I'm not sure how I'm going to feel

Today I walked into my fourth class and yelled something along the lines of, I've GOT to find that awful air freshener someone put in this room - to which a lady came up and told me that she had to be somewhere earlier in the day and had put on perfume. .....   So I tried to cover my loud mouth rudeness by explaining my freakishly odd chemical sensitivity and how construction has been going on in our gym for months and I think... no, I'm sure.... I'm smelling something like glue or new carpet or paint solvent - and certainly NOT her.  But I think my eyes betrayed me and she read my mind silently asking if she needed help finding the showers in the locker room.

So let me just take this opportunity to share a little gym etiquette.... Please do not ever wear perfume, cologne, strongly scented hair products or self tanner to the gym.  Because I might mistake you for a Glade Plug In and honestly, as proven today, nothing good ever comes of it.

So much has been going on.  First, the monsters are out of school for the summer, bigger and dirtier than ever, and the funny thing is that they seem to have all the strength in the world to pick up chips and salsa by the ton, but not a one of them can pick up a dish and put it in the dishwasher.  And bless him, Fireman Dave has been working for months on building the backyard boy space, and the good news is that it's almost complete.  We even moved the extra couch that was being stored in Kid 2's living room bedroom outside.  Now we need a TV, and are waiting on a pre-paid VISA card to arrive soon so we can buy one.  And no, we do not have a pre-paid VISA card fairy or even a generous  distant relative. 

Actually, we had a bazillion dollar eye doctor bill when I got a crazy allergic reaction to my contact lenses about a month ago and had to get steroid drops to make me not look like I'd been hanging around a dive bar on the south side... or something.  Anyway, I ended up having to change contact lenses and  was told that I would get a $200 rebate if I did this and this and that and that and sent in pictures to prove I did it all.  But what they didn't tell me was that it wasn't ever gonna be a cash rebate,... thus the prepaid VISA card.  Not that it makes the eye disease worth any of it, but at least the boys will have a place outside of  my den to trash and call their own.  Soon and very soon.

And did I tell y'all that we went on vacation?  We went to North Carolina to the beach again and no one would ever know I was on that trip other than for one picture of my backside taken by my sister in law.  But I was indeed there, and didn't do much more than walk from my beach chair to the water for 6 days.  We did climb a light house, 207 steps straight up and I think that should count as one full week's worth of physical activity in vacation land.

Then I came home and got ready for my big stage premier which was just a couple of days ago.  I was so happy to have been chosen to share my true tale in front of this live audience.  They were a great crowd of about 350 or so... and filled with so many sweet friends that came out to support me.  You can watch the live video of the show here.  My part starts at 1:01:25, but you should totally watch all the stories as they are a beautiful cross section of life in our big city.  There was sadness, humility, power and laughter all packed into an hour or so of storytelling magic.

Storytelling is a gift, and an art - and one I hate to see fade away into the land of short attention spans.  I've wanted to participate in this show for some time now, and trust that I prayed the heck out of that request.  Then when it happened, trust that I prayed even harder for the tools to use to fulfill the desire God had placed in my heart.  And y'all.,  He did.  I hope this gives me confidence and courage to try even more things with this gift of gab that I have been given.

Now,.... let's get personal.  I told you that my mom would be moving into a memory care facility, and a few weeks ago she did.  And honestly, it looks like she won't be with us much longer.  Hospice nurses estimate about a week.  And had I not been to see her last week and seen her in her current state, I would've laughed at that time frame due to my family's ability to live for-almost-ever, especially us ladies.  But between the time when I got the surprise driveway reunion that you can read about HERE, and today, she's a different sort of gone.  And about 80 pounds lighter than she was not too long ago, her body just isn't fighting back against this brain disease.  

The hard truths are these - she doesn't know me.  Literally, now.... and figuratively for basically the whole of my life.  And the woman that I see today is an older version of the mom that I knew in body, but not the mom I knew.  So I feel like I've had to grieve the loss of my actual mom twice over now,  - when we parted ways several years ago, and again now as she is not long for this world.  

And truth be told, I'm not sure which is the hardest.  The life she's living now, all locked up in her own confused mind, and stuck in a body, crippled by age and disease, isn't really a life.  Not one that I would wish for her or anyone.  And file my words away for a day in the future if and when I ever get into such a desperately awful position - please put my tired old body in a dangerous, crime ridden back alley, and look away.  Or if you can at all think of an easier way to end the madness, do that instead.  Please.  

And I would say that the hardest thing to deal with recently has been the re-introduction of my brother into the mix of me trying to be a part of my mom's last days.  And being discreet, let me just say here that addiction, mental illness, and decades of pent up anger are never a good combination, and me being the target of all of that is sort of sucky.  I've been fielding rage, foul language rants of hate and general idiocy for weeks now, and truly having to give thought to the safety of myself and my kids again.  All I can say is that, for all the doubt that the years of not dealing with this brought to me about my decision, it afforded me that many years of peace.  And I have to say the separation was my wisest choice.  

