The One About Borrowing Trouble

This morning my oldest was on her way back to college.  She was going straight to work first, and then classes after lunch.  She was doing fine until she felt like something was hitting her back tire.

She told me, “I don’t know.  I think something might have happened in that driveway last night.  I thought I had run off in the ditch, even though I hadn’t, because that last storm washed it out so badly.”

I asked her where she was, and she told me.  She was about twenty-five minutes away from me.  I immediately starting rearranging my day in my mind–I could get to her and get her to work, just a little bit late, but then she’d need to be driven from downtown where she works back across town to her college campus.  Four hours later.  Not exactly fitting in with my schedule, but I was determined we could figure it out.  And then I started worrying about who to take the vehicle to, wondering how serious it was, how much it would cost, how long it would take. She needs a vehicle to get to and from work at the very least…..

Then the thought immediately followed, conjuring up the scenario of a tire about to blow.  Realizing she was on the interstate and how ugly that could be…..

“Wait.  Is it doing it consistently?  This feeling?”

“Well, not when I go twenty, but when I get up to forty, yes, constantly.”

Forty?  On the interstate?

“I think you need to check it.  Now.  But be careful.”

She exited the interstate and went into a Zaxby’s parking lot because “it was closed and didn’t look ‘sketch.'”  I love her criteria for stopping points.

She got out, and I held my breath.  “Well, I know what it is,” she sighed, frustrated.

Oh me. “What? What’s wrong?”

“Well somehow my backpack strap got caught in the door and is hanging out hitting my back tire.  I can’t even right now.”

While she berated herself, I laughed.  And laughed.  To the point I was nearly in tears.

Tears of relief.  Tears of gratitude.  And tears of realizing how silly I had been.

When Daddy was first admitted to the hospital and moved up to Emory and had a brain biopsy done and our world was falling apart and he was diagnosed with an extremely rare and atypical form of lymphoma, his mantra was: “We’re not going to go borrowing trouble.”

And looka there, Daddy, at what I did this morning.

I was borrowing all kinds of trouble.

Over a backpack strap.

I don’t know how often I do it, but I am sure I’ve made my Daddy shake his head many a time since he left this world, and I am sure this morning was one such occasion.  I can just about see him sitting there in his chair, shaking his head, cocking his mouth to one side and grinning, “See? Didn’t I tell you?  Don’t. Borrow. Trouble.”

Yessir.  You told me.

And I’ll try to do better. Next time.  And the time after that.

A backpack strap, y’all.  I was so relieved, I was almost giddy.

May you find yourselves, in the face of the unknown, able to stay afloat–steady and safe–and row away from the waters of borrowing trouble.  Nothing good is over there, and it’s rarely as bad as what we imagine.  Thankfully so.

Love to all.

Bubba, the Lamb, and the Raspberries

A week or so ago I promised a story about my lamb Raspberry.  And so, true to my word, here it is.

Years ago, when I was 12 or so, I was in 4-H.  One of the activities we could participate in was raising a sheep for show.  I was all for it, and my Daddy was willing to help me, so we went to the auction.  The lamb I got had an 8 painted on his back, so I thought about calling him Eight Ball.  (My only friend with a two-story house also had a pool table, so I knew stuff–yessiree.)

After getting him home and in the pen Daddy had fashioned for him, my siblings were introduced.  My little brother Bubba, who was maybe 3 or 4, was fascinated with the gentle creature.  He helped me bathe him and lead him around with the rope.

One day Bubba came in the house with a couple of raspberries in his sweaty little hand.  He had picked them from the bushes out in the side yard–another 4-H project I think.  He offered them to Mama as a gift.  As she plucked them from his hand, she gushed with appreciation.  “Aren’t you kind to pick these and bring them to me?  What a sweet gift from a sweet boy.”  And then she popped them in her mouth and ate them with exaggeration, oohing and mmmmming.

“Oh good,” Bubba said, “’cause the lamb didn’t want them.”

Yep, turned out he’d offered those same berries to my lamb, who sniffed and mouthed at them but decided better of it.

And then my sweet Mama took my little brother in her arms, hid her disgusted face, hugged him and said, “Thank you very much for thinking of me.”

Ahem.

Bless her.

And from that moment on that story became part of our family lore, and the lamb who wanted none of the red jeweled berries earned that as his moniker.

Raspberry.

I miss my Mama.  You could give her a rock (and we often did), and she’d act like it was the greatest treasure on earth.  And no telling how many bookmarks I made her over the years, and she loved–and used–every single one of them.

Because she loved me.

That’s a big legacy to live up to.

May we all have someone who finds delight in whatever we have to offer, no matter how big or small, beautiful or not, previously “nibbled” or whatever–just loves it because they love us.

Love to all.

Raspberry and me--after he became Raspberry.

Raspberry and me–after he became Raspberry.

