Melancholy thoughts on a Melancholy day

It’s nearing the end of December and the old cliche of ‘my how time flies’ comes flittering to my mind.  This Christmas was our 3rd Christmas without our sailor, and while I hate it when he’s not home, it was a nice surprise to hear his voice even from so far away as Dubai. He’s doing just what I told him to do, see the world and live your best life before you settle down and I’m so grateful he has that opportunity.

The Middle and the Little aren’t so little anymore and therefore Christmas mornings aren’t filled with shrills of giggles over Santa’s arrival.  They are excited for Christmas, just as they always are, but gone are the days of anticipating jolly ‘ol St. Nick’s delivery.  It’s sad, really, but if I’m honest, it’s a lot less stressful as they grow older.  I feel like I’ve paid my dues putting thousands of stickers on the newest toy and assembling a barbie mansion into the wee hours of the morning.

Mr. Medic shattered his elbow on Halloween when he fell off the 2-story shed he is building.  He has since had surgery and has a new elbow, made of some sort of metal.  He is still out of work as he does physical therapy three times a week.  It’s been hard on us since he had recently changed companies and therefore was currently uninsured, but we’re making it day by day.

There’s been a lot of changes in the household, and I’ll be glad when Mr. Medic’s mother leaves for good (though I will be equally surprised if that truly ever happens).  To quote Lady Grantham of Downton Abbey, “a nastier woman never drew breath.”  It’s a lot like living with a parasite whose negativity and hatefulness spreads throughout the space until it consumes everything and everyone it touches.  The liveliness and happiness that once filled my home have been dormant for all three years she’s resided with us, and I feel broken.  Worse still is the damage it has done to my marriage.  Neither of us can stand to converse with her, but her negativity is so contagious that it causes Mr. Medic and I to argue in ways we haven’t done in a very, very long time.

So as I sit and watch the torrential rain cascading down like silent tears on my soul, I can only hope brighter days are to come.  I’ve fought too hard to lose the life (and marriage) I’ve come to so desperately love.

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There is nothing permanent except change…

There is nothing permanent except change….or so they saying goes.  If you google clever phrases about change you’ll be met with an excess of life is all about change and ‘be the change you want to see’ and blah blah blah.  I hate change.  I know those clever sayings talk ridiculously about how progress is impossible without change and if there’s no struggle, there’s no progress.  I mean, really?  Who wrote that shit?  No one wants to set out and struggle.  Yes, change is often inevitable, but why does it have to be such a struggle?  Why does it have to be awkward?

I recently had to deal with change.  I started a new job in a new industry with a new company and it’s been 45 days, so far.  The first two weeks made me reconsider my entire decision to leave the company with whom I had been employed for the last 15 years.  I was comfortable in that job.  I knew that job.  I knew the people at that job.  I was safe.  I could easily speak my mind without fear of termination because those were my people and they got me.  As with anything new, I lost all sense of security, comfort, and a little of my own self as I had to dial it back until I learned these new folks.  Two weeks in and I was ready to throw in the towel.  While I liked my bosses and most of the work I was doing, I didn’t think I’d ever catch on to a very different aspect of my new job that I had never done before.  Also, I was super fucking tired of being referred to as “the New *insert the chicks name who I replaced*” – we’ll call her Suzy.  So it was a lot of ‘Hey Mr. Joe, this is Linda, the new Suzy’.  I’m all like, *no, Mr. Joe, this is Linda, like in Linda, not Suzy*.  I felt that just set me up for failure.  I didn’t know Suzy, she was gone before I started in that position, but yet I was supposed to be the new one who would – what? be just like her with a different name?  Nope.  Not even close, people.

Enter weeks three and four and I was beginning to catch on to the unfamiliar part of my job and while I still didn’t know anyone in the company except my bosses and two people, I was loving my new job.  Today, I am at week 6 and while I still love what I do and most of who I do it for, I’m back to being wary of my decision.  I feel like I’m catching on quickly, but I also feel like there’s a huge sign on my back that says ‘let’s watch this one and see how long she lasts’.  I really think I’m being tested by my coworkers and one of my bosses.  I truly believe they are giving me things and ‘advice’ to see if they can mold me to their will.  Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I really don’t think I am.  I feel like I’m being tested in ways I cannot study for and ways I’ll never see coming – or so they think.  I tried real hard to put on a friendly face.  I tried real hard to be compliant and helpful.  I tried even harder not to cuss.  So basically, you know, I tried to change myself in order to keep the damn job.  I know me.  I know how outspoken I can be, I know how opinionated and passionate I can be and sometimes *wink, wink*, that comes across bitchy – I get it.  This is all why I’ve been putting on a front and trying to be the perfect new employee – well, that and I needed to sit back and see the enormous clicks that live in offices such as these.

