Tag Archives: memories

Inevitable Bubbles

There are lots of inevitables in life that we all have just, well, come to expect. Like the fact that Curious George will absolutely always and without fail get into some sort of trouble when the man-in-the-yellow-hat leaves him alone. Remember watching Southpark? Yeah, Kenny always died. The same as how every episode of the Waltons ended with ‘Goodnight John Boy’, and the same as the Cookie Monster always ate too many cookies. (By the way, I’m fairly certain that I WAS Cookie Monster in a far off life, not so far away). When we blow soapy water through a ring, we all have come to expect those magical fleeting bubbles that never go out of style, and for which we never really get to old to enjoy.

Predictability can be awesome. Predictability can be as warm and snuggly as the baby blanket with satin lining that some of us used to carry around until we were old enough to become aware of germs, at which point we finally stopped sucking the satin.

What? That was just me?

Anyway, predictability can be great, BUT predictability can also be a great big ginormous dinosaur of a thorn right in our sides. Like when an ex-husband has been struggling with an addiction for the last 8 years, and you know that no matter how much he loves his son, he’s probably not going to stay clean long enough to teach his son the sort of stability and security that he needs. And I’ve come to learn that no matter how many times Ethan’s dad tries, I’m still going to always end up being the ONLY responsible and dependable parent my youngest will know. His dad hasn’t had a job in three years, and has told more stories than are in the Bible over the last 8 years of his addiction. I can’t even listen anymore. And the older Ethan gets, the more difficult it becomes for me to keep all of this a secret.

But I will because I love my child. The longer I can protect him from the ugly parts of life, the better.

So, while today was like hundreds of other days, with the ‘dad’ not calling or picking him up as planned, and with Ethan having multiple meltdowns leading to me having multiple meltdowns, it could always be worse. Much worse.

And those are my thoughts, as I watch Ethan and his best pal Jackson relishing in the simplicity of bubbles, those inevitable, beautiful, dependable, timeless wonders. Like childhood, they are fleeting, but worthy of pause and gratitude. Goodnight John Boy.;) Namaste.

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Joy Ride in the Cadi

I drive your car now, the Cadillac. The very one that I teased you about. I remember saying that you were too young to drive such a car at only 63. ‘Cadillacs were for old people’, I said. I still see them, the clones of your car, and even though I’m in yours, I still look for your burst of blonde and your bright grin. I wait to see how fast you’re going so that I can scold you for your lead foot later. I miss that lead foot.

I fell in love with her a few months after you passed. I made a weekend trip to Nashville and began to truly appreciate her smoothness, her dependability, but most of all- her power. Her power was like butter for my crusty bitter grief, like a soft and sleek lubricant for my blistered mood, and fast couldn’t go fast enough for this used-to-be granny driver. There is something consoling about speeding, something that screams ‘Life is short. Make it count. Feel alive!’. Anything that reminds me of your warm hug, your proud smile, and your glassy eyes that almost never shed a tear have been like blankets I carry along to console me when the world turns cold.

I’ve driven our car now on lots of trips. It carries me well, with lots of room for all of my baggage, warm seats for my cold rump, and lots of nifty compartments still housing your chap stick, your lighter, and your hand cream. You might even say that I’ve accepted this granny car with open arms.

But….

There is a downside to our Cadillac. You’re not in there.

If I go with someone else, and pull back into our parking lot at work and see your pearl white heap of pride, I feel instant giddiness like I did when that car was a beacon of hope because you were inside our office, waiting to direct me, waiting to fill my ears with your laughter, your gossip, or your story about the movie you slept through last night. It’s like that dream that you really wanted to have, only you had to wake up and face the reality of it’s falseness, only to realize your heart was broken again. It’s like being dumped over and over and over and over….

Would I change those memories? Would I erase them from my mind? No way! I carry you with me regardless of whether or not I carry your ‘stuff’ or not. Those things no longer matter to you. I do. I always will. The fact that I’m a mom too tells me that.

So when you’re up there watching only the happiest moments, when your legacy swoops in and fills me with the courage I never summonsed in your lifetime, that’s when I feel you the most. That’s when I know. This is our Cadillac, and yes…you are still driving. 😉

Momentum Monotony

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Chills in the air that only hot showers, long treadmill runs, and coffee can defrost, are more than I care to experience this winter. Of course, I shouldn’t complain. I live in East Tennessee, and our cold seasons would be considered balmy tropical fronts compared to Northern climates. Still, the older I get, and the more crotchety my bones grow, the less tolerance I muster in the season of bluster.

