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No matter how far along I get in life, I'll always refer to myself as "That chick that grew up poor in the drug-filled streets of Port Arthur, Texas." Always a bad ass!

Right now, I'm going through a top-down transformation. I'm starting with my hair - taking it from processed to natural; and so far I'm loving it. Get updates on my process on newtonatural.com.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas to my Angel

I have so much to be grateful for this Christmas. Wow! God has really opened the doors of heaven and showered SO many blessings on me, I just cannot tell it all. I know that. I know I'm blessed. I know that God has been good to me and my family. I'm grateful... so, so grateful.

But I still miss my Angel.

I have the best Christmas memories. I can remember waking up on Christmas morning, and going to my Momma's room to get my presents. I can remember how bright everything was. The lights were the kind that had movement. They were as bright as neon.

Now, my tree lights are LED to conserve energy and I keep them static because the flashing is distracting to me. It's not the same.

Momma would cook a huge Christmas dinner. . Nothing fancy. . Just stuff I loved. . Everything I loved.

I'm not cooking. I baked a couple of cakes, but we wont' eat here. There are too many loved ones we have to see and spend time with to eat at home. It's not the same.

On Christmas Day, I could be at home and plan to see all my brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends. Everyone dropped by that old house on the corner of 10th street to laugh, eat, talk, and just share the day.

I now live in a suburb; just me and the kids. Everyone is so spread out now that we don't even try to visit each other for Christmas. It feels like we're all in a weird game of tag, and noone wants to leave the base where they are safe. The new Christmas tradition is isolation.

God is good. God is good. His blessings overflow in my life. I won't complain. I'm blessed. But I miss my Momma, who was and is still my angel. I miss my Angel and those angelic days when life was simple and filled with family.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Review of Pittsburgh Steelers Mens Custom Crew Neck Fleece Sweatshirt

Originally submitted at NFL

Sit back, relax and enjoy the big game wearing this comfortable men's custom crew-neck fleece sweatshirt. Create your very own personalized design; add embroidered twill appliqués of your favorite NFL® team, player name and number to the chest, back and shoulders of this pullover.


I'll NEVER buy from nflshop.com again

By AJ loves to shop online from Sherwood, AR on 12/11/2010

 

1out of 5

Sizing: Feels too small

Cons: Not Authentic Looking, Low Quality Material

Best Uses: Watching The Game on TV

Describe Yourself: Stylish

nflshop.com is the WORST website I've EVER purchased products from. Once I ordered the custom print top, they just LOST any record of me making the order. Yet, they still sent me a link to review it. Weird.

Anyway, I'm not pleased with the purchase. The team logo is too small. And the lettering is black, which does not fit the colors of the top at all. I won't return it because nflshop.com sucks in that it cannot find any record of my order anyway. Do yourself a favor. Buy elsewhere!

(legalese)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Good Mommy Gone Mad

This morning was a "different" one.

The boys walk a half-block to the bus stop; yet I sit there in my car until I see the bus on the horizon before I go to work. This morning, my 7 year old hopped in the car as I pulled out of the garage and wanted a ride to the bus stop. That was "different."

When I saw the bus on the horizon (about 2 blocks away), I left for work. Traffic was awful, so it took me about 42 minutes to actually get to work this morning.

As soon as I got to the parking lot I realized that I had 6 missed calls from home. I kind of knew what it was as soon as I saw the calls, but still felt anxiety as I quickly called back the number.

My 7 year old answered. He had missed the bus because right after I drove off, he realized he had to pee. Well CRAP! I was SO mad! I gave him a good, stern lecture about how irresponsible it was for him to miss the bus. I mean the bus ride is about 5 minutes long! Hold your pee, dude!

I sped towards home. . seriously. . I was going about 90 miles an hour from the moment I hung up my phone. And as I drove, I got calls from the school principal, secretary, my 9 year old son. . all worried half to death about this kid who could not hold his pee. By the time I got home, I was more worried than mad. Maybe I under-estimated this threat. Is my baby OK? I don't know what goes on in this neighborhood of retired folks during the day while I'm at work. Oh My Gosh!!!!


As my car pulled into the driveway, J walked out. He was fine. He had locked the door, and had this little smirk on his face.

I grabbed him and shook him a little out of frustration. But I had to hug this kid. My worry melted away. I wasn't mad anymore. I had another reason for my praise. God is good.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Weeping may endure for a night..


. . but joy cometh in the morning." And it is morning, so I know I'm going to be OK.

Me and Baby Beast parted ways last night. I asked him to answer the only question that's important to me in a relationship right now.

In a year, will it be you and me? He said he didn't know, and that's just not good enough.

I'm 35 years old. I have a beautiful family, a great job, and I look DAMN good. Time's up for the audition. I stuck with him for two years, and gave my very best to the man that I love. For him to say that he does not know if he could see himself with me, that was just too much.

I've weeped, but I have not cried. I'm a little numb. When I give myself a couple of seconds to reflect, I feel the tears creeping into my eyes. So, today is going to be one of my busy days because I don't have time for tears. When I have time, I'll take a few moments to get it out my system and then move on.

Well, I tried.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hiatus Over - Back to Running

So, thanks to a Blackbaud Conference in DC, I've had a nice, long 10 day hiatus from running. No. The conference was not 10 days long. No. I was not in DC for 10 days. Basically, I just took a break. Shit, it's hard running 7 miles a day! So, I didn't.

Anyway, the hiatus is over, and I'm back to running during the week.

Well, no negative feedback or disappointed looks are needed. My run paid me back with dividends for the long break. As I went up the Main Street Bridge the first time, by legs and stomach began to burn. OMG! I felt SO out-of-shape. It was SO hard to just push through the whole thing that I actually returned to the office pretty sore and decided that I'd (permanently) reduce the 7 mile run to 6.6. I mean, who runs 7 miles a day anyway? Oh, and I've also committed to not taking more than a 3 day break again (if I can help it).

So, I'll probably be running in warm ups soon, but you will see me out there running. Here's the route. Maybe you'll join me.

View Larger Map

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'm a Survivor! (of Scouts Camp) in Damascus Arkansas

I've determined that you have to willfully survive a difficult experience to truly come out on the other side of it and be able to reflect on how much you gained from going through it. And that's EXACTLY how I feel about my weekend trip to Scouts Camp in Damascus, Arkansas.

This past weekend is one of the few that my sons (the J's) have spent with me. [The weekends are usually reserved for Dad Time since we maintain separate households.] So, it took a significant amount of prayer to decide that I wanted to spend that time with them in the woods, surrounded by a lot of strangers. I can't catch up on Giggles and Hugs from The J's in the woods!

