Rebellion

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We were just girls. Girls who thought we knew better than all the adults who came before us. We made decisions based on our limited experience and we thought we were invincible. Except we were not invincible and the slightest hint of trouble made our shaky foundation crumble beneath our feet. It was all the end of the world. Our life as we knew it was over. We were certain we would never survive the calamity currently victimizing us. Funny, I only remember a few of those tragedies now.

I always knew music was the path of revolution. Everclear sang about absent fathers. Alanis spoke of boyfriends who had betrayed us. Jewel spoke of the heartache we most identified with. The Violent Femmes reminded us of our permanent record. Live, Candlebox, and Nirvana. So many talented voices managed to explain our angst so much better than we ever would.

Now my music is playing in restaurants at four in the afternoon. No one bats an eye when Alanis talks about blow jobs in the theater. Ben Folds talking about abortion is just not shocking anymore.

When did my revolution and rebellion cease to be shocking?

Perhaps the real answer is our rebellion was not so unique. Our parents and grandparents had their voices too. Maybe it is just normal adolescent development to assume the world is inherently against you and no one will ever know as much or understand as much as you.

We were brilliant. We thought we had the answers to all of humanity’s problems. We drank coffee and smoked cigarettes while pontificating the solutions for the problems of the world. If only someone would listen to us. We were never going to be like the generation before us. We were special.

Now I am approaching middle age. I know more now than ever how little I know about the world. Sometimes I wish I could rebel just a little again. I wish I knew half as much with the certainty I possessed as a teenager. I wish I had anthems the same way I did as a kid.

To be 17.

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I spent some time last night looking at pictures of you. I know you are rapidly becoming a man, yet I still see you as the little boy with the backpack bigger than he is. 

I can’t believe you are turning 17. Where did all the time go? As you rush into adulthood I want you to remember one thing: I am always here for you. 

If things get hard and you don’t know what to do.

When you have your first heartbreak. 

When you get the news you have been waiting for. 

Those times you find something so absurd you don’t believe it is real. 

When you are so excited you want to call someone and ramble on about it. 

When you see a movie that changes your perspective. 

That song that makes you smile and feel young and free? I want to hear it too. 

As you grow up and become a man, I want you to know I will always be the safe place for you to return. You will always have a free pass to be exactly who you are when you are with me. I will be your champion, cheerleader, defender, and biggest fan. 

Most importantly, I want you to follow your dreams. I want you to work hard to achieve the life you want to live. I want you to love and be loved. 

You are still my baby boy. I hate to break it to you but that will never change. I love you more than anything else. 

Happy Birthday. Enjoy your last year of childhood. Being a grownup can wait one more year. 

Time Marches On

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  I don’t know if my son knows exactly how I feel about him. Sure, I tell him “I love you.” I hug him and I have always done my very best to support him. 

The problem stems from my inability to fully comprehend how quickly he is growing up. He has his own plans and dreams. He knows what he wants his world to look like. All I know is how my world changed the moment he came into it. It was not an instantaneous miracle, it was a subtle shift in my priorities. I could no longer make decisions about my life without considering how it would affect him. I was no longer my only priority. 

If I am being honest, there is a selfish part of me screaming for him to stop growing up already! It’s horribly unfair. These little guys come tearing into our hearts and all we get is the promise of abandonment long before we are truly ready. 

My son has never been truly mine. He was always his own person and sometimes he would generously allow me a little peek into his world.  He is forming his own opinions and his world is different than mine.

We get to share our hearts with our children. If we are truly lucky, as I consider myself to be, we raise phenomenal people who will leave their own mark on the lives of others. I know he has left an indelible mark on me. 

I can’t stop time. He won’t allow me to wrap him up in bubble wrap to protect him from the world. My only hope is that he makes decisions that are true to his heart and that he experiences life as fully as he wants to. 

I am lucky. I have this amazing kid who is rushing headlong into adulthood. I hope he savors these last couple of years of adolescence. I want him to love and be loved. I want him to look out at the world with wonder and not be afraid. 

I will always strive to be his safe harbor. The person in the world who loves him more than anything. I will be as open minded to his dreams as my heart will allow. I promise to support his desires and to help guide him the best way I know how. While he is not my possession, he stole my heart the day he was born. 

