I'm back and I survived which is no small feat considering my very stressful camping weekend. Let me share a few snippets...
Camping is stressful when:
-It's 90 degrees and your campsite has no shade until 3 in the afternoon
-You take a 2 year old out of her normal element and she refuses to take a nap for two days.
-You bring your Chocolate Lab with you that has two bad legs and can't walk far so you end up carrying him most of the time
-You former best friend brings her 2 year old and a puppy and doesn't watch either one
-There are ants everywhere...even inside your tent
-You see the biggest spiders you've ever seen in your life and your significant other refuses to kill them (whimp) so you are left with the task of smashing them silly
-You have a queen size mattress to sleep on but you also have a toddler who thinks 3/4 of that mattress belongs to her so you end up with her sleeping on your chest...in 90 degree weather
-You are camping with 3 'almost teen girls' who roll their eyes every time you tell them to clean up their dishes, help pick up trash, or do anything that doesn't involve sitting on their duff talking about boys
-You have to watch your 'former best friend' give her toddler Mountain Dew or play with the fire or carry big sticks around or do all the things you've been taught that good parents never never do...and you have to keep your mouth shut 'cause it ain't your kid
Needless to say I've had my fill of tent camping and if I ever venture out into the woods again it's going to be with a big honkin' camper that has electricity and a bathroom and at least 2 beds so my sweet girl Alice can have as much space as she wants. Alice did have fun camping...so I suppose the weekend wasn't a total bust...I swear the things we do for our kids...
Hope you all had a fab weekend.
Hooray for Fridays...Hooray for long weekends. It seems like it's been forever since we had a long holiday weekend doesn't it? We're taking my daughter camping this weekend...with a tent, and a campfire, and smores...I'm so excited. As much of a princess as I am I've always enjoyed camping. I'll admit I can't sleep on the hard ground so I take my lovely queen air mattress along - but hey I'm preggy, I'm allowed a few luxuries right? It's kind of funny because my sig. other always claims I'm a city girl and I can't get dirty but he's actually mistaken. I grew up in the country with horses and a cow named Teebone. Most summer days you'd find me weeding my mother's gigantic garden or pulling fruit from the trees in our orchard. I learned to make jam and can vegetables at age 6. Every night I spent at least 30 minutes scrubbing the dirt from my knees and getting the grime from under my fingernails. I was no city girl. I've never been afraid to get dirty and you know what...I think that has saved me from a hell of a lot drama in my lifetime. There's something about a woman that knows how to take care of herself from fixing her car to canning her own vegetables that is so very appealing to most men. It's funny when you think about it, we women sometimes play the game of 'needing' a man when in reality all we really need is some good company.
Here's to all you self sufficient women out there...Hail to the princess.
Have a wonderful long weekend.
My daughter loves American Idol. As we sat watching the idol wannabes perform, Alice decided to get her guitar and show them how it's really done. She danced, she sang, she shook her tiny 2 year old butt. Little does she know that I'm already her biggest fan.
Happy Half Nekkid Thursday
I started writing a post about how much I hate Wednesdays...mostly because it's in the middle of the week, not too close to the beginning of something and still too far from the end of it. I hit backspace over my words because I started thinking...how negative am I? I'm letting the upset stomach I have dictate how I'm going to feel about the rest of this day. I suppose it's not unlike the many times that I let one event dictate every moment that follows it. So, I'm here...munching on saltines and hoping that I will be strong enough not to let this morning sickness ruin the enjoyment I should be feeling from this pregnancy. I can do this right?
Remember, each moment owns itself. Let the lease on the bad ones expire quickly.
Someone sent me one of those chain emails yesterday. I hate chain emails and most often I delete them before giving them a second glance but the one that landed in my inbox yesterday caused me to read further than the subject line. Maybe you've seen it, it's titled "I wish you enough." The story it tells isn't a fantastic one, it's not well written, and even the meaning is a bit weak but the word 'enough' sparked something in my brain and I pondered the word most of yesterday. The word itself means sufficient to meet need or desire. Wishing someone 'enough' means you wish their needs and desires to be met. It's a nice thought isn't it? But does that ever really happen? Do we ever have enough love? Enough happiness? Enough peace? Enough money? Do we have enough of any of these things that we actually feel 'sufficient'? I think sometimes we convince ourselves we have enough, we find someone we love that loves us back but at some point we've probably all thought or said, I need more. I need more attention, I need more understanding, I need more space, I need more time, I need I need I need. So will that love, pure and simple, ever be enough?
