Wednesday, August 7, 2013

my last kindergartener


i've got a kleenex in my hand. ok, a box nearby. i'm lying i have the box in my lap. i'm a crier. i can't help it.
do you see that handsome little face up there? that's my Mark Patrick.
he's my baby.
my man child.
he is a miracle.
he is a gift.
he holds my heart.
he is a riot.
he is kind.
he is fearless.
he has a laugh that spreads through a room and wraps everyone else in it's wonder.
he is more than i could have ever hoped for in this life.
he is probably my last kindergartener.
this day, this first day of kindergarten, snuck up on me quick.
last time i remember reminiscing, he looked like a baby. heck he WAS a baby, right?
see how tiny he was? he was a preemie you know, born almost 5 weeks early. but from that very first day he was out of the womb, we knew he was something special. before i knew what was happening, Mark Patrick was growing up before our eyes.


and i've thought about these days with my sweet boy; these days of growing up with so much happiness and love bursting out of every memory. he's been so ready to go to big school. he's been so ready to grow up. he's been SO READY. i, however, have NOT been ready.

the weeks leading up to this day felt very familiar to me. they were almost exactly the same emotions coming from every angle as when Norah was about to go to big school.  i started getting anxious. and antsy. and sick and nervous. i cried each time he needed an extra snuggle at night. my eyes got misty each time i got a kiss on the cheek for no reason. i found myself beaming at him more than usual, saying "I love you" to him more than 100 times a minute.
and then, just like with Norah, it was time to buy school supplies. it was time for backpacks and lunch boxes and new school clothes. it was time for the night before school. it was time.
Mark Patrick and i made his lunch and he put it in his new camo lunch box, just so. making sure to arrange everything just as he wanted it. it was bedtime shortly after. i tucked them in. kissed their heads. got one last squeeze. and i walked out of that room and lost it y'all. this wasn't supposed to be here yet! this wasn't supposed to happen so fast! that backpack will swallow him whole, i thought as i couldn't look away from it. and then the spinning started...
the panicked trip to the hospital on March 23, 2008. something was wrong. i was in labor and it was too early.
the first cry.
the first smile.
the first time he nursed.
taking him home.
making all his baby food, solid foods, laughing, crawling, two fists full of passies and one in the mouth, walking, potty training, those blonde curls and bottomless blue eyes. knocking out the front teeth. busted lips. birthdays. preschool.
life. love. memories. i saw every single minute i had ever experienced with him and i cried.
my baby boy. he's just so wonderful and perfect and contagious. you can't meet him once or really look at that face without loving him. it's impossible.
he started school. and as my heart and my soul ache for my baby today; i also can't express the pride and satisfaction knowing that we have lived to see this growth in him and with him. he's perfect.

last night at the dinner table, i prayed instead of asking the kids to say grace. i prayed for my kids to use their mouths to be kind to others, for their hearts to be open to new friends, for their ears to open for listening and learning, for the teachers that i am trusting with my most precious gifts.

cause really y'all... it's not them walking away from you on the first day of school that makes it so tough on a mama and daddy. It's knowing that you are walking away from them, trusting someone else to love your kids and keep them safe, and letting them be independent. THAT'S what gets me.
Happy first day of Kindergarten, Mark Patrick. I love you so. 


Monday, March 4, 2013

growing up, together

This is about us.
This is about perseverance.
This is about choices.
This is about the details.
This is about the big picture.
Growing up, together.
Growing old, together.

We were so young and so skinny!

Here we are, 10 years later.
I'm not old enough to be celebrating a whole decade of togetherness with one single, soul. You my dear, are old enough though. So, here we are.

This year on this day, marks seven years of marriage and ten years of 'time served' with my husband. There are many, many things you learn about a person in a decade. For instance, I know that Mark has two basic hairstyles: short and shorter. He grew it out once because I asked to see how it looked. And then, it was cut off again. I also know that he is high-lar-i-ous, compassionate, an amazing father, a good Spades partner, an even better player of Charades, professional fire-wood splitter, snoring champion, nerve-getter onner, forgiver, forgetter, coffee drinker, lover of my soul, budlightaholic (although, he has moved on to drinking at least better beer, recently) lover of my heart, gas maker (in all forms), and a chef only without the fancy cooking school degree.

These past ten years have been a journey, a season in our lives we are surely not going to forget. It has been hard, really hard, on most of these 3,650 days we've spent together. We were talking after the kids were snuggled in their beds recently, about how we have literally grown up together. I have spent my entire adult life living with you, learning you and with you, and navigating these rapid fire days with you.

