Sunday, January 28, 2007

Hard days and nights

No, not a play on that old Beattles song. Yes, I think they are way cool, but really, I don't want that song stuck in your head for days. What I'm talking about is how hard my days and nights have been lately. Geez, I feel like I've been whining a lot in my blog, and I don't mean to, but I guess I've been taking on too much. Again.

The other day was an anniversary of sorts. I'm a doula in my 'spare time'. For those that don't know what that means, I'm basically a labor and delivery assistant. I've done this for years, for friends and family. I even started to do it professionally. My very first 'official' client was an incredible woman, having her first child. When the big day came, I spent over 20 hours with her, helping her labor. She ended up having a C-section, and the baby didn't make it. It was 'just one of those things'. To have a child not make it, in this day and age of medical technology, was horrific. Even knowing that I wasn't responsible, I still felt that there should have been something that I could have done. This woman trusted me to help her bring her child into the world, and I feel like I failed her.

No, she never blamed me. On the contrary. We became friends. I was at the birth of her second child, an amazingly beautiful daughter. She recently added another daughter to her family. Both of her girls are totally beautiful, and their pictures hold places of honor on my desk. I doubt their momma knows how much I treasure them.

But I take anniversaries hard, as many of you know. My mom's death knocked me for a loop, and it still does. Five years later, and you were akll witness to the mess that was me at Christmas. I get that way on her borthday as well.

Maybe that's why the past few days have been so difficult. I knew the anniversary was coming, I knew it in the back of my head. When I went shopping with my little girl the other day, we got flowers to put on the babies grave. It would have been the baby's birthday. When I saw that headstone, covered with snow, it all came rushing back to me.

I'm not the momma that lost my baby, but that passing still has a very deep impact on my life. I rejoice in their growing and very beautiful family, but I still mourn the child that is gone.

Why share this? Well, it's been on my mind a lot this week. And it was brought even closer to home when a new friend lost a family member. I was reminded again of losing my mom, and how I dealt with it. I was reminded of the loss of that baby, and how they dealt with it.

I talk about my mom every day. Every single day. I tell my kids about her, silly stories of growing up, things she liked, the way she sounded. To my kids, even the ones to young to really remember her, she is more than just someone that died five years ago. She's still "KK", and they talk about her almost as often as I do. We share things about her with each other. Even the younger two have 'memories' of her, that have been given to them by me and the older children.

And my friend that lost her baby? She talks about him to her younger ones too. On each of their birth announcements, the baby that was lost was mentioned as their 'special angel'. Those girls will grow up knowing that there was someone before them, and that person was real, and that person lived, and that person was loved.

What a legacy to my mom. What a legacy to that baby. I am so thankful that a friend told me to talk about my mom to my kids, so they wouldn't forget her. It has kept her alive in my heart and alive in their hearts. I am thankful that I passed that on to my friend that lost her baby, so she can keep that baby alive in the hearts of her other children.

Yes, I think that we have to move on, and to 'get over' a death, to learn to accept it, to learn to grieve. But I do not think there is ever a time when we should be expected to forget a loved one that has left us. I still grieve my mom. I cry sometimes out of the blue, when I see a bright bouquet of daisies (her favorite flower, and my only tattoo), when someone talks about Paris (it was her dream to go there, and she saved all 5 postcards that I sent her from there), when I hear a Conway Twitty song on the radio (she just loved him!). I've learned it's ok to cry. It teaches my children that the feelings of loss take time to heal. But after my tears, I can smile, at the beauty of those daisies, or the memories of her face when I brought her home a small Eifel Tower, or the sound of Conway's gravelly voice on the radio. That's something else my children have learned - smiles come after tears. And that's ok.

Because sometimes you have to go through the rain in order to see the rainbow.

Sometimes, there are hard days and nights. But the morning always follows the darkest night.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Ahem. Time for a new post, huh?

Well, I have nothing to say. No, really, I mean it. I am out of words. Sorry.

