Sunday, March 27, 2011

♫ I'm Leaving On A Jet Plane..Don't Know If I'll Be Back Again ♫

My boss of 18 years will be retiring next week. We had a retirement party/roast for him a few nights ago. As I tried to think about what I would, and would not say, a million old memories ran through my mind. I have a lot of Sam and Michelle stories. Some good, some bad, some funny and some....not so funny. One of my favorite funny stories takes me all the way back to November of 2001. It's a little long, but I think it's worth the read...and it goes a little something like this....

As I have told in many of my stories before, I am the Purchasing Manager for Quincy Joist Company. We are a bar joist/roof joist fabricator. If you have ever been to a Lowes, a Petsmart or Toys R Us, and happened to look up, and saw those exposed metal bars in the top, that is us, that is what we do. I buy the metal angle and rod that is used to fabricate those joist.

From time to time, we like to go and visit the Steel Mills that produce those angle and rod that I purchase. See their operations, the melt shops, take tours of the burn furnaces, and meet the people I talk to on a pretty much every day basis. One of those Mill's is located in Laplace, Louisiana, about 30 miles below New Orleans.

It was November of 2001, about two months after 9/11. Certainly a day in American history, no one will ever forget. Sam and I had scheduled our flights, made our hotel accommodations and were ready to depart from Quincy. We would drive to the Tallahassee airport and our flight from there would head to Atlanta for an exchange of flights, then on to our destination of Louisiana.

Anybody who flew on any kind of airplane after 9/11 will remember the stringent requirements to actually board the airplane. As a matter of fact, the inspection/interrogation would begin immediately upon checking your baggage and would not stop until you were about to board the plane.

Boarding in Tallahassee that day was quite the experience. It actually began in the parking lot. Our vehicle was inspected inside and out. Trunk had to be popped, and rummaged through. Our back and front seat was peered into and our identification was requested and inspected before we could proceed on to park. Once inside, our bags were put through the ringer. We were "wanded" from head to toe, allowed to move forward, and shortly thereafter, boarded the plane for our destination. It was more than I had ever been through to fly before, but considering recent events, I did not mind in the least.

Our flight to Atlanta was uneventful. We had a bit of a layover. We boarded again, and were off for our final landing in Louisiana. We arrived sometime after lunch that same day, as we had left Tallahassee very early that morning. We were scheduled to take our tour of the Mill around 2pm. We grabbed some lunch, discussed our plan of action, and headed out to the mill.

The tour was as interesting as they always are, as I am fascinated by how things work, and how anything and everything comes to pass. We met all kinds of people, from the inside sales department to the guy that runs the floor furnace. Good day all around. Tour over, we head out to find our hotel. The plan from that point forward, was to get a good night's sleep and fly out early the next morning. Our destination this time, home, Quincy Florida.

Up until this point, everything went pretty much as I expected. That was all about to change. Evidently, the employees of the great state of Louisiana and the New Orleans Airport, took their jobs a little more seriously than those in Florida. In the Tallahassee Airport. From the time we entered the doors to the airport, the inspection began.

As most of you who fly already know, or have heard,  in most airport inspections, every fifth person or so gets the full body "shakedown" inspection. You know, not just walk through the machine that beeps for your pennies and ear rings, but the full pat down, search and seizure look out, for any and all foreign objects.

For you to completely understand exactly what is about to happen, I probably need to tell you all that a very important part of this story is that my boss, Sam "Siad"  Mahdavi, is full blood Iranian. And he looks like it. So, walking into this all out, full court, head to toe, body inspection is me, Michelle "Whitebread" Mims, and Sam "Turban" Mahdavi. He of course, does not actually ever wear a turban, but there is no mistaking his Iranian descent, anymore than there is any mistaking my Redneck descent.

If you had any doubt before, I am sure you have none now. We, Whitebread and Turban, ARE going to be, the "shakedown" couple. Yes, yes we were. Immediately upon casting their eyes upon us, the oddsome twosome, it was on. We were asked to step aside. All the way to the side. We were going to be asked  individually, to step behind a canvas curtain. So that the shakedown could begin.

I went first. The wand/metal detector begins to go off. I take off my earrings and my watch. The second sweep of my body begins. The detector goes off again. I take off my sandals. They are leather, but I do what I am told. The detector goes off again.