When I watched him walking into airport the other day I was overcome with emotion. I was proud of his independence and I was missing the little boy he was not very long ago. It took every ounce of willpower I had to not rush after him to make sure he could navigate the airport. (He’s a smart kid, obviously he had no problems.) 

He does not need me to hold his hand anymore. He knows how to look both ways before he crosses the street. I know because I watched him do it. I have to have faith in the lessons our family strives to teach him. I have to believe we are raising a good man. 

So, I’m not going to waste time crying over losing my little guy. I am going to celebrate his journey into manhood. However, if I am being honest I wish it took a little longer. I just don’t know if I am ready yet. 

Lessons Learned

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This coffee mug says every thing I need to say most of the time.

My new trunk works great as a makeshift coffee table/desk. (Thanks for getting it and sending it to me Mom!)

I really do sound like I am from Texas. Apparently I say “Y’all” and “I’m fix in’ to…”

The Northeast is colder than I ever imagined. People keep telling me how mild this winter has been and I kinda want to hit them.

Getting packages from home is the best. It reminds me how much my family and friends support me and love me. Plus, it eases the loneliness of being so far away.

I appreciate the opportunity to learn. I geek out when I am given new information. This may be one reason this job was such a good idea. I seem to be surrounded by teachers.

I learn new stuff every day! I have a new appreciation for there being more than one right way to do something. Just because it is not my way, does not mean it is the wrong way.

Going back to gym after such a long hiatus is incredibly difficult. You forget how much the first workout hurts. Even if it was not balls to the walls.

Keeping all the new names and faces straight is hard enough. Now let me figure out how to navigate this hospital. I will keep getting lost until I don’t.

I can be confident in my abilities. One of my greatest strengths is tenacity. I don’t have to be afraid.

I can be myself and still be nice.

I do not have to be the funniest or most clever person in the room. That just makes you appear insecure.

Shane at the UPS store in Lubbock was exceptionally helpful today. I should send an email. He deserves recognition.

You can take the girl out of Texas, but you are never taking Texas out of the girl.

I know. You are tired of hearing about the Tough Mudder

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I know, I know. Do you talk about anything else these days?

Yes.

I do.

I promise. I am just having so much fun going through pictures and planning my next adventure with my son and my new friends.

I had not actually planned on attempting many of the obstacles. I had not been working out, and I was woefully unprepared for the TM. I went anyway. I wanted to meet these people. I am so glad that I did.

Participating with this group of people was life-changing. I feel like I was probably the one in the worst shape, I feel like I was the biggest person out there. The old me would never in a million years wear compression pants and a form fitting shirt out in public like that. I would have felt out of place and like I did not belong.

I have worked hard to overcome the negative self-talk that permeates my life. It is not easy. I think this is one of the hardest parts about getting healthy. You have to feel like you are worth the effort. Tough Mudder is so much more than an obstacle course. It is a chance to overcome your fears. It is an opportunity to prove to yourself that you can do anything.

There are videos. There are videos of me on the ground in a mud pit.

I have an interesting nose. (I hate my nose.) It is turned up, a la a pig nose. Oh, and I have always been heavier than most of the people I know. I remember when I was a kid, and the mean kids called me Ms. Piggy. Now, Fast forward more than 20 years. I am still fat, and I still have a turned-up nose. I was actually essentially rolling around in a pit of mud. I assure you, no one called me a pig.

This sounds silly but, this is one of the best things that ever happened to me. I stopped letting the bullies and mean people dictate my life. I can be healthy and active. It’s okay that I am not in fantastic (or even acceptable) physical condition. I went out and worked hard. I played. I had fun. No one told me I did not belong with them.

It is time to stop letting the voices from our past prevent us from living up to our full potential. Yeah, there were mean kids and people who pointed out our flaws. Wanna hear a secret? My son has my nose. In fact, he looks pretty much like a male version of me. I think he is the most handsome person on the planet. I do not see those features as flaws on him.

I now understand why it hurt my family so much all those years I thought I was ugly. I get it. I understand why it hurt them to see me hurting myself. I was hurting the person they loved.

Today, I am still fat. I am still slow and out of shape. I can do a burpee. I can go and have fun in the mud with a group of fitty friends. I am not ugly. Turns out, I have a lot to offer. Who I am to stand in my way?