Why has it been so long since I've blogged? I don't know. Really I don't. I just haven't had anything to say.

I've been working, way more than I want to work. We have a training coordinator and 4 trainers at the restaurant. Well, we had 4 trainers. One of them quit. One of them was on vacation. One of them has a lot of personal issues. And the coordinator was gone for a week. So yeah, that left ME working, more than I'm used to working. I know, I know, many of you have full time jobs and you still manage to blog. But I'm not you. I'm not used to being out of my home so much. I'm not used to coming home so tired, and being so frazzled. This job is supposed to be mindless. It's just biscuits and gravy. Ok, it's also chicken-n-dumplins, and meatloaf. But really, just biscuits-n-gravy. Not brain surgery. Not taxes. But I feel like I've had a lobotomy and been well and truly taxed. Ugh.

I haven't been writing. Not here. Not on my book. Not on anything. I feel all of this stuff, stored up inside of me. I want to let it out. I need to let it out. But I can't make the time to do it. I'm just too tired. And that makes me sad. And mad.

I have some friends that are going through some shtuff. Yeah. Bad things are a-happenin' in their home. Not baad, like brawls and diseases and deaths, but still, bad enough. They are sad, and mad, and sick of being together. This makes me sad. So I've been trying to spend lots of time with them, trying to remind them why they got married, trying to get them to feel the love, instead of all of the petty stuff that they've been feeling.

I miss my Grams. I miss my brother. They are out in Oklahoma and New Orleans, of course. Not here. Nowhere close to here. Very far away. It's been over a year since I've seen my Grams. It's been over a year since I've seen my brother. That's just way too long. So, I've made plans to change that. I'm taking that beautiful daughter that you all saw for weeks on a road trip next month. We're heading down to the Big Easy, for Mardi Gras, to visit the lil' bro. I'm leaving her there for a while. While she's gone, I'll be off work. Then, in May, I'm taking the whole fam out to see Grams.

I haven't heard back about that job I mentioned. This makes me sad. But still, if there is one job that has nothing to do with the food biz, then there are more, right? I'm clinging to this thought right now, as my feet throb out their angst at being beneath my winter-bloated body for way too many hours today. I really want to be out of the slinging-hash(browns) business forever. Maybe, if I can ever finish the book, I can get it sold and won't have to be a waitress anymore. Now, please don't start bursting my bubble by telling me how many people dream of the very same thing and it never happens. I just don't want to hear you. Wanna know why? Because frankly - I don't care. I'm going to beat the odds. I'm going to finish the damn book. Then I'm going to finish the other one. Then the other one. Then I'm going to sell one of them. Then the others. Then I won't ever have to ask, "Would you care to try some coca-cola cake today?" ever again. Ever. Don't even DARE tell me it won't happen, because if you do, I'll just stick my tongue out at you and put my fingers in my ears, and roll my eyes, until you mutter "So childish!" under your breath and click right off of my blog.

That's what I'm feeling. That's where I've been. That's what I'm going to do.

Any questions?

Nah. Didn't think so.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

And she's smiling!

Today, I am a braggin' momma.

On the right is my beautiful oldest daughter, Gretchen. Next to her is her friend, Kelsey. Gret and Kels are all dressed up for the Christmas Banquet. Teens from local churches attend the banquet every year, and they get all decked out to do it.

Come on now, isn't she purdy???

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The end of the first week of the New Year...

Where has the time gone?!?

Can you believe we're almost a full week into the New Year already? As I sit here, on this incredibly warm Saturday morning, I find myself wondering where the time has gone. I mean, just yesterday (well, ok, a few days ago) it was last year. Now, the first week is fading.

