Friday night lights

It’s game day!! First Varsity football game of the season. My daughter and her besties first varsity game ever. It seems like we’ve been waiting for this forever. No more 4pm Thursday JV games in the heat and sun. We’ve made it to Friday night lights, a tradition in most high schools, definitely in ours.

If you are just tuning in (maybe you saw in my ad in the football program), well then you know that I am a cheer mom. And like most of us, we take pride in our girls and boys. We work hard to make sure we do our part and pay our dues (literally) so that our children can fulfill their dreams.

Being a cheer parent is challenging in so many ways. The behind the scenes work is extensive and never-ending. This is my first year all in. My daughters first two years on the squad was supported by my mom. She was the cheer grandma, never missed a game or competition. She always picked up the kids from practice and gave rides to those who had working moms like me. She was the first to volunteer and was always available to help out and run errands. She and my daughter would countdown how long until her junior year and we’d be able to watch her cheer on her personally painted box under those football lights.

Unexpectedly, my mom passed away in March. So now it’s just me and the greatest group of cheer moms a rookie could ask for. I still can’t do all the things that my mom did, but I do my best and I will be at every game and competition smiling and crying all at the same time.

Today I missed the opening season rally. I miss it every year. Next year I won’t. Next year I will take the day off work to be there for my girl. It’s hard being everyone. Mom, Dad, Gram…. But I can do. I will do it, I have to.  For her and for me.

Currently, I am watching Thirteen reasons why season 3. It is a show on Netflix that I recommend to all parents, especially those with high school-aged kids. It digs deep into the many uncomfortable situations our kid’s face, and what happens after the dust has settled. Abuse, rape, bullying. Mental and physical violence. These kids stories don’t end once they are hurt. Their lives before the trama no longer exist, it changes who they are and what their lives may end up being. In a flash, a person can be completely derailed from their life and have no idea how to process that. Many times the parents are oblivious, teenagers are good at hiding secrets. Ask questions, they hate it but sometimes you will gain insight into what is really going on in your child’s life.

But back to football, tonight is the night. I can hardly wait to see my daughters’ beautiful smile and the sheer joy on her face as she cheers her heart out. Her father and I will be cheering her on in the stands, and my mother will be probably standing next to her cheering as well (thank goodness most of us can’t see ghosts).

 

To all the spiritleaders and their spiritparents: LET’s GO BIG BLUE!!!!

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2.0…. come back!!

Maybe my father was right, maybe people don’t change. For as long as I can remember every time a person disappointed me, or I disappointed him, he would say the same thing… “people don’t change”.  Honestly, I never wanted to believe it then and I still don’t want to believe it now, even if it is true, to an extent.

2.0 is the persona I named myself in the months after my mothers passing. 2.0 was everything I wasn’t. I had been through hell and back and had a different perspective on everything.  I was eager to leave some of my bad habits in the past and live life as a better, happier person.

Nothing bothered me while I was in 2.0 mode. Things that used to drive me crazy no longer did and my overall personality was much more low key and chill in my new mindset.

2.0 was driven by love and the necessity to get things done because I had to. Fear no longer paralyzed my every move.  I was able to navigate through situations with a newfound freedom. 2.0 didn’t have any baggage or issues and found humor again.

One morning I was driving to work taking my personal inventory….. what? Oh come on.. NONE of you do that? Well, you should… it is very enlightening. Anyway, I  was going through the checks and balances of my life and current mental state and decided that it was time to start dating. Truth be told that is as far as it got… Still not dating. But the point is that I was progressing even if it was in my own mind. I was thinking about my future and picturing how it would look with someone in it. Then I got sacred.

Slowly but surely, I started to find myself thinking things that only pre-2.0 would think…. The non-filtered brutally honest sharp-tongued things that I had been thinking all my life. Damn it. I thought I had changed.

