Confession of a Tired Mama

As a parent, I have my good days and my bad days.

And good moments and bad moments.

This one is about a little bit of both.

This morning Cooter woke up, as he is prone to do on weekday mornings, earlier than I would have liked for him to.  This is one of the perks of homeschooling.  We do not have to, and so we do not, start our days at oh dark thirty.

I heard him coming.  He’s not the quietest mouse in the house.  It was one of those split second parenting decisions that you can reflect upon later and and second guess or guilt yourself or wish you’d done it differently.  But in that moment–

you just react.

I reacted.

And closed my eyes.

I just wasn’t ready yet, y’all.

So when I heard him come in the room pretty much like the proverbial bull in that China shop, I remained still, as though I were still sleeping soundly.  He paused for a second when he came over to my side of the bed and saw me sleeping.  Then he got quiet and crept the rest of the way until I could feel his breath on my cheek.

“Awww, Mama’s so cute,” he whispered with the sweetest tone.  Then as my heart was about to bust with all the feels, he leaned over and tried to tickle my armpit, which he knows doesn’t work, and he left the room fairly quietly–at least for him.

Oh bless.

I opened my eyes and listened for clues as to what he was doing.

Ah.  Legos.  He was working on his birthday Lego set, the biggest one he’s ever done by himself to date.  He’s been diligent and methodical, and it’s been really cool to watch him as he works it out.

And so this morning when I exhibited parenting skills that could be labelled as “less than stellar,”  two things happened.  Two things that needed to happen, I believe.

First, I heard Cooter’s thoughts about me.  It’s funny how often I peek in on him sleeping and have that exact same thought–he’s so cute, adorable, precious.  For him to think that about me and for me to hear that, it blesses my heart and gives me all the warm fuzzies.  As we spend many of our days with me hounding him to get certain tasks done and him teasing me about being the “mean Mama,” this–that he sees someone other than a frazzled, worn out Mama–is a treasure.

Second, he went and occupied himself with a worthwhile task.  Without being told to.  He didn’t stay there and pick and poke and prod until I “woke up.”  He didn’t go and bother his sister until she got out of bed, hollering at him usually.  He didn’t scrape the stool across the kitchen floor to get his cereal or complain loudly about whatever was bothering him at the moment.  He sat and entertained himself and thoroughly enjoyed working a little more on his Lego set.  I’m really proud of him for that.

Tonight I’m thankful that tomorrow I get another chance to do better.  As a Mama and as a person.  Those new mercies every morning are everything–the real reason I’m able to get up in the morning, because I’ve shed the weight of all the missteps and misspoken words from the day before.  That grace is what helps me rise from slumber in the mornings.

But not too early.  This Mama is a night owl who needs those baby birds to sleep in just a little while longer.

Wishing you all the beauty of new mercies…..and for you to find out someone you care about thinks you are cute.

Love to all.

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home by morning

hours after the sun goes down
she settles into her bed
her head on the pillow
and her eyes gently close

and she quietly slips out the door

to fight the darkest of shadows
the kind that break hearts and families
and to travel along the greatest of paths
behind courageous thinkers and dreamers
and those who made things happen

once again she sees and talks with the ones she loves
who are no longer here to hug
she sings on stage
and dances in the rain
and has the conversations she always meant to have
sometimes yelling at the one who brought all the bad to be

she protects the weak and feeds the hungry
and rides a horse along the beach
then swims as though she has the tail of a mermaid
for miles and miles

she hears the music she long forgot
and picks the fruit from the trees at places
she can no longer call her own
and she tastes it, every nuance of flavor just as she remembered

she accepts the blame she should have long ago
and makes things right from times before
she cooks fabulous meals and burns the biscuits
and sits for hours laughing around the table
where all the stories she’s lost are told again

she wears fabulous ball gowns
staring up at the midnight sky from the deck of a ship
and walks into a room of her peers
in only her underwear
cringing in fear of being noticed
and worrying over the test
she never studied for

she laughs over a joke she cannot remember
and speaks to the embassy
and holds the hand of the one she loved

with every moment she moves quickly
from one thing to the next
seemingly seamlessly

until finally
she is home by morning

where she is meant to be
tucking her dreams away
until night comes again

By GlacierNPS [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By GlacierNPS [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Calling it a Night–the Game Version

Last night I was up late.

