Monday, December 31, 2012

Don't Let The Wheels Fall Off

As I sat down to write today I knew in my mind, some of the words would not come easy.  I knew I would struggle with my thoughts and that there would very possibly have to be some deep soul searching. Owning up to your own faults and disappointments can be difficult. The truth can be painful and unpleasant. Self evaluation is the hardest thing to do. Because we can all make excuses for ourselves, our behavior, and our shortcomings. But to stand up and say, "I just didn't get it done", to look in the mirror without blinders on, now that is the brave and honorable thing to do.

Resolutions. They're hard. It's hard to decide what is important enough to set your mind to accomplishing, important enough that no matter what, you think you will do it, and important enough that in the end, it will make a difference in your life. Sometimes, not only in your life, but in the lives of the ones you love, and even more importantly, in the lives of people you have yet to know or love.

I have fell off the wagon more times that I can possibly remember. Last January, my mind was filled with such resolve and determination. I was finally, once and for all, going to get all this excess weight off and keep it off. I found me a couple of wonderful walking partners and off we went. Making long strides and walking literal circles around the doubt that it could be done. We walked most every day. Hot, cold, tired, frustrated, or worn out. We walked.

Then, at the end of June, I fell of the wagon. My walking partner had a problem with her ankle. I tried to go alone. To stick to it. I bought an IPOD. Downloaded all my favorite music, and I walked. Alone. For about two weeks. Then stopped.

A couple of months later I started walking with another friend. But by then it was August and 100 degrees at 7pm.

I found all kinds of reasons to not walk. Many legitimate, some not. Too hot, too late, working late. And course school began for Zach which brought extra activities and another host of excuses and reasons. 

In those seven months that I walked I didn't lose a major amount of weight, but I lost a lot of inches and gained back a lot of self esteem. My blood pressure went down, my sugar was in control and I just felt better. Better than I had in a long, long time.

I'm not going to make a resolution to do anything this year. It feels pointless and it's humiliating when I don't carry it through. I feel as if I set myself up for failure before I even get past the first week of the new year. I am simply going to do my best, to do my best, at everything I do. Whether it's losing weight, being more kind and compassionate, more understanding and reasonable, less judgmental and conclusive in my thoughts, less apt to butt in even though I know I could help, and have more patience on the days when I feel I have none left.

I'm pretty dang sure I can do all of those things. I know without a doubt I can certainly try. And that's all we should ever ask of anyone or ourselves is that we just try. To hold on tighter to the reins and stay in the wagon.

Happy New Year everybody. If 2012 was not your best year, I pray 2013 is better. If 2012 was the best year you have ever seen, I pray in 2013 you can maintain the excellence. And I wish and hope for you all the exact same thing, which is more peace in your heart, love in your life, and never-ending hope that your dreams come true.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

And The Beat Goes On ...

I don't know a Mama alive who doesn't hear everything. Even in the dead of the night, having been asleep for hours, we hear it. Everything. A sick child crying out. A teenager two hours over curfew, creaking through the house on tiptoes and their best behavior. The neighbor's dog, two houses down and his barks, echoing endlessly into the night. We hear everything.

Three nights ago, or should I say, three mornings ago, I awoke to the strangest noise. Like soft, muffled music. I sat straight up. Listened for a minute, and thought to myself, are you kidding me?! WD has left his alarm clock setting to ON and he KNOWS we don't have to get up for work today! I began shaking his arm, telling him to cut off his alarm. He's trying to wake up, but not fast enough to suit me. I jump up out of bed, flip on the closet light which illuminates but does not blind, stumble around to his side, only to realize, it's not his alarm clock. Because I am looking at the clock, and it is OFF, and the time is exactly 5am. He's almost awake now, his C-Pack mask still roaring, the window A/C until blowing, and him mumbling through the mouthpiece of the mask that he hears nothing. I can still hear it. I'm snatching open drawers to the nightstand. Nothing. Snatching open drawers to the high mirrored dresser. Nothing. And then, the music stops. Just stops. I hear nothing else. I'm standing there wide awake, shaking from the cold, looking back at a crazy looking C-Packed face staring back at me, and I hear nothing.

