Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pomp & Circumstance gets me every. single. time.

Dear Ethan,
Today you graduated from high school.
That makes you kind of a big deal. But the truth is that in my world, you've always been kind of a big deal. You see, for years I had cried and begged and pleaded with mom and dad to have another kid so I would have someone to play with. [Apparently between the ages of 4-6, I thought they could just go to Kmart or Richway and pick one up on a Saturday afternoon.] By middle school I had accepted and embraced my only child world. Then suddenly during the fall of my 8th grade year, it was rocked when I learned that I was going to have to learn how to share. When you burst onto the scene on June 1, 1993, I got a new title and a new role to play in life: Sister.

Pause. I know what you're thinking: "If you got the title of sister, then why do you always act like my mom?!?" Of course the short answer to that question is "because I'm your older sister and everyone knows that the first born children are always the bossiest [and wisest!], that's why." But the other part of my answer to that question is that when little boys are born, they immediately take up permanent residence in part of the hearts of the women that are the closest to them. I remember telling mom when you were just days old that it was like you had always been here. You just belonged in our family right from the start and you began filling your own unique role the very moment that you took your first breath.

Speaking of your own unique truly are one of a kind. I've always admired [and been a little envious] of your ability to take control of a room and move with ease and confidence in just about any social situation.
It was charming and endearing when you were just learning how to talk because if you said it once, you said "fatch this, Heather, fatch!" a thousand times.
If my friends were over and we ignored your continuous commands to "fatch" your latest and greatest trick, things got a little embarrassing when you would just run as fast as your two-year old little legs would carry you into my room without a stitch of clothing on your naked baby bottom. Needless to say, you got our attention. A bit of sisterly advice: don't reintroduce this party trick during your college years because naked butts are only cute pre-potty training. Today I was honored to "fatch" you walk across the stage and accept your diploma as you reached your latest and greatest milestone. While I'm on the subject of unique, I've always been quite impressed with your unique style. Do you realize that for a couple of years when people would ask you what your name was, you would answer with "Walker, Texas Ranger"? Naturally, you were wearing some combination of boots, a cowboy hat, and holster when you identified yourself as Walker. Some days you were Batman. Other days you were Cowboy Woody.
And don't forget the Power Ranger days either. This day was likely an identity crisis for you, but you sure looked cute in the midst of it. As you've grown, your style has as well. In fact there have been some days that I've wondered if it's grown so much that you're taking fashion advice from the octogenarians at the local retirement home when you walk out wearing your tall black socks and mesh baseball cap from the early 80's. But when the occasion warrants, you can dress up quite nicely too.
Even though you're now a much wiser than you were yesterday high school graduate, there are still plenty of days ahead when as your big sister [who allegedly acts like your mom at times], I will absolutely bug the beejeesus out of you. And you'll roll your eyes at my advice and likely get mad when I continue to carry out my role that you gave me [big sister, in case you've already forgotten]. As lame as it may sound, I do hope that you always know how very proud to be your sister I have always been. It's easy to be proud of you because you are genuinely a good kid. Perfect? Nope. But perfection results in nothing but unnecessary pressure so who needs perfection anyway? As your big sister, I want only the very best things for you. But more than the very best things, I want you to always know and believe that you are capable of achieving and worthy of experiencing the very best things this world has to offer. Here's another bit of free sisterly advice: When I say things, I'm not talking about tangible things that are only going to lose value as they age. I'm talking about continuing to surround yourself with good people and letting the people who love you more than anything continue to love you and living a full and fulfilled life. Doing life with good people brings about moments and experiences that only become more valuable as the memories made in those moments become the stories that you laugh about and share for years on end. While I was bursting with happiness as we celebrated you and your achievements today, I was also sad and sorry that Daddy wasn't here with us. It sucks. It's not fair that your cheering section was missing very key people who I know are very special to you. But while Daddy wasn't there today, I know without a doubt that he was proud of you every single day that he was here in this world playing the role of your dad. You are his first son. The son that he hoped for and wished for and waited for. Just as I had hoped and wished and waited for a little brother or sister for years, he and mom had hoped and wished and waited for a son during those same years. And neither you nor I will ever fully understand just what that means until we have kiddos of our own one day. By the by, I get to have kids first. It doesn't matter if I'm 53 and still unmarried and you're 39 and have been married for 4 can't have kids until after I do. [Kids? Why am I talking about kids? You've got a whole lot of living to do before it's time to start thinking about kids.]

