Reassuring The Mom

Reassuring The Mom

I’ve never been a dreamer. I’ve never been one to look far into the future and imagine things like my own wedding, having babies, retirement. Once I had a wedding and had babies, looking to the future didn’t get any better. In fact, it got worse. I’ve written before that while I was pregnant with Charlie, I dreamed of caskets. I never dreamed of first birthdays or graduations. Only very unhappy endings.

A side effect of losing a child is that you have a somewhat irrational fear of your living children being taken from you for any number of random reasons. Like dying from the same thing their brother died from. Like falling off their bike, not into the grass but into the road right as a car drives by. Like tripping down the stairs and breaking their necks. Like being bitten by a copperhead while mowing the grass. While eating popcorn at the movies. While … shall I go on?

I thought I was crazy. Until I realized I’m not. I’m grateful for friends who aren’t scared to tell me they feel the same way.

The thing is, this irrational (but very rational in my head) thought process doesn’t allow me to look into the future — the real one that is years or decades away. “The Future” to me is something that’s going to happen this week. I have a very hard time looking past my weekly view on my old school paper calendar. I just can’t plan any further out than that.

So imagine my surprise when all of a sudden, my elementary school-aged child was going to be going to middle school. Like, I looked up and he has teenager features and a tiny mustache forming and a voice that may or may not be changing a little. I woke up one day, late this summer and realized he’s growing up.

There was a middle school registration day on my calendar.

And after that, a 6th grade orientation day.

And after that, still shocking to me, the First Day of Middle School.

6th Grade - Peachtree Middle

I’ve worried myself sick since last Monday. About lockers and books and whether he was getting his meds at lunch. About what to pack for lunch. About whether he was remembering where to go for the 7 different classes he has. About everything.

Today, I emailed his group of teachers to ask a question about the 504 Plan he has to help him with a few ADHD issues. It was about homework — simple and to the point — and I thanked them for making the beginning of school a great experience. One of his teachers wrote back:

Teacher: Henry is awesome! For tonight he needs to study for his quiz tomorrow.

Me: Thank you! He adores your class and is enjoying it so far.

Teacher: He will prosper with us. He’s home.

I’d be lying if I told you that right then, reading his 7 word email response, I didn’t tear up and exhale like I haven’t in months.

Those simple words were all that were needed to reassure this mom that her baby was going to be just fine. Her baby, who isn’t a baby, was going to prosper and grow and become the young man he’s supposed to be. His teacher (all of them, I’m sure, but this one for darn sure) was going to make sure of it.

As for me? After exhaling 90% of the anxiety and nerves that I’ve been holding onto about middle school, I realized that I, too, would be ok. I’m going to prosper in this place in time. I’m home, too.

 

 

2015: The Gloriously Weird Year of Finding Myself, Divorcing, and Turning 40

2015: The Gloriously Weird Year of Finding Myself, Divorcing, and Turning 40

What a weird year this has been.

I mean, I knew it was weird, but then looking back through my photos and calendar… wow. It’s been a doozy.

I’ve been rather quiet here over the course of 2015, my words few and far between. Much has gone on that hasn’t been for public consumption. My (now) ex-husband and I have never made our private matters public, especially in this space, so starting now would have been odd. When we decided very early this year to separate, that things weren’t ok, my words left me. My mind was on overdrive and well, elsewhere.

The year started very restlessly. I was restless and unsettled. I was unhappy. He was unhappy. And in somewhat of short order, all things considered, we remedied it with separation and then divorce. Not that it’s anybody’s business, but none of this life-changing event was a spur of the moment decision. There was talk and therapy and energy sessions and crying and rethinking and in the end, our guts and hearts won out. We knew what we had to do.

Jason and I are better friends now than we have been in years, probably. He’s still my cheerleader and I’m still his. We spend holidays together and do things as a family, because let’s be honest, we always will be one. We share children and memories and grief and joys that only the two of us can ever share. We want the best for each other. We are so much better for Henry this way and our only goals are for him and for each of us to be happy. That’s all anybody wants, right?

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I want to take you on a journey through 2015, though.

Let’s talk while we walk through the year, shall we?

January 2015

January 2015

January was kicked off with a Resolution Run with Sharon that I believe we both resolved to never EVER again run. It’s miraculous we survived. Henry won “Cubmaster’s Choice” at the Pinewood Derby for best looking car. Yes, it’s sushi. No, it’s not edible. Yes, it’s badass.