I climb back in the bed, only to listen to C-Pack face fuss at me for waking him up. For nothing. For no good reason. There was no music, I am crazy, he rants. He rolls over and goes back to sleep. While I lay there face up, eyes adjusting back to the darkness and wait. Wait for the music to start again. It never does. And I drift back off to sleep.

Night number two. It is time to go to bed. The memories from the night before flood back in. Mainly because all day that day, Mims has been telling and re-telling that story to everyone who will listen and the weirdness of it all is still in the forefront of my mind. I'm not crazy I tell myself, I heard it. I know I did. But what was it? And where was it coming from?

I know I read too many scary novels. And I know I watch too many scary television shows. Criminal Minds, CSI, and anything else that makes the mind do crazy tricks on itself. But I heard that music. That creepy muffled music. I know I did.

As I was saying, it's time to go to bed. Now because my mind has had all day to think and wonder, it's stretched my imagination far and wide and I am considering that maybe something was IN my room and then left. Like the movie Gaslight. Trying to make me feel crazy. Well, I'll fix that by golly, I'll lock the bedroom door. And I did. I also left a light on in the living room. To make people think we were still up of course. All night long. People don't break into houses at night while people are still up and awake. Do they?

All night passes, no music. None.

Night number three. Last night. I'm alright now. I have forbidden anymore talk of "the music" all day long. And now it's time to go to bed. I'm still a little weird. But I'm alright. I leave the bedroom door unlocked this time. But I still leave a light on in the living room. Sometime about 2:30am, I wake up thirsty, I take a sip of water out of the bottle next to my bed on the nightstand. Evidently, I don't have the top on well, I fumble trying to put the bottle back on the stand in the dark, and I drop it. Water splashed out, on the side of the bed, and I began to whimper. Because I am cold, the water is cold, and now my sheets are wet and cold. Mims is awake now after all this commotion, wants to know what's wrong, I tell him, still whimpering, and he pats his side and tells me to come over there, where it's warm and dry. I fall back asleep.

I hear it again. Every sensory fiber in my entire body is on alert. That same creepy muffled music. I am slinging covers off, moving/running to the other side of the bed again, because it is clear that is where it's coming from. Mims is trying to adjust to my manic behavior, but I don't give him time to adjust before I am switching on the bed light on his night stand, the light searing into his eyes. He's carrying on about the light, his C-Pack is roaring, the A/C unit is blowing and suddenly we are in the reenactment scene from two night ago. Except the music does not stop as quickly, or maybe I got around to his side of the bed faster this time. Same motions, slinging open drawers, looking at his clock, which again, reads dead on 5am. And again, it's not his clock.

Now, some of you may remember me telling you a few weeks ago that my parents brought a lot of my grandmother's things to me. Love letters, her wedding dress, birth certificate, all kinds of personal belonging from many, many years ago. They brought them to me in an old fashioned hat box that has been sitting in the corner of my bedroom on the floor since Thanksgiving. My plan is to buy a trunk to put all these things in, but it just hasn't happened yet. So there, in that dark corner, sits that hat box with all those items that belong to my Grandmother who is in heaven now.

All of a sudden, my body got as still as the night. I leaned over and eased back the top of that hat box. And the music stopped. Just stopped. I stood there. Frozen. Mims had finally shut his mouth. And he was sitting up in bed. Frozen. I looked at him and he looked at me. I backed away from the box, walked back to my side of the still damp bed, climbed in, and said "I don't want to talk about it" and closed my eyes.

This morning after we were all up, had our coffee and were alert and awake again, I was the first to bring it up. Zach is staring at me like I have four heads as I recited the story back, for the first time out loud. Mims is carrying on to Zach about being blinded in the middle of the night by the beside lamp and that his eyes are still on fire from the brightness of the light. And I am still just baffled.But I tell them both, tonight, I am setting the clock for 4:45am and we are going to wake up and sit there, and wait for it. Wait for the music to start at 5am. And catch it! Whatever it is...catch it!

All of sudden Mims says, where is my old cell phone? I said I have no idea where is it? He says I think I put it in my dresser drawer a few days ago, go get it please. I walk back to the bedroom, look in the drawer, take out the phone that is no longer in use, and bring it back to him. He hands it to Zach. Zach begins to push buttons and make faces and then begins to laugh. Now they are both laughing.

