Thursday, February 09, 2012
May 3rd, 1991.
That's the day I first saw her. Dark blue, loud, brassy, bossy, the interior screaming of Pink Floyd (or the Scorpions, I can't exactly remember) and buffed to a delectable shine. She was sitting up high on a lift kit that extended her height by another three inches and when the owner of this 1987 Ford Bronco flung open the door and told me to get in, I struggled breathlessly to get my short frame into the passenger seat. Ohh, she was gorgeous...but the owner was breathtaking.
She had all the bells and whistles. Stereo system, speakers, plush carpet, air-conditioning, you name it, she had it. About two weeks into my boyfriend's (Brian) and I relationship, I was given a sponge and soap water and invited to get to know her more intimately. As I washed her doors and windows I became intrigued by the very thin odd blue stripe that lined her body. I asked him what color of blue it was and he smiled boyishly, eyes glistening through tousled bangs, and said, "That would be Mexico Blue, cupcake. There aren't many people who notice that but YOU did, didn't ya?"
That's when she got her name...
It wasn't long before Mexico Blue, Brian and I would go off to the old Buckeye Furnace and hit the mud-running trails. It was a maze of curves, hills that went straight up into the air and valleys that gave you that bottomed-out feeling in the pit of your stomach while hitting them at break-neck speed. We were junkies, dare-devils of the off-road rush. I can't count how many times we got stuck in the mud and would just sit there for awhile, talking about our future, how many kids we wanted to have...or just listen to music. We didn't care that the sun was going down quickly. Sometimes we would just kiss and let the day fade away in a blissful blur of embraces and whispers...
But Mexico Blue peacefully tolerated our excursions. Her gorgeous paint job faded over the years but responded well to a little TLC. Her grandeur would return during lazy Sunday afternoons at the hands of her adoring owners who lovingly bathed her and dried her slowly in the warm and glowing sun. Patiently, she would wait in the garage until the next outing in which she could prove she was up for the challenge. Perhaps she enjoyed listening to the laughter, delightful screams of her owners as we raced on the back roads, went fishing and piled her back high with goodies from the home improvement stores. And if I may be blunt, she was where my beautiful Breanna came into existence.
Yet, life began to happen. The excursions became less. Other vehicles came into the picture. My love of motorcycles began to form and less attention was paid to Mexico Blue. She slowly began to droop in the dark corner of the garage, her little blue stripe fading, but every now and then Brian would go out and slowly caress her, start her up and rev her tired engine. A few years ago I asked him if we could take her out, for old time's sake and he said that she wouldn't make it. But he would never sell her. He could not do it because that is where he fell in love with me. He vowed to fix her up, give her new life. Wiping the dust from the cursive words "Mexico Blue" that were painted by me on the small corner of the driver's side door, he looked at me, intently, with wrinkled, older eyes and smiled. "I can't let her go. I just won't do it. You see? I'll never let her go..."
But a year ago he did.
Many times I think of her. I miss her so much. Odd to say that I miss a hunk of metal and noise but I do. I think I would give anything to just go riding with her one more time...just one more time. For old time's sake.
Please keep Brian in your prayers this Friday. This is when he is having heart surgery. Again. I think I might dig out the old pictures of Mexico Blue tomorrow and show them to him. Maybe we can talk about the good times we used to have with her, how much we loved her, how much she meant to us. Maybe we can, if just for a day, smile and realize how much she gave of herself to give us those times together.
God bless, everyone. Have a beautiful evening...
Saturday, February 04, 2012
Tomorrow I'm headed to Athens to spend the day with my Bre. I need to get away from the worries in these walls, the mental exhaustion and the inability to change things that cannot be changed. And the busted water heater that I am watching my ill husband trying to fix with a son who is easily agitated these days. I am going to get into my truck, turn on the ignition and speed-demon myself into the loving and warm embrace of a daughter who is more like my sister these days, my best friend, my major major confidante, who is growing into the most amazing, wonderful woman beyond my imagination and wildest dreams.
It feels good to touch her face and feel those little arms, which are strong and confident, encircling me. She has definitely come into her own the last few years and although I am strong in her presence, she has the angelic ability to make me feel stronger. All it takes is one smile, one word from her soft, comforting voice to make me feel normal again. In front of her I grow wings. I stand taller. I am in the presence of something greater than I am. I am in the presence of unconditional and adoring love.