With all the tests, all the pulling in different directions, I’ve been biting my tongue and going with the flow, but I refuse to enter into another situation of being taken advantage of, I refuse to be that scapegoat.

So, long story short – as I enter into the second month at this new company, the mask comes off.  No longer will I pretend to be the ‘nod and smile’ employee, no longer will there be eggshells under my feet, and no longer will I participate in the stupid ass tests these bitches want to give me.  It’s me y’all.  Take it or leave it.

Changes…? Yep, I’m a changin’.  I guess that saying is right after all.

Yin-Yang Twins…No, not those guys…

I lost a dear friend this week.  It was a hard shock and my soul is still trying to stop crying over the premature loss of a soul whose very essence screams purity and wholesomeness.  We lived in the same neighborhood when we were middle and high school kids and we went through the same awkward phases together.  It was the early 90s and therefore we lived by the nights of MTV, when it still legitimately stood for music television videos, to watch the latest hairbands release the next big hit.  We spent many nights together listening to music, watching videos, and crushing on the likes of Axl Rose and Bret Michaels. We did silly things like tease each other’s’ hair, try on rad ass clothes, put on bright, powder blue eye makeup, and all the jewelry we could possibly find in her mom’s room.  It was a great time.

Honestly, she was my safe space.  She was the one person on the planet that wouldn’t judge me, hate me, or try to change me.  She was honest in a way that worked for a rebelling teen.  She balanced my yin with her yang, which is probably why we kept the BFF yin-yang necklaces for years.  You remember those necklaces, right?  The ones that started with half heart pieces that looked broken and one side had BE FRI while the 2nd half had ST ENDS…the yin and yang were much, much better options because honestly, who wanted the 2nd half that read ST ENDS, it was like getting the utter and ass section of a two-part cow costume…and who wants to be the ass?  No one.

Yep, yin and yang best friend necklaces in the form of hip chokers were our thing and it just fit perfectly.  She was always the positivity that everyone needed in their life, the shining brightness in an otherwise dark, dark world.  I remember I asked her once how she stayed so happy all the time and she simply said, because it’s easier to be happy than it is to be sad or angry.  It was simple, but it was right.

I remember when she had her 4 wheeler accident and she ended up with some permanent damage.  My mom, God bless her patient self, drove me to Macon, GA several times while she was in the hospital.  It was a scary time and it was some of the longest days until we were confident she would come through it.  It wasn’t long after that when we started to drift apart.  Boys got in the way, more specifically, Mr. Medic got in the way.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t his fault in the slightest, but it was something that happened the way it usually does when a boy enters a teenage girl’s life and suddenly there’s no time for anything or anyone else.  I was completely smitten and mine and her time became less and less until my family moved three states away.  We spoke a few times after I moved and a few times after I came back a few years later, but nothing was ever as close as those middle and high school years.

We met up a few times after I got back and she was still a pillar of sunshine and rainbows on a stormy night, but like with life and kids, time got busy again.  Technology advanced and eventually social media became a thing and we reconnected via Facebook, but we never really reconnected they way we were once connected.  I’ve always regretted that, but then I thought there was time.  Don’t we all think that?  Don’t we all think there’s time?  Time, it’s a fickle thing – you always think there’s more of it, until there isn’t.

So, here I sit in the darkness and silence of my living room with tears streaming down my face – thankful that I know my keys and I can punch these words out without needing to see – and I wonder.  I wonder if she knows.  Does she know?????  Does she know the light she poured into my soul some 25 years ago that has never, not once dulled?  Does she know how many lives she’s touched by just being the angelic, sweet person she was born to be?  Does she know how special she was to every single human being she met?  My guess is that she doesn’t. She saw herself as any selfless person would, just another person.  She was so much more though, she was the person that ALL people who meet her aspire to be more like.