Apparently, even though you have another phone now, and your old phone is no longer in use, some of it's functions still work. Like the alarm. Like the alarm that had been set to MELODIC TUNES for your wake up call. AT 5AM.

For sometime now, I have not been "allowed" to read my scary novels at night anymore. It may be that come the New Year, my nighttime TV watching privileges will also be reduced. It seems my over active imagination has gone to places that no normal mind should go and my family may be planning an intervention.

Personally, I'm a little disappointed. I kind of liked the idea that my Grandmother was trying to talk to me through music in a hat box. However, I would have much rather it happened in the daylight, while i was completely awake, and with a little warning. Like a fly by from a beautiful butterfly, or at the very least, the sound of her beautiful laughter somewhere in the background of my mind.

But by golly, I am NOT crazy. I AM NOT CRAZY.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Bright Lights and Daydreams

Sitting here this morning, in my recliner, drinking my coffee and staring into the lights of the Christmas tree, my mind began to wander into all different directions. Initially my thought process was about what all I had to get done today and tomorrow. Some grocery shopping, Christmas shopping, washing clothes, and of course, cooking for these men in my house. Then my mind drifted into the coming week, the Fall Sports Banquet for Zach, our annual Girls Christmas Party for work, both of which I am cooking for, and of course, my crazy job and what chaos that is sure to bring.

Somehow my mind went to all the "lasts" the next six to eight months may bring as well. What lasts it has already brought.

Zach's football career is over. The Banquet this week will wrap up all those memories with an introduction, a few words, and a slide show. The week after, he will perform in his last Christmas Program with the high school Choir. It will be the last time I see all those oh so familiar faces, and their beautiful voices reaching to the sky for all to hear.

This may be one of the last Christmas's we are all together. Joshua will graduate with his Master's degree this Spring, and his plans are to leave Tuscaloosa, which is already five hours away, and move further up North for awhile. It's time for him to spread his wings even further, broaden his view of the world, and burst into the world of being a writer with all ten fingers creating words that will go off like flares and rock the world of readers everywhere.

Zach will turn eighteen years old this March. The next step into adulthood, his journey will take another fork in the road. He graduates high school in the Spring, college will begin in the Fall, and how long he decides to continue to live at home will depend on him and his immediate need for independence.

I'm just not sure I'm ready for all of that. I've gotten quite used to all the summer fun we are allowed to watch from the sidelines. Coolers full of fish and stories of rope swinging. Tales of girl watching from the front seat of a baby blue Chevrolet truck, Kornbread and Tater ruling St George Island. Frog gigging and dead frogs in freezers, stories for weeks AND weeks. And laughter, the endless laughter Zach and all his buddies provide every single time they grace my back door with their flip flop and boot filled feet.

I have sat here and thought too much, so much, that I had begun to get melancholy, so it was actually a relief when Mims came back inside from piddling in the yard and turned one of those dang Westerns on the television. Back to reality, the television being too loud (because he CANNOT HEAR), the dryer buzzer is going off, and I need to get up, shower and get dressed and ready for the what the rest of this day will bring.

Changes are bound to come. Some good, some not what we want or are ready for, and some needed for life to continue on in the cycle that was meant to be. I've been told all of my life, that there is a path made for us before we are ever able to walk it. Sometimes the pebbles and rocks along the way may cause us to stumble and fall, and sometimes, we may stray from the beaten walk that was meant to be, but somehow, most of us, always manage to find our way back again.

I'm sure all these changes a'coming are going to throw me for a loop. I'm also convinced I will not like them at all when they do. But with change comes new life. Renewed life and love of things we may have set to the side while we took charge of the life at hand. Maybe I'll find some of what I left behind, and learn how to do it all over again, even better than before. Maybe that's how it's all supposed to work anyway, to give us that second chance, to do it all again, so that we appreciate all that we left behind much more than when we had it the first time. Looking at everything with a more clear, and wiser vision, leaving those rose-colored glasses from our younger years behind. Knowing that the grass is still plenty green on this side of the fence and how lucky we are for another shot at enjoying what we were moving too fast to see clearly before. 

We only get this one life. Enjoy every single bit of it while you can. Whether it comes in two parts, three parts or one. Never take any of it for granted. And never make too big of a deal about the things you could have done without. Including Westerns playing too loud, ALL DAY LONG, on Saturday afternoons.