Enough is Enough

Seriously. I’m tired of it.

Enough is enough.

Babies have to stop dying. Parents need to stop having to choose tiny caskets that can be picked up by one person. Have you ever seen one? Just the casket itself will give you nightmares.

I’m pissed.

I can’t believe it’s 2014 and there are still as many people burying their babies as there are. I know, if we were in the 1800′s or even 50 years ago, it would be more. But damn.

It’s not fair.

Yeah, something good will come from it. A lot of people do great things in the wake of devastating and bring-you-to-your-knees situations, but WHY DO WE STILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS?

Every time I hear of a new baby who won’t get to have a birthday party, go to kindergarten, get married, or even take his first steps, I cry. Mostly, because I can’t take it away from the person suffering the new loss. I’ve been there. I would rather take their pain than have ANYbody else in this world  have to feel those stages of grief.

And that is how I feel this Sunday morning.

Enough is enough.

Goodbye, 2013. Hello, 2014!

All in all, I think 2013 was pretty good. I mean, we all had our health, our sanity, food on our table, and a roof over our heads.

Last year, I chose a word of the year instead of a resolution. Grace was my word, and I’m not sure I can judge whether I fulfilled being full of grace or not, but I like to think I did exhibit more than normal simply because it was always in the back of my mind.

This year, Jason, Henry, and I have chosen our words. I’m sure you can figure out which one each of us chose.

words for 2014

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2013 held a lot of firsts and lots of favorite posts (by my standards, not anybody else’s). 

January: I had an emergency on the longest run I had done up to that point. I got stuck in a … 

February: Henry and I had a date at Waffle House.

March: I recapped my February half marathon after I processed it all.

April: I pondered the hardest part of running.

May: May saw us mark one whole decade since our Charlie was born. The words were few. The moments between his birth and that day were many.

June: I gave my husband a car for his birthday. Even though it had already been his once before.

July: Working Mom guilt set in.

August: School started. And with it came homework and tears.

September: My Grannie died. I wrote a piece and spoke at her funeral. It was a good day.

October: I became taken with a DOT worker I passed every morning and wondered what his story was.

November: I finished my second half marathon. Henry had a special experience at Disney. And he ran a race in 8:20.

December: I spent some time remembering Christmases as a child. Part 1 and Part 2 about the Door To Christmas.

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2014 stands to be a good one.

There are events on the horizon that will be exciting, challenging, and even exhilarating.

I choose to go into 2014 with these things in mind:

I will use my God-given intuition more. I will try not to second guess my gut feeling because it’s always right. I will try not to read your mind. 

I will be more aware. Of my surroundings, my feelings, my family, my life in general. 

I will run/walk/jog 500 miles this year. Period. 

I will train properly for the Princess Half/Enchanted 10k/Glass Slipper Challenge. 19.3 miles in 2 days is nothing to scoff at. 

I will raise $2000 for the Ronald McDonald House. If you’d like to help me get to that goal, please click here.

I will put on a helluva show with Miranda and the LTYM: Atlanta cast (TBD) around Mother’s Day (date also TBD). 

I will strive to live my life to the fullest, because it’s the only one I get. 

Cheers to the end of 2013 and bigger cheers to the start of 2014!

happy 2014

{Part 2}: The Door To Christmas: Story of The Christmas Room

For Part 1 of The Christmas Room story, start here.

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Once everything was checked out, we were given the thumbs-up to go into The Christmas Room. In spite of being in that room year in and out, the magic of the room made your brain feel all oogly woogly and for a moment you couldn’t remember where you were supposed to go or sit or what you were supposed to say and YAY IT’S CHRISTMAS WE’RE FINALLY IN!

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to go into The Christmas Room, you know that whether it’s April or July or the day after Christmas, you will long for wrapped gifts and stockings. All year, this room is dedicated to Christmas.

There are two Christmas sofas, one for each family like we’re on Family Feud. I’m not sure how or when they were covered in this epically textured red velvet fabric, but I know that they were probably the subject of thousands of conversations over the years.

