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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

My Little Town

Last night, with much regret, I stepped onto the treadmill at the Simmons Center. As I left the gym, I noticed the moon and what a beautiful night it would have been for a walk. The last couple of years, I have been getting my workouts by walking in the great outdoors. Friday afternoon, that suddenly changed. My little town, doesn't seem so little any more. The streets my kids learned to ride bikes on, no longer seem safe. The sidewalk where my youngest learned to walk, now seems menacing. On Friday a few minutes before 3 in the afternoon, police cars buzzed in front of my office with lights and sirens blaring. It wasn't anything out of the ordinary since it happens several times a day. The street out front my office is much easier to maneuver than the congested highway. At 3, I met in the break room with other co-workers as usual. Little did we know, just a few blocks down, a 22 year old man was taking his last breath as he jogged innocently down the road in front of my office. When I got home from work, I turned to the news to discover in my little town, (Duncan, OK) 3 teenagers were "just bored" so they decided to go out and shoot people at random. 22 year old Christopher Lane, an Australian college student from East Central was their first and only victim. They followed him from behind in broad daylight and shot him in the back. The 3 teenagers (ages 15, 16, 17) were quickly caught, but that doesn't make me feel safe. How many of their friends are bored and fantasize about being in a gang, putting people down, leaving their mark on the world in a senseless way without any moral convictions to align their thinking? I can't help but think.... How many more are out there.... In my little town?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

First Day.....

Having grown up beneath a church pew (Meaning back in the day before nursery services were provided), I remember the Pastor we had when I was little used to say. . . .  "Today is the first day of the rest of your life".  That's how I feel on this first empty nest Saturday.  I've had a weird surge of focus and energy this week, a therapist might say it could be indicative of being bipolar, I choose to see it as a mom reclaiming her nest. I do my best work when I'm alone. I've moved furniture, thrown stuff away, cleaned and organized my now empty nest. Surprisingly this first week wasn't bad, I was so busy, there wasn't any time to pout. My Hubby will come walking through the door any minute and I'm going to happily tell him. . . .  "Today is the first day of the rest of our lives!!?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wrestling Walruses

I hate epiphanies that results in me knowing that if karma is everything they say she is.... I'm in HUGE trouble.  I had one of those moments yesterday... Well, I had several hours of those moments yesterday. I went in with a deep breath telling myself to remain calm and to be sweet, sweet, sweet and patience, patience, patience. By the end of the day, I was sitting in a dark corner with a girlfriend as we shared our walrus of the day stories. Her walruses are different than my walruses, but I'm almost certain everyone has a walrus or two hidden in their closet. After a long silence yesterday afternoon, I turned to walrus #1 and asked..... "How much medication would I have to take to bring me to a long state of unconsciousness, without tipping me over the edge?" The walrus looked at me with great big walrus eyes and asked..... "Are your nerves that bad?"  I wasn't serious, of course I wasn't serious....  But, in the moment I sincerely wanted Calgon to take me away and possibly never bring me back. During the day I texted a friend who had successfully wrestled her walruses several years ago..... She texted me back, reminded me that her wrestling days were over, but she would be in the corner cheering me on. My other girlfriend said she found a sign the other day that said..... "I've thought more about running away from home as an adult than I ever did as a child." Boy, ain't that the truth!....  Yesterday was a wake up call for me to work on my interpersonal relationship skills... So I am..... More patient... and so my hospitality has more hospitable in it than it has hostility. To better prepared myself for this wrestling career, I'm thinking of taking some of those workshops they give at Lowe's like "How to nail jello to a wall" (that would have come in handy yesterday) and other skills needed for wrestling something that's slippery with no arms.

P.S. In case you're wondering, my walrus is NOT my husband. He is my biggest fan every day, not just during the WWC (Walrus Wrestling Championships) .