I am standing there. Feeling very invaded. Then the very large, big boned woman who looked like someone who would be called Hilda, asked me, did I have any other metals on my person that she could not see. Belly rings, etc. I said no. She is still looking at me with all  the suspicions of a woman on a mission, and asks me the loaded question. She wants to know, if I have a bra on that has under wire. CRAP! I laughed, (because it was hilarious to me) and said , "Oh yeah, I do, I didn't think about that."  She, however, is not. Laughing. In fact, she is looking at me as if she is considering asking me to remove it.

I'll tell you right now, several laws would have been broken that day had she asked me to remove my under wire bra. Mainly the law of gravity. I wear that bra because it is NECESSARY. She didn't look extremely happy about it, but she allowed me keep it on. She tells me to step to the side, the male guard version of Hilda, Hercules, appears and calls my counterpart so that his inspection can begin.

Turban removes all change from his pockets, keys, and lastly, his POCKET KNIFE. Which we were asked to NOT bring with us to begin with...and which he OBVIOUSLY made it through the Tallahassee airport with on our prior flight! Scary..right??!!! Good job Tallahassee.

After they have removed his "weapon" from his possession, the wand search begins. They wave it up and down, and it begins to beep. Of course it does. They ask him to set his briefcase on the floor. He checked his baggage, but still had his briefcase on his person. They begin to wand him again. He beeps again. They ask him to remove his belt. He does. The wand begins it's third sweep. He is no longer beeping. He is told he can gather his change, keys, and belt on the other side of the walk through scanner.  He picks up his briefcase, walks through the scanner, and begins to go off again. All eyes scan to the briefcase. He is asked by the male security guard, in a very terse tone, to set the briefcase down, and step away from it. He does.

Hilda and Hercules, now working together,  pick up his briefcase and set it down on top of the table and stare at it. They stare at it so long, I am wondering, when they will start rock, paper, scissors to see who is going to open it. Hercules evidently lost the silent fight, as he is the one who begins to gingerly open the briefcase. He lifts the lid slowly. Nothing but paper, a few notebooks and pens are staring back at him. He waves the wand over the opening, and it begins to beep. Again. Now Hilda and Hercules begin to tear through the pockets, and search underneath the paper and notebooks. As they are scrambling, they find it. It appears to be, what looks like, a very small cuticle wand. One that is used to push your cuticle back and clean out from under your nails.

Now I cannot tell you the times, I have walked into his office, to discuss some major piece of business with this man, and he is sitting at his desk, "doing his nails". His nail maintenance. Sam (Turban) stands there looking confused and disbelieving, that such a small thing has now caused us almost 15 minutes of a delay. Hercules and Hilda advise Turban, he cannot keep his nail paraphernalia. Turban looking very dismayed is just stunned. And says so. He proceeds to ask Hercules and Hilda, what possible harm could be done with his METAL cuticle paraphernalia. Neither answer him, as they seem to take great pleasure in throwing it into the garbage in front of him.

We are finally allowed to board the plane. Everyone who is already on board, are hyper aware that we are the two people who were delayed in search and seizure for more than 20 minutes. They are doing their own personal examination of both of us, and very possibly, staging in their heads, a plan of action should anything go down, later into the flight.

As we find our seats, belt up and get ready for take off, Turban begins to gripe and grouch. Yes, gripe and grouch about his damned cuticle cleaner. And has the audacity to bring up the fact that I was "allowed" to keep my metal object with me. I swiveled around in my seat enough so that I was dead on, face to face, with this crazy S.O.B. who almost had us LOCKED up in LOUISIANA...and said, " I want you to sit back in your seat, and be quiet. Do not say a word until we get home. And I promise you, next week, I will purchase from Walgreens, another cuticle cleaner for you. But please, do NOT try to compare the importance of my $50 bra, to your .50 cents cuticle cleaner."

I would not fly with Sam "Turban" Mahdavi again for the better part of a year. It was just as well. It took me, Michelle "Whitebread"  Mims, that long to get over my flight to the Bayou.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Thoughts of A Sleep Bed.

Can't sleep. Tossing and turning. My mind flipping and tumbling words. Over and over in my head. Random, non sequential  thoughts.  Rhythmic thoughts that flow. Some go together, some don't. Goes something like this...