Nevertheless, me and my boys drove an hour to Camp Rockefeller in Damascus, Arkansas, for a new experience - camping outdoors on Mom and Me Scouts Weekend. The camp was HUGE, beautiful, and covered with spiders. The crew that ran it for the weekend, was a group of really committed and patient volunteers who guided, trained, protected, entertained, and fed us from Saturday Morning (8:30 am) to Sunday Afternoon. Saturday, we spent the day hiking, shooting bb's, singing, COMPLAINING (especially me), and for the most part, getting to know the wilderness.

Saturday night, it was SOOOOOOOO cold. I just cannot even put it into words.

Before I left, I knew that it was going to get down to the low 40's. But I could not imagine until I was in the moment, just now cold 40ish degrees is when you're separated from the weather by a thin sheet of mesh. OMG.

I pitched the tent near the bathrooms, so I was up all night because I was too cold to sleep, the sharp rocks below my sleeping bag were too jagged to sleep on, I heard a noise, or because someone shined their flashlight into our tent as they stumbled through the cold to the bathroom. I spent most of the night sitting up in the tent with the flashlight on, staring at my two baby boys that were under the warm blankets intertwined to stay warm. They looked so beautiful, so calm, so angelic, I just did not have the heart to wake them up. But I wanted to shake them awake, force them to hike the two miles back to the warm car, and take my butt on home. That's the reason I turned on the flashlight at 1:45am. I was DONE.

But then I heard a message from up high that spoke directly to my spirit. I KNEW that I needed to let the boys experience what we were going through. I knew I needed the reminder for myself. There was a lesson to be learned.

"It's not always easy. Sometimes the winds will blow, the tent will shake, and the rocks will scrape. You will go from being uncomfortable to downright in pain. It will be dark and you will feel like you are all alone. But it will pass. Eventually, the sun will rise, and God will give you relief."

And that's what happened. I opened the tent to watch the sun came up. It was exactly what God had promised. It brought relief.

I shed a few tears as the sun came up because I knew that there are people who live under those conditions everyday. Their situation is worse. They are hungry, poor, hopeless, sick, and did not choose the situation they found themselves in.

This morning, I came into work with a renewed spirt. I work for Heifer International. And I truly believe that the work we do makes a difference for individuals, families, and communities.

I survived. And am even more devoted to help others that are trying to survive a far more real experience than my one night Scouts Camping Trip.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

God Pre-Paid for my Stove

In January of 2009, I dis-continued employment with Alltel and began working at my ideal employer, Heifer. Before I left, I cashed out my IRA that I held at Alltel to cover expenses that were caused by a really bad break-up with my ex.

But since I left Alltel, every quarter, I would get a letter from the company that manages Alltel's retirement benefits about changes to the plan. After while this got annoying because I knew I had no money there, so I just started trashing the notices as they came in. Well, Tuesday I was going through my "chunk it in the trash" stack and decided to read the notice. It said that if I did not close the account, the company that manages Allte's retirement account would charge me about $9/mo.

Now, I'm like, "HUH!" So, I make a couple of phone calls and go online to try to shut down my empty account so that I did not have to pay the maintenance fee. And, there it was. Another thousand.

I thanked God for the un-expected blessing one-two-three-maybe four times as I cashed it out. No, I THANKED God. I put the computer down, fell to my knees, cried and gave God the true thanks he deserves. When I was done with cashing out online, my mind started calculating all the extra stuff I could get: new living room furniture, Victoria Secret panty sets (my FAVORITE), boots for fall, stuff, stuff, stuff. I really did not even think about the stove because I've been browsing online and saw some really cool stoves for about $600.

Of course, I went to 4 stores to try to get one of those really cool stoves for the $600 I saved, and learned how truly timely God's blessing was.


Yeah, there are a lot of cool stoves for $600, but they can't fit in my kitchen. The stove has to be a 27 inch wide, drop-in electric stove (by GE). And of course, the stove is a custom order that has to be shipped from the factory. The stove is $1,150. The shipping and taxes are about $150. The INSTALLATION is $350.

When I added it all up, the total cost is $1,650, which is exactly the amount of money I now have between my stove savings $600 and the amount that I got from my Alltel IRA distribution.

I go around saying "God is awesome." "God always comes through for me." "I count on God." But because I don't wear long dresses, go to church every single Sunday, or keep a Bible on my dashboard, I think people occasionally discount my expressions. But I'm telling you that God loves me as I am. He is not in some distant place looking down with disapproval on all of my mistakes, bad choices, and struggles. He's right here listening to, comforting, and supporting me. And I know he was there a week ago in my kitchen as I tried to clean the stove and broke it. I started crying, and said really softly, "God, help me." He had to have been really close to hear because he started his plan of helping me probably even before that moment, and made it so that I had what I needed on the day when I needed it. . just like he always does.

THANK YOU GOD for loving lil' ole sinful me!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Running the Good Race

Last year, I committed to running the Little Rock Marathon 1/2, got all my friends signed up and excited, and then I bailed at the last minute. I just did not prioritize training for the race and could not pull it off.


Well, this year, I'm ON IT!. To avoid the last minute bail-out option, I want ahead and made a couple of financial investments (really the best incentive for me to stick with it): I purchased a new pair of running shoes and registered (and paid) for the race early.

I'm so committed to running the Little Rock Marathon 1/2 on March 6, 2011 (13.1 miles), I've already started training. Since September 2nd I've been running at least 4 times a week during my lunch breaks covering the River Market, Riverwalk on the North Little Rock and Little Rock sides, Broadway Bridge, Main Street Bridge, and occasionally on Saturday mornings I run half of Sherwood. I feel SO good clocking about 30 miles a week!

The biggest piece of criticism my ex had for me was that I tended to make selfish decisions. Well, on this one, he's absolutely right! I'm commnitted to using my free time to prepare for an event that serves only me. And I don't feel bad about it. Actually, I'm really excited.

So, along with my "Life Lessons Learned" topics, I'll also be updating my blog with a lot of training-related stuff because that's where my mind is right now. I'm going to do this because running is something I love to do. Of course, I'm also hoping that I'll inspire someone who has had a selfish desire that they have felt too guilty about to want to pursue. Shit, just get out there and do it. Life is too short to let people of the world who don't give a dang about you have control over what you do.

Let's hear a yell for the Little Rock Marathon!!!!!

Monday, August 30, 2010

She Taught Me to Breathe


As a child, I suffered with asthma. The strangest things would set off an attack: overheating, anxiety, exhaustion, among other things. Since I was also a teeny tiny thing, all of the Aunts in my family basically just referred to me as sickly, so I tended to stick close to Momma because she was the only one who knew how to help me through my attacks.

And if I have not mentioned it before, we were really poor, so Momma very rarely had an inhaler to offer, so she tended to try to prevent attacks by forcing me to avoid the causes. All the other kids would be running, jumping, playing, fighting, and I'd be sitting right at my Momma's feet; listening to her and the neighbor ladies gossip. But I was hard-heated, and a natural-born tom boy, so there were plenty of times when I'd slip away right after I heard the signal, "Oooooooooooooh, chile, you ain't gonna believe this." That meant something juicy was about to come out, and Momma didn't want me to be in ear shot anyway.

