February 28, 2012

Why This Matters And I'm Not Just Re-Living My Teenage Years

This is not me or my prom date...
these people are total strangers,
but GOD love those clothes!!
I have to say, I have told people about my prom and I've gotten some strange looks.  Some are kinda like I'm silly, but others give me that long sideways look like I'm a few bricks shy of a load.  So, to clarify this, let me explain why this matters and I'm not just being a cheese ball (although that is a WIN for me!)

I have a wonderful friend who knows people.  Not in the "I'll put you in the river and no one will find you" kinda way, but people talk to her about things that are going on in our community.  The two of us are always talking about our purpose in this universe, and often tidbits of what is shared with her enter our discussion.   Here is one of the things that recently came to light.

There are girls in our schools who are regularly missing several days to a week of school.  When people started looking at the trend patterns (cause that's what educators do), they realized it was often about the same time every month.  Guess what else happens about the same time every month?  Yep.  Girls were missing school because Aunt Flo put the smackdown on them.  When a few gentle questions were asked, the people learned it wasn't due to pain, but because they didn't have the *ahem* products they needed.  

Imagine being in school and having to miss class not because you are lazy and want to stay at home watching Jerry Springer (is that even on? That's what I watched when I laid out of school...), it's because they really don't have the hygiene products they need.  When some of the male students were talked to about body odor, people learned they didn't have toilet paper to use.  They would use a newspaper or magazine, if that.  Think about that for a minute...Not a good feeling, huh? Now, how can you afford a prom dress if you can't buy tampons?  

I know some of these dresses will go to girls who have families playing the system.  Some of them choose to spend money on things other than their children.  I know all this, and I'm still gonna send some beautiful dresses out into the universe.  Why?  Because someone will feel pretty.  Because someone might get the chance to go to a prom when they otherwise wouldn't.  Because maybe putting on this dress will make them know there is more out than there struggling and hand-outs.  Because, maybe, just maybe, it'll make a difference.

My idea was cheesy and selfish.  I'm not donating to a life-threatening illness or in someone's memory.  I'm not walking 6,000 miles in an hour to raise money.  But this means something...to me, but also to all those girls who get a dress.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you for making my little idea a huge success...because I know it will be.

February 24, 2012

Eden's Meme...I'm Sorry (Not Really)

I'm about to embark upon my annual Girls' Weekend...a weekend of laughter, good food, better company...a massage...sleeping in...no schedules to keep.  A much needed break is about to commence.


But, Eden has put out her meme, and, because I look forward to it, I must do this before I'm allowed to go be irresponsible.

Sorry.  Remember that song, "Sorry seems to be the hardest word."  But it's not. We say it, and it's usually empty.  We're not really sorry:  We're sorry we got caught or we're sorry everyone's uncomfortable so I'm gonna say this so everyone can start being comfortable again.  Most of the time, when we're truly sorry, it's buried deep inside and we rake ourselves over the coals about it but don't let it out.  

I've been thinking about this all day...what am I sorry about?

I'm sorry I made a crack to one of my dearest friends when she got engaged.  It was intended to be funny, but it was shitty timing.  I've beaten myself up over that for over 10+ years.

I'm sorry for making a smart-ass comment about a girl I knew from school.  I didn't know how awful her life was, but that doesn't excuse it.

I'm sorry I didn't make one last call to tell you I loved you.  But you knew.

I'm sorry I couldn't make you not be an addict.

I'm sorry I yell at my kids because they deserve better than I can give them sometimes.

I'm sorry I am not the person you married, but I'd like to think I'm better.

Now, let's balance this thing out...it's fair, right?

Here's what I'm not sorry for...I'm not sorry I married you because I have two of my three amazing children because of it; I'm not sorry for leaving because it had to be done; I'm not sorry for having ink on my skin because it's who I am; I'm not sorry for my potty mouth because my grandfather passed it to me; I'm not sorry for loving anyone because it made me who I am; I'm not sorry for being the loudest person in the room; and I'm not sorry for the way you feel about me.  

