Friday, September 26, 2014

Spoiled Milk and College Babies

I woke up, made some coffee, and grabbed the milk. No wonder the fridge was so full, we never had two gallons in the fridge at the same time, EVER!
I grabbed the open gallon and started to pour it in my cup when the smell hit me. Blegh.
I looked at the date, looked at the date on the other milk, then up at the cereal that was piling up on top of the fridge.
While I have not forgotten for one second that my son has gone away to college, even though my brain is awesome/weird with denial games, I had forgotten to adjust my shopping habits.
I was alone in the kitchen, so I figured it was okay to tear up. I mean to cry. I mean to sit down on the floor and sob silently.
But if I did that, I would notice that it needs to be mopped, which I'd do, right before I made French toast for French Toast Friday, which would cause me to be late for work.

Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry. 

There should be some kind of manual for this, I thought.

Okay, cry, but no sobbing, just cry as you go--Move move, move. 

So, that's rule #1: Cry as you go.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Hand Hearts

Two Fridays before Caleb moved into his dorm, I found myself alone in the car on the way to a doctor's appointment and decided to allow myself an all-out ballfest. Apparently, the daily shower cries and occasional craughing moments had not been enough, because a torrential downpour from the ole' eye sockets and a somewhat controlled howling from the gut ensued-- until I pulled up to the stoplight at Peak and Bryan. 
From the left peripheral, I could tell someone was watching me. I casually wiped my face and glanced to the side. A Hispanic teenager smiled and waved from a Jeep Grand Cherokee. 
I smiled. I waved back. I was having a hard time stopping the flow of tears, though.
I let Jeep go ahead. 
I made it through a few more lights with a lot of inner cheerleading and less howling, but still quite a bit of tear flow. 
The next time we stopped, the young man, in his Four Squate t-shirt, off to do good early on a Friday morning at the end of summer, turned around, made a heart with his hands over his own heart and threw it to me, music video style. 
I smiled and gave him two thumbs up as he drove away. 
I'll admit I was kind of overwhelmed for a minute and then I said out loud, "Fine, God. I get it. I'm not alone. Me and Mimi, and Rob Lowe and all the other parents in the world. I get it. I'm not alone. I'm not alone." 
And I finally stopped crying, just as I pulled into the parking lot for my appointment. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Morning Light

Morning light
is kind to lovers,
casting shadows to
cover flaws,
filtering gently
through sheets.
A warm witness to
ancient rhythm.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I Cry Daily

My childhood was not ideal. I moved so many times, and lived in a variety of family concoctions, I am not sure I ever knew that stability existed.
"Mom," my grandmother on my Barbosa side of the family, was one constant in my early years. Whether my parents were together or apart, she was the the day-time caretaker for me while my mom worked various jobs. While most of my memories of her are before I was six, they are vivid and intense.
The sunlight entering her dining room through the side windows, the sound from the small black and white TV in her room, the smell of eggs and beans and tortillas, her housecoat, with something in her pocket, for me, not for me.
I hear the sharp sound of consonants in her accent. The floor creaking as she went to make eggs, warm up a tortilla.
For various and complicated reasons that had little to do with either of us and which I don't care to write about now, I did not see her for long stretches of time.
Last year, I had the opportunity to hang out with her more than usual. Some were sad occasions and some were to celebrate. She always talked about my Franco legs, flirted shamelessly with my husband and looked amazing. "When I go out, I like to dress," she said. 
Here she is teaching me her version of the "Dirty Dog." (This video is edited to  preserve our dignity:)

Soon after this video was taken, I was told she was not long for this world due to a blackened lung. I had spent the last year in and out of hospitals, nursing homes and doctors' offices with my mother who was near death a few times and it was also my middle son's senior year. I was an emotional wreck.

But on a brief visit to Mom's one day, she leaned in like she was telling me a secret and said without an ounce of fear in her eyes, "You wanna know something? I am ready. I am not afraid to die. I'm tired of this place. I wanna go see my husband. I am ready."

And for all the things I believe to be true and all the scriptures I could quote, there is no way I could say the same.

Maybe because I am young, I thought. How on earth would my husband know how to usher my kids into their college years without me?

Then very soon after my grandmother, "Mom",  passed away, my son came home with his first tattoo and there on his right shoulder, written in Latin was the verse, "To die is gain." The craughing (see previous post on cry/laughing) began again as I whined about the fact he had not included the "to live is Christ" part of the scripture and that it seemed so ominous and that's not how I wanted to identify his body at the morgue. Not that I want to do that at all mind you.  The craughing escalated.

I am not sure why God chose the very old and the robustly young to try to teach me about holding on too hard to this world. I guess He knows I need to be given my lessons in powerful, tiny moments, so that I am not stricken dumb, just stricken sad enough to turn back to Jesus, to hold on hard to Him and pray myself through the whole business of letting go. 

He loves me. Really. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Poetry Club on the Road to SouthBy

Some girls I know talked me and another mom into heading to Austin for South by Southwest. On the drive down we read some poetry by Jack Myers and Fatima Hirsi. 

The girls chose a line from one of Fatima's poems to use as as a spring board to write their own.

Here are their offerings:

Skin like the moon melted into the sun
Touched the roughness of my fingertips and my body fell
Folding itself nearly on the floor
I wanted to organize my
 mind sets but the frenzy of the idea of living of breathing of being of holding myself together broke me into pieces
Skin (like the moon melted into the
 sun) reached into me and strung them together: my anxieties my deep sleeps my sharp pains you

-Rosie Ninesling

Skin like the moon melted into the sun,
smooth and supple,
as yet unstained and scarred 
from life's rough embrace.

She descended from the clouds like an ethereal mistress of light.

"I like it here." she said,
despite the furious shaking of heads from the miserable fellows who fled like roaches from her glow.

Warmth spread from her toes and the flowers that it awakened said hello.

She carved a hole in the Earth. And stayed there.

-Audrey Clark

Skin like the moon melted into the sun 
Encompassing breaths that sooth the hearth
Treat me like you treat your evening fire 
Tend to me while you sip your scotch
Gently, urge me in growth 
Look at me as if an undying light shoots from my timid flames
Let my hypnosis fall over the planets your shoulders bear
Spewing out, you sit too close as to deceive me 
I think I can touch you every time
You are naturally afraid of me 
You will move my origins and let out a sigh in order to keep the embers orange but
faces are unseen when they are blinding
Let me burn you so you won't forget
Fumes bring tears
And light
Let us be gods and goddesses of crimson breath
And the fire
the fire beneath our feet will keep us angelic

-Chloe Curiel

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Craughing: Dats de Way Love Go.

I can't exactly explain the phenomena that has become a common reaction to anything having to do with my son leaving for college.

One night, he sat on the end of my bed, describing a few roommate requests and I got jittery.

"These guys all seem like uptight, neat freaks," he said.

"Can't you just room with somebody we know, or with somebody who knows somebody we know?" I asked trying to mask my concern with a cartoonish, worried voice.

"Mom, I think I should just leave it up to chance. Have the true college experience, ya know? Why try to force it?" he asks, sounding like Anthony Michael Hall in Sixteen Candles.

"Yes, but, yes but," and then I couldn't help it, I just started laughing and crying at the same time and who knows what I said next but it resembled, "But what if you get a roommate who watches porn and masturbates all the time or who tries to kill you and dumps your body in the river because he's jealous?"

Craughing all the way. Hahahahaugh.


"I mean, how long would it be before I knew you were missing?" More craughing as I brought the covers closer to my chin, my chest shook and tears formed.


"I think I need to be weaned you know? I mean can you text me every night before you go to bed? Can you? At least for the first six weeks?"


"Okay, wait, the first sixty days. I mean the first semester. the whole first semester?" Craughing the whole time.

"Mom. you're doing it wrong. You're supposed to start on the high end."

"I can't. This is pay back isn't it?"

Then he started to laugh as he backed cautiously out of the room. "For what?"

"For when I cut the tip of your pacifier off and told you it was broken. You made little food cuds with your lunch, and sucked on them before you fell asleep at nap time. I get it. I deserve this."

"Mom. It's going to be okay."

He shut the door. I covered my head and stopped laughing, but the tears kept flowing.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Captain Christmas Resigns her Cape.

My cape is made up powerful skills gleaned from a traumatic childhood. So, technically, it needed to be given up a LONG time ago.

You know the cape. The one that comes from figuring when, how many times and how high to jump and then if you should do it with swagger or aplomb. Subtle difference, but rest assured, in the hand of the unstable, it is noticed and often punished should you choose incorrectly. And in adulthood, mostly punished by myself, because I have taken on the all too UNREAL expectations of my loved ones instead of laying them at the foot of the cross where all expectations belong.

I thought I had learned most of this, oh, I don't know, in 2007. See blog: The Dropping of the Basket.

How many times do I "give up" control when I never had it in the first place-duh? And, how much time have I wasted trying to meet the expectations that no one will even admit they have, so I can protect someone from disappointment they weren't even willing to try to avoid?

And how many times more?

I'd like to say the cape has been destroyed, but it's a haunting, wasteful thing calling my name too often. But there is too much joy here for me to be weighed down with a man-made cape. Too much freedom offered by the real Rescuer, who knows the how and the when and the why.

I vow not to put it on again, until it's mended right.