She was unapologetically herself and who she wanted to be.  She strived for happiness and peace when others only dreamed of it.  As I sit here and reminisce over years gone by and time forgotten, I remember her smile, her positive thoughts, and the way she lived her life and I smile through the tears and heartache knowing that I am immensely blessed for having had only a blink of time with her.  I am a better person for just having known her.  I take this time to make a promise to her beautiful soul that I will strive to live in peace and happiness when others only dream of it, and acknowledge that if something does not bring that peace and happiness, that I must let it go and find what does.  She taught me that.  She taught me to be brave. She taught me to love endlessly and hopelessly and it’s time to start living for her.  I will grieve her, I will love her, and I will get busy living in peace and happiness because to do anything else would tarnish the perfect memory of the most beautiful soul I have ever known.  God bless you, Pamombeau, my darling friend and know that you will live on through time and space.  I love you and I can’t wait to see your smiling face again one day.  Fly high and shine bright my sweet friend.

Hooyah – it’s going to be OK

On December 6, 2016 I said “see you later” to my sweet, wonderful, brave son as he left our home to venture off to Navy boot camp, the first step of his new career that will take him to the ends of the earth and back.  To date, this was the single hardest thing I have ever done as a mother.

We raise our young in hopes that when the time comes they will leave our little nest and soar with open wings as far as their heart is content, but I don’t think we ever really consider the excruciating void that comes with that.  We never consider what we will feel when that time comes…not really.  I remember thinking how proud I would feel, how excited I would feel, and how thankful I would fell.  I did and still do feel all of those things, but I am devastated that 19 years flew by so damn quickly.

Our family still has the four of us, me, Mr. Medic, The Little and the Middle, but it sure does feel like an empty house without The Sailor.  I miss him so much that it physically hurts me.  It pains me in a way I never knew I could hurt.  He called us that night just about midnight and it was the dreaded ‘scripted’ call.  Anyone who’s had any calls from navy boot camp, knows that awful call.  I remember it as if I’ve just hung up the phone with him.

The Sailor: “Hey Mom.  I’ve made it.  I’m safe and ok.  I’ll call you soon.  In 10 days you’ll receive a letter with my information in it.”

*Pause to swallow back the tears*

Me: “Hey son, I miss you already and I love you so much, will the letter give me your addre..”

The Sailor:  “I’m safe and ok.  In 10 days you’ll receive a letter with my information in it.”

There was about 2 seconds of silence and he whispers, my wonderfully brave son…

The Sailor *whispering*: “I love you mom”

Me *whispering like an idiot since they can’t hear me from my living room*: “I love you, too!  Can you talk?  I mean is it ok?”

The Sailor: “Well…I’m not technically supposed to, but…I love you, mom and I’m ok, I promise.”

Me: “Are you going to be ok?”

The Sailor: “I’m fine, mom.  It’s all ok.”

Somewhere the RDC has circled back and I hear him tell The Sailor what to say and he does, then we hang up.  I cry for what seems like an eternity, but then I laugh and that lasts even longer.  My sweet, by the book son has rebelled from the robot speech to let me know he’s got this.

The journey has been interesting so far, to say the least.  Stay tuned as I try to update this little venture of ours as often as possible.

A senior letter

This has to be one of the hardest letters I have ever written. xoxo

I’m supposed to be writing you a senior letter, probably without getting emotional.  HAHA!  Yeah, right. We both know better than that.

Starting with the most mundane, I’ll remind you how proud I am of you.  Words cannot tell you how proud I am.  You’ve become every bit of the man I had hoped you would when I met you 18 years ago.  I prayed you would take the good characteristics of your dad and me and mix them together with your own spin to turn into an amazing man, and you have done that plus so much more.  You’re better than I could have dreamed, God truly blessed me more than I deserve.  You have a beautiful heart and soul, more than you really know – don’t let life ruin that.  You’re more than just smart, you’re sincerely intellectual.  You consider all things and analyze the good and bad before making a decision or judgement.  That’s really the key to life, kid, so you have one-up on most people already.