Mark chased after me (and with good reason, I'm quite a catch) since before my 19th birthday. He likes to remember that he flashed that flirtatious smile, flexed his tatted biceps in his cut-off sleeveless work shirt, and that I fell over myself to be with him and his white Chevy truck. He also likes to believe that his 'game' was so awesome, that he could have lured me in with that alone. I'll spare you some of the 'game' he was 'spitting' my way so long ago. Most of it was ridiculous and I can't believe it worked on anyone ever.

I remember it a bit differently. I remember meeting him for the first time and thinking, wow-he's really, really, full of himself! And then, he called me incessantly for days, weeks, until I finally agreed to go out with him. (He will argue with me to the bitter end about this but it is so true. Ha!) Once, I did finally agree, I think it was more out of 'FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY, ALRIGHT ALREADY!' Shortly after that, I was hooked  (we already know he was wrapped around my finger by this point). We didn't spend too many days or nights without each other from then on. He was/is my lobster. We fit. Something about him made my crazy, not all the way crazy anymore. Technically, because he was a whole different kind of crazy but times infinity.

Regardless of how it all started, there are moments from this journey that I will never forget. He told his parents about me; about how I was 'the one' way before I was anywhere near ready to meet them. The days, weeks, years, we made so many bad and unhealthy choices. Many of them so awful, we shouldn't have been near each other; nor anyone else with a heart or eyes during those times. The days of slow dancing in a burning room. The walls crashing down all around us, crumbling every which way we turned. Yet, even still, how neither one of us could have come out of that awful phase of addiction and toxicity without the help of the other. We beat that, together.

When we got married, in his parent's backyard in front of the lake and under that big, beautiful, blue sky...I laughed. Y'all- I laughed the entire way down the aisle. I was a nervous wreck. We had already been together three years so it's not like it was 'too fast' or whatever. (Although, some would have argued then and still some would argue now, we never should have gotten married.) The enormity of what we were doing set in, at the precise moment I was walking down the aisle. My handsome father at my arm, my handsome man waiting for me at the end of the path, our family looking on with apprehension and fear and thinking: 'this is sooo not gonna last' and I was laughing--out loud laughing. Laughter has been a common thread throughout our lives; weaving us through the storms, knitting us closer, looping back on top of our troubles and then back through them to tie a knot of unity among us. Reminding us, two separate beings, that we can get through this, together.

Mark and I created two beautiful humans. Miracles really. My body was a terrible place for children to grow, per my doctors. It would never go to full term, they said. I'm not convinced that if my body were trying to hold someone else's would have worked. I think we were meant to do this... the co-parenting thing, the falling in love thing. We aren't perfect parents (or perfect mates) but they are the perfect kids for us. I can't imagine trying to raise these tiny beings into semi-normal although slightly damaged, hilarious, yet still (hopefully) functional adults, with anyone else in the world.

You, dear husband, have cheered me on, brought me back down to earth, cried with me, laughed with me, argued with me, let me 'win', saw my guts on the operating room table (twice!), loved me, been upset with me, forgiven me, loved me some more, made fun of me, taught the kids how to make fun of me... tucked me in when I couldn't do it, held me when I thought life was too hard, and cooked me so many meals that I honestly can't count them. You haven't just fed my hunger for food though. You have fed my hunger for life. You see things so much differently than I. You are bold. You are fearless. You make me feel brave. You make me feel safe.
Mark's catch-all phrase

The times where I wanted to give up on us, the times when you finally realized and admitted I was crazy and there was no coming back from it, that you were stuck here on this crazy train with me unless you bailed. Those times where we woke up every day, right next to one another in our much too small queen sized bed, and chose to say 'I Love You' when it seemed so hard to be in the same room with one another. The one foot in front of the other days because any moment other than the one we were living in at that very second was just too hard to bear. The 'how did we make it this far?' days. The days when we were so infatuated with each other we could hardly stand to be away for a moment. Those precious bringing home the newborn Norah, 'what the hell were we thinking?! we can't raise another human being!' days. Those days quickly turned into, the 'We so got this!' days when Mark Patrick was brought home. And then I morphed into a crazy, tearful, hormonal alien again, cause really world?! two babies?! WHAT?! How did this happen?! Days where I was convinced that gravity was working against me. Wherever you found me- you always dug me out of the hole of depressions and anxieties and nursed me back to normal. You said, I could do this. You said, we could do this. And I believed you. You believed me.
Are these days of questions gone? The one foot in front of the other days? The please get out of my face, I really need my space days? No. They aren't gone. They are no more gone than you and I; ten years later, still waking up in our too little queen sized bed together making the choice to say and live, "I love you." I know I am hard to love. I know I am hard-headed and sometimes hard-hearted. I know I am selfish, and prissy, and not one of those tough kind of girls. I know I am silly, petty, and flighty. I know you know I am really hard of hearing, clumsy, aggravating, and impossible. You think my choice of music is questionable most days. I'll never be able to let go of my John Mayer, Justin Timberlake, No Doubt, Black Eyed Peas and bubblegum pop. I know you know all of this and love me not in spite of these things, but because of these things.
So, whaddya say? Ready for decade numero dos?
Maybe we can have the big house with the garden and the farm and the resturant in this next decade? Maybe?
Either way...I'm in. I'm all in.
Honestly, the part that has been the most difficult, yet the most rewarding, is that we have and are literally growing up, together; every day.
I love you, baby.
I'm not gonna find another you.
-Quaylon Townsent Jensent aka Scooter

