Friday, August 23, 2013

On Writing and the Mixed Emotions it Brings

I've always loved to write.

I remember when writing became a big deal in school ~ around 5th or 6th grade.  
I always did well ~ scored well ~ pleased the teachers with my assignments.

But there were rules to writing.
"Write what you know," they said.
"Tell us what you're going to tell us, then tell us, and then tell us what you told us." {Huh?}
That was their way of describing an introduction, body, and conclusion of a "good" written assignment.

These days, writing is so much more than the right format.
I remember where I was (metaphorically, not physically} when I started this blog two years ago.
Worse than that, I remember WHO I was when I started this blog.
Reading my first post now, makes me cringe.
But it was therapeutic and that was the point.

Writing still is therapeutic for me but there aren't really any "rules."  At least, not here, in my own private space.
The first rule I set for myself was to be honest.
The second rule I had, and had always intended to keep, was that I would blog anonymously.

Now I realize, those two things don't seems to go together.
But, knowing that everything you put on the internet will likely be there forever, I wanted to protect not only my young children, and anyone else who didn't want to be "outed" about a particular occurrence, but I was also trying to protect myself.
This space was MY space - sort of like a journal where I could write things I found difficult to say.  

A few months ago, I was challenged by a friend to blog a series called {31 Days of Grace}. 
I'd read her series of the same title and so I wrote my own.
31 consecutive posts about how I grew up and became who I am today.

While quite helpful for me overall, it was difficult to write.  I shared and admitted a lot of things from my adolescence that were very personal and painful.
On other occasions, I have blogged emotionally about someone specific who hurt or angered me.

So today, writing has me a little on edge.
I'm excited to say I have a post over at {Rise}.

You can read it here

There's something different about this writing assignment than most of my posts - 
the bio at the end! It has a picture of me and my kids and my actual {gasp!} name.

So today, writing has me freaked.  More than a little freaked out actually.
I feel the need to pray for {Grace} and to ask it of my readers. 
My fear has always been that something I wrote here in my personal space, my journal of sorts, would be misinterpreted by someone else.  That someone might read a story and recognize themselves in it.
Maybe not even agree with my viewpoint of the situation I wrote about or feel hurt by it {and that was never the purpose}.

So I ask for your grace in reading my space.
Remembering that my viewpoints are just that - mine.
I do realize there are two sides to every story.  In my journaling here, I have followed my own rule to be honest, even when it was hard and hurtful.

Now that other rule? The one about telling us what you're gonna tell us and blah, blah, blah?

Well, I think that one might have gotten lost somewhere along the way!


I haven't really thought about diapers in a long time. 

After all, Sweetpea is 9 and Buddy is 5.
And to be honest, he potty trained and switched over to "big boy" pants faster than she did. I mean seriously, he was sleeping in regular underwear just a couple weeks after starting the process!
Sweetpea had a hard time with nighttime dryness, so we spent a small fortune on Pampers Easy Ups.

But anyway, tonight was meet the teacher night at the Elementary School. 

Sweetpea went and met her new teacherS (she starts changing classes this year) and then we had to go back and visit all the past teachers.
Buddy went and peeked in the door of what will be his Kindergarten class.  We have staggered entry for Kindergarten here, so he doesn't start on Monday when Sweetpea does.

We saw friends and other teachers in the hallways as we walked.

One acquaintance stopped me to ask who Sweetpea's teachers were this year.  When I mentioned the name of Buddy's teacher and asked if she knew of her, her eyes got huge and she gasped.
"He can't be starting school already! He's just a baby!"
To which I responded, "He's MY baby, but he turned 5 this summer so it's time."

And I am trying to be brave.

For him...
For me.

I know he's a little scared of Kindergarten.  As much as he has wanted to be in school with his big sister, he's still not so sure of being in school all day.
He tells me he'll miss me and he'll get tired after being there for so long.

And just writing about it has me tearing up.

Because wasn't it just yesterday that I was changing his diapers?

My sweet babies, a little over 5 years ago.

Linking up with MamaKat this week...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Slow Lane {A Gift}...

Recently, I had the opportunity to write about my hometown... favorite memories, things I know the type, right?
I worked and worked on that "story" to get it just right and well-said in the correct amount of words.
After I declared it D-O-N-E, my brain wouldn't stop working on it.  Memory after memory came flooding back and I must confess, I have willingly wallowed in them these past 10 days.

Photo Source

A few days ago, I was driving home and got stuck in a VERY slow line of traffic.  And, Y'all, I cannot stand to drive the speed limit or below! The speed limit was at least 45 on this road and possibly 55, but we were going maybe 25 (and that's a generous estimate).
Eventually the car in front of me pulled around in the left lane and passed the slow-poke.  This revealed the very full tobacco trailer being pulled by a pick-up truck.

