In life we get these moments that string together and make us who we are. That’s what life is, a big run on sentence of moments. What’s strange about going through a divorce, is losing all of the good moments. Because obviously the relationship had them, right? I mean you did fall in love with each other. Back before you were blocking each other’s phone numbers and deleting their naked pics out of your phone. Right? Did you dream that? Moments snuggled up in the morning, before the kids were awake, whispering silly things to each other. GONE. Not just the moment, but THAT person is gone. It’s like the person you knew died, except you get to fucking fight with the ghost of them! And fault, ha! Fault is such an easy thing to assign. Truth is, it’s my fault. It’s his fault. It’s OUR fault. It was never one moment that led to the fall of Rome. It obviously wasn’t the good moments that led us down this road. It was the moments we walked our own roads instead of walking home, together. One team. Without being united, we stood as an easy target. Now I hear the hatred in every thing you say. It pierces me to know I made decisions that make you speak to me this way. But you’ve always spoken this way to me when you were angry, the only thing new is the hate. And I feel it. It cuts me. It’s doing what you want it to. But not for the same reasons. I used to hate knowing you were angry at me, but now I just hate that we hurt each other. I hate that you think you never mattered to me. I hope that subsides over time and you remember those mornings. Because I don’t want to feel like I wasted ten years of my life in something that ended in hatred. I want to learn from our mistakes. I want to make sure I water and feed the trust moving forward. I want to learn from the mean words that floated between us, because you really can’t take them back. I don’t want to spend another night in a panic attack on the bathroom floor because I said the wrong thing and you turned your phone off. You’re an addiction I can’t feed, it’s no good for me. I read your words again, I can tell I hurt you, because you’re slashing. I know you. I had to fly from here. I read your words. I have to delete them all. I can’t let them be all over my week anymore. I’m standing now. I can do this.
Seems a long damn time since I picked up a pen… or a keyboard… mostly because when there’s one in my hand lately, I want to throw it through a mirror. A wall. A building. Doesn’t matter. There’s a monkey on my back, and the withdrawals are a bitch. Guess that’s the way that writing has always worked in my life. I have once again found myself in the middle of a divorce. In the middle of financial meltdown. In the middle of searching for myself.
Waves keep on pounding the sand though, and my feet keep me moving. Every time I start to think I made a crazy decision and that my life was simple, beautiful and … enough… that I should just suck it up, I get punched with another uppercut to the jaw, and it sets my feet back in motion. You know why? Because at the end of the day, I fucking matter. Took a dear sweet friend saying that to me yesterday about his own life, for me to hear the words. I matter.
Not the same way black lives matter. Or white lives matter. Or labs matter. Something else entirely. This is about me, dammit. Birthdays keep on coming. People around me keep doing whatever the fuck they want and waiting for me to clean up their messes, or telling me about them, or just making them and leaving them… but regardless… I digress. The point is… I’m 35 mfers. It’s my time. Me time. Jeanna-thirty. Ok, that was a little far.
I named this post through the looking glass, for two reasons. When I was a kid, I HATED ALICE IN WONDERLAND. HATED. LOATHED. It made no damn sense at all. However, since I fell through the rabbit hole of life, passing books, pictures, maps, touches, tastes; moving too quickly to grab on to anything…. only to hit the floor and need to be small, then becoming small to realize I left something way out of my reach…. ohhhh the irony is not fucking lost on me at all.
But my Alice, she’s a little twisted. She’s tatted, and edgy, and sassy.
When I stop and glance around my life, I see the things I have succeeded at, but I see my flaws too. They’re there. NICE… They’re there…. anyway. They are. And instead of standing here crying about them, I am changing them. Changing the things that broke me down. Changing the things that keep me from shining. Bringing things back into my life that make me sparkle. If I am going to keep on this journey through the looking glass, I’m taking my cat, the rabbit, and the hatter with me. Bringing some fucking friends for the ride. And I am taking the queen of hearts, cause she is after all, just in my imagination.
I know that the age old saying is, “Parenting is the most challenging, rewarding… blah blah blah,” thing that you’ll ever do. I know that it’s true because any given day, moment, second… you can go from wanting to strangle a child, to laughing at them, to crying for them, back to fuming angry. They won’t understand. They will stand there looking at you with hate, confusion, annoyance on their faces.
The last 2.5 months in our household have been chaotic, psychotic and well…exhausting to say the least.
Ryan has moved into his SENIOR year of school. He has delayed enlisted in the Air Force, he will be headed to basic training next August. He spends a huge majority of his days running the drill teams for ROTC, waiting for Hailey to drive them both home, working at Hardee’s part time, and trying desperately to learn Spanish 2.
These kids leave dirty food bowls under their beds. Wet towels on the floors. Lights on, in every room they walk through. They’re snarky. Sassy. Grouchy. Rough around the edges. They NEEEEEEEDDDDDD this. They NEEEEEEEEED that. $30. $75. $650. $200. $1240. $3. When you’re a little late handing it to them, they take it, put it in their bag, look at you like you need a better calendar, or a personal assistant, and they move on. Maybe throwing a thank you over their shoulder.
I respond with, “Could you please…..” and trail off, because they’re already gone. “Never mind,” I whisper as a door slams, somewhere.
But then… there’s these moments. These moments of pride. They’re so big, and so full, that when they happen, and my eyes fill up with tears, I just stand there looking at them, bursting inside…. happy.
