Sunday, September 23, 2012

MHS Class of 1982

I can't believe that September is in its last full week. It seems like just yesterday the kids were getting out of school for the summer and here we are.....well over half way through the first nine weeks of a new school year. As of has started to really feel like fall too. We have gone from 90+ degrees during the day and only getting down into the 70's at night to 70+ degrees during the day and getting down into the 40's at night. Of course with weather change comes sneezing, sniffling and coughing. It has hit Z the worst...but still we muddle through.

For those of you that read all my blogs, a couple of you seem worried since I have been posting more in Do I Look Like a Celery Kind of Girl? Apparently to some From Beginning to your favorite and there was fear that this one would be abandoned for the other. Not to worry. Trust me...I have enough verbiage and wisdom for all my blogs. None will be left in the dust.

As I woke up this morning, it dawned on me that I am just days away from my 30th class reunion and I couldn't help but wonder how time had gone so fast. It really doesn't seem that long ago, because I can still close my eyes and find myself right back in the halls of the old MHS. I can smell the lunch room and Mike Coffey's Bruit. I can hear Bio Joe saying "Jacques this is my class not yours so quit talking to Poteete!" I can hear the bustle of the commons and the stillness of the library. I see Mrs. Jaax, Mr. Mason and Mr. Gifford....all who impacted my life in such a major way. I can hear the pep rally cheers, the class yells and see the athletes dressed in their game day best. So how is it possible that 30 years has passed since I walked those halls and left it all behind only to fade to memory?

I feel very blessed to have been a part of the Mulvane High School Class of 1982. Although I am sure we had some rocky times....for the most part all I remember are the good. It is for this reason that I look forward to seeing familiar faces and catching up on three decades worth of careers, marriages, kids and grand kids. As it goes in a lot of small towns....many of us who couldn't wait to flee this place 30 years ago, have gradually migrated back to raise our families here. Some I see often and others just as rarely as if they lived a thousand miles away. Others did move away to make lives in other places only to return on rare occasions. Sadly too, we have lost members of our class over the years and I am sure when conversations of the old days come up....their presence will be greatly missed. is hard to think of 30 years passing so quickly when it feels like little if any time has passed at all. Then I look in the mirror and I wonder if the face staring back even resembles the girl I was all those decades ago? There are more lines on the face, more pounds on the body and more experience in life....but the wonderful thing is.....the heart and the mind still find themselves on occasions in Mr. Mason's creative writing class, running to the office for a hall pass during Mrs. Jaax yearbook or having lunch in the commons with my friends. So here's to the MHS class of 1982 whom in our hearts will remain....forever young.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I am still trying to recover from a 2 week migraine that comes and goes. Sigh! I sit here on this Sunday afternoon and listen to the noises in my house. Z is playing music, David is watching Spongebob and I am wrestling with trying to process the events of the last couple of weeks. It has been a strange and sad time.

I always tell my kids that life throws you enough unexpected curve balls that you have no control over....that you have to make good use of the things you do have control over. In other words....don't make things more difficult than they need to be. Recently...the curve balls have been flying. The last couple of weeks I have felt like the rug has been pulled from me emotionally and I have lost all sense of balance.

A little over a week ago I got the call that my cousin Warren had suffered a major stroke. I was shell shocked and gut punched all at the same time. The funny thing is...Warren and I had not seen each other since 1989 at his dad's funeral. In reality I had not known him for years, but immediately all the memories of childhood came rushing back. Warren's  family and mine were very close mostly because of proximity and also because our mothers who were sisters. were very close. Warren was the 4th child and 1st born son of their family and he was about 5 or 6 years older in age than I was. The greatest times in my life were going to their house...mostly because I was the oldest in my family and had no siblings to look up to and because the rules seemed different at their house. When you have five kids as opposed to two....things are much looser or at least they seemed that way at their house.

To Warren....I am sure I was the gawky little cousin who was a pain in the neck. I was always clamoring for attention and trying to follow him and his brother Mark around. To me....Warren and  Mark were the older brothers I never had but so longed for. When at the their house I was treated as an equal in both the good and the bad. Warren's favorite thing was to wait until his little sister Susie and I were watching tv and then sneak up behind us and scare us. He was ornery and as I times a bit cocky and...... I adored him. Although I am sure when he knew my family was coming over he probably wanted to run for cover....he never showed that. I never felt unwanted or unloved over there. To the contrary....I felt at home.

Growing up my mother instilled a sense of specialness in me for belonging to the family I did. She never let me forget that coming from the Dougherty line was something to be celebrated and respected and I felt that way too. I was at the young end of my 40+ cousins but I always felt so special and such a part of something so big when I was with my cousins and being so close to Warren and his family just made that specialness even bigger.

As happens...Warren grew up and moved out on his own. Although I still spent a great deal of time with the family....I didn't see him as much. When I did though...I remember him being handsome and smart and very funny. Warren went to college, started a family and eventually moved away. The times I got to see him were less and less. In 1989, Warren and his siblings lost their father. It was a tragic time and one of the funerals in my life that truly had a resounding effect on me. I was not at the time aware that this would be the last time I saw my cousin for if I had known this I would have been mourning more than one loss that day.

Through the years my information of Warren and his life came through stories and second hand accounts. He had done well for himself as I knew he would (he was always smart to me) and apparently he never lost his sense of humor. He was the father of two remarkable kids and grandfather to a darling little boy.

Five years ago Warren found that he had what everyone in my family lives in fear of. He was diagnosed with colon cancer. When I heard I (like the rest of our extended family) immediately flooded heaven with prayers for his recovery. They were heard and he did have a full recovery. He was given five years to live, laugh, love and appreciate all his life had to offer. I kept telling myself that one day I would see him again....maybe it would be at a family dinner or possibly a family funeral, but one day I would see him. I guess it was not meant to be in this life.