I'm truly sorry if you don't have the chance to know me...the real me.  

Hope everyone's weekend is filled with no apologies...

Smiles ~ Breathe Chick

February 20, 2012

Fair? Life Isn't Fair! (At Least That's What We Tell The Kids...)

I swear, if I had a quarter for every frickin' time I heard this in my household, I could retire.  And not just retire and hope I scrape by...I mean tropical island, hot gardener kinda retirement.  Better Half uses it every chance he gets in hopes that our children will be better prepared for the world.  Read that as when their friends get cool, expensive cars and they get a grocery getter with steel bumpers.

Tonight is a perfect example of life not being fair.  Better Half has worked a 13 hour shift dealing with the less-than-honest population of our fair town, while I have been shopping with my mother.  We ate a spectacular lunch (best damn turkey burger EVAH!) and then just kinda moseyed around.  I didn't find "the" prom dress but I narrowed it down enough to know what I wanted to order online.  So, to be honest, my day was a little less stressful...well, not really, but mine didn't involve a bullet-proof vest and his does.

After getting home, I managed to feed three kids, take the big kids to great-grandmother's house for the night, AND fix homemade chili.  This is not tooting my own horn, but I want to make sure ya'll understand I wasn't eating bon-bons while sipping my champagne on the veranda.  That's impossible because we don't have a veranda.  Better Half came home to dinner and a moderately-happy household.  It's a win in my book.

However...However, when Hurricane comes through with her announcement of "My diaper is full of poop and I need a bath," all of a sudden it's my maternal duty to take care of this because he's worked today and I haven't. BUT, I did.  Shopping is nothing at which to snub one's nose.  It takes diligence, strategic planning and a keen sense of awareness.  Skills that take years of honing.  

After several moments of tense bargaining (which boiled down to me telling Hurricane her daddy was unconcerned with her hygiene...he found no humor in that...don't know why?), I sucked it up and took care of business. Not only did she get to play in the tub, I also managed to clean the toilet and the sinks while I was in there. Can you see my Super Mom halo? I think so.

During this time, Better Half got to chill and play on the computer.  When we finished, he did manage to get an assist in when I was giving her the mani/pedi treatment because trimming her nails is somewhat akin to wrestling calves.  

Bedtime is a dark time in our household.  All the kids hate it, and it's a two hour endurance race between the kids and the parents.  Some nights I just quit and tell them to sleep wherever they fall. Because I had stepped up for the evening's duties, Better Half came in to do bedtime duty.  God help him.

As I sit, chatting with my computer, Better Half is still upstairs having a conversation with the two-year old.  Do you know how long a conversation with a two-year old can be?  Not chronologically, mind you, but how l-o-n-g it can seem.  Eons, I'll tell ya.

Life isn't fair.  Plain and simple.  It's not fair that's he's worked all day and is still trying to convince her sleep is a good thing.  It's not fair I'm sitting here ignoring that he's up there.  All in all, though, we each get something out of it.  After she was all clean and shiny and smelled that sweet smell only babies have, she wrapped her pudgy arms around me to tell me I'm her best friend.  I know that as she fades off to dreamland, there will be deep sighs and fluttering eyelashes that make us forgive all the injustices of the day, and her daddy is lying beside her with his heart about to burst with how much he loves her.  No, life is not fair...sometimes we get way more than we deserve.

February 18, 2012

Going Home

It's easy to make fun of the dark places other people go when you're not the one going there.  It's easy to throw around expressions like "I must've been smoking crack when I said that!" and similar comments.  It's easy to think it's a choice to live that life, but it's not.

Today another family will lay someone to rest.  There will be singing and music and flowers.  People will wipe tears silently; others will sob with their whole bodies and hearts.  Maybe the sun will shine, and people will call that a sign.  Maybe it will rain torrents, and others will think that is a sign. Either way, everyone will try to make sense and find solace the way they find fitting.

What makes this difference is the person is Whitney Houston.  I remember listening to her briefly in middle school before I found other types of music.  Over the years I would revisit her..."Waiting to Exhale" was a favorite when my first marriage was crumbling.  I watched that movie and thought how grand it would be to breathe deeply without fear. I learned to respect her voice and the power she had behind it.

