Thursday, September 6, 2012

King for a Day and the Magic Number

Having kids is magic.

Or so they say...

Actually, yes it is.

(I waffle)....

There are moments like Tuesday, when sweet angel boy was "King for a Day" in his kindergarten class.  He came home wearing a crown.  Enough to melt your heart.

Part of being "King for a Day" meant that sweet boy had to fill up a "magic bag" with only five items that represent who he is.  He then sat in front of his precious little peers and one-by-one explained why he choose such items and what they say about him.  Mind you, he is five.  FIVE.  As in... one hand.

This picking-items-business would be difficult for most adults.  I'm not sure what items I would even choose. And sitting and speaking in front of your class?  Enough to make anyone nervous.

He filled his bag with a penguin, a dinosaur made of legos, a baseball, a green pen with a football at the top that shoots off the pen at the touch of a button, and a photo of his mom, dad, sister, and him in Hawaii just after a whale and dolphin watching cruise.

He explained it to me like this:  "I love penguins, dinosaurs and legos, mama." Then, he went on to explain that he was a baseball player for the A's last season at Junior Deputy and loves the color green and can't wait to get his helmet on to play flag football for the Colts.   Oh, and the photo?  His precious peeps.... 

It apparently went swimmingly well.  Upon pick-up, his mood was beyond swell.  He also had a ring pop which is one of those suckers that you wear on your finger.

Where'd that come from?

In his school district, each child is assigned a six-digit number that they are required to remember. I can't even remember my phone number, so this is a tall order in my opinion.

But we've been practicing, and turns out, the very day that he is "king,"  he recited his number when his sweet teacher Mrs. Johnson asked unexpectedly.  So, like every kindergartner who recites his number correctly, he got a ring pop!


Or something like it.

Real life, actually.

Which is magic...

We were on a high that night.  Ridiculous. Puppet show, tag-chases in circles through the hall and out through the dining room.  Screechin' and hollerin' through the house.

Then it was time for bed.  Time to stop and get ready for another day of magic.  Well, it was downhill from there. Believe me, I got to hear alllllllll about how "mommy is MEAN,"  just one giant "meanie."

(Magic is dead and instead replaced with screaming mom).  "GO.  TO.  BED."

Crying and moaning followed, of course. Fighting my kids to sleep.

It is in these moments, I feel I'm thrown on top of life's fire.  And it sure doesn't feel like magic then.

But when I wake up the next day to two very sleepy babes, I think it really is.  All magic -- meant to make us stronger, more understanding, more accepting.  All of it -- moments that give our lives meaning.  The moments that keep me moving, keep me alive.  Moments that make it all worthwhile.

The days I try to figure it all out, search for some string of meaning... I just come back to days like this. As simple as a little boy who gets to be king for a day.  Who remembers his magic number.

Kings all around us.  Magic everywhere.  ...if only we choose to see it.

I guess I don't really waffle after all....

A long road to wisdom, yes?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


So far throughout my day today I've heard or read (via text or tweet) the phrases "I hate..." "I really wish I didn't have to..." "..what a nightmare morning..." and "..this sucks..."

Please give the world something better than that.

I sure don't wanna be all preachy, because, God knows, I am SO full of fault.  I am as imperfect and complain-y as it gets.  Falling flat on my face each and every day, forced to scoop myself up and start all over again tomorrow, trying to be a better person each step of the way.  I still fail miserably... And I moan, which is quite the luxury.

If you think you're having a bad day, imagine this.

Imagine this day - August 28th - forever being the day your son died.

That's what this day is for my aunt, who also happens to be one of my best friends.  She spends this day remembering the call she got 9 years ago. She thinks of the vague memory of that middle-of-the-night phone call.  Something about Tyson... a car crash... get to the hospital quickly.  She does fully recall hyperventilating all the way there.

The news was grave, and when the doctor told her that he did not make it, she didn't want to make it.  There was a police officer in the room, and she says she remembers -for a split second- eyeing his gun.  Then she started hysterically screaming (as all mothers would at a moment like that) until the nurse gave her something that made her, she says, "limp and tingly."  That was the moment she began a lifetime of grieving the absolute worst loss.

