2013, The Year of Inspiration

ImageI’ve always thought of inspiration as something kind of corn ball. A cheesy emotion one only gets from Broadway musicals or gift books in the checkout aisle. It’s disconcerting sometimes that “so-called” inspiration is so easily passed on and pinned that it loses meaning in the translation.

Inspiration can, at times, be embarrassing. It’s hard to admit when things move you for fear that someone else will think the sentiment trite. Inspiration is so personal, letting your guard down to let it in can be a challenge. But challenges can be good, right?

Those who follow my other blog will know I’ve been busy. Busy going back to work full-time. Busy raising the bub. Busy trying to be a good wife. Busy trying to take care of parents reaching a turning point and offer guidance to sisters looking for life changes. I’ve not always been good at any of these things. Falling short like we all do. Missing meaning when it smacks me in the face.

In the coming year, I’m going to need to dig deep and find new sources of emotional bandwidth. I’m going to need to be stronger for myself and those around me. Simply put, I’m going to need to “hold it in the road.” And holding it in the road calls for more inspiration than ever.

Unabashed inspiration.

Sometimes the only way to save ourselves is to let the light in, no matter how humiliating it might be. Hello 2013. Let’s see what you’ve got.

The Game of Life

Man, oh, man how I wish I could start over. I know that in my heart of hearts that’s not really the case, but it’s sad that as a human being, I’ve only just begun to understand the world and my place within it. As a nearly-40-year-old who has made her share of mistakes, I wish I could go back and talk to my almost-20-year-old self and tell her to not be so afraid. I really mourn all the things I might have accomplished if my two selves had summoned that conversation all those years ago. If I’d known the rules of the game in advance.

Now, I’m no longer afraid, but part of the hassle of growing old is having to constantly convince yourself that it’s not too late, even as society tells you otherwise. You have to be your own cheerleader and build the strength everyday to keep a smile on and forge ahead.

YAY ME!

The point is, life is reality great, and the key to winning the game is always keeping that in mind, no matter how close to losing it seems you are.

 

 

 

 

New Year, Same Old Me

Happy 2012, all!

I’m using the term happy, but it’s not really all that happy. I’m just trying to stay upbeat. So, I’m not really sad, but I’m not happy. I guess you could say I’m… optimistic. Those of you who followed my previous blog know I talked a lot about my family. A few summers ago, my mother almost died and shortly thereafter, my grandmother almost died. Now, months later, it looks like Granna might be on the cusp of the end again.

97 years is a long time to stick around and wait out the inevitable.

So we are all hoping and wishing and sending love down south to Virginia, where my angel of a grandmother lies in a hospital deciding whether it’s time to go or if she’d like to be around a while longer.

As for the rest of my family, my sister was in a wreck that left her with some temporary problems, but ended up exposing the fact that she has a few aneurysms in her brain. Or as she likes to call them, the “twins”.

She’s funny like that.

She’ll be having surgery in the next month or two to extract said twins. And then, when my grandmother does finally decide to leave us, that will open up a whole other can of worms as far as my mom’s concerned that will need to be sorted out. Good times ahead, folks.

That and I’m working on writing my second book while shopping around my first book to publishers in New York, which isn’t going so great. But like I said, I’m trying to stay optimistic.

2012 is going to be full of activity and surprises, that’s for sure.

One thing you can count on is my hanging around here more. And all you Instagram users out there, follow me @vintagekidsbooks for a visual medley of all things to come.

I’m ready 2012. Bring it on!

It’s raining

What is it about the rain and the quiet that makes everything so contemplative? Somehow I’ve managed to steal the better part of the morning for myself. I sit here considering the damp sky, feeling more content than I’ve felt in years, but the reality that a sadness or two is working its way into the holiday season keeps creeping up.