As soon as the speaker took that first deep breath, I would be gone.. . running, jumping, fighting, falling, and the most predictable. . crying. And plenty of times, I can remember that right in the middle of my spurt of running wild, I'd have an asthma attack. It would come on all of a sudden.. not really. I would start wheezing and coughing maybe a full 30 min's to an hour . I could feel my chest tighten up.. but when you're a kid, you kinda have to lose a limb to slow down.

I don't know how she knew it, but right at the moment when I'd find myself falling into a bush gasping for air, there would come Momma. She'd grab me up like a rag doll, and hold me in her arms. She'd look down at me with those calm eyes, and very softly, she'd whisper, "Breathe, Tesha." Then, she would inhale and exhale so deeply my body would rise and fall with the ebb and flow of her chest's movement.

Yeah, it's that easy, right? Well, no.

I'd start crying because I knew that I was taking in my last breath. . my chest would be hurting.. and my face would be tightening up. . I could hear her praying. . I didn't want to scare her.. I just wanted this whole predicament to be over, so I'd always try.. but nothing would come out.

She'd push down on my chest, which hurt like hell - I wonder if she knew that - and much louder, she'd say, "Deeply, deeply breathe. You don't have to be scared."

Well, I was, but this is the woman who NEVER let me down, never gave up, and always pulled me through so I knew that if she was saying that it was as easy as breathing there was something to this thing..

I don't know how it would happen. Somewhere in between her grabbing the rosary out of her bosom, saying a Hail Mary, pounding my chest, steadying her breathing.. somehow my breath would come back.. My chest would still hurt.. and my breathing would not steady for hours. . and the wheezing would last all night long.. but air would seep into my chest at least to the point to where I did not die.

I truly think that in those moments of panic, when I'd be laying there watching my short life flash before my eyes while watching Momma regulate her own breath, she was literally teaching me how to breathe. . which in those moments, was a Herculean task. She taught me over and over again, that even when it hurt, I had to keep on breathing. Even when I thought the last breath was indeed the last breath, I had to keep on breathing. When noone cared that I was over there dying in the bush but her, I had to keep on breathing. When I knew that even if I started breathing, at some point, I'd find myself helpless again, I still had to breathe.

My last asthma attack occurred the day my Momma died, November 6, 2007. I received a phone call with the news, and literally stopped breathing. I don't know if it was an attack, or while I was trying to cope with the news, I just lost the will that she worked so hard to inspire. But as I laid there on the floor, gasping for air - almost wanting it not to return - I felt the ebb and flow of her chest against me. I heard her demanding me to breathe.

And here I am. The daughter of Elizabeth Francois Scott, still breathing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

First Day of School



Today is the first day of school for students in Pulaski County Special School District in Arkansas.

My daughter's bus came at 6:45 am. 6:45!! But you better believe, she hit the bus stop like she was hitting the run way -- in full Diva Mode. Wow! Still, she took a solid minute out of her routine to pop into my room and give me a kiss on the cheek. I love that (no so) little girl!

Now, the boys. . Well, this morning was a wake up call for me. The I'm Awake kiss I usually get - Nope! I rushed them through the getting ready routine, and walked them to the bus stop (twice). You think they even considered puckering them lips for a kiss for the Momma that is having a hell of a time transitioning. NO!

I watched them get on the bus. Before they got on, I made a plan, and BOTH of them shot me the DON'T EMBARRASS ME look. Embarrass them? I am NOT my mother! I don't embarrass. . I just want a little pre-first day of school affection.

I wanted to believe that they had just forgotten to give me a kiss, so I met them at the elementary school to give them another chance. I KNOW I heard my 9 year old say, "I am SO embarrassed." before he pretended not to see me and headed to class. My 7 year old -- the baby that is FULL of affection - said, "Mommy, I got it." and went on. .

No love. No snuggles. No nothing.

I know my kids are getting bigger, older, more mature. Well, Stevie Wonder can see that! But I'm just not quite ready for the transition to "My Mom embarrasses me" just yet. I LOVE them! I LOVE THEM! They are my whole world!

Kisses, I don't need. But hugs I do, so I plan to meet ALL of them at home - since I cleverly took the day off - with open arms when their first day of school is over. In the meantime, I'll just lick my wounds and recover.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Where I am: intersted in foster parenting and adoption

Who misses broken sleep, random crying spells, dirty diapers, teething, diaper rashes, colic? Well, me!

It's weird that I raised my children while I was attending high school, finishing college, and entering the work force; all while I was in either one dysfunctional relationship or another. Now, I'm actually in a stable place in my career, in a really healthy relationship, and well, there are no more babies. And I feel like I'm at a place where I'm ready for a baby.

Sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. Well, Thursday I'm really excited about this Foster Parenting Meeting that I'm attending. It's an informational meeting that will get me acquainted about the program. I know NOTHING, and I feel pretty passionate that once I get married, I want to adopt. So, I'm going to get all the information I can about the requirements, expectations, difficulties, everything.

I want to give a child a better life. I've struggled, and learned, and I actually have no regrets. I want to expose a child (or hey, maybe to) to more opportunity than they would otherwise have; and at the same time add even more people to love to my family.

That's where I am right now. God is good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who are these people?

I had a HORRIBLE work day today; not because our full day of meetings did not following the agenda I created or because Shop launched later in the day than I had anticipated. Actually, what upset me today was pretty significant, and it really had nothing to do with work. It had more to do with my co-workers and the fact that I learned that no matter how far I go in my career, in a lot of arenas I'm still an outsider looking in.

Well, here goes the most painful part.

We took our out-of-town vendors to lunch today. It seemed like a good idea even though the day was not going quite right. . at all..

I volunteered to drive to Whole Hog - at least one of my attempts to go above and beyond with looking like a Team Player.

We were well into lunch when A mentioned that she saw a HI-larious video. She tried to describe what it was about, which didn't sound funny, but we wanted to laugh with her, so a few people found the clip on their iPhones. Some of them smiled some of them giggled, so I thought I'd give it a looksey too. Of course, it turned out that that video was one of the worst I had ever seen.

It was an interview of this black man that lived in the projects who was describing the attempted rape of his sister and how he saved her. He was poor, and as it tends to turn out, and could not speak the standard English language to save his life. The sadness behind the story was lost on my lunch dates. All they could hear was Ebonics and all they could see was this poor black family. I was horrified. I made a face, and looked out the window.

