This time, 14 years ago, you were almost 24 hours old. Time flies, doesn't it? I remember when you were just a few days old and I took you to the grocery store where your Meemaw worked and everyone fussed over you and commented about how cute you were. I was only 17 at the time but I was old enough to beam with pride and agree that yes, you were adorable and a special and totally awesome.
So much has happened since those first few hours and days of your life. Much of it I've forgotten, sadly. I wish I could remember the way your skin felt, so baby soft. I wish I could have recorded your laugh so I could listen to it over and over again. To remember what your little fingers looked like and your fat belly and your wispy blond hair, I'd give almost anything to remember those things with clarity.
I wish I would have read "just one more book, please" and lingered a little longer with the bedtime kisses and hugs. I wonder if you care, or even remember that I didn't play cars with you that one time or yelled at you that other time. I feel enormous guilt, as all parents do, about the things that you probably don't even remember. On the flip side, there are so many things that I do remember. So many things I have stored away to remind me of all the fun we've had.
I remember when we took our first and only vacation just the two of us. Remember? We went to San Antonio. You met some friends there at the hotel pool and played with them for hours. We played Uno for the longest time and I think you finally got better than me at yelling UNO! when there was only one card left. We walked the Riverwalk and I was a nervous wreck that you'd fall in the water. You were totally not impressed by the Alamo and honestly, neither was I. I remember other vacations we took with family. The cruise we went on when you ate ice cream in a contest, upside down? HILARIOUS. You earned the plastic trophy. Going to Disney and riding the rides was a blast. I need to squeeze in more vacations with you, before you get much older.
Other memories flood back when I sit and think about you. Like the time you threw snowballs at me while I WAS IN THE KITCHEN. You thought it was hilarious and I did too, after I cleaned up the mess. In our old house we had that kitchen sink sprayer, remember? We made many watery messes spraying each other and giggling. When I'd wash the car you'd hide and I'd find you and blast you with the hose and you'd do the same to me. Carving pumpkins and you "eating" the guts is a favorite memory of mine. Watching you read makes me happy, I'm so glad you got that trait from me.
When you started kicking my butt at the dots game I knew you were growing up. When you could wear my t-shirts and they didn't fall to your knees I knew you were growing up. When my tennis shoes fit you and we got our gym shorts confused, I knew you were growing up. When I sang you happy birthday yesterday and I could tell you were rolling your eyes I knew you were growing up. Everyday you grow up and everyday I wish you could stop, for just a moment.
I just can't believe that you are 14, so close to being a man and yet so much to sift through and figure out till you get there. I have so many hopes for you, and I ache to see them come true. Above all my hopes for you I want you to be happy in whatever you choose as your path. When you were really young you'd say you wanted to be a trash man and I would have fully supported your choice to be a connoisseur of all things trash. I would have been your biggest fan. Now you say you want to be a video game designer and again, I will be your biggest fan. I'll cheer you through all the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful because you are my son. My awkward, funny, lovable, quirky, adorable son. I wouldn't trade you for all the icing in the world.
Happy Birthday, Derick, you have saved me everyday of your life.
I luff you.
The stress! It's so stupid, too. I stress that my yard isn't cut to the proper length. I stress that my porch, if you can even call it that, is not swept properly. I stress that my house smells strange for some reason that I cannot smell but that it might offend others. I stress that if I offer someone a drink that I won't have exactly what they want or that a glass will have spots. If I make a meal I stress that they won't like it or that they will be allergic or, OH MY GOD. You get it, right?
It's so stupid, I know. If I invite you over it means that I like you and you probably like me equally and therefore you probably aren't going to white glove the baseboard behind my toilet, BUT WHAT IF YOU DO?! I don't remember the last time I cleaned any of my baseboards.
When I throw parties (rarely) I spend too much money getting napkins that match my party plates and buying 42 different beverages so everyone can have plenty of choices. I scrub the kitchen floor till I'm blue in the face and I vacuum the cats (kidding, although that's a great idea). When people do arrive at my house I want them to have a good time and so then I stress that I need to entertain them. I need to keep the conversation flowing and the laughs abundant. Music! Or maybe no music, television instead, or perhaps me juggling rings of fire would entertain? Visions of the perfect hostess enter my mind and then there's me. The stress of it all!
What's funny is that when I go to a friend's house I could care less if it's messy. I don't care if I have to move a week's worth of laundry to sit down. If you haven't done the dishes in 4 days I probably won't blink an eye. If all you have is water to offer me I'm happy to drink it.
