Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Girl

I spent this last weekend in a foreign land. Panhellenic land. My daughter is headed to college at The University of Alabama in August and she wants to pledge a sorority. I wasn't that type. I've had to expand my horizons and realize that I've been somewhat close-minded. It's too much. She's amazing. In spite of my groaning and moaning about the greek system, she's stayed steady in her convictions. And I have to say, I walked away at the end of the weekend, changed. I walked away convinced that this will be a very good thing for her. I walked away being reminded that my children are individuals and that she, my middle child, is not me. Thank God.

So...Stevey is her name. Before she was born, her father and I debated on names. He wanted a more traditional name but I was leaning towards non-traditional names. Chloe, Zoe and even Scout were my choices. Scout was my first choice but in the end, we agreed on Stevey. Sure, I adore Stevie Nix and Stevie Wonder, but she is not named after these two musical geniuses. I guess you could say they were merely inspirations. It's strange, how a name means so much. I felt intuitively that she needed a strong, unique name without ever having met her. She was born, I nursed her, we spent time getting to know her and it became apparent that she was cautious, somewhat fearful, and so very shy and timid. And we had saddled her with a strange name, a name that would draw attention.

I have watched this girl grow throughout the years. We joke about her younger pictures. In every picture she always looked startled, like someone snuck up behind her and whispered "boo" in her ear. She rarely smiled. She was afraid of the dark, thunderstorms, mad cow disease, and plural possessives. She seemed sad, always. At the age of 10, I would tell her to brush her hair and she would sigh and say, "What's the point? It's just going to get messed up anyway."

But somewhere in middle school, about the time she had her braces removed, she blossomed. She blossomed in spite of her fears and anxiety. And she still has the anxiety, the panic, but she has learned to compensate. She's learned that facing your fears head on is the only way to make them vanish.

She's become the center of her circle of friends. She is responsible, she has goals, and she isn't afraid to pursue her dreams. Well, let me rephrase that, she is afraid but she moves ahead anyway. Courage. She's full of courage. She doesn't think so, but she has it in abundance.

I watched her walked away from me Saturday, after the daughters and parents were separated. I choked. My heart stopped. She was beautiful as she turned around a few times and glanced back, just to make sure I was still there. She was alone. She knew no one. She doubted her herself but still, she moved forward.

I have never been so proud of her in my life. I was never that brave. I'm still not that brave.

Her name is Stevey.

And she's going to move the world.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dandelion Lessons

Step 1: Find and pick one fluffy, white dandelion. Smile impishly.

Step 2: Put your lips together and blow...

Happy St. Patrick's Day...why a dandelion? Because the picture wouldn't be nearly as adorable if he were blowing on a shamrock.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Night

We're in, people. We finished up the last load today from the old house. I had a moment when I shut the door for the last time but that was it, just a moment. Robert and I sat on the front porch and reminisced for a while before we left. Here's a peek into my new living room. It's coming together slowly. I need more color though! Guitar girl helps, she's over to the left, just out of this shot.
She still makes me so happy.

That's it for now because I'm wiped out. Done. Kaput. Sleepy.

But so very happy and blessed.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Daughter of a Preacher Man

I'm tired, people. A good tired, but still tired. I just said tired four times in a row, that's how tired I am. Five now. Moving is good. Moving is evil. Moving is...well, moving. And that's what we're doing. Moving. And yes, I know the photo is a repeat but I thought it fit, so here it is again. I guess you could say it moved, from one post to another.


Speaking of moving, at the end of last year, my father retired from pastoring. My brother took over his role. My Dad was, and still is, an amazing teacher. He's a seeker, an intellect, and an avid reader and researcher. Sometimes his sermons were a bit, shall we say, lengthy. But only because he wanted to make absolutely sure that his thoughts were conveyed to the congregation because he is so passionate about his beliefs.

My brother's style is different. He's more practical, to the point, and then pulls it all together and wraps it up. A great teacher, different style.

What's strange now is that for my whole life, my Dad's been behind the proverbial pulpit. I can't tell you the times he called us out from the pulpit for whispering, passing notes, or sleeping on those cold, hard, wooden pews and drooling on the hymnals that we used for pillows. And now, my Dad sits on the back row with me and whispers, hands out gum, and cuts up. He doesn't sleep or drool...only at home in his recliner.

And I wonder how hard this must be for him. I know he's proud of my brother, I can tell. But at the same time, he's passing the torch. His torch. His domain. His job. And I imagine that he's asking himself, "Who am I now? What is my role? What's my purpose?"

Shakespeare, 2 Henry IV 3.4.283
Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance.

Strange indeed. I only hope he knows how amazing he is. I hope that he knows that he's been my rock, my teacher, my father. Always will be. And that he knows his desire to teach will never outlive his performance. That teaching is his essence and has never been a mere performance.

We're all moving here. In more ways than one. Forward.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Winds of Change

I'm moving this weekend. We finally decided to let this old house go. We can't afford the improvements needed, especially in this economy and housing market. We would lose money hand over that we don't have. Money that we need for one child, this child, who's going away to college in five short months. Breathe, Melinda, breathe.

And I'm okay with the house thing. Great, actually. We need a change. A fresh wind. A bright patch in a rocky year. There are things I will miss. The red front door. The staircase. The bamboo in the backyard that we fight every year from overtaking the entire yard. The next door neighbors.

This corner.

The cobalt blue kitchen, the black and white bathroom, the possum under my back deck.

The memories. But those, I get to take with me.

What I won't miss is the bass thumping from the stereo across the street. The random gun shots we hear on any given day. The fact that we have to leave our house on New Year's Eve, The Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day because it sounds like a war zone with all the fireworks, mixed in with the gunshots. The cats. wild cats. And I won't miss the rats. That's right, I said rats. You'd think with all the cats, but no, we still battle the rats.

I won't miss the broken things. Everything is broken (did somebody say Bob Dylan?)

I plan to take lots of pictures, so I can remember. Because oddly enough, I've lived here longer than any other place and I'm going to miss this house. Seven years. I bought it when I was single, alone with three children, and so lost. It meant a lot to me. Still does. So much has happened here. My son was lost and found. I met and married my sweet husband. My daughters have turned into beautiful, young women. And we found another daughter.

But life is about change. And I'm embracing this change wholeheartedly. I have five more months before Stevey leaves for college and I feel like I have so much to tell her. So many things that I think I've missed. I feel like I need to tuck in corners, cross secrets off the list, give her a manual. I'm not ready for this, but I don't think any mother is ever ready.

I have a lot to say about her over the next several months. She's pretty amazing.

For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson~

Balance, grasshopper, balance.