Sunday, February 27, 2011

Full Of Charm..and Other Stuff

I wonder why it is, the people who seem to require/want the least attention..get the most. The people who seem so totally unaware of their surroundings and how people feel about them..get the  most. Attention. Everybody wants to be their friend. Everybody wants to sit by them at the lunch room table. They always seem to be the funny people too. And again, totally unaware of themselves or what they cause. Oblivious.

I dated a boy like that in high school. He was not my first real boyfriend. But he was my first real love. He was funny. My good grand he was funny. And he never even tried. I don't really know what it was about me he liked. Maybe because I didn't chase him down. I never was a chaser. Still not. I'll turn blue first. And I didn't want to be chased either. No leeches please.

My youngest son. Is that person. He is SO laid back, and SO unassuming. I promise you, the girl who finally wraps him up one day...well...I want to meet her. I want to interview her. I will probably want to give her a medal.

I tried to talk to my son this morning about his current girlfriend. Not that I want him to act crazy over any girl right now. He's barely 16 years old. But I want him to show respect. It never appears to me that he communicates. He had to work all day yesterday. Understood. Work comes first. But even after, I never saw him call her. Talk to her.

So I asked him this morning, how she was..he said fine. I asked him what all she did yesterday..he said I don't know. After being stone-walled several times, I decided, he needed some "this is how women work" advice. I tried to explain to him, we don't do well to be left hanging. While we understand that they have to work, when they are not, we would like a call. He said he was tired..I said I just asked your mouth to open and shut. Not to run a 3 mile race. After ten minutes or so, he looked at me and said, "Mama, she doesn't need all that, she's different". Different..hmmmm. So I said, "Well son, I sure do hope so, I hope you know what you're talking about".  We continued to eat our Sunday morning breakfast and talk about our plans for the day.

He doesn't like clingy, attention needy girls. He thinks he has found one who is not. I have found, that later in life, you run across independent females. Females who are just fine with or without you. But younger girls. Not so much. I personally think, he is headed for a lot of nights of "hanging with the boys". And honestly, he appears to be alright with that too. I don't know what I'm so worried about it. He's surely not.

A year or so ago, he dated a sweet, pretty young girl. He was too selfish and self-involved then. Or maybe, he was just who he is..a simple, uncomplicated young man. When he's tired, he's tired. When he's sleepy, he's sleepy.  When he has something to say he talks, and when he doesn't ...well he doesn't. He's driven by honesty and integrity. And I gotta tell you, there's plenty of females out there looking for a guy like that.

Tonight he's having 6 o'clock supper at his girlfriends house. So I am guessing, that she must be "different" and alright with my funny, sweet son. He sure does keep me laughing and entertained. And the charm, he is just eat up with it indeed. I probably just need to let him run his own show. He's pretty confident he knows what he's doing. I might need to just take my old school behind somewhere and have seat. Seat back, and watch how this generation does it. Simple, and uncomplicated. It sure does sound good. If it works.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sometimes, We Just Lose Our Way

No one person is made the same. No one person is like the other. Not everyone wants to go to college after high school. Not everyone is going to go to college after high school.  There are so many kids who at eighteen years old, still have no idea who they are or what they want to do.

Sports only oriented people tend to have some of the biggest problems in real life. Their whole lives are concentrated on one thing. The next game. The next season. Winning. At whatever particular sport they may play. For the boy or girl who was everything in high school, not knowing is hard. High school tends to create Sports God's. Girls and boys who have been idolized. Girls and boys who spend their high school career in the glory spotlight. And now, that the spotlight is gone, what will they do? Who will they be? If they are not ready, not prepared, real life swallows them whole.We must always make sure, we have helped create a good solid base.  A base that will help them stand alone. When they are no longer a quarterback, a pitcher, or a hoop man.

This problem does not solely relate to high school. College and professional sports create the same people. The people who are lost when it's all over. And sometimes, they roam in the wrong direction. In the great pursuit of the right direction. On the road to finding themselves and where they fit in.

I call these men and women, girls and boys, the "other" fallen hero's. The ones who have lost their way looking for what they left behind. Needing to be noticed. Needing to be recognized. To know, they have not been forgotten. That they have a purpose.
Unfortunately, there are those, who choose to take this time, to revel in the downfall. Revel in the downward descent of another human being. Whether it's a young man or woman entering into adulthood, or a an adult trying to enter the second half of his life. This is the time, since we did not see it before, that we need to gather round'. And create a soft net, to help them fall. We need to stand together, and help soften the blows that are surely coming their way. Not scoff,  laugh, or say "I told you so". Don't be the one who talks about what you knew would happen.  If you knew it, you should have been a part of trying to prevent it.

Often the ones closest to the situation, are the last to see it. It has been said a million times before. But I am going to say it again. Never, say what your children will or will not do. Never say, oh no, not my kids. Say instead, I will do all I can to lead them in the right direction. And pray, should they ever stray, that I am there, to pull them back in. Pray that you see it before it's too late. And a price must be paid. Pray that if it does take that long, that you have the strength to lead them back to the light of all that is good and right.

Shame on anyone who takes joy at someone elses' expense. At another family's problems and heartache. Shame on the people who say, "there goes the perfect family, with the perfect lives..and look at them now...see what happens."  For there, by the Grace of God,  go We. I know that. Every time I am the lucky one. The lucky parent. That escapes heartache.  I know that. I may not always be the lucky one. So I pray, that I have the wisdom to see it early, and the strength to survive it,  if I don't.

We need to save these "other" fallen hero's. We need to take both arms and help them up. Not kick and stomp them while they are down. Lend the families our strength and our unconditional love. We will all be the better for it.  Because I refuse to be someone who stands by and watches the fire that is out of control. I want to be the person who smothers the fire out with a blanket. A blanket that has been wrapped around the out of control burn. I want to help breathe life back into someone. Not sit back and watch the life being drained from their bodies. Help them find their way again. Not watch them continue to stumble and fall. Be a part of the solution. Not part of the problem.

Let me see if this helps to put it in better perspective for you. Why do parents think, that we are the only ones who suffer a meltdown when our children are graduating high school? When they have played their last football, basketball, baseball, softball, or volleyball game? Why would we ever think, we are the only ones. Who suffers a small depression.  A lost and lonely, what do I do with myself now, feeling?  That we have pangs of what used to be, sometimes, before it's even all over? A feeling something kin to the worst case of homesickness you could ever imagine. Just over the horizon is the answer, we just have to help them get there. And hope, they can help us. And together, we can all get there, with as little transformation pain as possible.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Friday, February 25, 2011

Good Conquers Evil... Every Single Time

I sure do like living in this little town. Most days. But there are times, the smallness of this place feels like it's choking me to death. Smothering the very life out of me.  I wasn't used to having my every move monitored and reported. To someone. Anyone. I wasn't accustomed to my life being of such interest to people who didn't even know me.

I moved here as a single parent/mother of two boys in 1998. I had been working here for two days out of every week for almost five years prior. I knew the lay of the land so to speak. I knew it was a small town. But just how uniquely intertwined everyone seemed to be with everyone else here, I had no clue. How this person would be related to that person from this cousin on his Mama's side.  How if you have an opinion about a person, you'd better be prepared to fight five others who may be listening. Because, some how, some way, somebody married somebodies sister, who has a brother, who used to be married to the child of the person you are talking about.

Not that anyone should be talking about anyone. And I guess that is my point here today. So, back to when I moved here, in fact before I moved here, people knew where I was going to live before I packed the first bag. Before I packed the front of the U-Haul truck. People that worked at the same place I did, who I didn't even know their names, knew where me and my boys were going to live. I learned quick, outsiders were a thing for the microscope to examine. And a single woman, with two small kids, living alone, in a big white house, with a good job? Forget about it.  She would be fresh meat for weeks and months to come.

People knew what I did on the weekends. They knew if I had company. How many cars were there, and how long people stayed. When I dated, they knew how long my dates stayed and if they stayed over. And when I began to date one of the few single men in town, who had no kids, and a good job? Whew wee...was I ever a target then. A target for every single woman with a pile of kids, who didn't want to work and wanted to be taken care of....by a good man. Why did the new stranger get his attention when they couldn't? Why would he be dating her, what was wrong with them? They were here first. None of this is made up, or thought up in my head, it was all conversation that would make it's way back to me. And should you think any of those women would care that he was dating someone else? That it would stop them, from approaching your man as if you did not exist? Uh no. They had no shame, no morals, no God given good sense. Least of all, respect for themselves.

Crazy talk and crazy conversations from pitiful, desperate women who needed to get up off their behinds and make a living for themselves and the kids they brought into this world. And quit worrying about me, or trying to find and trap a man, into taking care of them.

As much as I hated living out on that desolate highway sometimes, where me and my family stuck out like a sore thumb, for all to see and observe. It was private. Private in the way that I had no neighbors fighting over boundary lines. No trashy neighbors, slaughtering my bushes as if they thought they belonged to them. I have worked hard all of my life. I have worked for everything I have. No regrets.