Oh yeah, I know there’s many nights that I stay up late writing and don’t publish my stories until after midnight and maybe get to bed by 1.

But last night?  I published my story at 3:12 a.m.

And fell asleep three minutes later, as soon as my head hit the pillow.

It’s like this when my baby brother is around.  We stay up late.  Later and later each night.  And last night was his last night here this visit, so we went for the record.

He went upstairs to bed after 2:30 a.m.  I could have gone straight to bed then, but as Bubba was standing there about to head up the stairs, it hit me what a precious time this is–this time being with him in the late night quiet– and the letter to my children starting writing itself and wouldn’t go away.  I wanted and needed to put it in words.

This keeping each other up late goes way back.  When I had moved back home with my oldest when she was quite small and Bubba came home from college, he would come in some nights and sit on the foot of my bed.  Yes, I was in bed.  Ready for sleep.  And that boy would sit there talking and engaging me in conversation until I started talking foolishness and he felt like his goal was achieved.  One night in particular was fifteen years ago.  My eyes were drooping and I could not keep them open.  He asked me a question and I remember replying something like, “God…..Jesus…..Hot dogs…..Elephants.”  The last thing I heard as I passed out was the sound of my brother laughing triumphantly as he headed down the hallway to his room.  He had won.

This visit we’ve both held our own.  1:30 a.m.  12:30 a.m.  2 a.m.  And then last night.  After 2:30.  At one point I thought I had him.  His eyes were glazed and they almost drooped.  I wasn’t sure he was really listening, and then I’ll be dog if he didn’t answer my question.  Coherently.

A little while later we were solving the world’s problems and he was sharing his thoughts.  I felt myself losing my grip.  I shook my head and continued to listen.  Then I had a thought to share.  And in the middle of it…..those elephants and hot dogs started floating around in my mind.  I totally lost my train of thought.  I don’t know if he noticed, but I stumbled for a second during which I had no idea what we were talking about–and then luckily I got back on track.

That was close.  He almost won.

In the end I think we were both winners.  We’ve had some hard conversations and some mirthful moments.  I haven’t laughed this hard in quite a while nor have I challenged myself to think about some of the things we’ve discussed in a long, long time.  It’s been really good.  And powerful.  And…..precious.

So tonight I’m thankful for sleep-deprived nights in the company of someone who knows me better than most folks who know me do.  I give thanks for his family’s safe journey down to see us, for the time that we worked to take care of business and for the times that we kicked back and just enjoyed being together.  Most importantly I give thanks for the gift of family.  For without them, none of the rest of what I have or am would matter one bit.

And I guess tonight my baby brother wins.  As he stays up driving all night to get his family safely back home, I’m calling it a night early and heading to bed.  No talking goofy, no droopy eyes, I say “uncle” and bow to the champion.  This time.  You win tonight, Bubba.

Wishing you all someone to stay up and have heart to hearts with.

Love and a GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP to all.

 

 

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up

Have you ever found yourself sitting on your pity pot and somehow you just can’t find the strength to pull yourself up and off of that thing?

It’s okay, my friend, it’s okay.

At least I hope it is, because that’s where I’ve been today.

Out of the blue, I reached boiling point and exploded.  And it wasn’t pretty.  It was about things specific and life in general.  And it wasn’t every moment of this day I’ve been gifted but it was enough that I gotta tell ya, I don’t mind calling it a night early and hoping to start over again tomorrow.

I can honestly say it was all about my attitude.  Nothing extraordinarily awful or hard happened today.   As a matter of fact, it was more like what we call the “same ol’, same ol’.”  And well, I’ve had enough.

And to be honest, I’ve had enough with having had enough, so I need to change my attitude.

In this life I’ve led, there was always one guaranteed way to get my attitude to do a 180.

My Mama.