I think it's a wonderful wish to cast upon someone, to wish them 'enough', but I have to wonder how often that wish is ever fulfilled. Can life ever give us 'enough' to fill our desire and help us feel that what we have - is sufficient? God I hope so.
My dad came up to see me this weekend; he drove 3 hours so he could help me build a landscaped wall around my patio. I know to some it may not look like much, father's are supposed to help their daughters with things like that, but to me it meant the world. My dad has always tried to help me with things as much as he could but between the endless parade of women through his life and the bottles of booze lining the walkway - I somehow always came last. When you are a kid you cannot understand why drinking stops your dad from being the person you can rely on, you just know he is not the father you need him to be. We do that a lot don't we - need people to be a certain way? It took me years to learn that people are who they are and you either need them the way they are - or you don't. There's nothing in between. I forced myself not to need anyone for so many years because it was less disappointing that way. Even now, I'm careful about what I let myself need. I guess old habits die hard. This weekend as I watched my dad haul blocks to my backyard even though his back hurt and his knees are shot...I let myself need him, a little. God it was scary but at the same time it felt like coming home after a long journey spent running away. My daughter couldn't get enough of her grandpa. As I listened to her call after him, "come on Grandpa, come with me," and watched him obey, I realized that I've actually needed my dad more than I was ever willing to admit. Maybe the trick to balancing need and disappointment is to love the parts of them you do need more than the parts of them you hate.
I'm not a child anymore but this weekend I felt like daddy's little girl and somehow that helped me be a whole lot more grown up.
Another week has come to an end. Time passes so quickly when you don't want it to doesn't it? When we're in pain and we wish for it to pass quickly, time lingers as if it has nowhere else to go. When I was a child I wanted to be a grown up and I wished my time away. Now that I'm forced to be a grown up I wish often that I could be a child with much less burden. Do you remember when the biggest decision you had to make was which friend to invite to a sleepover? Remember thinking that doing your homework every night and studying for tests was the most stressful thing in the world? And if you failed a test, it seemed as if the world was ending. When you are a kid time seems endless, one hour feels like an eternity...now that I'm a grown-up it feels like 60 seconds.
Here's hoping that this weekend your minutes seem like hours. Make time linger...
Some say a smile is worth a thousand words...I tend to agree. A smile can melt even the coldest of hearts. A smile can send a heart a flutter where once there was only stillness. A smile can dissolve anger or initiate peace. It can cause confusion or answer many questions. A smile is free as long as you expect nothing in return. It can be the reason someone comes home every day or the reason they never leave. A smile is beautiful no matter who's face it belongs to.
Happy Half Nekkid Thursday
Finally after many many days of rain and gloom, the sun is actually shining. This morning after I finished my daily routine of dressing sweet Alice and making her breakfast I took a moment ( a few actually) to step outside and soak up a bit of the sun. I'm guilty of taking that sunshine for granted. Most days I rarely stop even for the briefest moment to revel in its greatness and it takes days of raindrops soaking my spirit as well as my head to remind me that nothing in this life is a sure thing - not even sunshine. I walk through this life of mine with thin shades of gray pulled over my eyes hiding the true colors of the elements that make-up this existence. I'm sure some of my color blindness comes from the need to protect myself. Without color life can remain safer. Color causes us to linger in moments and lingering too long can be dangerous. But I'm changing now - actually I have been for the past 2 years. There's something about seeing life through the eyes of a child that gently pulls you back into the rainbow. Although I still do it, take things for granted - at least now I can admit it. The first step to changing something is admitting that it needs change, right?
Somewhere....over the rainbow....blue birds fly...birds fly over the rainbow....why oh why can't I? I can...I just have to flap my wings a little harder.
I read a post yesterday about how people 'make' us feel a certain way and it struck a chord. I remember in my years of therapy sessions being told that no one can make you 'feel' anything. It took me a long time to agree with this theory and sometimes I still fall prey to that old way of thinking. You know it's much easier to blame someone else for the way you feel isn't it? How much better do we feel if someone else is to blame for our mistakes? It's instinct isn't it? I've spent so much of my life blaming someone else for the way I feel that I've often forgotten to focus on how to 'feel' differently. We all have choice, whether we admit it or not. Remember, the search for someone to blame is always successful. I try every single day to blame no one, not even myself. No one is to blame for the way I am except me and that's not really blame it's responsibility. A favorite quote...If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month.