After 12 hours of Christmas shopping over the past weekend, and 200 Christmas cards mailed in the last few days, I am feeling a little more Grinch and a little less Tiny Tim than normal. I’ve almost given up my spirit of giving. My patience has become impatient, and Ethan’s elf-on-the-shelf has lost her creativity. In fact, she seems to have forgotten for several nights, that she’s supposed to travel up to Santa and return to our home in a new spot each morning for Ethan’s finding pleasure.

But the momentum of this Christmas adventure began with ambitious intentions. My mom and my mamaw were both Christmas nuts. I don’t mean the kind you eat or the kind found in holiday fruitcakes. They were fruitcakes, but that’s what made Christmas fun. Somehow, without both of them here to motivate me into frosty-rudolph celebration, I felt even more determined to do everything they did for the holidays; to make sure that my children had the same experiences I had as an excited and enthusiastic child. So now with 6 days left to go before Christmas, I am severely and sadly burned out. My twinkle has lots its sparkle, and my spritely spirit has lost its luster. But my favorite Christmas memory keeps me plugging along like the reindeer guiding Santa Claus’s sleigh, and I know that I can’t lose sight with that blinding glow of Rudolph’s red.

Many many years ago, my parents and I took a trip, as we traditionally did, up North to visit my grandparents. On our journey, we encountered a blizzard like I had never seen. I remember that the world was white, even though the night was dark. I couldn’t see my mittens or my boots for the creamy drifts that buried my seven-year-old self. The interstate closed, and we were forced to spend Christmas eve in a tiny little hotel room.

All I could think about was how would Santa ever find me there. My determined father hung one of his tube socks, white with two red stripes, from a shelf in our room. I left a couple of twinkies, and a cup of water, complete with a hand-written letter telling Santa exactly what I wanted. I remember lying there, waiting for sleep to carry me away, and wondering if this magical man would know that we were stranded, and that this was the best I could do.

To my surprise, when I awakened the next morning, I found every single gift I had asked for, along with a stuffed tube sock still hanging with bulging candy, oranges, and hairbows. I was ecstatic. Although we had no tree in that cold dark room, the spirit of Christmas filled the air, and overflowed into my little doubtful heart in a way that still moves me to this day. I still have no idea how they pulled it off, but it doesn’t matter. They did pull it off, and my faith in Christmas was restored.

My wish this Christmas is that my childrens’ faith is restored the same as mine was so long ago; that they understand that, while obstacles can and will try and crush our faith, miracles can and do happen. After a year of losing ‘grandma’, and missing out on summer travels and fun, their spirit of Christmas carries me through just as my parents’ spirit did on that stranded Christmas morning, and it was restored entirely in that crazy eighties tube sock.

 

 

 

 

Lost ship

It’s been one of those days. I woke up without wanting to. I crawled to the shower, scrubbed, shampooed, shaved, and dried off without singing. Singing just makes it worse sometimes. Going through the motions has to happen. There is no choice in this. I am grateful. Yes. I try that; starting my thank-you’s each day before the first foot hits the cold floor. Mostly that works. It starts the engine and the wheels of gratitude begin to turn. Then there are days when that voice inside shrinks to a whisper.

Missing mom, missing those that are no longer here, is at times unbearable.

Because I run a company that she built, drive a car that she bought, and live in a home that was once hers, means that at every turn I am faced with her memory, or rather her legacy. Today was my first huge challenge as a small business owner. My newest employee was accused of theft and I had to let her go. I wanted to find a nice cool cave somewhere. I wanted to curl up and sleep. I wanted to call mom and ask her what I needed to do. But since none of those things were real possibilities, I handled it.

That doesn’t make me superwoman, it just makes me responsible. I’m responsible for the jobs of 9 girls right now (when it should be 12 girls). I’m responsible for making sure that 130 houses get cleaned every month, and the even bigger challenge of making sure two boys are loved and guided every day. On days like this, that seems like too much.

In truth, however, it’s not too much as long as I realize that I can ask for help. Sometimes it’s enough just to know that I can vent or have a small breakdown on someone’s shoulder. And sometimes that someone is an employee. But employees are like children in the sense that they learn from you, in how you react to adversity, and how you pull yourself together and carry on instead of throwing in the towel.

So as much as I feel like a lost ship sometimes, I learned today that I may be just that. But also that I may be a lost ship with lots of rescue boats surrounding me. I just have to let them know that I’m out there and need help. This isn’t an easy task for onelies because we tend to believe we can take it all on. Pride takes over and sinks us sometimes. But humility, the sheer recognition of our limitations, can rescue us from ourselves, and guide us back to that island where no man (or woman) stands alone.1339301066156