My daughter, Courson Charm, is celebrating her 14th birthday this weekend. Fourteen! I can still remember the little toddler with a wisp of hair on top of her head swaying back and forth to the Crash Test Dummies blasting from the stereo speakers. Her arms stretched overhead, fingertips touching, and then a quick turn, bow. Uninhibited joy.
Now she sits on her loft bed, knees to chest, ear buds in place, listening to Fergie on her iPod phone. No dancing, no singing, no expression. Sheer boredom.
When Courson was a girl, we were like peas and carrots. We talked about every subject under the sun (prompted by her many questions) and she believed I knew it all. I was the prettiest mommy on the planet. (her words, not mine) Courson couldn't imagine having a different mom because quite frankly, she thought I was the best.
Now she's sure I don't know as much as her. I couldn't possibly understand what she's feeling. I ask all the questions to which she grunts, groans, and blows air out in return. "So and so's mom is so pretty, so thin, so fun." "It would be great to have a mom who wasn't so strict, who shopped more ... who wasn't so cheap. That would be the best!"
To prove I am still worthy, I told Courson I would take her and a couple of friends to the nail salon this weekend for manicures. (a place I've never visited in my entire lifetime for my own nails) I would also pop for dinner, have them come home for cake, drop them at the movies, pay for everything ... a full day of fun with her closest friends. Yes, she and her friends loved these ideas. "My friends think it's awesome we're doing this. Their parents wouldn't take friends for a manicure. They're so excited!" Oh, so close to being the greatest mother on the planet again ... I can hear it in her voice.
Then a day later, Courson's back to grunting, to blowing out breath forcefully from those two perfect lips, to not answering my questions, to snapping back if I persist. The hardest part about being a mother isn't the running, the work, the laundry, or the shopping ... the hardest part about being a mother is loving another human so entirely that you give them your heart no matter how they will treat it. Again and again and again. Unconditional love.
While waiting for my daughter to figure herself out, grow an empathy bone, and to think more of others than herself, my heart will be ripped from my chest too many times to count, yet still continues to beat. How's that for a miracle?
Happy birthday, Courson Charm! As my mother once said to me, "May you have one just like you someday." =)
In my youth, I was a stoner. There's no pretty way to say it that doesn't equal the same thing. I started smoking pot at the ripe young age of twelve. I had been smoking cigarettes for two years prior, weed was a natural progression.
It began one day at a friend's house. She was babysitting for a couple of young children out in the middle of nowhere. The parents, being a bit askew on family morals, didn't have food in the pantry, but did have a joint to give us. "To make the time pass by more quickly."
They wanted us to smoke it before they left for the night. They weren't really interested in giving it as much as sharing it. Looking back now, I can't say why I did it. What made me take that first puff? I don't remember really much of that night (no small wonder why) beyond cleaning the hell out of these people's kitchen. (a pre-cursor for the germaphobe days for my 20's and beyond, no doubt) As for trying it so young, I think a part of me was scared, but I wasn't pressured into it like in those lame "Movies of the Week." No friend held it up and taunted, "You're not chicken, are you? Come on, baby, take just one drag." I believe it was just lit, passed to me, and I took a puff. Having not died and without the compulsion to jump through a glass window (like I had seen in a crappy Movie of the Week), I just kept on smoking it.
After that, it would be about another year before I would smoke pot again. My boyfriend was a daily user, but I was not. (sounds like the beginning of a bad children's story) When we broke up, I became the daily user. A guy named Moonie would sell joints for $3.00 apiece in the school yard. He wore this wide-brimmed hat that turned up into a half roll around his head. The joints were neatly tucked inside. I'd walk up to him, hand him $3.00, and out would pop a neatly-wrapped joint. My best friend, Toni, would dash down the back hill with me where we smoked up quickly waiting for the first bell to ring.
I remember one time in particular, in 9th grade, I'm all zooted up and sitting in Homeroom. Stoned out of my gourd. I feel sweaty, I can hear the clock tick, another good friend of mine, Andria, is asking if I'm all right and I'm just nodding to her. I walk out into the hallway and another friend, Julie, my anti-drug, anti-sex friend, takes me by the arm and says, "Let's get you to the nurse." "Yeah," I nod. I stumble. A whole group is behind me, including more than a few jocks and even the class clown, Jim. I may have been a burnout, but I was pretty good looking, I'll admit it. Therefore I was far from invisible. I'm being ogled from behind, no doubt, as I'm going at a snail's pace, yet they won't pass me.
I can feel the stares, but I can't control the urge anymore. I stumble forward, spot a water fountain, and proceed to projectile vomit into it. The whole world is slow mo. I watch the vomit enter the fountain at 50 m.p.h., come up into a lava lamp shape, then ooze down over the sides. Right on cue the class clown yells, "Ewww! Oh my God, I will NEVER drink out of one of those again." Everyone else is dead pan because, well, a girl just puked in the water fountain, but I can't help to chuckle a bit -- it was funny. Julie points to the bathroom door just three feet beyond the fountain and asks, "You couldn't have made it four more steps?" Where would be the public humiliation in that?
Toni, partner in pot smoking crime, is right ahead of us, looking around the hallway nervously. She passes me, while shouting to Julie, "What's wrong with her?" Julie gives her "the look" and proceeds to drag me to the nurse, my feet barely hit the floor, all the time admonishing me with, "Beth, you couldn't have waited? Why do you do this to yourself? Tell them you need to go home, tell them you just puked in the hall, you have your period and you need to go home." "Yeah, need to go home. Yeah, I'll tell them," I mutter while nodding.