Tyson wearing our Papa's hat

This day is hardest.  On most other days, she chooses to remember Tyson's amazingly beautiful presence.  His infectious smile. His eternal optimism.  His precious face that will always be 19-years old. She focuses on her belief that God had a bigger and better plan for him, rather than focusing on the pain that he is gone, the space that he left behind, the nagging question of "why him?" There is certainly not a day in her life that this loss doesn't pierce her fragile heart.  She has every reason to be dark, to find the negative, to complain and moan... But she chooses not to do that.

Tyson, on the other hand, doesn't have the luxury to complain about his life.  He is gone. (He wouldn't have b*&ched too much anyway!) He left behind a space so large in our family that you can almost touch it.  An emptiness so vast that it nearly ate up many of us.  I, for one, miss his gentle spirit and his willingness to love so quickly, openly and easily.  I wish I could be more like that.  I miss him.

And I complained about it today.

But then I remembered what someone I love once told me:  "Dawn, choose gratitude-no matter what is going on --and there will always be something going on for all of us.  Choose gratitude anyway."

Maybe just for today, we can all stop the "I don't feel goods..." the "I don't wants..." the "I wish my life were differents..." and simply be grateful that we and the people we love are alive.

Tyson's baby picture
Showing his love for Superman   
High School photo
Tyson's Air Force photo
With our Papa Gene on the go-cart at our family's ranch

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kindergarten, the Kiss, a Hermit Crab and a Falling-Apart Mom

**WARNING:   This blog will probably be disjointed and inconsistent.**

I'm gonna say it for the world to read.  I'm not good at this.  I'm just not. 

When my kids rip my heart out and run around with it, I just don't do well. 

Like Monday.  The day my precious baby, whom I feel as though I birthed yesterday, started Kindergarten. Took half my heart with him.  We held hands.  Walked into his little class, kissed and hugged goodbye.  I walked out and then not only fell apart once but 22 times as the day carried on. 

Some time later, I learned my daughter, who skips along with the other half of my heart hanging on the side of her sleeve, had been kissed at her preschool.  By a boy!  Granted, I adore the little boy like he is my own.  But she's my baby.  Not supposed to be kissed!  When I asked her about it, she simply smiled all sheepishly and covered her face with her hands.  "Where did he kiss you, sweet girl?" (mind you, she's 3!)  ... No answer.  Just pointed to her lips.  OY VEY.

It's time to let go a little.  That's what I'm not good at doing.  Not good at letting go of the little infant boy who never slept and constantly wanted mama to hold him.  Not good at letting go of the idea now that he is a little bit mine and a little bit the world's, starting his own life in school, making his own friends, finding his own way in this big bad society that is sometimes touchingly kind and other times immeasurably cruel.

I have to let go just a little bit of my baby girl who absolutely loves preschool more than she loves anything in the world.  She actually asks to go.  Smiles the minute she sees the little boy who kissed her for the first time and runs inside for circle time, doing exactly what she is supposed to do.

Oh booooo hoooooo.   That's what I did all week.  Until the hermit crab went missing.  How, on God's earth, you lose a caged hermit crab is beyond me.  But, indeed, we did.  I went from crying a river to laughing so hard I was crying a steady stream, as we got on hands and knees searching the house for a live (or possibly dead) crab in a shell.  We picked up two of them on our trip to the beach (see previous blog), gave 'em each a name, and brought 'em home.  Gretel was the one who disappeared.  Literally disappeared. We woke up, and she had gone missing.  The children swear up and down they never took her out.  She had vanished...

...Vanished.  Like the seemingly endless days and nights of swaddling my baby boy & girl, changing diapers, and complaining that I never got any sleep. Gone. The moments where each baby uttered their first 'raspberries,' then their first word, then their first sentence..

Then, this morning, we dropped off both children to school, walked inside to a weird-acting dog who was screeching and jumping about, and lo and behold - there she was!  Gretel.  Scratching her way across the dining room floor. She came back to us.

