Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Thursday, May 22, 2014
So here I am on a Thursday morning. The sun is breaking gently through the dappled lime green leaves on trees that are finally catching their summer legs. My coffee steams beside me and I ponder the crazy, stupid tears that have unwittingly caught me off guard as of late. I've written so many blogs about my kids, and when they are no longer here I will write about my husband and myself and the rambling adventures we long to go on. Don't worry, I never run out of material.
But today I need one more blog about a child. One more.
You see, my baby is graduating this Sunday. He will don mortarboard and gown and receive a piece of paper that says he has achieved. ACHIEVED. For this I need a pause. Allow me one more weepy mess of words entangled in emotion because this is how I let it out.
As my children well know, Hunter was not planned. He was a sneaky little guy that was breathed into life when Selena was just two months old. God decided we needed a dark-headed, smiley little charmer to complete the fold. From the beginning he was just that - a charmer. He held on to me longer than the girls and could make me smile when I wanted to throttle him.
The girls loved him and would dress him up in sparkly clothes and play with him like a little doll. He would just smile and laugh, running around with a gold scarf tied around his little waist. I believe his skill and interest in street fashion stems from these times. Selena would sit on him until he would scream and he learned to fight back quickly. But looking back through the crinkles of time, even then, they were closely bonded.
Hunter is my loudest child, therefore he gets noticed - everywhere. Gets the blame. Gets the look. Being loud and standing out doesn't make you the culprit and I always felt bad for him in this way. We tried to teach him to use those traits to lead, to be kind to people, to not let his born-with abilities hinder him. He's overcome a lot and learned to deal with it. Unfortunately, even to this day there are people that like to say things about him that aren't true. We taught him to hold his head high when others seek to speak untruths. Once you know Hunter, or if you try to know him, you will see unspeakable kindness and generosity. He will go the extra mile for you. He will tell you hard truths as he looks you in the eye. As I've said, he has been the child that can always make me laugh just a little too hard.
He is a dreamer and is dreaming lofty dreams. I want him to have these dreams and am doing everything I can to help him get there. I want more for him than he knows for himself. I want him to reach and reach, climbing the ladder of self-worth until he succeeds in reaching his goals. I want him to push himself harder than he has ever pushed. I want him to reach higher and do more than people think he can. I want them to see Hunter for who he IS. Not Hunter-who-is-funny, Hunter-who-is-the-clown, or Hunter-who-is-too-loud-can-you-please-be-quiet. He is more than who he portrays. He is depth and light, joy and insight. He is clever and sensitive and those who don't see it are only surface-driven people. Step back and see him. Really see him.
On Sunday I will dress in nice clothes, take my husband's hand, and we will walk into the Hiland gym for the last time and watch our son receive his diploma. I will cry and hug his suddenly broad shoulders and be dazzled by the sunlight that shines on his face. His face so recently grown into the shape of a man's. When did this happen, my son, when did you grow away from a little boy's soft neck to the stubble of a beard too soon grown? My son, the one who would run for my soft arms and lenient embrace. I held him, my last one, for longer and harder.
Now he goes. Receives his permission from the powers that be to grab his life, that life those so young long to walk in to. I release him to that wild. I let go. My tears be hot and stinging on my face, yet I let him go. To find that resonating song of life and longing, to find his dream.
Go find it because you belong to it now and no longer to me. I feel the pulsating longing for distance, yet the tiniest pull to remain. Don't give in to it - seek, go, achieve. This is what your world is made for, my weepy toddler memories or not. I was here for your firsts, now go make the world your own.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
WEEPY OLD REPOST ALERT! #graduationweek
Taking a plunge you’ve never taken before is scary. It’s a leap of faith that goes like this – JUST JUMP. My bones feel slightly achy and my head is a little light-headed from the braveness that I’m feeling from taking that plunge, yet here we go ready or not. This wheel of life keeps turning faster and faster and I find myself at an age I thought ancient before. Yet, I don’t feel ancient. I feel fresh and free, ready to be at the center, for once, of where God wants me to be. How remarkable it feels to actually be obedient to a calling you know is yours. Most of us stay in the safety of the known, the proximity to what is near and familiar. Then there are the dreamers, those of us – money or not – who have a grand scheme of what we should be doing and try to get there – sink or swim. I’m swimming furiously as I type.
I’ve written before of things my heart longed for as a girl fresh out of school: finding my mate, having children, raising them and being content. All of those things have been done and nearly finished. I stayed at home with my kids and raised them the best way I knew how. I woke up every morning and swished chocolate milk in a cup for them with a straw, filled the small plastic pools with water for them to splash around in, and attended every single sporting event, band concert and play they were ever in. I cried with them when they lost spelling bees, traveled many miles because they forgot soccer shoes or shin guards and read them the same book night after night because no other would do. When life seemed simply not doable anymore, I picked them up and brushed them off and said go – there will be worse things you have to go through. I used soft words when needed and hard ones when the temptation for self-pity set in. I believe I made them strong when my insides only wanted to hold them forever. My last one is poised to leave and though my stomach feels like Jell-O, I know I’ve come to that crossroad every parent eventually reaches. The kids will be gone, so what do I do now?
Most are content to live out their lives doing what they’ve always done, somewhat lost without their kids schedules to guide them. But I declare, this day, that this is now the start of the rest of MY life. I declare a beginning to traveling with my husband to places we’ve never been before. I claim my passion in writing and networking to be what brings me to peace and center of God’s will. I refuse to sit around and be sad that my kids are now gone. Why should I be sad? They are claiming what is theirs and finding their passions as well. I’ve done the job I was meant to do. I now claim the rest of my life and aim to live it well and full of good and exciting things. And I’m off!