But I did change! Or did I? Is 2.0 the person I want to be or the person I AM? I can spin on that for days, but I think its kind of like a pendulum swinging… back and forth until it settles right in the middle. I can still think the brutally honest unfiltered thoughts about others and myself, but I don’t have to share those thoughts or opinions.  They are JUST thoughts and opinions. Nothing more. Who really cares what I think anyway, right?

2.0 may not be the “whatever” persona I was but that doesn’t mean that I can’t evolve. Someone that looks like me, and feels like me but isn’t carrying around all the fear and anger that causes the judgment and un-kind behavior. I still think my raw sense of humor is funny even though a lot of people don’t. I don’t think that will change. And I still cry with compassion for people I don’t even know, I don’t want that to change.

I feel the pendulum still swinging but slowing down, I think I might find my true self in all of this soul searching. I just pray I am strong enough to love myself and accept who I am. The good, the bad and the 2.0.

Peace, A.K.

 

Almost there…we can do this

Last weekend before school starts. Thank god. I have so many mixed emotions that I find myself being sad, happy, relieved, and scared all at the same time.

Wednesday the school year begins. I feel a sense of relief in so many ways. Mostly because I made it through the summer, and this one was particularly challenging.

I often forget that since I’ve lost my housemate, best friend, co-parent, and more importantly my Mother, my daily challenges are so much more. This is the first summer EVER that I have been solely responsible for EVERYTHING. When I say everything I am really talking about my daughter. We moved in with my Mom when she was just three. Having two Mom’s is all she knew. My mom did everything for her, for us. I just had no idea HOW much. It’s amazing how much you miss when you have blinders on.

BUT, we made it, We did it. Together. It was hard and frustrating and very overwhelming but we did it.

Now my baby girl somehow is entering her Junior year. I remember my junior year as being one of the best. I pray her’s is the same. As much I look forward to watching her cheer as a Varsity cheerleader, I am sad. I have lost my the going to every game and sitting in heat buddy. My mom didn’t miss a game, she always sat right in front of my daughter and cheered her on while she cheered, (she was her second biggest fan). One of the last things my mom said to my daughter was ” I will still be there with you for Friday nights lights”

Breathe.

So I face braving the games alone, but I know for sure my Mom will be sitting in the stands right next to me.

Okay, dry your eyes. I have to talk about the fucking tree.

We have this tree in front of our house. It’s more than a tree, it’s a beast and once summer comes the monster spits seeds and debris that will rip open your feet if you dare to walk barefoot anytime once it’s dropped. Knowing this and remembering good ole’ Diana (mom) sweeping up the fallout every day so the neighbors and dog walkers wouldn’t be affected.

I am not Diana. I had NO intention on sweeping up that crap every day. I remember my Mom calling the city once to have to trimmed. So I called the city.  I started months ago, the day I saw the first seed appear on the branch. I WAS NOT going to sweep that shit up.

I called and called. Cried and complained. Used every dramatic excuse I could think of, “I saw a rat in the tree” (I didn’t ). “The tree is about to break off and fall on one of the seniors going to the senior center or to the Redlands bowl!!! (never happened but it COULD have). “A piece of the tree FELL ON A CAR” (that IS true, but it happened years ago).

So weeks go by and I keep getting the “we are getting you as soon as possible (eye roll). Meanwhile, I am watching the tree like a Hawk, waiting for something to drop from the branches.

One morning I go outside and my worst fears confirmed. It had started, the ground was already covered. Fuck. I go to work determined to get this taken care of.

Five days later, the tree is still there and yes dropping shit on the ground like crazy. Sunday morning I woke up and stood in my doorway with my arms crossed. Obstinate. I AM NOT GOING TO SWEEP!

Then I thought oh fuck it. I put on my shoes and go outside with the broom.

Now, let’s remember that I live with just my teenage daughter. Clothes are not really a requirement, and since it has been a million degrees here, what we wear at home seems appropriate. We both spend most of our leisure time wearing booty shorts and sports bras. Naturally, on that Sunday morning that was my attire. Honestly, I didn’t even think to put clothes on once I decided to sweep…. I was focused and determined.