Honestly thinking that I have a snowcones shot in hell of making sense this morning, I've decided to blog a bit. See, I had a full house last night. Eight boys, between the ages of 7 and 13. I'm still standing, and so is my house. That's a bonus. No holes were knocked in the wall. Another bonus. It was the annual Michael's Birthday Sleepover and Game-System Challenge. Basically, the Christmas Eve-born oldest male child postpones his birthday bash until the first weekend in january, to make sure that any friends travelling during the holiday season are able to make it to his party. For the past few years, he's had the same type of party. The boys come over Friday night, then spend the night awake, playing XBox, Playstation, or GameCube. This year, they got to play the new Wii as well. We try to get rid of the girls that night, and it's all about the boys having fun. The only rules are that they are not allowed to leave the house, and they are not allowed to fight. This year, we had them all on the main floor of the house, one room for the Wii on the big screen, another room for any other system on the smaller tv. Only one kid made it all the way through the night, and that was my younger son, Mathew. I generally try to stay awake for most of the night, and my last head check was at 4:15 this morning. Then I got up at 8:30 to fix pancakes and bacon. So yeah, I'm a bit tired. But the smile on Michael's face more than made up for it. And he even hugged me. Without being paid, coerced or threatened. It was really cool.

I've been a writing slacker. I haven't written a single thing ALL YEAR. That's all I've got to say about that.

I've been working more than I wanted to this year. I worked four days this week, and it just wreaked havoc with my writing and reading schedule. But there may be a solution. I was offered a job the other night while I was at work. A very nice woman asked me if I would consider working for her, NOT AS A WAITRESS!! Yeah, I was pretty jazzed. She runs an assisted living group home for mentally challenged adults, and she asked me if I'd come over for dinner next week and see if I liked it. It sounds like a very emotionally and mentally fulfilling job, and not nearly as physically exhausting as the food place. So I'm seriously considering it.

I have to tell you that part of the reason I'm thinking about a new job is because I've been taking stock of my life a lot lately. No, I'm not big into resolutions at all. I think people really set themselves up for failure with those, and it just seems sad to me. If you eant to lose weight, or quit smoking, or something, then just do it. Don't wait for a special day, and put a label on it, then feel like a failure if you don't live up to that resolution. Just do it. Start any day of the week, and decide to try to change. *I* am worth it t o change. *YOU* are worth it as well. Who needs a publicly announced list to live up to? Not me.

Anyhow, taking stock of my life... I don't want to feel boxed into things anymore. i don't want to do things out of duty or obligation. I want to do them because I love doing them, and no otehr reason. I liked the restaurant when I started. I still like my friends up there. But really, the job has lost its shine for me. It's just a job now. Yes, I am very spoiled. I have a husband that has a job that makes it possible for me to not have to scramble for a full time position. Still, I like to have a little extra in my pocket, I like a few hours away from the kids, and I like having a place where they know me by my first name, instead of "Mom". So I was already thinking about quitting, but not sure what I wanted to do next. I like trying new things, and I like new experiences. I wanted some sort of adventure. I wanted something that would keep my mind fresh and introduce new ideas for stories on a fairly regular basis. I think I found it in this new job offer. Honestly, since I spoke with that woman Thursday night, I've had a sotry forming in my head. I can't start writing it yet, of course. I really need to finish the other ones that I've already started. But still, it's there, growing each hour that passes. And already, I can hear a woman's voice. And I can see a man's face. And I know what the conflict will be. And I know the resolution. And it's getting crisper and clearer in my head with each thought. So I've got to finish at least one of the ones going, so I can start this new one.

And that brings me to my other 'take stock' issue. I really need to finish my stories. I need to get over my fear and finish one, so I can send it out to a few of you and get some feedback, and know if I'm wasitng my time or not. I know that it's just fear keeping my fingers from the keyboard, even though I'm very creative in coming up with loads of excuses not to be writing. I have to get over the fear and finish. So I can know. Are you getting that the fear isn't about finishing the story so much as the reality of sending it out and waiting to hear if it's any good?

That's all for now. I've got to clean up after the boys. Then I'm heading upstairs to check on my people, see if they're still where I left them, see if they're even speaking to me anymore after I ignored them for so long.

I'll let you know how it goes.