Last night we went to a movie in Forney, Texas. The place where the high school mascot is the Jackrabbits. We took the kids to see The Last Mimzy, after going out to eat at Olive Garden, after shopping for Easter dresses. It was a fun night, but the adventure started after the movie was over. We could hear the screaming before we walked out the front doors of the movie theater. When we actually opened the front door and a gust of wind flung it wide open, out of our hands, it was like stepping into another world. There were teenagers everywhere out in front of that movie theater. The girls with their flat-ironed, blond-highlighted hair and their tight white camisoles with even tighter jeans and brightly colored shrugs around their shoulders. The boys with their long, tousled hair that looked like they put wigs on backwards and their baggy jeans and their huge smiles. They were all standing in the parking lot, bodies leaned into the wind, holding steady at 45 degree angles, arms outstretched like Jack and Rose on the bow of the Titanic. The wind was deafening and yet, their screams could still be heard over the top of it. As we started to step out to make a run for our car, the entire sky lit up with lightning. I’m not talking about a single lightning strike, followed by a clap of thunder. I’m talking about twenty or so continuous lightning strikes, striking horizontally, into one another, in all directions. It never stopped. It just stayed light. I don’t even know if there was thunder. The wind was so loud that it could have been thunder, for all I know. It was like being inside somebody’s science project. Chris decided to make a run for the car and drive up to get us. Right as he pulled up and I opened the back door for the girls to hurry in, the rain started. I shouldn’t actually say that it started because it was more like it opened up in the middle with no build-up. It was an absolute drenching, soaking flood, blowing completely sideways and blocking all vision. By the time I got myself in the car, I was soaked through and through, which feels very weird when you’re wearing jeans. We tried to make our way home but the visibility was zero and the noise was a hundred so we had to pull over for a while to wait for it to blow over. I prayed that there was no tornado in that storm. I don’t really think it’s best to be on the side of the highway on the Texas plains in a small SUV during a tornado. There wasn’t, but it was definitely a flood. And it was definitely a fun night with the family. I love Texas in the spring time.
I am not usually a person who regrets. Some people agonize over making decisions, but then once the decision is made, they never look back. Some people don’t agonize at all and then regret later anyway. And some people don’t seem to have a care in the world and just keep trucking right along. I usually agonize over every decision and never really feel great about anything. Ever. But I rarely would say that I regret decisions I have made. I just don’t see life that way, I guess. I don’t see it as black and white most of the time. It’s not like I think there’s a RIGHT decision to be made and I’m scared of making the wrong one. And I rarely wonder what would have happened if I chose the other way. It’s just that I can never quite figure out what I really want or if it’s really worth caring about. I’ve always got this unsettled feeling inside. It’s not really bad. It’s just a longing, I guess. I don’t know exactly know what I’m longing for either. The only way I know how to describe it is that it feels like I’m always saying “hmmm…” Profound, I know. It’s just that sometimes that “hmmm….” literally feels paralyzing.
But I do have a few things that I have regretted in my life. I have always regretted that we didn’t try a little harder to get a loan on the house on Glasgow where Sadie was born when it was offered to us at a ridiculously low price before they put it on the market. We had always rented and didn’t really have credit history and were young and flighty. I really believe now that it would have helped us get a better start financially, although I hate bringing things back to the bottom line. What’s affected me more since then is how I never would have dreamed at the time we said “No, but thanks for the offer” how much I would miss that house. Does anyone else always have dreams about a certain place? That’s my place. Whenever I wake up after dreaming about that house again, I feel so reflective and deeply sad and overwhelmingly satisfied and gratefully unsettled.
As of last night, I now have a new regret to add to a somewhat short list. I got a free ticket to go see Nichole Nordeman in concert. I like a lot of her music so I was excited about going. When Callie found out I was going (basically as I was walking out the door), she was sad. She likes her music too and has been asking me for a while now if she and I could do something special, just the two of us. As I sat through the concert, I was really amazed. Nichole’s voice, her piano playing, her speaking, the way she draws you in by sharing her heart was incredible in that live, intimate setting. I had tears in my eyes most of the evening because I was so touched by the stories behind the songs and the passion she put into it and the incredible musicianship of the entire band and the beautiful atmosphere of the historic Lakewood Theater, with dim lighting and candles all over the stage. All night, I was wishing I had brought Callie. Why didn’t I think ahead and buy tickets to something like that for the two of us? Sometimes I think having three girls makes it hard to think of doing special things with them. Three costs a lot of money. But I really need to work harder at it, I think. My baby is twelve. She’s no longer on the brink of womanhood, because a brink is a huge thing like a cliff that needs to be leapt from or fallen from into some unknown cavern or abyss. No, what she’s on is more like those moving walkways at the airport. It’s steady and slow and graceful and before you know that you’ve left where you came from, you’ve already arrived at the destination. And I know exactly where it is. It’s a beautiful place called womanhood. I’m going to look for another concert that I can take my baby woman to soon.
