Saturday, December 19, 2015

Lean on Him & carry on, Warrior.

It’s just so much to carry all the time.  I try and be brave.  I try and have courage.  I try and stay positive.  I try and see The Good.  I try and make good choices.  I try and do the things I have to do to stay sober and be the best mama, daughter, sister, wife, auntie, friend I can be.  But.  I’m.  Tired.  It’s a lot to bear and to bear all the time.  I wish I could get out from under The Weight for just a little while.  The Pain is real.  My little heart is tired.  Heartache is physically exhausting and actually hurts.  I give it to God.  I pray and I lean on Him, but The Pain is still there.  I can’t help but ask God why?  I know that He is a good God and does not test us, then what?  What is it you want from me, God?  Why do you think I am able or strong enough?  What is The Good I can do with This Pain?  Please light The Way so that I can go do It.  I don’t question out of disrespect.  I question because of My Faith.  I believe.  Help me use this pain for The Good.  I am ready.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Grief is Sobering One Day at a Time..

So, I thought the hardships in my past were God’s way of making me strong enough to get sober. Now, in my 8th year of Recovery, I realize that my Recovery is God’s way of making me strong enough for #TeamTyler. Everyone says, “don’t get sober for other people. Do it for yourself.” I say, “it is My Recovery. I’ll do it for whomever I want and for whatever keeps me Sober.” I will choose my own Touchstones, thank you very much.

I feel like I am strong in my sobriety, but Addiction is a sneaky and deceitful beast not to be trusted.  She will trick you and lie to you and pounce on you when you are the weakest and most vulnerable. She is patient, too. She will wait years, if she has to, to find a way back into your life. She feeds on weakness and self-doubt and heartache, but all her deceitful strength has got nothin’ on my Faith.
My Touchstones are my Faith in God, my promise to Tyler, and the fact that if Schuyler ever needed a Sober Mama, he needs Her now.  God is my Strength.  He will not allow any of the Pain to be in vain.  He will Light my way and guide each step.
Michelle and Emily and I realized yesterday how much “one day at a time” applies to Recovery from a tragedy as it does to Recovery from addiction and alcoholism. Just hang in there for a minute, an hour, a day… You will get through. Hold each other up and lean on Him.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

It’s All So Fragile…

The past two weeks have been the longest split-seconds of all time.  How can it be that just 14 days ago I was happily fixing breakfast for this crew?!?  That very day that ended so painfully…

We had such an amazing day!  Tyler, Schuyler, Ava Jane, my daddy, Cade, Prince Charming and I all held hands to say a blessing over breakfast.  After sausage and biscuits, we piled on the golf carts and headed to the pool...
Schuyler, Tyler and Cade made friends with some other boys at the pool and had a blast with a crazy version of hoops that they made up to include the younger kids.

Ava Jane and I focused on more important things like adding to our endless collection of Auntie-Niece Selfies.

We had lunch by the pool and mom and I convinced the kids to play one of our favorite games where we take turns asking eachother interesting questions and each one of us answers.  Schuyler, Cade and Ava,  who have been playing their whole lives, were less excited to play than Tyler.  But Tyler played eagerly til we ran out of questions, excited for each one.  We learned a lot and laughed a lot.  After lunch, Daddy, Schuyler and Tyler set out for the East Beach of Bald Head Island, where the waves are perfect for bodysurfing…

Now, two weeks later, Tyler is still unconcious in the ICU at the hospital in Wilmington, NC. How can it be? He is the most wonderful boy who belongs to the most wonderful family, so why?  How? How can such a good person who does so much for others with no expectations of anything in return be suddenly fighting for his life? Someone who did so much for others for the pure Joy of the doing. And finally, what does one do when she is totally helpless, but feels painfully responsible? How do you get out from under the weight of it all? There must be Light amongst these darkest of dark shadows…

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Recovery is NOT a straight road.

Ten days ago, my son’s best friend nearly drowned while swimming with my father and son in the ocean on a family vacation with us on Bald Head Island, NC.  He is on life support in the ICU in Wilmington, NC and has not been conscious since the accident.  There are so many things I could say about our precious Tyler and the events surrounding this accident, but one thing is weighing on me particularly today.  The weight is incredible particularly because I KNOW better, but cannot reason with My Heart.