This week, I have missed my old white house on Hwy 65 more than I ever have before. I think I would trade. I would rather have people who don't know me, talking about me, than nasty neighbors who do know me, doing things to hurt me. Or doing things to spite me and make me angry. Because I have something they don't have..peace. Peace of mind and peace of heart. Goodness always wins. Right will always be right, even if you have to wait a little while to see the results. I can lay my head down on my pillow at night and have no regrets or shame. Can you?

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Monday, February 21, 2011

Some Are Tougher To Teach

I hope I have headed it off at the pass. I hope I made myself clear. I hope.

I have two boys. Neither is like the other. Their sense of humors resemble. That's it. Everything else is different. One is as calm as the other is nervous. One is as laid back as the other is frantic. One is as mild tempered as the other is hot tempered. One tried me twice in his first 18 years, the other is almost 16 years old and has tried me at least a hundred.

He tried me again last night. Not the wisest thing to do, two weeks before he starts driving alone. He was to be home by 10pm. He got here...but not before his buddy Michael drove like a bat out of hell to get him here. From their girlfriends house. Six minutes away. You ask how I know this? Because at one minute til 10:00, and no Zach, I went to sit on the front porch glider. To welcome him home.

They squealed the truck to a stop at my curb. Michael rolled the window down and hollered out "It was my fault Mrs. Michelle". I hollered back, "We'll talk about it later, Zach and I are going to talk about it now". We didn't have a come to Jesus, but we had a definite, this is the way it's going to be.

He told me he was on time. I told him, I saw him jumping speed bumps from the stop sign up the street to get here. He told me it was Michael's fault. I told him, it might have been Michael's fault, but it was now, his problem. I told him I gave him instructions of what time to be home. Not Michael. It was his responsibility to make sure Michael understood the rules. He obviously did not. Make Michael understand.

I told him, two weeks from now, he would need to be trusted with responsibility. I told him, two weeks from now, I was not going to have a tummy ache every time he left my house. He could sit right here with me. On the couch. Where I could see him. Then my stomach wouldn't worry or hurt at all. It made no difference to me.

Once I had calmed down, and he could tell I was winding down. He made a mistake. Decided to try and joke me out of what was left, of my mood. He said, "You should have seen Micheal's face when he saw you sitting in the swing"..and was laughing. I was not laughing and said, "You should see the look on a Daddy's face when you bring his daughter home late.  It won't be good for you son". And I added, "You need to tell Michael, next time I will be at the foot of the driveway, and it won't be good for either of you".  And I finished with..."And if I ever hear about you driving like a crazy person to get a girl home, or yourself...you will be sitting on the couch across from me..so I won't have to worry. You will not put anyone elses life at risk because you aren't responsible and are not paying attention to time."

The ending mood was somber. He went in the house to go to bed. And to get away from me. I did the same. Mims asked me how it went. As he had went to bed, and left me outside alone in the swing. He is not fond of "scenes".  I am not fond of kids in car wrecks from foolish behavior. And if I have to look at Zach, for the next few years, sitting on my sofa from time to time, I will. It is my job to get him grown and responsible. And I will. Even if he becomes a couch potato in the process.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pretty Girls Are Blooming Everywhere

I was pretty preoccupied with talking about our Spring cleaning today. As we went through the day, I made notes in my head of things not to forget to say.

Around 6pm, Zach comes through, wants to know can he go with Michael. His bud. To Kay and Olivia's house. Sisters. He's finished the paper he has to write for History. Thanks to the head ups from Ashley King. I made sure that got done today. While I was home and could read it. So I say yes, when he asks.

I'm on the front porch glider when they all pull up. Michael gets out, and as usual, I'm janking with him. Telling them to all "roll out" where I can see them. And they do. All roll out. Two of the prettiest little blonde headed girls in Quincy got out of that truck. I already know Miss Kay and Miss Olivia. But today, I know them as girls. More specifically as girlfriends. As pretty girls that two handsome boys like.

And all of a sudden, it hits me like a ton of bricks. Here we are. At that place. My stomach starts to flitter around. And I watch them smiling and laughing, and arguing. Over who is going to sit on the speakers in the back seat. I'm trying NOT to think, who probably WON'T be sitting on the speakers. And where she probably WILL be sitting, for the couple of blocks ride, back to their house.

Two weeks come tomorrow, Zach will be driving alone. His world and my world are about to change. I already knew this was happening. I already knew all of this was coming. I've been talking about it for months now. Since the restoration of the truck began. But today. IT happened. It became real.

I forgot all about the flower bulb planting, the tree limb trimming, and the straw being pulled back and bagged. I forgot about the dirty looks, and the sour tones. The "why do we even do this every year" question.  The continued stream of trash talking passing between Father and Son. And, the showing out while I was trying to take pictures.

All of that seems like a million years ago now, as I think about all of those kids driving off from the house. Before Zach left, he went to his room and came back smelling like a cologne ad. All spiffed up and smelling good. Dating. Teenagers dating. I was so much younger the last time all this started. I think I was more alert. I'm thinking, I'm gonna have to start taking extra vitamins.

You know, everybody thinks Daddy's are horrible about their girls. I am here to tell you, Mama's and their boys....there is nothing that will touch it. Hurt feelings, broke hearts, and loving too hard too fast.  I am nowhere near ready for all that.

But Spring is coming...and love is in the air. There will be more than blooming flowers, green grass, bathing birds, and  butterfly's. Speaking of which..I saw my first butterfly of the season. We had just finished planting all the caladuim bulbs, and there she was...my MaMa. A pretty yellow butterfly flitting around my cherry blossom blooms. She knew we were taking care of her today, planting her favorite.

So here I am. Waiting and watching to see what blooms.  Pretty girls and pretty flowers. Will the petals be soft or will they have thorns. It's a natural progression of life. Me fretting will not change things. I just need to sit back and enjoy the view. Of youth, love, laughter and blooms.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wash Your Hands, and Wipe Your Nose

Just as I always seem ready for it to end, I am always more than ready for it to begin. Ready to see the bare, sparse limb trees to be full of life again. To see greener grass and blooming flowers.

The tiller will be humming coming morn' round' here. The dry, winter worn straw, will be pulled back. Like dead skin making room for soft, fresh skin to emerge. The old, dry dirt, will be turned and turned again. The smell of fresh dirt will be exhilarating. I have always had my own theory about why small children eat dirt. It's almost stone age basic. Dirt smells good. Fresh turned, hands dug into dirt, smells heavenly. On the funny side, it also makes your nose run. It never fails. I am up to my elbows in fresh dirt, and my nose begins to run and itch. Always.

My MaMa Eloise will be hovering, right above my shoulders. As I begin to evenly space (because I am OCD that way) the Caladuim bulbs all the way down the bed in the front yard. Three wide...and all the down. This year I bought Watermelon Caladuims. These were her favorite. And I plant them every year, just for her.

I will uncover all the Lantana beds so that they can breathe. And all of my Canna Lily beds as well. I bought a huge bag of  bird feed today. I'll fill up all three feeders and clean out the bird bathes and fill them with water.

Trim back my Knockout Rose bushes. It won't be long before the new growth will start...and I want them to be fat and bushy...not tall and leggy. I will clean out my Gerber Daisy pots, get them ready to greet the sunshine. My Cherry Blossom trees are already blooming. Beautiful dark pink blooms.

The air already smells different. I have had my windows open since early morning. My house smells like the new breath called Spring. When the Jasmine covered swing starts to sprout it's tiny white blooms, the whole side of our street will be perfumed with the most beautiful scent.

The biggest sign of all, that I am ready for all of these things to happen? I am walking around in my pink, rubber Avon shoes. They are SO ugly, but Lawd they feel so good on my feet. I've gotten so old and carefree, I even wear them up town. Well, just to run into Winn Dixie and out, but there was a day, I wouldn't have left my yard with them on!

So if you wake up to music in the morning, (cause I always drag the boom box outside) it's just me, Mims and my MaMa, getting ready for new life to begin. One freshly trimmed bush, and one shovel of dirt, at the time.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Widow Season

Tell me there is a baseball game on television, I say, what channel. Tell me there is somebody throwing a Hell Mary, and I am front and center. Ready to watch. Heck, I'll even watch a game of hoops for a little while. But when cars start to circle the pavement, I am hunting me something else to do.

When I started dating Mims, I thought I had struck gold. I thought we were a match made in heaven. He loved all the sports I loved.  Our first date was in early December 1998. Football was just getting cranked up. We watched all the games. Every week. Made friendly bets against one another. Whooped and hollered in front of the television together for hours. College, Professional, we watched it all. I was so happy to have finally found someone who loved football as much as I did.

End of January rolls around, and football is done. I know there will be a lull. But by the first of February, I know Spring Training for baseball starts. I can make it until then.