* I never knew walking could hurt so bad. After walking the girls back and forth to school for a week (about four miles a day for me), my upper legs hurt so much that I couldn’t sit down all weekend long. I am in no ways tired though. I will go on. Just like Celine Dion’s heart.
* Last night at dinner, Chris pretended like he was blowing his nose into his hands (loudly) and when he was done, a giant, green piece of broccoli appeared to fall out of his nose onto his plate. The “Eeeewwwww.…Dadddyyyyyy….” followed by hysterical giggling from all three of the girls was what all daddies everywhere really want to hear.
* Grace’s new way of ending every conversation is to close her eyes halfway and look down her nose at you like a rich person would and say, very slowly, and with great dignity, “Ah shaubb shaubb.” I know. I’m as confused as you are.
* During a commercial break on American Idol last night, Callie folded her hands, choir girl style, and began to sing The Phantom of the Opera very sweetly. Then, out of nowhere, she yelled, “a chooka chooka REMIX!” and did the rest of the opera song in a rap style. Funny.
* After American Idol was over, Sadie asked me who Cousin Ernst was. “Who?” Cousin Ernst, the one Chris Richardson was singing that last song to. “You silly…he’s saying ‘Don’t tell me cause it hurts’, not Cousin Ernst.”
Last Friday I went to see Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum. The weather was beautiful, which means overcast and drizzly and breezy and perfect (in my world). I met some friends and my sweet mama there. We ate lunch. A lot of my friends took their babies. All my babies are grown up now so I took Flat Stanley. We had a grand time. I’ve never been much of a flower picture-taker, but I thought I’d give it a shot. I think flowers are pretty and all but I get kind of bored taking pictures of them. I tried, anyway. I got red ones and yellow ones and pink ones and blue ones. Here are some of what I got, for better or for worse:
I’m mulling. Can’t figure out exactly what I’m mulling. I’m trying to follow the line of thought down far enough to figure out where it’s all headed, but I’m not really a linear thinker, so I’m not getting anywhere. Every time I get to the middle of one thought, another one jumps in. Does that make me a jumpy thinker? What’s the opposite of linear? Because that’s what I am. Curvy, I think. I’m a curvy thinker. I’m thinking about how I was talking over coffee with Plunky this morning and she got me mulling. Sometimes things I think I am are only me in comparison to others and sometimes I realize that it’s okay to actually be the same as others. Or SOME others, anyway. I’m thinking about how I went to the parents’ meeting at the middle school tonight with my three girls and the police officer stood at the microphone and assured us that he was always present on the campus and the kids could feel comfortable talking to him and if any kid gives any information on a crime being committed, they will get paid in cash by him and it can all be anonymous. That’s what Crime Stoppers is. I never knew that. And Callie had to choose between athletics and P.E. for one of her electives. We went to the athletics table to ask what the difference was and the four intimidating, athletic women with macho voices in warm-up suits with whistles around their necks told us how athletics was for girls who were serious about conditioning their bodies and playing competitively and staying in shape and basically that athletics was for real girls who wanted to be real women and you can never tell what you’re going to get in P.E. Sometimes they just play silly games in there. Callie whispered in my ear, “I think I just want to play silly games, Mom.” It was a truly proud moment for a parent. I’m thinking about how Grace calls the condition you have when you have to go to the bathroom a lot “Galleria” and a man who is more than a woman’s boyfriend, but not quite yet her husband, her “Beyonce.” She is so earnest when she’s telling me these things and I just don’t have the heart to correct her. I’m thinking that I really wish I could stick with a book. I’m thinking that my heart and my brain are much more connected than I can handle sometimes and I can’t tell if it’s my heart or my brain that’s too full right now, but I feel really stuffed. Like I need to make room in there for comfort. Because I’m not comfortable right now.
