Baby Face

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The most interesting person I’ve met in 2014 is someone I have yet to meet. I don’t know what he looks like. The few pictures I have seen have not been the best quality although it’s easy to see a profile and the little fist he presents in the picture is crystal clear. He is an enigma to us all.

Instead of the early nudges and flutters, he let his presence be known by flipping around when he’s not curling up in a ball and playing possum. He has been causing his mommy to have hiccups on and off throughout the day for months now. Although we won’t meet him for another two months, when Mommy is sitting still, I watch in amazement as her entire belly does a shift. And if I put my hand on it and start speaking, he rolls up into his ball again, pretending he can’t hear me. It’s a game he plays with me. He is most responsive to his big brother’s voice and the weight of him pressing down on top of his warm dark habitat. He is very sensitive to things his mommy eats. He does not like spicy food and has been known to startle into a full body jerk when she eats it. She describes it as feeling like he threw his arms and legs straight out. Sometimes he appears to be practicing his karate moves and other times he’s doing somersaults. Like most at this age, he is most active when Mommy is resting and takes great naps when she’s busy. steven791

If any of this is indicative of his personality, he will be quite a character. I cannot wait for our new little grandchild to arrive!

Writing 101: A Character-Building Experience- Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.

Fire

I left the meeting feeling so many things…..none of them good. The two men I had met with are part of a board that I am on. They’ve been showing some chauvinistic behavior lately and I have not liked it one bit. The more I call them on it, the bigger asses they become. I can tell by their words AND their actions that they feel completely justified because I’m just an overemotional woman. (They skip over the part where my frustration is coming from them not hearing me, showing me any respect or involving me in any decisions made.) I was at the end of my rope and ready to admit defeat. It was time to seriously consider resigning from this position.

As I reached my car, I dropped my planner on the ground. I bent down to pick it up and noticed a piece of paper laying a few inches away.

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I read the words on the paper, not once, not twice, but many times. With each reading I felt a fire growing inside me and as that fire grew, so did my determination to not let these “mean boys” get the best of me.

I’ve been told that under the right circumstances that I can be a force to be reckoned with…… so they better watch out!

Writing 101: Be Brief- You discover a letter on a path that affects you deeply. Today, write about this encounter. And your twist? Be as succinct as possible.

So Close

I really struggled with writing about a loss. I don’t know why. To be honest, I’ve lost lots. My favorite gray hoodie, the bracelet my best friend gave me, a very dear friend, my concentration…..And yet when it came down to it, I couldn’t get moving.

Then I got a text from a fellow board member about the election that’s coming in 7 months. Let me back up for a minute. I’m not sure if I ever really mentioned it, except in passing, but I sit on a local board with 6 other people. It’s been one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. There’s nothing like being tied to 6 very different people and having to come to a consensus on important matters. It’s an elected position with a 4 year term. It alternates- 4 people run in one cycle and then 2 years later the other 3 people run. untitled (11)

My buddy, John, was my running mate in the last election. I was running for my 3rd term and this was his first time. We ran with 2 of my fellow board members. This board position is something that I originally did because I was asked and I saw it as a way to force myself out of my comfort zone. Like I mentioned, it has been a challenge. I’m shy and quiet. I panic in large groups and lose the ability to speak. I cannot speak in front of a room full of people. I suck at small talk. That was 10 years ago when I began as a board member. It still holds true today. Oh well.

John has wanted to do this for years. We talked about it for as long as I’ve known him. Next to my oldest son being a bit of a handful I would have to say that our talk of the district was a huge factor in our friendship developing. John asked me tons of questions about everything to do with my position. The longer I knew him the certain I was that he would be great on the board. Finally, two years ago, he was ready to throw his hat in the ring.

The campaign was stressful. Addressing groups of people and telling them why they should vote for me was terrifying. We had every reason to believe that although there were 6 candidates and 4 positions that John was going to get elected. I told him more than once that I was sure he was going to bump me right out of my seat. We were sure of it.

John lost. He lost by under 20 votes. He was upset, disappointed, frustrated and so was I. His loss was not just his own. It was my loss because I had really looked forward to working with him in this capacity. It was the board’s loss and the district’s loss.

I’m halfway through my third term and election time is approaching for the 2nd cycle and John is going for it. This time, we are doing it!

Writing 101:Serially Lost- Today, write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series.

Music Speaks

untitled (4)Today’s writing assignment challenges us to develop a writing habit by committing to writing at least 15 minutes each day. Our topic is three songs that are significant to us.

I can start by saying this is so hard! The first time I enrolled in Writing 101 back in June, this assignment really stumped me. And now, I would love to just recycle the post but no, that’s not right.