Trust me when I say that the best is yet to come. I don't want you to nor would I ever expect you to live your life in a way that is patterned after mine. I want you to continue to be the same unique and loving and funny and smart and witty boy that you have always been. Because that boy is becoming a man with each passing day. It's not a transition that happens overnight. It's not a transition that can be forced. And even years from now when you are an old man with a full moustache (ha!) and even hair growing out of your ears, nose, and out from around the back of your shirt collar (ewww), I will continue to be your big sister who will always be standing in your corner fighting your battles alongside you [not for you] and celebrating your victories with you.

I love you forever and ever with that whole part of my heart that is devoted just to you,


PS - Make good choices.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It looks like we made it.

I originally wrote this on Saturday so it's like reading last week's newspaper. Except there is really nothing newsworthy included in this post.

I’ve heard rumblings that the world is supposed to end today. I’m not even going to waste my time engaging in debate regarding this claim because for me, it’s a win-win situation. It happens: Welcome to Heaven! It doesn’t: I carry on with my weekend plans which include finally seeing Bridesmaids.

Regardless, by the time this post hits the blogosphere the present threat of rapture will be a distant memory. Why, you ask? Because I’m typing this post the old-fashioned way. Well, old-fashioned in a Microsoft Office 2007 sort of way as opposed to directly in Blogger. It just so happens that my computer has some sort of internet virus. And if I’ve learned anything over the past few days, I’ve learned that computer viruses don’t just “run their course” like people viruses do. Instead of confronting the issue head-on by contacting my local geek squad, I’ve taken the Scarlett O’hara approach and have decided to worry about it another day. [And if the world does end then I will be glad that I didn’t waste what little time I had left here devoted to repairing Coco the Dell.] So all of that to say, I’ll transfer this post from a flash drive to my blog at some point before Jesus returns.

