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.