She called me last night and I found peace in her excitement of stories, tales of college grandeur, the diversity of the many people around her. She has grown in independence, excited of the year before her in which she will lease her own apartment, delve deeper into her major and volunteer for many charities that I have also volunteered for in the past. The Dean's List secured her again in its prestigious list of students who have exceeded the university's expectations and she is proud, as she very well SHOULD be. When it came time to say goodbye, my voice broke a little during the "I love you..." and hers did as well. Then she said, "I miss you, Mommy. I'll always be your little girl."
Suddenly, my mind flashed back to a particular incident when she was almost five. We had spent the day in the woods picking flowers and her tiny little fingers were holding them up to me. If there were ever eyes of an angel they were hers, looking up to me in the most open adoring way. I knelt down in front of her, took the bouquet of dirty-rooted weeds and kissed her soft, pliable cheeks and said, "Do me a favor, little one. Promise me you will never grow up. Stay little forever and don't ever lose the joy and giving in your heart. It is what makes you sooo very beautiful." She threw her arms around my neck and laughed, "Ohh, Mommy, I'll ALWAYS be your little girl!"
When I hung up the phone, I pictured that five-year-old face, hanging up on the other end. Then it suddenly morphed into the amazingly beautiful face of today. I could imagine her opening her genetics book and getting down to the nitty-gritty of studying for the exam of the next day while she sat cross-legged on the bed. I smiled. Tears stinging my eyes, I asked myself where the time has gone, where did the years go in between? I miss her in all ways. I miss the baby Bre. The five-year-old Bre. The twelve-year-old Bre. The soon-to-be-twenty-year-old Bre. But tomorrow I am going to bask in the present Bre and all of the joys that this young woman has to offer me for the day. She has given me so much joy. God knew I needed her as much as she has needed me over the years. And I don't forget that she still needs me even now.
She is why I carry on. Maybe in some ways I want to be like her. In alot of ways. In the face of adversity I want to meet it with defiance but soft defiance, gentle confidence that what I am doing is right, just like she does. I want to be able, in a child-like way, to give my worries to a God who is strong and capable of handling things in His manner. Just like she does. She has taught me that it's okay to stand up for what I believe in. She has taught me that it's okay to voice my opinion and still be loved and respected for doing so. When I see her small hands ball up in steadfast determination, making things happen in her life, it makes me feel like I can do it, too.
So, tomorrow, I am going to see my little girl, the one who DID grow up but will forever be young in my heart. The one who still holds gifts of flowers of a different kind up to me that gives me strength and the ability to move forward. I am going to thank her for being my daughter.
Then I am going to thank God for loaning to me one of his angels while I continue my journey through this life.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
I'm not sure.
I can't help but wonder what life, as of late, has been trying to teach me. It's been this crazy cacophony of hits and misses, tides and tsunamis, peace and chaos. It makes me wonder at times if I am living in the Twilight Zone. It has even made me think of doing things that I normally wouldn't do. But, then again, I would have a difficult time calling my husband and kids and telling them that I was living under a pier in Florida. "Job? Oh no, guys, no job...I'm beach-bumming it for awhile, living the life of a bona fide gypsy. In fact, I've changed my named to Vladoma and lunch is always served ON TIME at high tide. I've learned to be very fast with Cappi's spear!!"
Oh, just let me fantasize a little bit right now, would you? Between my son coming back home and my husband's upcoming heart surgery, I like going a little "mad." I would never do some of the stuff I think about doing but don't we all, at some point, when things are going just a LITTLE crazy, think, "Man. I would give anything right now if I could just..." what? Wring someone's neck? Scream? Eat the whole dern jar of kosher pickles? We all do it and some just have very vivid imaginations at doing it. If it weren't for MY imagination and it's little eccentricities I would be a pile of blubbering slobber waiting for someone to unlock me from my straight jacket.
But I've learned a few things over the last couple of years. I am strong but God is stronger. People leave, whether through their own choosing or not, but God NEVER does. And just when I think I can't handle another helping of chaos, it comes and I make it through. I still breathe. The sun still rises. After the crazy winds calm, I find I am still on my feet. My hair may be standing on end, knees may be knocking, but my feet are still on the ground. And that's because God is standing beside me holding me up. He won't let me fall. He won't let me crumble. Even when I look up at Him and say, "Just let me go. Please. I don't understand why this is happening, why You care so very much..."