Friday, March 1, 2013

fairy tales and make believe

When did you have the conversation with your kids?
The Santa one?
The Tooth Fairy one?
The Easter Bunny?

The conversation where you tell your little person that you have basically being 'keeping tradition' alive, but not really cause it's all a sham anyways. Norah has lost seven teeth to date. This last one, she casually tells me that she thinks maybe, just maybe, that I am the Tooth Fairy and that I just put the money under her pillow while she is sleeping.


I didn't address the question. I simply asked if she really believed that was true. She said, she might, she was still working it all out in her mind. And now, it's been a few weeks since then, and I am thinking, maybe I should have just told her. I've been feeling a little guilty about keeping up the sham (she's lost another tooth since that question) when she's probably got it all figured out.

Does the guilty conscience come from essentially lying to her?
I dunno, really.

Mostly, I worry about her imagination, the ability of her to believe in something...magical. But, it's really not the commercialized holiday's that make her imagination believe in something magical, is it? No, it's not. Magical comes from her own mind, not what I helped her get excited about. She creates entire worlds on her own; with and without books. She plays make-believe with her brother, crafts new games, draws imaginary worlds. She really is magical all on her own.

Should I worry about her being angry or upset?
How did you deal with this stage in life?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

the beginning

So, I announced a few weeks ago that I was 'brain training' for a 5k. I am not a runner y'all. But I decided to do it. I put myself out there, and so I'm gonna follow through.

I started my REAL training 4 days ago. The training where I really run. I'm using this app called couch25k free. It's fairly simple to use. You just download it and then you do the workouts that are very easy to follow. My body is screaming at me, but I just keep pushing through. I have to keep pushing. I very much want to make this a real thing- being a runner. You have no idea what it would mean to me, to just make this happen-for me to GET to the 5K and RUN this thing.

I have always struggled with doubt. I've always struggled with worry. I've always struggled with self-confidence. And I have always been one to not follow through. I am working to change my thought processes, my view of myself, if not just for myself, then for my daughter and for my son. How will I do this? I ask myself. How can you change? Self, YOU HATE CHANGE. And then I heard something really awesome on the radio yesterday and they continued to talk about it this morning:

"To have doubt, you had to have had faith in something first."  

That  has been so powerful for me. It's been a light bulb. My 'AH-HA!' moment.  I think mostly because I have struggled with doubt and worry (for me they are always together, those feelings, creeping in together, always together) and that doubt and worry has always led to my self-confidence falling so low. Here is a typical thought process for me when trying to do something new: Convincing myself that I couldn't do something (doubt) and then freaking out about it (worry) and then kicking myself for not following through because I started that new thing even though I told myself I couldn't (self-confidence shattered).

I know. Could you imagine living in that cycle? I have for a long time.

Here is how it's changing... before hearing these words, these words of hope for me, I didn't give myself the opportunity to realize that I really did believe in myself. My inner dialogue just automatically assumed I couldn't do this something I wanted to achieve. But now, I am taking the time to breathe first. I am taking the time to realize that I really could do these things that I really want to achieve. I can follow through. I don't have to kick myself all the time. I don't have to automatically assume to worst. Because honestly, it really comes down to one thing in my mind... FAILURE. It has always been easier for me to not follow through because, well- what if I failed? I don't DO failure.


Ironic, isn't it?  I can push and preach these things to/on my children yet, in the same breath inside of me, tell myself I can't. It's a very humbling thought, really. I know failure is real. I know not doing everything right and perfect is real. I know that you can't always tie life up in a pretty, little bow. I also know, that I have to try. Try new things. Try old things you didn't think you were good at.

Wake up. Breathe. Try.
Wake up. Breathe. Try Harder.

I want my daughter to know that her mama was strong both mentally and physically. That she was confident, yet humble. I want Norah to know that I loved myself, took care of myself, and never, ever, put someone else's opinion of me before my opinion of myself. I want her to be proud of me. I want her to respect me.