Sorry for the hiatus but I took a much needed extended weekend. I hope you all had a wonderful mother's day by either treating your own mom to a special day or having one yourself.
I've learned so much since becoming a mother and I wanted to share a part of my journey with you.
Being a mother has taught me...
- that I had no idea how much love my heart was capable of
- there is no pain that cannot be eased by tiny arms hugging your body tightly
- my kisses can make boo boo's feel better
- that before - my life was not full
- it's not about sacrifice it's about not being selfish
- I can still be beautiful and sexy
- having someone depend on you makes you a better person
- someone can depend on me and I can let them
- I cannot sleep without getting butterfly kisses first
- my child's eyes are the windows to my soul
- my life is worth more than it was before
- love is forever
Before I had a child I had sort of given up hope that I'd ever become a mother, partly because I didn't think I'd find the right man, partly because I was too selfish. I didn't do things the 'proper' way, I found the man but didn't marry him, and then I got pregnant. In a way, having his child made me realize no man was more right for me than he was. Now, I'm going to marry him and I'm going to have another child. Some may frown on not doing things the 'proper' way but really, what's more proper than true love? I consider myself lucky - I found the child that led me to the man.
Here I am in all my 17 years of glory. Way back then I used to think I was pretty cool but now I'm thinking I was pretty 80's. Darn my hair was big...but back then everyone's was. This picture was taken at my senior prom or actually at the after party. That bowtie around my neck was my boyfriends...the very last man I ever let treat me badly.
My high school reunion is coming up in September so my wonderful friend sent me this picture as a reminder. Now I'm just trying to figure out what she's trying to remind me of. You know it's a wonderful thing to be able to laugh at yourself...quietly.
Happy Half Nekkid Thursday
Lately I've been scared. Not scared of the dark or monsters under my bed. Scared that when I have another child my dear sweet Alice will somehow feel left out. I know my fear is not unique as I'm sure many parents feel the exact same thing but still, it's there in the pit of my stomach every single day. When Alice was born I remember saying to myself, "I will never love another human being as much as I love this child." I love Alice with every fiber of my being and so I'm slightly confused as to how I will welcome another child into my life and love them just as much. I know in reality that things will be fine, I will love this new child every bit as much as I love Alice but will she know that? Will she question whether she's been replaced or that she isn't as special anymore? My heart breaks inside when I think of those things crossing her beautiful mind. People tell me that I'll need to pay special attention to her and make her feel needed - which I'll do. But can I ensure that she will always know how special she is to me and when I do that will I be taking something away from my new child? So many questions. I know people do this all the time...have multiple children, but for me it's a first so forgive me if I'm still trying to figure it all out. Will I be as full of love for the second child as I was for the first? Will I be as scared that somehow I'll mess them up like my parents unknowingly messed me up? I thought that having your first child was the toughest part but now I'm not so sure, so far this doesn't seem easier.
I wonder at what point I'll have it all figured out? Does that ever happen?
I've read a lot of posts lately about relationships and how scary they are. I've noticed confessions about how some want to be in a 'couple' but they are too scared either because they think they've forgotten how to be in one or because they are afraid of being hurt. I've been in that 'place' more than once in my life, you know - the one where you keep shouting "leave me alone," and then suddenly you wake up one day and realize everyone actually listened. The worst thing about being alone is that it never happens when you really want it or need it to. Some of us get so good at pushing others out of our life that we completely forget how to let them back in. Once, I got so good at telling everyone that I didn't want a relationship and that I enjoyed being alone, that I actually started to believe it myself. I believed it so much that when the right man came along, the one who actually treated me like the princess I am, I ignored him. I even went so far as to set him up with all my friends and even when they asked me why I didn't keep him for myself I'd reply, "I don't want to get involved." The real truth was that I was scared to death of being hurt. If you never let people close enough to actually touch you in the places that matter most, those places stay safe - don't they? Not really. The funny thing is that every time I'd meet a great guy I'd find so much fault with him that it was damn near impossible to like him. My mother used to tell me that if you look hard enough and long enough for the flaws in people - you will surely find them.
So how did I stop being so 'single'? I stopped being so scared. I told someone yesterday that the scary part is not letting someone in - it's keeping them out. You have to let yourself be loved, first by yourself and then - by someone else.