Warren's stroke left him on life support and after all of his tests and many prayers from far and wide, the prognosis was there was no hope and the difficult decision had to be made by his family what to do next. On Friday at about 2 p.m. he was taken off life support and he died about 4. When I got the call I was sucker punched for a second time. I had so held out hope that he would be the miracle that someone needed to see. God had other plans. I have complete faith though, that Warren did not leave this earth one second before his time and that before he left he had accomplished everything he was suppose to. As I hung up the phone....memories flooded my mind of the Warren I used to know....... him scaring me and Susie and thinking it was so funny, seeing him and my cousin Mark at our grandfathers funeral and thinking they were the two handsomest men I had ever seen, seeing Warren on his wedding day and most of all...hearing Warren laugh. I remembered him walking to the pool with us, going to grandpa's with us and my mother teasing him when he was a teen about his long hair and him saying, "oh Aunt Janey," with that crooked grin he had. I also have no doubt that when he left this earth....he was not alone for his dad, his sister, his grandparents and many aunts and uncles were there with him walking him into the arms of Our Lord.

So as I sit here thinking about all of this....I realize that I will see Warren again someday....maybe not in this life but definitely in the next. So for now I say....RIP dear Warren until we meet again.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Breaking Point

A friend asked me today what was going on and if I wanted to talk. I really did...but there were just no words. I know you probably find "no words" coming from me quite comical...but honestly that is how I felt. I felt completely drained of everything...yes...including words.

I knew eventually that I would hit a breaking point and when I did....that all hell would break loose. I was not wrong. Since January I have been going at full tilt trying to make everything okay for everyone. I have tried to be super caregiver, super friend, super planner, super mom and now I have added super student to the list and the bottom line is...I am not super anything. No this is not self pity talking here. It is self realization. I have run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to please and placate and sometimes I think the person I tried to please and placate the most was myself. I was trying to prove that I could do it all, that I was this person that other people seemed to think I was. The truth is though....I have never been that person and if you don't believe me, just ask my kids.

Oh  kids. Perhaps I should put a disclaimer here before I continue. Mainly because in the mood I am in....things could get ugly. The disclaimer: I DO love my kids. I have always loved my kids, but honestly there are those days when I do not like them one little bit. The truth be told...I am sure the feeling is mutual. In fact...I am getting told that more and more. In all fairness to my kids...they have been through a lot in their lives. Their normal was shot the day I went into labor with my youngest (David) almost 12 years ago and it has never been the same since. Much of what they have dealt with just pure and simply sucked, but they seem to forget that they were not was not picnic for me either. Since that day sometimes they have gotten the mother they needed and sometimes they have just gotten a mother holding on by a thread and barely able to function. Thus is the price paid when you suddenly find yourself doing it alone with no set of instructions or road map to guide you through.

Over the years my children have challenged my authority, my patience and most of all my sanity. My oldest fought me at every turn, disrespected me and my home and somehow was amazed that he was no longer welcome. And all kids pushing buttons do...he turned it around and suddenly it was all my fault and I was a horrible parent. Being stuck between single parent guilt and wanting to help my son....I caved on several occasions which opened us back up for a repeat of fighting and disrespect. Of course once again it was all my fault and I heard just what a horrible person I am. The constant worry, trying to do it right and never succeeding in anyone's eyes has taken me to my limits and caused me at times to become a hard and much colder person.

Now I am dealing with the 16 year old. Honestly....I have heard so many people talking about their 15/16/17 year olds and telling horror stories about how they talk and act and I was truly happy that I wasn't dealing with that. Don't get me wrong....he was not up for sainthood by any stretch but he was really a good kid. Suddenly though....he has changed. He is angry at me and it seems that the more I try to do for him...the angrier and more hateful he gets. I know that many would say that these are red flags for drug use and alcohol abuse in teens. Trust has all gone through my head. I think though....the issue is that he really has decided he hates me. Yes...I said "hate!" 

Yesterday I was sick...really sick. It had been coming on for over a week but I had fought it with school and trying to get ready for a back to school party for said 16 year old. Now before I go further....let me say that the 16 year old has been a major help with his little brother over the years. He has picked up a lot of slack that in most situations another parent would do. Not a day has gone by that I have not been grateful for this and so now that he has turned 16, I have tried to give back. I have tried to take everything off of him so that he can enjoy being a teen. At any rate yesterday because I was sick and irritable I called him on something and it didn't set well with him. It went from me telling him to do something to him telling me that I had no control over him and from there it just got worse. Before it was all said and done he had told me in detail just how much he hates me. My heart is truly broken. It changes a parent to hear that. It makes me wonder why I try. It also makes me see him through much different eyes.

Am I a perfect parent? Is there such an animal? Like most parents on any given day...I do the best I can with what I am given. I have never done drugs, I rarely drink or go out. I make sure my kids have everything they need and as much of what they want as I can give them. I try to listen when they talk, be there when they need me, to support them through everything they do and to help them however and whenever I can. My kids ALWAYS come first which is why I am probably still doing this all by myself, and I have fought for and right along side my kids, for their grades, their dignity, their health and yes even their lives.....but I feel like giving up. I feel as if they see me as someone to walk on or walk over with no respect for who I am or what I have tried to do for them. I feel that I  am worth more than fights and name calling. I am worth more than being used with little given in return. I am worth more than doing it all by myself just to be told I am hated. Yes...I think I have hit the breaking point.