But somewhere in between, it happened. Mims started to morph a whole different personality. He started breaking out all of these tee-shirts. And they all had the same man on them. And it was not Mims. His name was Earnhardt.  Dale Earnhardt Sr. to be more precise. He started posting these crazy looking schedules on his refrigerator. And mine. Putting check marks and stars next to certain dates. The HOT races, he called them.  I was soon to discover, that Nascar would take over our lives.

I'll admit, you would be hard pressed to get me to go much of anywhere when the post season of baseball comes around. I am going to watch the playoff games and pick someone to root for in the World Series. Always. And when football season comes along, I will be watching the Super Bowl with the how ever many other millions of people in America. But I do have a life. I do go places. And I will carry on a conversation if someone is talking to me.

Lawd have mercy.....when Nascar season begins in February.....you had better said your last important word until mid November.  There is no talking during a race. Well, you can talk, but he is not listening. There will be no shopping trips that include Mims, unless it is a weekend with no race.  If you have any functions to attend, you'd best be hiring you an escort. For you will have no husband. You will know when he is hungry. That is it. And he will eat whatever you serve him, in his chair. In front of the television. For projects you need help with, you'd better already have them done come racing season.

I've gotten used to it for the most part. Until it gets warm enough for fishing. That is when we are going to have a problem. That is when the problems always start. Because Mims puts ME on a schedule. Whatever the schedule is for a race, we have to be home an hour before. So he can shower and clean up, before the race starts.

I don't care if we are reeling fish in by the bucket load. It's like an alarm goes off in his body. And once he says, get the poles rolled up...it's on. And you'd better be gettin' rolled up too, son. Cause you drag round' getting your stuff put up...and that boat takes off..your pole will be out of your hands and half way across the lake. Before you ever knew what happened. He will jetson that boat back to the landing like it had nitrous oxide hooked up to the engine. You'll feel like you're in the water version of Pinks. He does not play.

And once that boat is pulled up to the dock, to load onto the trailer. You'd better get out of the way. And heaven forbid, we get back to the landing and someone else is already trying to load or unload. I have seen the look on his face. The one that resembles a crazy man who is willing to leave his boat right there, and come back and get it. Later. Because he does not have time to wait.

Truck races, Nationwide, Nascar, or goats. Mims is watching. The season officially began tonight. In Daytona. While I am talking to you, he is SLEEPING through the truck race. But never you doubt. Were I to move ONE INCH, to touch that remote, and change the channel.......there would be an all out alert. He will jump ten feet in the air and his arms will begin to flail. Fighting the person who was crazy enough to mess with him and his race. And I am likely to lose a hand or get an eye put out.

I sure hope you all like listening to me talk. You don't know me near as good as you think you do. Not near as good as you're going to know me. And it's a long time til' mid November.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Thursday, February 17, 2011

You'll Never Know Dear, How Much I Love You...

I wonder if they know, how special they are? I wonder if they know, they are a part of something that will be as wonderful as anything they will ever know again?

I wonder if that young man, the studier of bones, knows what that young man, the studier of words, is worth? What a genius mind he has, and what a heart of gold lies within the cage of his ribs. I wonder if the Bones Man knows that the Words Man once lay next to his mother all night long. When her blood pressure was so high, she was scared to go to sleep. Scared she would not wake up. And he watched. To make sure she did. Wake up. I hope the Bones Man knows, the Words Man, would do the same for him.

I wonder if the Bones Man knows that the Words Man was picked on and made fun of,  most all of his high school years.  But that the Word Man , never faltered. Never lost sight of his goal. Never changed his plan. Never took an easier road, to get to the finish line. I wonder if the Bones Man knows, how strong, the Words Man really is? How his silence can be louder than the spoken word. How what he does not say, means more than many that can be heard.

I wonder if the young girl, the player of softball, knows how faithful that young man of laughter can be?  What a loyal and kind-hearted young man is watching her play? I wonder if Softball Girl, knows how Funny Boy can lift his Mother's spirits when no one else can.  That as far back as she can remember, Funny Boy has been making her laugh on the very worst day, when no laughter seems possible. I hope the Softball Girl knows, the Funny Boy would do whatever it took, on her most awful day, to make her smile. 

I wonder if Softball Girl knows that Funny Boy, would defend her to the world, if he thought she was right? Even if everyone else thought she was wrong, Funny Boy, would stand by her side. I wonder if Softball Girl knows, that Funny Boy would defend her honor, should anyone disrespect or question her integrity? I hope Softball Girl knows, that even if he was the last man standing, Funny Boy, would never leave her side. Even when all the others, were already gone.

Word Man and Funny Boy belong to Proud Woman. Proud Woman has raised them both to do right by people. To honor their word, and be gentle to the hearts that pass through their lives. Proud Woman has raised them to apologize when they have caused pain, and to believe, hugs always make it feel better. Proud Woman has taught them to love strong, and to expect to receive no more than what you are willing to give. And Proud Woman has taught them to reverse all situations, to ensure, their position is the right position, when they choose to take a stand.

Proud Woman already knows Bones Man and Softball Girl are worthy of the attention they receive. For Word Man and Funny Boy, do not extend themselves with carelessness. They do not lend their hearts to foolishness. Word Man and Funny Boy are Proud Woman's world. And she hopes they always know that.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Long Overdue

It's long past time. Time for me to do something about my weight. About my health. It's time I took control back over my actions. Took control over what I allow in my body.  At any given time.

Not some crazy cleansing process. Or fad diets that never work. Or pills that only raise your blood pressure and nervous energy level.

I was given a gift today. I escaped what could have been a horrible, devastating experience. For whatever reason, the good Lord decided to spare me. This time. I was granted a "do over".  An opportunity to do over what I have not been doing right.

I'm a nervous eater. A worrying eater. A misery eater. The past six months or so have intensified all of those qualities in me. And I have done nothing but feed my symptoms.  I don't have a lot of willpower where food is concerned. I can help you carry the weight of the world. But once I am alone again. In my house. By myself. I give in to the feelings of despair. The feeling of being scared. And I eat. To feed the fear. To feed the pain.

So I say this...I am going to do my best to eat healthier. To stop the overpowering need within myself to gorge. I could stand to lose about seventy-five pounds. I will start with trying to lose one. I will not set my goals so high, that I begin to feel defeated before I even start.

I will start walking again. Years ago, I walked three miles, every day. I was slim and trim. But more importantly, I was healthy. That is my goal. To be healthy again. Not to be a super model beauty. I am 47 years old, the possibility of those days are long over. And I am pretty sure, this body will never see a bikini again. But I would like to feel good in my clothes again. I would like to wear pants that do not bind my waist. I would like to stop wearing pants that have elastic and tops that do not blouse like a tent. I need to fill up my Ipod with old rock and roll and thumping beats.  To step off the inches and pounds I have piled on. 

All of those things are possible. I can do it without the craziness of starving or doing without food that I like to eat. I know how to eat in moderation. I just need to do it.

To do any less at this point would be disrespectful. I would be turning my back on the very One who decided there was a reason I still needed to be here. I want to be here to read Hop on Pop and I'll Love you Forever, to my grandchildren one day. I want to be here to throw a fishing pole, long after I develop arthritis in my arm. I want to be here to take care of whoever is left for me to take care of...and love. I want to be here to see my son Joshua published, successful and possibly famous. And, I want to be here to see whatever it is, that Zachary sets his mind to be. Because he too, is destined for greatness.

Thank you Lord, for the second chance. To get it right. It's long past time for me to get it right. I will do my very best, to not disappoint You. To make sure You don't regret, the blessing You chose to bestow on me.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Am Some Kinda Ready.....

I am so ready to smell dirt. To see flowers. To cut grass. To trim bushes. And hear Spring rain.

I am so ready to plant flower bulbs. On my knees. Til they are sore. I want to see Watermelon Caliduims sprouting up all through my yard. Crepe Mrytles blooming. Lantana taking over my flower beds. In colors of orange, red and yellow. I want water in my bird bathes and birds flocking to splash. I want empty bird feeders, by squirrel or by bird.  I just want to see activity. Cardinals, Blue Jays, and Humming Birds galore. Spring activity.

I'm ready to get up at 5:30am on a Saturday morning. To go fishing. To wet a hook. To bring the Big Daddy of all Big Daddy's home. In our cooler. I'm ready to freeze to death on the early Spring mornings. And come out of my sweat coat at the first sign of heat. I'm ready to smell the lake water that smells better than any perfume I can imagine. I'm ready to eat Vienna Sausages out of the can and drink water out of a bottle. I'm ready for green worms in a cup and crickets in a screen bucket. I'm ready for sunscreen SPF 50 in a spray can for the sizzling hot afternoons. I'm ready for dark sunglasses and floppy fishing hats. I'm ready to beg Mims to drive fast. As fast as the boat will go. Skipping across the lake, while I lean over, draping my arms and hands in the water. To cool off my body that feels as if it surely must be on fire.


I'm ready for grills that roll smoke on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Fish cookers that fry up grease hotter than the boiling sun. I'm ready to see the Lawn Rangers. Matt and Zach. Flowing in and out of my house, smelling like boys.  I'm ready for summer night music jams in the Man Shed. For jamming guitars and banging drums. For ping pong tables being ruled by boys and paddles.