I really love the song playing on this blog so much in fact that I have a hard time taking it off here. When I first discovered the song Into the Light by Alice Peacock I was in a bad place - emotionally. I know that many of you know exactly how it feels to live your life with the burden of not knowing where you belong. But this song, each and every time I hear it I'm reminded that all the searching I've done, all the paths I've explored trying to find my place, have led me exactly where I need to be - right here right now. It's accepting that you are in the right place that's the hard part. Some say it's the journey and yes that can be hard too but do you ever notice that when you get to the 'right place' it seems camouflaged in the mistakes of our past? People always tell you to 'live in the moment' but I've done that many times and it's not always the right thing to do. Sometimes we live in the wrong moments. We get caught up in what someone says, what they do, the pain in the here and now, that it becomes all we can see, all we can hear, all that we are. Last week I lived in a moment where my s.o. said something that hurt my feelings and I wallowed in that moment far too many hours. Instead of living in the moments where he's been kind to me, where he's been the shoulder that I leaned on - I existed in a moment of weakness. The truth is that life does not exist in one moment - it exists in many. I think the trick is making life exist from one moment to the next.
I've had rough morning. My daughter's nanny thought it was Saturday so she decided not to show up...until I called her and gently reminded her it was actually Friday and I had to be at work. An hour late she rolls in apologetic, ok so you over slept but honestly that doesn't put me in any better mood you know? Then I make the mistake of accepting a ride to work from my sig. other. I somehow let it slip my mind that he's a slob and he only plays the clean act at home because I force him to. I refuse to live in clutter ya know? Cluttered houses = cluttered minds...I really believe that. Anyway, I hop in his car and shock smacks me in the face. His car is a mess...not just a mess - it's a pig pen. Papers strewn everywhere, empty Dunkin Donut bags on the back seat, books, guitar cleaning lotion, an empty pop can (actually 2) and dirt on every surface. YUK...maybe it's my fault because I should have known better but come on, who can ride in a car like that? Ok, so maybe I over reacted but I'm pregnant and hormonal and gosh darn I feel like hurling so the smell and the dirt and the total lack of sympathy for me was enough to really piss me off. I was fuming most of the way to work but just before we reached my building I apologized for being so dramatic but explained that he knows how much I hate messes. I jokingly said...I love you even though you are a slob. He replies, "I love you even though you are a bitch." Um....what? Ok, so that's like he nicest thing anyone's ever said to me - NOT. I'm pretty sure he regretted the words just as soon as they slipped past his lips, maybe it was the look of shock on my face or it could have been the tears that instantly sprung from my eyes. I'm not usually a crier but geez...that really wasn't nice was it? The thing that bothered me most is that if I was really a biatch I could handle it...but I know I'm not. I put up with more crap then most women I know.
He probably didn't mean it right? He tried to apologize as I swiftly removed my 'bitchy arse' from the car but the damage was done and words are like nails pounded into a smooth piece of wood...even if you pry them back out the holes still remain ruining the surface forever. I'm sure this moment will pass and hopefully he'll try to make it up to me but the truth is that no matter how many times someone tells you they are sorry you still remember, it still hurts. There are just some things you cannot take back - even if you want to.
I hope y'all have a wonderful weekend...wish me luck on this hormonal roller coaster.
There you are, so tiny, so full of life even though your life has just begun. Some may look at you and say you are not yet a person, but I know different - I saw your heart beating and that makes you real.
Happy Half Nekkid Thursday
I had a wonderful conversation with my niece last night. We talked about life and how sometimes it downright sucks but the best thing about it is that there is always another day to make different or better than the day before. She told me how scared and excited she is to be leaving grade school and entering high school next Fall. She likes her school and she afraid to leave it, it's comfortable and safe but she loves the possibilities that high school will bring. As I sat there listening to this child, this young woman, talk about her fears and how she wants to overcome them I was amazed at her strength. I have to admit that she reminds me of a younger version of myself and that makes me smile because as damaged as I might have been - I was strong and I survived. We also talked about her day and how disappointed she was because she had to read a poem that she wrote for English class in front of all her friends. She wrote it about a boy she liked and he didn't pay attention when she read it aloud so it hurt her feelings. Part of me laughed a little...on the inside...but I told her not to be surprised because honestly it takes boys a long long time to pay attention to the things most important (no offense guys). I told her to write things for her and not for an audience because that's the only person that truly needed to pay attention. She said she wanted to be a writer - she has a lot to say and I smiled because when I was young that's what I wanted to do - write words that made people feel something. It took me years of writing words to realize that the person that needed to feel something, was me. I truly believe that the most talented writers in this world are people that have experienced pain in their lives. People who have loved and lost, people who have fallen and gotten up, people who have failed and then succeeded, those are the people who write from the only place that really counts - their heart.
