Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Best of You

Dear Sweet Red,

Today you graduated from high school. In some ways this is a huge thing, in others it is simply a day on your journey from here to there. Lately I've been looking at it as just a day, any other Saturday where we get dressed up and all of us do something together. But this has been a coping method because while it is was another day, it was The Day. The one where you end what you've been doing for the past four years and actively look forward to where you'll be going for the rest of your life.

This week I have been sifting through my mental images of you. Sometimes I cry, other times I laugh at the sheer outlandishness that is you. There is the you where you tell strangers that you had a twin sister who passed away, only to inform them she was eaten by lions.  That brought scolding looks of judgement. There is the you who waded into a country club swimming pool fully clothed just because you felt like it. There is the you who refused to wear underwear because you found it inconvenient. There is the you who kicked butt on the soccer field even though you were outsized by any girl out there. There is the you who kicked ass in the mock trial courtroom and sassed a judge because you believed you were right. In all instances you truly believed you were in the right and that is something I so admire about you: you do everything with all your soul and watch the hell out for anybody who gets in your way. All of these memories bring a sense of bittersweet joy. They warm me to the core of my soul and leave me in tears.

Today as your dad and I were walking to the car after your graduation ceremony, I finally understood what was caught in my throat. I happened to look at the mountains and suddenly they seemed closer, smaller. The sky slightly dimmer, so much so that I removed my sunglasses to see if clouds were approaching. And that was when it hit me. It wasn't the weather. It was you. Cass, when you enter a room it gets bigger. The light shines brighter. The sounds intensify and the colors glow. Your soul shines, your spirit burns so intense it sometimes hurts. You arrived in our lives in a fit of fury and the lovely chaos you bring has never subsided.

I can't imagine a life without your intensity. You bring piles of clothing. You cast a spell on all of us around you so that we simply wonder what we can do to fulfill your needs. You make crazy demands that when in our company seem perfectly plausible.  You Cass-jack our days on a near weekly, or daily, basis. You're loud, brash, outrageous. You're also kind, loving, have a wicked sense of humor. You kick all of our asses and then come in for a group hug. Simply put, you are brilliant in all ways.

Cassidy Jane, I love you to the ends of the earth and then some. You bent my world from the time you were within me and you continue to do so now. Today truly was another day, like so many other days. However, it was the day signifying that you will soon move on. Beyond us. Away from us. Thank you for these crazy years. I can't wait to see what you do, where you go and the sass with which you do it all. No matter where you do go and how you go I will love you with all my heart. You are my Red Sister, Kick Ass Cass, Sweet Red. You are bold, smart, beautiful.




Saturday, July 19, 2014

Finding peace at mile number two

I'm no runner. I want to be a runner and I often fancy myself as a lithe, trail running beast. But the truth is that I'm just not. Many things account for this fact. One: running requires a sharp mindset of determination and never-give-upedness. Me? I like to feel good and not hurt so much. Two: running is a daily activity that builds on the previous day. Due to reason number one I'm prone to skipping days and deluding myself that I run more than I do. Three: anything with the size GG should probably not be hurled through space with any sort of velocity. So true and sad, but this is likely the biggest reason, no pun intended, running is not my forte. However, harking back to the delusional thing, I don't let any of that stop me. I continue to run and often fantasize about the day I'll commit to and finish a half marathon.

This winter was a brutal one in our home, filled with sicknesses ranging from flu to pneumonia. I was lucky enough to catch them all. Needless to say I spent the cold months in varying states of stillness while warding off bugs of all kinds. This of course took a toll on my stellar running career and I have just very recently gotten back into the groove. The process has been grueling and one would question my sanity in wanting to endure the effort. But I do and I love it. Today for the first time since the two weeks I've been at this I found that mind blowing peace that only comes from running. It was at mile number two, out of only 2.75, and it was so profound that I ended up on a wrong trail and in somebody's private driveway. It was the sort of feeling that negated the panic, the noise, the doubts and fears of my daily existence. It was truly beautiful and I feel so lucky to have found it for those few minutes.

That is why I continue this madness of running. It is why I strap the GG's into the hardiest sports bra I can find. It's why I'll endure two weeks of huffing up my guts. That peace means goodness and that goodness gives me hope.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Looking in

Sometimes things are functional until they really aren't. Sometimes the decline to nonfunctional is slow, imperceptible. Other times the abruptness is such that it creates whiplash and leaves the cervical vertebrae splintered.