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's Crossed my Mind

Good news.... I think my husband is a keeper. Not that I ever really doubted it, but a woman's mind can do some crazy things when under stress. Friday afternoon he sent an email asking if I'd like to go on a date to see Jennifer Aniston's new movie "The Millers". A good laugh is just what the doctor order after my sob-fest. The movie was hysterical. Nothing ends a bad day like fits of laughter and yeah, I can totally see me spending the next 30 years in a fit of laughter next to this man. The move went better than Friday went, but let's face it... Not many days are worse than Friday. I had gotten all of the hysterics out of the way so I acted like a normal Mom all day Saturday. Well... normal if you're grading on a curve. Moving in was a family affair with all the kids meeting us at the apartment to help unload. When we left, the cable was turned on, the dishes put away, shower
curtain in place, most of the boxes unpacked and I threw in a little decorating because it's an uncontrollable compulsion with me.  When we left them to their own, they had the good grace to look just a tiny bit sad.... Or that could have been my overactive imagination... If you can imagine. There's a great sense of peace knowing all of the kiddos are in the same City as well as having my brother close. When we arrived home, my husband
said.... "Do you realize that this is the first time since 1983, we are alone and have the ability to do whatever we want without having to consider anyone else?"......  I just smiled.... Actually, the thought had crossed my mind....


Monday, August 12, 2013

The Cry of a Mockingbird

When we first moved into our home, the front porch was overgrown with giant cedars that barely left room to walk up the steps. Inside one of the cedar trees, a mockingbird had made her nest. We learned to duck as she guarded her nest with fierce determination as we entered the home with arms full of boxes. On the 2nd or 3rd night in the house, the doorbell rang at 3 in the morning. I sat straight up in bed like I had been hit by a bolt of lightening because the doorbell wasn't as much a doorbell as it was a buzz. It sounded like someone was being electrocuted, which in hindsight was a fairly good description since it caught on fire a couple of years later. I ran down the stairs and groped my way through the unfamiliar living room, dodging boxes and furniture. I peeked through the octagon window in the old wooden door and saw a young shirtless black guy standing on the porch looking over his shoulder. I cracked the door open a enough for him to tell me he had just been walking down the street when he noticed the dome light was on in our car and he thought I should come take a look at it. I asked him to wait as I ran upstairs to rouse my sleeping husband. At 3 in the morning, He needed to be shakened a little to get him to wake up so I said the most shocking thing I could think of to get him up and rolling.... I said.... "There's an Ethiopian looking guy who needs to talk to you like right now!"
My urgency wasn't contagious as he slowly got up and ambled downstairs. When he got to the door, the Ethiopian guy was very insistent he come out and see the car light. My husband finally persuaded him to leave and as he was walking down the steps, the momma mockingbird dive boomed the back of his head practically knocking him to the ground. He jumped up like he had been hit with a bat and ran as fast as his Ethiopian legs would take him. It was so funny! We waited until the nest was empty before we cut the tree down and hauled it away. Even with the nest empty and the tree gone, the momma mockingbird kept coming back, squawking and flying in circles where tree once stood. It was like she didn't know what to do with herself and it was heartbreaking. We moved my last little chick to the City this weekend and as we pulled into our driveway I thought of the momma mockingbird and her frantic cries.  The language she spoke makes perfect since to me 18 years after the fact.  All she had ever known was guarding her nest with fierce tenacity. Then one day she returned home to find no nest, no tree.  There were no little mouths to feed... No quarrels to settle, no tears to wipe.... Except her own. The branches of other trees in the neighborhood didn't feel the same.... They seemed... Well, they seemed a little shaky and not as comfortable as the one that held her nest. "Where do I go to from here? What do I do now?" She squawked, but sadly the night was silent and in that moment.... like it might never end....