I do believe my niece will be a wonderful writer and just maybe someday a scared, broken young woman will read her words and realize that her tomorrows can be different, can be better - then they were the day before.
Do you remember when your parents taught you the difference between the truth and a lie? I do. I was six years old and my brother was being his usual mean self by hanging my 'baby tenderlove' up by her neck from the garage door opener. I was so mad at him that even at six I was beginning to realize how sweet revenge could actually be. I snuck into his bedroom and took his GI Joe out of it's secret hiding place - the bottom of his hamper. Even though it smelled of dirty socks I stuffed it down my blouse and left his room as quietly as I'd come. I locked myself in my mother's bathroom and decided that GI Joe was quite in the need of a makeover. I shaved his head with my mother's razor (GI Joe had real hair you know), I painted his face with eyeliner and rouge, I took his clothes off and re-dressed him in Barbie's best gown. He was smashing to say the least. When the work was complete I put him right back in the secret hiding place as if he'd never left. I remember the anticipation of my brother finding GI was almost enough to drive a six year old mad. It took three days for my big bro to find him but when he did he let out a scream that could curl your toenails. He ran all over the house searching for my mom (he was such a mama's boy) and when he found her he dangled pretty GI Joe in front of her, "look what someone did to GI Joe," he yelled. I was tucked carefully behind the davenport watching the whole thing unfold. I could see that my mother was holding back a laugh as she consoled my brother but I also knew she'd soon be heading my way looking for an explanation. "NWC, do you know anything about GI Joe's makeover," she asked. "No mam, nothing," I replied. "NWC do you know that telling a lie is a sin?" "What's a sin," I asked. "A sin is when you know something is wrong and you still do it anyway," she replied. "So what happens if I sin," I asked. "Well, God will be very disappointed in you." I contemplated her words, I hated for anyone to be disappointed in me. "So NWC, do you know anything about GI Joe's makeover," she asked? "Yes," I replied, "he enjoyed it very much but I think next time I'll use a different shade of lipstick." My mother laughed until there were tears in her eyes and I started believing that lies did that to you, made tears appear. The older I got the more I realized I was right, lies sometimes make you laugh but most times they make you cry and there's nothing funny about that.
Yesterday I called my niece to wish her a happy birthday and I asked her what she special thing she was going to do to celebrate and she replied, "nothing." Her response wasn't unlike that of any other teenager but I was surprised when she followed up her statement with, "I'm not going to do anything special because I don't feel special and that's no lie." I told her she was wrong, I told her how special she was and that she better believe me because I was a person that could not lie. I told her that story I posted above hoping to convince her it was true...I was an honest abe. I'm not sure she believed me, that she was special, but she laughed and it was like music to my ears. Before we hung up the phone she told me that she believed me. "What, you believe that I cannot tell a lie," I asked. "No, I believe I'm special - I just hope people notice."
Tomorrow my niece turns 14. When I was fourteen I drank my first bottle(s) of beer. When I was fourteen I ran away from home to be with my 23 year old boyfriend but only made it two towns over to a corn field in the middle of the night before I realized that there really was no place like home. When I was fourteen I realized that people are either mostly honest or mostly liars and never are they both. At fourteen I realized my father was an alcoholic and my childhood would never be 'normal'. When I was fourteen I discovered what infidelity meant the moment I caught my dad cheating on my mother in the back of our family sedan. At fourteen I watched the strongest woman in the world become one of the weakest. When I turned fourteen I was not a child any longer, not by choice but by necessity.
My niece turns 14 tomorrow and at fourteen she will have survived the divorce of her parents, her mother giving up custody of her to her father, five different homes and six different schools, a new step mother, two new sisters, a diagnosis of AD/HD and depression. She will have discovered that people are either mostly honest or mostly liars and never are they both. She will have lost faith in those she loves but more importantly she will have lost faith in herself. She will know what it feels like to have love and lost love yet she will not be able to distinguish the two as separate. At fourteen she will have contemplated her life, searched for answers to questions she's never been brave enough to ask, and she will have lived more pain than most of her classmates. When my niece turns fourteen she will not be a child any longer, not by her choice but by necessity.
Maybe I can love her enough to let her be a child just a little longer. We all grow up too damn fast, not by choice - by necessity.