Why I Stay Put

My Mama often said, “Good things come to those who wait.”

She also said, “It never hurts to ask.  Better to ask than to assume.”

Both of those came into play today.  It’s Shaker’s birthday.  So today we were celebrating this little guy who is one of his cousins’ best buds.  Our crew along with Mess Cat, Leroy, and Shaker had a celebratory meal and then headed over to the movie theater to see the Minions movie.

Minions

Because you can’t have a real party without Minions.  I mean, look at them.  Adorable.

I don’t like to get up until the credits are done.  My people know that.  And yet, I found myself leaning to see around Cooter, who was standing in front of me as soon as the movie finished, wanting to head on out.  That was about the time that silliness ensued on the screen between credit listings.

Was it pertinent to the movie plot?  No.  But it was fun.  And I loved it.

Then it went to the more technical credits, when everything usually is over.  But I learned a long time ago, with “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” NEVER EVER leave before there is nothing but black on the screen and the cleanup crew is standing there waiting.   (Remember after EVERYTHING ELSE was over, Ferris popping onto the screen and chastising us? “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.”  Classic.)

It was actually the cleanup staff who clued us in today.  When the silly part was over and the technical–very small type–credits were rolling, I compromised and we all got up and walked out.  As we got to the door, I looked to the four young people standing there with trash can, broom, and dustpan in hand.  On a whim, I asked, “Was that the end?  Is it over?”

A young woman with a sweet smile shook her head.  “No ma’am, they come back for one more song.  You’re welcome to stay if you’d like.”

Well.  How about that?

Some of our bunch didn’t have it in them to head back in, but the rest of us did.

I hate to think I’m missing out on anything.  I might have a problem.

It took a while–to the point where I began to wonder if maybe they were talking about the silliness from before.  And then, just when I was about to give up, the song started playing.

Was it mind-blowingly awesome? Eh.

But it was cute.  And entertaining.  And worth our staying put for.

I also have a thing about getting every bit of my money’s worth.  Right down to the last second of laughs.

So if you find yourself at the theater, and you decide to stay put and see if there’s something more, you can come sit by me and we’ll wait together.  But if you are doubtful or in a hurry, feel free to ask the staff.  I’ve found that they always know and are quite kind about sharing the intel they’ve gained.

May your patience in waiting bring you all the good things.

Love to all.

The Change

“But, if I change it…..it could be upsetting to some people.  I don’t want to be remembered as the one who changed everything and messed it all up.”

Oh my heart.  When I heard this bright and vibrant, creative, and smart young woman say these words a few days ago, it hurt my heart.

Which probably is surprising to those who know me well.

I’m all about traditions.  It’s kind of my thing.

Change not so much.

My Daddy used to say be careful of doing something around me–if I liked it, it would become tradition, and then there was no getting out of it.

He was pretty much right.  I love the traditions of watching the Macy’s parade all the way through Santa waving, our Easter Egg and Turkey Egg Hunts each year, and doing things the same year after year in honor of the way it’s always been done.

However, and I’m pretty sure I can remember my Mama saying this, “Just because it’s always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it always should be done that way.”

In other words, the world needs change.

From time to time anyway.

I think about how things would be very, very different in our world if no one ever looked at changing anything.  I mean, all of the best inventions and ideas came from folks thinking of how to change something…..for the better.

Yes.  I just said that.

I love traditions.  I love the old ways of doing things sometimes.  But you also won’t see me out washing our clothes “by the crick” or on a washboard.  Neither will you see me sit down and longhand all of the stories I want to leave behind.  Or do my own butchering or bathe just on Saturday nights.

Some changes are really, really good.  Like cars and airplanes and cancer research centers and museums and new ways to eat healthy.  Or learning how to educate children with learning barriers.  Or how to help people who have lost limbs walk again.  Or opening doors to people which have always been closed before.  Or loving others who were thought unlovable.

Change can do wonderful things.

And yes, I said that too.

So, my young friend, think it through and make your changes.  Some will be well received, some not so much.  Some will work well, and some might not.  But the thinking and dreaming and trying to change things–those are so important for us all to grow and learn and become better and better.

May we all be able to open our hearts to dreaming and changing what we can.  What do you feel like changing?  May you find the courage and strength to make it so.