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February 2015

Oh, February. Jason and I decided over Valentine’s Dinner that we should separate. We’d been back and forth on it, but Valentine’s dinner, while everybody was oohing and aahing over each other at the two-top tables around us, we decided we had to do it. And then we toasted each other. Weird.

Miranda and I held auditions for the Listen To Your Mother Show and I finished my 4th half marathon. Barely. Let’s not discuss the race, but instead let me say how much fun I had with Rachel, Sharon, and Melissa that weekend (and #TeamRMHC)!

The Toomer’s Oaks were replanted in Auburn and we headed over for that big occasion. And then it snowed. And the city of Atlanta shut down.

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March 2015

March saw us figuring out the logistics and details of our separation. We were still living together because of those logistics. That may have been the strangest period of the whole deal. Knowing that you’re apart, but you’re still in the same house. We had distractions, though. Scout things, the boys camping, my niece and I going to NYC to celebrate her birthday. Jasmine and I had the best time! Columbia, Serendipity, Shopping, Broadway!

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April 2015

And then there was April. I don’t think I was even at home during April. Ten days after being in NYC with Jasmine, I was back for the Listen To Your Mother book launch. How much fun was THIS? It was such an amazing 24 hours, I don’t even know where to start! So I won’t bother. But it was amazing to hang out with Neil and Alexandra, Ann, Taya, Melisa… the list goes on. It was a 24 hour trip but so much good was squeezed in!

Then we had our second Listen To Your Mother Show in Atlanta. Which was so beautiful. We had a fantastic cast of 13 women who delivered some of the most heartfelt stories I’ve ever heard. So thrilled to bring it back this next April.

Then there was drinking (much) bourbon with Vikki (and others) at Mom2.0 and visiting with my friend Andrea in Phoenix. Such a busy month!

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May 2015

Basically, in May, I had superpowers that would make me lazy and we celebrated what would have been Charlie’s 12th birthday. May was apparently the opposite of April!

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June 2015

June saw a new family of ducks in our pond out back, a weekend with the girls, and a trip to my sister’s. So clearly “family” was the theme!

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July 2015

July is Peach Month. That’s when the best peaches are available. So we ate them almost right off the tree. I don’t think I’ve eaten as many peaches before as I did this past summer. Henry went to Camp Winnataska again and loved it.

I spent a weekend in NYC again, this time with Neil. I guess you could say this was about when our long time friendship was turning into more than just friendship. (Again, not really anybody’s business, but Jason and I agreed that we could date people while we were separated. So we both did.)

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August 2015

Back to School, with a saxaphone, in August. Plus another trip to NYC and just doing life, one day at a time. We decided to file for divorce.

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September 2015

September was obviously full of fun because the only picture worth posting was of flowers I bought myself at Whole Foods. Which means I paid way too much for them, but whatever, they’re gorgeous and made me feel good. Jason and I, still married technically, celebrated our 17th anniversary with a high five and a PBR because we’re classy like that.

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October 2015

Football game with my mom and Henry. Type A Conference in Atlanta. Henry got a job walking the dog next door after school. Neil came to Atlanta for a long weekend. And I donned a blue wig for Halloween. Oh, October!

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November 2015

November started off with Henry’s 11th birthday party. Another Game Truck party which is God’s gift to moms across the country or wherever Game Trucks are. Seriously. They back in and open the doors and PARTY!

In November, I watched one of my dearest friends say “I do” to the man she loves. I taught my niece how to properly watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. And while at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving, my family celebrated my 40th birthday (a little early).

November 18, our final divorce decree was signed and stamped and official. Again, we celebrated with a high five.

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December 2015

Oh, December. Henry and I found and loved and decorated our own tree. We did it all by ourselves and were so super proud! We made a few new traditions in the process.

I celebrated my FORTIETH birthday on December 9. (I know, I don’t look a day over 27) I was in New York with Neil and we celebrated at dinner with some friends we both know through blogging and Listen To Your Mother. It was such a fun night and weekend.

Christmas came, on schedule. Santa came. Jason joined us and we Christmassed together and it was nice. We had clearly been good this year. I guess Santa liked how well we’ve handled ourselves throughout the year.

