Monday, January 6, 2014

Just Another Day In The Life Of...

My family is alternately laughing at me 
and shaking their heads in my direction.

It might have something to do with my less than stellar vision. 

It's really not nice to laugh at people with
poor eyesight but they are quite amused and 
unwilling to hide their mirth. 

My baby girl's boyfriend, who is usually
way nicer to me than the people who live here,
is even looking at me with poorly concealed
laughter in his eyes.

Nobody seems concerned by the fact that I have
had difficulty seeing all day. 

I drove in the dark this morning 
to a hospital to supervise the
cardiologist treating my oldest daughter.

(That's a whole different post but he did okay. 
He says she is fixed and that is music to this mama's ears!)

I watched heart monitors, crocheted a hat for the grandson,
held multiple text conversations, drove home, evaluated possible
curtains for the den and cooked dinner only burning one finger 
in the process.

I did all of that with a definite squint, people. 
Because it's hard for me to see.

I keep forgetting to make an appointment for my 
yearly eye exam. 

I blame the coma.

In fact, I haven't been able to see clearly all day and it has just about
driven me the rest of the way to crazy.

I have had poor eyesight most of my life and have been
known to express my frustration at this inability to see
clearly in a loud and inappropriate voice. 

Or at least a gusty sigh

Anyway, I finally had a minute to relax by reading some very
entertaining Facebook comments concerning the failure
of our school board to cancel school due to the anticipated
cold weather. (By the way-It's wind chill NOT wind shield
in case you too are confused as to the correct terminology. 
Just sayin'..........)

"I have GOT to make an eye appointment," I may or may not
have yelled as I yanked my glasses from my face to clean 
the lenses. 

In accordance with my policy of attack first
because offense is the best defense,
the very next thing I uttered was, 

"Why didn't any of you tell me I was missing a lens?" 


I've been walking around all day with no right lens. 

That might explain why I burned my fingers.

Now I just need to explain how it never occurred to me
to wonder why my eyesight diminished so drastically overnight.

Oh I know. 

It's the coma again. 

Just sayin'................


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy Birthday, Mom

Grief is a funny thing. 

It arrives and departs on it's own timetable 
never bothering to follow the laws of reason or civility.  

A cherished friend recently told me that
it takes seven celebrations for the sting to diminish. 

Seven birthdays.

Seven Christmases. 

Seven adoption anniversaries. 

I do not know if I believe it.
Because grief does not play fair. 

While it seems as fresh as a few moments ago 
that I held her hand while she took that last breath

It seems forever and a day
since I last saw her face. 

Forever and a year since my ears 
heard her voice say my name. 

I miss her as much as I did the moment she left 
and more than ever before. 

Happy birthday, Mom. 

I still miss you every day.

I still miss your voice.

I still miss your face.

I still miss your presence.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Today was my eighth day back at work and
the end of my first full week. 

I am tired. 

I am tired but I got up every morning. 
I showed up. I taught. I assessed. I kept up
in line. We got where we needed to be mostly
when we needed to be there and nobody got lost.

This is a wonderful and terrible time of 
year for teachers. 

The good thing is that it is Christmas time

The bad thing is that it is Christmas time.

I still say it is the best job ever.

But I am saying it from underneath the 
electric blanket on my bed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Just Another Thanksgiving Post

I would say that my doctor, his sweet wife and I have known each
other half of our lives but that might prompt some of you 
to try to figure out how old we are. 

And we aren't. 

Old that is.

And that's just unnecessary.
And probably rude.
Just sayin'..................

I first met the doc and his wife at church.

Her father was the pastor at that time and her mother was a teacher. I fell in love with her parents. 

Her father reminded me of mine and listening to Preacher was like going home. He is a hugger and has a smile that is impossible to resist. Turning him down was impossible so suffice it to say that I did time in Mission Friends and Children's Sunday School. When he asked I just automatically nodded. 

Her mother...well she was a saint. Beloved by her students and able to make this girl feel like she mattered. Even more more impressive was her ability to say the thing you needed to hear the most. She caught sight of me one Wednesday evening and called me over to her table. Starting with, "I've been meaning to tell you..." and ending with, "I wanted you to know I noticed." she gave me the gift of encouragement at a time when I felt all alone in a struggle.  

Kathy and her sister were kind enough to invite me to the kinds of things young Southern Baptist women did back then. I was shy and awkward and I didn't make it easy but they made me feel like I belonged. Those two girls made me laugh harder than I had ever laughed before. 

Although we hadn't seen each other in far too long, she cooked for my kids while I was off on my coma vacation. They are still talking about that meal! I think they might be willing to ship me off to Emory again for another one of Mrs. Kathy's hams. 

Knowing that she fed my kids for me made me feel loved. 

Thanks, Kathy. You are your mama's girl and that is high praise. 

For a long time the doc was just Kathy's husband. 
Sorry Gerald.
He was busy getting finishing his residency and frankly I couldn't remember which sister he was married to.
Sorry again.

After a few years we wound up in the same Sunday School class. He eventually taught the class and I was finally able to keep who he was and which sister he belonged to straight in my head. 
Again with the sorry.

I sat on the front row with some of my people.
We were collectively referred to as,

Yes, with all caps. 
Because we always studied our lesson
and were ready to contribute valuable,
on topic, mostly appropriate comments.

Or maybe because that is where you make the trouble makers sit.
Just sayin'.........

Quite possibly, it was as a front row girl that I noticed his tendency to roll his eyes at me occasionally. 

He doesn't know this but my recent illness isn't 
the first time he has saved my life. 

He saved it for the first time many years ago
by listening to what was unsaid,
by reading between the lines.  