Photo Source

The trailer was heaped high with golden leaves and was swaying back and forth in the lane.  I didn't want to put pressure on the driver, but lordy, 25 miles per hour is slow! We were in a no-passing zone and I sensed he couldn't speed up at all due to the swaying trailer.
So I waited my turn and calmly crept along until I could pass. Bless his heart, he pulled off the road to let me get by as soon as he saw an opening for me!

That 25 mile per hour ride, though brief in all reality, was a gift.  It gave me a chance to remember things I hadn't thought of in many years.  It gave me a chance to see a sight I hadn't seen (or even thought of) in years.  It made me realize my kids don't even know what tobacco is!

I grew up around tobacco fields.
My grandmother lived on land owned by tobacco farmers.  The barns in her backyard weren't hers, but we played in them as kids.  Mostly used for storage and not for drying tobacco, they became playgrounds for all the grand-kids.
There were tons of empty tobacco trailers in and adjacent to these barns.

These trailers were long and skinny rectangles open on top and down one of the long sides, but closed on the bottom and the other 3 sides.  There were burlap curtain type things along the long open side; I suppose to help keep the tobacco in once it was loaded.  The best thing about these trailers was they only had one "set" of wheels located right smack in the middle.  The trailers were stored on a slant; the bottom resting on the ground on one end and up in the air at the other end.  We made them into huge see-saws {we never called them teeter-totters here, but maybe that makes more sense to you} by running to one end to tip it down and then pop it back up again running to the other end! 

I looked online for images to show you this, but couldn't find anything very close to what I remember.

This is what I found...

Photo Source

Notice they fixed that whole see-saw thing by placing a longer trailer hitch at one end!

I can't even tell you how many of these trailers I have seen or been in during my lifetime.
I grew up next to a field that rotated tobacco, corn, cotton, and soybeans.  When they talked about crop rotation in social studies or science class, I understood perfectly.  All I had to do was look out my kitchen window!

And I wonder if my kids will learn about such things.  In this day of genetically modified everything, clothes made of synthetic fabrics, and the almighty dollar being everyone's bottom line, do we even practice crop rotation anymore?

Thankfully, they do know what real cotton looks like when it grows. AND I HOPE Sweetpea still gets an accurate depiction of NC history this year like I did when I was in the 4th grade.  

I'm not sure I would let my kids play in tobacco trailers the way I did with my brother and cousins, but it was sure was fun back then. 

It's crazy how that one story has unlocked a huge treasure of memories for me!
So y'all stay tuned - I just may have to write about some more of them!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Boy Crazy at 5?

I'm not sure if this was truly my first crush or not, but it's the first one I can remember.

I was in Kindergarten and he was in my class.
Super-blond hair, almost white.  I have no idea what color his eyes were/are.  I do remember how skinny how he was.

And who his friends were.
And his name {but y'all know I don't use real names here}; I'll call him Jack.

I remember the chasing on the playground.
The getting caught on the playground.
The hiding {together} on the playground.

Let me explain...

Y'all know I grew up in the middle of nowhere, right?
Well we had tractor tires as toys on our school playground!

The tires were half buried in the sand, so there was only a semi-circle of tire exposed as if it were standing up.

But the tires were so big, and we were so small, we could scoot right into the open part of the tire and hide.
In fact, two people could get in, one on each side, heads meeting at the top in the middle.


Perfect kissing spot.
Yep! Even in kindergarten!

Makes me a little scared to send my Buddy off to school this year. But knowing Sweetpea has yet to kiss a boy at 9, puts my mind at ease a little.

Jack and I went through school together and eventually graduated from High School together.

He was my boyfriend several more times in elementary school and maybe briefly in middle school.  And there were lots of innocent kisses during those time.

Do you remember your first crush?

*Linking this post up with Mama Kat

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Which way do you lean?

I'm one of those Moms.

The one who constantly worries she's messing up her kids.  Screwing them up for life, you know?

I have days where this really bothers me, and days where I say to heck with it.  Neither days keep me from yelling at my kids more than I wish I did.  Neither of them keep me from punishing a kid who maybe just needed a timeout WITH Mommy rather than without.

But today? Today I got one of those little reminders that I must not be doing such a terrible job.

Today I took my kids to see a movie.
A movie I almost skipped because I also took them to one yesterday.
And I'm such a corny Mama that I cried at both movies this week. BOTH of them!

Today's movie was The Lorax.
Have you seen it?

If you haven't, you should.  And I won't ruin it by giving away too much of the story line. {And can I just say? I. LOVE. Dr. SEUSS!!}
All the kids loved it - the theatre came alive during the songs, complete with clapping and stomping!
The kids clapped during several parts of the movie.

And my heart was moved to tears because they got it.

Kids are smarter than we often give them credit for.
They might not get all the symbolism and underlying messages but they know right from wrong and they can even sense when a character has poor motives even before it's revealed to the other characters.

The opposite is true as well.

There were some great lessons in the movie today.  I know my Sweetpea and my Buddy got them, even at 9 and 5 years of age.

But I learned lessons too.

Here's my favorite one:

Which way do you lean?

Thankful for God's grace in my lack-luster mothering!