Well, we return to work, and I'll be honest I carried some hurt with me from that experience because I just could not understand how I worked with this group of people each day to end hunger and poverty around the word, provide opportunities to poverty-stricken families, and to educate, and they found this particular video about a woman that lived in poverty and was almost raped even a little bit funny. If she lived in Nepal, or Slovakia, Poland, or even Uganda or Cameroon they would've seen her as a human being. I guess it's hard though when she's just Black. But still, I wondered to myself, Who are these people?

I went through my day anxious to the end, so I could go home and wash my day away, but it just wouldn't go nicely.

As I left for the day, I popped in to wish my co-workers and vendors a good evening, and what-do-ya-know? They're getting one last ha-ha out of the video. This time to music!

I'm tactful. I'm professional. I'm open-minded. I decide to not say a thing.

But what made my co-worker, A, text message me after the fact and explain that she apologized for offending me, but she wanted me to know it was not because she's racist? Well, in her defense, I've actually never met a true racist who thought they were racist either.

This is a look into the life of a Black woman who grew up poor, came up a little but is committed to never forgetting the legacy she was born into.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My Momma's Obituary: There are not enough words


Elizabeth Ann Scott (Francois)

PORT ARTHUR- Mrs. Elizabeth Ann Scott (Francois) of Port Arthur died Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2007. She was born in St. Martinville, Louisiana and was a resident of Port Arthur, TX for 43 years. She was a graduate of Lincoln High School in 1961. She spent her life taking care of the elderly as a Home Health Provider. Her remaining life was devoted to Jesus Christ, constantly testifying to others of the wonderful things GOD does and to turn their life over to Christ.

She leaves to cherish: her four daughters, Jedda (Anthony) Brantley of Georgia, Camalita (Dwight) Snowden of Port Arthur, TX, Kitina Meeks and Anasthia Johnson, both of Sherwood, Arkansas; two sons, Willie Gray III of Houston, TX and Alex Gray of Port Arthur, TX; six sisters; four brothers; close friends, Hattie Morgan and Jacqueline Ford of Port Arthur, TX; sixteen grandchildren and a host of loving nieces and nephews. Visitation in scheduled from 6pm-9pm on Friday Nov. 9th at Gabriel Funeral Home. Funeral services will be at 11am, Saturday Nov. 10th at Barnes Memorial Methodist Church, 749 West 17th St. in Port Arthur, TX. with early viewing before the services.



I miss you, Momma

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Getting Back to Where I Belong

For the first time in many, many years, I decided that instead of spending 4th of July weekend with someone else's family, I'd brave the trip to spend time with my side: the Francois family - my relatives on my mother's side. This was the first time since I was a teenager that I went to visit family when I was not grieving, so the entire experience felt new, but extremely familiar.

Me, my sister, and my teenage daughter divvy'd our time between Cade, Lafayette, and St. Martinville Louisiana.

Here's the quick and dirty about the entire trip.

During the 5.5 to 6 hour drive, I started to get nervous because I began to remember how cliquish our family had always been during the many summers and holidays we spent together in Louisiana (and Texas), and I was not sure if I'd be able to find a place where I belonged in the whole structure. I wondered if I even knew these peoople anymore. I mean, I had not seen or spoken to them in almost 20 years. Would I even recognize all of them?

But once we arrived. I just cannot explain to you the feeling of belonging that fell over me. It was as if I had returned home.

My mother is gone now, but I could see her eyes, her cheekbones, her mouth, her hips, her ass in every one of my Aunts. When they were all together at the same time, it was a little overwhelming because I felt like I was back in my mother's presense. I had so many memories of Momma come back to me in their presence. It felt so right.

I heard my mother's laugh when my Aunt Cynthia got tickled. I saw my mother's disapproving glare when my Aunt Stephanie heard us talking in church. I winced at my mother's sarcastic sneer when my Aunt Brenda was not impressed by something we did (or wore). I smelled (yes, smelled) my mother when I gave my favorite Aunt Sharon a long hug. While I spent time with my mother's sisters, I was in her presence. I don't mean virtually. I mean, she was there; everywhere.

But not only was she there, but the people I had grown up to love, respect, and cherish were all there too. There were cliques in the Francois family, but they were overshadowed by shared love; a lot of love, hugs, tears, kisses, and family sharing. This was truly the best holiday I've had in my entire adult life. Now, that I've found where I belong, I hope to re-create the time we had much more often.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Who can I run to?

I pride myself on being the person that others can turn to when they've been backed into a corner. I'm Ms. Bailout. But after awhile that's a really exhausting position to play. Not because being there for someone else takes a lot out of me, but because it sets me up to look for that person that I can turn to in times of need.

Basically, it's me and Jesus. Me and Jesus. Everyone else is just hype.

I'm frustrated. SO frustrated. I just feel like I spend all my time thinking, "What can I do to make life better for the kids?," "How can I make things easier for Baby Beast?," "How can I encourage my nieces and nephews to go farther."

Well, today it's Baby Beast. How's he gonna just back out on me again. . as usual?

Aaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

So, now I'm a Mother's Day Scrooge


I've been in my room for most of the day with my cell phone off, my shades drawn, my door closed, laying across my bed going through cycles of crying and laughing, sleeping and awake. I'm just in here meditating on my memories of momma. Before you even guess it, I'm not depressed - according to the clinical definition. I really just want this fucking day to be over.

The nerve of people to continue to recognize Mother's Day after my mother has passed. It all seems unfair. . insulting. disgusting. I don't need a day to mourn my mother. I do that every day, every hour, every second. . always. At this point, I can't even appreciate what other people do for their mother's either. . It's never enough. Nothing will be enough. Your mother is the most obvious expression of the first gift God gave you: Life. And when she's gone, it's the most obvious representation that Life is coming to an end. . for everyone.. and righ now, I'm ready for it to be me.

Again, I'm not depressed. I've just lost the best friend I could ever have. So, people ask me why I don't try to make friends now? Well, why?

I look forward to the day when I have come to the end of this fight. I have helped everyone God sent me to help. . when I have been the example to those God meant for me to be the example to. . when I have praised him in every way God put me here to praise him in.. and then I close my eyes. . and wake up on the other side.

I look forward to walking through the Gates of Heaven, and seeing my TWO best friends, because my Dad will be there too.. I know they will open their wings, we'll embrace, and I'll hear what I've waited a lifetime to hear. "Well done. "

Until then, I'll continue to function.. on every day but today. Today I'm going to chill in my room, reflect on what I've lost, meditate on my memories of momma, and endure being the Scrooge that I've become.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I can do ALL things. . almost

My Mom used Philippians 4:13, I can do ALL things through Chris who strengthens me, as a daily mantra to keep herself going.

Well, I'm growing, and learning, and drawing closer to Christ. I've even adopted my Momma's daily mantra (or at least most of it), "I can do ALL things. ."

But God has a sense of humor, especially when you've decided to only adopt pieces of his Word. That much I know. So, he's put me into what I now consider a hilariously funny loop.