I hate that she was troubled and unhappy.  I hate that she battled this while trying to raise a child.  I hate that she couldn't see her own value.  But. I hate that she is getting a grand send-off with praises and jubilation while there are other drug addicts being laid to rest with scorn and disgust.

The "industry" as it likes to be called took her to great heights, but bailed on her when she wasn't the pretty princess anymore.  When the pictures surfaced of her disheveled, sweaty, and obviously struggling, she became the outcast.  It was Bobby's fault or some shit like that.  She was the butt of jokes and people quickly turned their backs on her.

Now, though, she is the princess again.  The media is primarily showing the nice pics, the ones from when they loved her.  Gone are the nasty, embarrassing ones.  "We love Whitney."  "She was our sister."  "She was one of us."  This is what I heard on the Grammys.  Really?  Where were all of those people when she was struggling?

It's easy to gloss over the dirty bits now that it's over.  It's easy to think the industry always supported her.  It's easy to forget the jokes that were made.  It's all easy now to alter our memories to make ourselves better.  But her life wasn't easy.  The life of an addict is never easy.  It's painful and hollow.  Empty.

This was my favorite Whitney song.  Why?  Because I love smart-assed of it.  It's not right, dumbass, but it's okay.  I'm gonna be fine; don't you worry.  I hope that's what she's singing right now.

February 17, 2012

Eden's Meme...You Crazy Blogger, You!

Oh, Eden...This is hard!  I can write about all those emotion-ly type things, but to narrow it down.  Yikes!  Ok, deep breath in...here we go.

Well, first would be you, Eden.  I swear I'm not cyberstalking you.  Back in the day when my heart and soul were all full of gunky stuff, I found this blog where some ballsy chick was just putting it all out there.  I thought to myself, "Wow, if I could just do THAT."  If I could puke my anxiety up on the internet, it wouldn't be stuck in my throat.  I was so, so scared to do that, but I realized that people read her stuff and didn't make fun of her.    Maybe they wouldn't make fun of me, either.  So, after a couple of trial runs, I just did it.  She is good stuff.

The Bloggess...oh, mercy!  If you haven't read this, go.  Go NOW!  My prom is coming up (okay, not really, because that was about 20 years ago, but this is my old ladies prom fundraiser. So. Much. Fun!)  and she was the inspiration.  If you have no clue about the traveling red dress, read this.  Okay, you back?  See, I know I'm lucky.  I wasn't always that lucky.  I remember very distinctly being young and married and unable to buy myself anything other than life's necessities.  I had saved up $35 to buy shoes to a friend's wedding, and I cherished those shoes for a damn long time.  Now it's my turn to pay it forward...or backward?  Anyway, I'm going to buy a beautiful dress to wear with all my equally-insane girlfriends for a few hours while we shake our booties to a dj.  Then, like Cinderella, we will all change back into our regular, boring mom clothes at midnight. The dresses will go to our local Prom Closet for girls who aren't able to go buy a prom dress.  So, thanks, Bloggess for the lightning rod of inspiration.

Jennsylvania.  Oh, Jen...how I adore thee!  When I was a kid, my BFFs were sisters and their mom got People magazine...by subscription.  For some reason that represented making it.  Like I was somebody if I could do that.  I realize now the hilarity of that, trust me, but I still read my People religiously every Friday afternoon.  I read a review of her book a couple of years back and bought the book, Bitter Is The New Black, to read at the beach.  It was like sitting down with all my favorite funny girlfriends for a couple of hours.  After reading her books, I hit her blog.  Although it's not updated as much now because she is writing so much (or making weird online purchases in the middle of the night due to the Ambien), it's still a hoot.  The Valentine's Day post makes me want to fly to Chicago (if I flew...I'd still drive there if I had the time...roadtrip?!) and high-five her ass!  (Not really, it'd be her hand, but you know what I mean.)