Within the first few hours at the hospital, the doctors explained to us that Tyler’s Recovery would be a roller-coaster.  We would have forward progress and setbacks, but we musn’t be discouraged. Ok.  I get it.  We all get it, IN THEORY.  In actuality, we have clung to every morsel of Promise and Hope we can find.  We are positive and prayerful and hopeful and encouraged.  However, even the slightest setbacks have been devastating.  We have to be disciplened to not get unraveled by the “bumps” in the road of Recovery.
So, it should not be a surprise to me that my emotional journey would be any different.  But, I am moving backwards!  I am becoming MORE of a mess, not stronger!  Why am I not on a straight upward trajectory?!?  I don’t want to lose ground. I can’t bare to think that tomorrow might be harder than today.  I can’t believe that I would be feeling even MORE heartache after 10 days than after 2.  Is it because the shock has worn off, now?  Is the reality setting in now?  Is it because I miss Tyler?  He is such a wonderful boy and a joy.  Could it be that school is starting and he should be here in Richmond buying school supplies and practicing with the football team?  Could I just be exhausted from it all? 
My son, Schuyler, says that Tyler’s mama, Michelle and I are so much a like!  I never knew how much til we faced Tyler’s accident.  She has been a rock and an inspiration to everyone around her.  She also has a wonderful sense of humor, even in this tough situation.  However, she has been struggling more the last few days, too.  Do I just feel her pain? 
When I look back at all of my questions, I realize that each should be answered with a “yes”.  Recovery is NOT a straight road.  Yes.  The shock is beginning to wear off a bit.   Yes.  The painful reality is slowly setting in.  Yes.  I miss that sweet boy and his big heart and kind spirit.  Yes.  It makes my heart hurt that he missed the first football game last night and that his junior year will start without him.  Yes.  I’m exhausted from it all.  And, yes, perhaps most of all, my heart is broken for Tyler’s wonderful family.  I do feel my precious friend’s pain.  Accident or not, Trey and Michelle trusted us with their most precious baby boy.  We did not bring him home safely as promised and my heart is broken and the pain and guilt come in waves.
Even still, God is good.  I know God has a Plan for Tyler and for all of us.  I am amazed by the Miracles and acts of Grace, from the terrifying moments on the beach until this very afternoon.  We continue to pray and travel together on this road to Recovery, no matter the hills and valleys, with our eyes on Him.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Baby gates…

Selfie w/Sugarbritches! Philadelphia-bound... #commanderinchic #nataliereddell #richmond #rva #basketballmama #thesquires #aaubasketball #aau #tournament #richmondsquires #squiresrichmond #philadelphia #fun #smothermother

Baby gates…

Missing the boy… #commanderinchic #nataliereddell #richmond #rva #motherhood #parenting #son #mom #family #ihategoodbyes #lettinggo #letgoandletgod #virginiawoolf #thatface #blessed #HurryHome

There are life moments that are so emotionally charged and significant that they take on a life of their own.  The bitter and sweet are bound up in each other in such a complex way that they become their own unique feeling.  So unique, that you can only identify it as a place you’ve been before if you have The Feeling again…
I am in the kitchen washing dishes while he plays on the floor next to me.  I am talking to him like he understands every word I say, because he does.  My mama told me that a baby’s ability to understand what you say to him is far more advanced than what he can express. The take away: Schuyler understands every single word I say to him.  The thing is, I know that already.  I see it in his face.  And, he knows that I know.
I grab something out of the pantry and come back into the room. Schuyler’s gone. A sense of panic is replaced by the realization that he must have started crawling!  I glance up to see the most precious little diaper heading down the hallway. THIS IS THE FEELING.  Joy, fear, excitement, heartache. Wait! Stop! It’s not safe! No, Go! There is an amazing world for you, precious boy.  How wonderful that you can explore it for yourself.  I want you to go and enjoy your freedom, but I want you to stay with your mama and be safe. Wonderful, awful, exciting and scary.  I am proud and afraid and sad and thrilled. The game has changed.  His world has just grown and I want him to love every inch of it but I also need to protect him.  
I had forgotten The Feeling til last week when that same baby boy got his license and started driving. The Feeling surprised and gripped me but I recognized it immediately. It was as if I were back in my kitchen standing next to his baby blanket with a Pacie in my pocket. Only, The Feeling is stronger and scarier with higher stakes and maybe even greater joy and excitement for this boy and the adventures that await him. Wait! Stop! It’s not safe! No, Go! There is an amazing world for you, precious boy.  How wonderful that you can explore it for yourself.  I want you to go and enjoy your freedom, but I want you to stay with your mama and be safe.  Wonderful, awful, exciting and scary.  I am proud and afraid and sad and thrilled. The game has changed.  His world has just grown and I want him to love every inch of it but I also need to protect him.
I want to put up baby gates! I want to know Schuyler is safe. I want him back on his baby blanket next to his mama where I can protect him. But, he needs to go and see for himself this big, beautiful, crazy, and wonderful world. And make mistakes and learn from those mistakes and grow and make his Own way. The Feeling hurts and scares me, but I have to remember the sweet part, not just the bitter. I have to remember that as his mama I am charged with the duty of instilling in him, to the best of my ability, a moral compass and sense of self that will replace the baby gates. I hope that by my example and mistakes, he will learn what to do and what not to do and to put his faith and hope in God. I pray that all the prayers, pep-talks, mistakes, and love for this baby are enough. And I pray that God’s Will Be Done.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