I don’t really have anything of substance to write about today, but since I haven’t written in awhile I thought I would do a sort of housekeeping post as a means of updating everyone on my so-called life. And by everyone I mean the three readers who regularly stop by this little blog o’mine. Without further adieu…
1. I’m happy to report that I’m no longer down with the sickness. After an additional round of antibiotics and a cocktail of steroids and Mucinex with Sudafed, I can finally hear my television when the volume is set at a reasonable level. A word about steroids and Mucinex with Sudafed: The combo made me fighting mad. Except it also killed my appetite so I had no energy to actually fight anyone.
2. Unfortunately the loss of appetite was only a temporary side effect so I have been celebrating its return quite frequently with my latest and greatest grocery store discovery: Yoplait Smoothie pouches. You can find them in the freezer section and they are a delicious combo of smoothie goodness that you simply throw into your blender along with a cup of skim milk. My favorite so far is blackberry pomegranate. Speaking of Yoplait…
3. I like yogurt now. If there was ever a sign of the apocalypse my new found love of yogurt is certainly it. Especially considering my aversion to any and all foods of a certain color and texture.
4. I might or might not have contributed to the perpetuation of Southern stereotypes earlier this week. How so, you wonder? I “fixed” my car with duct tape. Jeff Foxworthy would be so proud. You know that Scarlett O’hara mentality I mentioned earlier? Yep, it’s in full effect here too.
5. Also earlier this week, I went to a Neko Case show with my friend Kat at 40 Watt. You three know that I take pride in what I consider to be my rather broad knowledge base when it comes to music. Until Wednesday though I was completely ignorant to all things Neko. In fact, I went to the show never having heard a single one of her songs. I have totally been missing out! She was fantastic. An added bonus of the evening was the opportunity to observe Athens culture at its finest. I really do love this town. An unanticipated part of the evening was getting hit on by an uber creepy high school guidance counselor. It’s an occupational hazard I suppose. Fortunately, it wasn’t too long until he spotted one of his former students and moved on to her. I wish that I was kidding about that but I’m not.
6. I’m really sad to see some of my friends leave for the summer. And by friends, I’m referring to characters on television shows. Perhaps I should devote a whole post to this like I did at the beginning of the new season. Spoiler alert: my favorite show this season has without a doubt been Parks & Recreation. I never saw it coming, but it li-tri-ly makes me laugh until I cry each week.
7. I just remembered my biggest reason for hoping that the rapture doesn’t happen in 29 minutes as predicted: Justin Timberlake is hosting the season finale of SNL. Oh how I love Justin Timberlake. And I know that he’s going to love me one day too. Just as soon as Kristen Wiig introduces me to him because it’s inevitable that she and I will be great friends one day as well. She can be a bridesmaid in our wedding.
8. I should be spending less time rambling on about nonsensical matters and more time updating my resume. Um…not because I’m actively looking for a new job right now but in the event that opportunity knocks, I need to be ready to answer. Besides, I’ve got a fancy diploma all rolled up in a cardboard tube as evidence that I’m smarter and more qualified for certain jobs than I was this time last year. I might as well make the most of that free education.
9. Speaking of education, I never thought that I would say it this soon after graduation, but I kind of miss school. No one tell my boss this because he would be able to say "I told you so" even louder than he already does. I don’t miss is badly enough to go back. Yet. In the event that I do go back, perhaps I should take basic grammar courses in an attempt to nip my habit of beginning fragmented sentences with conjunctions and ending them with prepositions in the bud.
10. I need a vacation.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers: The original Leatherman tool.

Sure, the title of today's post isn't syrupy sweet and sappy as one might expect for a Mother's Day tribute, but is motherhood a continuous flow of syrupy sweet and sappy moments? I can't speak from personal experience but after years of observation and knowing first hand that I am not a child who was a provider of non-stop syrupy sweet and sappy moments for my own mother, I think it's safe to say that it is not. When you think about it though, moms really are very much like Leatherman tools. I mean...they can do practically everything, they are used and abused, and they can withstand insane amounts of pressure. Am I wrong? Have you ever heard anyone who owns a Leatherman tool say "man, this was the worst investment I've ever made, it's completely useless." I am quite thankful and consider myself oh-so-fortunate that not once have I ever thought of my sweet mama as completely useless.
The older I get, the more I appreciate her. [I've heard this is pretty typical.] She is my constant cheerleader. She is a voice of reason. She is a true example of strength and grace in the midst of turmoil. I wonder why I did not inherit her trait of being laid back and go with the flow, but I sure am glad that she has it since I do not. She pours out so much love into the lives of her kiddos without the expectation that she is going to get something in return. More often than not, she doesn't even get a thank you. She has gone without so that we could have the latest and greatest big thing that happened to be at the top of our wish lists countless times.

It's no secret that I have always been a mama's girl and as a result, we have a close relationship. Yet very seldom do I take the time to stop and tell her thank you for being such a good mom to me throughout the years. It's something that I have always taken for granted and as with most things, we never miss the things that we've always had until they are no longer there or until we see that not everyone else is afforded the same blessings. Perhaps the best compliment that I can one day give her will be to look to her example when I am fortunate enough to be a mom myself. I hope that the laid back and go with the flow trait kicks in by then!

"All that I am or ever hope to be, I owe to my mother." - Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My body: A vacation destination for germs.

Very rarely do I get sick. Like we're talking once every three years or so. I'm quite thankful for my good health, and while it would be cool if I could chalk it up to always eating only the best food, getting a full eight hours of sleep each night, and regular exercise, the truth is I think that good genetics is a greater contributing factor than my regular diet of cereal and knowledge of who is on Leno and Letterman each night. When I do get sick though, the germs that invade my typically healthy self make the most of their stay. Quite frankly, they wear out their welcome.