But this is the family I was given.  He learned it all from her.  She learned it from lord only knows where.  And that's hard to say and absorb, but maybe someday I finally will.  Love in our family often hurt.  It hurt each other no matter what or when or where.  It hurt to be spoken.  It hurt to be felt.  It hurt to be vulnerable enough to ever believe that love was anything more than what I saw day in and day out at home.  

It hurt almost everyday, past a certain age, anyway.  But if I was lucky, a quiet, hateful silence would win over profanity laced, hate filled tantrums that I just accepted as my daily normal growing up.  I am still to this day, thankful for my dad, for a specific point in time, when I was with him outside while he worked on the car, and he said this to me.... the words that gave me the only chance at changing the direction of my life.  He said, We've got to get you out of here.  And no truer words were ever spoken.  My choices were to go live with my crazy aunt in California, or go to college.  I chose college, and I chose a path that would open my eyes to the idea that I can have so much better.  

So at this point I've refused calls from my brother.  I've tried to block texts but they still get in.  So I forward them to Fireman Dave as documentation, and when and if it comes to it, I will have to take legal action.  But for now, I ignore the beast and call it by name - which gives me the power to control my response.  

But I know my mom loved me.  Maybe she didn't show it in ways I think would've been easier to understand - but she did it in her own way.  I had what i needed, always - even if it came with a loud, meanie mouth upon presentation.  And I remember things being better and easier when I was much younger.  I remember selling coke cans to get money for us all to go to the latest Disney movie in the summer times.  I remember special back to school shopping days - just me and my mom, and lunch at any place I chose.  And I remember her loving on my babies like they were angels sent from Heaven.  Which proved to me that they actually, probably were.  So maybe she went through a storm of life and I just got caught in the center - without an umbrella.  I'm now praying everyone always has an extra umbrella handy.  

I'm not sure how I'm going to feel in a few days when I get the message that my mom is gone.  I know for sure that I will ache inside like I've given up the last hope of a happy ending.  And I am so dreading it.  But I know that I will be able to ask her one day in Heaven, something along the lines of,... What the heck, woman?  And it'll all be good.  

And for now, again, I find it such a small Biblical world when I run across a verse that I haven't thought of in ages, but then it pops up and right into the very middle of what's going on in my life.  Today that verse is this:  

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:6-8)

To quote Patsy Cline, I'm crazy

Hey Y'all.... popping in here to let you know that I've been playing hide and seek for a few weeks because, well..  I'm crazy.  Life's crazy.  We're all crazy.  

So this post isn't filled with wisdom or even beautiful words... but sometimes neither am I.  

The fun news is that I submitted a story to the Oral Fixation Dallas Show - a live story telling event... and I was chosen.  I was chosen to stand on stage in front of hundreds of people and scare myself to death for no  known reason... other than the fact that, again... I'm crazy.  Life's crazy.  We're all crazy.  

Here's a couple of links about the show.  One is really about the show.. and the other one is about moi, and once published, committed me to see this thru to the end.  Do or die.  I would love to see you there.  I may need lots of hugs afterward.  And a Xanax before.  Does anyone have any?  

Meet story teller, Kristi Walters

How to buy tickets to the show

And on a completely separate topic, my mother will be moving into a memory care facility this week.  I'm working the best I can along side my brother to make the transition as smooth as possible, but he has done 99% of it.  I just hung curtains.  And maybe something else.  

But that relationship is difficult and to be perfectly honest, I've insisted on text communication. I'm just not at the next level on this one, and I'm taking a close look at my own heart to see what I need to do on my end.  I could use a God to Kristi discussion on this.  And a few prayers if you can handle that part.  Please and thank you.  

I want to write more about this as I figure it out.  And y'all,  I will.  

But for today, I think I can only say that her new care facility looks very nice, and I'm hoping this next stage is a good one for us all.  We need it.  

I'll be back around soon.  

Not today Satan

Today is technically Mother's Day, 2018.  Technically, I say because holidays around Waltersville aren't always the ones on the calendar.  One of the first things a new fire-wife will learn as she enters into this career with her husband, is that holidays are celebrated according to fire department calendars, not traditional calendars.  Santa has to come early some years, late for others.  Birthday parties happen when they can, and especially when the kids are younger, mostly when daddy can be there to watch his kiddo celebrate.  And today, Mothers Day, around here anyway, is just another day like the rest..  I got up, went to church, and came home to unload the dishwasher, cook some chicken strips and fries for the boys as they basically ignored me and moaned about how hungry they are.  Same old, same old. 

But the true celebration is in the details,  Kid 1 gave a little social media shout out to his Mama that I heard about through the grapevine.  Kid 2 wrote me a heartfelt and very sweet letter that he snuck into my room last night and left for me.  And Kid 3 sent me a Happy Mothers Day text while I was out and about earlier this morning.  Then he gave me some of his famous Kid 3 hugs that I love more than almost anything.  No, make that more than every anything.  And a couple of weeks ago when we had the chance to have the whole family together and we went out to lunch at the Arboretum, I actually declared that to be  my early Mothers Day celebration.  Gotta party when you can, right? 