Shew!  I'm outta breath!  So, there are my daily rituals.  Each of these blogs have made me live my life a little louder or at least more with my own voice.  The beauty of blogs is often I find my favorites through the favorites of someone else.  With that in mind, what are YOUR faves?  Share! Share! Share!  

Happy Friday, ya'll!
~Breathe Chick

February 16, 2012

Valentine's Day...a little late!

What was your Valentine's Day like?  Filled with flowers, chocolates, and love?  Full of bitter resentment and stabby feelings toward those in bliss?  Just another day?  Not to make you jealous, but here's a little snippet from mine...(Yes, I'm aware it's a little late for this, but blame my gallbladder for my tardiness!)

I do believe my gallbladder is ready to end our relationship.  It's been a good 37.5 years, and I probably haven't been as good to him as he's been to me.  I wasn't cognizant of his well-being during my 20s when I ate recklessly.  Now, when I've decided to take better care of us, he's decided it's not enough.  Fine, just go then.

For Valentine's Day I didn't get flowers or a card (except my holographic Star Wars one from my son).  What I got was even better!  I got an evening filled with massive stomach pains radiating though my body like a strobe light at a bad disco.  Upon raising my sick head from the bed, my husband is putting on his gear for work because he is in charge that evening and can't take off.  Joy.

What I did get for Valentine's was this:  My husband called his mother on his way to work, and she came over to help out with the kids.  My mom took my tween queen shopping for her beau.  The kids were bathed and fed while I tried to cat-nap through the pain.  When bedtime for the Hurricane came, Better Half came by to help get her to sleep.  I got to keep my sheets warm and cozy while everyone followed directions.  SCORE!

A lot of the time, I get caught up in the media blitz of what is normal or expected or the image of what I should be.  Valentine's Day is flowers and chocolate and romantic dinners and enough red and pink to make me scream.  It's music and romance.  It's confessions of love and longing.  Yeah, I got none of that.

What I got was a lot of people pitching in to make sure I was taken care of and made as comfortable as possible.  My kiddos were okay, and Better Half made sure I was loved even though he couldn't be there to do it.  That's what this day, and every day, should be.  While flowers are nice and exquisite chocolates are even better, it's those little things that show others how much we love them.  

Love to you and yours.

February 12, 2012

Dolla Dolla Bills, Ya'll

I should be in church right now... After spending the night with six 11 year-old girls, I need some salvation right about now.  Instead, I'm sitting here policing the traffic patterns and noise levels.  I was unaware it was humanly possible to make THAT much noise going up/down stairs.  Now I know.

Lately I've been putting more work into my little bloggy-blog, and I've thought about adding advertisements to it.  I usually don't get too many comments from my peeps (that's ya'll, the readers of it!), but I was curious about what you thought?  Yes?  No?  Don't care?

I think I'm going to give it a whirl and see what happens.  If you have a second, would you share any thoughts you might have, please. I'll be back tomorrow with something much more interesting/fun/insightful....I think.  My brain might still be fried from all the tween estrogen in the house.

February 10, 2012

Eden's Meme...Funeral Music (No, Seriously, Read This.)

Eden's Meme this week is about funeral music...morbid, you say, but no!  Music is one of the best parts of my life, and somebody damn well better play me some music.  Even better would be if they put my earbuds in so I could listen to something good on my flight to the great beyond.

I remember picking out music for my aunt's funeral.  It sucked.  I don't remember what we played, and I don't remember what we played at my Papaw's either.  I remember the bell ringing (he was a fireman) and how shiny it was.  I remember that was the first time my parent's saw the tattoo below my ankle bone, and my hair was eggplant.  No, really, a real eggplant.

I'm afraid of dying, but not death.  It's the act of dying that gets me. I don't want to suffer, and I'm going to be pissed off about leaving this Earth.  I will miss life, but the after death doesn't really scare me that much. I'm just moving on, ya know.

My husband and I can't agree on a cemetery to be buried in.  My peeps are out in the country on top of a beautiful hilltop that faces the mountains.  His are in town near our historic district.  I want to be out there where it's peaceful and I can rest.  I figure (hopefully) I'll be tired from all the living by then, so I want some peace and quiet.  Still, I can't imagine being separate places.  Maybe we should start our own tradition somewhere else...

