Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sleeping Single in a Double Bed

Tomorrow, FireDaddy will return home after 11 days on the Appalachian Trail. 

My intent for these eleven days was to have one fun, relaxing day after another with my girlies – visiting family, swimming, beaching, hitting the gym.  Unfortunately, my hopes did not come true. 

Instead, we spent our time taking doggies to the vet, getting eyes dilated, hairs trimmed, roots colored, and running other non-thrilling sorts of errands.  I changed batteries in chirp-chirp-chirping smoke detectors, paid bills, anguished over budgets, made service calls, and scheduled appointments for still more doctors and dentists.  I accumulated piles of books and various household items for an impending garage sale  and piles of decorations for next year’s classroom, applied for a part-time job, washed/dried/folded/hung laundry, and washed/dried/put away dishes.  I reserved hotel rooms for our upcoming road trip, had Big Boy microchipped, registered dog tags, reregistered car tags, and cleaned out my refrigerator.  I rose around six with the doggies each day, while my girlies blissfully slept till nine or ten.  I baked blueberry scones, Mediterranean chicken, and fresh pound cake.  I filled the baby pool and emptied the trash.  I’ve washed booboos and blankies, heads, hands & toes… and everything in between. I fussed when they bickered, and nagged when they destroyed the den and their room and my room and the office.  I’ve answered countless times each day, “How many more days till Daddy gets home?” and “How many more days till our trip?”  I hugged and held them as they cried, fed them when they were hungry, and reached the cups when their throats were dry.

All of this is not to imply that I’ve been entirely miserable…don’t get me wrong.  During the past eleven days of uninterrupted girliness – I’ve introduced my girlies to the Bangles, Madonna, and Barbara Mandrell, as well as continued to expose them to pretty-much-inappropriate current tunes.  We’ve kept up with the latest Disney Radio tunes, and counted down to the big Disney premiere of Sixteen Wishes.  We’ve played games, held our breath under water and felt the wind in our hair as we sailed down the road with the sunroof open (ahem…in my brother-in-law’s truck).  We’ve stayed up late and cuddled in the night.  Together, we’ve danced the Cha Cha slide, the Chicken Dance, and our very best ballet and jazz. 

Coming from a mother who prides herself on being able to do it alone, I’m POOPED.  On nights like these, maybe a girl truly needs to stand in her kitchen with nothing but a glass of wine, a fresh slice of pound cake, and a Zune stocked with ridiculously old songs to keep her company.  It’s nights like these that I close my eyes and see myself standing in front of my white whicker dresser, and look into my own eyes in that familiar whicker framed mirror – so vivid and real that I am positive the cold mirror would meet my hand if I were to reach my fingers out far enough. 

It’s funny how some things have grown so much easier over the years – like skipping songs, once a careful lifting and lowering of a needle, now a simple click of a button.  Yet, other things – like the long, hot days of summer “freedom” – have grown so much harder. 

When I was little, I loved Barbara Mandrell.  She was beautiful.  She could sing, dance, and play more instruments than I could tally.  I played her records over and over and over again in my room until I’d memorized all the lyrics.  I was thrilled when Daddy took us to the Maude Cobb see Lee Greenwood --- because he had recorded a duet record with Barbara Mandrell.  I was worried and afraid for her when she was badly injured in the car accident.  I loved Barbara Mandrell. 

It’s funny how songs can take you away to another place.  Take you back in time.  The familiar click-click, click-click of the needle passing over blank lines between songs is fresh in my ears.  Where is that click-clicking now?  We push a button to skip forward and skip backward…there is no waiting.  No pauses.  Like MP3 files, the hours, days, weeks all flow seamlessly together on autoplay.

It’s halfway through 2010 already.  My babies are seven and four.  My anniversary is next week and my birthday is close behind.  I’m turning 33 and I’ve been married for ten years.  FireDaddy and I’ve been together for 14.  Where has my life gone???  Hell, where did these 11 days go???  Before I know it, I’ll be hunting down plastic duo-tang folders and sending my girlies off to 2nd grade and VPK. 

