Monday, February 6, 2017

Where I want to keep her

     It is incredibly difficult to be a mother without a mother. I am eternally grateful that I had my mother for as long as I did and that she knew all of my children. But she's missing out on so much, and I am missing out on her. If ever there were such a thing as a person that just knew your soul inside and out, it's your mother. At least, it was my mother, anyways. She was my best and usually only true friend. It's just so empty now that she's gone. I can feel the pain vibrating in my chest.

     There's so much that I want to tell her and ask her questions about. She would think Wesley is hilarious. He was only 2 when she passed away. He asks me almost every day if Bae died because she got sick. I typically skirt past it with a "yes, baby" but last week he got sick, and a dark cloud of worry overtook him that I could feel in that place of my chest that vibrates.

     I don't know how to do this teenager thing. It's hard. As hard as they say it is. I know I am not doing it right. But she would have supported me anyways. Dylan hasn't been sick at all since she passed. There was that one time that I thought he might be. It was headaches that went away as soon as we got checked into a room at Batson. She would make jokes at me everytime I thought Dylan could be sick for the rest of forever, and we would laugh.

     She would be in Madison with her mother and sisters every weekend that she could get away. A part of me hurts for her that she is missing this, and a part of me is relieved. And a part of me wonders if Gran would still be Gran, if my mama hadn't left us so soon. Everything could have stayed the same. We'd be cooking and visiting and making a bunch of racket at Gran's house every chance we could.

     I don't stay in a place of grief. It comes in waves, and further and further apart as time passes. My thoughts of her have shifted as well. It happened around Christmas. I can no longer imagine her or reflect for very long on our relationship as adults, which was strained at times. I see her in my head as my mother I had growing up. And it's yellow and warm and smells like honesuckle. That's where I want to keep her.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Back to Homeschool: Expectations vs. Reality


The children arise cheery and eager to sit down to the breakfast table at 7:30 sharp. They walk out of their bedrooms dressed and greet me with a "Good morning, mom. You look splendid today." 

The waffles are piping hot and we all sit down for a lovely breakfast and we talk about how excited we are to dive into 5th and 1st grade. Their excitement is breathtaking!

We get out our workbooks and begin. Each child works well alone, and is speeding through their work with flow and ease. We ease through English, Grammar, and move on quickly to Math. They remember all of their multiplication facts and can recall everything we learned last year.

We move on to history, where we are approaching the civil war with excitement! Abraham Lincoln is our favorite president and we are preparing to read his biography and do a book report. 

We then move on to science and do a small experiment with the phases of the moon. We plan to go out tonight and "observe" the dark moon.

We break for lunch, clean up our area, head to the library and check out 1,000 books that spark our interests. Then we head home and play independently until father walks in the door.


At 7:30, Dylan walks out of his room. He begins talking to me about his guinea pig before I have had my second cup of coffee. This makes my eye twitch. No other child is awake. But then I hear the roar of a 3 year old who doesn't understand why it's already day time and Jude won't get up. He stomps out of his room and slams the door.

I prepare Dylan his waffles, and upon that sight, Wesley would like a waffle. I cut it up and present it to him at the table. He throws a tantrum because they are not waffles, like he thought, they are pancakes. I express to him that cutting them up does not make them pancakes. He insists they are now pancakes. He is asked to resume his tantrum in his bedroom. He complies, returns 10 minutes later having breached his contract with the devil, and eats his waffles.  

Two more boys appear. They seem to be in good spirits. 

After breakfast is cleared, we get out our workbooks. We start on English, which I am not certain that either child is fluent in.  

Jude cries for 30 minutes because I asked him to write his name. 

We move on to math. They cannot recall multiplication facts and when I mentioned division, I heard "like, Tom Clancy's The Division?". I say curse words under my breath. We finish math review, and I put the public school's telephone number on speed dial.

