They’re mine, thank you.

Well…I’ve landed in the ER. Finally, for the first time in five years, my wife is having to sit next to me and wait.

Before anyone freaks out, it’s my knee. I was chasing a shopping cart in the Wal Mart parking lot and something popped…and I could no longer put weight on it. No big deal…it hurts, don’t get me wrong but it’s not at all life threatening. There are people here that are in worse shape.

Pain is manageable, so manageable that I have refused pain shots. I sit here, full clarity with an ice pack, the Broncos and my wife.

When we got home and I realized I couldn’t walk, I cried…which freaked my wife out. Once the Daughter heard me, she jumped in…then the Boy. I’ve got the most excellent set of “human crutches” that anyone could have.

So I was ordered into a recliner while my army brought groceries in, got me ice packs, pillows and ibuprofen. I was told to sit on my hindquarters until they could figure out what to do with me. I felt four. But a loved four.

The daughter is handling the delivery of a new bed and dinner for the two of them…we are waiting in results. I wanna go home to my family.

The wife is keeping the mother and sister, the bestie, the LP, her bestie and Bossman updated. They have all offered love and prayers. Bossman called me stubborn…but that’s code, right?

So I will prolly go home with crutches and an immobilized knee. I’ll go to work, I’ll shuffle around and make Thanksgiving dinner. I’ll spend time with loved ones and exasperate them by not sitting down. It’s called tradition. Only this year, I’ll show off my crutch skills. God.help.us.

But this family of mine…genetic and chosen…I say this…I love you so…thank you for worrying and praying and talking with me.

I’m a tough ol’ broad…I got this.

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.

Teachers. Students.

Life keeps changing.  We are entering this school year with the Boy and the Daughter both beginning classes and new chapters in their lives.  They are headed in incredible directions…I am both proud and devastated.

They no longer need me to hold their hands or pick out their clothes. I no longer have to buy crayons or construction paper. There is no more recess or naps. I am no longer as needed as I once was.

I have taught them independence, I have taught them to find their own voice, their own path…we have battled and we have laughed.  Mostly we love.

I am a mommy. To my core. I live and breathe for these two. They are my babies. Always will be. I pray for their successes in life. Every day.

Let’s add some folks to this prayer list…

To the teachers in my life, I pray for your wisdom and bravery. It’s not easy what you do. It’s not easy what is expected of you. I applaud that this is your calling in life, to shape these minds, to teach them. I give you every ounce of support and honor that I have. I will thank you, on behalf of many parents, for taking our babies and giving them the world. I will thank you now, for the future leaders you hold in your hands. I appreciate each of you.

To the returning students and new students, I pray for your adventure. The knowledge you will gain, the friendships you will make. Take these lessons with you throughout your life. You will need them all.

Listen to your teachers, counselors and principals, they will only want the best for you. You may think whatever they are teaching is dumb…I promise, it’s not…one day, you will need to know the square root of something or if “I” comes before “e”and you will realize its because of that teacher….you know…

Remember, not everyone will be your friend. You won’t always fit in. Be yourself. If someone treats you wrong, find people who treat you right. If someone bullies you or wants you to be a bully, say no. Always. You don’t know what someone else is living, surviving, don’t be a shit person. Be a good, stand up person. Be a leader. Lead others to the right path and be encouraging of others. If you are a follower, follow the right path. Life is full of experiences, good and bad…take the lessons from each and pay.it.forward. Surround yourself with people, others like you, teachers and adults that will lift you up.

Don’t ever let anyone tear you down. Be fair, treat others as you wish to be treated. Remember, everyone is equal.

To the parents of students and teachers…it’s up to us, to put ourselves in their shoes before we scream and yell about how unfair it is that little Johnny or Mary has homework. Read to your kids, teach them. Help the teachers. Support them and make sure yours kids get it….that they are there to get the lessons that will carry them, through their lives. Remind them to listen up, stay awake and do the work, no matter how dumb they think that book report or diagramming sentences may be.

To the parents, we did it. We made it through another summer. Congratulations!

To my love….thank you. For staying sane and keeping me sane. I owe you a drink. Or two…

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…..

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….

Hello.Again.

Wow!  Has it really been 60+ days since I actually had anything to say?!?  Not really….but a nasty case of writers block and a surly temperment for a spell reigned in any attempt to write quippy, sweet or positive anything….best I keep the BS to a minimum, you aren’t really hear to listen to me bitch about all things Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann or the Respondent are you?  nah….me either…I don’t have the energy….