P.S. If you look for me in the near future, I'll be the one lying in the corner in a fetal position.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Spilled Milk

Although I do tend to live out loud in a blogging kind of way, I don't actually expect anyone to pay any attention to me, so it's always a pleasant surprise when someone admits they've read anything I've written. So yes, I've been totally full of myself today to the point of tossing my Starbucks. I've cried sobbed for 5 solid hours... Thank you Jesus everyone was out of my office. Late this morning, I got an email from my Bestie. She doesn't get a lunch hour, so we never get to do lunch, but today she got a lunch hour and wanted to know if I wanted to meet. I couldn't snap that offer up quick enough with fair warning that I was not going to be a Chipper Chickie. I walked into the Tearoom and saw her standing by the table farthest from the crowd with a seat saved for yours truly so my back would be to the luncheon-muchins as I snotted and slobbered our hour away. Now that's a true friend.... One that saves you the seat that causes you the least embarrassment. My eyes were swollen and fire engine red. I had no make-up left anywhere close to my nose area and thank God I had on waterproof mascara. We hugged and had a seat and she said...... "Okay Sister.... What's going on?" All I could do is whisper that we were moving the baby out tomorrow. She let out a long sigh and shook her head as if that explained it all. She has been with me through all of my motherhood drama-rama. She would sit and laugh at my Mother/Daughter tales, snicker at my ADHD boy vs. ADHD Mother antics (yes, hypnosis was involved) and rejoiced with me when the true "Quiet One" was born. Finally she asked.... "What exactly bothers you about him?" That's when I really broke down.... "I'm not worried about him.... I'm worried about me!!!!!" I know! It's hard to believe that I just admitted it out loud, but it's the truth! PA-THETIC! I told her how scared I was.... Scared about what I was going to be now, who I was going to be. What if I find out my husband  and I don't like each other so much now? It's been 30 years since we've been alone and since the minute you decide to have children, you instantly cease really
being alone because the parenting gene starts to kick in and we were only married for 6 months before we decided to get pregnant and had only known each other for 6 months before we married and I lived in Tulsa the whole time so we barely knew each other and I was a starry eyed 18 year old who still believed in fairy tales and happily ever after and now it looks like the ever after is here and I never really thought things through to this point and to be honest.... I'm just panicked and maybe I'm having cold feet 31 years after the fact and what if things really start sucking now????? Yes, this was all expressed with one breath and no periods so excuse my punctuation if it's not exact. She listened and nodded and patted my hand and the waiter looked on with concern, tried to fix things with chocolate and obviously didn't think she was doing a good enough job of comforting me so he actually offered to let me share my burdens with him which, just made me feel more pathetic that the wait staff wasn't sure they would be able to clean up the slobbery mess I was leaving behind.  I finally cried myself into dehydration and a full blown raging headache by the time we said our goodbyes. This afternoon the troops upstairs rallied around me (since there were no troops downstairs) to assure me that life would continue to be full in spite of the house being empty and I'm sure they're right. One co-worker listened to me and said.... "You're having a..." I interrupted her with...  "I'm having a mid-life crisis!! This is it, this is what it looks like." I'm telling y'all, it ain't pretty. And to heap guilt upon guilt and panic upon panic, I feel like at totally Jac-Arse for being so freaked out. I'm suppose to be consumed with parental concern and Hover Mom duties, but no... I'm sobbing my eye out because I'm worried about me, which totally makes me a narcissist nut job who fully admits to any and all of the above noted sentiments as well as various psychopathy's (yes, I watch too much, or perhaps not enough Dr. Drew).... Or a woman who simply says what other women feel but have the sense enough not to admit out loud. Neither of these are a good thing, but it is what it is and I'm sure when I wake up Sunday morning, everything will be right as rain and I'll embrace the fact that I can run around the house in my panties without the fear of a brood of teenage boys traipsing through the house. On a closing note a co-worker came down right before 5 to tell me that they had been discussing my meltdown upstairs, trying to remember how they felt when their kids left the nest. The consensus was  the worse case scenario is... The kids return to the nest, bring more bodies than they left with and expect me to support the whole herd. Well if dehydration didn't dry up the tears, the thought of that sure did. I think I'll just embrace the idea of a naked room and quit this crying over spilled milk.