1.  What day is Zach gonna help me with the yard work this week?
2.  I have got to decide on graduation gifts...remind myself of questions I need answered before I can proceed.
3.  I have two weddings to go to, two weekends in a row.
4.  I need an outfit for Friday night's retirement banquet. Wonder if I will cry?
5.  Got to remember to go to the bank tomorrow and deposit child support check.
6.  It is so late, why can I not sleep?
7.  It's hot in here, I need to run the air down a notch.
8.  My feet are still bothering me. That chiro of mine is a quack.
9.  I cannot believe we have to buy a new air conditioner right now. Of all times.
10. I am so glad I am off this week. It's such a pretty week to be off of work.
11. Don't forget to call and check on Mama Wednesday evening. See how her colonoscopy went.
12. I wonder how Patti's test results came out? If they have found anything yet?
13. I should get back up and take a pack of fish out of the freezer. The three fish Zach and Matt caught today will not feed both of them tomorrow after they're cleaned.
14. I wish I could fall asleep like my husband.
15. Mike and Molly was so funny tonight. It needs to come on once a night, every night.
16. Tomorrow is a new episode of The Good Wife.
17. I wonder if I should get back up and turn the dishwasher on? Was it full? I can't remember.
18. We should have put out some Weed and Feed down before now. The yard is more weed than it is green grass.
19. I need some more Gerber Daisy's. And some more pots.
20. I want to plant another couple of trees now that it's cleared off. Mims said no more trees. But if I buy them and plant while he's at work...wonder how long it will be before he notices? Zach will tell, no doubt.
21. Zach said that pond he went to was way down in the woods. He'd better not mess up that truck this early in the game. Mims will ground him for sure.
22. I wish I was a teacher. I could have summers off.
23. I wonder why Zach doesn't want to go to St George for Spring Break? I said I would pay for his gas.
24. Zach misses Kay. He must want to go to Mexico Beach where she is..but that is just too far. How far is Mexico Beach? Hell, I don't even know.
25. I ate too much in Tuscaloosa. I am still full.
26. I am never gonna find an outfit for Friday night that looks good on me.
27. I wonder if I will cry when I try and give my speech?
28. I forgot to remind Joshua to write his for Friday night.
29. I can try that new consignment shop. Maybe I can find something reasonably priced.
30. I hope they don't want me to read Joshua's letter. I might cry.
31. I like that new blog Joshua told me about. I need to remember to look back and see if she "allowed" my comment to post on Joshua's submission.
32. I haven't written anything in a long time.
33. Wonder why Angie asked me tonight was I still writing it? I guess because I haven't written one.
34. I hate when bloggers have to "review" your comments before they will post them. Pisses me off.
35. I wonder if Josh will look back to see who comments?
36. I need to mail Patti a card tomorrow. Just because I am on vacation is no excuse to stop.
37. Did I bring my address book home? Why would I need it. I know her address by heart.
38. It's still hot in here. I guess I'm just gonna lay here and be hot.
39. I think I fixed the coffee maker for Mims.
40. You know three fish is not going to be enough for Matt and Zach. Get up while you're thinking about it and take another pack out.
41. I need to water the side yard first tomorrow since I didn't water it at all today.
42. I wonder if Katy Jo is going to live in a dorm or an apartment when she goes to Florida? I need too remember to ask Shari if they have decided colors yet or not.
43. Why are you still laying here tossing and turning? Get up and get on face book. See who is up.
44. No, because if I get up, I will be wide awake then.
45. Hell, I'm wide awake now.
46.  Thank goodness I don't have to go to work tomorrow.
47. I am so glad I bought grocery's today. Got that out of the way.
48. I didn't take anything out to cook for supper tomorrow.
49. I cook and clean more on vacation that I do when I work?!
50. I wonder when the last time it was when the exterminator came. He needs to put some stuff on the ant beds.
51. I wish I lived on the beach.
52. I wonder if my neighbor is really gonna quit her job? She was so funny tonight.
53. I bet I have plenty of squirrels in the morning. Eating my bird feed. I filled up the feeders today, it will be half gone by Friday.
54. I wonder if Ridge got ahold of Zach..or if he was already asleep?
55. I haven't seen Kim in ages.
56. I hope those boys Zach is fishing with aren't drinking.

And then, I do get back up. I do come back in here and turn my computer on. And I do get on face book to see what poor soul is awake with me. I make a post about it being so late. And that I am so glad I don't have to get up for work. And I sit here and begin to write this blog. And as usual, it just flows once I start. Not sure why I haven't had anything to say lately. I think sometimes, you just don't. Not that this has been anything, anyone will want to read. It's pretty silly actually. But it's real. And it's me. At 2:35am.

Signing off one more time...Peace Out Girl Scouts..Til Tomm. Well, today. Now.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Monday, March 14, 2011

I Cannot Be Brought Back...