If you aren't prone to anxiety or other mental illnesses, the previous sentences might not mean much. But if you've experienced the feeling of being in a different plane and looking in on the living while for some reason not being able to get there, then you totally get it. And for that I'm sorry. I also get it and wish I didn't have to be part of this tribe. But a card holding member I am and so it goes. Or sometimes it doesn't go. Which is my point.

This year hasn't been much of a go for me. It feels as though I've spent more time curled up in knots, trying to scrape the nails from the ends of my fingertips than being productive in any manner. It's been a slow decline and I can't exactly pinpoint where or when it began. However, the origins don't particularly matter when daily inertia is near to impossible. What I do know is that sometimes it's just fine to lean on Big Pharma for a hug. It's not the ultimate solution but it is a Band-Aid and that's good enough for today.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The most beautiful of all colors, Red

My dearest girl,

Today you turn 17. I can't quite wrap my head around this fact as it seems not so long ago that you were a shrieking toddler running amuck and wreaking havoc at every turn.  And by that previous statement I am sugar coating nothing. You truly were a hellion of the greatest intensity. However, anything you've ever done has been to the extreme, a trait that will serve you well throughout your life.

Seventeen is suddenly such a huge number. As I sit and sift through the gajillion images and memories I have of you, I find myself laughing at your outlandish escapades of your earlier years; most of them involve you being naked, covered in mud and yelling at the top of your lungs. That is simply how it is with you: life on your terms and usually loud.

Lately, I find myself in awe of you as I watch you evolve into a young woman with talents and strengths of great depths. One of my favorite past times during your high school years has been to watch you in Mock Trial. Your gift of argument serves you well in this arena, to the extent that I realized very early on that your critical thinking skills were so way beyond mine that parenting you through this time would be a completely new experience. Luckily you have used your powers for good, your integrity in particular, and so most days you kick my butt with a certain amount of tenderness. Thank you for that.

Cass, I guess what I'm getting at here is that I see this time as the hey-day of being a mother to you. I know some people love the baby and toddler years. Not me so much. I have come to understand that these years where you piece it all together and wield it as your own, that to me, is the reward of this parenting gig. Your gifts are many. You are smart, generous, funny, kind, slightly wicked, beautiful beyond words. You are organized in a piggy sort of way. You are resourceful, fast on your feet, witty. Your gift of gab and your ability to B.S. are impressive. In fact, all of these together add up to one hell of a package: you.

I'm well aware that our days of softly living in and out of the minutes are coming to an end. In a year you will graduate and then take flight. While I know your journey will be magnificent, I'm trying not to think about it right now. I'm just trying to soak it all in and revel in the glory that is you. You are my one and only baby girl. You are Red Sister. Kick Ass Cass. Fifi. Briar Rose. You are the most beautiful being I've ever laid eyes upon and for that I am forever grateful that you came screaming into our lives and continue to raise hell every single day.


If I've said it once, I'll say it a million more times ~ this red is the only Red.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Second chances

A few days before Thanksgiving I got a call from Loren while Cassidy, Devon and my mom and I were on a "camping trip". I'm not usually a fan of quote marks but when you're camping and have phone reception something doesn't add up to a wilderness experience. So anyway, when Loren reached us while we were camped out behind a Dinosaur Museum I was somewhat alarmed. It was the wrong time of month to need any financial assistance, requests that had recently become less frequent. In my mind this clearly meant that he had likely been in a limb losing accident and was either calling me with his toes or using a pencil in his teeth to peck out the numbers.

Turns out my crazy was slightly off, my son had all his limbs and was actually asking for a bit of life advice. He had been asked to move home to our mountain valley and intern with a local film company for the winter. Should he, he wondered? What about his lease, his job? While in my head I was jumping up and down and screaming for joy at the thought of having Lo home with us, I played it cool and pointed out that he had a room in an extremely desirable location on the DU campus and that bussing tables was not his lifelong ambition. I told him there would be very few times in his life when he would have no debt, no dependents and the absolute freedom to turn his life in a 180 degree direction within 48 hours. I also reminded him that he had taken the year off from school to look within and figure out where he wanted to go.

