Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Keep it up.

The other day (maybe yesterday? I don't know. I have too many jobs and I'm tired) I posted a picture on Instagram. It was me in my bathing suit.

Scandalous, right? I know.

Except not really. It was just a picture. I almost didn't post it because I don't like how saggy my legs are and I don't like my Mammaw flaps (you know the old joke...when your Mammaw waves her arms just keep on going. Ha ha. Whatever). I decided to post it anyway. I like the picture. I've lost 210lbs. I should be allowed to be proud of that, no matter how many times I've tried to talk myself out of it.

I got a lot of nice comments. They made me happy. I know a lot of really nice people and for that I am very thankful.

One person I don't know commented "Keep it up".

I'm sure they meant in a nice way. Well, they probably did. I can't see any reason why they wouldn't. But it just seems like...I don't know.

I've talked about this before. I'm sure people don't mean, "Keep going, you still look like s**t and you need lots more work!" Well, some do. I've been the recipient of some pretty mean comments over the years. Most of them don't really have anything to do with my weight. I've found that it doesn't really matter what a woman weighs, someone will find fault with it. The internet makes people really brave. They say things they probably wouldn't say in real life (however, I've been also been the recipient of some pretty evil commentary directly to my face).

But when people say "Keep it up" or "Keep going", I'm honest to God not sure what they mean.

Like, do you think I still need to lose more weight? Because I'm probably not going to.

No really. I think I'm done. I think maintaining is probably what I should be doing now. Could I lose more weight? I don't know. Maybe. Do I want to? I don't think I do. I think I'm okay.

Maybe they are looking at my legs and thinking, JESUS GOD WORK ON THAT. Hint: I think that too. Without surgery, I don't know how much more I can do. I can leg press over 200lbs. Which is crazy. An old man at the gym told me I was a badass and I actually believed him. That's a lot. That's heavy. I used to carry that around on my body. It makes me feel weird. I can't lift weights that heavy. Yet. I lift a lot of weight though. I work on my flabby arms. I try. The skin is there. It just hangs there. I don't think it will ever go away.

Maybe they say those things because they think they are positive and encouraging. I like to think that's the reason. I also like to think...what is my alternative? It's sort of like when people congratulated me for being a mom and carrying on and stuff when my first husband walked out on me when I was pregnant. It also made me uncomfortable because really? I mean...really? What else was I supposed to do? I had to go on. I had to keep going. I had to do better.

My therapist tells me that not everyone thinks the way I do. That lots and lots of people just don't try and just give up.

I don't know. I think we all just do the best we can do. That's probably the dirty hippie in me.

There really isn't a point to this post. I don't even know why I wrote it. I'm just trying to process things I guess.

It's easier to change your body than your mind. I'm finding this out.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pomp and Circumstance

Today is graduation day. The first of what I hope will be many graduation days for the two beautiful wild-hearted babes I get to call mine.

It's an ending. It's a beginning too.

It's a celebration. A celebration not only because two sweet, hard-working kids are graduating, but also because they beat the odds. Two little babes who were born too soon are fighters. Survivors. Because a little boy who had to be tutored so he wouldn't fail Kindergarten is walking across the stage today with a 3.9 GPA as a NC Academic Scholar and a little girl who prefers solitude (and the company of her brother) now writes and performs plays in front of countless people, including her many, many friends.

They didn't have the easiest time of it. Biological father who walked away before they were even born. Health struggles. Five different schools before high school. Bullying over stupid nonsense. Inherited depression and anxiety. 

They bore it all with grace and dignity. With kind hearts and open minds. With love and compassion for their fellow humans, even when that love and compassion was not earned or deserved. 

They are my children. They are my heart. 

Today we are celebrating.

Quietly, internally, I am celebrating myself too. Today is their day and will never be anything otherwise, but today? Today I am remembering long, sleepless nights. I am remembering prayers sometimes whispered and sometimes angrily screamed at a God who somehow gave me exactly what I always wanted and needed, even if the packaging wasn't at all what I expected. I am remembering, as a very young woman, praying for "just one". Just one baby, even though I was never supposed to be able to. Please God, just one.

It just now occurs to me, after all these years, that it was just one.

Just one boy. 

Just one girl.

Two little hearts that were everything I ever wanted. God has a wonderful way of working these things out I guess.