I should have known it was inevitable. Last week I went home to visit my family and upon my arrival, I was greeted with the information that both brothers were sick. Ethan was on his third round of antibiotics, and Micah was just beginning to show the symptoms. But boys are germy right? So I could practice good hand washing and not get too close to them and be a-ok. I might have mentioned seven [or seventy times seven] times that I. Could. Not. Get. Sick. Micah even went so far as to accuse me of being a germophobe. Obviously I wasn't phobic enough.

On Easter Sunday, in addition to new charms for my charm bracelet and Reese's Pieces eggs (my favorite!), I also got a fever. And that's the gift that really keeps on giving. By Monday, my ears felt as if I had spent too much time practicing my swan dive at the pool. On Tuesday, the cough was beginning to get a little more persistent [read: annoying]. When I woke up on Wednesday, I thought that the only positive that could result from the looming storm system moving through was that surely the change in barometric pressure would cause my right ear to finally pop.

On a completely unrelated but quite serious side note: Please take a moment to remember and pray for all of the folks in the South who experienced far greater and serious loss than a temporary loss of three out of five senses on Wednesday.

By Wednesday night my voice was completely gone. Thursday morning, I finally did what most people would have done on oh Monday: I went to the doctor. I suspect that the Hippocratic Oath doesn't include doing no harm to one's self-esteem because upon examination of my ears, the doctor informed me that they "looked disgusting". Then he asked me if I could even hear anything at all. To which I replied "What?" No, not really! I couldn't reply with anything all because well, voice. He prescribed me with some meds and I went on my merry way to work because I no longer had a fever, I felt fine and he told me that I wasn't contagious unless I was sharing drinks with someone. Anyone who knows me in the slightest knows there's zilcho chance of that happening. [I have no clue why Micah thinks I'm a germophobe.]

Friday morning I woke up at 3:40 a.m. [just in time for the Royal Wedding coverage to begin!] No, I didn't plan on waking up at this time, it just happened. However, much to my dismay, I discovered that my eyes would not open without the assistance of a warm washcloth. Yep, you guessed it: Pink Eye. Really?!? Is this what Charlie Sheen means by winning? With the help of my new friend, hydrocodone cough syrup, I fell back to sleep until a more suitable hour, text messaged work that I would not be coming in on Friday, and did what any other girl in my condition would do: settle in for the SIX HOURS of Royal Wedding coverage that I had DVR'd.

In hindsight, the timing of my illness was quite impeccable because when else would I have been able to watch the entire event without feeling a little twinge of guilt that I could be using my time in a much more productive manner? There really is a silver lining to every cloud, now isn't there? I have also been saving tremendously on eye makeup this week, might I add. Now that it's Sunday, my dog has finally resigned to the fact that I may never speak to him again in any tone above a whisper (he was thoroughly confused at first), I'm still waiting for my right ear to open up, and I'm kind of used to the blurred peripheral vision that comes with wearing glasses instead of contacts.

I don't write this for pity or as a woe-is-me lament because truthfully, I prefer one big under the weather event every few years as opposed to a bunch of little ones with each new season. However, I am super bummed because I had to miss a bunch of fun stuff that I had planned for this weekend. Maybe just maybe though, I needed this speed bump to slow me down just a little bit to make me remember the things that are most important. And no, I'm not talking about things like the nuptials of William and Catherine. I've been reminded not to take what I consider to be the little things for granted. For example: instead of going through the drive thru at Chick-fil-A yesterday, I had to go in because there was no way that I could have communicated my order otherwise. As with most things, we never really know what we have until it's gone. What 80's hair band sang that sentiment best? My memory fails me. I am fortunate that I have access to good medicine to restore my health and this is just a temporary bug. I am fortunate that neither myself nor my family members were in the direct path of the storms on Wednesday. Indeed, every day that I live, I am blessed.