Driven to drink

My daughter moved out on her 17th birthday last February. She has marched to her own drummer nearly all her life, and even when she was a baby in my lap, she would try to get away. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised that she wanted to move out of our house as soon as she legally could. I remember three-year old Catherine telling me that she didn’t want to wear dresses with “no sleeves” and also driving me and a parent-educator crazy during a benchmark test. Catherine wanted to play with the little blocks – not put them in a pattern or stack them a certain way. When she was four years old, Catherine developed a fondness for snakes, especially cobras. This snake-phobic mom took Catherine to snake exhibits at zoos and other locations and also helped her check out what seemed like every single picture book about snakes from the library.

Catherine has developed her own style over the six years that we have lived in Belton. We moved from Little Rock and schools requiring uniforms to Belton when she was in the sixth grade. Lake Belton Middle School was her first opportunity to wear something other than khaki pants and solid color polo shirts at school since Kindergarten in Plano, Texas. By eighth grade, Catherine was dressing in black and wanting to dye her hair. I made the mistake of telling her that I wouldn’t pay for her to dye her hair. Thanks to the internet, Catherine figured out how to dye her hair red with Kool-Aid. The rest is history.

Fast forward to today. Catherine has gauged her ears, pierced her septum and lips, and is talking about more piercings and tatoos. Her hair is dyed black, but she dyed it black and white (exactly in half) fairly recently. I don’t usually give her my opinion about her piercings and hair. Today, however, she has pushed me to my limit (hence the post title). She sent me a text this evening and said to check out her picture on Facebook. I did a double-take and discovered that my daughter has shaved part of the side of her head. Not just a little chunk either – she went top to bottom.

I’m contemplating many things while drinking my glass of Pinot Grigio. The first and obvious question is “What was she thinking?” Actually, that should read, “What the hell was she thinking?” She is supposed to start work next week. Will the manager be upset? What kind of impression will she give when she shows up to work? What is she trying to prove? What does her boyfriend think? Does she even care what her boyfriend thinks? If she doesn’t like people to stare at her, why draw even more attention to herself?

I want Catherine to feel like she can express herself, but I feel like she is engaged in some sort of self-sabatoge. I don’t know.

In the meantime, I’m going to pour myself another glass of wine and call it a night.

Christmas cards

I look forward to receiving Christmas card photos and newsletters every holiday season. Although our family has never managed a Christmas card photo shoot at the beach, I enjoy seeing smiling children and their parents sitting on the beach in their color-coordinated outfits. I always save the photos and newsletters and periodically go back to see how everyone has grown. I even put them in scrapbooks.

One day I received a card from our friends, the Millers, from Little Rock. Instead of a photo or newsletter, however, the card was a picture of a Christmas tree that six-year old Shelby drew. She also printed “Merry Christmas” on her picture. I immediately flashed back to six years ago. Shelby, born at a little over 25 weeks, was fighting for her life in the Baptist Hospital NICU. Her parents had buried Shelby’s twin sister, Julia, earlier in December. In addition, Nancy fell and broke her ankle and needed surgery between Shelby’s birth and Julia’s funeral.

Six years ago, Mark and Nancy spent the entire holiday season, including Christmas day, grieving for Julia and helplessly watching their tiny one pound, 8 ounce baby daughter endure treatment for her premature and diseased lungs.

Six years ago on New Year’s Eve, Nancy called me and other friends and family to ask for prayer for Shelby while she and Mark waited to see if another treatment would help Shelby’s damaged lungs begin to work properly. Mark and Nancy had no idea six years ago if Shelby would live through the new year.

Shelby not only survived, but she is the hardest working little girl I have ever known. She has been in physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, and feeding therapy since she went home in April, 2006. What is play for other children has been work for Shelby, but I have seen her set her cute little mouth a certain way which means, “I’m going to do it.” Nancy said Shelby doesn’t usually take the initiative to draw because she has to work at drawing so much in therapy. On the day she and her parents went to pick out a Chrsitmas tree, she was  so excited and drew a tree without any prompting.