When I was in the womb, God knew even THEN that I would be a basket-case all of my life. He knew that I was going to be a "spaz" with hummingbird speed. I scrutinize, I pick apart every little word and thing and wear myself out trying to find the key that unlocks life's great mysteries. He knew that I would live my life in blazing color and wear my heart on my sleeve for all to see. I don't care either. Perhaps He made me the way I am so that someone can benefit from my rantings and ravings, that perhaps they can see some of themselves in me and not feel so alone in this world. That maybe they won't feel like they're so crazy after all. Perhaps He made me the way I am because He knew I could handle being me. Why else??
Life is tough.
We all need some kind of coping mechanism. Alcohol didn't work for me. Smoking weed didn't get me anything except a wupping from my mother. Twice. (Same incident but she was so mad she blistered me twice in the same night.) So I found other ways to get through. Painting. Learning to ride a motorcycle. Writing. God.
Oh, it's still tough! Who the heck am I kidding?! Hence the gypsy fantasies. With Cappi. But then I open my eyes, see a family who needs me, who loves me, who depends on me and I take a deep breath and stand taller. I ball up my fists and move forward, after reaching over and grabbing hold of God's hand, of course, and don't leave for that pier. One day, yes, but not now. Not until my work here is done. And not before God says it's okay for me to do so.
If you are feeling weak, it's okay to find your pier, in whatever manner you have to do it.
Just don't let go of God's loving embrace.
Sunday, January 29, 2012
I didn't get it.
Although the interview went well and they "liked my attitude," the job was ultimately meant for someone else...with a degree and previous experience in that field. Yes, I am heartbroken but I do see their position. They had to do what was "right" for the organization and the county itself.
I have to admit that it seemed a little daunting. I am certainly not a numbers person by any shape or means. The thought that I would be surrounded with money figures and dollar signs made me a little queasy. However, the idea that I would be surrounded by those special children gave me goosebumps, excitement, joy. That is what breaks my heart in so many ways, that I will not get to know them. That I will not get to feel their soft, warm, squishy hugs and unconditional love. But that is purely from a selfish standpoint and I have to remind myself that my contact with them would have possibly been minimal at best.
There's alot on my plate right now. Perhaps change at this time wasn't what I needed to add to the mix. Perhaps God has other plans for me. Okay, no "perhaps" about it, He DOES. Just "what" I don't know and I just get sooo impatient at times. Maybe that's why I am up at 1 a.m. blogging, trying to quiet the questions and uncertainties in my mind. It's therapeutic for me to do so. By the way, I wish to thank you all for your prayers and well-wishes...God heard them. He just had to make His own decision in the matter, you know? I appreciate all of you who stood by me and cheered me on. You really are the best of the best.
Long hours at my current job are taking a toll on me physically-wise. Yet, I have volunteered for more, trying to get my kids on their feet while they are dealing with uncertainties of their own. It gets a little swarmy sometimes around here but we are doing what we can to heal past wounds and give hope for their future. I can't help but feel overwhelmed and fearful but I love them and will do anything for them.
I'm just so tired. And somewhat self-defeated. But I understand that is normal? But I will remain hopeful. I've been down that road of being at the end of my rope and it didn't feel good then so I know it wouldn't feel good now. I doesn't serve any purpose. Sooo, here I go again, just taking it one day at a time. One minute at a time. Leaning on the only Arms that have never let me down, that have always been strong and unwaivering. I've come to learn one thing in this life...that God is really the O-N-L-Y O-N-E you can depend on. Him and yourself. (Sometimes not even yourself, though. So He's It.)
But Steelkickin is still kickin' even in just short spurts right now. My next goal? Maybe it's a good idea not to have ANY right now. So my goal is to not to have a goal, if that makes sense. Not forever, just for right now.
Goodnight, all. Maybe I can sleep now.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
I was so nervous when I walked into the school this afternoon. I caught my reflection in the glass doors before I walked in and my first thought was, "I don't look like an administrative secretary. Why am I here???" But when I walked up to the counter, the receptionist turned and smiled brightly. She said, "Michelle! Have a seat and they will be right with you!" I sat quietly in the cushioned chairs and felt out of place. Fake flowers adorned the ornate stands and the floors were buffed to perfection. Pictures of past administrators, teachers and founders hung boldly on the walls and stared at me with scrutiny. Ugh.
