Mother-Daughter Day of Spontaneous Fun

Things I remember doing with my mom, when I was more or less my daughter’s age:

- Browsing books and eating quiche at Davis-Kidd bookstore when it was still at Grace’s Plaza, before it moved to Green Hills mall and then closed.

- Buying gifts for her students at the Parent Teacher Store. She taught sixth grade and rewarded her kids with cool pencils, stickers and other supplies.

- Singing somewhat obscure old camp songs in the car on road trips to my grandparents’ house.

Interspersed throughout the shopping, browsing, driving, lunching and singing, there was a great deal of Mom getting to know what was happening in my life outside of hers, and of me getting to understand Mom’s values in life.

I hope that’s the sort of thing my Lily takes from today – when she and I spent a mutual day off exploring a part of town my friend Andrew calls SoBroLoCo (for South of Broadway / Lower Convention Center) – and not just “dang, so that’s what a record looks like.”

Here is what we did on our outing: Continue reading

All The Other Things I Am

I was recently divorced and figuring out how to date, and not doing either of those things well. I was no one’s wife. No one’s girlfriend. Someone’s so-so Friday evening. I made a list of all the other things I am.

I am Lily’s mom. Jim and Kathy’s daughter. Andy’s ex-wife, yes, but also his friend.

I was wrapped up in my head and had a hard time communicating anything other than “I’m sad. I’m lonely. I’m small.” After a while, writers block ruined those topics, too. I put writing aside and did all the other things I love.

I ran. I biked. I gardened. I read. I spent incredible times with wonderful friends.

With one such friend, I lost my temper and lashed out unfairly. I was defensive and reactionary.

Alas, I also was passionate. Apologetic. Forgiving and – guess what – forgiven.

A change at work left me scared and uncertain. I heard from many people who reassured me. They said:

You will rock this. You are strong. You are fabulous at whatever you do. I am your fan.

All the times I flounder at the one thing,
I try my damnedest to remember all the things.

I am optimistic. I am grateful. I am loved. I am me.

Your Tween’s Perspective: The Five Most Annoying Things Parents Do

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I have a tween. I annoy her. See this picture I’ve posted here from a building that used to be a strip club before it was a church before it was a motorcycle shop? I love it! She does not! Therefore, I feel qualified to write a blog post for other people who want to annoy their tween children.

Here are five great ways to annoy a tween girl (girl, because I am pretty sure boys don’t pay enough attention to get annoyed).

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Good Friday: An Optimist’s Approach

Easter Sunday, First Presbyterian Church in Dadeville, Ala. My notes scribbled on the back of the bulletin from my grandmother’s church:

“Good Friday wasn’t the worst of mankind. In fact, it was the best man had to offer at the time: a confluence of Jewish piety and Roman law. It wasn’t man’s worst day. It’s just that Easter was God’s best day.”

I meant to write about this before now, but a health scare got in the way. I had a doctor’s appointment scheduled the Monday after Easter to follow up on a couple of ovarian cysts I knew from a previous ultrasound were large and complex. My doctor wanted to see if they had grown or changed in makeup. They had. She scheduled surgery to remove and biopsy them. Then, that night, one ruptured and sent me into a tailspin of serious pain.

For some stupid reason I went to work, made it a few hours, then went home and passed out. I called my doctor first thing in the morning. She phoned in a painkiller and rescheduled my surgery to the next available operating time, some 36 hours later. It has now been a week, and I am exhausted but feel better than I did before the rupture of the cyst. The cyst turned out to be a symptom of endometriosis, which she was able to remove during the surgery.

I cannot believe how wonderful my family, friends and coworkers have been throughout this ordeal. They’ve kept me fed, kept me company, kept me comfortable, and kept my daughter. When I was freaking out before having a diagnosis, they offered perspective and reason. I have felt warm, loved, deeply blessed.

What does this have to do with the Easter sermon at my grandmother’s church?

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Blogging in India

Just a short update: I’ve written – but not yet posted – several pieces while my mother, daughter and I have been in India visiting my father.

 He is working here for a year, lending his advice as a project manager and civil engineer to a company expanding a series of training campuses for a large IT firm. (His friend is CEO of the company and assembled a team of American “experts” to influence the project.)

Today we are embarking on 24 hours of travel back to the U.S.

I will post my India writings when I’m home this week, when I can add photos to go with them. (I don’t have a USB line to connect my camera to the PC laptop I’m using in Bangalore, nor do I have a means of retrieving the photos I shot from my iPhone. Technology dilemmas in India’s IT capitol = boo, but my own fault.)

I’ve written about our journey to the Taj Mahal, flirting in India, and bonding with my daughter during the trip. I feel like there may be one more to write – about religion – but I’m still toying with that.

Anyway, give me a couple days and I’ll have them posted. If you could please bring me a nice steak and a glass of scotch, too, I’d appreciate it.

India update: Still no visa, but I’ve got friends and trust

Our “Eat Pray Love”-meets-”Steel Magnolias” trip to India is set to begin a week from Monday.

Will all three of us – my mom, my daughter and I – be on that plane bound for Bangalore?

I still don’t know. Here’s an update from my last post, along with what what I’m choosing to learn from this experience:

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Who knew romantic Eat Pray Love + Steel Magnolias trip would begin so bureaucratically?

Market in Bangalore, Southern India, from PnPl's Flickr stream

My mother, daughter and I are set to travel to India in two weeks, but only the 9-year-old has the proper paperwork stamped, approved and ready to go.

Lily jokes, “I’ll be flying to India by myself.”

Apparently I’m raising a brave, determined girl. You know what? So did my mother.

Continue reading