"Catch and Release" Requires a Double Shot

A double shot in my Friday morning Starbucks is the best shot I've got at making this Friday do-able. The first sip, hit my already knotted stomach like a bomb. My windpipe is threatening to cinch all my air flow off and my eyes keep hazing over with what I know isn't seasonal allergies. I couldn't settle last night so finally I got out of bed and went downstairs to play the piano with vengeance. After that, I wondered into the den to watch TV, but nothing interested me. I thought about going for a walk, but given the Ambien I had taken, I wasn't so sure that would be a good idea. Finally, I went to bed and drifted into a miserable sleep. In lieu of waking up sad, I woke up pissed, hence the double shot of espresso hoping it will pass as a mood enhancer. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't enhance my pissiness, but instead turns this frown upside down. Thank goodness, the office is all but empty, so I don't have to put on a smile that I'm not feelin. On the bright side, this is the last time I'll have to feel the hollow ache
of releasing a child into the wild. It gives a whole new meaning to "catch and release".

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Healing With Helping Hands

It's been a weird weather year in Oklahoma. We had chilly weather on and off for all of April. Between the chilly days, we had summer. Some nights we would use the heater and have to turn the air conditioner on by morning. I've lived here all my life, and it never fails to amaze me how the weather can turn in the twinkling of an eye. Much of May we had wearable weather. The humidity was so heavy it felt like you were wearing a mink coat soaked in hot water. May 20th, we had threat of severe weather and you could feel it in the air. Around 1:30 after lunch, several co-workers gathered on the sidewalk out front to watch the clouds coming our way. Yes, it's true, in Oklahoma when we are in a tornado watch, that's exactly what we do.... We go out and watch. Not far in the distance you could see the clouds swirling, occasionally making a funnel that would then be quickly sucked back into the clouds. I watched for a while, but decided to take my mind off all the commotion by doing some work. Tried as I may, the commotion could not be blocked, as
the mood was like an electrical current running through the building. The weather didn't affect my mood, but the excitement coupled with high pitched squeals and constant chatter sat my nerves on edge. With the forecast, I thought to myself "This is going to be a long spring." Back at my desk, my daughter called. She was locked inside JcPenney's. The store wouldn't let anyone leave until the threat had passed. As we were talking the electricity went at work ramping the mood up another notch. Thankfully, they sent us home where everyone uses their inside voices (peace and quiet does this body good). When I got home, my husband was out in the yard and we sat on the porch as the clouds swirled around us. Our electricity was out also so we had sandwiches for dinner (no cooking!!!) The electricity came back on around 8. We flipped on the TV to see what the weather was doing. Sadness wrapped our hearts. Moore Oklahoma had been devastated by a tornado that at times was 2 miles wide. It wiped out neighborhoods
as well at two elementary schools. 14 years earlier a tornado had taken almost exactly the same path. The debris flying through the air literally defoliated the bark from trees, grass from overpasses and left nothing but slab foundations where house after house had stood. But this time, the tornado had hit during the day, while the schools were still filled with children. I called both of my kids who live in the city to make sure they were safe. My brother lives in the Moore area and works for OU. I sent him a text to see if he was okay, but he never responded. Later my son texted me back to tell me his Uncle was okay, but headed to Moore with a crew and heavy equipment. The next day I learned his crew had helped locate the children who had not survived the storm. I could feel the heaviness in his voice. It was
a sad week for Oklahomans. Summer finally arrived in June with hot, but not unbearably hot days. July was a pleasant surprise with summer weather mixed with rain which we hadn't seen in about 3 years and usually never in July. August has started out the same... Hot, heavy and a surprise rain or two so far. Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed for a long beautiful fall. People are still putting their lives back together from the spring storms, but the good thing about Oklahoma is there are always helping hand close by to help with the healing.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

All I've known......

There is a song by Matt Wertz titled "All I know".  I love the lyrics which can be interpreted in several different ways depending on my mood.

