Monday, April 30, 2012


Yesterday (was that just yesterday??) I stopped by my favorite Hallmark Store after church. I did not have the kids with me. It's the only reason I stopped. This particular Hallmark is not your run of the mill card shop. They have all sorts of stuff in there and it is one of my happy places. However, if I take my kids in there, it quickly turns into my very sad place. Suffice it to say, the Hallmark and I are in an exclusive relationship. Since I had some time to kill, I deliberately looked at every single thing in the store. Well, almost. I skipped the Vera Bradley area. I've come to the conclusion that one is very solidly either a Vera girl or not. I'm not. It's not for a lack of trying. But, it's not something you can will yourself into.

 I am queen of the digressions these days...

 As I was leisurely browsing, I kept running into items about Moms. And I'll admit it, I was annoyed. And then I remembered it was Mother's Day season. I puked a little in my mouth and swiftly made my way to another section of the store. I focused for a little while on the "Hillbilly Gift" section, feeling fairly safe. When I started browsing again, I suffered a giant sucker punch. A placard in front of me said, "Home is where your Mom is". You want to know what my initial emotion was? ANGER. I swear I wanted to swipe that subway art placard right off the tidy glass shelf and cause a scene. You know, a screaming hissy-fit that would make the front page of the Belle Meade Gazette. Oh fine, I don't know if there's such a thing as the Belle Meade Gazette, but you can be sure if there was, a lady totally losing her crud in the local Hallmark would be just the thing they'd want on the front page.

 This little scene played out in my mind, and then I got inappropriately tickled for someone shopping alone. And just as quickly, I became introspective. Why did I feel angry? Sometimes I feel like I should carry around a notebook to jot down my issues. It would make counseling much more organized.

I felt angry because when you lose your mom, you feel like you've lost home.

 Even as a grown woman there have been so many times when I have thought, "I just want my mom." And it's the wanting her and the feeling you get when you have your mom. Those feelings you've been nurturing all of your existence-not just your life-your very existence. Safety, unconditional love, comfort, nurture. Listen-I know things get messy. And I know that sometimes a person's relationship with their mom is a place of pain and discouragement. I know that. If that's your story, I am so sorry. I'm hoping there is another relationship in your life that is that "home" feeling. I was enormously blessed to have a mom whose lap I could still sit on at age 35. A mom, who, when I said, "I wish you could rock me" as an adult woman, knew how to make me feel those feelings while skipping the absurdity of two grown women in a rocking chair.

 "Home is where your Mom is".

Once I began unraveling the knot, I began to hear that voice. HIS voice. God. He has been so gracious and merciful and kind to me. Gentle words. Reminders. Home IS where your Mom is. She is home. You are not. It feels like a mess because it is. But it won't be forever. I'm saving a spot for you. (Oh how I hope it's right next to her!) Home. I long for it now like never before. Like I've probably always been meant to long for it.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Bugga Dip

My, my. Blogger's got a new page for bloggees. I was not consulted. Apparently, they missed the memo about how I do not like change. Let's hope I can get this thing posted with no issues. You know what issues mean. I give up. On with the post... I have mentioned my grandmother, Ga-Ga, more than once around here. We lost her in the fall, and she would have been downright proud of all the yarns spun on her behalf. At the wake, there was tons of delicious food and drink-really great stuff. But you know what got the comeback award? Bugga dip. Ga-Ga (also known as Lady Ga-Ga by some of her great-grandchildren) was married to Bugga. He got his name from drawing little bugs on the hands of his grandchildren. And, I'll tell you, I get a little happy inside when my dad does the same for my kids. Of course, at times he gets in a bind-they start requesting fairly elaborate things for him to draw! ANYWAY. So, the legend goes that at some point, I think when my grandfather was doing some traveling sales, he would come home grumpy. Ga-Ga decided it was because his blood sugar was low. Obviously. You have NO idea how much I love this story. As a person who is able to link all sorts of moods to food, I totally love the approach. I have preached the gospel of the protein snack since Drew was a toddler and can still be heard saying, "You're so grumpy, I think you need a little protein." There is a pure generational link here! Can I tell you a secret? Sometimes, if I'm having guests over who stress me out, I make Bugga dip as a little wink to myself about being a gracious host, with the tiniest hint of an edge. It's like an inside joke between me and myself. Now, if you come to my house and I serve you Bugga dip, don't assume it's because you're stressing me out. There are lots of reasons I make it. But, sometimes, it's just to make sure everybody's blood sugar stays right there at even. If you know what I mean. I have been left a mighty fine legacy on all sides. I'm so happy humor weaves its way through almost every tale. I still miss my mom every second. The pit in my stomach remains. I saw my counselor for the first time since she died last week. He was out of tissues. It's a good thing I stopped carrying my pride in there a long time ago, because I'm sure there is nothing like watching a grown woman wipe snot all over her dress. We both tried to act like it wasn't happening. We probably should've just stopped and guffawed about it. Of course, the timing would've been a tad awkward. Rest assured I'll be bringing my own from now on. Just in case. I dread Mother's Day, and even more, I dread the Mother's Day program at our preschool. My great friend Ruth does such an AMAZING job at all of our programs, and I think my Mom was her biggest fan. I know Drew and I will both be so sad Grammy won't be there. There is potential here for what I like to call "Drew fall-out". This is when, even after being thoroughly prepped, he flips out at an inopportune time. I'll tell you right now, I cannot handle a room full of "pity eyes". Perhaps, if I load him up with Bugga dip for breakfast (fritos included) he'll be able to ride out the storm!

