I am gonna be pissed!”

*****

Kris:  “I am sick of being behind the Coca Cola truck.  It’s making me thirsty…”
Me:  “Great, now I gotta pee….”

*****

I can’t wait for our next road trip.  I think I am gonna throw the Daughter and the Son, maybe a friend or two into the mix and see what I can get…

whee!

I miss you.

Hey you,

Thought I would write, since we can’t talk, to catch up a little bit on what’s been going on in my world.  Let you know I am okay and that I think of you often.

I won’t say it’s been easy.  I won’t say that I haven’t been angry.  I will say that it’s been worth the lessons I have had to learn, the strength I have found in me.  The loss of you in my life has been profound.  There’s an empty spot that will never be filled and there are times, that spot, hurts to such a level, I can’t breathe.

But on a daily basis.  I am great.  The family is amazing.  Mom and the sister and I have all learned to love each other, through our faults, through our bizarre OCD tendencies and there is a level of love and respect that you would be proud of. 

The daughter would take your breath away.  She’s beautiful, courageous, mouthy and just like me.  (Quit rolling your eyes!) The son is growing in to such a young man.  They are both so tall already.  I am proud to my core.  They both talk about you and miss you.  I love hearing the stories about you from a child’s perspective.  You were the coolest. 

You know already how my life has changed.  You have watched it.  I gotta tell you, if you knew my Girl, you would really love her.  You would love how she lights up my life and how she makes me shine.  You would be blown away at the respect she shows the kids, the mother, the sister…and the depth of her love of all of us.  Especially me. You would smile at the laughter she puts in my life.  And she would love you…

We are getting married.  Yes, married.  I wish you were here, to witness it.  To be with me on that special day.  Standing next to me.

Oh, how I miss you.  There are times that tears burn my eyes and my emotions choke me.  It’s been too long and there are times I go to pick up the phone, to call, to hear your voice….and I know I can’t.  And in those moments, it rips my heart open. 

Yes, it’s been a while.  A long while.  13 years today, to be exact. 

I miss you, dad. 

Love,
your daughter.

Twenty years to life.

20 years ago tonight, twenty years ago, at this very same time, I was waiting for my world to change. 

20 years ago tonight, at this very same time, I was becoming a mother. 

I was twenty when I had my daughter.  Early in the morning, she will turn the same age I was when I had her.  Twenty.  I can’t imagine changing anything for a moment. 

Well, today, I can’t….two weeks ago, I would have sold her to a carnival or into foreign slavery, whichever had the better offer.  I digress…

My daughter, for all that she is…is amazing.  She is strong, stubborn, funny, infuriating, beautiful and a pain in my ass.  But she is mine.  I have had her nine months longer than anyone else ever will. 

I have a bond to this kid.  It’s the strongest bond I have ever had in my lifetime to another human being.  I don’t like to share her and luckily, I don’t have to.  She is my biggest fan, my biggest adversary and the truest being in my life.

I have said before, when they handed this little lump to me 20 years ago, she looked at me, almost through me, blinked twice and I swear mentally told me “shit, we are in this together, right?”  I instantly and forever fell in love in a way that has changed me.

I knew when I found out I was pregnant, that I would always put this little person, who grew to 6’2″ before anyone else.  And when her brother came along, he too, came before all others.  I have put their needs before mine for so long that when my Girl tells me “do something for yourself,” I can’t comprehend it.  I don’t know how to…I made the choice so long ago to be a mommy…to the best of my mommy abilities, that I fade into the background.

I have protected her, ferociously from those I think will harm her, that will sway her or those that just give me the heebie-jeebies.  She may not understand now when I say, “they aren’t going to stick.  These friends aren’t keepers.” But down the road, she will realize that I was only looking out for her.  For her well-being.  It’s my job.

I see glimpses in her of how amazing she is going to be in the future.  Like I have a momentary crystal ball and it lets me see her, owning the world.  And it takes my breath away.  She is magnetic.  She has a smile that lights up a room and demands attention.  She is life electric.

Daughter of mine….I am prouder of you than you will ever imagine.  I can’t thank God enough for blessing my world with you.  And I love you to the core. 

Happy Birthday my beautiful angel.   I am blessed.

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.

I belong.

Belongingness is defined as :

Belongingness is the human need to be an accepted member of a group. Whether it is family, friends, co-workers, or a sports team, humans have an inherent desire to belong and be an important part of something greater than themselves. The motive to belong is the need for “strong, stable relationships with other people.” This implies a relationship that is greater than simple acquaintance or familiarity. The need to belong is the need to give and receive affection from others.

I have decided that this year has been a year of finding my belongingness.   Where I belong.  Who I belong to.  Who I belong with.  It’s been an eye-opening experience and I wholeheartedly pray that everyone finds their belongingness.

I belong.