As I was sweeping away (in my sports bra and booty shorts), I was thinking, well this isn’t too bad. It really is a good upper body workout… Then I heard the voices.

Women, many different women, talking and laughing in distant conversation.

I was afraid to look up. When I finally did, I saw a group of 20 women walking with their coffee and their daughters. 

Coming towards me was a mother-daughter coffee walk that was clearly sponsored by Lululemon. In their matching shirts and $100 pants, the voices were getting louder as they were getting closer.

Fuck, what do I do? I can’t run now. I could feel them judging me (although they probably weren’t, who am I kidding I look great in a sports bra and booty shorts of course they were). So I just kept on sweeping, smiling and nodding hello. Those bitches should have been grateful, I just swept up the sidewalk they were walking on and saved their brand new $400 shoes.

Wow, 2.0 is on a roll today.

That was Sunday. Monday I got up and swept in my bootie shorts. Tuesday I got up and swept in my booty shorts.

Wednesday the city was here first thing in the morning to trim the tree.

And that my friends is the way you get shit done in Redlands.

A.K.

 

 

2.0

When she emerged from the rubble and dust that had once been her life, she came out shiny and new, I call her 2.0.

Very dramatic intro! Well if you haven’t guessed, 2.0 is me. Post the teenage struggle that caused my daughter to be removed from our house. Post Mommy getting sick and spending unnecessary time in the hospital (had 2.0 been around, that would’ve been different). To finally releasing my mom from the pain she was enduring and been for so long. To end the suffering and encouraging her to reunite with my father. The first six months of the year are a blur to me. It’s probably for the best, 2.0 has work to do.

Every day I wake up I tell myself that it is going to be a good day. 2.0 is on the job and things are coming together. My to-do list is smaller and I feel lighter every day.

My daughter and I are finding our way, AGAIN. It’s been difficult. I am actually surprised how hard it has been because we’ve always been so close. These days, I can’t seem to get to her, to hold her, to let her know that everything is going to be okay. Her walls are pretty high. Maybe that’s her grieving or maybe it’s just being a teenager.

Before we moved in with my mom I was a do-er. The problem was she was an overachiever… and since I worked and was gone a lot I just let her do her thing. Now those are some hard shoes to fill. My mom was ON IT. I am NOT. Problem. I gotta up my game, Mommy isn’t here to save me anymore.

So that’s what I have been doing, upping my game. Being her and me=2.0.

Wednesday, my daughter discovered a wasps nest in our porch, ya NO that’s not staying, I thought. I wasn’t sure what to do so I grabbed the hose and squirted as hard as I could using my thumb to add pressure (you know what I am talking about). Nothing. I look down and to be honest I have no idea if my mother just put it there or it had been there for months, but there was a can of wasp nest destroyer. I picked up the can and aimed it at the nest. Explosion, wasps nest is gone. Good for 2.0.

The entire day seemed to consist of adult-like behavior, cleaning, the gardeners came (and didn’t cry ). I spoke to the city (again) about cutting down a tree. I even updated my calendar. This is the first time I’ve actually had a calendar…. and man that kid of mine is busy.  2.0 is now a cheer and school mom as well as a regular mom.  No way am I going to miss anything or have my little cheerleaders’ life affected because I can’t get my shit together.

Time for practice for her and back to work for me. We get in the car and proceed to drive straight past the school. I look up and finally realize we are in Mentone. (The high school is exactly 1.2 miles from my house, Mentone is not). I scream and look for a place to turn the car around. Now, my daughter will be late to practice and have to suffer horrible consequences like 10 sit-ups! (rolling my eyes and biting my tongue).