My son thinks I need help. My son thinks I am too far gone.  He says, he no longer knows who I am. He can no longer see recognition in my face when he calls my name. When he speaks to me, he feels I am miles away. He wants to call in help. For everyone to sit in a circle. A se'ance of sorts. To bring me  back. To the world that I came from..once upon a time.

He thinks an intervention is in order. He wants to gather twenty of my closest friends and family members. Have them sit in a circle. Holding hands. And chant me back to reality. Have them call the the greatest of spirits. Call to all those gone before me. To send me back. To him. To earth.

But what he doesn't understand is this...the people he will most likely call for help..are also too far gone. They are all standing with me, looking out at the great abyss. All of us, lost saints and sinners as one. The poor souls he wants to call in for help, cannot help me. They are with me, everyday, every night, and every weekend.

He wants to take my computer, sit it in the middle of the circle. He and his Daddy, will write down on slips of paper, everything they miss. Everything that they feel no longer receives my full attention. The attention they so warrant. As husband and son. Set those slips of paper on fire, along with my computer, and absolve me of my addiction.

I say to them, you cannot free me. Because I do not want to be free. I do not want the wire loosened from my limbs. I CHOOSE to be shackled to this screen. To my galactic connections. Interfacing with my likenesses. Linked to, and exchanging, words and feelings with my friends and family. By bright computer light.

I LOVE this addiction of mine. I refuse to succumb to every day, mundane life again. Life without instant chat, in box messages, beautiful shared links, and second by second updates. I refuse to relinquish updates you can receive at any given hour of the day. By simply typing your name, and chosen password. The gateway of information and communication will open and invite you in, with open arms. I refuse to let go of everyone I have found. I refuse to let go of everyone I have met.

So report me to the masses I say. Try and squelch my thirst for communication. I dare you to try and tamp me down. My enthusiasm in looking for something more than washing dishes, drying clothes and cooking three squares a day. Picking up stray socks, stinky shoes, and glasses with mold that have been on nightstands for days. Finding silverware and bowls in closets and under beds.Tripping over footballs, flip flops and baseball bats left in the floor. Scouring cookbooks for yet another way to prepare hamburger and chicken so that it tickles your pallet with delight. Waiting for the praise that never comes, for bleaching the most impossible stains into nothingness. For saving the science notes that almost got washed in three cycles of clean.

Me and this computer are here to stay. Unite my sisters. Unite all Unsung Hero's. Stand with me to stop this injustice. Chain link our arms together, in a "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Zachary right over" fashion. We WILL hold strong. He will not break our chain. Our chain of friendship, love and communication. WE WILL BE STRONG. HOLD ON SISTERS....HOLD ON. KICKING AND SCREAMING...we cannot be driven back in time...hold strong..and fight like a girl.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Am I the only one that LOVES this time change thing? The Spring Cause I am LOVIN' IT!!! You hear me???!!!!! Even though I 'lost' an hour this morning..I woke up with all kinds of extra kick in my step! Just knowing that tonight, at 8pm, it will still be daylight, juices me up.  Heck, if taking back one hour makes me feel this good. I say take back two!!! If it's still daylight at 10pm, maybe that will mean Mims can stay wake longer than 9pm at night!  Wink, wink.

I think it's the sunshine. Sunshine just does something to you, for you. There is a reason why people in states up North and Alaska have to take medications for depression. Sunshine is THE best healer for sad souls, broken hearts, and physical sickness. That is a medical fact. Think about the rainy, dreary, cloudy days. And how your mental state changes the minute you open your eyes and see what the day holds in store. It is SO much easier to get out of bed when the sun is shining. You open your eyes, see the darkness, hear the rain, and every fiber of your being wants to pull the covers back over your head and disappear.

But the best part of Spring Forward, when I was growing up, was school was almost over. Summer time. This morning, I had some kind of flashbacks. Old memories washing over me. Smells of early morning in the sunshine taking me back to places I haven't been in years and years.

Halter tops. Short shorts. Walking to the store a mile up the road. On the dirt trail. For an Icee. A Coca Cola Icee. Talking about boys. Who's cute. Who's not. Who's silly. Who's goofy. Who I really wish liked me. Who I really wish wouldn't talk to me at all.

Laying out in the sun with my girlfriends. Skin still white as snow. Slathering on baby oil mixed with iodine. Cause it tans faster. BURNS faster. Because as a teenager. You're always in a hurry for something. To have a tan, to have a boyfriend, to wear make-up. Running combs wet with peroxide, through your hair to 'sun streak' it. Cause Mama says no hair color. But this you can do when you're laying out in the sun. And maybe she won't notice.