The Civil War breaks out at the dining room table, which I am told is now Vicksburg, and the Union victory is imminent. The war breaks a window, a chair leg, and I am pretty sure Jude is blind now. The victory makes it difficult for me to cross from the kitchen to the living room, which are Confederate territory. I penned a letter to Abe, hopefully he can get me out of this one.

After we surrendered to the Union, we read a book about the phases of the moon. There's some project with an apple on a stick and a flashlight. Hayden took a bite out of the apple and declared the moon was not made of cheese. I sob quietly.

I broke and they fixed lunch. We cleaned up what we could, and then headed to the library where I owed a $28 late fee. I pay $20 and they waive the rest. (WTF? waive the whole thing, then!)) 

I pick out a few books that I want them to read, and they counter the offer with books about alligators, horror stories, and wimpy kids. As we head out of the library, Wesley declares at least as loudly as he can, that he needs to poop. Laughter erupts. I die of embarrassment. 

They demand cookies upon our arrival home and scamper off to their rooms to play video games. I make coffee, and reevaluate my life. 

All of this and none of this is true! It was a great day, and the kids did great!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Making the Life I Want


I was up at 4:00 this morning. I woke up because I had to pee, and because I am my mother's child, I couldn't go back to sleep. Happens a few times a month. Hubs acts like I've committed a crime each time, bless it.

It's late. I have my chamomile tea brewing. The boys are jumping on their beds  in bed for the night and I am finally sitting down for some "me" time. And I need to dump it all out.

I have spent the last 2 days cleaning and organizing my house. I don't generally keep a dirty house, but you would find dishes in the sink waiting their turn for the dishwasher, and laundry waiting to be folded, and suffer a violent death by stepping on a skylander in the hallway. True story.

I spend a great deal of time worrying and stressing over this situation. I could work hard and get ahead and find myself treading water for a few days, only to end up drowning again. The student/teacher/wifey/parent life is hard time.

My mama always kept a clean house. She always made sure I did my chores. She did everything she could to encourage those habits but in the end my self won out and I am just not a type A cleaner, organizer, list writer, get shit done-er. But I'll be damned if I am not about to become one.

I've never stuck with things for long. I can barely believe I am still in college. Why am I like this? Why can't I just be a solid person, instead of the shell of a person, imposter that I feel like most of the time?

I have decided it is because I focus too much on what I don't want to be. I am always saying how I dont want a messy house. I don't want to do dishes, I don't want to fold laundry. I don't want to be a flake. I don't want to waste my kids childhoods away in front of my phone. I don't want to carry these extra pounds. I don't want a job that makes me unhappy.  And there are too many negatives, too many "don't"s in this type of talk. And I am through with it.

Instead, I am going to manifest a fabulous life. I am going to work hard this week to get my house set up, and get a system in place so that my house flows and operates like a well oiled machine. I am going to be that crazy bitch that gets up early at 6 am with nowhere to be, just to drink her coffee in peace and unload the dishwasher before the kids zombie walk out asking for cereal.

A kid literally just came out of his room to tell me he needs the living room light off. 

Ok, it was Wesley, enough with the heir of mystery.

I am going to have a clean house. I am not going to create more work for myself by procrastinating. My kids deserve a well maintained house. They deserve a mother that does not roll out of bed at 8:45 am and have to catch up on last nights dishes to even start the day. (hush, they don't get up until 9:30)

I have a cleaning schedule printed out, framed, and hung by my back door. Every single nook and cranny of my house is cleaned and organized and everything has a place. I will keep up my routine because it will make everything easier and I know this. I know this!! I will start this homeschool year out organized and determined to stay on track. I will pick up my college classes late August and do my work and homeschool with ease. I am on a facebook hiatus, but if you do not see or hear from me on any social media what so ever by September, please send help. I may be in the fetal position on the floor of my bathroom muttering something about the permanent marker on the living room wall. 

I am going to manifest the life I want, and forget about the rest.
Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Like Old Friends

     Summer semester is over. I took my last finals Tuesday morning. Once again, I finished a semester with all A's and one B. Satisfactory, I suppose. 