Here's how it goes:

1. I have car trouble.
2. I pull over to inspect car, and resolve car trouble.
3. Good Samaritan comes by and resolves trouble.
4. I drive off with working car, but feeling that if only I had a "few more minutes" I could do all things MYSELF.

This scenario repeats iself about 4 times a year, at least, since I first bought a car 13 years ago. . It ALWAYS happens.

Soooooooooooooooooo, this morning, I was headed into work when one of my dashboard lights came on. [I get nervous when I see those things.] They're yellow and red. . and to me, they are on the same level as "Danger, Will Robinson!" from Lost in Space. Well, anyway, while driving on the access road, I reach into the dash and pull out my trusty Nissan manual and look up what the issue was. AIR PRESSURE.. Well, that's an easy one.

I actually drove for a bit to find the most out-of-the-way gas station, so I could "pull over, inspect, and resolve" in peace. I walked around the car about 3 times to inspect when I realized that I had NO CLUE which tire was low. . OK, how the hell do people do this stuff?. But I can still hear the mantra in my head. "I can do ALL things. . I can do ALL things. . "

A really nice guy wearing a wedding ring comes by in a Jeep and pulls next to me. He says, as they all say, "Ma'am, please let me do that for you."

"No thanks," I reply. "I've got it."

I walk around one more time, and determine that I'd just decide by eenie-meenie-minie-moe which tires needed air, and topped off two tires. Well, guy in the Jeep is still trying to help, "Ma'am, if you'd just let me take care of it, I will. I promise, I'm not trying to flirt with you. I just want to help."

I inspect my work. Feeling really good that for once I was able to take care of my own car. I nod to him, smile, hop in the Altima, and drive off. But Dude continues to follow me and beep until he gets my attention.

I'm a little freaked out, so I looped around the access road, so I could return to the same gas station where at least the attendant last saw me alive. I locked my doors and rolled down my window. "Can I help you?," I asked. Obviously annoyed.

He looked at my back passenger tire, and said, "When you added air, did it fix the problem?" I looked down at the dash, and admitted, "No. So?"

"Well, if you'd stay in the car and give me 15 seconds, I'll take care of it," he said. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Fine! I graciously nodded and rolled my window up.

After about 10 seconds, he tapped on the window and said, "This tire was probably about flat. I'm glad you let me help." I looked at the dash, and the light was off.

I unlocked the doors, introduced myself to this really kind man, and against his will, shook his oily hand.

It takes God to step into my life first thing in the morning and remind me that I can do all things, but only "though Christ who strengthens me."

OK, God. I got it. You (and Momma) are right.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Claiming a Happy Ending for My Own Fairy Tale


My favorite part of the Cinderalla fairy tale was never Cinderalla -- with her spoiled self. It was not the handsome prince. He was a little too perfect for my taste. It was not the wicked step-mother.. Who treats their kids like that anyway? It was the BEAUTIFUL step sister, Anasthia.

The tale says that Anasthia was mean and made Cinderella do her work. But I happen to intimately know an Anasthia. Hey, I'll fess up. I AM an Anasthia.

I am beautiful. I am very caring and pleasant to be around. I am super hard-working. If anything I work in a Cinderalla fashion each day.

I'm claiming a happy ending to this story because one day I will meet my prince, fall in love, and ride into the sunset -- Or something like that -- and live happily ever after.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why Try to Ignore the Elephant in the Room?

We've been down this road before. . this very same road. . and arrived at this very same spot. . and what happened? I let go.

But now I'm back with a renewed promise to try to see this thing through against all odds, but what do I do about the elephant in the room?

No, I'm not calling your Mom an elephant, but damn, she won't forget. That was mean. . but surely you get where I'm going, right?

She hates me.. She HATES me.. I almost can't believe someone hates me. . I actually don't think I've ever been hated before, especially without knowing the reason why.

Because I did not speak to her when I walked into a room full of people that looked alike and did not know which one was her? Really? I guess I could have admitted from the very beginning that I just had not memorized her face, but damn. . How could I know that my omission would lead to this?

And then, after that first mistake, I made a lot more. I was nervous. I felt out of place trying to get to know a lot of strangers under a very high expectation. .I just don't think this situation is fair.

I don't want to let go. . I really, really don't. . because I love you. . I'll always love you.

But right now there's an elephant in the room that I know will eventually make her move and stomp all over me and our relationship. What is a girl to do?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Trying to Balance it All

I know I'm blessed. I REFUSE to ever post anything that does not acknowledge in some way that God is the most dependable resource I have in my life for everything I need.

Having said that, I'm a human being. And I struggle every day with trying to take on things that are not my own. They belong to God. But I do it anyway.

It's just that today, I've had this feeling that I'm just trying to balance too much.

- I have 3 beautiful, healthy kids who need me to be at every basketball game, reward ceremony, and parent-teacher conference along with caring for their every day-to-day whims. But I got it.
- I have a boyfriend who needs me to support him, to wait for him, to make time for him, to KEEP UP with his crazy amount of energy, and to sometimes help him offset his disappointments in other areas. But I got it.
- I have an amazing job that does not lend itself to less than a 10 hour day. Hunger and poverty does not keep office hours, and often, neither do we. But I got it.
- I have a wonderful old house (30+ years) that needs me to care about my property value in order to one day deliver me a decent selling price when I'm ready to upgrade. But I got it.
- I have a crazy extended family that I love to pieces (sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts, and everything else) that need me to listen, to advise, to care, to help, and to pray. But I got it.
- I have an overly hyper dog who needs me to pay attention to him, feed him, pet him, love him because the kids moved on to the next new thing about 5 years ago; I'm pretty much all this puppy has. But I got it.
- I've got people in my life that need me to pray, and walk right, and succeed, and try to be a good woman because they often don't have anyone else who will accept the calling. But I got it.
- I've got some bills.. And well you know with bills, you get bill collectors. And we all know what they want. Right? But I got that, too.

But here's how God works. I just typed up the list of the biggest burdens I'm carrying. I reviewed it in preparation for summarizing my feeling of being overwhelmed. But after I reviewed my list, I realized that nothing I've included are burdens at all. Instead, they are ALL these amazing blessings from God - even the bill collectors - each one placed in my life to constantly remember to thank God for the overflow he's allowed me to enjoy.

And again, that's what I gotta do. THANK YOU, GOD!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Impatience Saves the WORLD time


On Monday, I went into WalMart to make my daughter a new key for our front door - Yes, she lost her keys AFTER I incurred the expense of changing all the locks.

As soon as I walked into the Tire & Lube department, I was amazed to see 9 people already standing in line at the register. Of course, there was no cashier there.

I became #10. I stood there for like 3 minutes - which is like forever in my world to just stand in line. And was #10 for the whole 3 minutes. The line never moved. The cashier never came.

