Sunday, January 30, 2011

Pay It Forward

I was going to wait to talk about this. But I went shopping today. To the Mall, and Wal-Mart. And there it was again. All of it. Smacking me right in the face. The minute you walk in the door. Actually, most stores were stocked the minute Christmas was over. Overstocked Christmas items on one aisle. The next holiday rolling in, on the next aisle.

I gotta tell you, my displeasure of this holiday goes way back. I can remember as early as Junior High School, this stupid holiday causing such a ruckus. Girls, thirteen years old, having flower bouquets delivered to the school. Boys, coming to school, with teddy bears and odd and end stuffed animals, crammed into their book bags. Girls and boys alike, in a tizzy all day, waiting to see who got what. And in high school, the clubs in school would sell flowers. And the girls waited to see, again, who would get what. Or if they would get any. Or would they be left out of that overblown holiday once again. For the lovelorn, it can be such an emotionally abusive holiday. And lest you scoff, lest you think I'm being dramatic, then you have obviously never been hurting on this holiday. Hurting from someone you have lost, or from someone who has hurt you. Or just because it's your time to be alone. Lonely. It's real. The pain is real.

I think there are some people just destined to not have fun on certain holidays. Destined for that holiday to be, always the one, when you are without a significant other. Because you know, girl and boys, men and women, for years, have brought this thing to an art form. Breaking up with your significant other, right before the holiday comes about. You don't have to buy anyone a gift, and you're off the hook. Or worse, the ones, mostly girls, who trap a boy into liking them right BEFORE the holiday, for the gifts and flowers. Then break up with them right after.  My oldest son was victim of such a girl once in his earlier years. And I don't mind telling you, as a mother, I wanted to smack that little girl up side her head. For breaking my boys heart, and hurting his feelings.  Believe you me, I have given plenty of talks to my sons about women. And sadly enough, how spiteful and sneaky we can be. What users we can be. That's my job, as a mother. If I had girls, I would tell them the same about men. Well, guess I do tell them about men as well. What kind of men they need to be. As mothers, we all work with what we have.

Anyway, I digress. This holiday did not change for me as an adult. When you have a bad marriage, you not only do not exchange cards, you certainly aren't buying gifts or flowers. So for years, this holiday was nonexistent for me. After I divorced and was alone, it was worse. As I have told you before, I was trying to date. It was not a positive experience. The time for this holiday has rolled around. Again. I swear, it would seem I would just get over it one year, and there it was again. For years, this was a scheduled day of vacation for me. For real. I stayed in my house, and waited for the day to pass.

This particular year, I was walking into Winn Dixie. After work. To buy my groceries. As I walk in the door, my face is filleted by strings. Balloon strings. There are THOUSANDS of balloons in this store. And they have all been set loose. Every step I take, I had balloons slapping me in the face. Strings swiping across my lips. I'm practically spitting the strings out of my mouth as I walk. I've taken about 15 steps, and my breathing rhythm began to change.  I am gasping for air. I have begun to hyperventilate. INSIDE THE GROCERY STORE. I turned around and practically ran out of the store. I make it to the parking lot. I am bent over trying to catch my breath. My brain is racing a million miles an hour. I'm trying to rationalize what has just happened to me and why. And I began to cry. I just stood there in that grocery store parking lot. And cried.

I finally straightened myself up, got back in my car, and went home. I had not been there maybe 10 minutes and one of my best friends from back home called me. I had already stopped crying, but as soon as she asked me what was wrong, because I sounded funny, it started all over again. Hysterically, I began to tell her about the flying balloons.

I want women everywhere to know, this is why we have best friends.  Why our gender looks out for one another. Because at one time or another, we have all had the same pain. I don't care how pretty you are, how popular you are, we will all, at some point in our lives, experience this shared pain. My friend came to my house, got my grocery list, and went and bought my groceries for me. Yes she did. It was an act of kindness and love I will never forget as long as I live.

Years later, I am finally dating Mims. The first year we dated, I had the best holiday of my entire life. It was on a Saturday that year. My kids were with their father. Mims and I got up early, he said we were going for a drive. I didn't think much about it.  Mims rides the roads more than any human I have ever known. Sometime after the first hour, I realized what was happening.  He had driven me to the beach. It was too cold, obviously, but we got out and walked down the beach. Then he took me out to eat at a very nice restaurant there in Panama City. Late that afternoon, we were riding back home, and he stopped at a small curb store for a soda. He came back out with a gorilla. A gorilla, that when you pushed his stomach, sang Hunka Hunka Burning Love. Corny, I know. But it was wonderful to me. It was dark when we got back to his house. When we walked into his bedroom, there sitting in the dark, on his dresser, was a dozen red roses.

