You ever have that feeling like you can’t take any more and if one more thing happens, you’ll surely explode into a million pieces like some insane cartoon character? You’re just certain that you’re Wile E. Coyote and any many now that blasted Road Runner’s gonna be causing yet another diabolical scheme to backfire. Or maybe just that karma will catch up with you. And you wonder what in the HECK you did to cause karma to be against you so such a vengeance.
Yeah, well, join the club. Dude, it oughtta help just to know you’re not alone. That someone else is there with you in that nightmare. Problem is no two nightmares are the same. And it’s worse when you share your fears with someone and they laugh at it. Or make fun of it. And if they get other people to do the same, people that are important to you. Well, then that’s just bullying, isn’t it? And then, you feel worse than you did before.
Easier to bottle it up and keep your mouth shut. Misery may love company, but sometimes, it’s just better if it’s alone and in the dark. So you find yourself tense and trying to go on with life and acting like it’s all okay.
And it’s not. And staying that tense for long will completely and utterly make you collapse and you’ll implode.
It feels that way sometimes. It’s not that you don’t believe things will get better or that God’s will is being carried out. You just need to survive until it passes. Need to find some way of not self-destructing.
When I was pregnant with my first child, my ex-husband and I did lamaze classes. I had to look up how to spell that because in all my life, I’ve never written it down. Strange, that. Anyway, we did the classes. While you’re taking them, it’s kinda silly, ya know? You listen to them talking about breathing and relaxing and you’re so busy trying to figure out how to get up and down out of the floor and making sure nothing shows while you do, the entire conversation is sort of in pieces and snippits. For me, I was thinking that it just couldn’t all be real. I’d wake up and it’ wouldn’t be happening. Pregnant was a miserable state of affairs for me. But I believed them when they said it would work.
Fast forward a few weeks and there we are, a week before we finish our last session. The next class was the tour of the hospital and our little graduation. But not for me. Nope. He couldn’t wait any longer. It was time.
Sooooo…to the hospital, dilated, halfway there, break my water, and the first contraction was like the worst possible nightmare experience I’ve ever had in my entire life. Oh, I’d had some sort of pain all morning, but it was NOTHING compared to that gut wrenching sensation that someone had stuck their hand THROUGH my stomach and started to squeeze and twist every organ they could possibly find. And I gasped and caught my breath and squeezed the bed rail, clenching my teeth so hard I don’t know why they didn’t shatter.
And my ex? You expect me to say he was right there, ready to help me relax and coach me into the perfect birthing experience, right? No drugs for me. I’m gonna do this all natural because we’re ready for this, right? Riiiiiight.
Wrong. He couldn’t read the monitor. Kept telling me I wasn’t having contractions when I was. After about the 5th one, with me screaming so loudly, it must have sounded like some sort of torture chamber, the nurse came in to see what was going on. I explained, in nice terms, that my husband was a useless idiot (what I was thinking, but I was in labor, remember) and was telling me I wasn’t having contractions when clearly, it couldn’t be anything else. So she stayed for a while.
Her first step was to get me to relax. She talked to me calmly and reminded me of what we were going to do with the next contraction. We were going to breathe. Just focus on breathing.
And she watched the monitor, pointing out to my husband how to tell when the contraction was starting. She and I did it together, this breathing thing. Focal point, breathe, we’ve got it. It was great. I was excited about the prospect of showing how good I was at this.
The nurse looked at my husband, made sure he was ready, and off she went. He looked confident, set to help me bring forth life.
And then the pain started and I told him it was coming. He looked at the monitor and told me I was wrong. No contraction, see? I screamed and told I couldn’t see, I could feel and I didn’t care what he was, I was having a contraction.
My body tensed. And it hurt like CRAP. The whole time, he’s telling me I’m wrong.
See, I should have known then that this relationship was doomed.
Nurse comes back, we do it again. Easy contraction. I’m proud of myself. She checks again to make sure he’s ready. She leaves.
And hell starts all over again.
So when the nurse comes around about an hour later and asks if I want something for that pain, it’s like, “How much can you give me and how fast can you get it here?” By the time, that child arrived, I’d had stadol, demerol, and gas because I was so out of it, I couldn’t push. Oh, it all still hurt. I just didn’t care. Was too busy watching the ceiling move. I lost two hours in recovery. I didn’t sleep, just completely zoned out. Dude, it was alllllll good. Bring it on, because I can handle it. I’m invincible.
So what’s all of this got to do with now? Well, you see, I’ve found that when things get stressful, we tend to tense. We stress and get so caught up in the nightmare, we forget to do something so simple, so easy, that it should be second nature.