Today, I look back at the scared, broke, broken, 22 year-old pregnant young woman who didn't know how she would be able to afford diapers. Who had almost no education. Who had no job. Whose husband walked away. Who was terrified and depressed and utterly beaten down. Who had literally nothing to live for except those two little brown-eyed babies. 

I say to her, "Mama...you did okay."

Today is a good day. Today is a happy day. Today I am honored and humbled that there are many people all over this country and even all over other countries that are thinking of my children and wishing them well. Who have never even met them, but feel like they've watched them grow up. Who will be cheering just as loud when I write a sappy blog about their college graduation. If you are one of those people, I thank you. I appreciate you. You have silently lifted all of us more times than we deserve.

Today is about my children. The ones you know so well.

My son Jonathan. 

My daughter Megan. 

I am so proud I feel my heart might explode.

Happy Graduation day. I love you so very, very much.

Monday, May 30, 2016


My children are graduating high school in just a few days. My emotions have been...all over the place. To put it kindly.

It's not just my children, it's a lot of other things. In the grand scheme of things, it's mostly facing the fact that my only two children are growing up that is causing me to be unable to sleep at night, but if I'm being honest, there are other things too. I don't blog much about the other things and some of the things I don't blog about at all, but sometimes I feel like I have to say these things exist so people don't sprain their eyes while rolling them at me for being so overly dramatic about things that everyone has to go through. Not that I care as much about what other people think anymore. Being forty has been very liberating for me.

A few nights ago I had a massive breakdown about a large variety of things. The biggest of these things is regret.

I have so, so, so many regrets.

I used to say that I regretted marrying my first husband, but didn't regret my kids. Recently, in a moment of reflection I realized I didn't regret marrying my first husband at all. Was he a good husband? No. Did I get the absolute right kids for me? Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Forever yes.

I can't regret something that caused me to get exactly what I wanted, even if getting there was pretty excruciating at times. However, there are many things I do regret.

-I regret taking so long to get healthy. I regret eating my feelings instead of dealing with them. I regret setting a poor example for my children.

That's actually more than one thing, but it all kind of smooshes together in my mind.

I remember the doctor telling me what I weighed the day I gave birth. It was a huge number, much higher than I ever imagined. I has toxemia and I was pretty sure my weight would go way down after all the fluid went away.

It did. However, I spent many years self-medicating with chocolate and my highest weight (that I know of, I avoided scales for quite some time) was sixty pounds heavier than the number my doctor told me that day. SIXTY. Sixty pounds MORE than a day when I had two infants and pounds and pounds of fluid in my body. Let that sink in for a minute.

I'm angry at myself for not dealing with my life. I don't think weight is a moral issue in any way, I wasn't "bad" for being fat or whatever. I just think that for me that was the wrong path. I wasn't dealing with my life.

My children have had mixed reactions on this. My daughter is an amazingly balanced eater, even for an eighteen year old. She literally follows the 80/20 rule in her life, eating eighty percent good food and twenty percent crap. She works at a fast food restaurant known for their greasy (delicious) fried chicken and straight from Heaven biscuits and her meals while at work generally consist of a grilled chicken breast, green beans and...a biscuit. Just one.

My son on the other hand completely shuns sugar, bread, potatoes, pasta and generally everything else I shun. Won't drink anything except water. This would be totally fine if he wasn't eighteen, still growing, already six foot two and weighing in at a whopping 120lbs. With shoes on.

I'm glad he listens to me and respects my opinion, but I sometimes wish he'd do it about other things and not just food. Because, frankly, the boy needs some carbs.

I wish I had provided a more balanced example over the years.

-I wish I hadn't argued with my husband so much.

My husband and I are so ridiculously in love with each other that this seems silly. Now. Things weren't always this way. In fact, the first several years of marriage were...difficult. To say it kindly.

Two strong-headed people falling in love and getting married is really freaking hard. The only good thing I can say about that is that thankfully we were both super stubborn and hung in there because I really love being married to him now (and I've always, ALWAYS loved him). However, my kids have witnessed some very ugly fights between us and I really, really, REALLY regret that.

-I wish my social awkwardness hadn't prevented my children from having a tribe

Okay, honestly? All of us (except Jason who could have a fascinating conversation with a lamp post) are huge introverts. Being around people for long periods of time is actually exhausting for me. It's exhausting for my children too.