Picking out the perfect bathing suit. The one that doesn't make you feel fat. Or look fat. And if you were like me, the one that helped make you look like you had boobs. But not too much boobs..says your Mama. That bathing suit shows too much hip, says Mama. Which is a nice way of saying too much of your behind was showing. Trips to Panama City. You're too young to go alone. But you can still have fun with your friends. Looking at boys. Boys looking at you.

Staying outside talking to your friends til after 9pm. Walking around the block with your girlfriends. Your best friend. Talking. About everything and nothing. Then when it's time to go home. You walk each other half way. Halfway between your house and hers. So each of you only have to go half way back alone. Debbie Dally was my best friend in Jr High and part of High School. I cannot tell you the times we said, "Come on, I have to go home, walk me half way."

Crystal Lake. THE place for teenagers to go where I was from, Albany, Georgia. Close enough that you're folks would let you pile up and go with friends. But not as far as the beach. White sand, cool water, slides and paddle boats.

The closest piece of heaven...Radium Springs. A mile from my house. Ice cold water. Music blasting. All the old 70's music. And when I hear those songs now, they can take me right back there. The high dive that I was always terrified to jump from. Underwater, it seemed to go into this deep dark hole with no bottom. Kids screaming at the top of their lungs when they would jump. Teeth chattering. Until you got used to the freezing water. Which was almost never. If you ever got out, you had to go through the whole teeth-chattering process again. And when you came out of that ice cold water, there was never any warmer feeling in the world, than the sun shining on your purple, goose-bumped body.

I'm not young enough anymore to enjoy half of the things I talked about this morning. But summer does bring plenty of different joys for me now. Flowers blooming. Early morning fishing, watching the sun come up. Standing in my yard, in the early evenings with Mims. Holding a water hose. Watering flowers, and talking about our day. Filling bird feeders every week. Putting fresh water in the bird bathes. Standing in the yard, talking to neighbors you feel like you haven't seen in months. From being cooped up inside.  Breaking out the grill. Smoke rolling from grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, and chicken.

And summer night music jams. Coming live, from the man shed. Watching this generation, of girls and boys. Having fun. Going and doing all the things I used to do. Watching as they decide, who likes who. Who is cute. And who is not. Watch them as they discover what summer is...and watch them as they develop their own memories. Memories they have no idea they are making. And may never think about again. Until 30 years from now. When they wake up. On Spring Forward day, and have flash backs from another time and another place. And they will lay there for a few minutes. Smiling. Drifting back in time. To the days of longer sunlight and summer.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Cycle Of Life and Love

Sometimes when I am just sitting and thinking. I wonder, where all the time has gone. Where was I at when it flew past my face like the speed of light. How was I not paying attention. Enough attention to know, it was happening. And that once it was gone, I could never get it back?

When you're young, you just want to be older. Twelve wants to be thirteen. A teenager. Fourteen wants to be fifteen. To finally drive a car, even though you have to drive with your parents. Fifteen wants to be sixteen. To drive alone. Freedom. Seventeen wants to be eighteen. An adult. Finally. An adult who can help make decisions about how this world should be. An adult who finally has a voice. And nineteen wants to be twenty-one. The ultimate. There is NOTHING you cannot do, once you reach the age of twenty-one.

Then all of a sudden, we are twenty-nine. And thirty is right around the corner. We are depressed. We are sad. And we are. Finally. Beginning to realize. That getting older, is not so much fun. By now, many of us have children. Some of us multiple children. Who are probably approaching the time of their lives for grade school to begin. We stand there. At the door of the kindergarten room. Looking back in, at our children. And wondering. How did I get here. Eyes filled with tears. Looking back in, through foggy eyes and with heavy hearts. Knowing, this is the beginning of their lives. And yet, another fork in the road, leading to another stage of ours.

With each year that passes, and each time we cry, we know, we are getting closer. For every milestone, there is a tear. Tears of joy and tears of sadness. Drivers license, Christmas programs, Spelling Bees, Tee Ball games, high school Football games, Senior Proms, Sophomore Dances, and Graduation. College applications. Campus tours and orientations. Dormitory's and shared apartments. And then, they are gone.

And if we are lucky enough, we stand and look at each other. At what is left. After all these years. We are left. Looking at each other. And silently wondering. Where did it go. Where did all the time go. Did we prepare ourselves for this moment. For this moment of complete togetherness once again. Did we stay close enough, connected enough, to function alone. With each other. As one, once again. Do we remember who we were, before we were Mom and Dad. Did we love enough, make time enough, and touch enough, that we don't feel like strangers now. Now that the big door has closed and the last one is opening.