Coming from a family of women with intense feelings and reactions, I always promise myself that I won’t make a fuss. That I’ll be the rock. The voice of reason in stormy seas. But the fact is, that when the pain arrives, it’s hard to ignore. Especially when it comes barreling out of nowhere at speeds that would leave a freight train blushing.

Right now is the unknown calm. The time to luxuriate in the lack of facts and feelings, and let the natural course of mood sweep me away.

Today is a good day, even if tomorrow looms closer than I’d like.

 

Boyfriend Music

I am one of those girls who always dated boys who loved music. I spent the bulk of my youth and young adulthood following behind one boy or another at the record store while they spent hours flipping through LPs. I love music, but I’ve always been a follower. Allowing boyfriends to introduce and enlighten rather than go seeking for myself.

Girls do this sometimes.

When you have a child, you have to step up to the plate and pass off being the inspired to someone else. You have hours and days in house with a little person to musically inform and every note you put into their heads sticks. You have to dance, like, all the time. And if you have a boy, you have to let him know that it’s OK to dance. That that’s how you get girls to like you.

Music is the ultimate aphrodisiac. The one thing we all have in common. The one inspiration, above all others, that is never ending. There will always be music in everything.

Forever. No matter who the boy is.

Ghost Boy

Relationships. Everyone has one or more. Your relationship with your dog. Your relationship with your child. Your relationship with your mailman (mine’s seen me naked, by the way). Your relationship with your parents. Your relationship with your neighbors. The lady who sells you coffee. The men who empty your garbage. The woman who lives across the street who you’ve never spoken, too. The old man down the road who scoops popcorn straight into your child’s trick or treat bag.

I’ve always been really great at relationships, for the most part. Every blue moon I get one tremendously wrong, but for the better part of my life I’ve built relationships that were long and lasting.

I am still friends with my best friend in first grade.

I am very close to the five major boyfriends of my life, starting with the first when I was 15.

I send Christmas cards to my childhood nanny.

I’ve spent 12 years with a man who loves me despite the fact that I talk ALL THE TIME, a good portion of which includes copious amounts of self-flagellation.

But still, I stumble.

Yesterday, I was standing on the edge of a major freak out, when I extracted my son (the Bub) from school for 40 minutes to get him sealers at the dentist. My son, who spent the entire time worrying (outloud) if the laughing gas he was huffing would get him in trouble at school. It seemed we were gone for the mere blink of an eye, but upon our return, I was informed that the Bub had missed being in the class picture and even though the photographer was still in house for two days, the Bub’s teacher was not, so there was no way to redo.

Now, why as a mother, I would allow this to crush me, I have no idea?

But it did, kinda.

I do everything I can to get everything right with him, and considering he has not missed a second of school all year, I thought it absolutely insane that the 40 minutes he would miss would be the 40 minutes that would include being immortalized in his class picture. The photo that would cement hours of future Facebook fodder.

So, I called my husband (the Hub). And cried. And that, somehow, turned into a fight. I hung up. I walked. I cried some more. I turned my phone off. I followed our relationship down the road. Wondering what I could do different. Wondering how I could make him change. How I could make myself change.

Thinking about my little boy, the ghost missing from the picture.

The day pressed on. I felt better. The HUB arrived home and all was discussed and solved. The dam spackled. Make up kisses.

I slept and woke up determined to always be courteous. Always be better.

I dressed the Bub in a swanky navy turtleneck… I walked him to school. I marched right up to the photographer and asked if he could take a picture of the Bub and Photoshop it in. I watched as the Bub stood smiling, standing at the corner of an empty set of bleachers flanked by the American flag and the Texas flag.

Say cheese.

Flash.

Happy.

Everything can be fixed.

Invisibility Cloak

My son assured me this morning that it was pajama day at his elementary school, but as we walked closer and closer to school and saw more and more children’s decidedly NOT dressed for nighty night, I started to panic. I asked him if he would be totally freaked out if we got to school and he was the only one in his jammies, and he confidently said, NO. He is still in full command of his positive self-image.