Shelby’s Christmas card is more than a tree with a holiday greeting. The card tells about the miracle of a little girl who has overcome more challenges in her six years than many people will have in a lifetime.

Recalculating

A friend’s Facebook post the other day said something like “when you get off track, be like the GPS lady that says, ‘recalculating.'” Don’t quit; just recalculate.  I like the word “recalculating.” January 1 is one of my favorite times of the year because it’s a time for fresh starts. I like to set goals and make resolutions, but I get discouraged when I fail. I need to remember that I can recalculate when I take a wrong turn.

I have only made two resolutions for the new year. My first resolution is to quit drinking Diet Coke (except for one a day on weekends). So far this week I have not had a Diet Coke, and I’m looking forward very much to Saturday. My other resolution is to put things away when I am finished. Sometimes I think it’s more trouble to make the extra effort to put things up right away. A few days later, however, I’ll have piles of all kinds of junk that take me the better part of a day to put away.

My usual MO when I fail to keep a resolution is to give up. My plan for this year is to recalculate and get back on track.

Happy New Year, and happy recalculating!!

Am I coming or going?

Today I didn’t accomplish anything beyond running errands,  washing dishes, doing  laundry (and I’m still not finished), and cooking. I was busy, but I don’t feel like I was very productive. Sometimes I have so many everyday chores to do that I don’t get to other important things like getting the house ready to sell. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage getting the house ready in just two months.

I know I need to sit down and make a list of the tasks I need to do for each room and set goal dates for completion. I’m not sure why I haven’t made a list. Maybe I’m afraid the number of tasks will take longer than two months. I could also be avoiding the list because I don’t like the idea of moving and leaving my daughter, parents, sister, and other family and friends. John and I are looking forward to being with Paul again and seeing old friends in Little Rock, but good-byes stink. I know because we’ve done this too many times. The idea that we are really moving will sink in once the house goes on the market.

On a lighter note, I love listening to KUT 90.5 in the mornings. “The Writer’s Almanac” with Garrison Keillor came on while I was driving on yet another errand, and he mentioned that today is the anniversary of Isaac Asimov’s birth. I’ve never read any of Asimov’s stories, but Keilor shared a quote by Asimov – “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” I like that. I’m going to add that quote to my Facebook page.

I’m also going to start working on my list, after I finish the laundry.

I’ve graduated (finally). Now what?

The answer to the above question should be obvious. Get a job!!! I am almost 46 years old (12 more shopping days until my birthday), and I’ve been in college since 2006 after a 20 year hiatus. The time has come for me to re-enter the workforce and start making some money. Since life doesn’t always happen according to plan and my iPhone calendar, however, I’m delaying the hunt for a full-time job for a few months. My husband, Paul (also known as The Actuary), resigned from his job in Austin to take a job in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has been living in Arkansas since October, and John (the 12-year old) and I will move to Little Rock this coming summer. I had one semester left of college, and now that I am finished, I need to get the house ready to sell. I became quite disorganized as I finished my last four classes, so I have my work cut out for me.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful friend who plans to help me get an internship position in the  marketing department where she works in Harker Heights. The position will be unpaid but will allow me to gain some valuable experience . In addition, I may have a part-time editing job opportunity in a few months. I am going to enjoy exploring different areas of professional communication during this transition time before moving.

Most of my free time will consist of cleaning out drawers, closets, bookshelves, and sorting through piles of paper. When I’m not cleaning, I’ll be taking care of our adorable, but high-maintenance lhasa-poo, Josie, and schlepping the 12-year old to swim practice and meets. I am excited about our move but sad at the same time, but that will be the topic of another post.

For now – welcome to my blog.

p.s. I got the idea for my blog title from a comment on a friend’s blog. My therapist has been trying to get me to journal for three years, so the title seems to fit.