I've tried to have this discussion with my Better Half, but he always tells me I'm morbid.  So, it's up to ya'll to make sure this gets played when I kick it if he should fail.  Somebody just give him the heads up, ok?

This is my funeral song.  Grateful Dead's Brokedown Palace.  I love it. 

Gonna leave this brokedown palace
On my hands and knees, I will roll, roll,roll
Make myself a bed by the waterside
In my time, in my time, I will roll, roll, roll

In a bed, in a bed
By the waterside I will lay my head
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul

That's how I wanna go out.  Just laying by the riverside, listening to some good music, peaceful at last.  No worries, no cares.  

Going home, going home
By the waterside I will rest my bones
Listen to the river sing sweet songs
To rock my soul

Now, go check out everybody else's funeral music over at Edens' place.


February 9, 2012

I Gave Birth To The Second Grade Playa

Remember that post "Please Stay Small" I wrote a few days ago.  Today was another reminder of why he needs to stay small.

He has a girlfriend.  It is not his first.  After all, he is eight-and-a-half years old.  There is water under that bridge, ya know?  But.  He got digits for this one.  Apparently he plans on calling and chatting her up.  

This was our conversation in the car.

Me:  "How was your day, sweetpea?"  (Cause he'll always be my sweetpea)
Him:  "Great! I got my girlfriend's phone number."
Me:  Silence
Him:  "So, can I call her?"
Me:  Silence
Him:  "Hey, um, mom? Can I call her?  I have her dad's number and her mom's." 
Me:  "So, what do you plan on talking about to your second-grade girlfriend?"
Him:  "Well, ya know...stuff?"
Me:  "Okay, elaborate on that one please."
Him:  "Mom, it's just random conversation, okay?!  I mean, really, do you not watch the movies?  Men and ladies just talk about stuff." 
Me:  "Well, it's been a while since I've been courted by someone as worldly as you.  Forgive me."
Him:  "Mom, you really need to watch some more romantic movies to see how it's done these days."

Did you get the part where I said he was EIGHT?!  I'm not a fortune teller, but I see many long days and nights ahead...full of phone calls from angry daddies and buckets of tears from me.  Imagine 16....God help me.

February 8, 2012

I Do....Until Death Do Us Part...Or I Run Screaming Into The Night

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. 
~Mignon McLaughlin

I never thought Seal and Heidi would split.  They were so dang cute.  They renewed their vows every 365.25 days, had a kid every 9.5 months, and were always smooching.  Love and affection oozed from them...till it didn't.

Same thing with Brad and Jen.  Lordy I loved them.  She was so...perky.  I don't think I could go have a drink with her, but we could totally hang by the pool and gossip about all those other bitchy stars.  Then that Jezebel came along and ruined it all.  Granted, I might be a *touch* jealous.  Angelina is, just, wow.  I have given my husband full permission to cheat on me with her if she ever comes calling.

We expect these types of marriages to fail on some level, though.  After all, they're those "Hollywood" marriages, and they can't possibly know what love is. Really, though, who the hell does?

My parents make marriage look easy.  Sure, they're crotchety some day, and I always giggle when they use me as a sounding board for what the other has done.  But, at the end of the day, I know how much of a package deal they are. I never knew marriage was work.

I was a different person when I wed my Better Half.  I was independent and out-spoken and caring and my heart was open to the world.  Then it wasn't.  I had to become dependent and quiet and selfish and I closed my heart so I could protect it.  That's how I survived and made myself okay again.  That was the only way I knew to do it.

However, doing that, while it was the best in the long run, was hard on those around me.  And I mean F-bomb hard.  Hard in ways that make you wonder if you can make it through to the other side.  When the person you love is broken and shattered, but you can't pick up the pieces...well, it would be easy to leave the pieces.