     This summer I had a little existential crisis. I changed my major and then changed it back again, all in about 4 weeks time. I don't know that I will ever be sure without a doubt that I am on the right path. I have an idea of what my life would be like that would make me happy, and an idea of what it might be like that is not happiness, and I cannot seem to get the two ideas to merge in my head. There are so many things that I like to do. So many things that I am moderately good at. But sticking with one thing for the rest of my life feels like suffocating. I am so envious of those who are so secure in their paths. I have never been that way, and I hate it.

     But writing, that's sort of my home base. I have always loved to write. Even though I do not do it as often as I would like. I put other things as priorities and those things don't truly serve me. I am taking a break from facebook for the time being. I am an incredibly sensitive person, and the constant barrage of bad news, awful worldly events, and the broad spectrum of opinions shared is just more than I can process. The aftermath of the recent violent acts between police and citizens is too much to bear. I felt anxious and nervous when I would leave my house. I guess I just tend to carry it with me. I want to help change the world, but I can't carry the sadness with me. So I have to remove myself. 

     I have spent my days being completely present with my kids, baking, studying, and reading. It feels like returning to myself. Much like I do here with this blog. No need to justify the long period between posts, we just pick up where we left off, like old friends.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Melancholy Monday

I am officially embarking on three weeks of no academics. Three whole weeks!

My summer classes start May 31st. I am so excited to have this semester past me. It did not end well. 

I went for my last final exam last Thursday. Sparing you the details, my teacher managed to humiliate me in front of the class and I cried the whole time I took my final. Quietly and softly at my desk, and broken. It was simple miscommunication. But there is something seriously wrong with a professor who feels he can treat others as if they are idiots. That PhD did not teach you compassion, I see.

So now, when I look back on this semester, I don't see my 4 A's and 2 B's that I should be proud of. I see a massive mess up at the end, which has colored my view and made me feel worthless. I am not usually so thin skinned, but there's something about public humiliation that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Mother's day has come and gone, thankfully. It was a good day, but there's no magic anymore. I woke up Sunday morning and fixed my coffee and I heard my mother say "Happy Mother's Day!" in her usually sing-song voice. It was so real and so very sad. I went to church and watched my children sing "This Little Light of Mine" and it was bittersweet. I get to enjoy all of these things with my kids and I can't even tell her about them. I can't tell her about my first semester on campus and how good my grades are and how it ended so horribly. I won't hear how proud she is of me. But I know she is. Somewhere, she is absolutely beaming. 

On my 29th birthday, the last birthday I had with her, she gave me a card that read "I have never been so proud of you than I am today! Love, Mama."

We went to her grave yesterday. The boys talk to her at her stone as if she were really there. I have a hard time doing it. Mostly because if I talked to her there, I would ugly cry. The boys don't need to see all of that. So I ugly cry to myself sometimes. Locked in my bathroom, or sitting in front of my computer pouring my soul out, or driving home from school for the last, awful time.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Coffee Time

     Come on in, the coffee is ready. I just put it on maybe 5 minutes ago. Excuse the dishes in the sink, I'll get to those later. Come on, have a seat in the dining room. Just let me move these workbooks.

     So how have you been? It's been so long since we've been able to catch up. I hope your family has been well. Tell me all about it. Every stinking detail. Tell me about the piles of laundry and the dishes that never end. The toys in the living room, the smudges on the walls. The peed-on sheets, the banana smeared into the carpet. Tell me how it's exhausting and you don't feel good enough anymore. Because I feel that way too, everyday.

    How are you and your husband? That's good to hear. But really tell me. Tell me about the times it's not ok. The times when you feel like giving up but hang in there anyways. Tell me when it feels numb, loveless, routine. Then tell me when he gives you butterflies again over the silliest things. And when you feel silly for ever feeling numb when it can feel like this. Because I feel that way too, everyday.