Julie practically throws me at the nurse who immediately senses something is very wrong. (later on I heard I was pale green at this point) Florence Nightingale looks at Julie to ask what is wrong with me, since Julie is still holding me up, and I yell out, "I puked in the hallway ... um, in the fountain." I peer up at Julie and she disapprovingly shakes her head at me. Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned the fountain. I couldn't remember the logic behind it ... if it seemed the right or wrong thing to do. The nurse jumps up, tells Julie to tell a janitor about my "accident," and then takes me deep into her inner sanctum.
"Are you feeling sick now?"
I nod my head at her. I think, "Isn't it obvious? I can't stand upright on my own legs and my breath is vomit-scent."
"I'd like to weigh you on the scale. Would that be all right?" I nod again and stumble to this giant metal contraption. Florence tries to get an accurate measurement of my height, then gives up and starts to move metal weights to and fro. I enjoy watching the bar trying to right itself although it makes me feel queasy. She puts the weight up to 100 and CRASH, the bar goes down. She tsks and begins sliding back into the 90's. I'm looking at the wall clock, which is far more interesting at this point. 8:34 in the morning and I'm stoned. 8:34 and I puked in a fountain, Jim made a funny, and I'm being weighed by the nurse.
Ms. Nightingale walks me over to a cot and says, "Honey, what did you have for breakfast this morning?" I don't normally eat breakfast, but I did this morning. I try to think of what I had and then I think back to the color of my vomit. "Oh, thin mints and some milk."
"Yeah," she answers slowly, "It's like I thought. Having anorexia is nothing to be ashamed of, Honey." Florence, the Worst Nurse in the World, continues to lecture on proper nutrition, how thin may be in, but death wasn't good at any size. Something about my skeletal shape, how she could tell the moment she saw me, yet not once does she offer me any food. Go figure. I just laid back and closed my eyes. I could go two ways with pot -- hysterically funny or sick as a dog, but in the end, it just made me want to sleep like the dead. Something much revered by the insomniac in me, which trumped a dull speech anytime.
So, fellow bloggers, that was just one of my many adventures on drugs. Within another year of that story, I'll graduate to acid, then cocaine, then whatever is laying around at a party. No one ever forced, prodded, or coaxed. They simply held out the straw or the paper or the joint. I wasn't molested or beaten and no, my parents didn't do drugs. I'm sure more of these flashbacks will find their way into this blog, but this is the one I was thinking of this morning.
I woke up to three dead roses in a glass lemonade pitcher sitting on top of the TV. My husband's idea of romance. I felt a bit like Lillian Munster. Apparently they weren't dead last night when he bought them, but leaving them all night in the truck without any water surely caused their untimely demise. Still wanting credit for his efforts, my husband displayed them proudly. Ugh. Not good.
When hubby woke up, he found the Colts Super Bowl Champions hat, huge chocolate lips, and Sweethearts. My kids received little stuffed animals, a box of chocolate, and a gigantic chocolate heart. I get three dead roses. And did I mention my monthly visitor, Mr. Red? Not bloody good at all. (pun intended)
Due to the two feet of snow upstate NY is currently receiving, I can't even treat myself to a skim latte (my latest craving, which is healthy due to the skim part and only one teaspoon of sugar). No latte, dead roses, and George Bush's Presidential News Conference trying to convince the nation to waste more money and kill more US soldiers. Happy Valentine's Day to me.
Perhaps I'll bake an apple cake and gorge myself into a blissful day ... or I could just go back to bed. Decisions, decisions.
I started running again and wow, my body is feeling it. To be exact, my knees, calves, quads ... hell, the whole leg is feeling it. (both legs, actually, as one is not made out of wood)
My lungs are probably my biggest problem. I'm unable to acquire a really deep breath, which when you're gasping for air, makes for a somewhat painful experience. Still, I have persevered and found out I was faster than originally thought. This means I have reached the speed of a penguin instead of a sloth. It's a start.
When I was a long distance runner, running was my bliss. I didn't have to force myself to get dressed at 5:30 in the morning and step outside for my run. I looked forward to it. When the bank clock flashed 13 degree temperatures, I was happy it at least wasn't below the ten mark. Face red raw from brutal winds, snot frozen, and hands cracking on those upstate NY cold winter days, you would normally still find me with a smile on my face. Albeit a chapped lip, frost-covered teeth kind of smile.
Now I run with something akin to a grimace on my mug. Think Clint Eastwood. I'd rather not display my new technique of run, hobble, walk to the masses yet so I use my treadmill. Perhaps when the hobble is no longer present, but for now, I shall keep it and my jiggly butt to myself. When I find my bliss in it all again, then perhaps there shall be an unveiling. When the mind clears and I'm truly in the moment devising new plans for my mission in life instead of thinking, "I hope the sports cream is on the dresser. This knee will be keeping me up all night. Good God, my left foot feels broken. I'm probably crushing bones right into my sock. How long can a human survive without oxygen?"
The scale, however, proves my efforts are genuine. The marathon will come in time. For now I hobble, hope, and keep going.
the Colts make it to the Super Bowl. As if my husband, a lifetime fan, wasn't happy enough ... they also win it! Now to add a bit of history to the mix, Tony Dungy, the head coach of the Colts, is also the first African-American coach to ever bring a team to victory. So, definitely a win-win situation ... and I'm still basking in it a day later. (but not more than my hubby)