I'm ready to holler, "SHUT THAT DOOR, WE'RE NOT COOLING ALL OF QUINCY."  I'm ready to fuss about smelly feet and dirty hands sitting down at my table to eat. I'm ready to hold my nose as I walk through the house looking for stinky tennis shoes that smell like death itself.

I'm ready for Spring and Summer and everything it brings. In about three weeks, Zach will be able to drive alone. He will be sixteen years old. I am ready to no longer cart him around. I am not ready for the additional worry.  I am ready to watch him have the summer of his life. His first summer of real freedom. His first real summer of trying to make all the right decisions.



But mostly, I am ready to sit on my front porch. In the glider. And watch the sunrise and the sunset. With Mims. To either sit quietly, because we can, and it's comfortable. Or make small talk about our day. To talk about everything and nothing. To sit in peace. Together. Side by side. Watching the seasons revolve around one more time.




copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Joy Of Reckless Abandon

You know, I've always thought I was pretty normal. I thought speaking my mind and telling the truth were normal. I thought being open was the only way to be. And I still think that. For me, anyway.

I like knowing I don't have to remember who I said what to..how I said it..or why I said it. I like that I can have a sense of humor about myself. I can't imagine not laughing about something I have done at least once every day. I'm just one of those people. And silly crazy stuff, just really does happen to me. A lot.

I like sharing my funny, sometimes stupid, life. Even if it doesn't put me in the best of lights. If it makes someone laugh, someone feel better, who cares? Who cares if I put all my stuff out there for anyone who will listen? If you don't like what I talk about, or how I talk, don't listen. I promise, you won't go to hell or the devil for laughing at my crazy behind. No matter what I'm talking about. The good Lord does not punish you for listening to me, even if you think I have gone too far. I personally think the Lord has a wonderful sense of humor. Evidence to that, you can see on any given day. In any direction you look.

I like knowing my life experiences can make somebody feel better on a bad day. I like hearing, that MY life experiences have been YOUR life experiences. And I like hearing you thought you were the only one. That you thought you were alone. Because I like knowing. That now. Because I put myself out there. You know you are not. By yourself. You're not the only one stupid crap happens to, you're not the only one with problems. Everybody has family stuff. Everybody has personal stuff. And everyone thinks their stuff is bigger and runs deeper than anyone elses. Well, surprise. It doesn't.

Just think how much we could help people, if we would all be open. Talk about what your problems are, and how much they bother you. Talk about what you need to talk about, to feel better. You can do all that without being hurtful. As long as the focus of conversation is on yourself, people will be able to identify with you.

I shared some really personal information yesterday with some people I thought were special enough to receive it. Some of those people, I shared with, simply to lift their spirits. Some so I would know, that even though I couldn't see them, they could " hear and see" me through my story, and laugh their behinds off.  There may be some of those people, who would have rather I hadn't shared. And if there are some of those people amongst that shared group, then I made a bad decision in judgment. It happens.

Reckless abandon is the way I live. I may not always choose wisely, when gathering those to ride along with me. Maybe I should ask first. If you want to climb in for the ride. I'll admit. Most times.  I am so busy trying help. Trying to create something positive. I'm not paying attention. I just automatically think. You are already on board. I'm trying to get your mind off of yourself or your problems and onto me. Onto me and whatever ridiculous thing has happened to me that I think is worthy of a laugh or two.

I hope I hit more home runs with my method than strike outs. I'm sure, I will hit some foul balls along the way. But I mean well. And I always wish you well. And my goal is to always make you laugh. Just laugh. Not feel guilty. Just better. My motives are good. My intentions are straight from my heart to yours. And maybe with the hopes.  That you can take a chance.  And feel a little reckless yourself. And laugh with carefree abandon.



copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Day The Squirrels Went Beserk...

One of my most wonderful friends from back home, has been leaving me messages on my cell phone. Messages about Woodpeckers. Hilarious messages. About Woodpeckers. She lives in Savannah Georgia now. And evi-dang-dently, Savannah Georgia has some of the biggest Woodpeckers you will ever lay your eyes on. They seem to have gotten my friend, Debi Potter Drawdy's, full attention. These Woodpeckers. Or Peckers, as she will call them. Depending on what mood she is in, the day she leaves her message. It sounds almost like the movie Birds when she's talking. I sit there and imagine, her and her husband, being dive bombed by Woodpeckers. Every time they come out their back door!

At any rate, I was cleaning up my phone messages last night. From my cell phone. And I listened to one of those crazy dang, funny Woodpecker messages. And I am sure. That is why.  I woke up with BBGuns and shooting. On my mind. So here goes today's story....

There are some days that I wake up, the sun is shining, and I get confused. Today was one of those days. I woke up at 9:20m. Well, I originally woke up at 7:10am. But, I was not getting up then. It's Saturday for gracious sakes.

Anyway, I woke up to the sun. Blasting through our windows. And the first thing I thought of, was squirrels. My absolute FAVORITE thing to do on Spring and Summer mornings....is to shoot squirrels. I love sitting out on my front porch glider, with a cup of coffee and a BB Gun, and shooting squirrels. Sometimes, I even still have my bedclothes on. Annie Oakley...modern day style.

Now, lest any of you are confused. These squirrels will not be shot for Saturday or Sunday dinner. There will be NO squirrel stew cooked in my house. Not by me anyway. I shoot them because they swarm my bird feeders. I cannot keep them filled with food, because of those stupid squirrels.

I will never forget the first time I "tagged" one. I went crazy!!!! He was cocked mid air, head first, into my feeder. Literally hanging upside down...and I popped him right on the back of his head.  Tail still wrapped around the limb. That son of a gun froze, in mid air. His tail let loose. Then dropped. Slap to the ground!!! I was up off the glider, whooping and dancing around, in my bedclothes!! Oh, it was on then..one down...about a million to go.

Last year, this got to be my weekend ritual. I was addicted. I am no longer sure if it was killing the pesky squirrels or just the thrill of the "tag"....which sounds just awful doesn't it? I can remember thinking to myself, that is why people like to hunt so much. Heck, it's gotta help work out some of your aggressions. The jolt of energy and adrenalin it gives you when the tag is made, is unreal. And these are just tiny, nasty squirrels I'm talking about. Can you imagine the victory of tagging a full grown deer???

Of course, I think my kills are more victorious. What? Are you laughing? Perhaps scoffing? You don't think so? Of course they are. Anybody should be able to tag a full grown deer. A BIG FULL GROWN DEER.  Just standing there. What a target! Try shooting a little squirrel who's flying from one limb to the next. Jitterbugging all through the tree. That ain't easy to do my friend.

I did step outside this morning. To check on the validity of the weather channel. It seemed to be just too sunny, not to be any warmer than that. But alas, it was not. Any warmer. The dang squirrels have a reprieve. For now. But they had better get their climbing gear rolled up a notch or two. Cause I'm ready. And I'm coming. Coffee cup. And BB Gun. In hand. And if my friend Debi steps outside..and sees one of those GIANT Woodpeckers...she might need to start toting a BB Gun herself...or a .22 Rifle.  As my son Joshua LOVES to say...LOCK AND LOAD SON, LOCK AND LOAD. 



copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Day In The Life Of....

Zach has scribbled "tats" all over his arm and they all smell Sweet..NOT.
Sometime around lunch today, it all started to fall apart. I knew from the time I got up this morning, it would happen. At some point. It was destined to happen. I got up tired. Wore down. I was ready for Saturday at 6:30am.

I eat lunch at home. Every single day. Leftovers, sandwiches, or soup. By Friday, I am sick of leftovers, and whatever else I have scrounged up every day at home. And usually, my choice, because we have so many here in Quincy, is a hot dog from Hardees. I know it must seem very strange, that of EVERYTHING you think I could pick, it's a hot dog from Hardees. So, let me tell you our ENTIRE food choices here in Quincy. Pizza Hut, Hardees, Burger King, McDonalds, Dominos, KFC, The West End Grille, Lindy's Chicken, AJ's Chicken, and a couple of sandwich shops. So, it's a hot dog I choose.

So today, I place my order like I always do. This is how it goes. On the order board it says, Chili Dog. Now, if I say, I'd like a hot dog with ketchup only, they say, do you mean a chili dog plain with ketchup only? I say, yes. So the next week, thinking I know the secret code now, I start off by saying, I'd like a chili dog plain with ketchup only. They say, so you want a hot dog with only ketchup? And I sigh, and say yes. So, no matter what I say, I never say it right.

Today was no different. Except, they got my order wrong. I got home, and I had chili on my hot dog. Which I do NOT eat. Not even scrapping it off, am I going to eat it. So, I called Hardees. Explained what happened. Said I would be back by in a few minutes. To get my hot dogs the way I wanted them. NAKED with ketchup only. A naked weenie, as my friend Debbie Houston White says, with ketchup only. I went BACK through the drive thru window, they were very nice. And so was I. I did not fuss or get crazy. Though I felt like it.  I simply smiled. And said thank you. My good deed for the day.

