Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letter to a Younger Me

What would you tell yourself, if you could go back in time and have a little one-on-one with your teenaged self? Have you ever thought about it? I think about it a lot, for some reason. Turning 40 gave me permission to own my past: the good, the bad and the ugly. But if I could give my then-young self some words of advice, here’s what I’d say:

1. Know who you are. Own it and love it. Stop trying to be like, dress like, talk like other people whom you deem more interesting than you are. Hint, hint…they are faking it, too. Just do what you like, listen to what you like and be friends with whom you like. Being authentic is better than being popular.

2. Realize that when you do this, not everyone will be OK with it. There will be people who don’t like that you’re not agreeing with them. There will be people who challenge you when you go against them. And there will be people who will persecute you when you reveal them. Stay strong. Lean on your faith and your true friends. This too shall pass.

3. Things that are important in high school and college are really not important in real life. In 20 years, no one will care that you weren’t a cheerleader or in the best sorority or a debutante. In fact, a good amount of those “perfect” girls will end up married to rich assholes who play golf every weekend and cheat on them. Yes, they will all drive Range Rovers and vacation in Europe, but they’re miserable. Trust me on this.

4. Always try to be patient and kind with people. Even when you are right and they are wrong. Try to take the high road. Be humble or chance being humbled.

5. Use your voice. You know how Mom & Dad always say not to “rock the boat”? Go ahead, rock it. If it’s in the name of truth or love, your conscience will never be at peace unless you speak out and do what’s right.

6. Don’t be a slacker. Just because you hate your job, you have a lousy boss and you make barely more than a worker at McDonalds, always do your best. Do not slack off or take the easy way out. Long after your co-workers have forgotten about it, you will still feel badly about it.

7. Alcohol: don’t drink so much. Really bad things can happen when you’ve had too much to drink. No further explanation needed.

8. Keep the faith. Continue doing exactly what you’re doing, because everything turns out the way it’s meant to be. Don’t worry so much. Give it to God. The things that are supposed to happen will happen, in the way and time they’re supposed to happen.

And one last thing…coloring a strand of your hair red with a Crayola marker to try and look punk is not a good look for you.  Stick with preppy.  It stands the test of time.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

J-Zilla in action. That Polly Pocket rollercoaster didn't stand a chance. Can't wait for the hysterics from Big Sister.

Friday, March 23, 2012

BBQ with the Baptists

One of our Staycation activities last week during Spring Break was a trip up to Huntsville to see the Sam Houston Memorial. We always pass it on the way to Dallas and never have time to visit. But first we stopped at the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church for a BBQ lunch.

This place was like something out of a movie. A movie set in 1953, that is. It was a little shack next to the church, with huge BBQ smokers out front, all doing their thing. Once stepping inside, we were welcomed by the aroma of smoked brisket and ribs, sweet tea and buttermilk pie. All served by good, strong Southern Baptists who clearly know a thing or two about red meat.

My first thought as I entered was, “my Dad would have loved this.” He really would have. In his retirement, he made a second career out of driving around Texas sampling the best BBQ joints. Hubby & I once accompanied him and my Mom to Lockhart, TX to Kreuz Market and had a great time watching him eat the famous BBQ with no fork or sauce.

In fact, he had a whole list of places in Texas he wanted to try, and sadly, he didn’t get to complete his mission. New Zion was on his to-do list, so I felt it my duty to carry on his quest. And we were not disappointed in the least.

The most interesting thing about our lunch was how well-behaved the children were, especially Baby Boy. There were no high chairs, so I had to hold Baby Boy on my lap for the duration of the meal. Normally, he would have lasted about 3 minutes before squirming & hollering to get down, so he could ransack the place.

However, on this occasion, he sat in my lap like a perfect angel and ate BBQ with the rest of us. It was like a calm came over him, and he realized he was there on behalf of his namesake (he is named for my father). And he took that very seriously.

It’s caused me to think an awful lot about my Dad this week.
And I realized something about loved ones we’ve lost…they never really leave us, it’s true. I find my Dad in moments like these, and it is a rare and surprising gift.

Just doing things he liked to do, eating foods he liked to eat and visiting places he loved or would have loved, if given the chance. This is how we keep the connection open, the dialogue going, the flame lit.

I walked away from that table at the church feeling like I’d had a fantastic lunch with my dear, old Dad.

And it was so good to catch up.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


So, today I’m quoted on Babble responding to the question, “Why are you lucky to be your kid’s parent?”   My answer:” because, truly, my child teaches me things every day, mainly how to be your own person & not care what others think."

When I saw the tweet go out from a Babble editor asking for submissions from bloggers, I had just had a conversation with my 7 year old daughter about some not-so-nice things some girls in her class said to her last week.  The more we talked about it, the more my Mama-Bear shackles began to pop out.   

As I took deep breaths and forced myself to remain calm, she seemed unfazed and not at all bothered by the insults.  I mean, these are not Mean Girls, per se, but what they were saying to my Pooky-Girl and her friend that day definitely falls into the Mean category.  And unsolicited, too.  Grrr.

[I will not repeat the comments here, as that would be giving them a life they don’t deserve. And girls will be girls.  I will just say that it was your typical, “we’re better than you are” crap that kids tend to spout.]

I calmly asked if maybe it would have been a good idea to involve the teacher, to which my Non-Tattletaling Girl replied, “I really wasn’t that upset, Mommy.  I just ignored them.  I’m just going to be my own person.”

What?!?!  Are you my daughter???  I am so IN AWE of you right now.  It took me 40 years to learn this, and you are 7.  I’ve always known you’re an old soul, preferring Judy Garland in “Meet Me in St. Louis” to Miley Cyrus on the Disney Channel.  But really, you are wise beyond your years.  And I could not be more proud of you than I am at this moment.

And as I watch you go through life, wearing your own brand of personal style and walking the line just a tad left of center, I love you more each day.  You are quirky, beautiful, inquisitive, sensitive and hilarious.  You told me the other day that you are lucky that I’m your Mom.  But, baby, I am the lucky one.

And I can’t wait to see how you light the world on fire. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Own Dr. Seuss

Would you like a minivan?

I do not like them, Sam-I-am.

I do not like those minivans.

Would you like one with all that room?

Could you like one to go vroom, vroom?

I would not like one with all that room.

I could not like one to go vroom, vroom.

Would you like one with nice sliding doors?

And with a DVD, so no one’s bored?

I would not like one with nice sliding doors.

I could not like one with a DVD, so no one’s bored.

I do not like them here or there.

I do not like them anywhere.


What’s this, I see?

A built-in cooler, all for me!

To hold some wine,

In case of emergency!

I do! I like them, Sam-I-am!

I think I need a minivan!

Disclaimer: I do not advocate drinking & driving.  This is a joke.  Please do not leave me hateful comments.  Thank you, The Management