My “soul” sister, the one who is the other part of me and should have been my twin, said it best when she shared this video with me. When I sent her a message one day at the end of my rope and feeling it all come down on me, she sent one word.
Simple, really. But so unbelievably complex. Let it flow through you and over you and slip out. Let it go. It won’t all go away, but if you relax, the passing won’t be quite so painful. And in the end, something beautiful might just come from it.
It’s been a crazy summer. Crazy year, as far as that goes. There have been times, especially lately, when it seems like everything just falls down on the head and keeps coming. Trying to keep up with it just makes me nauseous, which I really don’t need since my stomach stays in a mess anyway.
Everywhere I turn, there’s pain. Not just mine, but everybody else’s. My husband has a high tolerance for physical pain. I typically do, too. It’s the emotional pain that wrecks you. Makes you wonder and question everything you know. Why me? Why him? Why that? Why now? Why ever? Why?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for questioning. I teach science and I believe that the way we understand is to question. You can ask why for as long as you want to. But ultimately, in some cases, the truth comes out and the bottom line is, there’s no answer. It’s just is that way. That’s all.
Well, now, that’s just not fair. Let’s rant and rave and get mad and stomp our feet and demand an answer. Okay, go ahead. It’ll make you feel better. I know that for a fact because I’ve done it myself and there’s a stress relief from letting that energy go. Cathartic, I believe, is the term.
When the boys were little, I was determined to always give them a why for things. Alot of the times, it was easy. ”Don’t bounce on your bed because if you fall you’ll bang your head and you’ll be in the hospital hooked up to ivs for the rest of your natural life.” ”Don’t eat the candy left over from Halloween two years ago because it’ll make you sick and you’ll be in the hospital hooked up to ivs for the rest of your natural life.”
But as they got older, the answers got tougher. And because I’d always provided them with a why, and we’d worked hard at problem solving skills, when I came up with a why, they’d counter me. Even if my whys weren’t just lame excuses at providing one. So… Now what?
“Because that’s the way it is. It’s not fair, it’s not right, it upsets your life and it’s not what you want, but that’s how it is. Deal with it.”
Geez, those are tough words for a kid to hear. Infuriating. But the truth is, that’s life. It’s not right or fair and it ruins your plans sometimes. It’s not how you want it or what you wanted,, but it’s what you’ve got in front of you and there’s no other way to go but straight through it.
Why? I don’t know. I wish I did. I’d bottle it or write it down and make millions and I’d be right where I wanted to be. Life would be perfect.
But it’s not.
Why? I really don’t know. Still, I’ve had to come up with something that makes sense to me so I can survive at those moments when the pain gets so intense, I really think I’ll lose my mind.
It goes like this. As a parent, I’d like to protect my children from everything. When Elijah was little, we took up skating and I put pads all over him – knees, elbows, helmet on his head, gloves on his hands. And off we went, around the block. Up the great big hill, but down the smaller one. And here he came, at a nice little speed. Whoa…that’s not a nice little speed. Slow down, slow down, brake, brake!
And he didn’t. Well, he broke when he hit the pavement and slid down the hill on his knees. And those knee pads I so carefully put on him before we started off slid down to his calves, allowing the pavement to absolutely obliterate his knees. Oh, my.
So I gathered him up and took him home to clean up. And he’s crying and asking me why they didn’t protect him. Why didn’t they keep him from getting hurt? Why, mom?
Oh, sweetie. What do I say? Because sometimes, things just happen and we can’t change them. And they hurt, but we keep going and it’s okay. Really. You’ll make it. I promise. I’ll be right there with you and we’ll get through this together. Just hold on. Trust me. It’ll be okay.
Why do bad things happen? Because they do. Because know matter how prepared or good or wonderful or careful we are in life, sometimes, things just happen to us. For reasons we’re not supposed to understand. And it’s not fair. And it makes us angry. We rage against it, scream, yell, search for answers knowing they don’t exist.
WHY???? Why, God? Why do you let all of this happen? How can you not make it stop? I asked you to stop it and you didn’t. Why did this have to be? It hurts so bad. So many people hurting so much.
Because it did. And it hurts, but you keep going and it’s okay. Really. You’ll make it, I promise. I’ll be right there with you and we’ll get through this. Together. Just hold on. Trust me. It’ll be okay.
I know that, God. Just keep telling me that.
I’ve never stopped. Not since the day you became you.
I know. I just forget sometimes. Forgive me, Father.
Oh, sweetie. It’s already been done.
1 gal ground tomatoes
1 qt vinegar
5 cups sugar
2 tablespoons salt (I only used one. Two is too much)
4 med onions (I keep dried on hand for this purpose.)
3 or 4 hot peppers
2 large bell peppers
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp all spice
Cook slowly 3 hours after begins to boil or until thick.
