Milestones

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What would we have done if we had only eight fingers instead of ten? Would we have lost eight and nine and gone straight from seven to ten? How would we have marked significant milestones that we now note in terms of fives and tens?

These are the questions that popped in my head with so many milestones happening in these current months. I know… How fascinating is it to be inside my head?

Today I turn 43, a nice prime number. Divisible only by itself and one. But less than a month from now is the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation — something that requires five hands to count.

About the same time is the 20th anniversary of me tucking my tail between my legs, dropping out of grad school, and lighting a few bridges from Rock Hill to Greenville as I moved back home.

Then last month, this blog observed its tenth anniversary. No, you didn’t miss the party; I’ve been late throwing one.

Ten years ago, for the second time, I got shuffled out of the writing department at my job because The Powers That Be wanted production instead of creativity. When the creative department was all but dissolved, I got moved back to producing newsletters, again.

When emailing back and forth with a former coworker who had moved to Asheville, I noticed a link in his email signature. I clicked on it and wound up on his own website. I didn’t know it was called a blog, although it was hosted on this site called Blogger. I could have my own website. For free! I could post my own writing? Sign me up!

I felt energized and showed my new site to The Husband and shared my triumph about how I would show them.

And then The Husband said, “You can’t write about work on here?”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he is the big, fat safety pin to my floating, pink balloon.

“Wha-huh?” I asked.

“You start bitching about work on there and someone finds it and you’re fired.”

So with my bubble burst, I found other things to write about. I had a book of writing prompts, and that was a main source at the beginning. Eventually, I posted other stuff I’d written and talked about my struggles with writing my own fiction, but then this blog sort of turned into a chronicle of my life as well — when I had my gall bladder removed, when my grandmother passed, when I lost my job, when my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma, when our sweet dog, Domino passed, and when Dad lost his battle last summer. From the time I was a teenager, writing was an outlet for frustration and sadness. I suppose it should be no different now.

However, for my 43rd birthday, I have given myself a present. Last night, I posted a very early draft of a story on Wattpad. Yes, I’ve posted some of my own original work on this site before, but Wattpad has thousands of users who will see this story and be able to “like” it as well as comment on it. I have metaphorically split myself open for a public feast, and it’s pretty freakin’ scary.

Click here if you want to read it. It’s a young adult/teen fiction kind of thing, so if you have teenagers, they might like it as well. It’s got language (sorry, Mom). I’d give it a strong PG-13.

It’s a present and a commitment to myself that by the time my 44th birthday rolls around, I will have finished a rough draft of this book that I will edit and eventually put up for sale as an ebook. Because screw the whole traditional process of getting published. I’m tired of waiting.

And I’m sure as hell not getting any younger.

Because I Forgot to Get a Card

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Nanny-2014

To the woman who packs a week early for a two-night Thanksgiving stay…

To the woman who is a breast cancer survivor…

To the woman who just cannot get enough Gaither videos or The Waltons episodes…

To the woman who found a way to carry on after her husband’s passing more than 27 years ago…

To the woman who has a little bit of ice cream for breakfast on Saturday mornings…

To one of the strongest, funniest, classiest women I know…

I say, “Happy 87th birthday, Nanny!”

The Mother’s Day Birthday

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Mother’s Day tradition: Lunch with Mom, my aunts, and grandmother

Every five or six years, my birthday falls on Mother’s Day. I was actually born on Friday, May 12, 1972, and back in those days — just after the invention of the light bulb but before epidurals became common practice — hospitals kept patients longer than a minute, so my mom was still in the hospital on Mother’s Day.

When this phenomenon happens, we’ll do the Mother’s Day thing and my birthday thing just with my parents and brother, and I’ll do any other birthday celebrating — as in the imbibing of beverages with friends — on another day. If I had had kids, I suppose I would know how those with birthdays on Christmas feel, but as it stands, the dog and the cat can’t shower me with Mother’s Day fabulousness, so all that goes to my mom.

She deserves it all because while growing up, Mom actually cooked a lot of her own Mother’s Day dinners. Then when my brother (almost two years younger than I) graduated from high school, she all but announced she was done cooking nightly dinners and every Sunday. A common statement of hers this time of year is, “Do y’all want to come over for dinner Sunday? I figure I need to cook one more time before it gets too hot.”

I don’t mind sharing my birthday because I have a close relationship with my mom (or at least until she reads that previous paragraph). Yes, we have had our arguments. Yes, she has called me by my full name (as a kid). You won’t find a mother-daughter duo who has not experienced troubled times, but for us those times have been few and far between.

I’ve been lucky in that respect. Before everyone had work email, I called Mom almost every night — so often, in fact, when The Husband and I first started dating and I told him I was calling my mom, he asked, “What’s wrong?”

I hate to see friends who don’t have close relationships with their parents — mother or father. These two people are responsible for bringing a life into this world, and for some reason, whether it’s in or out of their control, they’re unable to nurture this life to its full potential.

However, the parent-child relationship works both ways, and I have known some people and situations where the strained parent-child dynamic got there from both sides. (I’d like to stress that I am saying “some,” thereby NOT generalizing!) Some children accuse their parents of expecting too much, but other children do the same to their parents. When I say “children” here, I mean adult children — the ones who should be capable of recognizing that their parents are human beings and make mistakes.

That realization doesn’t hit everyone at the same age, but one day you do realize that your parents are not perfect, and you know what? That’s not the end of the world.

Well, not always, I suppose. We all know too well of instances where the parents are serious contenders for Worst Parent Ever. There will always be relationships that are beyond repair — the addicts who won’t get help, the criminals who continue to break the law, the selfish who never compromise with loved ones.

Every relationship has to have that compromise — that give and take — and every relationship has one who’s more of the giver than the taker. In families, especially mine, the givers have been my parents, and in recognition of their sacrifices, in celebration of their unconditional love, I don’t mind letting Mother’s Day overshadow my birthday.

One day, hopefully multiple decades from now, my birthday falling on Mother’s Day will become a bittersweet combination, so my plans are to see Mom today.

And we are making my brother cook Sunday dinner for us.