The last door that leads to the rest of our lives. The door that will show us, eyes that require glasses to read labels and ears that need conversation repeated. Minds that lose information. Only to find it again, weeks later, when we no longer need it. 

For many of us, it is the door that leads to grandchildren. Other than our own children, they will become the greatest joy of our lives. There will be no better example of perfection. There will be no child who does it as good as our grandchildren. They will read earlier, talk better, walk faster, and be smarter. Who would have thought, that those children we raised, could have produced, such perfect specimens of  human beings.

And now, the cycle begins again. The circle of life continues. One of my oldest sons favorite book to have read to him was, Love You Forever. The story encompasses the lives of a son and his mother. And through out the stages of his life, how her love for him never changes. He is her baby, until he is grown and after. The tide turns, and she becomes his baby. To carry her through, til the end of her life. And in turn, he carries his own child as her life begins as well.

It is such a beautiful story. I must have read it to Joshua a thousand times. But never, when reading it, did I stop to think, how true the words would become. He was only four or five years old. I was still tucking him in bed every night. His teenage years would come and go. And now for Joshua, adulthood is here. And the words continue to ring in my ears..." as she rocked him back and forth, back and forth, she sang, I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be.

My children are nine years apart. So for me, I have already encountered the empty nest once. I hope that I am strong enough to get through it again. For this is my last "baby". Zachary is my last go round' at motherhood.

I think I am prepared. More importantly, I think Mims and I are prepared. To be alone. Together. Part of me is scared, and part of me is very excited.  I hope we can become "teenagers" again. Enjoy the freedoms that come with youth, and being on your own. I didn't have the pleasure of knowing my husband when I was a young girl. I look forward to having that pleasure as a seasoned woman. A woman who is comfortable with herself, her beliefs and her strengths. A woman who is more than ready, to discover life a second time, with the love of her life. And enjoy, every second, of whatever that time may bring. I'm prepared to love him forever. However long, forever turns out to be.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

And As I Blink My Eyes....Off He Goes

As usual, nothing ever goes right. Nothing ever goes as planned. Today was the day for the license. The legal, he is old enough to drive on his own, license. The original plan, was to get up as normal, drive to the State Patrol Office first thing. Before school. Get his license. Drive back to the house. He get in his truck..alone. Me get in mine. He drives for the first time, alone, to school. And me, to work. Didn't quite happen that way.

Every single person in this family is a procrastinator. EVERY SINGLE ONE. And then, when the jig is up and the stuff is going down, we are scrambling. Acting out and acting crazy. Today was no different.

Zachary took his driving course at school. They have a professional instructor. Which means, they do not have to take the written Learner's Permit test at the State Patrol Office. Nor, do they have to take the actual driving test for their 16 year old legal license at the State Patrol office. All this is done through the school. Convenient as heck I might add. If it works like it's supposed to work.

Zach informs me last night, he does not have his paper. The signed/endorsed paper which states he has passed the curriculum for his driving test. The paper he must have to take to the State Patrol Office to obtain his legal license. There are enough people who read this, who know me well. So I am not about to tell you this was happy or welcome news for me. I'm not about to tell you that I received that news well at all. I needed to get to work as soon as possible. Riding all the way to the school, which is PAST the State Patrol Office by some 10 miles, did not make me happy. And would make me later getting to work than I had anticipated or planned. I did my best to contain the anger, explained my distress, and dropped it.

This morning, we are fresh from sleep and ready. Depending on who you are asking. We are excited/him, nervous/him/me, distressed/me, anxious/me, worried to death/ME. We head out to the school to get his certification. We arrive, he heads in, says he will back in two minutes. Tops. Ten minutes pass. No Zach. Finally he comes back out. But I see no paper. There is a paper. But it's still inside, unsigned and not completed. He says, Miss Sandy is going to call Mr. Bob, and get his permission to complete it. It will only be a few more minutes. Under my breath, I am muttering, "Are you freaking kidding me", out loud I am in full court restraint of my emotions. This is his day, be quiet, don't ruin it. Just smile. He heads back in. I am texting my friend Kathy from home, who is also telling me. It is his day, smile, and chill out.

Five minutes later, he comes back out, paper in hand. Grinning and relieved. We start back towards town, to the State Patrol Office. We arrive, go in, take a number, and sit down. Within 20 minutes or so, several other people follow suit. They come in, take a number and sit down. The line at the counter is not moving. Zach begins to get restless. Rolling his head around and rolling his eyes. And sighing. Out loud.

