Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Kitchen Table Chats

Kitchen Table Chats

When I think about my childhood, I always think, wow! I had a pretty good one and I then it is usually followed with worry about whether or not Cole will have the same sort of recollection.

I had fairly amazing parents. No one is a perfect parent, but hindsight being 20/20 they showed up and told us they loved us everyday. They supported us, we never wanted for much, and in return they had certain expectations of us, which gave us a certain amount of accountability. My parents did the day to day shaping of my person, and doled out the discipline. But if I had to say there was another person present in my life as a child that made me who I am, it was my Grandmother who we all affectionately called Grandsam. This isn’t my first blog post about her, and probably won’t be my last.

I miss her. All the time. January was the four year anniversary of her death. I ended up taking a personal day from work. Too bad you can’t call in sad. Because every year about that time, I remember and I grieve a little bit all over again because she’s not here to talk to me and tell me what she thinks.

I was the only granddaughter and the youngest of four. Every summer my parents would drop my brother and me off to spend a week or more with my Grandsam, Pa and my two cousins (Jason and Kevin). I spent a lot of time being tortured by the boys. Let’s see if we can drown Ash was always a fun game to play. But I guess it made me spunky and thanks to the torture I can hold my own pretty well. When we all started to grow up, weeks with the grandparents became less frequent. There were plenty of occasions where it was just my brother and I for a long weekend. And when I was old enough to drive, I’d make the trek to Graham, Texas to see her on my own or with my Mom. Usually upon arrival, I would walk through the house to see what had changed and not much ever did. Then we’d sit at the kitchen table and talk- for hours. A lot of it was spent catching up, laughing and remembering. Eventually, it would be bedtime but I knew exactly where I would find her in the morning when I woke up. She’d be at the kitchen table, reading her bible or a book and drinking her coffee. She always woke up early and this was her ritual all the years I could remember.

I’d assume my perch at the other end of the table and the talking would commence again. She'd usually make me a cup of coffee too and homemade cinnamon rolls were a tradition. When you allow yourself to really pay attention to someone’s life story, you allow yourself to really know them. My Grandsam had a really hard life. Really hard, but she was one of the most positive people I’ve ever met. She lost a daughter, Onza Gail; when Onza was only 5. She later recovered and had my Mom and Uncle. When my mother was 10, her father was killed in an oil well fire and that left my Grandmother with two kids to raise on her own and a widow. She later remarried and the only Grandfather I ever knew “Pa” died when I was 12. She once told me, after losing her daughter, she woke up one morning and told God she was through with Him. How could He let this happen? What would she do? She couldn’t be faithful any longer… She teared up when she told me, “ I didn’t last the day- I was praying again by night time… I needed Him”

I learned some valuable life lessons during our Kitchen Table chats. She use to tell me, “Ashley, you need to get an education and be able to take care of yourself and your children. You never know what life is going to bring you and an education is something that can’t be taken away from you..” It’s just as important for you as it is the boys she use to say. How right she was. When I graduated from College she said it was one of the proudest days of her life.

Nothing much was off limits during kitchen table chats. Boys, being upset with or not understanding my parents, girl friends, school, and what I was suppose to do with my life… we covered the gamut. Then she’d tell me she was going to get calluses on her knees from all the praying she was going to have to do for me.

When it was time for me to go home, we’d hug, and she would tear up. She would tell me how much she loved me and just like she always did when I was a kid- she’d stand out in the yard and blow kisses until I was out of sight.

In a world where families often revolve around the Television- Kitchen Table chats were pretty awesome. And while the tradition continues with my Mom, Dad & Family.. I still miss her and remember her and thank her for taking the time to have them with me. What I wouldn’t give for one now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Turning Point - Part II

Some of the best relationship advice I've received in my life is some that I received when I least expected it. I was advised that relationships, healthy ones, are much like a three legged stool. Each leg is crucial to the support of the stool or relationship. The legs are fairly simple: Spiritual, Emotional & Physical. If these three components or legs are there, then you have yourself a good foundation and a pretty rockin stool ( I added the rockin part, but the advice was given by my Pastor and friend and he's pretty rockin too) When you realize that your past relationships were balancing on one leg and when you find yourself ready to pursue a relationship again, you start becoming keenly aware of having all three legs. Because, hopefully you've learned, balancing on one leg is exhausting.

In every relationship, I think there's a turning point where you realize, this is someone who really gets me and has potential. I'm not a girl who expects the big gesture of flowers, chocolates, and all of that crap. Because honestly, any schmuck with a wallet can buy some flowers and sweep you off your feet. I wanted real. I wanted a three legged stool. I wanted someone who that I would know when the poo hit the fan, he'd be equal to the task..not someone who would lay down on the couch and expect me to figure it out. Flowers, candy, feet sweeping and such? Not for me.

With Marketing Boy, I remember the day I thought "This guy has potential and he could be my three legged stool" I'd had a pretty crappy day at work. One of those days you feel chewed up and spit out. I was having a financial crisis (the car, the house, the life) and really it was one of those days you say to yourself, if one more thing goes wrong- I'll just scream.

When I picked up the phone, it was Jay on other end. I guess he could tell I'd had a bad day. He said, "Why don't you go home and get Cole to bed and I'll come make you dinner? I'll pick up a movie on the way." Sign me up, I thought. He showed up and made me dinner. While we talked I found out that he was a couple of credits shy of a Masters Degree in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. I very nearly fell out of my chair. Because I hadn't dubbed him Seminary Boy. He was Marketing Boy. There was a movie (sorry I don't remember the title) and about the time we sat down to watch it the smoke detector started beeping and I thought to myself- there is my one more thing to send me over the edge. Before I could even make a sarcastic comment about it being the icing on the cake of my day, he was scaling Cole's toddler table figuring out how to fix it. Maybe I wasn't destined to figure it out on my own with my broomstick after all?

