I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

Today, Jason and I mark our 16th wedding anniversary. I know what you’re thinking… “She must’ve been 10 when she got married.” No, actually, I was 22 and three weeks out of college. A baby, yes. A child bride, not quite.

I look at Pinterest and see photo shoots my friends do of some amazing weddings, weddings I wish were mine. Oh, if I had it all to do over, I would do this, that and the other thing. 

No. Actually I wouldn’t change a thing.

It was a at the beach, a week after a tropical storm blew through. A destination wedding before destination weddings were cool.

It was the only off weekend for Auburn AND Georgia. And Georgia Tech was playing away. (Those are the most important details, y’all.)

The morning of the wedding, the hotel decided to lay new St. Augustine sod right in the area where the aisle was. Do you know how hard it is to walk on fresh sod?

I did my own flowers, except the bouquets and boutonnieres.

My cake decided to lean at a precarious angle, causing friends to dismantle it while we were taking pictures. I was hardheaded and refused to cut it before it was time in the pre-arranged schedule.

Everything didn’t go according to plan, but at the end of the night, after everybody else went to the Village to see The Outfield play a concert, we were married. Til death do us part.

Lighthouse Wedding

 

And to this day, I wouldn’t change a thing. Not about our wedding day, and not about our life together. Sure, it hasn’t been all roses and sunshine, but life isn’t always roses and sunshine. And it’s led us to where we are and led us to the life we’ve made.

We’ve defied the odds and laughed at statistics. People don’t survive things we’ve been through.

But we have. So far, we’re still standing.

Happy 16th Anniversary, Jason. Here’s to many more!

Her Last First Day of Football Season

Her Last First Day of Football Season

Football season is here. The countdown has been on since January 6 when Auburn and Florida State faced off in an amazing final BCS National Championship Game before the new Playoff system goes into play. As the clock ticks down and the very first college kickoff is within reach, or even on the same calendar page, plans start being made. Tailgates are planned. Trips to games are scheduled. The excitement builds!

Both of my grandmothers were big football fans. My Mimi (my Dad’s mom) was an NFL gal. Of course, she watched Auburn play, but her Sunday afternoons after my grandfather died were spent watching the NFL. I remember her talking about Refrigerator Perry, Joe Montana, Dan Marino… all those guys who were household names were burned into my brain after hearing her wool suit and pantyhose in all seasons wearing self yell at them on television.

My Grannie, though, she was a college football girl. My Grandaddy much preferred golf and baseball, played as background noise to naps, card games and the heat of summer. But my Grannie? Well, she wanted to watch a hard hitting football game, preferably Auburn, Georgia or Georgia Tech, any day of the week. Those were her grandkids’ alma maters and she did everything she could to support them. Up to and including missing the evening news on Channel 13 to watch a game well past midnight.

I couldn’t help but think about her this weekend.

This time last year we were with her in the ICU, wondering if and when she would recover from the stroke she had suffered on the first Saturday night of football season. She died a few short weeks later.

When I took my walk through her house a few months ago, I only got a few things. I got all the deviled egg dishes I could find, a desk, a few photo albums and a few kitchen items. But the one thing I cherish that sits on my desk is something most people would have thrown into the trash.

It’s my reminder: She had big plans on that Saturday night.

Her Last First Football Saturday

In the emergency room, while she was still able to help us piece together a timeline of when she suffered the strokes, we learned that she did watch the Auburn game and was excited that we won. We know she started the other two games and took her medicine at 10pm. We know she was very mad when we told her that Clemson had beaten Georgia.

She was excited about the start of football season — excited enough to have my aunt write down when and where to watch the important games — and I’m thankful she got to see and enjoy some of it. Getting excited about the start of certain seasons — whether it’s football, NASCAR, deer hunting, golf or hockey — is important. Being able to forward to enjoyable activities is really what life should be about.

This piece of paper is a good reminder to me.

This paper reminds me that she was excited about her evening activities. It reminds me that she always thought about her children and grandchildren (and great grandchildren) and knew that we loved these teams alongside her.

It reminds me that the majority of her last pre-stroke hours were enjoyable for her — spent celebrating her last first day of football season.

Eleven. 11. XI.

Eleven. 11. XI.

CharlieBlue

Two days old, May 23, 2003

Eleven years ago today, you graced us with your presence. You caught us off guard by coming a little bit early and taking forever to be delivered.

You caught us off guard by being so aware, so beautiful, so wise. From the moment you arrived, your eyes told your story.

They were wide and bright, inquisitive and alert. They knew too much.

They knew you had a short time.

When I look back at your pictures, so very few of them, your eyes are always open. I see wisdom and love and know that you lived the life you were meant to live.

It wasn’t to be a long life, but it was to be long enough to touch hundreds and thousands of hearts. It was long enough to leave your mark.

But no matter how many hearts and lives you touched, I would trade it all to have you back.

Happy 11th birthday in Heaven, baby boy. Every breath I take is for you.