I'm not broken anymore.  Maybe some days a little more fragile, but I'm finding my way back. Among all the missing days, we had to learn how to love each other again.  He became my protector, my safe house, and I became his basketcase.  It's hard to get back to normal because some days we can't get past what was and move on to what is.

Marriage is hard work.  I don't think kids get that.  I didn't.  It was easy:  You meet the man of your dreams, get married, find good jobs, have kids, die together hand-in-hand.  I didn't see the balance you have to constantly seek between family and taking care of me or the battles of dishes, bathtime, and groceries.  You fight against keeping score, but you do it.   A smart man told me, "When you keep score, someone eventually wins.  That person files the divorce papers." 

Being married to the person who feeds your soul and holds you tightly while letting you fly is a gift, but it takes good old-fashioned elbow grease to keep that.  It's asking how his day was even when mine was crap.  It's making plans for a special date just for the hell of it.  It's kissing him goodbye even though he's asleep and doesn't know I'm there.  It's holding on to the good even when the bad seems like it will overwhelm us, and us knowing that we'll get it back to good.  That's what marriage is...

February 7, 2012

The Colonel...not the KFC one!

Mother, if you're reading this....STOP!  It will probably make you cry.  I tried to quit doing that around 28.  I wasn't always successful, but I tried.

There are people who live many miles from their grandparents, but I am not one of those.  I grew up within 1-2 miles of both sets of my grandparents, and my grandmother still lives across the hill from us. They doted on me and gave me way too much attention.  And I adored them. 

Papaw and I, Sophomore Year of High School
Please note my stellar hair and ginormous earrings.

This handsome man is my Papaw, aka the Colonel.  I know I've been told the story of how he got that nickname, but I've long forgotten...I just know he was my heart and soul.  My other grandfather, Grandpa, was equally as special; He taught me important things like how to play poker for starlight mints and how to use cuss words in context. These are important skills when you're ten.

My Papaw wasn't a talker.   He was always quiet, studying on things.  I can't recall him ever telling me he loved me, but he didn't have to.  I knew.  I still know. 

When he passed many, many years ago, the only thing I asked for from my grandmother was his wedding band.  She happily gave it to me, along with his driver's license.  That was shortly before I said, "I do" the first time.

My dream at that time was to give this man I was marrying the ring my grandfather had worn for 50+ years.  It represented what I wanted so badly...a union for eternity.  But my gut kept me from doing that.  So, I kept it tucked away with a few pieces of jewelry I had.  

Many years later, while moving, I realized the ring was missing.  I suspected it had been stolen by one of the ex's friends (I use the word friend loosely, obviously).  My stomach ached and my heart broke. 

Over the years, which numbered over a decade, I often thought of the ring and where it ended up.  I was too ashamed to tell my mother that I thought it had been stolen.  So I kept quiet.

This past Sunday, my parents stopped by, which is quite common.  My father came in holding my deceased Nana's purse and her watch.  He told me he had kept these, but wanted to make sure I got them.  Then, out of the blue, my mother hands me my Papaw's wedding band and driver's license.  There, after so much worry, was the shiniest, most beautiful gold band.  Turns out, I had given it to her during a move so she could keep it safe.  And she did for all those years.

Tonight I got out his driver's license just to look at his handwriting...After Eden's Meme, handwriting is much more interesting.  What was really interesting was what I found hidden in his driver's license...a $2 bill.  My grandmother, his wife, was always giving $2 to people as "good luck" when I was a kid.  I have two tucked away in my billfold, one is mine from high school and the other is Girlo Two's.  Her motto was you might need some money one day and not have any.  What the hell I was supposed to buy with $2 I have yet to figure out.  Granted there were still payphones when I was a teenager, but they sure didn't take $2 bills.  Apparently she'd slit his license open and tucked one in between.  

I had a man who reads auras once tell me he could see my Papaw behind my right shoulder, and I have no doubt he is there on a regular basis.  Life has been hectic lately, and I'm trying to discern where it is taking me.  Wherever it is, I have a lucky $2 to get me there compliments of my dear, sweet Papaw.

