challenges, mental health

A Tragedy

It was spooky season. Fall in the air. Football on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It’s fall y’all. In the south fall is intertwined with football, cheerleading and tailgates. Fall is fun with friends this time of year. Sometimes too much fun. Sometimes the fun clouds our judgement.

This spooky season tragedy hit too close to home. A beautiful girl. A kind spirit. A smile to light up the room. A friend to many. A good one gone too soon. A community left distraught. So much lost in an instant. One who will never make it to graduation. Such a loss for her family and friends.

One decision ended in tragedy. One momentary lapse in judgment. We all have them but many don’t understand that choices can have devastating consequences. This hits less than a year after another young life was lost in the same community. Different circumstances yet same outcome. A young life was lost. Just barely 16.

Some of the same kids are dealing with grief again. The same school system shocked. The same counselors rallying to support the young lives dealing with the chaos. Social media memory reals. So much to process. All the while life is expected to go on uninterrupted for many. Sadness lurks. Loss is ever so present. Death is not kind.

As you read this post, think of those you love. Cherish the moments. The memories. Take the pictures. Save the voicemails. Record the giggles. Don’t wait. Tomorrow may be too late. Also be aware of how loss lurks and impacts those around you. Check in on others often. Do your part. Ask questions. Be ready to listen and share in the burden of pain.

Make time for others. Choose empathy over sympathy. Be present with those who need support. Remind young lives of the importance of safety in and around vehicles. Seatbelt priorities. Number of kids in one vehicle. Driver experience. The list goes on and on.

Be cautious around holidays when many celebrations take place. Being alert on the roadways can be a life saver. Parents make sure your kids have lifelines to reach out to in case of an emergency. Consider location tracking even if your teen feels it’s a violation of their privacy. Keep communications open.

High school.

College.

Young adulthood.

It’s all the same for parents. A parent will always worry. It’s because just one tragedy could be their life sentence without their loved one. One day at a time is all we really have. Live your life to the fullest. Every day.

Pray for the community, family and friends of this young girl. Now and in the future. Sadness is hovering on my home front. It tears me up but only time can help feelings settle. A new normal. All I can do is support and help process the loss. Not an easy task with a teen.

health

All That Blood

1 hour into vacation. 1 hour.

The teen calls and said we have an emergency. Me: what kind of emergency? Teen: so much blood, come now.

200 feet seemed like 200 miles in the moment. This trail of blood seemed like nothing compared to the flow of blood leading to the injured party. Was it a shark bite? So many things ran through my mind.

First aid began with attempting to stop the blood until we could get out of the sand and germy water. That in itself was a challenge lugging someone with a bloody foot. I didn’t really pay attention at the time but no bystander offered help which now that I think about it seems absurd.

The infamous bloody foot. Eight stitches later. A lot pain and suffering while the cleaning and stitching was done at the local emergency room. So much pride left on that beach for the young invisible teen. Along with the loss of pride was much regret. I could see it in his eyes. Disappointment for the vacation that was yet to be had.

This experience made me think I was happy to have my first aid kit on hand not thinking I would ever need it. After the wound was handled, I definitely went ahead and replenished and added a few more triage items to be sure I’m ready for any future injuries. I would never want to be unprepared for a shark attack at a beach.

Since this accident took place one hour into vacation that meant I had to work hard to keep the wound clean and on its path to healing while beachside. That is no easy task with an active teen. 

Was a lesson learned? Yes. Was I thankful for the outcome? Yes. Did I need to make a dreaded phone call to the parent of the teen I was responsible for? Yes. This is the call nobody would ever want to make. However, the calm voice on the other end of the phone was kind and genuine. No anger. No judgment. Just gratitude for being there to support the injured. What a relief.

What a relief for me. Another day will pass. Count every blessing and every experience you have, but never lose sight of danger that can be feet away. Always have your antennas up and ready to lunge into emergency action whether you need help or another nearby.

If you don’t know basic first aid, take a course. I have had to sling broken bones, now handle a gash and worst of all had to administer CPR. All on kids. Not fun, but humbling.

Be safe and enjoy my bloody story. The ocean can be safe but also dangerous. Always watch your feet for objects like broken glass, fishing hooks, and of course sea life.

author moments, family

Got Wheels Will Travel

Ah, to be sixteen again. Fresh wheels. Gas in the tank. No “have tos” as it’s the weekend. Where to go. Who to see. Back. Forth. Back and forth. Back again. Around again and again.

This about sums up the life of my youngest. Fridays mean off with friends. Time to blow off steam. Sleep in Saturday as it was a long week (in teenager eyes). Need to rest the mind and the body.

Mid-day rise on Saturday. Nothing on the calendar so off she goes. Zoom. Zoom. Here, there, everywhere. An errand. A drop off. A visit with a friend. Some food. Back to home base for a quick change. Evening plans are in motion. 

Off again. Social life calls. Sleepover calls name. I must. I must. Snuggle up Sunday is here. Lazy time thanks to the busy go-go-go that began Friday. A few chores, a quick favor for another, a car wash, a pick up at a friend’s. Zoom. Zoom.

5pm hits. Dinner time is approaching. Maybe it’s time to see the teen for a few minutes and share a meal. Maybe some conversation or maybe not. Head phones. Social media. Homework. Prep for the week is now here.

Where did the time go? Once a teen gets a set of wheels or gets independent by way of driving, relationships change. Mommas are no longer needed. Well they are needed but not in the same way. It’s beautiful to watch but it’s sad at the same time. The time you once spent together is now replaced with time with others.

