Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, B


         At 4:08 a.m. on March 14, 2006, you came into this world. And every year since, I set my alarm for that time on that day to have a silent celebration of your arrival. I find that even though I set my alarm, I don't actually need it. When I woke up at 4:08 this morning, I thought about the days leading up to your birth. I thought about the first time I laid eyes on you. For a couple of months after your arrival, I kept meaning to write down every detail of those 4 days. I wanted to get in down while it was fresh, terrified that I would forget something. The thing I didn't realize then is that those days are impossible to forget. I remember them with startling detail. I remember counting time between contractions with Betsy and Phebe. I remember watching Jeopardy! and trying to take a hot bath to soothe the pain. I remember listening to Madonna on the way to the hospital the first time. I remember being told to go home and take Tylenol PM. I remember eating a pizza and drinking a Route 44 Ocean Water and returning to the hospital less than 24 hours later. I remember begging Betsy, through tears, to go track down the anesthesiologist at 1:00 a.m. Prior to styling the lovely hospital gown, I wore a black dress and a pink zip-up hoodie. When you finally arrived, you had white blond hair that was sticking straight up and beautiful blue eyes. I remember being rendered speechless  when they put you in my arms (and you'll figure out as you get older, I'm not often rendered speechless).

         B, there aren't many moments in life you remember with such detail. This is one of the few. And every March 14, I run over it again in my mind.

        When I'm alone at 4:00 in the morning, I say a prayer for you. This is not to say that I don't pray for you all the time, but this prayer is a little different. I thank God for the preceding year and ask simply that the one to come is as blessed as the one before.

         Love, we've had a rough couple of years. But you keep trucking right along. This year, you started kindergarten. This year, you learned to read. I mean really read, not just memorize books and repeat the words (although this was always very sweet, especially when we read The Lorax). This year, you wished Star Wars was real ("...all of it. Even The Clone Wars.") According to you, your favorite food is chicken and your favorite TV is Tom and Jerry. You're endlessly entergetic and you love riding your bike, legos, Angry Birds, and playing "pirate ship" in the backyard.

          Sometimes, it's hard for me to believe that you're already 6. Sometimes, it baffles me that you're only 6. And while you've learned so much, you've still got so far to go.  When I think about you're future, I find that I want very simple things for you. But you'll figure out (too soon), that life is, at times, quite complicated.  I want you to be happy. This is very broad, but that doesn't make it any less true. I want you to always be curious and to never stop learning. But I also want you to realize that you're never going to know everything. And, maybe most importantly, I want you to learn to trust yourself. You'll find as you get older that everyone's a critic. There will be times when you'll begin to doubt your decisions. This is alright, because it means your being thoughtful. But at the end of the day, trust your own instincts. And I promise, I'll try to trust you, too.

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong,"
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend,
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you - just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
           -Shel Silverstein

Happy birthday, B.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Packing It All Up (Again)

I'm always amazed by the onslaught of emotion packing brings.  Today, as I was carefully wrapping jewelry boxes, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, I ran across a tiny locket. A tiny locket with a "B" on the front and a date on the back (12-88). That locket is 22 years old. That locket brought me to tears.

I'm not sure I could exactly describe what it was that came over me. Maybe it's that when you pack, you silently take inventory of all that you have. Maybe with every box, you realize you don't know what you have.

I have found some amazing things. Some things that remind me of moments I had forgotten (that is why I keep these things, after all). I found some things that remind me of moments I could never forget. I have found some things that I have no idea why I hold onto, but I find myself unable to throw them away. I have found some truly odd things that make me think, Is this really all the crap that I own?

In 28 years, I have amassed an impressive library, but I own only 4 plates. I own a million pictures, a boatload of paint, and at least 30 notebooks that are half-filled with various musings, but not a sofa, or a table, or even any chairs.

The first time I moved (or remember moving), I was 13.  Back then, moving was sad. Really sad. It meant I would be leaving all of my friends. It meant that I would no longer live in the only home I'd ever known. It meant I couldn't try out for cheerleading (which, to a 13 year-old girl, is a much bigger deal than I can adequately explain).

Since then, I've moved 10 more times (in 2 weeks the count will be 11). The funny thing about all those moves is that the only time it was really sad was that first time. Every time since then, I've been moving towards something, as opposed to moving away from something.  In August 2002, I moved into my dorm room in Auburn, Al. I moved to college and I just knew I had my whole life ahead of me (that girl really didn't know what was coming). In March 2006, I moved back to Montgomery and into my parent's house. I moved there to become Beckett's Mom. And in May 2011, I moved to Newnan, Ga. I moved to start over, to find a new place for B and me.

This entire post stems from the unstoppable tears that were induced by a tiny locket.  I still don't know exactly what brought on the tears, but I do have an idea. If moving is always now about moving forward, moving in a new direction, then what happens when what you are moving towards doesn't pan out? What if all of the plans you've made fall through? What if the life you envision as the product of this big change in location turns out to be the exact opposite of what you intended?

Moving isn't sad anymore -- it's terrifying.

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