February 5, 2012

Learning to Breathe...The Backstory

I probably should have written this as my first post about, oh, a year ago, but I was so excited to write anything I just overlooked this.  My first real post was about a mix tape, and I still love it.  Two really amazing chicks convinced me it was okay to do, and it was.  I still use music to take me where I want to go.

So, what the hell is the/a Breathe Chick?  Um, go get a cup of coffee and we'll talk.

There was a time in my life when I couldn't breathe...literally.  Once I started connecting the dots, a lot of it stems from the epidural I had during Girlo Two's birth.  She was an emergency c-section, and they tilted my head down while my feet were raised so gravity could help keep her in till they could get to her.  The epidural went further up than intended, and I lost the sensation of my chest rising and falling.  I remember looking up and saying, "I CAN'T BREATHE!"   He assured me I could; if I could talk, I could breathe.  It got me through, but I now have an irrational fear of not being able to breathe.  

Years were rocky after she came along.  Not that she was; she is the most precious, patient, and caring child I have.  This is not the first time she has walked this Earth, to be sure, and I sometimes think she was sent to me for that very purpose.

I held my breath for many years after that.  I was scared of my life, but didn't know how to change it.  Girlo Two was reason enough to try anything to make it better.  I returned to school for a graduate degree and worked two jobs throughout to make ends meet.  This is not a statement meant to seek pity, just to clarify why I was holding my breath for so long.  There was no time to think, which was probably best.

Then I became a single mom of two.  I never thought I'd be able to pull off that gig.  I carried a little notepad in my purse and recorded every penny I spent because I couldn't fail them.  My parents were always there as a safety net, but I wanted so, so badly to not depend on them.  There were times I had to suck up my pride, but I did okay for the most part.

When I ran into Better Half, I was still holding my breath and moving as fast as I could.  Downtime has always been hard for me.  If I sit still, I think.  If I think, well, it's just best that I keep moving.  I'm not a hypochondriac, but I can convince myself in five minutes or less I'm having a heart attack or have cancer.  Truly.

For the first time, it was okay for me to stop moving at such a frantic pace.  I could quit holding my breath because I knew it was going to be okay.  I quit and then about 10 years of crap came falling down on my head.  (Read Here.)Breathing became very hard for me.  Most of my anxiety starts with having shortness of breath, which is common but ironic.  Life's funny that way.

I was told that I could regulate my breathing during anxiety by singing.  Who knew?!  Singing is not my strong point.  I would be the comedy clip on American Idol. Well, if I even made it to that point.  But sing I did.  I would sit in the car and sing at the top of my lungs, and I would feel better.  The residuals of the anxiety would be there, but I could talk myself down from the ledge, so to speak.

This blog was/is about me being able to breathe.  I thrive on connecting to other human beings, feeling that sense of belonging.  I feel alive when I do this, like I'm trying to change my path.  Breathing, to me, is about being who you are meant to be.  Sucking in air and pushing it back out with force and purpose.  I push words out in hopes that someone will like them and come back here again.  I shove these thoughts upon the Universe because holding them in is just too hard.

This is one of the songs that helped me to breathe again.  I remember listening to it for the first time when I worked with my aunt for a couple of weeks one summer.  I had my own little office and updated law books.  It was certainly one of my less glamorous gigs, but I listened to music all day and got free Diet Coke, so it was all good for a 14 year old girl.  I love the message.  When we stop looking so damn hard, we find exactly what we are seeking.  Closer to fine.

Thanks, Universe.  Breathing is good.  

February 3, 2012

Please Stay Small...

I suppose I should know it happens.  All of my babies will grow up.  It will happen one night while I am sleeping, and I will wake to humans who aren't quite as enamored with me as these babes are right now.  

I noticed one of my students had shaved recently.  They are at the age where some do once a week, and others are on the verge.  It's a tough age, to be sure.  I had one of those epiphany moments where I realized one day, not too far away, that will be my son.  And my heart broke.

I expect my girls to grow up.  I know how that process works.  I know what struggles they will endure as girls maturing into women.  I know the doubt and fear they will face, the tears they will cry.  I know that shit.  