As did both babies when they returned home from school.  Just one more milestone.  One more rite of passage for each of them.  For me, too. 

Feeling a little disjointed... a little inconsistent.  Learning to let go just a little at a time... 

I'm not good at this... (I type, as a severe case of the fall-aparts sets in yet again)...

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."

Jackson in his Kindergarten class

Keene just before school starts
Gretel the Hermit Crab in her Hello Kitty shell

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I miss my Grand. 

It was nine years ago, yesterday, that she died.  This is a picture of her at the beach in Florida.  She, my mom, and I would go every summer for a week to play in the surf and sand. 

Which is what is so beautiful about the trip I just took to Florida last week.  My mom mentioned several months ago that a way to honor HER mom would be to continue the tradition of three generations heading down to stick our toes in the sand and play for a week.  That's what we did.  Here's a picture of mom and my babies.  They call her "T."  Their beloved T.

I cannot explain how magical this trip was. It was as if my Grand was there. Watching over us. Reminding us to play, to enjoy the days and the moments of life that pass so quickly.  We built sandcastles, took walks on the beach, caught fish, and searched for sand crabs. We jumped waves with the children, and we taught them how to body surf.  Their eyes, so wide with delight, their spirits so innocent and pure. 

On and off during the week, I felt like I was slapped with several moments when I just "got it."  Moments where life seemed to make sense. Moments when my heart was peaceful, and all was well.  Moments, of course, broken up by the fits of a three-year old and the wants of a five-year old.  Constant needs, constant care.  Which is what it's all about. 

My Grand put up with my fits and my wants, and she constantly cared for me up until the day she died, always encouraging me, loving me, and curious about my life.  I miss that. But she gave me a gift, and now my mother is giving that same gift to my children.  It is the circle of life. 

"Everything the power of the world does is done in a circle.  The earth is round.  The wind, in it's greatest power, whirls.  Birds make their nests in circles.  The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle.  The moon does the same, and both are round.  Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.." ~Black Elk Speaks

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Woo Pig Sooie, Betrayed

About the time my children began saying "mommy" and "daddy," their father and I also taught them to call the hogs.

It's just what you do in Arkansas.

You explain to your babies what a Razorback is, and you show them that when the boys play, you wear red and white and have big parties.  And you scream "WOOOOOOOOO.  PIG.  SOOIE."  as loudly as you can to show your love. 

When the kids ask why you say "because mommy bleeds Razorback red and so does daddy and now so do you."  Afterall, my kids' daddy and I have both lived here most all of our lives.  We both come from the land.  My family's acreage is in western Yell county lining up to the Ouachita National Forest.  Daddy's lineage traces straight up to Newton county in the heart of the Ozark Mountains. Our children were born in this state, and this is where they'll likely be raised.
('lil Razorback cheerleader)

(lil hog fan just before an Arkansas game..)

It's who we are.

So when the Razorback football team hits the field, there is an unspeakable, but very palpable, sense of pride and unity.  They represent each of us in a way unlike any other.  Win or lose, during those games, we are all one, we all come from the same place, and there is a strong sense of unity in this.  When they play, it brings us all together -- rich or poor, black or white, young or old.  On game days, we all share the same goal. 

And that's the beauty of it.

It's also why -- when we are betrayed like we were by this latest coach scandal -- it truly hits where it hurts.  And I believe every Arkansan was betrayed.

Betrayal comes in all forms.  By it's very definition, it means "to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; to be disloyal or to lead astray; to deceive."  I personally believe that coach's choices up in Fayetteville disappointed and deceived us all.  Yet I have absolutely no judgement because we are all human, and we are all frail, and we all make mistakes, and we all err all the time.  Judgement is for our maker.   Forgiveness and understanding is for us.  It is heartbreaking that so many people have been so deeply hurt in this mess because of the choices that two people made.  A wife, children, grandchildren, a fiance', an athletic director, athletes, fans, students, alumni... the entire state, really.  The two who made those choices are hurting too.  And it is my belief that when one soul is hurting, we all hurt.  It is part of humanity.  As is forgiveness and understanding....

