Unsent Letters • 08.13.2015

My little girl, my oldest little girl, was diagnosed with cancer back in August 2015. A papillary carcinoma on her thyroid gland. It was found quite by mistake, and with God’s arm around her shoulders she survived.

This is the letter I meant to give her five months later when she turned 18.

I reckon it’s been lost all this time..

 💞

Autumn Michelle,

You know, when you were born I was still a little girl in so many ways. I didn’t work or drive or even live on my own. While I had been without my own mom off and on for a few years, I’d never really had to take care of myself..

Then you came along. Tiny and helpless and completely dependent on me to do things for you that I’d never even really thought to do for myself. It was time to grow up and I was so scared..

I was so afraid I would do the wrong thing..

I’ll never forget the first time I clipped your little fingernails. I caught the skin on one of your thumbs and you bled while I cried. It felt like such a tragedy.. Such a small mistake but it felt like the end of the world.

You were so incredible, I would sit and stare at you for hours on end and write poetry for you to read when you were older. I had so many hopes and dreams for your future and I just knew someday you’d grow up to be better than me..

And you are.

From your very first coos I knew you’d sing me a song. From your first wobbly steps I knew you’d go a whole lot farther than me, and you did. At barely two you could say all of the alphabet and actually carry a tune. You’d stand in a laundry basket and tell everyone to “shh, shh, ima show you something” .. I can still hear you breaking into Somewhere Over the Rainbow like it was yesterday – I wish I still had that video Nick made.. I can still smile knowing you turned out better than the test of us did.. 

You had the face of an angel and a smile that could chase away the shadow of my darkest days. Nothing has changed. I look at  you and all too often i still see that little girl; quiet and sweet and always so damn well behaved. Nana always says that you were born an old soul and she could see it in your eyes.

Your uncle Jason’s eyes…

When I look back over the years, both good and bad, I see so many things I’d go back and change. So many choices I would take back if I could… 

But I always always loved you and I did the best I could – even though sometimes it wasn’t enough. If I could live an extra life and all the time that comes with it, I still don’t think  I’d have to make up for the times I couldn’t be around when you were little.. The hundred moments that I’ve missed and I can’t ever get back. Your first day of kindergarten and losing your front teeth and starting gymnastics and probably a thousand other little things I didn’t even know I missed.. 

I’ll bet you remember then all.

It’s been ten years since I decided to start over. I moved here with your sister and a dream and not much else but I still made it. I hadn’t seen you in a year and you were angry with me for so many things i could never make up for.. but you still came. It was a visit that turned into a year and then a decade and I’ve loved it. 

You were and when your dad didn’t come back for you after that summer was over but we got through it. And when you had to start all over with no friends in a new school we still got through it. You got glasses and got your baby teeth and you grew out before you grew up and if course we got through it.. One day I realized we had gotten through it all. From grades and boys to birth control and cancer and then some.. 

I will be forever grateful for the chance to watch to grow up. You have always been so much more than I’d imagined you’d and you still amaze me every single day. Soon enough you’ll find. All grown up and on the run with a life of your own and I’m not ready…I

I already miss you. Is that terrible? The older you get the led you need me and I guess that his it’s all supposed to be. 

I did my job.. 

I raised a smart, independent woman with the ability to do anything she sets her mind to and I couldn’t be more proud..I

I love you, 

Mom

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Fantasies of a Stressed out Mom

TEENAGER (by definition)

{WEBSTER’S DICTIONARY} – Any person between the ages of 13 and 19.

{URBAN DICTIONARY} – God’s punishment for enjoying sex.

The reality of it all is that teenagers suck (usually from a couple of years before until a couple of years after the actual teens). And while I’m pretty sure this has been one of those undisputed-since-the-beginning-of-time facts that most red blooded Americans should already know, we just don’t seem to think about it until it’s right there in our faces..

WTH?

Where’s the survival instinct? The authority? The RESPECT?

It’s gone, that’s where.

Kids these days are born into what I like to call the Age of Entitlement. Everybody owes them something just for being alive.. it’s kinda suck-ish, really, and an absolute shame.

But what do we do? Hell, I’m not sure there’s anything we can do at this point.

Suddenly the adults are all acting just as badly as their kids. We have riots and school shootings and movie theater massacres like once a month… And the suicide rate. Don’t get me started on that shit… Yet it’s all for what? Because someone’s momma wasn’t pay enough attention? Or someone’s girlfriend didn’t want to go to the prom? There are umpteenth new and extraordinarily profound reasons for it all nowadays, and I can’t find the validity in any of them. They’re just kids. Spoiled little hormonal buttheads that think they rule the world because we don’t tell them any different. It’s funny, but looking back I can’t remember anyone ever having to tell me such things….

Still, at the risk of running slightly long winded today I’ve got to take a few minutes (or years) to touch on the subject of my own teenagers. I have been absolutely blessed to have raised, or had a hand in raising, an amazing group of not-so-tiny humans.

Between us, my husband and I have six kids.. and with the exception of one, they have all managed to grow and mature into smart, beautiful, contributing members of society. Don’t get me wrong, that one just so happens to be beautiful and smart (and way too much like her mother) but she also has an attitude thats so incredibly large it casts a literal shadow over everything it touches.