As I was trying to calm her down and tell her it would be ok. I said “blame me, tell them it was my fault” (I mean, it already is, isn’t it? ALWAYS MY fault). She said, “Ok I’ll tell them you got lost”. “NO! I said if those cheer moms catch wind that I got lost taking you to practice to a school I go to two times a day they will really think I’ve lost it. Or on drugs!” “Tell them I inhaled too much bug spray while killing the wasps and spiders and fell asleep (partly true BTW). She just rolls her eyes and got out of the car and ran into practice.

Fuck man, and I was having such a 2.0 day.

 

 

Tuesday was a very bad day

I  am going to begin this blog by telling you that MONDAY was a very good day. I set goals and accomplished them. Tied up loose ends, and crossed things off my todo list. My daughter even came to my class that evening. It was a very good day.

Tuesday, I woke up excited because one of my friends whom I adore was going to take my cycle class. I did all of my morning chores, got in the car ON TIME and then 10 minutes into my drive hit traffic that lasted my entire 17-mile trip to work. Consequently, I was late which I HATE.

I like to arrive at the gym 15 min or more early because it takes me FOREVER to set up my for my class (my students are all shaking their heads yes right now). And I like to chat or complain, or just connect with my crew before I kick their asses.

On Tuesdays, I typically teach 5 classes. 3 in a row at one location, then I drive to a second location to teach a 12-noon class. In the evening I go back out and usually just teach one but often sub another. All at different gyms. It’s a lot but, this the job I have chosen and most of the time other than being tired my evenings go off without a hitch. Because the class I often sub is at a 4th location I arrange for another instructor to come in and finish my 5:30 class so I can make it to the 6:30 class which is across town in time. Both clubs are fairly local so it usually not a problem.

4:50 I drop of my daughter and her bff to cheer practice. Now that I am a REAL single mom I have to do all the drop off’s and pickups that my mom used to. I arrange for a ride home for the girls and I am off to work. 4:55 I jump on the 10 freeway headed west. It is about an 8-mile drive. 5:01 traffic stops. No movement, a parking lot. I look at the clock and think glad I left early today. 5:06 still not moving. I call the instructor who is supposed to take my class and then do my last 15 minutes to see her status and let her know I may be late. 5:07 my stomach starts rolling.

Lets back this up for a second (this may too graphic for some of you, but I assure you, this is my life). I suffer from very bad IBS. Irritable bowel syndrome. I have had it most of my life, but of course, it flares up at the times when I am particularly stressed. The death of my father, the entire time my mom was sick until well after she passed I was plagued with this condition that must be managed carefully. Since I have such great experience in the area I am USUALLY ok. I am able to control my body until I am able to handle the situation. But it is a non-negotiable. There is no DO I have to find a bathroom, its FIND A BATHROOM NOW.

So here I am, on the 10 freeway. Stopped and I need to find a bathroom. I have NOWHERE to go, I can’t get off, I am stuck. I speak to my instructor friend who says I am in the middle of a Sig-Alert. Freeway is CLOSED and I am on it.

This is very bad. I arrange for her to teach my class (which I can’t afford to do), call the club to let them know she will be teaching, and try wiggling around in my chair hoping my stomach pains will subside. It’s now 5:20.

I start praying… “please god get me off this freeway, I have another class to teach and I have to go the bathroom”… Still not moving, those prayers went from begging to screaming to crying to defeat. I started talking to my mother, my father… please mom and dad get me off this freeway…. I can’t poop my pants!

It is now 6:05 and I haven’t moved an inch. The cars around me are very close and I don’t have tinted windows (in case it came to that, and it felt like it just might).  I call the second club “hey I am sitting on the freeway, I might not make it to class, I will let you know”. So that would be two classes I lose for the night AND I poop my pants in the only car that we have which happens to have cloth interior. I keep thinking, this cannot be how my story goes for this day.  I will NOT be blogging about this... (haha).  God please, I KNOW you can do something.