So. Go.

Within two days Loren was home, bringing with him the vitality of the young whose dreams ride shotgun and spill over into their every action. I am the happiest of mother hens having all my chicks back in the nest. The high school years can sometimes seem an eternity, but when all is said and done that short time is over and there is the chance your child might fly away for always.

I feel as though this is our chance to finally live as a family of five. It's not always easy. There was the day, a week or so in to Lo's return when I got a call from Ski Patrol that he had fallen and broken his collar bone and my son was in shock. Then there was the adventure of locating his car and paying the boot company an absurd amount of money to get his car mobile again, they weren't sympathetic that he was in the ER when his time expired. But for the most part it has been lovely and not a day goes by when I don't remind myself what lucky ducks we all are.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Can you ever really retrieve your groove?

While asking the above question, one might pose another question: Did I ever really have my groove or is hindsight somewhat more flattering than reality was at that time?

Lately I've been having a recurring thought and it is this: I'm fed the fuck up, or FTFU. It's true. I know that at this time of the year we are supposed to be giving thanks, and I am. Truly. There is so much for which I am grateful. I have a beautiful family with really cool kids and a great man. Plus I have an amazing mother, a roof over my head, food in the fridge. I'm working on my yoga journey, I've cut out all refined sugars from my daily diet, etc.... But under all that I'm FTFU. Why? I'm not entirely sure. Recently I started with a new therapist with whom I suspect I'll make great progress, though in our initial stages it's really just good fun to chat with somebody who isn't part of my family and I can shamelessly drone on for 50 minutes. So. It's mostly just been chit-chat and not too much work yet.

So, again. What gives? Mid-life blahs? Could be. I've been at this parenting thing for a little over 20 years and I still have a nine year-old hanging out in the house. How does that happen? Poor family planning, I know. I'm tired of parent/teacher conferences. Tired of mediating TV wars. Tired of giving up my yoga classes to schlep kids to after school activities. Tired of not doing my shit. I know. So selfish. But it's honest. That's just how it is right now. Somewhere in all the soccer games, ski lessons, hockey practices I lost sight of my own aspirations. My current ambitions include clean uniforms for Devon, balanced lunches for the kids. There is no color in it, just automation.

I hope this part of it ends, that I get my crap together and get over myself. In honor of trying to find a bit of me tonight I am listening The The on Pandora and ignoring the fact that Devon will soon come down stairs wanting sustenance. Hmmm, will it be PB&J or a grilled cheese? The wondering is keeping me on the edge of my seat.

Every time I hear Pink's song about True Love I'm fairly sure she wrote it for me and my family. She's a bad ass through and through, but this one nails it at the heart.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Riding it out

So I stopped writing for a spell. Why? For about 46 x 12 reasons. One of them was that life got super real and in my face and all I could focus on was breathing in and out, in and out, in and out until my lungs worked on their own and could perform the exercise without any instruction. They still need some encouragement most days, but it's getting more manageable and my red blood cells seem to be doing their job of oxygen delivery. Another reason is that there is a creeper out there who stalked my blog for years, so I turned off that Statcounter to live in bliss and ignore his weirdness. Then I waited. And waited. But the words have been stuck. I start sentences in my head, but can't complete them because the fun went away and my sass was covered up by a greasy film of stress.

I'm trying to get the fun back. I backed out of Blogher, let my other blog go into the sky and have returned to blogspot. Why not. It seems low pressure. There are no deadlines. I don't have to Tweet about any products or review any books. I'd like to do something fun here rather just rant about the lack of oxygen in my brain. I have colors in my head I'd like to share. Projects. Ideas. I'm really going to try to step around the piles of sick and regrets that have built up in the corners of our house, hell maybe I'll get out the broom and send them out the door in a swoosh of healthy cleansing.

I'm tired of rare diseases sucking the life from our family. I understand that they are here to stay and roost in arteries and the like, but not in mine. Hell and no. Today we are all upright, breathing and mostly cognitively functional. That's not half bad.

I love this picture. It isn't mine. 
I found it on Facebook without a photo credit. 
While I wait for the words to return in my head, these cats are awaiting the fishermen 
to return home with their day's catch