**************************

For more information:

Late Onset Group B Strep

Charlie’s Story

 

 

 

A Mother’s Heart

A Mother’s Heart

On April 26, 2014, at the very first
Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta, I read these words.
I should tell you to bring tissues.
photo: From The Hip

photo: From The Hip

It had been a rough week around here between me and the 9 year old.

My husband had been traveling a lot and work had been stressful.

Henry and I had butted heads, talked back to each other, and raised our voices way too many times.

It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

I’m ashamed to say, I had yelled more than I should.

I’m sad that Henry had said “I hate you” more than he ever should. I know he didn’t mean it, but he said it.

He had already gone a few days without riding his bike to school as punishment for previous transgressions and at that moment, I may or may not have threatened to make him wash all of his clothes, cook his own food and pay his own rent for the rest of his life if he didn’t shape up.

Maybe I meant it. Maybe I didn’t??

Jason had to be made out to be the bad guy, the one I threatened to call so he could “handle it” and he’s the one who actually got to handle it when he got home.

I don’t like that I had to stoop to that because my GOSH I hated it when my mom used to threaten to tell my Daddy when he got home what I had done wrong.

So imagine my surprise when I was doing JUST THAT?

Finally, I had to make good on an earlier threat and put Henry to bed early — and without supper! I mean, it was like 6:30 early. But it had to be done or I was just a pushover.

I sat with him and we talked about a magazine he had been reading and school and how he was going to respect me more. We were both mad and frustrated and insanely tired.

Then he started crying a little and asked me to stay while he tried to go to sleep. He rolled over and guided my hand over his heart — covered it with  his own small hand — and he pressed it to his chest as hard as he could.

His other hand held on to his beloved Muffins like his life depended on it.

I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed with love. There’s a pretty good reason why that’s my Henry’s middle name.

I laid there for 45 minutes with his heart beating perfectly in my hand. t felt like I could just reach in and grab it if I wanted to.

My brain told me this was one of those “Mom moments” I needed to hold on to.

So I stayed there, watching him doze off into dreamland, eyes twitching and mouth moving slightly — in awe that I was chosen to be his mom.

As I held his heart in my hand, I also realized how much like his brother he seems, and how much alike I think they would be if Charlie was alive.

But comparing a 9 year old to a baby who should be 11 but will always be 24 days old?? That’s ridiculous.

When Henry sleeps, though, even at 9 years old, it’s so clear to me that they have the same skin and eyes and that funny droop on one side of their mouth.

It’s very rare these days that I stop and think, “What would life be like if Charlie and Henry were growing up together?”

I think I don’t allow myself to think these things because honestly, it hurts to imagine it.

But then there are moments like these.

Moments when I am reminded how much they look alike and how I’m sure their personalities WOULD BE not necessarily the same, but complimentary to each others.

There are these moments, as a mother, that take my breath away.

It’s moments like these when I really remember that I have two sons and am forever mothering two sons.

One is here and one isn’t.

One has a heartbeat I can feel and one whose last heartbeat I felt in my arms.

One says things that break my heart and the other I carry in my heart.

One can wrap his small hand around mine, hold it to his heart, and make me realize that my life is complete because I am the mother of two.

 

When The Glass Is Half Empty

Being an optimist stinks sometimes.

No, really, it does.

You see? When you’re happy and positive and the one people look for to feel better all the time (read: Me), it gets to be a heavy burden to bear, especially when you really just want to have a bad day.

Right now, I just want to be grumpy.

My glass is half empty.

I want to stay in bed and watch trashy TV. I want there to be a pizza delivered to my house every night for a week so I don’t have to think about cooking or eating or cleaning up. Do you ever get sick of eating or thinking about eating? I do. Sometimes it just seems like such an exhausting thing to do. Like showering. And doing laundry. And doing all the mundane, but necessary, daily tasks.

Sometimes, even the most optimistic of us need to give in to the dark side of our brains. Because even though there is always light on the other side of darkness, there’s always darkness behind some of the light. Sometimes, even the happiest and chipper of us need to wallow in our sadness and exhaustion before we can break through to the other side.

Luckily for me, it’s often short-lived that I feel like this. I’m sure right now it’s a combination of a lot of things.

I want to be a stay at home mom again. I feel like I’m missing so much of my son’s growing up. I want the meds we started HL on to work just right every single day. I need to vacuum and mop and scrub toilets until my fingers bleed because the house is disgusting. The house is a disaster and in spite of doing 5 loads of laundry, there seems to be more that I keep finding. It’s either raining or snowing or too cold/cloudy to dry out the back yard so the dog can’t play outside as much as she needs to. She begs and barks and is generally a pain in the ass. I’ve got writer’s block. The husband is traveling almost this entire month and quite frankly, I miss him.

Depression? Maybe. Anxiety? Most definitely. The stage of life I’m in? Yes.

So what do I do?

Well, I do what I normally do. I go to the gym and run 10 miles, I order a pizza tonight, spray some lysol around, and go to bed at 8:00.

Then I will wake up tomorrow, brush the cobwebs off, and keep my glass half or more full as usual.

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