So why on earth am I so hard on myself when it comes to people visiting? I just really don't know and I need to stop stressing over it all and just invite people over, already. Most people won't care that I don't sweep the floor often enough and they probably won't care if there's a few dishes in the sink.
From this day on I will make an effort to invite people over and not stress about it till I have no fingernails left. It's just not something I need to worry over anymore. I'm done with the self induced stress. Over it!
So, you wanna come over?
I have two dads. One biological father and one real dad, in my mind. My bio dad (as he calls himself) and my mom were married for 5 years and tried to have me with no luck. After my bio dad professed that he didn't love my mother like that anymore they decided to divorce. After being separated for a time they got back together for 3 days and Hello! Here's Kristie! I was at my parent's divorce hearing when I was 6 weeks old. I'm told that my bio dad was late to my birth.
Over the years my bio dad has tried to make an effort to be closer to me, I suppose. He used to say it with money. I remember once he gave me something like $400 to buy new clothes and stuff for school. He also gave me a handheld black and white TV that I thought was so cool. He took me (and my half sisters) shopping and let us buy whatever we wanted, no questions asked. It was strange because I felt like I had struck it rich. I could have whatever I wanted! Shiny new things! The world was my oyster because I could buy whatever I wanted.
The funny thing about that time, thought, was when I left Missouri and came back home to Texas I always felt empty. As a kid I remember thinking how lucky my half sisters were. They could have whatever they wanted with an almost unlimited budget. Lucky! Of course, you know what I'm going to say I'm sure, money isn't everything. I realized that my half sisters lived a strange life. When the money went away, as it always seems to, they didn't much left left but dull, old things and not a drop of what I had at my house.
In my house, with my mom and (step) dad us kids didn't have unlimited funds to buy whatever we wanted. I begged for a pair of the "it" jeans of the nineties and never got them. When we went shopping my budget was much less than $400 and I had to buy practical things. Things that would last for a whole school year. We didn't have jet skis and a yacht like my bio dad did. We had an embarrassingly bright yellow boat that sure didn't have bedrooms and a bathroom in the lower deck. It didn't even have a lower deck unless you consider being under the boat, in the water, the lower deck.
The difference, and this is a big one, was that my family was full of love. We didn't have the yacht or the maid or that Corvette's or any of that fancy stuff. We had so much more than that. We had each other and we depended on each other and we knew we'd be there for each other, even when things were tough and we couldn't stand to be in the same room with each other.
My dad is the reason for this. When I was a mere toddler my mom and I married my dad. He has always accepted me as his own daughter, no questions asked. When I got married, he walked me down the isle. When I divorced he paid for my attorney. He helps me fix my car and we laugh when we say inappropriate things with cuss words. He's got this funny, breathy laugh that makes his whole face light up. He's never still, always doing something around the house. He makes sure I have money to live and puts up with my antics. He complains about going on vacations and then can't stop talking about where he went when he comes back. He's tall and skinny and can eat whatever he wants and not gain an ounce (the total opposite of my mom and I). He would do absolutely anything for his family and he does everyday. He works hard, harder than anyone I know, to help take care of us.
I love my bio dad, he's getting better theses days. He calls me on the phone now, which he never used to do when I was younger. He never did recover and get his yacht back. He drives an old beat up truck and lives in a modest home that doesn't have a maid. He still sends me money sometimes, old habits and all. But I think maybe he's getting it. He getting that money is so much less important than just being a family and loving with all you have. That's what my REAL dad taught me.
I am one lucky girl. My dad is the coolest out there. My mom and I sure did strike it rich.
I haven't seen Derick, other than a few random pictures, in over 6 MONTHS. I missed over half a year of my son become more of a young man. I missed him getting braces and growing into yet another shoe size. Sure, I mailed him those new shoes and I saw a picture of those new, shiny braces but it's just not the same.
He's coming home for about 7 weeks and has decided to go back to his Dad's house which sucks. He's officially in high school and he will be officially 1 day into his 14Th year when he gets here. He'll also be officially that much closer to being a grown up and never talking to his mother again. It just sucks and I hate it.
I hate that he's so far. I could handle if he was 3 hours or even 5 hours away. But over 20 hours away, by car? Not so much. He loves it there, with his other family and I know why, I'm sure. They are more of a close knit family and he probably feels more included and they do different things there and I think he just feels like he fits in better. Boy, that's hard to admit that I think he prefers that family as opposed to this one, but I am pretty positive that's true.