One song that is meaningful in my life is “Across the Universe” by the Beatles. It was written by John Lennon even though it is credited to Lennon/McCartney. “Words are flowing out like endless rain inside a paper cup….” This song resonates with the writer, the reader, the lover of words inside me. The lyrics flow, glide, pour practically seamlessly. The melody is simple and pretty. It’s hard to describe the feeling this song gives me. Although it really does soothe me, there are times when I listen to it that I cry when it reaches “Nothing’s gonna change my world.” This is a recent development for me. I know why it happens. It began approximately three years ago when my world seemed to spiral out of control. It became a mantra that played in my heart and in my mind on an endless loop. When my son came out as transgender, the world tipped on its axis. Or at least that’s what it felt like. When it sort of righted itself…..well, it never really did… we just got used to walking around with things slightly off kilt. Although I had to adjust, adapt, accept, embrace the changes that my middle child’s transition brought us, I was determined to keep my world, my family, intact. That’s what wasn’t going to change. Well, as you can guess, it did change. A lot. But now I carry that same mantra close to me and its meaning has changed. What’s not going to change in my world is my love for my family- us 7, soon to be 8. We got through some rocky times together and came out stronger on the other side. Nothing’s gonna change that!

The second song that comes to mind is “Defying Gravity” from the musical Wicked. it’s one of my all time favorite musicals. I’ve seen it 4 times. Or is it 5? The song is powerful. Don’t you agree? You know the song. You have to! It’s been everywhere! I took my middle son, Kris, to see Wicked way back before he came out. It still seems so fitting that we both love this story of Elphaba, the wicked witch, and her fight to become who she really is, who she was meant to be and her struggle for acceptance in a world where she was different. When I hear this song, I think of Kris and all he’s been through. He is defying gravity and he is amazing.

Okay, so we’re supposed to write for 15 minutes without stopping and I had every intention of talking about “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon. (Can you guess who my favorite Beatle is?) But then another song sprung into my head- POP. “I am Your Child” by Barry Manilow. This song brings me to tears . Every time I hear it. Do you know it? If not, you need to listen to it. “Wherever you go, you take me too. Whatever I know, I learned from you…” Another powerful song, in my book. When I look at my children- all 18 and older- and I see what awesome people they have become, I don’t puff up and think, “Damn, I did a great job on these guys!” I’m proud of them. I really am. Sometimes I’m impressed with who they became despite my abysmal parenting skills. I beat myself up constantly. Did I do enough to prepare Andrew for college life and living so far away from home? Did I set a good enough example now that Michael is trying to learn how to parent a 5 year old? And Kris. Did I totally screw up by imposing stereotypical gender role crap on him his entire life? This song reminds me that these children of mine were not hatched from eggs or raised in the wild….(although anyone witnessing bedtime at our house 15 years ago might beg to differ) and if I’m so quick to take ownership of any shortcomings, I should be just as willing to celebrate the successes and take a smidge of credit.

At this point I have long since passed the 15 minute writing requirement, so I will wish you a good day and hit the ‘publish’ button.

There’s a Place

There’s a place I go.

It’s a nice place. It’s peaceful. Quiet. Relaxing. Trees line the back of the yard, giving the feeling that if you step in, you are entering a never ending forest. There are a few trees scattered with a few overgrown bushes sprinkled in creating a border on the right. The yard is open to the neighbor’s yard on the left but being almost a full acre in size, it’s not too close.

It’s a perfect spring day. The sun is shining bright in the sky. There’s a soft wind blowing, the rustle of leaves shifting this way and that, trying to settle only to be moved around by the next breeze. Fluffy white clouds float by each one competing with the next to create the most interesting shape. A goat. A sailboat. An elephant. A pirate?

There is the lingering floral scent filling the air even as it fades away. The garden next door is close enough to show off the dazzling colors of the its occupants but far enough way that I’m not overwhelmed by the aroma. Just the way I like my flowers. Also, safe in my neighbor’s garden, those same flowers stand a chance of survival. That wouldn’t be happening over here. The temperature is perfect. I don’t need anything more than a light sweater and even when the wind picks up a little, it swirls around my ankles with a soft breeze that cools me but doesn’t cause goosebumps to run up and down my legs.

The trees that are older than time provide a comforting shade from the blinding sunlight and the soft background music of my iPod playing a nice mix of jazz, classical, musical hits and yes, Beatles, is broken intermittently with the sound of squirrels making that ‘chit chit’  sound as they race around the yard, through the bushes and up and down the trees. Occasionally a bird tweets out a pretty little tune and in the distance the dog barking network goes into action filling the air with faint barks back and forth between the canine pals up and down the street.

I sway back and forth on the glider looking out at the peaceful scene before me. My Kindle lays on the seat beside me- all of my favorite books within reach at the tap of a finger. My music provides the perfect soundtrack for the quiet setting.

Yes, it is a nice place.