I don't want my boy to grow up.  Not that I'm one of those weird moms who won't let him marry or move out; I'm not.  I will miss terribly having those sweet little arms wrapped around my neck.  Feeling his bony butt cutting into my legs when he climbs into my lap.  Listening to him breathe when he naps beside me.  I will miss his innocence and openness.

Maybe I know my girls will always hug me with that same sweet heart as they do now.  I know one day my boy won't do that.  It won't be cool...It'll be weird to hug and kiss your mommy.  I'll let him go be a big boy, and my heart will swell with pride as I watch him grow into the wonderful young man I know he will become.  

So, dear boy, if one day you stumble across your mom's blog, take a moment to linger and give me another one of those sweet, little boy hugs.  Wrap your arms around my neck, put your cheek to mine, and let me hold you for just a minute longer.


Eden's Meme...Handwriting

When I started this bloggy-blog, one of the first I began to read was edenland. From the other side of the world, she made me braver.  If she could put shit out there, then so could I.  So I did.  And you all are kind enough to read it.

She has a meme up and the idea is handwriting...hmmm....

I remember copying Todd Brang's 'T' in fourth grade because I thought mine was ugly.  My mother has beautiful handwriting.  Like, it should grace some wonderful novel.  It's really that pretty.  My grandfather didn't have handwriting; he had penmanship.  I found his school books once from Brooklyn, and it was art.  I loved the smell of that book and the words left behind.

My handwriting is all over the place.  It's gruff sometimes. Others it's sharp and resembles an bad EKG.  Other days it's swirly and sweet.  I always doodle in the margins.  Usually cubes with open lids.  I wonder what that says...

I love to write with pencils.  Good, sharp pencils that could bring blood.  No mechanical ones, either. My father has an amazing pen collection.  I remember watching him write his name over and over when he would try a new one out.   If you went back to my high school, you would notice all my absentee notes were from my father.  All that observation made me a pretty good copycat!  My capital 'A' looks very much like his even now.

For you, Eden.

February 1, 2012

The Domino Effect...Or What Might Have Been

There's a family legend...maybe some truth, maybe none, or maybe all.  Who knows?  Rumor is that my grandfather knew my grandmother for all of two weeks and proposed to her because he felt he would surely be killed in the war and she seemed like a nice lady who could use the money when he died (That is the worst grammar ever, by the way.)  They were married for fifty gazillion years.  It wasn't always pretty, but they loved each other in that old fashioned way that didn't quit and give up.

My parents were kinda the same.  They knew one another for about 3 months when Dad proposed.  As the story goes, she drove through the gas station with orange juice cans curled up in her hair and it was love at first sight.  I think it had more to do with her car, but what do I know?  They are absolutely perfect...maybe perfectly crazy some days, but the perfect complement to one another.

What I find interesting is the question of what might have been...I think of it as the domino effect.  If one little thing in our lives had been different, what bigger things might have been as well.  What if my grandpa had been sent to another base?  What if my grandmother had laughed and sent him on his way.  He was a damn Yankee outta Brooklyn, and she was a southern girl from south Jawja (Georgia for those of you not familiar with that accent).  I swear I still didn't get how they could understand each other with those accents...

What if my mom's dad, my Pepaw, had told her to get that Yankee hippie out of his house?  What if my dad had married his high school girlfriend?  For one, there would be no me, and we all know what a tragedy that would have been...

There were stories after 9-11 about people who hit snooze one too many times and were late to work...or the cab didn't stop for them...or they had a dentist appointment.  All of those little things that changed their lives in such a huge way, but were really small at the time.  That's what gets me.  What if the dominoes in our lives had fallen differently?

What if I hadn't gone off to the big college where I lost my way and my faith in myself?  What if had been braver at being me rather than trying to be someone else?  

Alas, life knows best, and the universe has planted me in the best spot possible.  It was a wandering journey with a couple of wrong turns, but some sweet pitstops along the way.  Sure, you wonder sometimes what might have been different, but (hopefully) knowing that where you are is right where you are meant to be.