I hate that he wants to go back but I want to make the most of our ever so short summer vacation. I have grand plans of going to Six Flags, going hiking, having picnics outside, playing in the inflatable pool in the backyard with Jackson and hopefully some other things. I intend on having Derick do his chores like he needs to do and be a part of this family as he always has been. This won't be that kind of vacation for him.
My biggest fear is that he will never come home and he will stay in the Maryland area for the rest of his life. He'll meet his future bride, have kids and it will be a huge deal to go visit him and my grand kids. I'm sure I'm being dramatic, but have I mentioned how much I hate that he's so far away? I HATE IT.
Supposedly his Dad and that family is moving this way in December but I've heard him say he was moving here for YEARS so I'm not holding my breath at all. I just hope he's become a man of his word, finally.
It's going to be bittersweet my Derick coming home to visit us. I'm going to try and not count the days down till he leaves me again and I will keep all my hate of him leaving again inside so I don't ruin his visit. But internally, I want him to want to stay and I know he doesn't want to and that's what I hate the most.
Derick, someday I imagine you will read this and I think it's important for you to know that I did not write this with dry eyes. I want what's best for you, even when I hate that it's not what I want. But that's just one facet of a parent's job, do what's best for your children and hope that they know someday how much you loved them to let them go, even when it hurts.
All of these plants were grown from seed with the exception of the tomato plants. Of this I am QUITE proud. I planted a few more things in the spaces like onions, peppers and a pattypan squash, but they haven't popped up just yet. I cannot wait to eat the fruits, ahem, of my labor!
Here's a mystery plant that I have no clue what it is. It doesn't look like anything else I have so I just don't know. I hate to pull it out because it might be some fancy new veggie that I've never ha.d Or a weed. Who knows. Anyone recognize this plant?
Broccoli! How I love thee.
One of my three surviving cilantro plants (damn bunnies). I hear you either love or hate cilantro. I'm of the former persuasion.
Swiss Chard! I can't wait till it gets large enough to eat. Look at the gorgeous greens and reds. I think chard is one of the loveliest plants. I especially love rainbow chard.
Cucumber plants. These are doing well. I planted these for my kids because I'm not a huge cucumber fan, but I'm learning to love it.
You say tomato I say I GREW TOMATOES!!!! See them?! I hear these are easy plants to grow, and I suppose that's correct. These are Roma's that I bought already growing so I can't take credit for it all. So far there are only like 6 tomatoes so I'm hoping I'll have much more soon.
My dad told me the tomato plants were too close, turns out he's right. Oh well.
I'm really just winging this so far. I haven't fertilized or anything other than plant and water. I probably should do something but I haven't gotten around to it.
Also, I'm ITCHING to compost. I have a link to what looks like a great composting bin for me and my situation, I just need to order it or find a cheaper one.
I am loving this gardening thing. I can't wait to go outside and pick something to eat it.
I'm excited to have a place to talk all about the thing I'm most passionate about. Even if you aren't vegan you still might find a few things you find interesting so please check it out periodically.
Your support would mean to world to me and maybe I can convince a few more people to join in this crazy, awesome vegan thing.
- I'm excited to say I'm about to embark on joining a new blog soon. It's still in the works and it's not yet ready to be launched, but as soon as it is I'll be sure to post about it.
- Also, and friend and I are starting another blog. Actually it's already made and I just need to get in there and set it all up. Look for that information soon!
- My garden is growing! I don't kill things! A furry creature has been foraging around but hasn't done too much damage. I CANNOT wait to taste the vegetables of my labor. Ha!
- Derick comes home from his dad's house in just a few weeks and I CAN'T WAIT. I miss the little dude. (He's almost 14 so he's really not little.)
- Derick will be going back to his dad's house in August. HATE. Post to come.
- Jackson is, well, Jackson. He's totally cool and you'd be lucky to hang with him. Fo Sho.
- All sorts of trips are coming up. Austin next weekend! (To meet MaryAnn!*) Missouri in July! Sacramento in September! A possible cruise in November! Possibly Florida in July also!
- I injured my knee a few weeks ago and it was total crap. I didn't workout for 2 weeks, felt like poo and gained 7 billion pounds.
- I'm back on track for the most part and I've lost 1 pound of the 7 billion.
- I had a TOTAL blast in Houston last weekend. Those people rule and you'd be lucky to hang with them, too. Jess, it was lovely to see you again!
- I'm a lame blogger these days. That's what happens when I get some time off of work.
- Expect more lameness to happen. It's too nice outside to sit here at my desk and write stuff. Told you I was lame!
* I hope I spelled your name right and got the punctuation and spelling right also! If not, then it seems I owe you a beer, or three.