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
If I can muddle through May without becoming a sobbing mess, it will be a miracle. Personal changes, an 18th birthday, a graduation party and an actual commencement might do me in. I digress, though, because these are the feelings I have in my head, and what I actually do on the outside is get things done. It’s time to push my sentimental feelings aside to when the house is actually empty and plan, plan, plan!
When you mention the word “party,” you’ve said the right thing. I like to party and I give a good party—you heard me. Wheels start turning in my head for ideas, food, and preparation and I can’t wait for it to all come together. Most of it doesn’t happen until the week before because we all know that I work better under a tight deadline. Yes, I’m a last minute puller-together, and boy, is it a rush.
I’ve planned two graduation parties that went off without a hitch, too many birthday parties to count, and numerous proms. I wish I could say we just give regular birthday parties, but that would be lying. We’ve done bonfires, piñatas Mexican-style, enchiladas for 50, quesadillas for 100, dances which included dancing on picnic tables, and last year we enclosed our patio/garage and held a teen rave replete with lasers and DJ. In fact, over the years most of our parties included a DJ and music for the kids to dance. What is a party without music?
None of these parties were expensive, because to have fun doesn’t mean spending lots of money. We used our own music or downloaded what we didn’t have, the DJs were friends who knew how to DJ, and it costs nothing to have a fire and make your backyard a space that kids want to spend time in. For my son’s 17th party/rave, we enclosed the garage and patio with tarps, as George is a wizard in that area. The effect was so cool and the kids had a blast, and the upside? I found glitter from the dance hiding in random places outside, which made me smile.
I always tell people when you buy supplies for a party that less is more. Buy white everything: plates, cups, napkins, and silverware. It is more cost-effective than color and no one sees a difference. Focus your splashes of color in fabric purchased for the tables—I get mine at the local fabric store for pennies—or in balloons strewn about the yard. These add eye-catching color without buying expensive banners and décor. For the piñatas, I always bought little trinkets to add to the candy, like fake bugs and dinosaurs, little pots of gooey slime and fun, yet unexpected things the dollar stores could provide. Be unexpected and that’s what the kids will remember—not what fancy-colored plates they ate off of and threw away.
My initial plans for my final graduation party are in full swing. When you read this it will be two weeks until go time, and I’m sure I will be in go-mode tracking down food, supplies, and those unexpected little twists that make a party enjoyable and different. Leave your anxiety in the closet and don’t sweat the little things. Remember, it’s not how much you spend—it’s what they will remember and feel that counts.
Newest post on The Holmes County Bargain Hunter.
Tuesday, May 6, 2014
Monday, May 5, 2014
I’ve decided that today will be a list day. Do you keep lists? I keep to-do lists, lists for groceries and lists of books and movies I want to read and see. Usually they get lost somewhere because I don’t keep them all in one place, but I have a pretty good memory when it comes to things I need. For a long time I refused to keep my lists on my phone because, I don’t know, it just felt weird. Now the notes on my phone are a long list of websites, addresses and other information I don’t want to forget. There are so many things to remember! So, without further ado, here is Missy’s list of random things I do to keep my life in order, stay interesting and not lose my head.
1) Grocery list. This is usually a running list that stays in my head and when the day comes to go shopping, I write it down. I know, not the best way to keep track. Milk, bread, eggs and those pizza rolls and chicken nuggets that my kids never seem to grow out of liking. Yogurt, bananas and Cheerios for Missy, and for George, a hefty container of nuts for snacking. Is it time to break routine and buy something new?
2) On my blog, I keep a list of books I want to read. Right now it’s short as I haven’t had time to read as much as I want. Normally, I find books that look interesting at the thrift store and I pile them up. That’s how my collection has grown. There are some, though, that I know I need to read and make sure I take note of them. I am on the third book of the “Divergent” series right now, and it is one that was on my list for several years. If you loved the “Hunger Games” trilogy you’ll love “Divergent.” Normally the books I read are full of angst and depth, but sometimes you just need a dig-into-book. Highly recommended.
3) Honestly, isn’t Pinterest a long list of things we love? It is also an obsession, and I, for one, feel it can be included here. I think it is a good idea to scour ideas, décor, quotes and food and keep them all in one place for later review. I love going back through my pins and seeing a great recipe or idea from six months ago. It’s a virtual filing cabinet, or list if you will. It’s invaluable when I want to find something that I just can’t remember, or when it comes time for a wedding for one of my kids, I’ll know just where to find ideas.
4) Bills are a boring part of life, but if I want to pay them on time I must keep a list of what I need to pay. For me, I have them on a virtual sticky note on my laptop. I pay all my bills online so I only need to glance at the note to know who gets all my money for any given week. It’s a wicked web but a necessary one to keep me in order and on time.
5) Lastly, my new goal is to keep a list of things I want to write. I have so many ideas that pop into my head and I do try to write them down. The littlest things can be the biggest inspiration and I don’t want to forget them. I saw a school friend of my eldest daughter the other day and was pleased to find that she reads my columns. She said she loves to read them, but found that lately they were shorter than normal. She asked why I wasn’t writing about what I loved and I didn’t have an answer. She said she will be reading and wants to see my heart in EVERY column. Maybe my newest list will be the writing critiques and quotes of my readers. Everyone needs a list to make themselves better, right?
Find this column and more of mine on The Holmes County Bargain Hunter.