Dear Rader #18,

18 years ago today, I was in labor. I didn’t know I was in labor, and I worked a full 8 hours at the daycare, picking up babies, crawling around on the floor, and changing diapers. You weren’t due to arrive for another 3 weeks, so there was no way those regular pains and contractions I was feeling were real.

That night, just as your father was crawling into bed, I said “I think we might need to go to the hospital. They’ve been coming at about 5 minutes apart for a while now–and getting stronger.”

Off we went. We figured it was a false alarm, but hey, better safe than sorry, right?

They admitted me immediately.

At 4:00AM on January 30, after a night full of very strong, very regular contractions coming in at about 2 minutes apart, they just stopped.

The doc came in and examined me at 6:00 and told me I had two choices. I could go home and come back later that night when they would more than likely start again, or he could hook me up to pitocin and we could meet you today.

I believe my words may have been something along the lines of “I’m not going any-fucking-where. Hook me up.” Whatever I said, I’m sure it was colorful. You know me…

Labor with you was fairly easy, even with the pitocin. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t fun. That shit hurts. But my blood pressure didn’t spike like it did with your brother, and I slept a lot. Our friends and family came in and out all day, and about 4:00 that afternoon, the doc was convinced you wouldn’t be here before midnight.

You were. I’m a little fuzzy on your exact time of birth because shit got real not long after 4:00. You brought the pain.

Your AntiJen and Daddy were there through the whole process. There was a sprinkle of cursing among the tears and smiles. You came into the world bellowing like a baboon. You were also over 8 and a half pounds at 3 weeks early, so you never once looked like a newborn.

You took to nursing really quickly, but no matter how much you fed, you were never satisfied. We had to supplement you with cereal in a bottle between nursing times. You plumped up quickly, and at 3 months, you weighed 18 lbs…which is what your brother weighed at 1 year.

Your feet were cubes and you were completely pigeon-toed. You wore a brace with a bar between your feet for a while at about 18 months… you crawled around like a maniac. That brace never slowed you down. Once we removed it, you were like lightning.

We had to duct tape a sign to your back that said something like “If you see me without an adult, I’ve escaped again. Call my mom.” You always had to have a phone number attached to you, because you could NOT be contained.

I understood child leashes after having you.

You’ve been our Monkey Boy from day one. I also loved calling you Rader Tater Puddin’ Pop–mostly because you hated it so. You’ve been a daredevil from the moment you started to walk. I’ll never forget the time I was sitting with your Bobo behind homeplate at a baseball game and we both looked up to see you had climbed the fence in front of us…and you were so high up, we couldn’t reach you. Like I said, lightning fast.

Once you learned to talk, you talked for hours–sometimes for hours to yourself.

You weren’t a cuddler as a child, but now the fact you sit on the couch with me every night after school with your head on my shoulder and tell me about your day makes up for all the times I’d ask you for a hug and you’d hold out 2 fingers and touch each side of my waist or shoulders and say “Hug! Hug!”

As of tomorrow, you can vote. You can join the armed forces and die for our country. Legally, you are emancipated.

But you’ll always be my Rader Tater Puddin’ Pop. My Monkey Boy. My little tub of butter.

I’ve loved watching you grow into a man, and I’m really looking forward to life with you all grown up.

But for one more day, you’re still my baby boy.

Love,
Mom

20160129_090357.jpg

Many thanks to Rader’s dad for letting me have this set up in his yard last night.

et tu?

My youngest turns 18 on Saturday. Or as he continually reminds me via text message and on FB…I officially will be VERY OLD on Saturday when my youngest child is no longer a child. He will only be my offspring. My growed-assed progeny. Because I’m old.

Yes. That is a summary of how he teases me about his 18th birthday. Because he is cruel.

He is my clown, my goofball, my forever and unapologetically “himself” child. I’ve never met a more grounded or a more self-aware teenager in my life.

Please enjoy this very brief glimpse into our life together

I have made many mistakes over the years, but I’ve done 2 things pretty damn okay. And they are the beings I birthed, formerly known as my children.

But as of this weekend, I’ll be the mother of two growed-assed men.

Et Tu, Rader Tater?

Introducing Aristotle

2016-01-19_11.00.02.jpg

I’m a Mac girl at heart. I always have been. After my Sweet Baby Mac gave up on me a couple of years ago, I bought a little ASUS that works fine, but it’s really tiny and I just never loved it. Not as a laptop. It’s currently sitting on my desk at home, plugged into a monitor, and I use a full-size wireless keyboard to work on it. So it’s not even a laptop anymore. It’s a desktop. Continue reading

the dry well

we-never-know-the-worth-of-water-til-the-well-is-dry-quote-1

I can’t really pinpoint the moment my inspiration well dried up and left me living with a blinking cursor and a blank screen.

But it happened. Somehow, this thing I loved doing, just stopped being a thing I loved doing.

I don’t know why. I don’t know how. But I went from being excited about writing everyday, to avoiding it like it was exercise.

