Thursday, April 23, 2009

Little Women

These are my beautiful girls. As opposite as night and day, one more traditional and classic, the other, unconventional and bohemian. Can you tell which is which?

I adore them.

It's funny, when I was younger, I always said I wanted a house full of boys. And now, I can't imagine my life without them. One is 16, the other just turned 15 and what is so incredibly cool is that we are finally coming into a new place in our mother/daughter relationship. I guess I finally have realized that they are not mine, they belong to themselves. And while I can guide them and advise them, they are completely separate from myself. Easier said than learned for a mother. We bring so much baggage into this journey of parenthood, and while we only have the best intentions to protect them, sometimes we forget that they are not us, that they have to learn things on their own. Letting go is hard but at the same time, it's freedom. And I'm learning that when I give a little trust, and let go a little of my desire to control them, they actually become more responsible and trustworthy.

Notice that I said a little. It's still a process.

But here they are. Don't they shine?

My little women.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Yes, Abigail, there is an Easter Bunny...

This week has been...I can't even come up with a word for it. Because my father has been in the hospital for 8 eight days, everything that I can think of sounds selfish. Hard, yes...but nothing compared to what he's gone through.

He had an appendectomy two and 1/2 weeks ago, routine surgery, carry on my wayward son, the doctors said. Eat, drink and be merry. Ten days later he's in the ER because he can't keep anything down. And that's an understatement. When everything that he's eaten in two years has come up and he's still sick, that's something different. Today is day 8 and we're just now getting some answers and those answers have to do with complications due to the surgery. We're thankful we know where we're going and the doctor's seem to know what to do now. But for 8 days, he's been very sick. A lot. He's probably lost 25-30 pounds.

We believe he's on the other side of this terrible ordeal and will be home soon. And then, maybe we can all get together and have that Easter dinner that we missed. Hide some Easter Eggs for the kiddies, eat some ham and potato salad, and chocolate bunnies.

And all of our children will look like this...

This is my niece, Abigail. Isn't she heavenly?

That's how we Cooper's roll...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Aging Lions

There's nothing like realizing your parents are growing older to make you feel grown-up. It wasn't a gradual process for me, just kind of hit in me in the gut these past two weeks. My father had an apendectomy two weeks ago and is back in the hospital with complications. I'm sure he is going to be fine, however, it's frustrating. The whole process.

Seeing my bullet-proof, superhero father weak and unsure, sucks. Seeing the look in his eyes that backs up that unsureness...even worse.

Watching my mother come somewhat unglued because the person she loves most in the world is unsure, sucks equally.

And I wonder...when did this happen? I'm not ready for this. And even that statement is incredibly selfish, because I'm sure my parents aren't ready either. Or my brothers.

It's not a contest, who's ready, who's not. Simple truth is life sneaks up on you, ready or not. We're a family. We'll do what needs to be done to help each other out, we always have.

It's just strange...seems like just yesterday, my brothers, cousins and I were climbing the "forbidden" tree in Grandma's front yard, playing "quicksand" all over her house, and sneaking off to the "forbidden drainage ditch" just to get away from the adults, who sat around, and had boring, loud conversations while drinking endless cups of coffee.

I guess that's what our kids see now when they look at us.

Strange...on the inside, I still feel like that gangly, girl...unsure and out of place who just wants to sneak away.

I guess that's how my parents felt as they watched their parents aging.

I'm totally serious about all of this, but as I read these last few lines, I feel like Mufasa is going to leap from a mountainside and start singing "The Circle of Life", hyenas nipping at his tail.

I think it's time for bed.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Don't read this if you're squeamish: Dogs, Toddlers and Dairy Queen

Funny how sometimes I blog a few times a week after about a month of silence. Usually, the silence denotes a place of blueness and there's simply nothing to say. Yes, I too, get tired of hearing myself complain because, in reality, I do know that I am blessed.