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This past year has taught me some things. Mostly that my gut and my heart are always right. I’m grateful to my energy healer and the therapist I briefly saw, for helping me realize the difference between what my heart was telling me and what my head was telling me. Often, your head tells you the easy thing, not the thing that will make you the happiest and take the most courage.

At the end of the day, 2015 was absolutely glorious, and taught me that I’m far more brave and far more resilient than I ever dreamed. I’m not scared of being a single mom. I’m not scared of not being able to live the life I’ve lived for the last 17 years. I’m certainly not scared of the future. I’m excited. Super. Freaking. Excited. Do I know what it holds? Hell no. Do you? If so, I’d like for you to read my palm and tell me some lottery numbers!

I’m ushering in 2016 knowing that anything — ANYthing — can happen. It may be amazing or it may be mundane, but it will be done my way. It will be full of so many things and I plan to do them all with passion and mindfulness and the realization that THIS moment IS life. I only get one and I plan to make it good.

So cheers to a fresh slate, a new decade of life, a blank page in a new notebook, and a new pen.

Let’s do this, 2016.

Just like that… You’re 10.

Just like that… You’re 10.

It seems like just yesterday, you were placed in my arms, held up by your dad because to be honest, I was so drugged up I couldn’t function. But I remember that moment. I remember asking if you were ok and crying when they said you were healthy and safe.

It seems like just yesterday, you were taking your first steps at Thanksgiving lunch and getting your first teeth. Then you were riding your first bike, having your first little girlfriend, and having your first sleepovers.

It seems like just yesterday, you were nine. That’s because you were.

But today you’re ten. Ten.

That’s double digits.

Two hands.

You’re JAZZ HANDS YEARS OLD, Henry Love.

I’m amazed at the young man you’ve grown into. You’re the right amount of funny mixed with the right amount of sweet and sensitive. You’re really like a sweet and savory nut, if I have to be honest.

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Happy Birthday, Henry.

Here’s to a great year!

 

Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

Tales of a Fourth Grade Tween

I look at him, stomping around the house, being angry about whatever there is to be angry about today. Three minutes later, I watch him slip over to the sofa and sit as close to me as humanly possible without getting back in my womb. He nuzzles his head under my arm and I can feel him relax.

Things are changing.

Fourth grade is hard. Being almost ten is hard.

He’s not a teen, but he’s certainly not a baby anymore.

It’s a purgatory area, those tween years, of being immaturely mature and learning to move through life in a bigger way.

In the mornings, we fuss. He’d rather lay around and be lazy now than jump out of bed like he used to do. I can see the differences in the way he sleeps, the way he looks when he’s trying to wake up, and the way he almost needs coffee to get going in the morning.

Growing up isn’t easy.

4thgrade

His features are darkening. I can see the future in his eyes. The next few years will hold changes in his hormones and desires and voice… he won’t be my baby anymore. He’s already not my baby.

He and I wear the same size shoe. He’s not much shorter than I am. I get fussed at if I have to help him wash his wild and crazy hair in the shower because, “You can’t see me naked, Mom.”

These changes are inevitable.

This morning, after fussing to get up-get dressed-brush your teeth-why aren’t your teeth brushed?-get your socks and shoes on-let’s go-I said let’s go-come ON, I drove him to the path he takes to the school. I pulled over to the side of the road. Reaching over to open the door, he looked back at me.

“I hope you have a great day, bud.”

“Ok, mom. You, too.”

“I’ll see you this afternoon.”

He glanced quickly out the window, making sure nobody is looking, leaned in and kissed me on the cheek.

“I love you, Mom.”

“I love you, too, buddy.”

I’m aware that these days are numbered. The tales of my fourth grade tween are going to be tough – new and different. School, life, body changes, mood swings… they’re all things we’ll take day by day.

And if those days include a sly kiss on the cheek and a back rub to help him go to sleep at night, then I’ll take it.

In Honor Of My 700th Post…

In Honor Of My 700th Post…

To celebrate 700 posts (YES! This one is numero 700!), I decided to install a scratch & sniff plugin* to my site so you could experience what I’ve experienced today.

So on a scale of 1 to 100, what does this smell like to you?

Scratch & Sniff

I’ll give you a hint: The number is in the title. THAT is how bad it smells.

But my boy is home and exhausted and clean and full of bruises and chigger bites and scrapes and amazing memories!

 

* If you really did sniff your screen, bless your heart.

 

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