"All I know is the bleeding in my heart 
And the healing in your touch All I know is that you gave everything 
So let that be enough 'Cause it's all I know"

A girlfriend and I were talking the other day about our youngest leaving for college. In no uncertain terms she informed me we MUST plan a couple of girlfriend trips in August and September to help soften the blow of our empty nest. Today I sat at my desk and stared at the calendar hanging on my cubicle wall. One week, I had one week before I move my youngest to the City and everything I've ever known changes. Honestly, I feel like a big ole tit bag whining about the kids moving off to college, still, I can't help but spill whatever angst  I'm feeling onto a public blog in hopes that I'm not alone.... In a "It's my blog and I'll whine if I want to." kind of way. The truth is, there are some things in life, you simply cannot adequately prepare yourself for.  A friend of mine had breast cancer. As much as I wanted to understand her pain, I couldn't because I hadn't walked that path. A friend of mine suffered a devastating divorce from the father of her children and the man she was sure was her soul mate. It scared me so badly, I insisted my husband and I go to marriage counseling just so it wouldn't happen to us. My heart ached as I watched her attempt to put her shambled life back into order. I remember when as the baby of the family, I left home, I saw my parents struggling to get used to it being just the two of them again. In my brilliant mind I intended to take proactive steps to prevent the eventual empty nest from catching us off guard, so we've done everything in our power to maintain our relationship. But as I looked at the calendar on the wall, I fear we haven't done enough and panic seized my gut. Women are nurturers, that's just what we do. I got married young and had children 
young. The idea of going off on my own was short lived and squashed after graduation, so marriage seemed like the logical next step. All I'd ever dreamed of being was a wife and a mother. Now looking back, that's all I've ever known.... Which isn't a bad thing, but has become a very scary thing. My dreams never really developed past the point of when the children were grown and gone. As my last child entered high school, I realized that all I've ever known was pleasing other people.... There really hadn't been energy or courage to do things outside other people's expectations. When I think of moving my son next week, I almost get physically ill. The house is going to be so still.... Big... Empty. What will I do? I look at my husband, whom I adore, and I wonder if we'll have anything to talk about for the next 30 years. We're really not that interesting. He knows all of my stories, I've heard all of his stories and there is an overwhelming panic that I'm just going to cease to exist. I know that probably sounds overly dramatic, but that's what's 
going through my head this week. I remember when the babies were learning to walk.... How they would hold onto a piece of furniture and my husband would get in front of them, with his arms outstretched, encouraging them. I would walk behind with my hands cupped under the bottoms in case they lost their footing and fell. Why was I so afraid of them falling? Naturally, I wanted to prevent them from getting hurt, but in reality, babies have very short legs and we bubble wrap their butts the minute they come into this world, so a fall from a standing position onto a padded bottom isn't a life threatening event, yet there we were, hands cupped from behind, hands held up in front, just in case the knees wobbled and the wee one plopped to the floor. That's a little how I feel about my youngest moving out. I desperately want to prevent him from all kinds of mistakes, but could I really? I've never ventured the path he is about to embark upon. I've never experienced taking those first steps alone. So what is really at the root of my anxiety. The root of my anxiety is the fear I have about my own future, not his. Mistakes are inevitable and he'll live though them. When it's all mixed together, it's just the process of living a full life. Insecurity breeds insecurities. If I refuse to let go, he's just going to resist my grip all the more. I have to let go and trust he can do it and believe that even with the absence of a house full of kids, my husband and I will paddle our way through this shallow part of the river, to deeper waters ahead.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Win - Win Intervention

One of the things I hate do to the most is file! I guess it's from having been covered up with paperwork when I worked for a doctor. But sometimes I have to put my big girl panties on and do what has to be done and that includes filing. Yesterday I was filing marketing letters which is a mundane task that takes minutes but I will put off for weeks. When I had almost finished, I pulled open a file drawer that was only partially full of files with the back half
full of dark chocolate candy bars..... Hmm, looks like someone has a chocoholic problem. I asked my co-worker to come into the hall with me. I pulled the drawer open and asked if she needed an intervention.... I thought we could work through her "Problem" together which would kick our energy level up a notch AND make room for more files. As I see it, this type of intervention would be a win - win situation for the both of us.