I really need this key. I REALLY need this key. So, I start doing my research on how to get the line moving. I asked Person #9, "Was the cashier here when you got in line?" No, she replied. "How long have you been waiting?", I continued. "Oh, about 15 minutes." I asked person #5, "Was the cashier here when you got in line?" No, she replied. "How long have you been waiting?", I continued. "Mmmm. about 20 minutes."I asked person #1, "Was the cashier here when you got in line." No, she replied. "How long have you been waiting?", I continued. "Well, about 40 minutes or so."

40 minutes? 40 minutes? People, are you serious?!! I realized that these fools are standing "in line" without even knowing that the Tire & Lube Department was even open. It was pretty late in the evening.

I looked out into the automotive bay area - through a huge glass window against one wall of the Tire & Lube department - and saw about 6 mechanics gathered around a car. I stepped out there and yelled, "Excuse me. Can we get some HELP in here?"

A really friendly mechanic lady stepped inside and said, "Oh. Sorry. We did not know anyone was in here waiting."

Oh Yeah. I was agitated by the people who were insane enough to wait their lives away to spend about $2-$3. [EVERYONE wanted a key.] But I was equally agitated with the employees there that I KNOW at some point over the course of 40 minutes would've/could've/should've looked up and saw these pitiful souls standing in a stupid line for keys.

You are welcome, World. I will NEVER stand in a stupid line without making sure someone knows I'm there, and that they are very conscious of the fact that I have better things to do than just stand in a stupid line to spend any amount of my hard-earned money. And my impatience will save YOU time.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Be careful what you pray for

I've learned (again) that God will give you what you pray for. . even if it's not what your heart truly desires. In this particular case, I don't know if He came through because he wants to reassure me that he supplies my every need OR because he wanted to teach me to Be Careful What I Pray For.

I got out of a LONG, tumultuous, really awful relationship and was feeling a little lonely. I took a little time off to figure out what I needed out of a relationship. All the while devoutly praying for God to send me The One. Eventually, God came through and answered my prayers. I met a wonderful, sweet younger man who lived in a different state.

He was a student with a master plan to get his degree, get married, and live his dream. There were sparks. Shit, there was fire.. OMG. I don't even know how to describe how I felt except to say, "Right." Everything felt like it was right.

Well, things got hard. I got scared. And I let go. I just let go.

I just could not grapple with the idea that God would've sent me what I want and then make me wait for it. Huh? I mean, why should I wait? I was ready! Right?

Well, once I "let go" (sort of), I got back to devoutly praying. I'm a good prayer, ya know. "God, send me someone who does not want to wait?" Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Here's where God taught me a lesson.

God heard. He delivered, and did not even make me wait. Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Could there be a catch here?

Soooooooo, what did I get? A man that did not want to wait. . for anything. Then, I realized it. He was not close to being ready. I was not ready either.

God had already sent me what I needed. And now, he was displeased with my lack of appreciation. I prayed. God delivered. He delivered not only what I prayed for, but much much more. More for now and more for the future.

OK, God. I've learned. I can wait. I can wait. I can wait. I will wait. Because while I'm waiting, I'm going to be making changes so that I can be right for the man you have sent me.

Amen.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I'm a HORRIBLE valentine


This episode actually began more than a week before Valentine's Day, on February 5, 2010.

I received a new position at work - an amazing accomplishment - and within 30 minutes of the announcement I received a very beautiful bouquet of flowers. They were so fragrant and diverse. I have to say they were really beautiful. I was actually surprised that they were sent by The Flower Guy. Simple card: "Congratulations on your new job."

It's really weird. I met this guy one day and we chatted, but I just did not feel a connection. Apparently, he did, and has been sending me flowers pretty often since then. What's weird is that I'm not even a "flower person," although my daughter is, so when I receive them at work, I bring them home and brighten her day. I appreciate the fact that The Flower Guy continues to send flowers (for two years now) because it's one of those constant reminders that I'm not as petty as people think I am, and if they'd spend just a few moments getting to know me, they'd get it. . and save a few bucks on flowers. But oh well.

On the Friday before V-Day, one of my really good friends sent me a really beautiful Wine Country Gift Basket with a simple card, "Happy Valentine's Day." Now, this gift touched me because the guy really did not have to go all out for me. I have not even been a good friend, breaking our last 5 lunch or dinner dates due to other commitments. So, I was actually really touched that he sent me a gift because it sent the kind of message I can appreciate. "I don't expect anything" is what it said to me. So, we are having lunch today since I'm off, as I make an attempt to be a better friend. Hey. I may even pay.

Saturday before Valentine's Day, I received an even more beautiful bouquet of flowers in an amazing vase with a really thoughtful card from someone that I have just really been going through it with. I will not detail the tawdry details here. Just trust me. It's been rough.

These flowers were hand delivered with really thoughtful sentiments, but with one downside: an expectation.

Oooooooooooooouoooooh. I just cannot tell you how it burns me up when someone gives me a gift with the expectation of getting something in return! Not a gift. But my heart.

That's not how it works. If you suck on all days leading up to Valentine's Day, but go out and break the bank on Valentine's Day, that does not reduce your sucky-ness. It just does not work that way.

I was gracious. I showed gratitude. I upheld my graciousness even after he insisted that we go out even though I said I did not want to. I even maintained it later in the evening after I enjoyed a few hours of Monopoly with the kids - I kicked their butts! - and he mentioned that he was disappointed we did not go out.

I was raised to have manners. It's actually a big negative a lot of times because I find myself biting my tongue in a lot of situations when I'm completely repulsed. I hear myself saying, "It's OK" when I want to slap someone in the face.

I probably don't have to sum it up. Dude that gave the flowers on Saturday came up short. I feel bad, too, because I know he could not afford Tipton Hurst, so I'm struggling with my feelings today.

However, this is one of the cases when my drive to the kids school proved to be more helpful than usual, in that I heard a radio personality sum it up.

-- If you have been 100 up until V-Day, in a bad economy, there's really no reason for you to go all out.
-- If you got it, and you've been doing it big all year round, go head and splurge for V-Day. Maintain the consistency.
-- But if you are trying to use V-Day to make gains with someone whose not feeling you, save a few bucks. The results will only disappoint you (and her).

I had to type this out without thinking, so I may come up unappreciative. You gotta take it or leave it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Some of my dumb Mistakes: Getting my child to act smart

I've gotten more feedback on the post "Getting My Child to Act as Smart as She Is" than I've ever gotten on a blog post.

I was a little relieved because I was grappling with a topic I felt was unique to my situation without a lot of support from others, and it was a little frustrating. . I'm feeling better about the situation - which, of course, continues - but wanted to build on my explanation of the issue by highlighting the root cause that ushered this whole problem into my life.