It’s all about that cape, ’bout that cape!

No doubt,

Never fear!  I have A-MA-ZING news. If you need a little help tapping into your inner Wonder Woman, today is your lucky day!

They make grown-up Wonderoos! You are welcome. I accidentally found them online when I googled “grown-up Wonderoos”!  Can you believe it?

No, FBI, I’m a little busy right now, but thank you for the job offer.  Head of Espionage is such a huge responsibility and requires so much time and dedication and I am super-busy being the self-elected Commander in Chic and think there might even be an executive conflict of interest.

However, please do not hesitate to call on me in the future as an honorary FBI agent. Also, does the honorary FBI agent position come with a charm for my charm bracelet or maybe a sparkley pin? Either way, I am always happy to help in any way I can.
Now, if you can’t decide between glow-in-the-dark Wonderoos

Or the one with a cape, I recommend getting both. Duh.
Since processing and shipping may take a day or two, we must start practicing our posture!
Up (excuse the pun) with testosterone! Down with cortisol! Also, I am going to see about adding a cape or two to my wardrobe immediately!
Why don’t I already own these?!?
These would even fit (and hide) when Skinny Jeans won’t cooperate! Tres chic.
And, of course, a diamond-encrusted one with 14 – karat gold buttons for every day.


Snowmaggedon vs. Hairmaggedon

So, I get the whole “snow day” concept for schools, government, churches and most businesses, BUT HAIR SALONS? Really?!?  Are you sure the roads are THAT dangerous? Did you see MY hair?

I guess not, because my appointment was oh-so-casually-rescheduled. Ugh. But TWO WEEKS! I mean what’s a girl to do? Whew. Two weeks til the next available appointment is like two weeks underwater! Some of you may argue that the title’s reference to Armageddon may be  a little dramatic, but it sure feels like the end-of-the-world to me.

To add insult to injury, I have a MISERABLE COLD. But I am not rescheduling, again!  Finally. Made it to the salon and home safely!

I still look pitiful from my cold but it is definitely an improvement and Scarlett O’Hara seems to love it!

My precious Hair Magician and I had one of our usual talks while I was at the salon.
Self: “Um, it still doesn’t look like the hair commercials!?!  Ugh.”
Magician: “Have you stopped twisting your hair constantly and tying knots with one hand in the ends when you get nervous and stressed?”
Self: shrug
Magician: “Have you stopped chewing the ends at night when you can’t sleep?
Self: half shrug
Magician: “Have you been using the products like we discussed? No, wait! Have you been using anything we DID NOT DISCUSS? Any African Hair Oil?”
Self: blank stare
Magician: “No worries. Let’s get started…”

I came home with a new set of products, assignments from the magician and an appointment for more magic in 8 weeks!  Hooray.

Magician thinks my flat iron is causing damage to my oh-so-fragile hair ends. I thought she was being a little dramatic til last week when I accidentally set the flat iron down next to this plastic bottle. Yikes.

I guess sandwiching my strands between two scalding pieces of metal while I squeeze and pull down repeatedly could cause a little damage over time.  But, it’s so pretty right after you do it.

So shiny and straight and silky and smooth and youthful and glamorous and luxurious. DAMMIT. Every beauty product and tool that actually works has some stupid side affect! Sheez.