Friday, April 13, 2012

I'm Grown

Hey ho. It's Friday night at 8:40 and I still have a massive project ahead of me. And I'm blogging. Again.

I'm here to vent of few of my feelings about my current course. Do you mind? Because I'm way past annoyed.

Wait. Let me back up and tell you how the rest of my evening played out last night. After I got back from Starbucks, my plan was to cook dinner while the sitter played with the kids. This is the part where I wish I was rich and could pay her to come to my house every single day after school. If I could fix dinner in peace everyday, I would totally wear an apron and heels. As it stands now, even with a sitter, Emily was her shrewy-iest self and I was more fit for raggedy pants and flip flops. Dinner was around 30 minutes late which really does little to tamp down the chaos brewing in the pre-dinner hours. Once dinner was set out, and Big Dan came home, I hit the door to go do yet another student interview. I'm not gonna lie. I was feeling the effects of the massive intake of caffeine. I practically bounded through the door and I'm fairly certain I sort of scared the 12 year old I was interviewing. Her mom is a good friend of mine, so when the interview was over she offered to fix me a drink. You know, a grown-up drink.

I said yes.

And then we sat with our feet up and talked about life. It fed my soul in that deep down place. Which is why I didn't manage to leave until 10 o'clock at which point I still needed to head to the grocery. And not just for a couple of items. I did my big shopping at 10:30 at night on a Thursday. To top it off, as I was pulling out of the parking lot I heard a gigantic THUD. NO, no, no, no, no, no. What in the heck could I have hit??? I couldn't see anything. Then when I pulled around a little I realized what it was. It was a grocery store jazzy. Yep, a motorized buggy someone left smack dab in the middle of the parking lot. I didn't even stop. I'm not a big fan of those when I'm in the store, much less when they're in the parking lot.

I realize it will be only the blink of an eye and I will have to use one of them just for saying all of this. I hope mine has an extra loud backing up alarm.

Anyway, back to my attitude problem for tonight. Can you please explain to me why professors in a graduate program filled with professional adults insist on group projects??? REALLY??? I am 35 years old. I know how to present using a powerpoint. And if I haven't learned to work with others by now, I'm fairly sure these dang group projects aren't going to remedy that situation.

Don't you worry. I'm just raw enough to THROW DOWN on my class evaluation. Do you think it would be rude to ask for an extra sheet of paper?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mixed Tape

I'm currently sitting at Starbucks. I got a sitter so I could get out and work on the thirteen boatloads of homework I have due in school on Saturday. And yet, here I am not working on school work. This could be part of the problem.

Today I was thinking about how much I used to love a mixed tape. (Ps. I'm no good at blocking out the conversations of other people. People talk about really personal things at the Starbucks.) For a mixed tape lover like me, the digital music age of a drag and drop playlist is like a small slice of euphoria. And then I started thinking about my taste in music and how, um, eclectic it is. Some of the things I like you would like. Some of the things I like you would mock me for. I'm very secure in the fact that I'm not a musical version of a foodie. I'm not a music snob. I like all genres if the song speaks to me. I'm much more into words than music EXCEPT when it comes to a thumpin' hip-hop song. Then my inner sista appreciates the beat.