All of this did not come into my life just because I was that kid who tried to avoid getting tagged as a nerd for being smart. The major portion has to do with HOW I tried to elude this very unpopular label.

I grew up in a small town - Port Arthur, Texas. It has two claims to fame - Jimmy Johnson, ex football coach of the Dallas Cowboys; and UGK, gangster rappers. There was no city-wide spelling bee, academic conferences, organized mentorship groups.

Well, I guess Port Arthur has a 3rd claim, but it's more of a local thing. I'm pretty sure it had more crack cocaine dealers per square mile than any other small town city in the US. And the dealers were probably the most popular (and wealthy) people I knew.

So, I figured that the best way to excel in the popularity contest was to either become a drug dealer. {Which wasn't going to happen since my older sister at the time was a police office. Now, is a seasoned detective, BTW} Or, to date a drug dealer.

Now, here's where it becomes interesting.

Who would risk their freedom to date the baby sister of an over-protective cop? Well, yippee! I found one.

In the tenth grade I dated a high school dropout that had been selling drugs since he was 12. It was SO exciting! I would attend my talented and gifted classes during the day - or often not - and then hang up with "the element" after school. I never used drugs. I never sold drugs. But boy did my popularity soar at my high school. I was the Queen Ill Nana. Hah!

Well, all good things come to an end (Good - a word based on the perspective of a confused 16-18 year old). Here's how it all played out: I got pregnant. My boyfriend got locked up. Reality set in. "You're screwed, Dude."

I had to go through it! I had to. Fortunately, I had a praying and patient Momma who refused to see me fail and a God who covered me with his grace and mercy that wipes clean even the most awful sins.

Here's the upside of what I went through and what I'm now going to with my teenage daughter who BTW is not as far gone as I was in trying to avoid being labeled as The Smart Kid - I'm a praying and (sometimes) patient Momma AND God does not change, even as man does.

From the time my daughter was born, I got it. . and I changed. I don't believe it will take such a life-changing (and permanent) change in my daughter's life. God gives each of us exactly what we need. And somehow, he knew that I needed someone who depended on me to do the right thing and to get my life together. He saved my life. My daughter saved my life.

I tell my testimony not because I'm proud of some of the dumb stuff I've done. I tell my testimony because I know that there are others out there that are going through and they need to know that, even though it's hard and feels overwhelming, this too shall pass.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Getting My Child to Act as Smart as She Is

So, I've gotten feedback from a co-worker having a similar problem, which caused me to give the issue of Being Smart But Not Acting Smart some more thought. At the time I began blogging about my daughter's piss poor attitude and good grades, I was more than a little annoyed with this chick {still am}, and could not see the larger view of what's going on here.

Here. I'll internalize a bit.

When I was 3, I learned how to read. When I was 5, I began writing books about what my life would be like. When I was 8, I entered into a talented and gifted program that I participated in until I graduated from high school. Of course, I almost did not graduate because I skipped so much school that they wanted to hold me back due to excessive absences.

My Mom was furious when she realized what I'd done. "What the hell?!!" she asked; or let's be honest, screamed.

Here's the real: I was smart. Way too smart. But girls, especially Black girls, are not supposed to be smart. So, until I decided to suppress my thoughts and my little proper speech, it was really hard to fit in.

I worked so hard at trying to fit in. I just took on the full armor of ignorance: smart ass mouth, know-it-all attitude, rebellious as hell.

I gained some instant popularity by pretending to be dumb. And I was actually really good at that, too. And got more praise from my peers for it. They loved to see me get into trouble, skip school, and miss out on opportunities. I had to become an adult to realize why. This is just too big for a child to fathom.

Kids that don't have it going on want to believe that you suck too, so they can believe they have a chance in life. They won't try to improve, but if they see you decline, they will feel like they have.

Let's bring it home now. How do you help your child get it?

-- You love her. Those kids that are encouraging her to be dumb don't.

-- Getting good grades is easy for her because she's smart. Not everyone else has that knack for learning.

-- Being smart, over the long-term, will help her get further in life than the bad attitude.

-- And, dammit, if she does not pull it together, you're going to put a size 7.5 Adidas in her rear because you know what the deal is and you will not stand by and allow this bull to fly.

Well, contrary to all indications of my potty mouth, I have to turn to prayer. I don't really know what else to do, but I've learned that prayer fixes all things. I've learned that me and God is greater than the world. I'm not a child psychologist or a family counselor so I'm not going to give it to you like that. Pray. Logging off because I'm going to get a little knee time in myself.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Good Grades, Bad Attitude


What do you do with the child that gets great grades but has a piss poor attitude? The child whose attitude is so jacked up, you can even justify rewarding the effort she put into earning grades. This is insane!

All week, I've been asking my daughter to see her report card. The boys received their report card on Friday of last week, so I KNEW Erica would be volunteering hers up some time soon.

I asked her Monday. Nope. I asked her Tuesday. Nope. Today, my boyfriend mentioned grades, and it occurred to me. I still have not seen this kids report card.

I asked, ", where is your report card?" She sighed, reached into her robe pocket, and handed me the piece of paper.

I asked, "Why did you not tell me you got your report card today. I've been waiting to see it. "

She looked me dead in the eye, sighed and said, "You asked me all week. I was waiting for you to ask me again today."

My response was, "Oh, OK. How about you bring me your phone and cable box, and go to bed at 9:30 for a couple of weeks? Maybe that will help you with that attitude."

I looked at her report card, and the grades are good. I just hate that I could not even celebrate her accomplishment. She took that away from me because she's just always trying to upset me. Why? Why? I love this child that looks JUST like me. . So, why the attitude?

Monday, January 11, 2010

What if I had had my Dad in my Life as a Child?

I attended my Dad Joe's funeral Friday, and I'm here to tell the story. Instead of telling the story of how my half-brother tried to make me feel insignificant - even during my Dad's funeral ceremony - I'll tell the story of how the relationship that wasn't was, and how I think it's made an amazing difference in my life.

As a little girl, I fantasized ALL the time about how amazing it would be to have my Dad in my life. A couple of my friends had Dad's, and I just could not understand why I did not. I've accepted God's divine plan at this point, but on my bad days, it's still hard to accept what I lacked as a child.

-- I wanted to give my Dad all the crappy cards we were forced to create in elementary school to celebrate Father's Day.
-- I wanted to eat with my Dad at the Girl Scout's Father/Daughter luncheons.
-- I wanted my Dad's honorable name to display on my report card in that blank "Parent" field just below my Momma's.
-- I wanted my Dad to scare all the boys that gathered the nerve up to come to our house. I mean, my Mom did it, but it just wasn't the same.
-- I wanted my Dad to teach me guy stuff: fishing, boxing, killing bugs. Shit, scratching, I don't care!
-- At every parent-teacher conference, when the subject came up, I would've been happy as heck if my Dad would've been able to chime in when the snotty teacher asked my Momma if "a man was in the home."