How awesome would it be if everyone lived like that?

Seeing as I walk my son to school every day in the garb I slept in, I can see he’s picked up on my fashion sense. Sometimes I remember to put on lipstick so the other parents won’t think me a complete hobo. Most of the time, not. There is a part of me that appreciates high fashion and clothes and costumes, but there is an even bigger part of me that thinks it is all ridiculous. I have a hunch that many of my fellow villagers, particularly those of the female variety, scoff at my attire. Perhaps I’m even the butt of a few jokes around town. Why knows.

One only need to think of oneself as INVISIBLE to ward off the evil notions of a few busy-bodies.

Now you see me, now you d–……

Ho Ho Ho

I know lots of people hate the fact that Christmas stuff goes up earlier and earlier in stores every year. I happen to love Christmas, so this has never really bothered me. Any excuse to get the holiday started should be celebrated in my book. But even I was taken aback this past weekend when I rounded the corner of the Halloween section in Target and was met head-on with an entire row of Christmas lights and animated lawn reindeer. Mildly annoyed, but mainly delighted, I took the light display as a cue that it’s never too early, and I might as well take advantage of the toy sale going on two aisles over. Never you mind that this means I have to spend two extra months hiding said toys… the $10 savings was worth the potential security breach, right? (And yes, I know that the sinister marketers at Target knew I would do exactly that. Sneaky bastards!)

Later when we got home, I forced my family to watch ELF and cried at the end when the cast sang Santa Claus is Coming to Town, even as our boxes of Halloween decorations sat unopened in the other room.

It was wrong, I know, but it felt so right.

Merry Christmas everyone!

First Grade

For six years I blogged about my son over on Scribbling in San Antonio, and as you all know, I gave it  up this summer before he went into first grade for fear of too-much-information. You also know I’ve struggled with not talking about him because, hell, I might be a writer, a wife, and a human being — but once I became a mother, those more exciting parts of myself shrank down considerably. So much so that I often need a magnifying glass just to see myself in the mirror. If I wear my heart on my sleeve, I wear my son squarely on my face. I see so much of myself in him and likewise, that I’m totally lost without him.

I don’t know why I thought first grade would bring some kind of eternal freedom. That out of sight would mean out of mind. That he would start elementary school, and we’d all live happily ever after.

Little did I know it would simply be the beginning of my own personal hell.

Days spent worrying and fighting the rabid butterflies in my stomach. Lunch times wasted going over to school just to make sure he’s OK. And the thing is, I think he’s handling school very well. It’s me who has the problem.

I keep telling myself that if it weren’t for these damn spelling tests, everything would be fine.

See, my son is a daydreamer with an artist’s spirit. He’s very bright and work comes easily to him, that is, when he wants to do it. Like myself, he often tunes things that he finds uninteresting out. He often talks to himself in class and doesn’t listen to the teacher. A spelling test he aces at the dinner table with me the night before, when taken for real, is perfect half way through and then at some point turns into hobbly gobbly. I understand this about my son and try and respect the beautiful, creative spirit that he is, but at the same time feel violently frustrated that he just can’t focus. I’m reading the books and talking to his GT teacher, but still, it’s hard to shut off that part of your brain that wants your child to succeed in the traditional sense of the word. For him to validate how smart you know he is.

So I’m learning. I’m learning to let go. Ultimately, raising a child who leaves home with his beautiful mind fully intact is the most important thing, not the D he got on a spelling test in the first grade. He is all the things that frustrate me about myself. He’s all the wonderful things, and more, but we are two peas in a pod, so his struggles are my own. I don’t want to lose him to school and homework and grades. I know that is not who he is no matter what the report card might tell me. Maybe I was naive to think public school could give him what he needs. Maybe he already has everything he needs and I need to back off and love him for what he is. Maybe it’s a combination of all these things.

Maybe it’s not that I need to be a better mother.

Maybe I need to be a better soul mate.

I’m trying.