At 1:35, my son Zach calls me from school. From his cell phone. Which is not allowed. In school. He starts the conversation by saying "Hey Mama, what are you doing?"  Which means. He wants something. And he does. Want. Something. Unbeknown to me, there is a maniacal man roaming the streets of Quincy and Mt. Pleasant. The whole town had been looking for this man for hours.The police had been running dogs, helicopters had been low flying. The man hunt of the month was on, and I had no idea.

Zach's entire school had been in lock down mode since 9am. He gets out of school at 2:30pm. The call at 1:35pm is because now....he is bored. They have played cards, drawn tats on each others bodies, and cut the fool all day. But now, he is ready to come home. Less than an hour before they will get out of school. He wants me to leave work. And come pick him up. Thirty minutes after I had got back to work from taking my hour long lunch. My answer was an unequivocal NO. Finish your hand of poker, then come on home at your normal time. Call me when you get there.

At 2:50pm, Zach calls again. From his cell phone. And he is not at home. He is with his bud Mike and they are taking another buddy, Robert home. In Havana. Because Robert lives in Havana. He will be home by 3:15. I say alright again, and remind him to call me when he gets home.

At 3:25pm, Zach calls again. Mike and Zach are now at Matt's house. Which is between Havana and home. He wanted to show Mike where Matt lives. Matt is one of Zach's best friends and business partner. He wants me to know where he is, because he was not home by the time we discussed. Again, I know. He wants something. Because this is the child who NEVER thinks it's necessary to check in or call, or answer his cell when I call. Because I already know where he is and what he's doing. And his cell..IS ALWAYS DEAD. Or in his gym bag.

And he does want something. Else. He wants to know, can they all go buy steaks and baked potatoes and grill out. I tell him I am not comfortable with them and fire, without me being at home. He tells me, reminds me, he is almost 16 years old and he and Matt have grilled out before. When they dog sat for his brother. I knew about the dog sitting part. The grilling out part, with fire, not so much. I am thinking, while he is talking. Ninety miles an hour, he is talking. Trying to convince me of his adult demeanor. He hasn't completely, but I decide to take a chance. I decide to try and not think about him horsing around the fire, poking it with sticks, and setting my trees, lawn, or worse, himself on fire.

At 5pm, I leave work and go to the grocery store. With Mims. At 6:15 I am pulling into the driveway. Truck full of groceries and a drive way full of boys. Boys playing basketball. And with my windows up, I can hear them whooping and hollering as they shoot wild shots into the hoop. I can see the smoke from the grill rolling...and no one is poking sticks or playing with fire. My chance taking...worked out.  My day begins to feel better.

I park under the carport. As I am opening my door, Zach is standing in front of me with his cell phone. It's a call for me. I say hello, and it's Katy Jo. Breathlessly telling me, she has been accepted into the UNIVERSITY OF FREAKIN' FLORIDA!!!!! Where she has been wanting to go to college, all of her life!! Last week she was announced as Valedictorian of her senior class...today...her letter of acceptance to Florida arrives. How good can it get I ask you!!! My day feels even better. I am so proud for her, of her. She is going to be everything she ever wanted to be. Because she can. She is..just...that..good.

It's 7pm, and the boys are settled at the bar, eating their steaks and potatoes. And talking smack. About each other. About school. About everything and nothing. Zach is cracking on everything he can think of, making the others struggle not to choke from laughing. And I sit here in my recliner and listen. Soaking in the laughter, the smack swapping, and the boys. The boys who are turning into men. Men who grill their own food and shoot hoops with grown men voices. When did their voices become so deep? These are my thoughts. As I listen, to how their day was ....in the life of......them. And my evening is suddenly, one of the best ever. My messed up "naked weenie" from lunch, seems like ages ago now, as it should.



copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Money Down The Toilet...

The summer I graduated high school, I worked at a Piggly Wiggly in Albany Georgia. The South Slappey location, next to Keys, to be more precise. I was a cashier for the first few years. Now, you want to talk about a young girl learning some life lessons. You put a young girl, on the south side of any town, to work, and lessons are about to be learned.

That was my first introduction to the injustices of the governmental hand out system. Little old ladies and men, would come in with their social security checks and food stamps. Some of them, I wondered how they made it from one week til the next. Then you would have young, healthy people coming in, with twice the check and twice the amount of food stamps. Buggy's full of prime time meats and food, standing in my check out line, talking about where they were going out to eat when they left there. What shoes they were going to buy to go with this or that outfit. I was eighteen years old, and I knew then, the system was a mess.

It's a good damn thing someone like me isn't running the show. There would be an accountability like you would not believe. There would be concrete rules. And they would be followed. There would be no one receiving food stamps who could afford to cover their skin with body art. Or motors for boats, or shopping sprees, or $100 hair jobs. If you cannot afford to feed your family with money, you have no business spending money on anything that is not tangible to living. That is not necessary to live and breathe.

I don't think people are even humble anymore. I don't think it means anything anymore to go in, sit down, and fill out paperwork for assistance. I am not saying I will never be in that place, that I will never not need help. But I can say, without a doubt, I will be respectful of what is given to me, of who is helping me. And for those who want to pipe off, that it's mine or anyone elses duty to help people like that..you are crazy. I work my behind off trying to help myself and MY family. I was not put here on this earth to help you buy Grade A Prime Rib with the food stamps I helped supply, and then ply your bodies with needless tattoos.

Someone actually told my husband one day, that they weren't ashamed. That's what other people worked for..when he came home and repeated that to me I came UNGLUED. Because I don't work for you and your sorriness.  I don't make hamburger stretch five ways to Sunday so you can have steak.

And while I love my children, two was all I could afford. SO I STOPPED. If you can raise them, afford them, by all means, have as many as you want. But if me and everyone else with a job, has to help you raise YOUR kids, you've got too many. I think Federal Assistance should stop at two children. Period. Anymore you have, you take care of...or the government can help you afford permanent birth control. I love children, and I want everyone to have as many as they personally want to have..but they must take responsibility. It is unfair for it to work any other way. That may sound really radical, but this world is in a radical mess. We have let everything just roll off of our backs. Just roll and roll to the point, that the people that should have no say so, seem to hold all the cards. Wasting my money, flushing it away.

Unlike those food stamps, this ain't play money I struggle and sweat for every day of my life. I, like many, deal with unbelievable stress just to make a living. To make a good living. To provide for my family. So some other poor soul doesn't have to ...provide for my family for me. I think if people who receive assistance are caught buying alcohol or cigarettes, the assistance should stop.The government can figure out to make sure your children get fed, you can figure out where your own next meal comes from.

In the past two years, more people than since the great depression, have been out of work. If you have lost your job, are in between jobs, and looking for a job, I will always help you. I will help you buy groceries and pay your light bill.  For those of you who seem to live your lives running from a job, I shouldn't have to help you do anything.

For the old, sick, physically or mentally incapable, I will work my heart out for you every day. To help you never be hungry, cold, or without what you need. For the rest of you, half of you younger than my old behind, bump you. You need to get off your sorry behinds and help yourselves. Have some pride about yourselves. And quit thinking the world owes you something. Nobody owes you anything, but yourself. I sure as heck don't. Even though Uncle Sam continues to tell me I do. Every week. He "borrows" from my check. To add to yours. So, have a baked potato with that steak. On me. I earned it. You eat it. And enjoy.



copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Beautiful Mind, Beautiful Words

I would read to him everyday. The books were already compiling. New mothers buy baby clothes and baby toys. I bought baby books. Before I ever held him in my arms, I read to him in my stomach. I would read out loud and rub. In soothing soft words, with soothing soft hands.

Before he ever drew an outside breath, he knew books. Before he ever opened his eyes to look at the world, he knew words. Before he ever knew who I was, or saw my face, he knew my voice. He knew words. He knew the joy of the sing song language in a Dr. Suess book.

I cannot begin to imagine, if all the hours were added up, what that amount would come to...how many thousands of hours were dedicated to reading. And of course, animation was required. I don't think I ever even thought about it. I would begin to read and the voices would just flow.

A friend of mine stayed with Joshua and I for about a year while my ex husband worked out of town. One night I was trying to cook supper, but Joshua wanted a book read to him. My friend Lynnie, offered to read. She was five minutes into the book. Joshua gently took the book out of her hands. And told her that it was alright, I could read it to him later. Lynnie looked at Joshua, and hollered into the kitchen to me, "Well, I'm sorry I don't read like Miss Walt Disney in there".  She was making a joke, sort of, but I always took pride in being able to bring the written word to life. I loved to watch my boy's faces as I would take the words and the story and bring them to life.

I think Joshua's three favorite books were "The Spooky Old Tree" by Dr. Suess, "The Magic Hockey Skates" and 'I'll love you Forever". I can sit here today, and recite lines and pages out of all three books. I can tell you the minute, his face would begin to light up and his little body would start to quiver with excitement. Because he also knew those books. Line for line. Page for page.