     How is your job or school going? Yea? That's great. I know it's stressful. Tell me about your latest promotion or how you made an A on your last test. Tell me about how it's hard to wake up in the mornings and make the trip back there again. To miss the time home with the kids. To feel so accomplished in the world for making something of yourself. To contribute to your family's resources and give the middle finger to outdated gender roles. And how you wish you could be a stay at home mom forever. Because I feel that way too, everyday.

     Tell me about your kids' new favorite things. Is it minecraft? Legos? Monster High? Do they even play with toys that much anymore? Tell me about the recent breakthrough you had with your daughter, when you really understood her, and she felt it. Tell me about the night time kisses. The before bed confessions. The desire to watch them sleep because it is so incredibly beautiful. Their angelic faces. The cute things they said. How you think they are smarter than all the other kids their age. How you secretly worry that maybe they aren't. Tell me how it hurts and tell me how it heals. Because I feel that way too, everyday.

     Tell me about you. Tell me your dreams. Your goals. What you wanted to be when you grew up. Who did you think you would marry and how many kids did you want? Now tell me what actually happened. Did you take time off after high school? Do you wish you had? Did you pursue what your parents wanted you to? Or did you claim your life in some other way. Maybe run off into the sunset with a knight in shining armor in a green Ford Ranger to a trailer park of broken dreams. How do you feel when you look back? How do you feel when you think about your life now? What do you wish was different or that you could change? Tell me about "me time" if that is even a thing for you. Does it come easy to you, from the hands of a helper, or do you have to steal it? Does the me time fulfill you or does it feel like time where you just don't have to be on? Tell me about the secret to your happiness, tell me about your regrets. Tell me what you believe in. Or are you wandering around not really sure anymore? Because I feel that way too, everyday.

     We can talk about it all over this pot of coffee.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Birthday Fun!

Hayden turned 10 years old today!! I cannot even believe that child has only been on this earth for ten years. It feels like he's been by my side my whole life. He is, as I have always referred to him as, my right hand man.

He was very tired this morning. He claims he did not stay up late, but sleeping on the way to his birthday trip and laying his head down on the restaurant table tells me otherwise.

I am trying to persuade my children to give up birthday parties. That sounds bad, I know. But I don't want them to forgo them all together. I want them to choose fun family outings in celebration of birthdays rather than parties where we gather over cake and ice cream and then clean up after everyone. Sorry, but you know that's how it goes. I want them to have the choice to pick a birthday party or a fun family trip so that each child has a fair chance to whatever floats their boat.

Hayden wanted to go to the Jackson Zoo and then eat at O'Charleys. O'Charleys is one of the few restaurants that I can eat at and it happens to be his favorite so that worked for me!

I took a lot of pictures along the way.

Giraffes are my absolute favorite animal ever! This father and son duo could not stop loving on each other. They were precious.

This orangutan was completely uninterested in us and was holding on to that piece of grass like it was the last one.

A bench under a cherry blossom tree? Picture time!!!

On to the water creatures. I love this the most. Turtles are so beautiful. 

The kids could climb through tunnels in the tanks and look up. They thought that was awesome.

The otters absolutely stole our hearts! These little guys are so adorable and they play like kittens. Each one of them seemed to know that I was taking their picture because they put it on for the camera. They're like water cats. 

My favorite picture. This otter swam to me and looked up at me the whole time as if it were a pet in a pet shop saying "take me! take me!" I certainly would have taken it home.

A rhino. Several James and The Giant Peach references made here. Several.

Because we love each other. Always.

Hayden reading the map to his brothers.

A turtle family. Love it.

This monkey was named Dylan because he is sucking his thumb and looks so cute. I would have taken him home too.

This monkey is not in a cage under us with nowhere to go. But it sure looks that way. He is just hanging out in the area before the zoologist entrance. Weird, though.

On the train. Hey Jude.

This picture proves to me that I had Hayden 10 years ago and then had him again 3 years ago.

O' Charleys lunch was delicious!

Now we are comfy at home with a cousin over to spend the night. What a wonderful blessed day we had. I am so grateful for beautiful days like these.

Happy Birthday Hayden. I love you more than you could ever know.