Now, I am right where I belong.  I have a sense of purpose that has been missing for years.  I feel lucky to go to work everyday.  I respect and admire my boss.  Tremendously.  I have a staff that has blossomed under my management which was simply an act of empowerment.  To let them do what they know…that we are in it together, to make it work… They look happier than months ago, they laugh and they know everyday how much I appreciate what they do and how well they do what they do.  My team rocks it and I wouldn’t trade a moment.  I have more to do everyday than I can do and I find that my day passes quickly and that in itself is a blessing.  I am good at what I do and that gives me a sense of pride in my job and in myself.  I belong.

I belong.

I found that I had become hard, angry person that took my position as “Family Control Freak” to the ‘inth degree.  My small family continuously looked to me to fix it, to vent, to lean on, to rescue.  And after a while, I got angry.  I got tired and I didn’t let go.  I realize now that this is the dynamic of this family.  I am the “go to” person.  I have been since I was 14.  And all it took was one statement from my sister…“You have been my mom and dad since I was 11….,” I realized at that moment, it was us.  And there was only the three of us left.  Or so I thought.  I let go of the anger, of the sense of helplessness that I felt every time my mom got sick.  I let go of the anger, the isolation I felt when my sister couldn’t help me.  I let go.  I simply realized that mom wasn’t doing it on purpose.  That she was more angry, more scared than I was.  I realized that my sister was doing the best she could with what she had.  And that she was more angry and more isolated than I was.  I let go.  I let them in, I told them how sorry I was, how I loved them.  And I found my place.  I found my sister, I found my mom…and the love that was always there…I also found that it wasn’t the three of us…there are aunts, uncles, grandchildren, “in-laws”, and soon to be in-laws, that are there to help me.  That these people are there as part of my genetic family.  That I have a place in a larger family than I saw.  And my, how I love this family.  They are mine.  I belong.

I belong.

A year ago, I changed my relationship with my kids.  I became a mommy again.  I changed the “friend” hat for the “parental” hat that I should have never taken off.  To show them that there were limits, that there were consequences to their actions.  That even in letting them learn from their mistakes, they will always have me in their corner. In the past year, I have seen their stability, their security, I have seen their smiles and heard their laughter.  I have seen a peace come over them that only comes with the knowledge that they are first.  I am more peaceful knowing they see me, really see me and the strength that comes with that.  I belong.

I belong.

I have found that I don’t need lots of friends.  I need good friends.  People in my corner that want to be around me.  Not for the parties I throw or the jokes I make.  Not to always be there to pick them up when they are down.  They want to be around me, just for me.  This year, I have learned the hard way that trust isn’t something you just “give away,” it’s something that is to be earned.  That people sometimes suck and they are selfish and have their best interest at heart.  It’s ok for them, but not for me.  That honesty is the best policy and that not everyone can handle it.  I learned that I have to be careful because my friends are an extension of me and speak volumes of who I am.  I love my friends, the new ones that have come into my life and the old ones (no, I am not calling you old, cutie!!!) that no matter what, loves me for me.  The person who is my soldier, my confidant, my soul sisters.  I have found that I fit this group of people and they fit me.  I can’t think of my life any longer without them…and without naming a single one of them…they will know who they are and they will smile.  Because I touch their lives as they touch mine.  I belong.

I belong.

I have loved.  I have lost.  I am not perfect nor am I innocent in any failed relationship in my past.  These days, these people have a fond place in my memories.  I choose to not dwell on where the fault lies, or who did what, who said what and the why of it all.  I simply honor my past, as it shaped me.  I move forward with this amazing woman.  This person that can read my thoughts and finish my sentences.  She shares my home, my children, my heart, my breath and my soul.  This person loves me for who I am.  For who I can be.  I have found support, trust, forgiveness, peace, integrity and a love that is beyond anything I have experienced.  I have found my place.  And it’s at the end of the day, in the crook of her arm.  I belong.

I belong.

It’s been a while since I have spoken loudly and proudly about my faith.  It’s not because it’s faded.  It’s simply because I quietly needed every ounce of it for myself.  I have had a terrifically rough 6 months and the end is in sight, but it’s not over.  I have put all my problems in His hands, asked that He hold me up and show me the path drawn for me.  At times, I don’t understand it, but I follow.  I lost my church home a year ago, it doesn’t feel as welcoming or warm as it once did and I ache for that sense of community, but in the times that I miss it most, I quietly talk to God, tell Him of my sense of loss and He brings me peace.  Someday, He will show me my new church family, it will feel right and it will be right where I need to be.  Until then, I will float on my faith.  Rejoice in His love for me, for my family, for those close to me.  I know that I am loved and forgiven.  That’s enough for now.  I belong.

I belong.

I have spent a lifetime putting everyone and everything before me.  Making sure that everyone else was happy, everyone else’s needs were met and that whatever they needed they had.  I took care of people who I now see, simply couldn’t or wouldn’t do the same for me.  That didn’t put me first.  That put their needs in front of mine and disguised is as their sense of concern “for me.”  I put that down a year ago.  I put me right where I need to be.  I find that I need to be quiet, I need to be sad, I need to be happy, manic, small, angry….I need to be human.  And anything more than that, well…

I belong to me.