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Someone would inevitably try to squeeze into the small chair that had once been my Mama’s, noting that “I can still fit in here” for all the family to giggle at them.

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Stockings were laid out in the corners of the sofas, perfectly filled with equal amounts of goods. Dads and boys got water guns and silly string. The Moms and girls got smelly lotions and lip gloss. At some point, we all started to get lottery tickets.

And there was always the famous cash envelope that the parents immediately confiscated – I can only assume that was so we didn’t throw it away with the wrapping paper.

Gifts were passed out by two of us. Everybody waited until all the gifts were carefully (and quickly) delivered to dive in. But when all was delivered, it was game on. Paper flew, “thank you” was said quickly when eye contact was made with the giver, the next gift was grabbed to open in a hurry.

As the years went on, we realized that Grannie and Grandaddy would sit and wait before opening their own gifts, watching and taking it all in before turning their attention to the gifts from their grandchildren and daughters.

It all moved dizzyingly fast – from the opening of the door to the moment we all leaned back and sighed from exhaustion. The next thing you knew, the parents were back at the table with pecan pie and coffee while the kids were laid out in the floor in front of the TV and electric space heater watching WMAZ’s coverage of Santa’s flight across the globe.

And just as we rushed to get TO Grannie and Grandaddy’s, once we realized Santa was close to our area, we forced the parents to rush home. Bags were gathered, trunks were filled (to the brim, to be honest), cars were loaded and goodbyes were said.

Before we got to the river, my sister and I were normally asleep. In fact, we were so sound asleep we would have to be carried into the house and placed in our beds with visions of sugarplums and the magic of The Christmas Room dancing in our heads.

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The Door To Christmas is more than just that. It’s the door to memories, ones that we can all share and cherish and open the door to whenever we want.

My wish for y’all this Christmas season is that you have a door in your heart and in your mind that you are able to open and be transported to happy and beautiful memories of Christmases past. And also that you are taking the time to enjoy the memories you are making with your children and grandchildren. Those memories will stay with them forever.

I also know that this Christmas, my Grannie and Grandaddy are together, sitting on a Christmas sofa holding Charlie, waiting patiently for all gifts to be open before they open theirs. They’ll smile down and make sure we are all equally  blessed, just as they did for dozens of years before.

{Part 1} The Door To Christmas: The Story of The Christmas Room

The door to the jewelry store was locked as soon as the clock struck closing time on Christmas Eve. Jewelry was put away, money was counted, the employees milled around to wait for their gifts that were always handed out after closing. My sister and I were twitchy to get out of there so Christmas could start.

Christmas Eve was always spent at Grannie’s. It was tradition. It was how Christmas started.

After we got home from the store, my parents seemed to mill around for hours. My grandparents and Aunt and Uncle knew to wait for us, that we would be there as soon as we could. It seemed like my parents were never ready – always having to throw together some last minute gifts and having to pack the car and grab the food. I’m sure they were more organized than I remember, but it seemed like it took a short eternity to get to Grannie’s house.

Over the river and through the woods we went, with a trunk full of gifts, a food dish or two, and butterflies in our stomachs.

I’d say we had a small, tight family. There was Grannie and Grandaddy, our mom and dad and the two of us, and my aunt and uncle and their two sons. Small and mighty we were.

Part of the magic of Christmas growing up was starting the holidays in The Christmas Room.

We would all arrive, us late as usual, and the moms (women) would take to the kitchen and prepare the spread of carbs and desserts. I think there was some protein in there, too, but I stayed far away from all that! Was better to build up our energy stores with dressing and biscuits than to waste time eating turkey.

The men would count the pictures around Grannie and Grandaddy’s house to see which family “they liked best.”

The kids would ask every 3.7 seconds, “WHEN ARE WE GOING TO EAAATTTTT???”