I want Mark Patrick to know that his mother was strong both mentally and physically. That she was confident, yet humble. I want him to know that I loved myself, took care of myself, and never, ever, put someone else's opinion of me before my opinion of myself. I want him to be proud of me. I want him to respect me.

Do you see how that works? I have a daughter and a son. A male and a female. I am responsible for these little bodies and hearts and minds and souls and manners and beings. I want the same for them.  

I want the same for me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

fabulous first grader

the leading lady in my life, Norah Parker, is for a fact a "fabulous first grader". no color system at school, no award, no accolade, no certificate can make that statement any more of a truth. i know this. i live with this (mostly) understated fabulosity every day.

if you have kids in public school or probably even daycare, you know about the dreaded 'color system' for keeping up with the children's daily behavior. i personally think this is a really crappy system and that some days no color will truly capture the entirety of every child's all day attitude and behavior. i truly believe this with my entire being when Norah is on any color other than green. because green means, we kept it between the lines, y'all. and that is good. i will not discuss my thoughts on yellow, orange, blue and red. yet, since i am not a teacher (GOD BLESS TEACHERS), i really can't complain about this system. cause i don't have to use it. and that is also good.  (did we have a color system when we were in kindergarten? i honestly don't remember.)

anyways. Norah, came home from her first day back of school from the Christmas Holidays yesterday. i asked about what color she was on and in typical Norah style, she traced the letters of the color in the air.
so i asked again. sometimes she's a tricker.
P-I-N-K, she traced in the air once more.

YAY!!!! i praise her. high fives all around. PINK means you were a "fabulous first grader" in the eyes of your teacher that day. PINK means that you went above and beyond. PINK means you were especially wonderful. not only did you keep it between the lines, you were probably nice to people. being nice and keeping it in the lines are hard work. i struggle with it all the time.

now, in the midst of all this praise, my sweet angel girl just grins. and almost as an after thought, she tells us there is a certificate in her folder. she got some kind of award. she wasn't all showy-in-your-face-cocky-holier-than-thou-BAM!-i-got-an-award-and-also-have-no-idea-what-this-means-talking either. she simply asked me to look at it. she was proud.

Norah was presented a certificate for exemplifying a characteristic in school. COMPASSION. she was honored for her compassion.  

Merriam-Webster's definition of compassion: "sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it."

i have often prayed for a more compassionate heart. a more sympathetic soul. a desire to love others better. i had no idea that God's answer to my prayers was in the form of a "fabulous first grader" in all of her 6 year old glory.

she sparkles.
she shines.
she whole body laughs.
she is hilarious. 
she is my baby.
she is my big girl.
she my favorite female.
she is my daughter.
she is my teacher.

Friday, January 4, 2013

i'm a terrible blogger

i always wait unusually long amounts of time before i update this blog.
sometimes i forget it.
sometimes i'm lazy.
mostly it's a combination of the two.

since we are into the big 2013 already, i guess i should give y'all my resolutions. honestly, i don't believe in resolutions. and really, i don't like to call them resolutions, either. i like to call them "try real hard to do these things". i figure, if i care about something enough, i will do it. ya know? but nonetheless, i always make them. every year. :)

My 2013 "try real hard to do these things" things:
1. love better.
i really mean this one. not like flashy, showy, in your face for the world to see love better. but deeper, more thoughtful, make sure my family and friends know- really, really KNOW i love them.

2. be a more present mother.
this one is tricky. i don't feel like i am a terrible mother. i just feel like i could be doing way better. i often snap at my children. sometimes i am more into my phone, laptop, tv, etc. than i am their conversation or "watch me, mama!". i'm not proud of it. but it's the truth and i'd love to consciously be in the moment with them more. they are growing up so quickly and i want to be able to remember all the savory details of their childhoods.

3. thank the husband more.
he's really not so bad, ya know. he's the best daddy to my babies. he loves them. he cares for them. he plays with them. he cuddles them and sings with them. he makes fun of their mama with them. and ya know what, he's mostly good to me, too. i really need to learn how to verbalize and show him that i really appreciate him. as a human, as a husband, and as my best friend.

4. run a 5K.
this one is in the books y'all. for real. i am currently 'brain training' for the 'Color Me Rad 5K' on March 23, 2013. this is 4 days before my 29th birthday. what exactly is brain training you may ask? well, it's where i think REAL hard about starting that couch to 5K app thing i downloaded on my phone about a monthish-ish ago. i suck at running. i have horrible workout commitment issues. and i just put this out there for the internets to see. keep me going. it's on.

5. beat all the kid wii games we got for Christmas.
i'm a nerd. i realize this. get over it. (this is the first gaming console i have owned since the original nintendo. no lie. it's kind of a big deal.)

happy 2013, y'all!

*note: i was totally gonna add some pictures but blogger is weird today.*