Cool then can.
I planned on keeping up with this. Really I did. I thought I would enjoy typing up my feelings and putting them here. I would enter stuff about the garden and the chickens and just life in general.
But… life in general was…. life. Ya know what I mean? And it got crazy and chaotic and out of control and there was so many other things I wanted to do instead of sit here and… No, no, that’s not true. I just didn’t want to do. Period. When I had time to do nothing, I wanted to do nothing. And I did that too much. I think it’s bad for your brain. Really it is. Your brain needs to be occupied with stuff and things. If it’s not, it gets lost in the shuffle and has nothing better to do with its time.
So, I’m baaaaaaack. Or something like that. And here’s why. I’ve got alot on my mind. And because I do, it’s time to dump it somewhere. Oh, you’ll find the names changed to protect the innocent or the not so innocent. But it’ll still be here.
I mean, have you LOOKED at some of the stuff out there to read? It’s crazy, dude. People post all kinds of stuff. So at first, I was like, I’m not doin’ that. But now I’m like, well, heck, if Joe John Jefferys can do it, I should be able to as well. So I think I will. And I’ll catch up on some stuff, too, because it’s time to before I forget it all.
So hold tight, cuz here we go. It’s a new day! Kinda gloomy, but still a NEW DAY!
See? I’m being positive. Kinda. Sorta. Maybe.
It’s been a crazy summer already. We had to be at school an extra couple of weeks. Scott and I took the kids to Pennsylvania right after that. Trip was great until the way home. That really stunk. So we’re running late before we even get started. Hate it when things go that way.
And then motivational issues set in. I’m having a really hard time getting myself moving. Tons to do, but I usually take a little down time before I start and I just don’t have time for that this year. Which just adds to the frustration of it all.
I think the garden’s finished, which seems crazy to be saying at this time of year. We had to plant late because of the weather. Last night, we replanted a couple of trouble spots and then put out a late bunch of squash. Hopefully, some of it will take. The only thing I have to do now is put in some replacement eggplants and peppers, which I’ll do as soon as I can drag myself out of the house this morning.
The good news is that what’s out looks pretty good. Scott picked up more cattle panel and the tomatoes and pole beans are ready to run. I’m going to put up stakes and string for the other sugar snap peas and maybe the cucumbers. But the big work is completed…except the weeding. With everything else, that got away from us. Luckily, the rows are wide enough that Scott just mowed down through there last night. And we have a big empty section as well. One row we thought we’d need turns out we didn’t. The tomatoes, green beans, and corn are sort of separated from the rest of the garden. Which is fine since the squash types are next to the tomatoes.
So I’m thinking I”m going to put a checklist up on here and start marking things off as I get them completed. I think that sounds like a plan. Of course, I always think I’ll use this site more than I do…and then I don’t. Hmmm….
Oh yeah! The Welsh Harlequins are here. Eleven of them. Apparently, they send you a bonus duck just in case one dies. It didn’t. They’re a mess. Literally. They got moved out earlier than Ka-pwack and George, who are doing very well, thank you. George is the girl, by the way. They were two months old June 2. I’ll have to check and see how old the babies are. I’m thinking just a couple of weeks. Need to get pictures up of everybody. Crazy crew I have around here.
Alright, so that’s it. Lots to do. No time to do it. Arrrgh!!!!!
While I adored both of my grandfathers, my Granddaddy Malone is the one who always comes to mind in the spring. He’s probably where alot of my gardening pleasure comes from, though at the time, I didn’t realize exactly how important it would be to me later. Once the weather starts to clear and things begin to turn green, he’s always in my head.
There are so many things about him that have stayed with me. Watching him sleep in his chair with a kitten resting on his shoulder. Listening to
him talk about Kentucky basketball. Watching him make my aunt’s boyfriends squirm when they came to pick her up. Seeing the glow of his cigar when we were all out there during the summer, sitting on the front porch in the dark, talking. And the yelling “conversations” he carried on with the people across the road.
And there were the dogs. Man, there were so many dogs. He raised coon hounds and beagles, a couple of bird dogs. I watched him be so gentle with them and was amazed that a man that gruff could be so sweet. He could love them, train them, raise them, trade them, and start all over again. Sometimes, I’d be upset that he’d traded one that I liked, but there would always be another one coming along.
It was part of who he was, you see. Just part of Grandaddy. Like he traded knives. I don’t remember alot of guns, but I remember pocket knives. There’s no telling how many of those he went through. I have stories about him and his dogs that would fill a blog, but that’s not for today. No, today is just Grandaddy day. And the garden thing. And I think that’s okay.