When he went home that evening, I realized I was hooked. Definitely three legged stool qualities. We've been together every since and he still shows up for me & Cole everyday and in every way.

While I'm still learning that the legs never stay perfectly balanced and sometimes the stool gets a little wobbly I'm also realizing that I've found someone who is willing to help me try.

The Turning Point....Part 1

So I started a series of blog posts- but in typical me style,I have been distracted and preoccupied and it's time for me to refocus. Blogging is something that, I've put out there and it's a very healing/growing process for me to realize where I'm going and where I've been. So let's keep telling the story of Marketing Boy aka Jay.

So I'll fast forward a few dates. I can't be boring people with the details... After the next couple of dates Marketing Boy suggested we only date each other...I agreed, but I really wasn't looking for anything serious. I loved the time we spent together. He taught me how to run. We enjoyed doing things together. I was happy and content for the first time in a very long time. I was in no way focused on where anything was going or any of that stuff. Life had been hard- I just wanted to coast.

To tell you about the turning point- I need to rewind and tell you a little bit of history.. Rewind to August 2006. I was married to Cole's Dad... and 8 mos. pregnant. Cole's Dad was in the middle of Paramedic school. Working 24 hour shifts had already begun. I wasn't super stoked about being hugely pregnant and alone at night but hey.. it was the right career for him and relationships are about compromise. Cole's Dad was working. I'd finally gotten the position of the body pillow just right, & dosed off to sleep when I am awakened to this screeching beep... *BEEP* I look at the clock.. 1AM.. *sigh* Put pillow over my head.. try to go back to sleep.. *BEEP* BEEP* BEEP*.. I roll out of bed.. Waddle into the living room where I've identified the shrill beep coming from.. it's the smoke detector. Me- 5'5" and pregnant... up against the smoke detector positioned on the 16 foot ceiling. The 14' ladder was in my neighbor's storage shed (we have that kind of neighborly relationship) I was contemplating going over there and getting it but sanity checked in and I realized I probably shouldn't be scaling the 14 foot ladder this pregnant.

There was nothing left to do but go back to bed. *BEEP*

The next morning I managed to get ready for work. I was waddling out the door when the hubby showed up after a long 24 hour shift. You always feel bad asking for anything when someone has worked for 24 hours straight.... But I knew he'd need a nap-and the smoke detector might prove a nuisance for him as well- So I told him the smoke detector was acting up, it had beeped all night and that it probably needed a replacement battery. He said "ok" and I left for work. When I came home that evening I asked if he had gotten a chance to change the battery and he told me that it hadn't beeped all day.. I said "ok..but would you please change it during your 48hrs off..because it will start beeping again..and I don't think I should get the ladder out and take care of it this pregnant" "No problem" he said.. I'll take care of it.."

Fast forward a night. Another 24 hour shift and it's just me and my belly. Again, I'm awakened to *BEEP* *BEEP* .. I roll out of bed. Stupid smoke detector again. I call Cole's Dad thinking this isn't the battery thing.. "Oh I forgot to change it.. and I thought you might have been hallucinating.." Never mind I mumbled. I went out in the garage.. I didn't have the big ladder in order to actually change the battery- but I had the smaller one one.. and I had a broom stick...I drug the ladder in the house.

I climbed up to the very top.. extended my very pregnant body.. and began beating the living crap out of the stupid smoke detector with the broom stick. I nearly fell off the ladder. But I managed to take out the smoke detector and waddle back to bed.

Reading this I realize I probably sound like a spoiled princess and like I'm throwing my ex under the bus, but that's really not my point. He had a lot on his plate and I remain completely proud of him and his courage to pursue such a big career change. Trust me when I say, he's the type of person that is suited for it. And it's not that any other time I wouldn't have been just fine changing the battery of the smoke detector. But in relationships, I've learned, sometimes you do things to take care of the other person. Otherwise, it just never works.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My Life is A Snow Globe

That's how my life feels right now. Like a snow globe. I'm one of those little plastic people trapped in a little world. Occasionally I wonder up, tap on the glass and proclaim "It's time to get the heck out of here."

I was pretty okay with single mom life. I had a little routine. Cole and I handled the transition okay.. and now someone picked up the snow globe and shook it. I mean hard. While life changes are new and exciting- they are also stressful and complicated. I can't even find the time to blog about how I got to my current state of feeling like I reside in a snow globe and it's a pretty good story in itself.

My house is on the market. It's very violating having people traipse in and out of your home criticizing and such. I'm getting closer by the day to having someone buy it and that terrifies me. I have no idea where I'm going to live or where my kid is going to go to preschool for that matter.. I'm suppose to be uber confident in this huge leap of faith and instead I find myself hanging out in my snow globe..where occasionally someone picks me up and shakes me. Snow globes are volatile. You put yourself on a shelf- available for the shaking. The rattling of the cage if you will.

Here's what I'm learning about life in the snow globe. It's largely about Faith. Faith in the prayers you've said that haven't been answered. Faith in the people who surround you in your little world and Faith that at some point, you'll get yourself out of the globe.. and everything and everyone will stop shaking. Life will be peaceful again. Until then though, and here's the hard part, you have to have Faith that you're in the right hands.

Holla! (Cough, Sneeze- stress doesn't do good things for your immune system either)