The worst part of not writing was that I’d also stopped daydreaming.

It was like losing a friend. But no matter how much I wanted to repair that friendship, it was too arduous a task. It was overwhelming. It was hard fucking work. And even though I missed it, I didn’t really miss it enough to work at it.

There was a time that writing didn’t feel like work; it felt like an escape–a mini-vacation. At one point, I had convinced myself that I had nothing to escape anymore…the bad marriage had ended. I didn’t need my daydreams to get me through life. But that wasn’t really true. When I first started writing, I was happily married. I wasn’t escaping anything. I had always been a daydreamer, I started writing to give my dreams a plot. To expand their worlds. And to give me a creative outlet. I loved creating.

And then, just like that, the feeling was gone. The love was gone. The daydreams were gone.

*poof*

Nothing.

My last book was published in 2010. That’s six years ago, y’all. That’s a long damn time in the world of writing. I had tried over the years to ignite a spark. I’d have a story idea, a niggle of a character, and I’d sit down and hammer out a couple of pages. And then I’d never look back. The niggles never grew into nudges. The ideas never seemed to stick with me. And I never went back to them.

Recently, I had the opportunity to ghost write a series. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve done because mentally, I wasn’t ready. I began to hate it. But not because I didn’t like the story or what I was working on. I hated it because it wasn’t mine. Because I had no control over the story.

Suddenly, after 3 months of writing something for someone else, I felt the desire to CREATE again.

A tiny drop of inspiration fell into my well and the echo it created was magnificent.

An idea formed. One that I couldn’t stop thinking about. And now, after 6 years…I am working on another book–with ideas pouring in for follow up books.

This feeling, is an addiction and I never want to kick this habit again.

 

 

The Vandy update

“It is with great regret…”

2015-12-12-10.23.16.png.png

My son’s response to Vandy’s rejection…

Of course we’re disappointed. But the reality is, this is Vanderbilt’s loss. The pain was eased greatly by the comforting feel of $100K that Hendrix had offered him 2 days prior. We don’t know why he wasn’t accepted, but the why doesn’t matter. He could be too male, too southern, too poor, or just too average for this year’s applicants… It’s very competitive, and even with a 32 ACT score and nearly a 4.0 GPA, tons of community service and excellent recommendations, we knew there was only an 11% acceptance rate at Vandy. But that didn’t matter. It was his golden ring, and he went for it.

And he’s handling their “it’s not you, it’s me” letter like a goddamned champ.

So now it’s up to Rhodes to give Hendrix some competition. He has no desire to apply anywhere else. He’s being selective about his education, and even though he’s tempted to apply to the U of A just to see how much they’d offer him, he’s not going to bother, because he has no intention of attending that school. He wants smaller, more personable, more student oriented campuses. That’s the culture in which he thrives and that’s what he wants to continue.

We move forward…Black and Orange Warrior or Black and Red Lynx ? Sorry Black and Gold, you’re just not our style…

 

 

 

black and… orange? gold? red?

college collage

This week, my youngest little bird was accepted to Hendrix College and offered $100K in academic scholarships. This doesn’t include the other scholarships he’s applied for.

To say I am overjoyed for him would be an understatement

Last night he found out that he can log in to his Vandy account today after 5:30 pm CST to see if he’s been accepted and how much need-based financial aid he’ll be receiving. (Scholarship information will come later.)

We will hear from Rhodes in January.

I am so nervous for him and so damn excited. I want so badly for Vandy to accept his application, and for the tuition assistance to be good enough along with his scholarships that he can attend. It’s his first choice. Hendrix and Rhodes are neck-n-neck for 2nd. He loved all the schools so much and would be happy attending any of them.

But Vandy felt like his soulmate. You could see it in his eyes as we walked through campus and toured the dorms.

I’m wearing my black and gold today, in hopes for good news tonight.

I feel rather positive that he’ll get in…but there’s always that niggling what if he doesn’t… and you know what? so what what if he doesn’t? He tried. He put forth a great effort and for whatever reason, if he didn’t make the cut–it will make him stronger and more determined to succeed at either Rhodes or Hendrix. But at least he wasn’t afraid to take a chance.

Talking to Rader’s godfather and my best friend Nick this morning he said that when he was afraid to leave for school his dad said “You know what son, I don’t want you to go, but you better get the hell out of here.”

And that right there sums it up perfectly for me. I’ll miss you when you’re gone, but you better fly away little birdie!

Okay, bitches! Keep your fingers crossed for good news! Maybe tonight, I’ll be the mom of an incoming Vanderbilt Freshman!

 

METANOIA

Hello old friends. How’s life been treating you since I’ve been gone? Have you been eating your veggies and taking your vitamins?

I know it’s been a while since I’ve been here, and I know that’s probably been tough for you. I hope you can forgive me. I just needed to take some time away, find myself, begin again.

Unfortunately, I’m still looking for myself. I’m apparently very good at hide and seek.  Continue reading