I’ve watched you learn to crawl, walk, talk, and read.  I’ve watched you learn to ride a bike, play soccer, play a guitar, and drive a car.  I’ve watched you walk into your first day of pre-school, kindergarten, middle school, and high school.  I’ve watched you drive off to your first job.  I’ve watched you go on your first date.  I’ve watched you drive off for your senior prom.  Soon, I’ll watch you walk up on stage and receive your diploma.  Soon, I’ll watch you drive off for your next adventure in the Navy.  You have been a joy and blessing to watch and I cannot wait to watch all the next stages in your life.

I admit that when you first told me about your aspirations to join our military, my heart broke.  It was a selfish act, and it took a long, long time for me to come to peace with that.  I didn’t want to think about you leaving me.  You and I have had each other for 18 years, you’re my first born and I just wasn’t ready to face the fact that you’ve become an amazing man who doesn’t enter into things lightly.  It’s because of this and your infallible reasoning that I got on board and knew in my heart you would do amazing things with this opportunity.

I read somewhere that I’m supposed to tell you what I want for you or expect out of you.  Like so many parts of our family and relationship, my wants and expectations aren’t really traditional.  Of course I want you to get an education, find a good job, meet and marry a great girl, start a family, and all that jazz.  But, Austin, I want so much more for you.  I want you to leave this little town, join the Navy, and see the world.  I want you to live with no strings attached.  You have such a great opportunity to do things very few people get the chance to do.  Since you could read (at the ripe age of 2½) you’ve been fascinated with the world.  You’ve been interested in all things history and science.  Go see all those countries you have only ever read about.  Go see, feel, touch the history of the world and let that experience blow you away.  Life is so short, baby, and you have the rest of your life for settling down.  Hold off on that day to day grind just a bit longer and make adventure your next path.

What do I expect out of you?  Greatness.  However, before greatness, I expect you to live your life to absolute fullest.  Drink a beer with your new brotherhood and make stupid decisions that won’t cost you too much in the end – you know like an arrest and big ass tattoos that you’ll regret later (and coming from me that’s saying a LOT).  Get your heart broken a few times because until you do, there’s no other way to know real love when it comes to you.

You’re one of my greatest accomplishments in life.  If I have done nothing else in this life, I have raised a great boy into a phenomenal man.  I know that you’ll take part of me, your dad, your brother and sister & papa and nana with you along the way and we will help keep you grounded…just enough – not too much.

You’re going to be scared, you’re going to be nervous, and I’m sure there will be days you’ll just want to come home, but those days will be few and far between.  You will succeed.  You will be ok.  You will overcome.

Go start your life, baby – it’s only just beginning.  I’m so proud of you and all that you’ve become.  I love you with all that I am and all that I have, son.

A father’s daughter

My father called me yesterday, no doubt after a conversation with my mother who told him of my recent bouts of the weepies.  My father is a great, loving man with a heart deeper than the ocean.  I have always been a ‘daddy’s girl’ and I guess, even at my age today, I still am.

We spoke last night for an hour and half.  I don’t know how your parents are, but in my family my mother is the most loquacious and my father just sits back and listens so that he called me and we spoke in length, says a lot to me.  The last two days have been so refreshing to speak at such lengths with each of my parents.

He reminded me who I am, how I was raised, and how I don’t need anyone for me to be ok with me.  Something I seem to have forgotten these last 10 or so years.  He reminded me that we choose the people in our life because we want them there, not because we need them there.  He’s a wise man who has been through a lot in his 61 years, and his words ring true to my heart and soul.  He’s never been one to pick a side and when I’m wrong, he has no problem telling me so.  He doesn’t often offer advice without being asked, but I am so grateful that he did.

He’s so right – I have lost myself – I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be who I am and stand on my own two feet needing no one to hold me up.  He raised me to be a strong person, not take no for an answer when I deserve a yes, to be self-sufficient, and self-reliable.  He raised me to be fierce.  I am slowly cowering away, letting myself get wrapped up in some sense of doubting self worth.  Maybe if I remember that I don’t need anyone, but instead want someone, I’ll figure out just what I want and what I don’t want – I’ll no longer be clouded by the preconceived notion that someone completes me.  If I can’t complete me, how can I expect to love me, how can I expect to love others, and how can I ever expect to be loved in return?

Being a daughter, a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend, o r an employee does not define me.  Who I am, not what I am, is the definition of me.  It’s time I rediscover that.