Love to all.

that day

well it certainly isn’t like I don’t know that day is coming
soon
but I really admire the ostriches and how they address things such as this
burying their heads,
long necks stretched out at such an angle–
that takes skill and precision too, you know
so it’s not like I’m taking the easy way out
by doing the same and
ignoring the fact
that day
will come

I’d much rather plug my ears and sing the “lalalalalalas” of childhood
the tune that kept out all of the things I didn’t want to hear–
sad, silly, unhappy, secrets, scary stories–
than to listen and think through all the whereupons and what for’s of
that day
which is coming

so if you see me out in the yard, seemingly sunning myself in
a convoluted position, tail feathers to the sky
know that I’m merely holding on to the last remnant of hope
and denial
that maybe that day
won’t come
after all

at least not soon

and now, upon reading, I discover the ostriches’ coping is a myth
they are merely digging holes
with their beaks
to make a nest

I could do that too–
only if I could build it and then stay
there
tucked away from the hard things in life
the brokenness, pain, and heartbreak
sitting there, safe
in a place where
hopefully
that day can never reach me
and change my world forever

"Struthio camelus -Eastern Cape -South Africa-8" by Graham - originally posted to Flickr as IMG_0642. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Struthio_camelus_-Eastern_Cape_-South_Africa-8.jpg#/media/File:Struthio_camelus_-Eastern_Cape_-South_Africa-8.jpg

“Struthio camelus -Eastern Cape -South Africa-8” by Graham – originally posted to Flickr as IMG_0642. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Struthio_camelus_-Eastern_Cape_-South_Africa-8.jpg#/media/File:Struthio_camelus_-Eastern_Cape_-South_Africa-8.jpg

Hairy Feet and Cool Clothes

Cooter closed the last page of his book and sighed.

“If my feet were hairy, I could have been a Hobbit.”

Oh my land, that boy.  Only 8 years old and the things that come out of his mouth never fail to surprise me.  And have me bursting out with laughter.

He continued, “I have really great clothes too.”

“Wait. What? Hobbits have really great clothes?!”

With a serious look on his face, he nodded, “Yes’m.  They really do.”

Then he added, “‘Course I’d need a tiny little knife too, to be a Hobbit.”

Before I could say anything, his sister, our Princess, spoke up,  “Nooooo.  No.” She shook her head and waved her hands.  “Let’s just leave that in the idea box.  No need to take it out of there at all.”   She looked at me, and mouthed, “No sharp knives.”

Cooter vehemently spouted, “I didn’t say sharp.  I said ‘tiny, little.’  I need one to be a Hobbit.”

“Well, that and hairy feet, right?” I reminded him.

“Yesssss,” he sighed again.

Life is hard, y’all.

The version of The Hobbit we found for Cooter to read.  He really enjoyed it.

The version of The Hobbit we found for Cooter to read. He really enjoyed it.

My little guy wanted to read “The Hobbit,” so we found a version that suited him perfectly.  He loved it all, motivated as well by the promise that he could watch the animated version once he finished reading it.  He had been quite enthusiastic until he got close to the end, when he said, “This is NOT a good book.”

“Wait a minute, I thought you loved it.”

He then shared about the demise of one of his favorite characters (but this is a no-spoiler kind of blog, so that’s all I’m saying about THAT), and it was obvious that he was trying not to cry.

I love books.  Have I mentioned that before?

And I love my children.

And I love that my children love books.

So this movie was viewed and critiqued and enjoyed tonight.  ("Mama, that's not how the book went!")

So this movie was viewed and critiqued and enjoyed tonight. (“Mama, that’s not how the book went!”)

Tonight may you all dream the big dreams–and always be yourself.  Unless you can be a Hobbit, then ALWAYS be a Hobbit.  Because hairy feet are apparently in, and they have really cool clothes. Or so I’m told.  #BilboWannabeOverHere

Love to all.

beyond

for C and A, and all of the strong and brave ones who rise above fear to do the right thing and hope for the day when all of it will be behind them

there is a place away from all this
where the pain of the moment
the fear
the sadness
the feeling lost

is just a distant memory
something you may carry in your pocket
but it will no longer color your vision
or take your breath away
as it does now

today

in this moment

this moment when you still can’t think straight
when your heart is still beating to the tune of all that has been
up to this point

but in this new place your heart will beat
better
stronger
whole again
cracked, but whole

and this place is the perfect one for you to set out for–
pack up all your worries, anxieties, sighs, and
stories of heartbreak
and as you travel along, don’t let them trip you up
or allow the weight of them to slow you down
or make you give up altogether

as you go and you let others join you
the weight of all of this will grow lighter
and your pace will quicken–
some days you will almost forget what is now,
others you will need to rest and work on letting go
again

still, move…..travel…..leave it

and one day, with work, you will find yourself there

beyond

beyond all of this that is writing your story for you today
and each day you awaken in this land of leaving things in the past
you will have to earn the right to stay there

it’s a choice

and no, it’s not fair that you can’t wiggle your nose and
just
get
there
today

but when you find yourself there, you will know
and you will want to stay there
most days

just don’t let the past whisper seductively to you
and convince you that wallowing with her will
feel good
and justified
and the pain will be worth it

instead turn your head to the rising sun
feel the heat on your skin
and know that a new dawn is here
in this land of beyond
a new day to grow up and away
from all that is hurting you now

and choose
to stay there

beyond