He was a pain, I won’t even deny that. He loved to aggravate and tease better than anyone I’ve ever known. And he could make you wish you’d never met him. And then, the next minute, he’d laugh and smile, and you forgave him. Just like that. You couldn’t help it. At least I couldn’t.
I remember watching him every spring, tilling that garden. Never a small spot, oh, no! If it didn’t take up most of the back field, it wasn’t big enough. He’d get home from work and be out there again, planting, hoeing, weeding, fertilizing. And singing or whistling. If he couldn’t think of a song that fit the mood, he’d make one up.
When the garden started coming in, we’d start picking and processing. Grandaddy would help pick and I remember him breaking a few beans or shucking corn. Maybe helping shell some peas. But the actual processing wasn’t his job. He had better things to do. Of course, that’s part of his generation. I wonder sometimes what he would say about Scott helping me. I’m sure he’d aggravate the crap out of Scott for it, like he always did my dad for the things he did for my mother. And Scott, like my Dad, would take it all in stride. They’d like each other. I know they would.
But the funny thing about the garden was I don’t remember my grandfather eating alot of it. He planted tons of stuff, but only ate a select group of things. Seriously. I remember my grandmother telling me he just loved to watch it grow. Watching it all come up and produce. That was the fun of it. And I understand that. I really do. I feel the same way. And I know he smiles when he watches me.
I know he’d like the ducks and chickens, too. He’s one of the reasons I wish we’d bought a bigger place. I’m he thinks I need some hogs to
slaughter. Well, I’m not too interesting in THAT, but I would like goats. Not too sure what he’d say about that one. I remember all sorts of animals, but not goats. They didn’t even have cows by the time I came along, or at least by the time I was big enough to remember them.
I guess, besides the garden, there’s another reason why spring always reminds me of him. Especially with the weather the way it’s been. See, my freshman year of college, there was a nasty system that blew through. Winds were awful and it whined and howled all night. The next day, Saturday, the wind was just as bad, though the clouds had passed. I was supposed to go and meet the mother of the guy I was dating at the time, taking a day trip to Milan, Tn. I decided not to go and got up early to call and let him know.
Daddy had been up most of the night with the storm, so he went back to bed after he knew I wasn’t going. I couldn’t sleep, so I just stayed up. Not long after Daddy went upstairs, I heard someone at the door. That was the first time I knew my grandfather made frequent stops on Saturday morning to have coffee with my parents when he “came to town.” Usually, I was in bed at that time.
When he heard Mom and Dad were still asleep, he got ready to go. I told him to come on in and I’d fix him coffee. I knew how, for goodness’ sake. He looked at me funny, but came in and sat down. We had coffee and talked for a while, then he went to run his errands.
I never thought anything about it until later. I was told he went home and told my grandmother I’d grown up. And I realized that was the first time we’d sat down and talked like adults. And I think it was the first time he truly realized I wasn’t a little girl any more. I wish I could remember what we talked about. Just a part of it to have now would be nice.
Less than two years later, I was married with a new baby and away from home for the first time. The day my mother called and told me my grandfather had cancer, I think part of me just melted. Zach was only a couple months old then, and there were so many things I wanted him to learn from my grandfather. I wanted him to see how to train a dog to hunt. To take the “scenic route” to places just down the road and see all of the things and places my grandfather had to share. I needed him to be there. To never go away.
My ex-husband made plans to move us closer to home so I could be with the family. He knew how much it meant to me to be able to see my grandfather as much as possible. That was at the end of October. My grandfather died the next fall. He got to see his only grandson born and his great grandson turn 1. I remember worrying because he stopped talking. When my grandmother asked him about it, he said he was just listening so he could remember. After ages of being the entertainer, how odd to find him being entertained by us.
At the time of his death, he was so tired, I knew it was time to let him go. But I miss him so much. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped. Zach doesn’t remember him. Elijah and Donovan, of course, never got a chance. Still, I think it’s okay. I think he’s never far away from them. The man who had nothing but daughters and no grandson until the end of his life would never be far from his three great-grandsons, now, would he?
So in a couple of weeks, I start putting out the garden. And I’ll stand outside, looking at it, and I’ll talk to my grandfather for a while. Out in that spot where I let the little wild violets grow. I won’t let Scott mow them until they’re done. See, other than magnolias, I believe those were his favorite. Grandaddy never mowed that spot until they were done blooming. My grandmother used to say he’d dig them up from other parts of the yard and put them all together. We follow the same rule here. Well, not about the moving, but the mowing.
I’ll hope I don’t embarrass him too much and that he’ll forgive my imperfections. I’m sure he will. Though he’ll tease me a bit. I can hear him now, telling God about his crazy grand daughter, using that nickname he insisted on calling me. And he and God will smile and laugh.
I love you, Grandaddy.