Yesterday I plucked an eyelash for the first time in my life. With a pair of tweezers. It wouldn’t stop poking down.
Tomorrow I’m taking Flat Stanley to see Dallas Blooms at the Arboretum.
I don’t know.
I have been searching for the perfect toothpaste for years now. This week I found it. It’s called Colgate. Nothing else. No tartar control, no advanced whitening formula, no little sparkling thingies for fresher breath, no time-release capsules to keep you fresh round the clock so that you can kiss your husband before you even get out of bed in the morning, no baking powder (blech) and no anise, apricot, bubblegum, cinnamon, fennel, ginger, vanilla, lemon, orange, peanut butter, pine, iced tea or whiskey flavor. (Yes, those are all actual flavors of toothpaste and Wikipedia goes so far as to call them EXOTIC flavors.)
No, this week I rediscovered what I have known since childhood. There are some things you can’t improve on. I am so tired of hyperventilating every time I get anywhere near the toothpaste aisle. In fact, there are some things that I have just stopped buying altogether because I simply can’t handle the pressure. Orange juice, for example. My family doesn’t drink orange juice anymore. We get our Vitamin C elsewhere. (Don’t ask me where, because I have no idea.) I just couldn’t handle the rise in my blood pressure every time I got near the endless arrangement of orange cartons, each of them taunting me with a different thing that I surely can’t live without: pulp, minimal pulp, pulp-free, extra pulp, grove stand style, fresh-squeezed style, extra Vitamin D, extra calcium, mixed with banana, strawberry, mango or guava…..forget it. I just don’t need orange juice that badly.
But you can’t just stop buying toothpaste. I always put it off until we’re way beyond squeezing the last squeeze out of the tube because I’m so afraid of having to make that life-changing decision in the toothpaste aisle. But this week at Target…a miracle happened. Just as I was nearing the point of tears in my pursuit of the perfect paste, it caught my eye….way down on the bottom shelf…..in the corner. Regular old Colgate in a plain red box. Nothing special. Ninety-nine cents for two tubes. And it’s the best toothpaste I’ve ever had! Seriously. I love the taste, the clean feeling, the good memories of my childhood that flood my senses while brushing…
I’m like a new woman.
Our poor kids. They have these two parents who both have an obsession with coming up with new ideas to get us through this life. Newer, bigger, better, more romantic, more ANYTHING. It’s the only thing that keeps us positive about where we are and what we’re doing. I’ve got these friends who just moved to England and it is very easy for me (even easier for my husband) to become addicted to the idea of England. It’s so beautiful there, it’s so exotic there, everybody walks everywhere because everything’s within walking distance…Surely nobody in England cries or gets bladder infections and the streets are made of gold, right?
Well, I have been mulling over this one idea for awhile now and I decided to implement it today. Spring Break is over and the kids started back to school this morning. Why not walk? Why do we drive everywhere, anyway? Kirsty walks everywhere in England because she has to. I could do the same here, just because I want to. The elementary school is about one mile from our house. It is shameful that we drive that route back and forth, twice, sometimes three times a day. Shameful, I say. It is better for our bodies, our minds, our car, our bank account and our environment to walk that route instead. You should have heard the complaining when I brought up the idea last week. Think of how early they’ll have to get up now! Abuse! Callie especially was concerned about what people would think when they saw her mom walking with her. After all, sixth graders don’t need moms anymore. Maybe I’m a bit on the protective side, but I’m not ready to let them walk that route alone. I’ve watched Oprah one too many times.
We’ll see how it goes. I made a New Year’s resolution in January to start making their lunches every morning instead of buying the school lunch. It worked great for a month. Unfortunately, my zeal had faded into oblivion by February 1st. Maybe I should make them start making their own lunches.
This morning was wonderful. Absolutely glorious. I wish I knew more adjectives because wonderful and glorious just don’t seem to do it justice. Overcast, breezy, 62 degrees, with little tiny sprinkles blowing in our face, while the wind blew our hair straight back from our faces. All four of us felt alive! Not a bad way to start the morning. I don’t know how we’ll all feel about it by next week, but as for today, I can’t wait to go back and pick them up this afternoon.