When it’s your youngest or last it hits a little harder. Empty nest syndrome is near in sight. You look for opportunities to savor the time that remains before college or adulthood. Once the 18 number hits your value fades. You are needed but not as much as the sisterhood of a sorority, of a sports team, or a love interest.

The relationship in my mind drifts until 26 years of age. At this point the need resurfaces. Maybe for financial guidance. Maybe for grandparenting time. Maybe for help of some sort. Whatever the reason it’s a long wait.

I think my favorite age of kids is 8-11 years. Fun to play with. Old enough to listen. Not too much sass talking. And overall it’s a time they still need you. To get here or there. To buy this or that. For food. And so on.

Parenting doesn’t have a rule book. It’s expensive to say the least. It’s full of memories, both good and bad. Parenting shows your flaws as well as your strengths in your offspring. That might be the hardest part of parenting. Looking in the mirror.

Seeing the stubbornness.

Seeing the attitude.

Living with a mini version of oneself.

I still wouldn’t change it for the world but I do miss the favorite age I mentioned above. I have three kids in three different stages. They all give me joy, stress, and aw shit moments. For this rant I’m just putting it on paper. A way of confirming what life is for me now. 

challenges

A New Wall

I hit a new wall today. A mentally exhausting wall. One I didn’t initially bounce off and spring ahead like normal.

This wall was different. It started out as me being tired. Then it shifted to me being irritable. Then technology flipped a few switches that set me off kilter.

Moving on to mid-day a teenager rattled my cage. Then the rain hit. All the while work was super busy. It’s the end of the month. The end of the fiscal year. Emergencies by phone and mail.

I wanted to dish out numbers like they do at the meat counter but that’s not reality. It all needs to get done. You need to be four places at one time. It doesn’t matter if it’s pouring rain let alone if you are tired. 

When you are in the hot seat. The driver’s seat. The most relied upon seat, nothing matters. You are just expected to balance it all. But what happens when you hit the wall and don’t bounce back?

For some it may take one into a dark place in mind and body. Luckily for me I have some friends who can crack me up during the day with a funny text to lighten the load. I have some go-to gals who can be a listening ear when I want to punch everyone.

And then I can always change my scenery. For me, today I took a car ride. Got a coffee. Drank it away from people. Talked to a friend by phone. Took some deep breaths. Ordered dinner to-go. Planned an early bedtime to mentally let my brain rest.

I took to writing. This blog of course. Writing is a therapeutic outlet for me for many reasons but sharing stories of walls is important for people to read. It’s life. It’s real. It’s not filtered. There are no amazing pictures.

My wall is the beginning of what may be a long road of walls. It’s midlife womanly adjustments. The yucky m word. The one you want to be over so your cycle is history but the one you dread because of its uncertainty.

Let me just type the damn word. Menopause. Menopausal. Resident psycho to some. Bitch to others. I’m sure I’m missing a few descriptions but owning the word and its side effects is step one. One of God only knows how many steps.

Pray for me. Think of me. Lift me up in spirits if you see me against the wall. Plastered to the wall. Mentioning the wall. Or anything resembled the wall symptoms. Baggy eyes. Disheveled look. Short fuse.

The worst thing you can do is ignore my hot mess as that will make me want to isolate you. As a giver and doer I help many. Unfortunately many won’t see that need for help. That struggle at that damn wall. 

Is there a magic tea for menopause? And why the hell is the word “men” embedded in the word itself. That is just crazy because they are clueless when it comes to dealing with a menopausal woman. Just sayin’.

mEn-oh-PAuse: your lady friend is about to go batshit crazy. Clear the fuck out now. Don’t pause. Run. Hide. It’s safer that way.
If the DICtionary doesn’t say that it really should. Fun fact!

family

What’s Missing Today?

Today I went to the bathroom to spray some perfume. The new bottle of perfume that only comes out annually. It’s missing. Gone. It wasn’t even in my bathroom finishing section for less than 24 hours.
 
I thought, where did I put it? As if I was in the wrong or a state of confusion. Nope, furthest from the truth. I realized it was back to school time and a little mini me must have helped herself to my stash of scents. Of course she did. She needs to smell fresh at school all day and it seems you get sweaty running up and down the halls. Smelling good combats the sweat I guess. Wow just wow. Oh the bright teenager mind.
 
Then it got me to thinking. My missing tank tops for the gym. My missing gym socks that I thought got eaten in the dryer mysteriously. I literally took inventory and I was missing a lot.
 
T-shirts, booty shorts, shoes, jewelry and so on. Basically the only exclusions were bras and panties. Does this happen to anyone else? I thought I had a private room/bath but apparently there is an invisible sign that says come in, help yourself, stay until you find what you need, smell good and feel fabulous. 
 
I am a bit speechless. A bit flattered. A bit annoyed. Does this happen to anyone else? Fall is fast approaching and why do I think I won’t even find a cute sweater or sweatshirt when the need arises. Oh well that’s because lady hot fingers has probably helped herself for all the good stuff.
 
Then there lies the problem. I can’t go shopping for replacements because I like to try things on for the perfect fit and thanks to corona I can’t. Go away Corona. I need to replenish my closet. 
 
Invasion of the teen has happened and I guess she is missing her spontaneous trips to the mall for her own retail therapy and I guess my closet is at least new to her.
 
Rehome, reinvent, recycle. Oh the words I have that sum up the year we call 2020. 
 
Life is tough in my world. Clearly some teen girl has it made though.