Goodbye 40. Hello 41.

Personal Narrative
On Mother’s Day I cried. I felt anxious most of the day. Irritable. Off-kilter. But I wasn’t sure why. Late afternoon I sat with Blue and he held my hands until I could say. I truly didn’t know until the words flew out: “I'm not a mother.” I buried my face, hiding tears. It felt strange to say. And really it was more that I felt in between. Displaced? Out of place? I dunno. I was coming to love his children, but who was I, really? Despite the growing relationship we all shared, there was no neat space for me. Not stepmom. Not stepmom-to-be. But there they were. And here I was. A lovely conundrum in the grand scheme of things, but one that confused my heart. Normally, I don’t look…
Read More

Who presents this bride?

Personal Narrative
Today makes eight. For years I went to bed early. As an elementary school teacher, I had an extensive morning routine involving exercise, prayer, and a 30-minute commute. I arrived at work by 7 a.m. – well before the kiddos who often wanted to share household news as soon as they said good morning.
Because I require 7-8 hours of sleep to function well, I observed a strict bedtime of 9 p.m. My friends knew this and generally avoided calling past 8 or 8:30. From time to time an acquaintance would call too late, so I turned off my ringer at night just to play it safe. That is, until Daddy admitted his health was fading. It was shortly after Mama died. His prostate cancer wasn't a secret, yet he seemed to be…
Read More

Sunshine, fog and love

Personal Narrative
I'm still waiting for the latest to sink in. Awareness comes in flashes, but it hasn't quite settled in. Maybe in a month? A season? I dunno. But seven days hasn't been enough. A week ago today Blue and I were married! I told him every day of our honeymoon it feels so surreal. I'm a wife now. And a stepmom. Wow. Perhaps I'll spend a few posts digging into these as I try these labels and responsibilities on for size. The ceremony was short, sweet and intimate, and remains quite hazy in my memory. I was in a fog most of the proceedings, despite the clear, sunshiny day. Dina, our photographer, offered suggestions for poses and she had to repeat them all. I could hear her, but somehow she was talking to… someone else. I didn't feel nervous…
Read More

Sinking in

Personal Narrative
As a little girl, when I was about to do something fun, I wouldn't feel any excitement. Like we'd be preparing to go to Six Flags. SIX FLAGS of all places, where the roller coasters were great and your stomach did all the flips. And I was like, cool, with the shoulder shrug and everything. And it wouldn't be a fake cool. I'd seriously have no emotion attached. It was an event that would take place  at some point. And I was glad to go, but just slow to warm. Like the idea needed to marinate or something. But suddenly, something would click. Usually the night before said event or even the morning of, it would finally sink in: I'M GOING TO SIX FLAGS!!!! And I'd be excited and smiley and…
Read More

Where does the time go?

Personal Narrative
Today is connection day! That's what I'm calling it this year, as Blue and I mark our second anniversary. On this day two years ago, we acknowledged our mutual interest in getting to know each other better. We had been acquaintances on social media for a couple of years by then, with no more than a handful of tweets and a couple of happy birthday FaceBook statuses between us. During those couple of years we'd both experienced our share of dramatic life changes. But even now, neither of us can pinpoint the reason or timing of the shift from "that guy/woman I never met in person although we have 50 mutual FB friends," to "that guy/woman I might need to pay more attention to." Yet one day out of the blue, a tentative message turned…
Read More

Reflections

Personal Narrative
[caption id="attachment_3062" align="alignleft" width="226"] Reflections by LaShun Beal[/caption] She's here! I'm so excited to welcome her home. I bought this print by LaShun Beal circa 1998 as a 20-something graduate student at Florida State University. Fellow grad students hosted in-home art shows, and we'd select our prints, matting and frames. Beal had a few captivating pieces at the time, but she's the one that spoke to me. Money was tight, and framing isn't free, but I've never regretted the purchase. She's been with me through many moves back and forth across the GA/FL state line including last year's epic return. [caption id="attachment_3066" align="alignright" width="300"] Bibliophiles unite![/caption] Blue and I are in the process of consolidating homes, and last night we began by collecting my bookshelves. But as we surveyed my house, there she was,…
Read More

On puzzling

Personal Narrative, Productivity
So we puzzle. The kids are gifted puzzles for birthdays and what have you, and the four of us sit around at various intervals and piece them together. Our latest enterprise? Tour de la Tour, a 1000-piece Crowd Pleasers that features countless bikers who are dressed alike and are engaged in sometimes similar, oftentimes strange activities. This puzzle is sort of challenging, yet also sort of easy because many of the pieces have tell-tale images: A small red bell on a bike that's otherwise the same as all the other bikes. A black shark fin in a stretch of sandy pathways. A dark sheep in the middle of all the ivory ones, and so on. I'll have to admit, this puzzle has drawn me in more than the others we've done so far. Perhaps more…
Read More

6 to go

Personal Narrative
I've been 40 for six months! Yesterday was my half birthday. We have to blame Sojo and Sam for this whole half birthday thing. They are the ones who introduced me to the concept, and it took a few years before I actually paid attention to the calendar and remembered my own. But this year, finally, I did, and so happy half birthday to me! Some days it seems I haven't accomplished much this year, but as I sit and reflect, I have to admit that's impatience talking. I've gotten new opportunities at work and landed some interesting freelance contracts. I've made strides in my creative projects and midway between my birthday and my half birthday... [caption id="attachment_3044" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Me and Blue in NYC at an impromptu engagement party.[/caption] I got engaged. *shimmies*…
Read More

Old Snippets

Personal Narrative
I'm organizing. This is one of the first steps in my creative process. It's resistance, or maybe it's preparation for creation. All I know is, I can always tell how serious I am about writing by how much I suddenly have to clear off desks and organize files. Ha. Today's resistance-preparation is clearing out some of the random notes I've written in my computer's Stickies app. Some of these are a few years old and most of them are interesting. The one I've pasted below was written on Christmas Day 2012. At first I had no idea what was on my mind, but on second thought, I was pretty sure it was about love. It was stream of consciousness so this is unedited. Maybe I'll expand it, revise it, or something. Maybe not.…
Read More