But after this weekend and my new resolution to make time for joy and fun, time for myself, today...well, today was a challenge. I lost a little mojo. Part of it is my Grandson, the Wapkaplet. He's at an age where he's into EVERYTHING and most of my day is spent literally chasing him while I'm trying to work from home. It was pretty easy to do my job when he was smaller. He slept, he cooed, he smiled. Most importantly, he STAYED where I put him.

Those sweet days are over. And that just means that I have to make some adjustments. It'll work out in time but for now, it's exhausting.

Earlier today, I was outside, trying to have a conversation with a distant dear friend. Mr. W loves it outside so I thought it might work out for a few minutes. Not so. Not so at all. As I'm about to hang up, I see our dog, Bo, hunched over at the back of the yard, doing her business. The stinky bidness. Now, Bo is a pit bull, a pretty sweet dog, however, her bidness is rather, well...rather large. Sometimes it comes out in interesting swirls and stands straight up, sort of like a soft-cone from Dairy Queen! Except it's brown. And smelly.

But to an 18 month old, it looks like chocolate ice cream!

Don't worry, no, he didn't. I scooped him up (pun fully intended) and took him inside as he screamed all the way to the house, reaching out for what he thought was a tasty treat, "MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE!"

Heartbroken, yes. But he'll thank me when he's older.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Chauffeur, no more!

Another milestone today. I've really been working on coming out of my funk and it's been a little bit of a struggle this year. But after my jazz weekend, I started out my usual, dull Monday with a new outlook. A new attitude! A new pair of shoes...thanks, Pointer Sisters.

I spent the entire day with my oldest daughter, getting her license. She's 16 and 1/2 and the most responsible of my children. One out of three ain't bad, huh? She's so cool. We got to the DMV about 10:30 after we dropped off Mr. Wapkaplet at mother's day out, waited for an hour and half only to be told we had to come back at 2:20pm for the actual driving test. She was disappointed and nervous but I had absolute confidence in this girl. I took her to lunch at Chick-Fil-A, her absolute favorite fast-food restaurant of all time, to kill some time. After we sat down with our order, she looked up at me with the most geniune smile of all time and said, "This is the best day ever. I'm getting my license and Chick-Fil-A for lunch!"

I love that girl.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Curious Case of the Missing MoJo

This weekend, my BFF and I headed down to Natchitoches for the 14th Annual Natchitoches Jazz/R&B Festival. It was a much, much, needed break for both of us and after a few hours of phone calls from home, a little drama, we broke free from "mother" mode and headed out about 7:00pm to the Cane River, downtown Natchitoches, to party...Louisiana style. We stopped by a local store, purchased some wine and a Bubbakeg, and popped in some Indigo Girls to get in the mood. Suddenly, our mothering, brooding, boring selves began to slip away and we started to loosen up. The night air was perfect, 68 degrees, a slight breeze and intoxicating music, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the dark, river. We found a stage featuring Trombone Shorty and we commenced to having a blast. Seriously. More fun than a freakin' barrel of monkeys. We celebrated life and found a little joy. Something we've both been missing for quite a while.

We danced, we hollered (only in the south, my friends), we sang, and laughed. Much laughter. And smiled. I'm not even kidding! I could not stop smiling and neither could C. The band was incredible, the crowd enthusiastic and not too large, we found a spot right up front. And for an hour and a half we were infused with the most incredible jazz and rhythm and blues. We were like little kids. Kids with kegs of wine!

If you've ever seen the movie Steel Magnolias, you've seen a piece of Natchitoches. At the end of the movie, there's an easter egg hunt on a steep slope covered with waving, lush green grass. That slope is the levee of the Cane River. Last night, as we were winding down, C and I were sitting at the top of the levee, sipping our wine, gazing at the stars and basking in our new found freedom. She looks at me and says, "You want to go down and buy a t-shirt?" "Yep," I answered. "Let's slide down," she said mischievously. And we did. Giggling all the way down.

What a beautiful city. What a beautiful night. What a beautiful state. And the music...ahhh, the music. Nothin' like it in the world.

I think I got my MoJo back.