And then this:  a screenshot from Fireman Dave who obviously sat around the station on this fine day and read his Bible.  Good for you, Fireman Dave.  But he sent me this in between his saving of the world, his watching of a new TV crime drama, and studies in Biblical perspectives on motherhood.  

So then I went and put on my, "This is the best day ever" sweater and took a nap.  

And I guess my final and most important thoughts on this subject are this....  me being the biggest, meanest scroogiest of them all at Christmas, and hater of commercially forced Valentine love - my hope is that I have raised boys that know the importance and value of giving and sharing and appreciating the people they love every day of the year - without having to be reminded by Hallmark or having to condense thankfulness and emotion into one 24 hour period.  I think I have.  

Like I told Kid 2 today, I am the luckiest mom in the world when my kids come and in and tuck me in to bed at night - now that they can outlast me by hours.  I am the luckiest mom in the world when they sit with me on the couch and watch TV, or come into my room and ask about the book I'm reading and tell me about something in their days.  That is mothers day at its finest to me, and I'll not only take it, but I'll keep it. 

Now, onward and upward....

We had this really great wicker chair that I had on our front porch for a few years.  One of my finest and proudest side of the road, big trash finds that I fixed up and called my own.  Then about a month ago the big trash fairy dropped an outdoor love-seat and matching chairs out onto the curb a few blocks down and I grabbed the love-seat, thinking I had the chair part taken care of and wanting to leave plenty of treasure for the other hunters in the hood.  So I put the love-seat on the front porch for a while till I decided that it was causing me undue stress in finding affordable cushions for it, and then I moved it away again.  So I asked Kid 3 to retrieve the original wicker chair from the back yard and move it back to the front for me.  Please and thank you.  And he is so sweet and did exactly that, but somehow missed the front porch part of my request and just cleaned it up and put it out on the curb for someone else to choose and enjoy.  So basically, long story, shortened..... I am in need of some awesome love-seat cushions at an affordable price point, and if you happen to see my chair around somewhere, tell it hello for me. 

And one day I forgot to pick up Kid 2 from school because I thought he was riding home with Kid 1.  Another case of Why do they let me be the Mom?  Anyway, I had Kid 3 at the dentist and was waiting for Kid 2 to arrive for his after school appointment, but only got texts that Kid 1 was nowhere to be found and has never come out of the school.  So by then I was mad and estimating how much a last minute dentist cancellation was gonna cost me.  I had earlier messaged Kid 1 to ask if he could bring his brother to his appointment - and I THOUGHT he said he had no football practice.  So I took that as a yes.  But after my adult temper tantrum, I looked back at the message and saw that he did not say that he had no practice - he said NO, he has practice and can't deliver the goods.  Anyway, by that time I was already driving around the back of the high school, slowly stalking the football practice field in search of my disappointing son, and may or may not had already text - yelled at him that if he didn't answer me immediately I would tweet to the world that Kid 1 Walters needs to call his mother.  

So basically I'm mean and jump to conclusions and mis-read clues and messages that mostly are just an inconvenience, but could in all actuality one day jeopardize life and limb or even an important meeting with a celebrity.  Or something.  I think he forgave me and filed it under the general category of I really need a new mother.  

And to sum it all up, I really just had a week that made me pull out another of  my themed sweaters - but this time, the one that reads, "Not Today Satan."  Fireman Dave laughs at me every time I pull that one out, but I told him he is laughing in the face of faith and basically, how dare he.  Sometimes I just need a little empowerment in times of weakness and if it's in the form of cute clothes, I'm digging it.  

And finally please let me give an update on my mom.  I took Kid 2 and Kid 3 to visit her a few days ago, and all was not well.  And I had to apologize to them for walking them right into the exact environment that I worked so hard to shield them from for the last years.  But maybe it was good for them to see that I had my reasons for putting them in the Mom Protection Program, but I know it was hard to watch.  But it appears that she will be moving into a memory care unit as soon as next week.  

And y'all, I feel like I am in the third, going on fourth round of grieving the loss of my mother.  I think the first was when I was so young and knew even then that I was missing the mom that was supposed to the guardian of my galaxy - a nod to Kid 2's fave movie right there.....  And then again when we reconciled over the birth of my kids and had a functional relationship for many years based on the shared love of these boys, I felt wholly the loss of her when I had to draw that hard line between what was expected and what was good for my family.  

Then she and I met again, by surprise, just a few weeks ago, and I rejoiced with the angels for the opportunity to meet her again, but cried for the loss of who she was - no matter who or what she was.  She didn't know me then.  She didn't know me a few days ago, and I'm not entirely certain she ever did.  And now I'm dreading the grief that is still ahead as we watch her make her final climb toward Heaven. 

And in honest to goodness terms, I think the whole thing just stinks.  And I think it's way unfair and a mean and ugly trick of the universe that has kept me wanting and waiting for a relationship with a mom that wanted the same from me.  Maybe that's what I'm grieving the most.  

Not a lot more to say on that one.  
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