I kinda think that's where we collectively go from here.  We forgive and move forward.  We keep calling those hogs.

And we teach our children to tell the truth no matter how tough it is.  And remind them constantly that every single action you take has a consequence.

Woo Pig Sooie!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Potty Mouth

Look at these presssssssshhhhhhhhhhhh babies at Wye Mountain playing in the daffodils. 

So sweet and innocent...

Beautiful angels in the bright yellow flowers.

Enough to make this mamma tear up realizing that her cubs will only be ages 5 and 3 once seeing this beautiful spring phenomenon.

I love 'em so... 

There are seriously times they grab me and hug me...or times I'm making up a bedtime story when they turn and say "I love you, maMMUH (gumming the 'm' sound).." or times when they look up at me and ask why something is the way it is, like why are carrots orange?  ...or times I overhear them telling their friends that their mommy is the best mommy because she makes us chocolate chip cookies from scratch and lets us eat the beaters.... that I just almost can't take the emotion it pulls out of me.  

It's usually about that time... when I'm welling up and my eyes get watery, when I've dropped to my knees in a prayer of thanks to God for allowing me to guide these two children... that they'll spit out the trashiest words their little mouths can.

Like the other morning.  Now, when they're good, we have what's called "Cafe" at Mommy's Diner.  That's when I take their play table and set it with plates and forks and spoons and cups and a homemade menu and pretend like I'm serving them.

"What would you like to drink for breakfast?" I ask.

"Orange juice and water with ice in it in my Hello Kitty sippy cup," says my high maintenance baby girl.

"Just milk, mamma," says my sweet boy.

They were chattering and pretty much just having the biggest, giddiest morning of all time when I brought in their drinks. 

And that's when they said it.

"Mommy is a POOPIE-DOODOO HEAD!"  Laughter erupts.


At first, I ignore.  "What would you like to eat this morning, you potty mouth little rugrats?"  I ask with the straightest face I've got, despite actually wanting to laugh out loud.

"Mommy has POOP coming out of her mouth and her ears and her butt!"


That's it.

"Poopie!"  "DooDOO!"  "Brown yucky poop head!"

Seriously.  From these precious tiny mouths?

"Okay," barks stern, mean mommy.  "Time out.  No. More. Cafe."

Oh, the protest.  Crying and fits follow. 

We got over it, then I said the unthinkable.

"IF I hear one more potty mouth word, IF EITHER OF YOU has trash-mouth today, I'm washing your mouth out with SOAP."

I vowed I would never, ever do the very thing that was done to me when I talked trash at age 5.

No more potty words came....

Until about 4 that afternoon.  Kids were out back playing, and sure enough, a potty word was uttered.  From baby girl, no less.

Scooped her up, carried her into the bathroom and set her poopie butt down on the bathroom countertop.  She had her hands nearly glued over her mouth to keep this awful thing from happening.  She looked scared, and her eyes were wide.  If she only knew how HORRIBLE I felt for doing it.  Grabbed her hands and stuck the white bar of soap in between her tiny lips and scrubbed for a minute.

I expected tears and screaming and a whole lot of spitting.  But instead..................................................

She smiled.  And looked at me with her mischievous little eyes.  And said..................................

"Mmmmmmmmm.  Yummy."

WTF.  Are you f'in kidding me?

Then her older brother who insisted he watch the entire mouth-washing-with-soap incident go down.... goes "Mommy, I wanna taste the soap."

Really?  OMG.

Okay.  So that didn't work. 


maybe it did.  Because several days have passed, and I have not heard potty mouth chatter since one little girl's mouth was washed clean!

LMAO!  Ooops... I meant LOL.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dear blog....

Please accept my most sincere apologies for literally dropping off the face of the earth.  I've had a lot going on.  But I know everyone who reads you has, too.  So for this, I am sorry.

Anyway, my babies have grown!  Here's a photo... Haven't they gotten big?  This was our Christmas picture, actually, with the caption "Love is all you need."  Isn't that the truth?

Well, I hope you'll have me back for regular updates.  I've missed you!


TV Mom