Inside


These are the days of looking inside everyone’s life through social media. You’re looking at their beautiful children and their perfect marriage. You see all the fun they’re having. You see all of their wonderful times out with friends, vacations and new toys. You notice how perfect they are and you cringe because you know you aren’t like them. 

You tend to forget that people don’t live their inside outside. It’s so much pressure to be perfectly perfect, isn’t it? You must have it all. You’re failing if you don’t. The truth is that no one truly has it all. 

The older I get the more I realize that people aren’t who they seem. People aren’t perfect, with perfect children and perfect marriages. That’s all for show. That’s the outside. 

I just read an article about being a mother in your 20’s and 30’s. It was perhaps a relevant topic to me at one point, because at one point I was in my 20’s and 30’s. A mother working, balancing house and career. I worried that I wasn’t doing it right. I worried because of ear infections, bullying, giving enough of myself to this person and that person. I worried. 

The same is true of me now, the woman in her 40’s. The topics change, the worries shift, the balancing is different. I’d almost like to go back to those days. Those are the days that you should slow down the most. Nurture your children, love your spouse, instill strength and self love, take care of yourself, find who you are. 

The woman I am now in her 40’s is finding that perhaps this is actually the real shit. The real hard shit. See, it’s just relevant. 

My father lives with us and I continually am reminded of how sad his life is. It’s frustrating beyond belief to have to face his mental illness day in and day out. Choices. I made the choice to move him into my home. 

My daughter is utterly exciting to watch as she spreads her wings. As she speaks of moving, life without me, I can’t help but have a tinge of jealousy. Sometimes I want to spread my wings. That’s exactly why I am all for her becoming the self she wants to be. No regrets. No, I wish I would haves. 

My son struggles day in and day out. I can’t fix him. I’m no longer the mom in her 30’s who could have at one point hugged him tight and made it all better just by being mommy. This shit is hard. 

I no longer have hugs and snuggles. I no longer have someone needing me like they once did. There is no more helping with homework, fixing snacks, playing Disney movies a million times or kissing a hurt knee. Both of my children are finding their own way and it’s starting to feel like I have little to do with that. I have to remember that the woman I was in her 20’s and 30’s has a lot to do with that. 

Each stage of life is hard. It’s all hard. Its relevance to you is undeniable. Don’t forget that people show their outside to you. They struggle as well. Perhaps their struggles aren’t like yours, but again…. relevance is key here. 

Years from now you’ll look back and find yourself realizing you made it through. You made it to the next stage. For that, let your inside be thankful.

Serendipity 


On August 22nd my husband, Joe and I were on a four hour car drive listening to The Moth. It’s become something we love to do together as we ride along laughing and sometimes crying. The Father’s Day special happened to be replaying, in which seemed fitting since Joe’s father was dying from an aggressive brain tumor. 

David Kendall was telling his story of how he found his love of music by listening to the likes of Chuck Berry in the evenings with his father. He spoke of how he knew he was being introduced to something special, and a little forbidden given they were from a very Southern Baptist driven community. He spoke of how he cherishes those memories of time spent getting to know his father through learning to have a love of music. David expressed how the song Maybellene by Chuck Berry, forever ingrained a love and passion he wouldn’t have known had it not been for his father. Neither of us had ever heard that song featured in this story. 

The following week Joe began to spend every evening at his father’s home. He had been asked to go through the garage. The hope was that Vic would join him, if at least just to be together in company. At this point however, it was too late. As Vic laid in his hospital bed in his living room, Joe began the task of going through his father’s many inventions, tools and curbside findings. Joe discovered the tape cassette player in the corner. He grabbed the first tape he saw, threw it in and it was the unrelenting sound of Maybellene.

Last night was the visitation. A man came through the line, said his condolences and left. He then came back several minutes later straight down the center to my husband. He looked at him and said, ” It just dawned on me that you’re Eddie’s boy.” 

I know I’ve been calling Joe’s father Vic. By all accounts Vic is Joe’s father, but there’s a little twist to his family tree. Joe was adopted a couple of generations down the line in his family. By all intents and purposes, Toni and Vic are truly Joe’s parents. However, his biological father is Carl Edward Dickerson; who was killed by a drunk driver, and taken too soon. 

This man who came up to Joe told him he was his father’s best friend up until the day he passed. That he has story after story about him. Joe doesn’t know much about Eddie. Joe was just a little confused boy when he was brought into his new family. His biological mother and father suffered with addiction and wounds from the war. Around the time just before Eddie was killed, he was coming back into Joe’s life. My husband has a memory of Eddie pushing him on a swing. Joe has always wondered what their path could have been. The man who came back to tell my husband he knew his biological father, is a treasure to be had. Perhaps he can fill in the unwritten.  There has always been a little place in Joe’s heart that has been left blank.  Everyone no matter their situation wants to know where they “came from”. 

Later that night on the way home Joe told me in the dark of the car that he felt like Vic, his dad, was giving him one last gift. 

The Moth Rock of Ages