And as he got older, and had been long able to read on his own, he would still bring one favorite collection of stories to me. For me, to read to him.  Uncle Remus and the collection of Brer' Rabbit stories. Now I'm here to tell you, to "get into voice" for those stories took a bit. So I would turn off the television, turn off the ringer to the phone, and we would settle in...and read. Both of my boys always knew, if they saw the ringer to the phone get cut off, the fun was about to begin.

Both of my sons love books. They love to read. They love words. They love the magic you find in other worlds, other places, without ever leaving your place on the couch. I have loved those same things, as long as I can remember. I am very proud of many things I have passed on to my children. But my translation of love for words, books and stories, is one of my most proud achievements. That I was able to take my own love for all of those things, and pass it on, completes me.

That my oldest child has taken all of those same things, and with his own beautiful gift, has learned to create his own words, books, and stories, brings me a happiness I cannot begin to describe.


Twenty five years ago this April, I sat in a rocking chair. I sat in a rocking chair reading out loud, and rubbing my stomach. Waiting for the beating heart inside of me to come out.  Waiting for the day when I could look at his little face and watch his expressions change. With every word I read. Waiting for the day, when that same beating heart, would put his heart onto paper. And here it is, the day I knew would always come.

His heart has been put to paper, and published in ink. In writer's ink. That will be read by thousands of people. Who no doubt, without ever meeting my son, will be able to hear, that same heart beating in a beautiful sing song rhythm.



copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Red Hot ....COURAGE

There are so many definitions of the word Courage. Over the years, the use of that word has been stretched, misconstrued and abused.  I heard an announcer this morning on ESPN, refer to a player as being "absolutely courageous in his last three games".  It is not courageous to be a winning quarterback who takes a beating all day from the opposing team. He chose that job and he gets paid for it. Grandly.

Courageous acts are those which go above and beyond. Acts that happen with no thought process. And decisions that are made, some with great thought process.

Courage is:

When a young man chooses to defend his friend. The class cut up, the boy with some emotional deficiencies. The boy so few children tolerate. Because he is in trouble once again. This time, for something he is wrongly accused of, there is a bigger story that must be told...and the young man, his friend/protector, takes a stand. When no one else will.  And defends him to the headmaster. It is hard at 13 years of age, to step up and be a man. But he does. Because it is the right thing to do. He steps forward and stops the wrong.

When a straight A student, appears different from all the rest. For two years of his high school career, he dresses in complete Goth attire. He is picked on, called names, bullied and taunted. But he is still the boy he wants to be. You cannot change him. You cannot make him be someone he is not. Because he marches to the beat of his own drum. And he survives those people. He is the last one standing. At the podium. Delivering the speech of a lifetime.

When a man has been given his diagnosis. He has prostate cancer. But it is the "slow growing, slow killing" kind of cancer. He may live another 10 years of quality life. His choice, is to remove the cancer. Knowing, the intimate life he now shares with his wife will change. He chooses to believe her when she says, it will not matter. She will love him always. He takes the step to live longer than the possible 10 years of quality life. He chooses to believe her. And live.

When a woman has been told, the cancer must be removed. She makes her decision immediately. She knows, that she cannot wait. She has two daughters who need her. She has a life to finish living. When she is told three days later, worst news than the first time. She again, does not hesitate. And knows, this will be worse. But she moves forward. She chooses to live. For her girls. And for herself.

When a man has drank all of his life. As a teenager and as an adult. And now his job and family are on the line. He takes the hand that reaches out to him. He begins treatment. He follows the rules. He listens to the lessons. And he learns them. He knows and accepts he will never be cured. But he can stop. To save himself. To save his life. 22 years sober. He chose to stop.

When her son is killed in Iraq. And she wants nothing more than to sink, into the deep dark hole that is calling her name. When she wants to be, with her son in heaven. Because these are thoughts, she cannot help but think. But she knows, she cannot. She has another son. Who will need her. Her job here on earth is not done.  Barely six months later, when she thinks, she cannot withstand anymore heartache and pain. She is diagnosed with breast cancer. She has decisions to make. Body altering decisions. But she must, make them. She still has work here on earth. She must be here for her son. And herself. It is not time. I know, she will choose, to live. Again.

A little boy has fallen into a bonfire. She does not think. Instinct takes over. She rushes in to save him. She pulls him out and pats him down with her bare hands. She has second and third degree burns.  She has been back and forth to the burn center. She will be fine. Her hands are healing. The boy, is still in critical condition. If not for her, he would be dead. If not for her courage and her heart.

I cannot imagine the courage it took to live the lives I have described above. I hope, if and when my day comes, and I am faced with the choice, of right or wrong, live or die. I hope I make the right one. The right choice. I hope I have the courage to make the right choice. For courage is the very being of one's heart and soul. One's inner strength as it takes control. It is not a direct derivative of a paycheck or a spotlight. It is the most real, a human being will ever be. It is the most naked of emotions. It is living with fear, but still moving forward, requesting nothing in return. Redemption at it's finest, silent moment.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Unlock Your Own Mind..and Enjoy

Do you ever just sit? Maybe while you're drinking your morning coffee. Or when the house is empty and you're the only one there. And for once, the television is not blaring and no one is calling your name. And when you're just sitting, do you ever just drift off? Drift back in time to memories.  Memories that have been locked away so long, you forgot they were there?  I don't know how your recall works, but mine is so random. Sporadic. Chaotic even. Sometimes there is no rhyme or reason as to where my mind goes, or how it jumps from 1972 back to 2004. In two minutes. In rapid fire, ever changing motion, my random thoughts work a little like this....

1970 I'm lying in bed, on a school night, and I can still hear kids playing outside. The time has changed, so it's still daylight at 9pm. I am seven years old.

2004 I am in the Greenboro High School Gym listening to my son Joshua give the speech of his life. His Valedictorian speech. And I amazed at where this young man came from. The one who is speaking with such confidence. The one everyone is standing up and cheering for.

2000 I'm watching Zach smack his first hit off of a tee. His skinny little legs are going as fast as they can go. His helmet is so heavy on his little head. I'm wondering as he runs, how he holds his head up.

1996 I'm at Twin Oaks Elem School in Leesburg Georgia watching Joshua play his snare drums in a band concert. Who would have thought Joshua would have ever liked the drums.

1972 My PaPa Josh has passed away. My new Barbie Head I got for Christmas just that morning, is on my dresser. In the dark it looks like a person. I cannot sleep. It scares me. I get up and put it in my closet floor so I won't be scared anymore. Of ghosts.

1998 I am barbecuing ribs in the oven. The house is permeated with that wonderful smell. Zachary who is barely three, says as he walks in the door, "I want summa what I smell, I'm hongy". Since 1998, anytime our house smells especially full, of good cooking food, that will be repeated. 

1982 The Group Alabama is performing in Albany. The biggest country music group of my time. The tickets go on sale that Saturday morning. I got called into work. My mother, stood outside in a mile long line, in the wind sleeting rain and cold, to get my tickets. She could not even feel her feet when it was over. I tell my boys all the time, what mothers do for their children. They still have no idea. 

2008 My mother calls me from the hospital in Albany Georgia. The doctors say stints will not work. My daddy must have heart bypass surgery. My mother is crying. She never cries. I hold it together until I hang up the phone. Then my body is wracked with pain and tears. The surgery will not be for another week. But I leave immediately for home. I have to, need to, see my daddy. I am so scared.

1978 Me and my MaMa are in a used/trade bookstore. I am teaching her all about the Archie Comics and she is teaching me about Mark Twain and Huckleberry Finn.

1985 My mother is in the hospital for surgery. I am sitting with her. You cannot have your nails painted before surgery. They must be able to press your nails and see color. Blood. The surgery is over. And my southern Alabama mother asks me to paint her toenails for her. She has already done her fingernails. And her "lips" are on.  She obviously cannot reach her toes. And you know, "your toes are the ugliest part of your body, if you are going to expose them, they must be painted".  Or so I was told, all of my life.

2002 Zachary is playing Tiny Mites football. I'm watching Coach Joey Edwards hold their attention like no other adult could. And I wonder, where he gets that magic from?

1988 Joshua is two. My back door leading to our deck is open. I am in the kitchen, he is going back and forth. I turn around at his cry, and he is bleeding. He has tripped over the hose that was drug up on the deck to water the hanging baskets. It's only his nose that got busted. There is so much blood, it appears to be his whole body.

1976 My cool Aunt Amanda takes me to an Andy Gibb concert in Columbus Georgia.  First concert ever.  I had the time of my life!

1990 I wake up to a smoke filled house. My ex has drank himself to sleep and the supper he started on the stove is trying to burn our house down. I drop to the floor, I am choking. I drag Joshua out of the bed, and push him out the bedroom window. I am behind him. Smoke is billowing out of the windows now. My ex is still asleep in his chair on the deck. Josh and I stand in our bed clothes. In the yard. While I pray we will still have a home.