Now, I know since I am still with Mims, you think, this is a happily ever after story. Some of you are already probably trying to stifle your gag reflexes. No fear. If you are really thinking that, then you can't have possibly read any of my other stories.

On our second holiday, Mims comes to my house, on Hwy 65. I have cooked a meal, my boys are there and we are all greeting him hello. He has on a jacket I have never seen before. A nice leather jacket. I asked him where he got that jacket. And he fumbles around, like he doesn't want to say. Finally he says, his ex wife gave it to him years ago. Well, alright, I can accept that. I'm a grown woman. Just because his ex wife bought him something, doesn't mean he should throw it out. Of course not. That's ridiculous. I tell him again how nice it is. And because I canNOT leave well enough alone sometimes..I ask him, when, when she did she give it to him? He says one year for their anniversary. I say, oh yeah, when was your anniversary? Now you already know the answer to this question. I know you do. I can feel you only half breathing right now, just waiting on me to say it. Yes, their anniversary was on VALENTINE'S DAY. I kid you the heck not. Not to mention the insensitivity of him wearing it on THAT day. When to date, I had never even seen him wear it before. At all. So, ask me again, if I am one of those people, who just does not have good Valentine Day's. Because I will not answer yay or nay. I will simply tell you that I refuse to celebrate a holiday that falls on my husband's EX marriage anniversary.

In reality, I did get past it. We do exchange cards. And he does buy me flowers, even though I complain about the wasted money. Because flowers DIE. He has learned over the years, I prefer yellow roses over red. And that if I had my druthers, I would rather have a teapot I can look at forever than dried weeds that will go in the trash. Depending on if he thinks of it the day of, or three days prior, determines which one I get. I try and get Mims nontraditional gifts. Like an hour long massage. And I always get my boys cards, candy, sometimes valentine boxers etc. And even though he isn't here, I send Joshua a Valentine goody packet to Tuscaloosa.

So unite Sisterhood of the Valentine's Day Should Be Abolished Club. I will be the first member of your club. I will strike with you, and hand out fliers on the curb. I will fling my body in front of flower delivery trucks to keep them from their destination. And because I owe it to someone, as one of those pay it forward deals....if any of you should ever need your groceries bought on that dreaded me. I'm your girl. I will gladly bust through that barrage of balloons to help you out. I will stumble through the menagerie of candy and cards to get your gallon of milk. Call me. I owe someone.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims


  1. Oh close to the heart this hit...i remember being in high school and being one of those girls that never got anything..only to be wishing that she had...and in later years between here and there..were many more times than not..that i walked through Winn Dixie in Albany looking up and thinking...i just wish one time...but the older and wiser that I you...i'd much rather be spending the day on a pond with my love and sharing times with kids than having something that will surely die with time! You, my friend, hit the mark again! You're awesome!

  2. I was that girl too Jan..more times than not. I was what I guess people would call a late bloomer in school. And afterward, in the grown up world, it took me awhile to finally get it right. And now, I, like you, would just as soon be in a boat on the lake for the day. It makes you wonder, why it takes us so long to get our priorities right doesn't it? Maybe it just takes us that long to simply grow up. Love you new friend.

  3. I've never been a Valentine's Day fan for all the same reasons you mentioned ...oh I got a few of the spray painted red carnations they sold in HS ... big deal ... I actually never knew who sent them (secret admirer or something) first Valentine's Day with Scott ... I received a beautiful Valentine's Day card ... unsigned ... how could you not sign it ... oh its an English tradition not to (his Mom being English) course he adds "I don't do Valentine's Day anyway ... its just a retailers day to sell sell sell and make people feel guilty so they buy buy buy" ... and he's right ... I'll take my surprise or "for no reason at all" flowers/gifts he buys me any time over some "I feel guilty so I'm buying you flowers/candy for Valentine's". I'm joining your Sisterhood lol

  4. I will protest whatever makes you sad... I love everyone better than the last.....Debi

  5. I ment to say I love every story better than the last one... I have a bad headache..sorry, Debi :)

  6. That was so funny all wrapped in balloon strings, even though it wasn't funny to you at the time! I must say - Mims is a Keeper...ride to the beach,lovely dinner, stuffed singing gorilla & roses!!! He really is Your Knight in Shining Armor...You are a lucky girl!! :)

  7. Most days, I would agree with you Roxanne...except for the days he thinks like a NOT AT ALL. And BTW...somehow another..over the years..that jacket..from his "misplaced"...I have NO idea what happened to it.

  8. HaHa, I was going to ask if you ever saw the jacket again!! I agree V-Day is just another day retailers have commercialized for The MONEY... I'm in the sisterhood!♥ Debbie W

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  10. Whew! OK! Gon'na have to come back to this one! Forget misty eyed sentimentalism. This one slapped me straight into the sobbing area right away. Too close to home! But I WILL be back! Just got'ta shake this off!