Just like my musical taste, and a playlist I might have, my life is such a compilation of randomness.

Today is the one month anniversary of my mom passing away. And I didn't even remember until I got some really sweet texts from some of my favorite people. And then I worried about what that meant. Why didn't it even dawn on me? You know why? Because I feel just the same today as I have every day so far. I am still deeply sad. Every time I turn around I'm thinking about her, and then wishing I could tell her, over laughs, what made me think of her. My mom LOVED to laugh and I'm so thankful so many of the things that make me think of her also make me laugh. She would like that, too. I guess down the road the anniversaries will be harder. Maybe when every day stops being hard. People keep telling me that day is coming. So I'm choosing to believe them.

I think it's the juxtaposition of certain things in my life that weirds me out sometimes. Like this morning, I took the kids to the library to see a special presentation by Dollywood's Penguin Players. And then I drove across town to deliver some life insurance items to my brother-in-law. By the way, the business end of this whole situation? Yeah, it sucks. It is just beyond weird to exist in both realms at the same time. It's the needing to finish 3 papers by Saturday combined with heading to the Home Depot to pick up materials for a pea teepee for the preschool garden. (Yes. You read that right. Pea Teepee.)

So, in honor of the day, and in honor of my love for the mixed tape, I made a new playlist, burned it to a CD and cranked it up on my way to the Depot and sang at the top of my lungs. It was refreshing.

Now I'm going to turn my attention to Educational Psychology. Don't be jealous. I have about a half an hour of babysitter time left. That's a laughable amount of time in the grad school arena. But, I'm hoping the Venti frappucino and bag of chocolate covered espresso beans will give me a push as the late night hours approach. And don't give me a hangover as I prepare to face a room full of three year olds in the morning!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Mourner's Path

Most of you know me in real life. Most of you know that on March 12, I lost my mom.

I have wondered when I would venture back here. How I would make the turn here from life with Mom to life without Mom. Today I am making myself write. I am making myself do almost everything these days. The last months have marked the hardest and deepest struggle of my entire life. It has been devastating to watch the person with the most profound impact on my life, come to the end of their own. Since the time of my conception, I have never been separated from my Mom until now.

Like most things that make me incredibly uncomfortable, there is no prescribed way to walk this out. And, oh, how I want there to be. Please, someone, anyone, just point me in the right direction and give me a shove. I feel like I am crawling through a weird fog, but there is no real destination I have in mind. I have tried to "keep busy" and "keep going", but it has resulted in a completely empty tank. I have PLENTY to keep me busy. And I have employed all of my go-to coping mechanisms, but like always, they wind up depleting me rather than giving me what I'm hoping to find.

And depletion shows up. And it is not pretty.

The curate at my church (the woman to whom the pastor is married. She is SO much more than just a "pastor's wife", like all of them are...) lost her mom to cancer, too. And she wrote a book about it. A couple of Sundays ago we connected and her enthusiastic embrace was one that said, "I know." It was the most relaxed five minutes I've had in a long time. Then she handed me a copy of her book. She told me it might be too soon. I knew it was just in time. I devoured the pages of the book, nodding my head, finally putting words to all the things I have experienced and felt. "Yes. That" I would say out loud over and over again. One of the things she touched upon was the idea of grief vs. mourning. I have heard a lot about, yay even had a class on, grief. But you don't hear an awful lot on mourning these days. I decided to do some reading on the subject.

By miracle of the interwebs, I came across a man named Dr. Alan Wolfelt. Here is his breakdown of the two:
*grief: the internal thoughts and feelings we all experience when someone we love dies
*mourning: taking the internal experience of grief and expressing it.
He asserts that true healing comes not through grief, rather through mourning. Through real mourning we are able to eventually integrate our loss into the fabric of our lives. (I'm pretty sure he means your life's tapestry, not cotton...) And then he said this:

The experience of mourning can feel piecemeal-a cry here, a burst of anger there, a deep sadness today, a crush of guilt tomorrow. You might feel a sense of disorientation from the scattered and ever-changing nature of your grief.

Yes. That.

So, I'm making it my goal to show up to each day with intention. To seek the Living Water to refresh my dried up and hardened heart. To do my best to take care of me when there are so many needs around me. Including my spirited five year old who is trying to find his own way through grief.

When Kim's (aka woman the pastor is married to) father was asked how he was doing after he lost his wife, he responded, "I'm mourning". Let me be brave enough to admit the same.