1979 I am in the 10th grade, and my father has found out that I had been cutting classes. There is a knock on the door of my history class. The door opens and it is my father. Telling me to come on. I stand to walk, he tells me, in front of all of my classmates, to stop. Go back and get all of my things. I may not be coming back. I did, of course, go back. But it was a "Come to Jesus"  like no other.

1980 Our family vacation is in February. We are in Gatlinburg Tn. It is snowing and it is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. We are riding in a glass tram taking us across the mountain to a beautiful restaurant. With live entertainment. Between the snow and the Swiss dancers, it was the most magical vacation of my life. 

1990 Santa brought Joshua a guitar. He has discovered CMT. For three months he stands in front of our television and he plays that guitar. For three months, at four years old, he is country music.

1998 Zachary is three years old and has discovered he can fly. Off of our front porch on Hwy 65. We sit in the emergency room for 3 hours to find out he has a sprained ankle.

1971 I am riding a neighbors bike. A bike unfamiliar to me. It has hand brakes. And suddenly, I am flying down the hill behind our apartment. It's a summer night, people are grilling out at the foot of the hill. I cannot figure out how to stop the bike. The people in the lawn chairs begin to scatter as they exclaim "She's not going to stop!". I slam into the brick building. They help me back up the hill. Where my parents are having a company party, as I come in with blood from head to toe.

1974 My mother had to work late. Karen Pelham was babysitting me and my sister. I beg to ride bikes with her sister Diane. The roads are those kind with the huge rocks poking up. I lose my balance and fall. The rocks jab into my kneecap. I literally have 2 holes in my knee. My summer would be spent swapping out bandages and applying Vitamin E oil. The oil my mother swears would prevent scarring. It is the worst scar on my body. She still abides, it could have looked so much worse.

2006 We are in my living room exchanging vows. Me, for the last time in my life. Both of my boys are giving me away to the man they have been calling their Daddy for years. Zachary, my child of few emotions, is crying. It was a beautiful day. 

1987 I am reading the Dr. Seuss book, Hop on Pop to Joshua. He is barely one year old. He likes the letter P. Every word in the book that starts with the letter "P" sends him into a gale of giggles. The most beautiful baby giggles you have ever heard in your life.

1999 I have forgotten what my new boyfriend has said, I absolutely must do. I am already almost to work. I cannot be late. I call my best friend, Donna Hall. Tell her my problem. She does not have a key. But she can climb in my bedroom window from the back porch. And she does. Climb in through my bedroom window. She saved my life. Best friends make the world go round'. 

And then it's over. My family comes rolling back in the house. The noise begins. And the memory door closes. Until another time. When peace and quiet take hold. Silence is welcomed back. And my mind finds comfort in what used to be.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ignorance

Sometimes, it's best to wait. When anger or tears are driving your emotions. Wait. When you most want to strike out and defend. Wait. Wait until your actions and words will reflect the truth. Wait until you can speak with a calm the situation demands. Wait until you are answering, not screaming a response with words.

Last night, I chose to take the high road. I should know that road by heart. I have told my children so many times in their lives, which direction it is, and how to get there. I chose to remain calm. To collect my thoughts. Before I spoke again.

First, I will say, my children are my world. For so many years of my adult life, they have been my every waking thought. I have two of the wisest, most intelligent, and compassionate children you will ever meet. I knew once my first son was born, I was going to have to work very hard to keep up. And by the time my second son arrived, I knew moving double time, still might not be fast enough.

Secondly, I repeat, I have never regretted any conversation subjects or depths of conversation I have ever had with my children. I wanted to know, from the moment they both began to speak, everything they had to say. I wanted to know every question that crossed their minds. And I prayed, that both of them would always come to me for answers. Instead of strangers, or friends, or worse, whoever might lead them in the wrong direction.

I am well aware, that no matter how much I talk, how open I think I am, that I cannot control their lives. I cannot be with them through every decision making process they encounter. I can only hope, that somewhere, in their minds, my words still linger.

No doubt, there will come a day, my children may disappointment me. Their choices may disappointment me. No doubt, I may have very well already disappointed them at some point. I think I do the best I can. I'm pretty sure they think they do as well.

I am only going to say this one last thing, that I feel must be addressed if I am able to lay down and sleep again. For people who somehow think the way I raised my son, the openness in which I chose to raise Joshua, somehow "caused" him to be gay....you have absolutely NO idea what in the world you are talking about.

Both of my boys were raised the same exact way. To have choices, to be themselves, to pave their own road.  I gave/give both of them directions. It was their job to ride the wave. Nurture ~vs~ Nature. The great debate of all time. You don't know me if you think you can make me even remotely believe that I "caused" my child to be gay. Genetics "caused" Joshua to be gay. Period.

I have beautiful children. I dressed them both as boys. They both had trucks and tractors. I read the same books to both boys. Now they both like to read. They both love the humor of Will Ferrell, Adam Sandler, Seth Rogan and gross teenage folly. They both have the best sense of humors and the most sincere laughter you will ever hear. They both have the biggest hearts. I raised both of them to be good men. And they are..good men.

Joshua is gay. Zachary is not. At least I don't guess he is..maybe I should re-think this thing.  Zachary loves nice clothes, and has wonderful tastes in color and fine furniture. I wonder if Zachary knows, he could be, there is a possibility, he is a 1/4 gay?  He hates to be left out of anything....I'll have to let him know...some small minded person may prejudge him one day.  But to ignore it. And continue to be himself. Who he was raised to be. Who he was born to be. Just like his brother.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Keepin' It Real.....On The Fast Track Of Life

I can remember my "sex" talk when I lived at home. I was eleven years old. My mother gave me a book. Told me to read it. And if I had any questions. To ask her. I had questions. But I did not ask.

The last thing I expected when my first born was a little boy, was that he and I would be having his first sex talk. At five years of age. My husband was working late, so Joshua was sleeping with me. Or I thought we were sleeping. It was dark and it was quiet. All of a sudden I heard Joshua stirring around. And he began to talk. He asked me, where did babies come from. Now, for those of you who know Josh personally, you will know, what I am about to tell you is exactly the way that conversation went down. For others, you may think I could have handled it differently. Let me assure you, Joshua is my brain child. He reasons with intelligence more so than common sense sometimes. And though he was only five years old, I was already well aware of this fact. Nothing but the truth would do.

I began, as any parent would do, with the story of baby Jesus, it's a miracle, etc. My story lasted about 10 minutes. I finished. And was quite proud of myself. Because Joshua had listened intently without saying a word. Another dodged bullet. It was quiet for about two minutes. And then he said, "But Mama,  HOW are babies born?" Now, we all know our children. Better than ourselves sometimes. Joshua was not the child to be put off. And I knew this. I heard it in his tone, and I knew, I had to answer his question. Or he would never believe in me again.

So, I started again. And explained it all as "clinically" as I could. Again, he never said a word. Just listened. I was pure sweating by the time I was through. Finally, I was done. And I laid there, waiting to be questioned again. Finally, after all of that, he finally spoke. And he asked me one, and only one, question. He said, "Mama, does that mean you didn't have any panties on"? I sucked my last drop of breath in and said, "Yes Joshua, that's what that means". He then said "Eww", rolled over, and went to sleep.

The next time Joshua and I would re-visit the "discovery" conversation, he was six years old. His first grade teacher called me at home one night. Said that she had caught Joshua and a little girl classmate "talking and touching" during lunch time. She told me the little girl had 3 older brothers, and thought that maybe I might need to "check" on Joshua and see what all they had been talking about. That she intended to speak to the little girls mother as well, but that she was more worried about Joshua.

When I got off the phone, I went to Josh's room to talk to him. I started off by asking about his day. He calmly told me, I had already asked him that. Which I had. See, I told you already how he was. Anyway, I took another tact. I was honest and told him his teacher had called, and she was worried that maybe he and Caitlyn had been talking about things they shouldn't. I explained to him "boy talk" and "girl talk" and the "no touching in personal areas" rule.  And I figured it was time for the body parts talk. What we do and do not touch on other people, talk. I explained all of his body parts, using the proper names and what their uses were. Asked him to please keep his hands to himself. Only talk to Mama and Daddy about those personal things.

The next day, I am picking him up from daycare. And before we can even get out of the daycare door, he is LOUDLY telling me, "Mama, you told me wrong yesterday, Caitlyn said those (as he blatantly points) are my balls". I swung around, grabbed his hand, and was trying to hustle him out of the building and telling him to hush all at the same time. We get outside, and he is repeating himself...just as loudly. I just stopped and looked at him and said "Joshua, I said hush, we will talk about it when we get home". I was flustered beyond belief. My mind was racing..worrying about where all of THIS was going to end up.

That was a Friday night, which was always McDonald's Happy meal night. We were in the drive thru, I had placed his order and he began again. Instead of stopping him this time, I asked him, exactly what he and Caitlyn were doing when they were talking about all of that..and WHY where they talking about that after I asked him not to do that? Well, Joshua was never one to be deterred. As far as he was concerned, I was the one in the wrong. I gave him false information. It was my fault. I knew I would not win this discussion the way we were going, so I told him as soon as we got home, I would explain it to him. I would explain what she was saying and why. He didn't look very pacified but he settled down somewhat.