Okay-uh! Fine-uh! I’ll try and do the stuff you said-uh! (Prince Charming says I add syllables to words when I get grumpy.)  WHATEVER-UH! I think I just miss the sunshine and fishing and tan lines and not having a cold…

I’m gonna perk up AND try my new hair products. Mostly cuz Sugar-britches just came down stairs to hug his mama and sit by the fire. Stay back, Tears, I mean it!

We just ordered pizza to celebrate snow days and fires, even with a cold!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

#18-The Mascara Project

If Patience is a virtue, then you people are super-virtuous, and I really appreciate it! Of course, as Hilary (long-time friend in FL) put it, “I’ve waited 37 years to find the best mascara, so no rush”. Thank you and done.
So, this fancee (fancy spelling) mascara case felt a little like a blonde joke waiting to happen. I knew it wasn’t, however, because I have literally heard them ALL. Thank you, nephew!
Oh, snap! Couldn’t resist. And one more for good measure, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT TRUE FOR ME! I’m sure y’all had your doubts.
Now, back to the mascara contraption. Once I talked to the tube-thing for a minute, got that damn sticker with directions out of the way, and shook it a couple of times, I figured it out. Y’all, James Bond would be envious cuz this little gadget is super-high-tech! The secret door sprung open to reveal not one, but two, mirrors! Now we’re cookin’ with gas!
But, wait.  Holy gloopy black tar.  Uh, I guess got a little carried away with shaking this thing. Shoot!
Tried to “ungloop” (Check Wikipedia. I double-dog-dare-ya!), but did not have great luck on the bottom lashes.
Did a little better on the top; my right is “mascaraed”.  (Don’t check Wikipedia for that one cuz I already did and it’s not in there.)
Note to self: start glossary of terms to send Mr. Webster’s publishing house to be added to the next edition of the American Dictionary. Put said words in bold font for quick reference so you can see them in context.
Probably overdid the liner today, but Sugar-britches has a big game and I needed my war paint!
I give this mascara a Commander in Chic rating of 9 outta 10. Y’all know I like my lashes a little on the trashy side, but this stuff is almost “tarantulaish”.
Dear Noah Webster, please brace yourself for tons of fabulous new words to add to that American Dictionary of yours! You are welcome.
I might have scored this one an 8 outta 10 since it’s pretty “gloopy”, but the little mirror-thingy made up for it!  Mwah!  Happy Saturday. Y’all rest up for the week ahead so we can be magical!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

DISNEY; It’s a REAL world after all… PART 2

I read and understood the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique reservation policy, and it’s a darn good thing.
Makeovers at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique are very popular. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance and are highly recommended. To book your appointment with a Fairy Godmother-in-training, please call…
Because I got so excited, I didn’t read the age limitations.
To participate, Guests must be between 3 and 12 years of age and be accompanied by an adult (18 years of age or older).
For 179 days of our 180-day-long-wait, I pretended our reservation was for two princesses. On day 180, I mustered up the courage to accept the fact that THIS princess was going to have to wait until Disney changes their age restriction. Surely, there is something in the works at the state and national levels to overthrow this ludicrous policy. Thank you, elected government officials and lobbyist everywhere! I will stay out of your way. Keep up the Good Work.
You know how Walmart puts the milk in the very back of the store so consumers have to walk by 14 million things they might accidentally pick-up on their way to and from the dairy cooler? Well, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is “next to the milk” in the the ginormous World of Disney store.
There a few subtle differences in the interior aesthetics of the World of Disney store and Wal-mart, however.  Like a hot air balloon landing at the checkout counter,
or an illuminated Cinderella glistening from the belly of a small-scale castle near the drinking fountains.
But, the marketing concept is the same.
Good thing Ava Jane and I had lots of time to make our way to the back of the store, because we were both a little paralyzed by the splendor. I mean, how is a princess supposed to make up her mind?!?
TIP #ONE: Place both hands on hips. This is a “power position” and it is essential to start strong and show this merchandise that you are the boss and are in control. You may recognize this posture from our Wonderoo days, or from the training handbook at your first job.
Ava Jane clearly does not need a handbook. She is a natural!
TIP #TWO: If you feel like you are losing your edge, you may need to implement The Finger Shake technique, which is most effective if paired with The Foot Twist.
Do not hesitate to talk out loud to the merchandise OR to no one. It throws the product off, and BOOM, you are right back in the driver’s seat.
TIP #THREE: Remember why you started and stay focused on your goal.  FINALLY!  Whew.  We have ARRIVED!