And silly me, often I’d call her, knowing what her reaction was likely going to be, but hoping against hope that maybe she’d rise up and go to swinging after whomever, whatever was bringing me down or messing with my groove.

But no.  She’d ask me how many poor baby’s I needed (we got that from a book we read many years ago), she’d give them to me, and then she’d get real.  She cared, she sympathized, but she also knew me better than anyone else ever.  She knew how long to poor baby me and when to shift gears and tell me to get over myself and move on.  Get beyond whatever “it” was.  Even when, like today, it was nothing specific–everything and nothing–all at once.

She probably would have told me I had some apologizing to do, and then she would have said for me get some rest.  That was her thing.  I need my sleep and Mama knew that.  But above all else, she would have made sure my attitude was called out and put in check.

My Mama was good at loving on us, but she was also good at calling us out.  Because she loved us.  She wanted us to be our “very best” selves, as she told us so often.  And she didn’t mind correcting us and *ahem* helping us figure out how to get there.

There was only one time that someone other than my Mama brought me off my pity pot–it was when one of my children was quite small.  That little bit of love climbed over in my lap and cuddled close.  It is nigh unto impossible to stay balanced on a pity pot when a wee one is sitting in your lap.

I’m rambling tonight.  I miss my Mama.  I wish I’d handled myself better today.  Not that certain situations didn’t call for action and response, but I wish those responses had been more grace-filled.  I am sure the Spirit of peace and love flew off in the moments of the fits I threw today.

And goodness knows, I need her back.

In the absence of my Mama on the other end of the phone line telling me to go to bed, I’m listening to the frogs play their instruments out back, with a cricket or two joining in.  I’m enjoying the break from the heat as the sun settles behind the trees and the stars begin to shine.  It’s quiet and I can almost hear her through the veil.

Go on to bed.  You need your sleep.  Happy pink and blue dreams, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite, happy turnovers…..tomorrow will be another day. 

 

Wishing you all a better tomorrow.  Love to all.

 

Ode To My Pajama Pants

My pajama pants.  And their pocket.

My pajama pants. And their pocket.

This.  This made me smile.  And giggle.

I mean, there’s a pocket.

On my pajama pants.

I’ve never seen such before.

Isn’t that precious?

And–shhh, don’t let them hear us talking–a bit unnecessary?

I mean, I don’t know about the rest of you, but when I put on my pajama pants, I’m all about the sleep.  As we say around here when we get tired and giddy or cranky, “I need to use the sleep.”  I can’t fathom anything that I would do once I don the pants that would require a pocket.

A back pocket at that.

But these pants are bold.  They are brave.  They are ready–they are outside the box of what is normally expected of pajama pants.  They say, “Hey, if something comes up, and we need to dash quickly, I got this.  No need to change back into those other pants–those uncomfortable ones…..Not only am I comfortable, but I’m functional too.  Look, I have a pocket.”

Yeah, you do.

Over the years, I’ve been known to call my pajama bottoms “silly pants.”  And y’all, if we are honest here, isn’t a back pocket on pajamas really silly?

Ahem.

Or is it?

Maybe, just maybe, this pocket, these pants with what looks unnecessary, maybe they should inspire me instead.  To step outside the norm, beyond what is expected, and be unique.  Original.  Be me.  Even if it looks like I’m a bit off or odd or eccentric.  There’s nothing wrong with being different, even if folks might laugh.

Ah, I’m sorry, Pajama Pants.

So what’s your back pocket?  What about you makes you stand out?  What’s different?  What makes you, YOU?

Embrace it.  Love it.  Accept and celebrate who you are.  Let the whole world see your “back pocket.”  Who cares if folks think it’s crazy.  Off the wall.  It’s what makes you you, and that’s as perfectly wonderful as it can get.

And–do the same for others.  Let them be who they are.  Maybe their back pockets work for them and give them hope.  You never know.

 

 

*****Tonight’s post was, as my Mama used to say, just for the fun of it.  (And then she’d say, if it’s not fun, don’t do it.  I hear you, Mama.  Thanks.  Love you.)

Love to all.