Y’all. I’m taking a leave of absence. Luff you oodles but damn if I’m not in over my head. We have a few trips coming up and I have a few jobs to finish. I’ll be back at the start of October. (Ah, comeon now, that’s only two weeks if you think about it. Hell, the good shows haven’t even started yet!) If you’ve registered and haven’t been approved, I’ll do that when I return as well. I won’t be updating fitness posts but you should still see my runs increase on the sidebar.
In the mean time, follow me here. I’ll still tweet. Because I’m an addict.
[I stood in the isle and started to cry. It had been a long week, a good week, long in the way you hope summer will issue its good-bye and fall will gently take over. It had been full of new friends, new babies, and new houses. It never seemed more like this was our home. The realization wasn’t only comforting, it warmed me in small tingles. It was the sudden grasp of the distance, however, that brought the familiar sting of emotion to my eyes. This was now our home and our home was so very far away from where I started...]
Often when I glance at my youngest, I see another familiar face. I see pieces of my own and small bits of my husband, but even more than his parents, my son looks like my father. He is a living replica of the goofy baby picture I grew up seeing in my parent’s bedroom. His smile is the same. His chubby chin, his detached ears and his puffy cheeks are a color version of the black and white photo framed in the room my parents live in some two thousand miles away.
Sometimes as I’m watching Baby O, I hear the dozens of stories my father repeated throughout my childhood. They blaze at me, washing over me, in parts. The image of my father in his band uniform marching at an A&M football game. The pranks young boys played on each other, testing their new freedom, as college freshman (or “fish”), or the bellowing of his superior “surgebutts” (juniors). I hear him telling me, as a kid in Jr. High, how you make your closest friends in college. I recall army stories, adventures around the world, “playing camping” with the U.S. military. I hear him instill a sense of pride for our Country in his daughters, a sense of morality, a place in community that merges both optimism and sacrifice. To me, this is my father in essence. These are some of his proudest memories.
After thirty years of hearing my father’s expressions, they now come shooting out of my mouth. “She’s uglier than ten miles of dirt road!” “Jezus Christ on a Commode.” “Want a ‘sip, go to Austin.” I’ve taught my husband some of these sayings who now repeats them to our own daughter, clueless in their origination and lost on their meaning. But I always smile in the circle of family and the timeless way stories are passed.
It wasn’t until years after moving out that I appreciate how alike my father and I are. It wasn’t until six months ago I realized how alike our features are. It wasn’t until three months ago, staring in to my son’s face, that I realized how far two thousand miles seems. And it wasn’t until I heard of Dad’s diabetes, his aging, that I realized how little I see him and how very much I miss him.
Which is why I started crying in the vitamin isle at Costco. Because as I reached for the special formulated diabetes-preventive mutli-vitamin, it occurred to me that one day my own children will move far off and create their own homes and how badly I wanted to be healthy and agile to visit and be a part of their new traditions. But also, how much I wish my father would see that day, too. For now I’d settle for less than two thousand miles between the place I now call home and the one I knew as a young girl, a daughter, not unlike my own.
September 11, 2001: Where was I?
I don’t need a picture to remember.
*Update* Y’all, I didn’t write a long post because I felt wrung out and unable to say what I wanted. But please go read these posts. They are touching and real and it brings back memories and new resolves and resolution. I can’t say it as well, so I’m not going to try. All I have to add is, “Hellya. And amen.”
Please leave a comment with a url if you have a post about 9/11 so I can add you here. Thank you.
I remember the day I knew I could marry Mr. Flinger. Surprisingly, it wasn’t in High School when we were mushy young love-birds. (gag) It wasn’t during college when we were best friends, not-dating, and desperately fixing one another up with other people. It wasn’t until years later, at 24, having moved home to Texas and back that I saw him with my cousin Danielle. I remember the summer, of 2000, living with my Uncle and Aunt having found a job up in Portland, but not an apartment. I moved up from Houston ready to start my job and my new life, namely, hoping Mr. Flinger and I would hook-up (chicka chicka bow-wow). One day we took my cousin roller blading. She so adored Mr. Flinger that she made a necklace for him, a pretty little thing with beads and a star at the center. Perfect for an 8 year old and slightly odd for a 25 year old man. Mr. Flinger wore that necklace all day long. He wore it roller blading at the park. He wore it to the store. He wore it even though the small string barely fit around his neck and the star jabbed him as it stuck straight out, strained on its new owner.