As soon as we got home, and I mean as SOON as we walked in the door, he asked me again. So I calmly told him. I did tell him the right words, for the right body parts. I told him that sometimes, other people used slang words, words that weren't the right words, for our body parts. I told him to pull his pants down, and look down there. To look and he would see. He did what I said, and as he looked back up at me, I wish you could have seen his face. It was if the heavens were singing, the sun was shining, and the light bulb had gone off in his head. He was grinning from ear to ear, and he said "Ohhhhh...that's why she called them balls, because they're round like balls". Worn out and in distress, I said "Yes, son, that's why she called it that. Now pull up your pants, wash your hands, and go eat your Happy Meal."

At 16, Joshua and I had our last discovery discussion. And again, for those of you who have read my stories, or know my son personally, you will know, some of this last recollection is no longer relevant. No longer a worry. For me or for Joshua. During his earlier teenage years, unbeknown to me, Joshua was still trying to figure himself out. Who he was, what he was about. During this time he was dating girls. One particular girl was giving me cause for worry. I felt she was a little more "advanced" than Joshua. I had already seen some behavior that was setting my radar off. I had already discussed it with Joshua, but I was beginning to feel like my concerns were falling on deaf ears. I decided to wake them up. Their ears. His and her ears.

Joshua had lived with me long enough at that point, that he was not startled when I told him I wanted to have a discussion with both him and his girlfriend. Together. He was however, a little unprepared for exactly what came out of my mouth once I got started. I have already told you all. I have an open house. I believe in saying what needs to be said. I believe in telling it the way you want it heard, so that there are no misunderstandings. And that is the premise I took, when I began to speak.

I told them both, that I had no idea what they were doing. I was not stupid enough to believe that even though I had spoken to Joshua about "waiting", that I could control either one of them. But that I wanted her to understand, that Joshua had big plans for his life. He had those plans for as long as I could remember. And those plans did not include babies, or early parenthood. That he was on the fast track for a full and productive life. That he was destined to do and be great things. That if she wanted to get on that train, she'd better get with his program, or get off and step aside. I would not stand by and let him mess up his life by simply being a teenager who did not take take his responsibilities seriously by not taking care of himself. That he knew what he needed to do to protect himself and if she was smart, I expected her to do the same. That neither one of them needed to trust  the other to "take care of anything". That there was no room for error. They needed to make sure they took care of themselves.

I can remember when Joshua was five years old, and I retold that first story to my mother. She seemed to be shocked and stunned that I thought that conversation was necessary. For such a young child. I explained to her that I knew, nothing but the truth would do for Joshua. I have known that all of his life. All of our lives together. I knew it again when he was six years old, as he swapped words with Caitlyn, the little girl with the three big brothers. And again, when he was a sixteen year old boy, trying to keep up with a seventeen year old girl.

That last conversation I just relayed, was very similar to the one I had with Zachary this past year when he began to date. Our conversation only involved he and I.  But it was just as serious and just as honest. I left nothing to doubt. And I am pretty sure, I was very clear. He seemed to be very uncomfortable, of course, but there was no lack of understanding on his face. I was sure of that before I decided we were finished. I'm sure some of you may be thinking, that I could have left that conversation for Mims to have with Zachary. But sometimes, I have the fear, that the good old boy network will take over, and important parts may slide. Slip through the cracks. Or get left out. I can't allow that to happen. I have to know, there was no mistaking what was being related.

I have never regretted my measures of protection or depths of my conversations with my sons. My goal has always been for them to understand me as clearly and concisely as possible. I think it's the only way. It's important to me, that they both achieve what they were put here on this earth for. I want them to be everything they need and want to be, before they HAVE to be everything life expects them to be. But that's me. That's how I roll. And so far. It's working.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Batter Up!

I just have no idea what I'm going to do with myself.  Zach played football in the Fall. Basketball this Winter...but he's decided not to play baseball in the Spring this year. Not really sure of his reasons. I guess the reasons are his.

He says he wants to lift weights. Get his body back in shape for football. He has a Spring Jamboree he wants to be ready for..starting as a Junior. Starting Center this next year. Taking the place of one of his best buds, Matt Carter. Matt will be graduating this Spring.

But I am sure gonna miss those baseball games. First part of every baseball season, it's still cold. It's still getting dark early. You're sitting out there on the field, bundled up. Loving every freezing minute. My spot was always right outside the fence, at home plate. I love making the calls. Striiiiiiiiiiike, ball, and YOU'RE OUTTA THERE!!!! And letting the umpire know when you thought he had made a lousy call.

I love the smell of the dirt. The hamburgers on the grill behind the concession stand. The boys in the dug out. Hollering out all crazy kind of stuff. To their own teammates as well as the opponents.

I'll even miss the age old tradition. I didn't even know it was happening. I of course, was not asked.

We got to the game. Getting our chairs set out. Getting ready for the game. The boys start heading out to the field. The first one I see is Hunter Suber. Our opening pitcher on the mound. I am saying to Mims..."What in heck is wrong with Hunter..does he look different to you?"  We're both looking, trying to figure it. Then Hunter starts popping his cap on and off his head. A nervous habit all men seem to have. And I see it. I see what looks different.  HE IS BALD!!! I mean like ..you can see the veins in his head...bald. I was like..OMGosh...what in the heck??? Then I start looking at all of them. They ALL looked different.

The talk amongst the parents begins. I can hear laughter, some talking under their breath, and some out and out exclamations. I hear Angie Suber LOUDLY, telling Hunter's Daddy what she thinks of Hunter's head. She is SO upset. I'm trying not to laugh..because she surely does not think it's funny. She is upset. They have an Olan Mills portrait appointment that next Saturday. For Easter pictures! She looks like she wants to tear his behind up and cry all at the same time.

I began to look earnestly for Zach. He played far right field. I can see him. He's way outfield, but he looks the same. His hair was still long and curly. I can see it at the bottom of his cap in the back. I thought to myself. Thank the lord. But Zach was so funny about his hair. It didn't surprise me that he was not one of the ones that succumbed to the shave. Tradition or not. Solidarity or not.

Inning over. They all begin to come infield. I've turned my head to talk to someone. Not paying a lot of attention. I was mostly listening to the other parents carrying on about their boys' hair. Some knew beforehand. Some, obviously, did not. Zach is up to bat. Mims is tapping me on the arm. To pay attention. And to look. He's telling me to look. I turned around and something...looked very strange. I couldn't quite  put my finger on it at first. His hair looked weird. It was still long in the back. But it looked kind of like he had tucked behind his ears on the sides. Like a girl. The umpire calls time. And Zach steps out of the batters box. He begins to nervously "pop his cap" on and off his head. And then I see it. What looks weird. My child could not just shave his head like normal kids. He could not just be like everybody else. Because he never is. Like everybody else. Zach has let those boys shave him a MOHAWK. He has shaved the sides...and has a CURLY STRIP going down the top of his head in the center, all the way to the back of his head.

I came OUT of my chair. I was standing as close to the fence as I could get without jumping it. I leaned into the wire mesh, gritting my teeth, and told Zach, "Boy, you'd better hope those clippers are still in that dugout, cause you are shaving the rest of that crap off before we go home tonight". He never moved. Never even flinched. Just stood there, and a slow cock-eyed grin started to form. He turned his head just slightly in my direction and winked. HE WINKED AT ME.

All those parents I had found so humorous before, were now laughing at me! Telling me it will be alright. It's just hair.  I sat back down in my chair behind the batters box. And fumed for about 30 minutes. I kept looking at all the other boys. Wondering, what in the world possesses kids to do crazy stuff like that? My thoughts were similar to those of Angie Suber. Zach has a funny shaped head. Bless his heart.  He just looks better with a head full of hair.

Somewhere toward the last few innings, Larry Edwards walked up to my chair. Mclane's Daddy. Copped a squat, and proceeded to tell me and Mims what a good son we had. He had chaperoned one of the school trips and had stayed in the room with Zach and a couple of the other boys. He said he just wanted us to know, what a good boy we had. A polite boy. Somehow, the good Lord always knows when to send someone your way. Larry's words absolutely diffused most of my anger.

After the game, we went back in the dugout, and finished off his shave job. He wanted to keep the Mohawk of course, but his school has strict dress and hair codes/guidelines. So, off came the rest of his pretty hair.

It's a funny story now, but it wasn't so funny that night. I wish I was going to have a funny story to tell this year. A funny memory. A story of crazy solidarity. Teammates. Rally caps. Stolen bases and home runs. I wish I had taken my camera that day. I wish I had a picture of that Mohawk, and not just a story. I wish I were still standing next to Angie Suber as her husband continues to tell her, "Angie, it's just hair. He can wear a cap in the pictures, it'll be fine."  Maybe next year.

copyright © 2011 Michelle Mount Mims