I'm one of those people who are better on paper than in real life. I'm backward. I'm awkward. I have trouble making friends. Clearly.

I think people like me once they get to know me, but honestly? I'm not that easy to get to know. My children have suffered because of this...because of my inability to make or keep friends. I don't feel like there are enough people in this world who have my children's back and it hurts my heart. Hard.

-I wish I hadn't worked so much

That's hard for me to type as honestly my entire life I've felt like working is a virtue to be admired. It is. Working and supporting your family is a good thing. I probably didn't need to take it to extremes.

-I wish I hadn't worried so much

Things are going to happen. They just are. We only have so much control. I've wasted so much time worrying about things that either happened or didn't. My worry had no effect on the outcomes.

I can't turn back time. Today with a clearer head, I realize and accept I can only move forward and try to navigate the beautifully different relationship I have with my two adult children. I can't beat myself up over the past and I can't have a re-do, no matter what.

Still. If you are reading this today and have more time? More vacations. More laughing. Less worry. Take care of yourself, love yourself. Take pictures of every bit of it and find your people.

Trust me.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hot mess

Have you seen this video? It made me laugh.

I would probably be the mom who made the muffins, to be honest. I freaking love to bake things. I wouldn't make any other moms feel bad though. That's not my style.

I was reminded of this video this morning as I drove my daughter to an appointment (two kids sharing one car is usually awesome, but sometimes painful) and I said to her, and I swear this is true, "What time does school start anyway?"

She's a Senior. She's been at this school for four years now. I literally have no idea what time school starts. Unless you count the general "early" (which I don't count that. At all).

She laughed when she told me. She's used to my crap by now.

I told her I was sorry. That was probably something I should actually know. That I try really hard to be a decent parent, but certain things just sort of escape me.

She laughed again and said, and I might not forget this for the rest of my life,

"Good thing you get the things that actually matter."

It may just be her Senioritis talking, but man that made me feel awesome.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

For all the broken moms out there.

I see you.

I get you.

I officially became a mother on 3/21/1998. Really I became a mother months before that, the first time I felt a little flutter in my stomach that I soon learned was actually two babies. Every day of my life since then I've worried that I'm not good enough. That I'm failing.

My husband left me when I was pregnant. I couldn't manage to keep a husband. Somehow, by default maybe, I figured it should be easier to keep a husband than to keep two small children alive. Naturally I was quite worried about my abilities.

I couldn't stay pregnant for nine months.

I couldn't give birth naturally.

I couldn't breast feed.

For months I drove around with two little carseats in the back of my car feeling an inordinate amount of fear that someone, somewhere was going to stop me and take them away because I clearly had no business being their mother. I didn't deserve them. I didn't know what I was doing. I wasn't doing anything right.

I am one of the broken moms. One of those women who just want to do better. Who don't want their anxiety and failings and depression and stress and worry to translate into pain for their children. Who want a better life for their babies. Who want to right all the wrongs of the past.

I was twenty-two. My daughter is now eighteen and I look at her like the helplessly trying beautiful creature she absolutely is. She has no idea. I cannot imagine her having a child in four years, much less two children at the same time. Dogs? Certainly. Not people. Not human beings.

I didn't know what I was doing at twenty-two.

I'm forty now. I still don't know.

I've managed to keep them alive and that's a positive. They are smart and funny and wise beyond their years. I am the first call they make with good news or bad. We discuss politics and religion (loudly) and we laugh. Oh, how we laugh.

I still don't feel like I deserve them. I still feel like I'm going to be found out. I still feel broken.

They aren't broken though. They aren't. That's where things are different.

I think every mom, every single one of us, has at some point felt like we were getting it all wrong. Some of us have it harder than others, and I think while it's important to respect that, at the end of the day? We're all just moms. We're all just doing our best.

If you are broken, like me, I want to tell you something.

I think you're amazing.

I think the fact that you get up every morning and try again is amazing. I think that even if you are suffering and you are working really hard to ensure your child or children doesn't suffer the same way, you are amazing.If your experience in life was less than stellar and you want to do whatever you can to ensure your child doesn't go down the same road, you are amazing.

It's okay to say you are broken. That doesn't mean you are bad or wrong or anything else. It just means you got punched in the boob a few times and...you kept going.

I salute you, broken moms. Someday your unbroken children will salute you too.

Happy Mother's Day.