This was the day I realized he would make a wonderful dad; Years and years before that day ever happened.
Years and Years later, we started a family together. A family we want. A family we’ve talked about since we were 15 years old. Internet, I’ve talked about these very two children with my husband for 17 years. And yes, that freaks me the hell out. Why shouldn’t it?
Most days we do just fine. We go places. We enjoy friends. It’s lovely. There are the meltdowns. There is screaming (the baby) and crying (LB) and the occasional W.T.F. (me) but usually, we do ok. We manage. We’re.. happy. Really.
But I clock out at 5. I expect the man with the star necklace to walk through that door at five. I NEED the man to walk through that door at five. FIVE. That’s an entire hour after he gets off work, providing for traffic and the all important “getting things squared away” time. Five. O’clock. That’s when help walks through the door and the children smile/laugh/outburst with glee at the sight of Daddy.
That’s 17:00 if you’re in the military. Or eight PM if you’re on the east coast. Or much, much, earlier the next day in Australia. I’m just sayin’.
So what happens at six? Or seven? Or when the bed-time routine is long past due and both children are melting down and I haven’t had dinner because some small people keep BUGGING me? Or when I clock out and don’t get over-time? Or when I can’t poor a glass of wine because the guilt, oh the guilt, of drinking before back-up is here? And yes, I’m being horribly selfish but really? I’m not the only one.
Work is important. Work is good. Work pays for my coffee and our children’s clothes. It pays for our house. It provides a sense of importance. It gives us ways of using our minds. But work? Is not home. It is not the family. It is not the wife and children. It is work. And while work can go on long after you do, the family can not. And all it takes is one phone call to give an update and work is forgiven. But damn if that phone isn’t there at that desk around five o’clock. He must get shuttled to Mars around 4:30 because for some reason, some weird reason, the phones don’t work after then.
Or, at least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe.
First of all, does anyone else feel like they could’ve fed their baby scrabble pieces and he could’ve crapped out a better post than the last one I wrote? My god, people. She stared preschool, it wasn’t so horrible, I felt inadequate as always in the face of organized parents. The end. Now, everyone run and go star that post as your all time favorite so we can look back and feel the way we do about skinny jeans: WHAT were we thinking?
Yes? Moving along then.
We all know how luscious and shiny your hair gets during pregnancy. It’s one of the only lovely things that happen. :: hurl, puke, hurl, gag :: ooohh, look! shiny, pretty hair! It’s like the “glow” (read: sweat) that one achieves whilst growing a human being. Everyone is jealous of your hair until three months postpartum when you audition for the hair club. I’ve started the process of shedding. There is hair everywhere. It’s horrid. I clean the bathroom almost daily because the hair collects on the floor and I wonder where our new rug came from. I can collect enough hair after blow-drying it to make a faux coat. Need that slick, stylish, fur coat without all the pesky animal cruelty? Come to my house daily at about 7AM. We’ll have you sporting your new coat by 7:30.
At this rate I fear for my future. I’m about three weeks away from being the mister.
Well, the mister with boobs, that is.
LB stared preschool today. Since she’s mastered two-year-old speak (read: “NO! MINE! I CAN DO IT MYSELF!”) and knows the alphabet, can recognize her name in print, and counts to twenty, we thought it was time to put her in a program to show off her mad skillz. I mean, preschool is the alpha-mom thing to do, right?
Of course it is. But apparently so is owning a mini-van. Already I’m behind.
After struggling to be on time to an event for the first time in months, we arrived only ten minutes late. Which, really, is very impressive.. to me… that is. I pulled in to her school and was confronted with a sea of mini-vans of people who are able to be on time. The caravan, the toyota, the “not really a van but totally a van” van. My rugged Xterra felt trumped by an extra seat and sto-and-go cargo space. Now we were late and unhip. The day hadn’t even begun.