I began to wonder myself, what in the world is going on. Then I hear, Miss Marsha talking to a man with a suitcase. Miss Marsha has been working the counter ever since I moved to Quincy, Florida. She is a dry witted, gruff old soul, but I think she genuinely likes children. Best we can make out, she is telling the man with the suitcase, that the printer for the licenses is not working right. He proceeds to take the machine apart. And Zach begins to fall apart. He is muttering about not leaving without his license. Muttering, he is not waiting another day. Muttering they had better get it fixed quick. Muttering, even if he has to have just a piece of paper and come back, he is not leaving without something that says he can drive alone. Today.

Thankfully, whatever was going on, did not involve the machine that prints out the actual licenses. Our number was called. We stood up, went to the counter and proceeded with the business at hand. Ten minutes later, we were walking out. Zach a newly freed licensed to drive alone, young man. And me, a Mama who started worrying over three years ago about this day, which has now become a reality.

I will no longer be the one to sit in the shadows of the passenger seat and warn him. Warn him of on-coming traffic. People not using blinkers. People turning at the last second. People slinging out in front of him. And no brake lights. He will have to rely on his own reliable gut instincts and his own common sense when making decisions. He has plenty of both, I pray he uses them when necessary. 

I have sat here and read, one mother after another post about their babies driving off alone for the first time. About the tears, the worries, and the pain. Of our babies growing up and driving away. I am here today to tell all of you. I believed you when I read your words. And I believe you now. For today, I stood there. Frozen in place. My heart and mind feeling every emotion imaginable. Another step. Another time of our babies growing older that we must survive. With grace and hopefully, some dignity.

I waited until he drove off to cry. But I'm pretty sure. He knew as he was waving and crawling off.  He knew. My eyes were full of water. Because he knows me. He knows his Mama. Just like she knows him. Inside and out.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Whispering Softly, Happy Birthday

When he was a baby, I guess he didn't have much choice. The cake was ordered. We all gathered round. We strapped a hat on his head, the rubber band under his chin. We sang Happy Birthday in every chord and key imaginable. And he sat and stared. At the crazy people. He fumbled with the rubber strap. We'd finally place the beautifully made cake in front of him. And as all babies do, he would dive in with both hands, face, mouth and ears.

His first birthday cake was from The Cakery in Albany, Georgia. It was a beautifully decorated Jack In The Box. He had a ball. By the time he was finished, there was cake at every corner of his body. We all had a blast. He appeared to be having a blast.

The next couple of birthday's were of course his 2nd and 3rd, we had his parties at daycare. I can remember even way back then, he looked so uncomfortable.  He didn't cry or fuss, he just looked...uneasy. I remember thinking both times, maybe he just didn't feel well.

Zachary is an old soul. He has always seemed beyond his years. But the year he turned five years old, and was in kindergarten, things changed. We were riding home from work/school, and I was asking him about his day. How it went, did he have a good day. Our normal driving home conversations. And from nowhere, out of the blue, he said, "Please don't have a cake and birthday party for me at school. I don't like it.". I just sat there, stunned and asked him why? Not even just bring cupcakes or something?  He said "No, nothing, I don't want to do anything". Again, I asked him why? And he looked at me with the seriousness of a person who had lived through thick and thin, and back. He said, "Because I don't like everybody looking at me, staring at me, or singing to me and staring at me".

I swear to you, it nearly broke my heart. The look I had seen those other years back, was more than just not feeling well. He was miserable. He was the focus of attention, brought on by someone other than himself, and he did not like it. At all.

He has not changed. Not one little bit. That's not to say, he's never the center of attention. Because, many times he is...the center of the funny and laughing and joking around. But he's comfortable with that. Because he controls it. HE decides when he is or is not the focus. Not his Mama, strapping silly hats with uncomfortable rubber bands under his chin. Not a crowd, singing a silly song to him, and staring him down. And not him being served the first piece of cake because he's the birthday boy. He has always been the last in the serving line. Of any serving line.

Zachary is my unassuming, laid back, it is what it is child. He's mostly black and white, with a few shades of gray. He's a defender/protector of the needy or weak. He does not make excuses for the weak ones he loves. Instead he has rational objectivity about why they are the way they are, and again, it just is what it is. He is steadfast, and he never withers from adversity. He has a strong faith in his beliefs, and he will not be swayed. He loves deeper than most, and most times, you will never know it. His is not a physical love. He hugs his brother without a thought process. And his grandparents with a gentle request. But I don't remember the last time I got a real hug. I get hand taps on the shoulder and fist pumps for good night hugs. 