It’s been a busy couple of months, I have seen three trips to Houston, a trip to Galveston, a trip to Nashville, Memphis, Hot Springs and last but not least New Braunfels.

I have seen Houston Space Center, Schlitterbahn, the Blue Bird Cafe, the Ryman, Graceland and some of the prettiest driving ever….

I have survived three trips to the State Fair…opening day with Richard & Jami (and fabu Sandy!), two weekends later  with Kenner, Cory & the wife (narrowly missing a run in with a Human Turd), and closing weekend with the family.  I have survived beer, corny dogs, beer, giant stuffed animals, face painting, beer….indigestion.

I have survived a trip to Six Flag remarkably close to the end of the said fair…and I needed beer…

I have survived the summer spent in hell….literally, it was hotter than just that all friggin summer, burned off any reminder that we spent several weekends, several hundred dollars, sweat, Ibuprofen and beer, laying St. Augustine in the backyard.

I survived assisting (supervised…I digress) in moving folks from Wylie to Garland, from Las Colinas to Garland….what is the fascination with the “Land of Gar” folks?  I just got the wife out of there a couple of years ago (you’re still welcome Beast! 😉 lol…not really)

I survived Halloween, pre-Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving TIMES two….in one day….and so far too many holiday functions to count.  And I have two more weekends to get through, plus hosting a NYE fete with Kris, Morgen and her Mrs.

Holy hell…..

I.am.exhausted….

I love my life.  I love my life.  I love my life.

Wanna know what I love….

That with the trip to Galveston and the Space Center, I got to see the boys eyes light up with wonder and with imagination.  That on the beach, we could play and sit and talk and build sand castles….and his smile set me free.

That with the State Fair, I got to experience it with two of my favorite people….I got to eat Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly Sammiches with Sandy and Fried Frito Pie with my Kenner.  I got to see Rozann and Misty….I got Fletchers….I got to take my kids and ride the Texas Star (I did it…I didn’t enjoy it at first, but would totally do it again!)

With Six Flags, my kids got to do something I have never been able to do with them….Six Flags…they loved the roller coasters, well, Maggie did….Riley is my chicken little and stayed right next to mamma….

With the trip to Nashville, I spent some truly quality time with my wife.  Truly, just the two of us.  Alone, exploring….and I fell more in love with her with every moment.  We were there for the beginning of Occupy Nashville which was awkward…and saw the Parthenon and a 42′ statue of Athena, talk about making me feel petite…

With the trip to Graceland, I got to experience something I never thought I would…I got to see Elvis through her eyes…I don’t have words for how amazing this experience was.  Other than we are planning a trip in less than a month to go back with Ursula and her Mr. if I can swing year end reporting at work….(I’ma workin’ on it, I’ma workin’ on it…)

And now, Christmas is upon us.  House is decorated, with the exception of some finishing touches that I plan to hit this weekend…shhhh….the wife doesn’t know…yet.

Life is good.  Life is not to be taken for granted.  Each day is a blessing.  Each person who I come in contact with impacts my life in that moment.  And I don’t have anyone in my life that impacts it negatively.  At all.

From the cashier at the grocery store who knows my name, that I know her sons by name….to the sales rep that makes me smile, just by frustrating me because he doesn’t know better.

From the mother that finds me to be her favorite hobby and calls me about the most random of things to the sister, who with her faith, finds the silver lining in EVERYTHING.

From the bills, to the laundry.  From the alarm clock to the timeclock….my life is full of bliss, grace, love and laughter…

And with that, the writers block lifts…

I found me again.

If it’s on Facebook, it’s gotta be true, right?

So…the thing on Facebook this week has been to post a picture of your momma in honor of Mother’s Day.  Most of the time, my kid plays it pretty cool.  She doesn’t “emote” about me much on Facebook, as she is WAY to cool for such things…

Then along comes today….and if this isn’t the best Mother’s Day present ever, I don’t know what is….

My kid called ME a badass!  On Facebook, no less.  I effin’ rock….

“This is my mom, Steph. She’s a badass. She’s the most beautiful woman I know. She can talk for days without stopping. Her laugh ALWAYS makes me laugh. She listens to the BEST 80’s music. She can throw down in the kitchen. She will be anyones shoulder to cry on, no matter what. She always has my back. She has a heart bigger than Texas. And I’m the luckiest girl in the world because she is my mom. Thank you for being the amazing person you are, I LOVE YOU.”

Sa-weet!

Happiest of Mother’s Days….all you mothers!!!

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.