It’s distracting, and so ugly it actually takes something from her… I can’t quite describe it, but if you have teenagers of your own you probably know what I mean..

Teenagers are scary. Like Mr. Gump’s widely known Box of Chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.. I’ve tried my best to curb the enthusiasm she seems to have for feeding the beast inside of her but nothing helps. I can ground her, take her phone, strip her bedroom, blah blah blah.. I get nothing. No reaction. No tears. No improvement. Just a blank face and a monotone voice that breaks my heart in a thousand new ways every time it comes around.

I guess I’m bitching. It’s been a bad week.

Any advice?

Epiphany

I had an epiphany this morning. A big one, actually. One that cannot be ignored or forgotten or denied.

I. Am. Alone.

In this life. On this planet.

And I’m not complaining.

It’s ironic, really, for this to have started that way in my head when the truth is that I like being alone once in a while.Well… Of course not all day every day, but I don’t mind it so much..

Sometimes it’s nice.

Randomness

Disclaimer : I don’t have much of a filter sometimes, and today will be no exception. Excuse me while I bitch for a minute.

For the greatest part, my husband is a pretty good guy. He’s tall and gorgeous and he busts his ass to take care of us all. He doesn’t often yell and he doesn’t use his fists, and he doesn’t have a clue of what he’s worth… But he’s also an asshole. Like, the kind of asshole one can only be with a whole lot of practice, and that sucks. He’s opinionated and stubborn and a bit of a hypocrite when his mood is right.

He loves me, there’s no denying that, he just loves him more; and it’s a damn good thing I knew who he was when I married him or I might get a little bit pissed about that on days like today.

LOL..

I’m not pissed. Instead I’ll just resent the Hell out of him for ignoring me… and for putting himself first.. and for never being willing to compromise. But mostly, I to be real about it, I resent him for not having it in him to be the friend he promised me he would be.. because that’s who I’m looking for.

I miss my best friend and it’s not fair. If he would just tell me what the fuck the problem is.. I mean really.. I’m smart but I’m not a fucking mind reader.

Geez.

To top it off, I don’t think he even realizes how bad it is. I don’t think he sees it and that makes me feel so sad for him.. That he’s never had a love so big that it can tear apart your soul – and so he doesn’t feel it fading away..

How awful..

I feel it..

He used to glow when he smiled, like that buzz of excitement in him was alive.. I could literally sense him coming a mile away; and I was always the only one else the room.. until I wasn’t.

I miss that.

I miss him.

It’s not fair….

Story of My Life..

Tomorrow is Monday. Usually my favorite day of the week, this one happens to be slated for a full day of chores. (WTF Monday? You coulda warned me.. 😒)

It has come to my attention that we’ve less than a full pack of pull-ups left here in the house, and I don’t have a clue where to buy them.. They were being delivered once a month by some place out in Pearl but they stopped for no reason sometime earlier last year. When I called (and I’ve called like six times – seriously) I’m told we need an updated prescription and that they’ll fax a request over to her doctor. Well after waiting a few months and getting nothing i went to the pediatrician and asked her what to do. So she finds the website and prints out the forms and then sits down with me and fills them out. I can only assume she faxed them in as I have yet to hear back about anything.

Its SO frustrating. If I were a toddler I might throw a tantrum. Hell, I might throw onevanyway..

🌛 For These Moments 🌜

This has been one hell of a year.. 

Makayla exchanged her glasses and braces for cleavage and eye liner and all-day-long-selfies, she failed her first class and officially became a teenager. She’s begun making choices and wizening up and I’m proud of the tomorrow’s it looks like she’s chosen. 

Autumn Michelle turned 18, got a nursing job, graduated high school, had another cancer scare – and then another miracle, moved out, started college and impressed her whole world. It all happened so fast that the “blink of an eye” part came later and haven’t quite caught my breath even now..

Maddison got her license and a job and her first car (last year, actually) then started birth control,  moved out and kinda sorta lost her way.. Lost a boy that mattered, found another, had a pretty major surgery but came out of it on top. 

Colton grew six inches overnight and stopped talking to us for the most part; we have yet to figure out exactly why but can’t help holding onto the hope that he might come around. 

Jake seems like he’s turned into a good man nowadays. He works hard and lives right and comes around often enough to make his daddy smile. 

Gracie, well Gracie turned into a little girl this year, as opposed to the baby she’s been all these years. At 7 years old she is already tall and has both her front teeth and an attitude. 

Yea.. you could say things have changed some this year..

This year we’ve grown. As a family, as individuals, as the people we were meant to be at this time in our lives. 

And I am thankful.. 

I am thankful for the bad times just as much as for the good. I am thankful for the moments of love and of laughter and of hurt (a lot of hurt..) and for the pride that overwhelms me when I look back through my days. Although it wasn’t how I’d planned it, I am thankful for the way it all played out. 

I am thankful for the little things, like really good books and how my dog is always happy to see me. For amazing summer sunsets when there’s fire in the sky; and for the dark and rainy days, because they always make me think of Winnie the Pooh and his balloon..

I am thankful for the few great people I can proudly call my friends, and that my family is just a call away.

I am thankful for my husband and for knowing that he still gets out of bed and chooses to love me every single day. I have been blessed with this life and I am thankful..