I looked down at my hands and noticed they were shaking. I decided to sit on them and crossed my legs until one was wrapped behind the other. Nibbling my bottom lip, I stole a glance at the receptionist and noticed her smiling at me. I quickly changed positions and smiled back. The bell rang and the halls were suddenly flooded with children.
Special children. With angel eyes.
The ones who walked passed me looked at me quizzically. They knew I was an outsider. Yet, their expressions became excited and many of them said, "Hi!" and "How are YOU TODAY??" I was especially impressed with the young man who drew his hands together in "gangsta" style and said, "YESSS! YOU DA BOMB!" I giggled as the receptionist told him to "Move on, playa." I was enjoying myself, lost in the moment when I was called back to the meeting room.
Instant anxiety. But I smiled at the four faces behind the table with enthusiasm and I approached them with an open hand. As I shook each one, the last lady held on a little longer and looked at me with hesitation. Then suddenly her face lit up and she exclaimed, "It ISSS you! I remember you from nursing school! Do you remember me?" I did. I chatted with her for a few moments and took a seat. They each looked at me, then each other and then the questions began.
I was informed that the title of the position had changed. It was no longer administrative secretary. I would be the assistant to the fiscal budget officer for the county. My duties would include payroll, grants, funding, letters, memos, the list did not end. I suddenly felt overwhelmed and sat stunned, the smile frozen on my face. Then I was asked THEE question:
"What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?"
Slowly positioning myself in my chair and folding my hands in my lap, I made a conscious effort to look each one of them in the face. I opened my mouth.
"Let's begin with my weaknesses. I do not have an accounting degree. The things which you speak of would certainly be effortless to someone who does have that training or experience. But with that, I will go directly into my strengths...I am a quick learner. I pay attention to detail. If I am given the correct guidance and teaching, you can expect nothing but my all, my best, in any given situation. I am friendly, caring, punctual and believe that I have something to offer to this organization. I would like to be given the chance to work in this capacity, with each of you. And might I add, I love these children."
"Tell us WHY you love these children."
Suddenly I felt the flood gates open and I spoke of the years volunteering for the Special Olympics. Then I told them of the young man I took care of for many years, who had special needs. And my sadness when he passed away. Before I realized it, I was gushing, smiling, reliving the moments that I spent with him and they were gushing and smiling with me. Then, I suddenly remembered that this was an interview and I sat up straight and cleared my throat. Embarrassed by my own enthusiasm, I swept the hair from my forehead and looked sheepishly at them.
They were all smiling. From ear-to-ear.
"We like you. Very much. Would you be interested in meeting with the second panel of interviewers? We don't really care that you don't have an accounting degree, Michelle. But we do care and love your attitude. Would you like for us to call you to set up a time?"
YES!YES!YES! (I was screaming that on the inside, by the way. Tempted to jump on the table and dance but I refrained. But it was soooo difficult not to do so!!)
As I was leaving, the gentleman stood up and asked if I knew Brett. Brett is my front-end manager at work and I said I knew him well. He disclosed that he was his brother and he had heard good things about me from him. He said he looked forward to speaking to me again.
When I started out the front door, I ran into a young man who looked very familiar. I smiled and he held the door.
"Hey! You're not speaking to me?"
Then it dawned on me that he used to work in the Tire and Lube Department at my store. We chatted for a few minutes and I discovered that he was the athletic director for Hope Haven now. He wished me luck and said that he would put in a good work for me. Giving me a quick hug he smiled and said he would say a prayer as well.
If I get this job, I will do my very absolute best to be the BEST assistant fiscal budget officer I can be. I may not be comfortable with numbers but I am comfortable with these people, these children and am confident in my ability to learn! It just felt so "right" there. And I was connected to these people in small ways...one of the many blessings of being from a small town. I hope. I hope. I pray. I hope and pray that I get this job...
Thank you all for your encouragement and prayers that have gotten me to this point. Just a little more?? Teeny bit?? A teeny teeny bit more??? Lol...
Change can be good. Yes? Yes.
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