Finally it was time to bless the food. Uncle Gary, being a good Southern Baptist Deacon, always had the honor. We wrapped around the table, hands held, parents trying to separate the kids to avoid the inevitable giggle-fest that organically happened about midway through the blessing. Their attempts to stop it were in vain.

Giggles commenced. First the kids, then the dads, and finally once we all proclaimed “AMEN” the whole group erupted in laughter.

Dinner was had – adults at the table near the door to The Christmas Room, kids in the kitchen at the small table. We ate as fast as humanly possible. There was no time for seconds or talking. Eat. As. Fast. As. You. Can.

And the parents ate as slooooowly as they could. In fact, sometimes it seemed like they weren’t even TRYING to eat.

So we waited. And waited.

After being as patient as possible, we would start hovering around the door.

door

Much like the door in Willy Wonka, this door was the way to the magic. Inside this room, FUN happened. Inside this room, Santa has already stopped by.

It was the door to Christmas. 

Eventually, after hovering over this door and offering to take the adults’ dishes to the kitchen, after the adults moseyed their way to get their cameras and coffee, after we all went to the bathroom because there could be NO breaks, after ALL that…

the dads went in the room to “check things out.

hangs head

…to be continued

Read Part 2 here.

Optimism, Football, and Thanksgiving Flu

Nothing I have to say right now warrants its own post, so you’re getting a combo post. I’ll give you a second to get over your giddiness.

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Henry has the flu. I KNOW. A holiday week with a sick kid? OF COURSE!!

Yesterday, Jason took him to the doctor with the symptoms that had really shown up only about 10 hours earlier. Quick and bad. That’s how the flu looks. Positive test. Of course.

I skipped out of work a little early because it was pouring rain, we had no customers, and Jason had some work calls he needed to take care of. When I got home, the first words Henry said to me were, “Having the flu stinks, Mom.”

Yes it does.

The good thing is, we aren’t traveling for the holidays and he’s already feeling a little better. At least his fever isn’t 102 anymore.

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Let’s talk football. Specifically, Auburn Football. Here’s where the “Optimism” part of the title comes from.

Pre-season, I had Auburn finishing number 10 in the BCS for our office pool. People in my office ACTUALLY LAUGHED AT ME. Of course they did. We went 3-9 last year and honestly, probably shouldn’t have won those 3 games.

So I had us at number 10. There’s part of me that’s so proud that I had the optimism and hope to put us there, while at the same time, there’s part of me that’s pissed that I was so pessimistic to put us WAY DOWN THERE at number 10.

While sitting at number 4, with our eyes staring down the barrel of the Iron Bowl, the end of the season looks sweet. Whether we win or lose, this 2013 Auburn team has led won of the most amazing comeback seasons ever.

This weekend I’ll be heading over (as long as I don’t catch the flu from Henry) to do my “mosey and mooch” brand of tailgating.

After being there for the Georgia game, I really got the bug.

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I need more Auburn in my life. I need to be in the city and around the campus and with my people. I spent so many years spending every single home game Saturday in Athens, I have just really noticed how much I missed Auburn and our Spirit That Is Not Afraid.

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Other random tidbits of trivia:

I met the super cool Mir at an event last week. She’s adorable and I may have a blogger crush on her now. The event may have been at the University of Georgia. I also may have had the score of the Auburn/Georgia game written on my thigh. (However, I left the hat, bag, and shaker at home.)

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The Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta site is live! Go check it out and share it in all the places you can! We will be filling that space with fun posts, announcements, and other excitement!

My Grannie’s geraniums are still blooming and they make me smile. Her front porch was always lined in pink and red geraniums, from Spring until the first real cold in the Fall.

It’s strange not having the pre-Thanksgiving talk about who’s bringing what to Thanksgiving at Grannie’s. It’s even MORE strange to have to buy cornbread dressing. One of my biggest regrets is not having her teach me to make her biscuits and dressing. At least I have the salmon patties down pat.

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I want to wish all of you a VERY Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for each and every one of you. May your families be blessed.

Oh, and War Eagle!

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