Believe when I tell you what a difficult 
task that is because I walk in the door with
lots to say. I like to arrive at each appointment
with a diagnosis and a treatment in mind. 

In fact, I like to refer to our meetings as consultations.
He once began an office visit by asking which one of
us was getting paid for the visit. 
Insert eye roll. 

He probably should have warned the neurologists at Emory.
The word sassy may have been used in reference to my attitude.

Anyway, thanks Doc. 
Thanks for taking care of me and my baby these last few months. 
You saved her life too. 

I know that's your job but

The prayers that I heard the two of you prayed for me and mine weren't your job though and that makes them all the more precious. 

Again. Thanks.

Just sayin'................

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Missing: One Heart and So Thankful

All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mom.

There are no words big enough, strong enough or fancy enough to express the depth of my love for the ones who made that dream come true.

I lost my heart with the birth of my first child and haven't seen it since.

She held it firmly in her tiny fist only letting go of it to share it with her brother and sister.

The three of them have had complete possession of each heartbeat.
The three of them have been the reason for each breath.

It is frightening to lose one's heart so completely.
So irrevocably. 

I used to believe that life would be a little less frightening when they got a little bit older. 

I used to believe that when they reached that first birthday I would be able to sleep without first watching for the rise and fall of their breath. 
I used to believe that when they learned to talk and could tell me what was wrong or where it hurt I would be able to relax and assume all was well. 
I used to believe that when they were old enough to take care of themselves I would be able to stop worrying about them. 

I have found that motherhood doesn't work that way. 
Once those tiny hands close around your heart you are theirs forever. 
You belong to them in a way that you belong to no other. 

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Just sayin'............

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thank you Mrs. Butler

My First Grade teacher was named Mrs. Butler.

I loved her very much
and when asked to name
my favorite teacher or 
the one who has had the 
most impact on my life,
I always, 
with no hesitation
speak her name.

You see, Mrs. Butler taught me to read.
She introduced me to the power of words.

I distinctly remember two things about First Grade...
how kind my teacher was to me on the day I was stung by a bee
and the moment I read my first words.

Both of these memories have colored the tone of my
classroom and while I have too often failed miserably in 
the kindness department I still continue to strive to be the same
soft shoulder for my students that Mrs. Butler was for me. 

And just as she must have,
I live for those days when the 
eyes of a five year old meet mine 
as they gasp a little
and grin a lot because 
"Oh snap! 
I just read that all by myself!

Mrs. Butler opened a magic door for me and sent
me through it to worlds that began with
Sally, Dick, Jane, Spot and Puff then continued on
with Meg and Charles Wallace and on and on.
(100 bonus points to those who know Meg and Charles Wallace)

I was never far from a book and was frequently instructed
to get my nose out of said book because I chose to read over
almost any other activity. 

I read then (and still do) as if my mind was as hungry for words
as a stray dog is for food and it makes sense that
my word hunger would evolve into the need to create
my own stories.

My own words have never flowed as freely as I imagine
they do for other people who feel compelled to tell their
stories. I search hard for that perfect combination of words
that will recreate a moment. It has never come easy for me. 

I write. 
And re-write.
And re-write again.

My life is different now. I am still re-learning to walk up and down
stairs. My balance is iffy and my gait feels awkward. My hands
are weak and don't want to function some days. 

I now find myself searching harder for those just right words.
They have become elusive and as hard to hold on to as the 
mist that rises from the lake behind my house on these cold

This post alone has taken days and days and days to write. 
I have no idea how many hours I have spent typing and 
re-typing these words. Each time I return to these words 
I find and correct errors and complete unfinished sentences.

As I slowly emerged from my coma I do not recall being frightened.
Not until I was aware enough to realize that my
words were hiding from me and that the 
words of others had to swim sluggishly upstream
through a brain that just did not translate as it once did.

Just today, I could not recall the words
'birthday card'. 

It is frustrating and scary. 

There are good days and bad days.

Sometimes I have to wipe tears away 
in order to see the keyboard but I am determined to use
that stubborn, hard headed attitude my husband loves
so much to find and keep my words.

I have more to say now than ever before.

Just sayin'..........................

PS. Mrs. Butler-

I wish I could find you and thank you in person. 
I still love you. 

Ann Marie

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Woke Up This Morning...Thankful

I love the Facebook trend of thankfulness
in which many participate during the month of November. 

It blesses me to see into the hearts of both friends and
acquaintances as they share the things for which they
are thankful. 

Giving thanks is a habit I acquired
many, many years ago
during a particularly 
dark and stressful season of life. 
It was a time filled with self-doubt
and negativity.

God showed me then
that a grateful attitude is an effective defense
against anxiety and the process of searching
for new things to thank Him for every day takes
your mind to places of peace.

I began by keeping a journal. Each night I wrote
three positive statements about myself and three
new things for which I was thankful. 

Over time, I developed a habit of praying myself to sleep
each night by thanking the One who provided
every blessing that graced my life. 

As I read the many thankful status updates
today it occurred to me that there is power
in the act of sharing gratefulness with others.

So I sat down a few moments ago
and placed my fingers on the keys
just as I was taught so many a few years ago
in typing class at Baldwin High School. 

Still peeking at the keys,
just as I did then, 
I began to make my first
giving of thanks Facebook status posting. 

I quickly realized that a status post
is just too... 
for me
in this season of my life. 

Hence, the blog post. Just sayin'....

On this first day of the traditional
season of giving thanks
I am thankful for 
the gift of life. 

I am thankful that mine was 
given back to me. 

It isn't the same life I had
before. It is a life with new

But each morning is another chance
to get it right.

Each day is an opportunity to
extend Grace to another
just as Grace has been extended
to me. 

I am thankful for each day 
that I wake up for each day 
is a gift, people.

Just sayin'............................