Still not moving, still praying, starting at the clock, now I am trying to figure out how I could get home before my daughter and clean up myself and the car without her knowing what happened (IF it came to that). Needless to say, I am in bad shape. Still praying, screaming, crying… and I look up…. we are moving!!! Oh, thank you, Jesus, we are MOVING…

It is 6:18. I call the club and tell them that I will be there, I get off the freeway, run frantically into a gas station that has a bathroom line out the door (I wasn’t the only who had been sitting for hours). Race next door and beg an employee for the bathroom key, even though I was not the customer and I MADE IT TO THE BATHROOM!!

I finish my business, jump back in the car get on the freeway and arrive at my 6:30 class at 6:27… YEY ME!!

I run into the club where 20 plus students were waiting patiently, I walked over to the stereo grabbed my mic, introduced myself, (remember I am subbing someone else class) lookup and 3 people are rolling up their mats and leaving simply because I am there.

Now here’s the thing, I can teach a yoga class. I have years of education and experience and am confident in my ability. I looked up and thought.. 2.0. 2.0 2.0…

2.0 is NOT going to be affected by the ignorance and rudeness of these people. 2.0 is not going to give them a dirty look or mutter a sarcastic comment under her breath. 2.0 sat in traffic for nearly 2 hours and didn’t poop her pants. Those people can suck it.

So I taught the class, had a few hiccups here and there like when the guy next to me decided he didn’t like my class so he did his own, 2.0 didn’t even look his way.

The class was over I was exhausted, I got in my car to go home and my neighbor texts me telling me that someone had parked halfway into my driveway and I might not be able to get in. YES this again, it was a bowl night. I almost expect it. So I came home, drove over my curb to get into my driveway and called the police about the car.

At least this time I didn’t call 911.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DAY SEVEN!

Well, I did it, Blogged seven days in a row (on purpose). Now that I know I can, I probably never will do it again. Just being honest.

It was hard to take something I love to do and make it something I HAD to do. Think about that, how often in life do we do that, take the love and turn it into a chore.

Most people who truly LOVE their jobs have a great passion for what they are doing.  If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be so successful and driven. But what about when the everyday sets in, everyone at some point needs a break from whatever they are doing.

So when you need the break from the thing that you are doing that you love so much, how do you feel? (This might get deep folks.) You love your spouse and children but also need a break from them. How do you feel when you are away?

How much of our identity is wrapped up in WHAT we do, and who we LOVE, instead of who we ARE? I think its a lot, do you think it’s because most of us have no idea who we are? Who we truly are. How can we when we spend so much time DOING what we love and spending time with WHO we love?

I don’t have an answer for that, only you know what going on with you, but I encourage you to explore that in yourself. Spend some time alone and make decisions purely on what YOU want, not what might make someone else happy. Be selfish when you can, for some of us, it’s way out of our comfort zone. For others, that’s where you live, so I don’t need to tell you.

I try to remind my yoga students, and (myself) that there is no wrong way to practice yoga. Just like there is no wrong way to do life (aside from the obvious).  Everyone has their own methods, truths and set of rules. The fun part is learning about others and how to connect through our similarities, not differences. Letting others be who THEY are, as you live as YOU are, freedom at its best.

Thanks for a week of laughter and love, talk at you soon… A.K.

 

 

Day 6: Why is it so hot?

Why is it so hot? Oh, because it’s summertime in the IE….

The heat does crazy things to people, and when I say people I mean me. I can’t sleep, my sinuses are a mess and most likely I have a headache. Oh shit, I forgot not to get too boring and basic in these last few blogs.

OK… lets cut to the chase. No one looks their best if they are sleep deprived, sweaty, and going insane from staying in the house all day.

No one wants to drive their cars, when it’s over 100 degrees, outside which means the car is at least 20 more than that inside.

And no one, and I mean NO ONE should tell another person (especially a woman), that she looks exhausted, tired or anything other than beautiful, ever.

That’s it… simple and straight to the point.

And BTW if a person IS exhausted, sleep deprived, or sick… they already know they look hideous. Don’t rub it in.

And that’s day 6.