My outgoing child became clingy and unsure. She withdrew. She glanced around in trepidation. Was Mommy going to leave? Would I be forced to take a nap here? Will there be fish crackers? I could almost see the wheels turning in her mind. She wasn’t letting go of me but she wasn’t crying, either. I take what I can get.
After a ten minute transition period where a dozen other moms eye both of us never saying whether or not they truly approve, LB became comfortable enough to allow me to let go of her hand. She became engrossed enough in circle time that I was able to whisper to her “I’ll be back, sweetie. You stay here.” and slip quietly out the door for an entire thirty minutes of one child bliss.
Next week she will go to school two days for two hours each. She’s excited to be in her “big girl” school. Mr. Flinger is excited to attend her October field trip. We can’t wait to see her in the Christmas pageant. But today, as I packed her bag and watched her walk out the door, I realized we aren’t that far away from being those people: the ones with the kids in school and the sanity we had years before. For now, though, I’m going to enjoy the sleeping 3 month old on my chest and the daughter who ran to me when I picked her up. It won’t always be this way. One day, we might even have a mini-van.
I mentioned the man who asked if I was pregnant? And I mentioned how “aha! I’m at a weight I would probably shut myself in to a closet after reading on the scale in college and now I’m celebrating it!” Well, that closet thing… it is moments away. This weekend I realized why I felt so icky about that weight in college and sort-of revisited that feeling.
We visited my college town this weekend. It’s a lovely town full of parks and coffee shops and places that make you go “oohhhh! Ahhhh!” There are views of mountains and large bodies of water. There are also a lot of views of beautiful people. People who are fit and active and represent everything I am on the inside. Me. The old me. Who I think I still am but don’t see in the mirror any more.
The view from my eyeballs is still the same. I still feel like the same active, fit person I was ten years ago. I still feel like I wear a size 8 and can run 10 miles without thinking twice. Then I put on my pre-pregnancy clothing (size 12) and can barely breathe. I look in the mirror and see the tummy spilling over the buttons that are straining to contain it. I lay down and my belly lays beside me. I run and it runs, too, out of sync with the rest of me. It’s something I am starting to resent. My belly.
My belly and I had a long few years. It grew whole entire people. It made people. I can’t even make a decent fajita and yet, somehow, my belly made an entire person. This is so impressive I can’t explain it. Perfectly formed people came out of my body. And now? It’s no longer perfect, not that it ever was, but at least before it had a decent shot at it.
Sometimes I glance in the mirror and almost feel shocked at what I see. My face looks similar. My boobs are about the same. But that belly? The ass? What is THAT all about? My legs? Where did they come from? The scale, it lies. The jeans, they lie. It’s all a big ol’ joke on my psyche and I ain’t laughing.
But the thing is, I’m tired of telling myself I am someone I’m not. I’m tired of telling myself I am exactly like I was and it doesn’t matter what I do now. It does matter. I am not the same. I’m a reproductive machine and it’s time to move to phase two: get over it already. But at the same time, I’m tired of telling myself I can not be that person any more. I’m tired of telling myself I was never the thin, fit, active, toned, perfect body that I see in those athletes I want to be like. I’m tired of reminding myself how much I worked in college to have a mediocre body and how it’s OK to be mediocre. I’m ready to be more than that. I’m tired of telling myself I’m not ready to make those commitments. Because maybe I am.
It’s the start of a new month. Bills just got paid. Laundry was just finished for the week. Plans are set for the next three weeks and everything is firming up at home. Now it’s time to firm up the person in charge of it all: me.
I’ve been neglecting the fitness portion of this site too much. I post only about once a week or so. And while my goal is to be more fit, it’s not to be on the computer more. But maybe it’s time for some accountability. Maybe it’s time to check in twice a week or so. And I promise to be honest with you and you can be honest with me. Then I’m ok with giving what I can. In the mean time, having a mind-set of “make huge changes and re-create yourself” is a bit overwhelming. Even goals like, “eat better and drink more water” are too vague. I’m going to focus my chi on one goal a week. I think it’s a good time and a good place to start. Because there’s never going to be a change if I don’t start changing something. Today.
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May all your labor day weekends be as much fun as staying up an hour past bedtime is to her.
Amen, y’all, Amen.
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