Last night was our high school’s Homecoming football game. Finally, what Hailey had been preparing for since mid July, was going to happen. Two weeks of band camp in July, in 100 degree temperatures, nonstop for 10 hours a day. 4-5 hours a day of practices, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays of every week since school started. The football games they had already attended, where they go to school at 7… stay after school, travel to games… get home at 11pm. The show was going to happen.
Meanwhile, this grown-up…. looking… beautiful little boy of ours, in full dress uniform is marching across the field. He’s the tallest. The handsomest. He’s shining. Perfect step. Shiney shoes. Crisp, flawless blue uniform. The ROTC presents arms for the Homecoming Court to walk through.
Across town, on a soccer field, beneath the lights… our baby is protecting a goal. Full pads, gear… etc. She organizes the field. She keeps the girls together. They love her, they listen to her, they rally for her. If she gets a bad attitude, they lose. She affects them. I’m not even sure that she knows. She will have anywhere from 10-50 goals shot on her tonight. She may miss one. That ONE will haunt her.
Russell and I, went to the football game, unfortunately missing soccer, but watching the score posts from our team parents.
The football game unfolded like a movie. The air was chilly. The lights were twinkling, blinding in spots. The stands were packed. Bands were battling. Both teams were PUMPED UP. This is ALABAMA, ya’ll. Football is LIFE here. We lead the entire game, of course until the end of the 4th quarter. In the last 1:30 of the 4th, the score became a dreaded 14-17. The fans fell silent.
You’re not supposed to lose HOMECOMING.
The other team, was PSYCHED!! Their band was dancing. Cheerleaders were taunting. Players were jumping, smacking each other, screaming… they could taste fear, and a win. It was seconds away.
We answered with a 40 yard drive off of our first drive.
The fans were back in it. The clock was moving fast.
Suddenly we are in the Red Zone. Now, we can’t connect anything. Their defense is amped. Our hands are all shaking. Some of those boys, will never play football again after this season. This is their last, BIG… game.
With 3 seconds left on the clock, the QB can find no one, he runs into the end zone. The stadium erupts. They take the win. The band is roaring. We are cheering… moments.
Captured moments. As I am watching, there are tears in my eyes. Flashbacks to games of blue and gold from my own childhood. My friends around me in the stands. Some of them now passed away. All of them miles, and miles away. I look around me now, at this generation. My daughter, sparkling with pom poms and glitter. My son, his last year at home, his grown-up personality starting to show.
I can hear their small feet running across tile, chasing each other through the house. I’m yelling at them. I can hear them giggling in the kitchen playing a board game. I hear the argument, because they’re all 3 competitive and cannot lose. Or be wrong. Or be nice, most times. Then I hear the I love you’s. I can smell the strawberry shampoo of childhood. It hangs in the air, with this winning touchdown. It kaleidoscopes around me in the chilly September air.
I wasn’t going to have kids. I wasn’t going to do this. I was going to travel. To see things. But to see all things, in those moments of kaleidoscope color around you, in the smells of life, in the crisp air… is to really be… traveled.
Since I began reading Outlander a few weeks ago; my brain has been wrapped around the characters, my mouth has been pouring out words like “Aye” and “Lassie”, my dreams have been filled with plush green rolling hills, castle stone, and cinnamon colored hair.
Aye. I’ve fallen madly in love. Not just with Jaime Fraser, but with Scotland and 18th century history. I find my ears longing for the celtic song that plays during the beginning of the show and the dialect of the actors. Sometimes I can’t even make out exactly what they are saying, but I know that I want them to say it again and closer to my ear.
The love affair I’ve begun, I didn’t know was possible. I spent a few years living in England in my early 20s, and really was mildly impressed. When I consider more travel to Europe, I dream of Paris, Greece, and Italy. But not so any longer. Scotland has entranced me. Tangled me in a language of love and sat me down in the middle of war between clan and crown and I can never seem to get back to my book fast enough!
Claire is a fabulous female lead, she’s sturdy and stubborn. She loves without abandon and her faith in her ability to run headlong into trouble to save those she loves is such a breathe of fresh air compared to most female lead characters.
THEN THERE’S JAMIE.
What a dream he is. Not in the typical, oh he’s gorgeous ways… (which of course he is) but he’s humble, soft, rough, stubborn. He’s a man in every aspect a woman could possibly want a man. One minute you want to shake him violently and the next you know exactly why she’s tangled up beside him.
I cannot wait to get home and read some more. I haven’t loved a book this much in a long, long time.
You watch them take their first steps. You listen to their first giggles. You hang their finger paintings on the refrigerator with alphabet shaped magnets. You tear up when they get shots, and fall off their bikes. You pick them up, dust them off, hold them tight….
Then one day, you wake up… and they’re teenagers. Or even worse, TWEENagers.
They’re mean. They’re snarky. Sarcastic. Smelly. Hormonal. Sneaky. Smarter than everyone else alive. Conniving. Liars. Expensive. Dramatic. Trendy. Selfish. Whiney. Bratty.
They’ve become these little shells of creatures that used to be so genuinely happy to be around you. Now they bite at your hand when you reach out to help them.
Every once in a while you catch a glimpse of that little person, locked up behind their eyes. A random, I love you mom, text comes through. Or they’ll laugh and joke around while sporadically helping make dinner. Little glimpses, little reminders. They’re still in there somewhere… fighting their own battles with school, siblings, and life. Looking desperately to find their place in the world, and trying their damndest to grow up to quickly.
I sip my wine, from the back porch after they’ve all finally given up their fighting for the day and fallen asleep. I begin to pen a letter to my mother, but the only words I see on the page are these:
You were right. I love you. Oh, and I’m sorry.