Zachary will be sixteen years old, Sunday, March 6th. We will not be having a big shing dig. I tried. He refused. There were some teenage years that he "allowed' me to take him and 6 or 7 boys to Applebee's. They all ordered at free will, laughed and seemed to have a good time. Not this year. I tried to do something here at the house. Grill out, invite who you want, music blasting from the shed, play some ping pong and foosball. Nope. Having none of that either. So, it will be just a quiet day. With his grandparents, my sister and her husband, Joshua (YAY! He was able to come home) and his bud Matt and Zach's pretty girlfriend Kay. Good food shared with good people and hopefully lots of laughs. I attempted to push for more. I got the stare down. Which means..please stop.

His only request was that his present be a round of golf for him and three of his friends for next weekend. He and Matt are working all day today, so that was not possible beforehand. Fair enough. I have learned to take things in stride with Zachary.  I've become quite fond of my fist pump good nights. My "peace out, girl scout" good night from Zachary.

I am making a cake though. And ....I bought some candles.....sssssshhhhh don't tell. He probably won't blow them out....but geez...give me a little something...please. All I'm hoping for tomorrow is good family time, good food, lots of laughs, some picture taking without a struggle....and don't let me cry. No tears. Please.

Happy 16th Birthday, Zachary. Your Mama loves you.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

♫ When Words Are Music...Oh What A Song They Sing ♫

I woke up this morning. Laid there and thought, "Please leave me be, please go away, I am NOT going to get up today"! I stepped out onto the floor, and it began. "Left foot, right foot, feet, feet, feet, how many feet do you meet?" I knew, no matter what, "The time has come, the time is now, you can go by foot or you can go by cow, but Michelle Mount Mims (Marvin K. Mooney) will you please go now?" I knew that I would have to go to work. And I began to think  "I wish that I had duck feet, and I can tell you why, I wish that I had duck feet, you don't have to keep them dry."  

What a beautiful man Theodor Seuss Geisel must have been. For nothing but beautiful thoughts and sing song rhymes seemed to run through his mind. His only intention, his only joy, was to make children laugh and smile. To make children love listening to his words, so much, that they would want to do nothing but read or be read to. He wanted them to experience the glorious magic of every day words. For once those words were put together in a flowing rhythm, they appeared to be nothing short of words without music. ♫ I love my house, I love my nest, in all the world, my nest is best ♫

His are the books I read to my boys, before they ever entered this world. His are the books I read to my boys until they were old enough to read themselves. And after.  Being very careful, all the while, to infuse voices, expressions, sound effects and laughter through every word. To emphasize the "P's" in Hop on Pop, and holler as if it were real in "Catch that Ball!"  And to watch adults and children alike, giggle at the thought of something such as green eggs and ham.

I walked through our office this morning, asking the younger men and women with small children the same question. One by one, I asked them. Do you read to your children? Do you make sure you set story book time aside for your little ones? Do you do your best to make reading fun? And...did you know, today is the birthday of the most wonderful writer who ever lived?

I love baby showers. Picking out the cute little outfits. The soft cuddly blankets and stuffed animals. But there is no baby shower that I attend, that books are not the biggest part of the gift. And I always make sure to say, "Please promise me you will read to your baby, every single chance you get. Start now, don't wait, even in your tummy, they can hear you."

Whoever reads this tonight, please say a silent thank you to the man who brought rainbows, duck feet, trips to the zoo, children jumping on bear tummies, horses called Robert, and balls that cannot be caught. Brought all of those things and so much more. With color, pizazz, love and laughter. The magical words rolled out of his mind and onto pages. Words spoken with musical notes. Pages accompanied by colorful pictures to capture the attention of little eyes. Elegant, gracefully placed verbiage, that entertains to the highest degree of pleasure.

Dr Suess, you brought thousands of hours of joy to me and my children. If it were up to me, your birthday would be a National Holiday. We would fly the flags in every city at half mast. We would shut down all the businesses for a day. And march. March down the streets of every small town and big city. Reciting your words out loud. At the top of our lungs. Every school in the nation would do nothing all day, but read your books out loud in the class rooms. We would read, read, read, all day long. Until all the laughter in the streets, the schools and the world reached your ears in heaven. And hopefully. We could in turn. Bring you the same joy. You have brought all of us for years and years and years.

We love you Dr. Suess. God bless your genius mind and your passionate heart. Happy Birthday Dr Suess. May your words live on forever.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims