Note to My Dad

Last night I picked up your guitar for the first time in years. The acoustic one you used to play us. I dug it out of the back closet, dusted it off, and strummed the strings slowly. Maybe I thought if I did I could hear your singing voice more vividly in my head. I’m scared. Three years and I feel like I’m losing grasp of some of my memories of you. Yesterday I actually sat through the entire song I had picked out for your funeral without crying. Why does that make me feel a tinge of guilt? Time heals….healing is good right?

You’d be so proud of me; that I know with certainty. My boys, your Grandson’s, are growing up to be such sweet, respectable individuals. They would make you smile and laugh every day. I have a great career I know you’d love to hear about. You and Mom raised a strong, independent woman. And the man that has blessed my life, boy would you love him. He’s musically gifted like you and works well with his hands.

Life is good now, even though I wish I could show you.

When you were in the hospital bed, I held your hand and I sang to you. I think you heard me, because I saw a tear roll down your cheek. The song we sang growing up:

 

I remember daddy’s hands folded silently in prayer
And reachin’ out to hold me, when I had a nightmare
You could read quite a story in the callous’ and lines
Years of work and worry had left their mark behind

 

I remember daddy’s hands how they held my mama tight
And patted my back for something done right
There are things that I’d forgotten that I loved about the man
But I’ll always remember the love in daddy’s hands

 

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand
There was always love in daddy’s hands

 

I remember daddy’s hands workin’ ’til they bled
Sacrificed unselfishly just to keep us all fed
If I could do things over, I’d live my life again
And never take for granted the love in daddy’s hands

 

Daddy’s hands were soft and kind when I was cryin’
Daddy’s hands were hard as steel when I’d done wrong
Daddy’s hands weren’t always gentle but I’ve come to understand
There was always love in daddy’s hands

 

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I have plenty more to tell you. Until next time, Dad.

 

 

Motherhood

The house is dark and still, and the boys are fast asleep. In true Mom fashion, I sneak into each of their rooms and plant the softest kiss on their heads and adjust their blankets. Motherhood is the most natural process that exists, and yet it stirs up the most complicated emotions imaginable. Never does a woman know worry, self-doubt, sacrifice, and pure love like she does when she becomes a Mother. I don’t believe there exists a perfect age or set of circumstances that can fully prepare one for the challenges and changes that come along with Motherhood. 

I think about my own Mother. At a fairly young age (having enough knowledge about the struggles related to her upbringing), I realized the tremendous emotional obstacles she had to have overcome to become a nurturing, loving Mother. The mold she had to break from her own childhood experiences. I’m not sure how she did it, but for her strength, I am grateful. My sister and I were her world; her priority in life, from the time we took our first breath through most of our formative years. We were always well fed and well dressed. She took in our friends as if they were her own; taught us how to cook; to love music and to dance our little hearts out. She helped us succeed in school, and tried hard to keep us entertained and out of trouble (sorry Mom). Her and I are a lot alike in some ways. We love people……too much. We give to others even beyond our means at times and are willing to sacrifice a great deal (even our own inner happiness) for those we love. I admire her ability to love past great faults. She is all of the soft aspects of my soul. 


I look at my boys sleeping peacefully; with their soft faces and their perfect button noses. It’s amazing really…to give life to these little people that reflect you, and yet they show you the world in their own unique way. My hope as their Mother is that they grow up knowing they are loved, valued, and irreplaceable. That they thirst for knowledge and adventure. I want them to truly embrace the world. Not to be complacent or ever allow the world to make them angry or cold. To love even those who act unlovable and to open their hearts, even at the risk of having them broken. I hope they view the world as their oyster and never be confined by how or where they were brought up. Even though I was still practically raising myself when I first became a Mother, I tried to create a carefree life for them. Sometimes I succeeded, other times I failed miserably. At the end of the day however, I want them to know that my heart beats for them. They will always be my greatest accomplishment; my reason to smile. I can fall asleep with a full heart. 


“Successful Mothers are not the ones that have never struggled. They are the ones that never give up, despite the struggles.” ~ Sharon Jaynes

“When my children remember their childhood, I want only for them to remember that their Mother gave it her all. She worried too much, she failed at times and she did not always get it right…but she tried her hardest to teach them about kindness, love, compassion, and honesty. Even if she had to learn it from her own mistakes, she loved them enough to keep going, even when things seemed hopeless, even when life knocked her down. I want them to remember me as the Woman who always got back up.” ~ Annonymous 

Darkness

I remember the first non fiction book I read as an adult. It was about the expectations that we ourselves, as well as others around us, put upon Mothers. I was a young, stay at home, first time Mother at the time. Parts of the book made me laugh, others actually made me cry because I felt relief. It was then that I really, truly began to realize our need as humans to be understood and to feel as though we aren’t alone; in our thoughts and in our struggles. I felt the same, powerful resignation with the next “self-help” type book I read many years later about patience in life. Whether it’s a heart to heart talk with my sister or close friend, or words I’ve read; there’s something so therapeutic about truly identifying with others’ feelings and experiences. The greatest gift I’ve been given from my entrance into the “blogging world” thus far, has been my ability to emotionally connect with many of the things I’ve read from other writers. To sympathize with the phases they are at in their lives, the harsh realities they have faced, and the passing thoughts they share. 

As I mentioned in my first post, I try very hard to be an upbeat, glass half full type person. Usually, I succeed. But like any normal person, I experience emotional highs and lows; often depending on the circumstances of my life at that very moment. In an effort to keep consistently open and honest throughout this writing process, I’ve decided to share even the thoughts I’ve had that aren’t the most nourishing. Because those thoughts, in a way, may prove to be just as helpful to others as the positive ones are. 

After a long day of fighting a cold, shuffling children around, cleaning up after them, feeding them, and getting them to bed, I was feeling pretty spent. But I told myself to sit in bed and write; just whatever came to my mind the second the pencil hit the notebook. And here’s what came out:

I feel as though I am at a disadvantage. To grow the imagination, the originality within me. Although it would kill me not to. It would appear as though I’m stuck. My future has been written out for me. Maybe not the details, but the outline. What I can express, what I can create, is my way to escape; my ability to scream without making a sound. I was born a free bird; I was meant to fly far away and do great things. My mind wanders always. But our choices dictate the direction we’re headed, and I feel I’m on a one way road. This is my truth, my reality. I wonder how many others have felt they are prisoners at the mercy of their pasts? 

Much of these feelings of being confined and somewhat resentful at times, stem from my being a caregiver, a wife, and a mother too early in life. Then divorcing and having to hit rock bottom before I could climb my way back up. I’ve truly felt at times as though my life would have turned out much differently, possibly much more fulfilling, had I not made the choices I wasn’t mentally or emotionally equipped to make. I never had the time to focus only on myself and to pursue some of the things that were in my heart to do. But despite those very legitimate feelings of frustration and regret, here is what I concluded with:

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars” ~ MLK Jr.

We all have darkness of varying shades and depth. For me, that darkness tends to intensify when I am feeling weighed down by the encumbrance and accountability of being a single Mother. The life decisions I am often faced with that sit heavy on my mind many anxious nights. The ones I wish someone else would make for me. Implosion, however, is not an option. Nor will I be content with dutifully moving through life without passion, without intensity. If it takes years of flickering before the star that is my soul shines brighter than the rest, well then, let it flicker. 

The point of all of this being, sometimes we are mentally stronger than other times. Sometimes, even if just for a brief moment, we wallow in self pity. But there are always others who can relate in some capacity. Others who have hit the same walls, and yet come out on the other side. Even though life didn’t turn out the way we had hoped, it can still be beautiful and fulfilling. It’s ok to entertain negative thoughts for a moment, as long as we turn them around and realize that we have the ability to shine, even if it takes us a little longer than most. Life is a process, one we are all trying to figure out as we go. One that’s easier to figure out together. Maybe my life could have been easier in some ways, even more exciting. But there’s no telling if the darkness I’ve experienced and the frustrations I encountered early on in life, have actually made me a deeper, more well rounded, more inwardly beautiful person than I would have been if it had been smooth sailing. 

My mindset for the upcoming months:

“Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal. Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path.”