Honestly, I just wanted some normalcy; not normal to my neighborhood or my little impoverished city where about 80% of the households were led by women (with no men), but normal to TV: Cosby Show, Leave it to Beaver, Family Ties, A.L.F., well damn, even The Simpsons.

So, I've come to grip with my childhood. I'm 34 and a Christian, so I've let go of the unfairness of not having my Dad in my life.

Besides, since the age of 18, my Dad has been amazing. He truly became my best friend.

-- My Dad knew that I got off at 5pm to go home, he'd call me 4 or 5 times a week and talk to me until I got home.
-- I almost dropped out of college, but my Dad came through with tuition to keep me in.
-- My Dad was amazing with my boisterous, hyper, always sports-minded sons - keeping them distracted for my entire trip to Texas by playing, football, catch, and "boy games" with them.
-- I could count on my Dad for giving me an honest insight on what made men tick. . He was an old Baptist minister, but he did not pull any punches. He always called a spade a spade.
-- When my Mom passed away, my Dad was my rock. I'm not touchy-feely, but I happen to know that if he did not hold me so tight during the entire ordeal, I would've fallen apart and just faded away. .
-- My Dad said he was sorry. He said he was sorry for hurting me. And that heartfelt apology, along with my faith in God, made the sting of him making me feel invisible as a child wear away.

The relationship with my dad that I was able to build over the last 15.5 years has taught me that God works in his own time. He truly is right on time, even if while you are going through it feels like you will not make it through. My Dad showed up in my life when I needed a Dad in my life; even though at the time I thought I was grown and did not realize it. He STILL helped me to grow into the woman I am today: strong, affectionate, forgiving, confident, humble. These are the attributes he brought to the table.. and I was able to absorb from the warmth he gave off.

It's not that my Momma did not do a kick-ass job raising 6 kids. She did. But after existing as a child the way that I did, my focus is on making sure I am not an obstacle to relationship between my children and their father.

I can't force it, but I'll never stand in the way. I won't be the cause of my child one day asking the question I can't help but to ask myself, "What if I had had my Dad in my Life as a Child?"

I'll do my part. The rest is up to Dude.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

From Teenage Mother to Parenting a Teenager - Ooooh, Scary

Occasionally, me and my Mom would get into a disagreement that would make my mom so fed up that she would force a conclusion to the discussion by saying, "Wait 'till you have your own kids. You'll see."

As a kid, I felt like just getting that statement out of her meant that I had won the argument. Whatever she was saying that I did not agree with would be heard no more because I had forced a conclusion to the discussion. . But then there's the element of Kharma.

When I was 17, my mom's warning rang in my ears when my doctor told me I was pregnant with a baby girl. It was a very fleeting moment because I was too immature at the time to even recognize the song that began to play in the background as this story began. I was elated!

After all the griping my Mom did at me to go to school, to work hard, to show her respect, to LISTEN, I would show her! I would be an awesome (teenage) mother. I would never fuss. I would give my daughter all the space she needed. I would treat her like a princess. I would be her very best friend in the whole wide world.

Now, fast forward SIXTEEN years later to today. I find myself raising a kid that looks and acts JUST LIKE ME. I'm not old enough to have forgotten what I was going through at her age, but she won't believe me when I tell her that because as far as she's concerned, I'm old. . I have no clue what's going on because I was NEVER a teenager.

  • [INSERT DAUGHTER'S NAME HERE], your bedtime is 10 pm, why are you up at midnight? RESPONSE: Mommy, you probably don't get this, but young people don't get sleepy at 10 pm. That's for old people!
  • [INSERT DAUGHTER'S NAME HERE], your hair is beautiful. I do not want you to die your hair black. RESPONSE: Why are you trying to control me? I'm not like everyone else, Mommy. I want to be my own person.
  • [INSERT DAUGHTER'S NAME HERE], if I don't know this friend, I do not feel comfortable allowing you to go over to their house or even having them spend the night in my home. RESPONSE: Mommy, you can't know ALL my friends. I have hundreds of friends.
  • [INSERT DAUGHTER'S NAME HERE], I have no problem with you traveling. Just give me time to coordinate my schedule, so I can enjoy that time with you. RESPONSE: Mom, I don't need you crowding my space every time I step out of the house. I got this!
  • [INSERT DAUGHTER'S NAME HERE], I promise that you will NOT die if you do not have those new jeans. RESPONSE: Mommy, you just don't understand!
Needless to say, my Mom's prediction was absolutely true. Sh e probably could not have predicted that my turmoil would be the result of becoming a teenage parent, but damn, did she have to be so right about everything else?

God, I wish I could apologize to her now for being a huge PIA, to tell her that I know now that she did understand, and to thank her for showing me true stick-with-it-ness in taking care of a rebellious teen because ALL of that knowledge is really handy right about now. It keeps this "old" mom sane; and reminds her that at some point, even if I'm not here to see it, there's an end to this sort of grief.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The New Years Resolutions that Will Not Be

What a weird beginning to 2010. I'm so blah. . not feeling like I've shed the grief of 2009 and accepted all the new opportunities that are awaiting in 2010. Right now, I'm really just fakin' it 'til I make it.

As I always do, I started my list of New Years Resolutions. I do not remember anymore what #1 was, but #2 was to spend more time with my Dad. "More Time" as opposed to seeing him twice a year despite his constant pleas for more time. Arrrrrrrrgh. .

Joseph James Johnson, my Dad, passed away at 10 am on January 31, 2009 of prostate cancer. I was not there. I was at home planning for a party. I now hurt, and I carry a lot of regret with me in 2010. I know I will forget this mistake, but I will not forget the lesson, "Don't put off to tomorrow. . " I'm 34, but still learning the same damn lesson.. "

I remember which New Years resolution pertained to my Dad because that's as far as I got on the list. At the time I started, it was really important to record my list. I wanted to commit to the entire list, so I started it as a blog posting. Then, something happened. Maybe a child whined, or a friend text messaged, or the phone rang. I don't really know, but some distraction took me away from the list of New Year To Dos, and I never picked it back up.

And that's the way my life as gone so many times I could not count the instances to save my life. I've made a realization that I have to do something; something life-changing and long overdue. Then, I've gotten distracted by the details of life itself.

Well, what I won't do is to ever pen/type/speak another list of New Years resolutions. What I will do is to live/love/laugh for today. I will say "I love you" to the people I love with every opportunity. I will spend more time with the people I love and less with those that I'm iffy about. I will cherish the gifts that God has given me if only as a way to give him additional praise. I will not procrastinate. I will do more for others, even if it's an inconvenience to me. These are not New Years Resolutions, you see. These statements are now parts of my life's mission.

I will do better.