My throat is tight and lumpy; my eyes sting.

I miss the soft, scratchy static and click-clicking between songs. 

Monday, June 21, 2010


I was raised by a near perfect mother.  Our well decorated home was immaculately clean.  Her checkbook was balanced the day the statement arrived, every single month.  We ate home-cooked dinners FAR more often than not.  She was Room Mother Extraordinaire and her banana bread could win awards.

We had homemade, expertly decorated birthday cakes in designs that reflected our personalities and interests – a Barbie cake for me, a pizza cake for my brother, even a brown sugar sand trap complimented the fresh from scratch buttercream icing rough, fairway and green on the golf course cake she made for my lady golfer 4th grade teacher.  Our lunch bags were lovingly branded each morning with our names…in calligraphy.  My dresses were smocked with care by my own mother’s hands.  In fact, I even had a smocked nightgown with matching smocked barrettes. 

We were well mannered, well behaved children growing up.  We knew to say “ma’am” and “sir” to adults.  When called upon, we were trained to reply not with a “Huh?” or “What?”, but a “Ma’am?” or “Sir?”  We did not run in people’s living rooms or put our feet on their furniture; and if we did, we immediately stopped when corrected – sans sass talk.

We wrote thank you notes.  Our table was properly set with placemats and cloth napkins for each meal.  After dinner, as we cleared our own places, we thanked my mother for the delicious fare.  My older brother and I attended Cotillion when we were ten, where we practiced introductions and dancing.

My mother was not a “stay at home” mom.  She was a “work at home” mom. In addition to flawlessly running the household and raising children, she ran the family home building business from her desk - keeping books, helping Daddy manage contractors, and selecting flooring, wallpaper, lighting, and more.  She taxied us to dance, Blue Birds, Boy Scouts, soccer, T-ball and more.  She volunteered at the local hospital, served in the Junior League and occasionally worked in a friend’s gift shop. 

This was my mother. 

And today, as I sit in my pajamas, lazily letting my baby girlies sleep in on this summer morning, sipping a canned Diet Coke for breakfast, I marvel at the fact that she left dishes in her sink today when she left for work.


I remember sitting in my mother’s closet, in awe of her clothes.  She had so many clothes.  Clothes she’d hung onto for what, to my young mind, seemed like decades.  In reality, most of them were only a few years or perhaps A decade, I suppose.  She had a Real Wardrobe, not just a bunch of clothes.  I remember wanting to one day have a closet like that.  I remember wanting my closet to be organized and tidy like hers; everything in its own place with room to breathe.

I remember her long skirts, scarves, and jewelry.  She had earrings upon earrings and all sorts of zippered silky bags tucked away with gold and jewels inside.  Her shoes and her slips were so feminine and adult. 

I would sit on the little stool and help her decide which outfit to wear and how to accessorize it.  She asked my opinion and listened to my suggestions, almost as much then as she still does now.  She would show me shiny treasures - some hers and some mine – and tell me their stories, surrounded by the quiet in her closet. 


I am not my mother.  And, I will never be her.  My home will never be as clean as hers.  My cakes will never be as good, my sewing never as perfect, and my daughters’ school lunches will never wear their names in calligraphy.  My checkbook will forever envy the loving care hers receives, and my budget will never be so carefully balanced.  My closet is a shameful mess right now, and my baby doggie is much more at home in there than my girlies. 

The older I get, though, the more I am OK with this.  I am me.  This is me. 

I love and treasure my mother.  Her home is a comfort to me, as is my own.  My mother gave me love and safety everyday, just as I do for my girlies.  My mother was with me everyday; everyday she gave me herself.  I am with my girlies everyday; everyday I give them myself.  I kiss.  I hug.  I love.  I laugh and fuss and teach.  Just like Mama.


***** It’s been a while, I know.  I’m not entirely sure I’m back for good, but I thought I’d make an appearance.  I’ve also made a few appearances here in during my hiatus.  Hope to see you all again soon. *****
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