Monthly Archives: February 2014

Donna Day 2014

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Today is Donna Day.
Many of you may not know what that means.
Let me introduce you to Donna.
Donna
This is Donna.
Donna passed away in 2009 at the age of 4.
She battled with brain cancer for 31 months of her life. That’s a lot of battling. Thats a lot of sleepless nights and echoing cries to God from parents who have nothing less to give to help their child but would give up their own lives if it would make a difference.
I can’t even imagine.
And I confess, there are days I lose sight. I take what I have for granted. I get irritated with my sons or raise my voice or long so deeply for 5 minutes of peace and quiet and an uninterrupted shower. I forget just how blessed I truly am.
Until I am reminded. In scrolling through my newsfeed on FB and catching a post from Mary Tyler Mom, Donnas mother. Because I cannot see her face without being reminded of her daughters face, and of her story.
It’s a story that will break your heart into a million pieces. And no matter how you try, it wont ever go back together the same. Because once you face facts that children, CHILDREN, do indeed battle with cancer every every day and all too often lose that battle….you can’t forget. you can’t look away. you can’t feign ignorance in a placid world of assurance.
Well, you could, but that would make you an asshole, wouldn’t it?
No, once you begin to learn and understand, once you read the stories and see the faces…..you must do SOMETHING.
So, today is Donna Day. http://www.stbaldricks.org/ is teaming up with Donnas Good Things to make a huge difference. Donna day is a way for Donnas parents, and so many many other people who have fallen in love with a little girl they never even had the oppurtunity to meet to celebrate who Donna was, and to give hope to so many other children currently fighting with cancer. Or who may someday have to face that demon. Because the fact of the matter is, as a parent, you JUST. NEVER. KNOW. Until you yourself are facing down the barrel of that awful vile gun and praying harder than you’ve ever prayed, for hope, for help, for some miracle. Donna day is about LOVE. It’s about HOPE. It’s about funding for research of childhood cancer.
PLEASE, take a minute from your day to read THIS:
http://www.deepestworth.com/2014/02/donna-day-2014/
Then head over to the link at the bottom of that article, and make a donation. Make a difference. touch a life.
And then do me one more solid. Go home tonight. And grab your children, I don’t care if they’re newly born teensy little blanket-swaddled babes or huge smelly tower-over-you teenage boys, grab them. And hug them. Extra hard. And kiss their faces. BECAUSE YOU CAN. because you are oh so very blessed to be able to do that any damn time you WANT TO. And then tell them you love them. Even if that baby is sqwauling on hour three of colic misery, even if that hyper 3 year old is too distracted by toys to say it back to you, even if that teenager rolls his eyes. Tell them anyway. BECAUSE YOU CAN. And be grateful. So grateful.
And show that gratitude, by having the heart to not look away.
Please, for Ddonnadayonna, and all of the others, lets make a difference. ❤

Sunday Confession: Bringing Sexy Back

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MoreThanCheeseandBeer
A fellow blogger pointed out to me how tricky this Sunday Confession topic is since she wasn’t really sure she ever HAD sexy in the first place, therefore, how would she write about bringing it BACK?
I must concur.
back when I more closely fit into the cookie cutter version of what our society deems “sexy”, all I ever did was walk around feeling inadaquete. Not pretty enough. I had acne prone skin that I layered foundation and powder over to hide. My breasts were not full enough, voluptous enough. So, I went out and bought a Wonder Bra. I wasnt tall enough. I wa petite, more “cute” than “sexy”. I wasn’t blonde. I wasnt a barbie doll. I had no hips, no ass. So, I spent a small fortune on hair products and make up and outfits. Spent hours making my hair sleek and shiny and smooth. Dressed in skin tight jeans or little skirts with boots that cost a whole paycheck. Paid attention to trend and fashion.
And hell, I looked good. Sure I did. I can look at photos of me 15 years ago and see that fact for myself. i was a beautiful girl.
Problem is, I was really just as pretty without all that stupid crap. Without the facade. I just didnt knwo it then.
Even all dolled up and ready to go out, I didnt feel it. Not then.

A decade and a half later. I’ve changed. Ive stopped worrying about trend and follow my own pathway now. Silky hair has been replaced by dreadlocks, some all goofy and bendy and silly like my spirit, others loose and free, like my heart. I wrap some up in brightly-hued string and decorate others with beads. I dont pay much attention to fashion trends these days. I prefer clothes that make me feel comfortable. Flowing skirts and fitted tanks. Because if I’ve learned nothing else, I know this. That a woman who walks with assuredness and ease, with her head held high and her feet planted solid on this earth, is the most sexy thing on earth.
My breasts are softer now. Shaped differently. Ive nursed 6 baby boys with them. And donated milk to 3 other babies. My breasts are badass, basically. Who gives a rip about perkiness when I can provide sustenance and comfort and love with mine? I have hips now. Hips to balance a toddler on while I cook dinner. Hips to sway while dancing in the livingroom with my children. Hips a man loves to hold onto. I’ll never wear a size 0 pants again, but I’ve got CURVES. A real ass now. Full. I dont have the torso of a teenage boy any more. I’ve got the body of a woman. A woman who has birthed children. A woman who has built things, fixed things, cooked meals, scrubbed floors, worked hard, danced, made love, hiked, swam……
sexiness is not really about the shape of your breasts or the curve of your thighs. its not about perfect hair or clear skin.
Its about being who you are. And liking who you are. Its about throwing away the measuring stick you use to check to be sure you match everyone elses standards, and just embracing who you are deep inside.
What brings you joy? What makes your face light up? What makes you throw your head back and laugh? What sort of magic do you hold within your heart? Be that. Set aside the bullshit on tv or in magazines. Because guess what? Wrinkles around your eyes show the world how many times youve laughed and smiled. Gray hairs show your journey thus far, where youve been and what youve learned. Soft hips, soft breasts….these things show the way a woman can be soft yet strong.
And listen to your lover. Your husband or boyfriend or girlfriend. when they tell you how sexy you look stepping out of the shower or cooking dinner in yoga pants or walking away in a ponytail and bare feet……believe them. Dont roll your eyes. Dont wave away their words. Take them in and allow yourself to believe them. You may not ever make it to the cover of a “beauty” magazine, but to that person at least, you are a mother fucking goddess in human skin.
Start believing it in yourself.
I am currently 33 weeks pregnant. And 34 years old. This is the heaviest I have ever been in my entire life. And irony of ironies, this is the sexiest I have ever felt. i have made some big changes in both my life and my mindset recently. This has changed everything else. I feel so very empowered and sexy now. Womanly. Mother Earth-ish. Stunning. Amazing. Beautiful. And I am so very in love with all of the women in my life who are incredibly sexy in their own wonderful ways. The crooked smiles, the muscles in legs, the way they laugh, the way they cradle their children, the way their hands look holding flowers, the way they sound when they speak about their passions and drives. THAT is pure sexiness.
Maybe its time we bring THAT back.
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Sunday Confession: Dear Ex Love

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Dear Ex Love,

When our first son was a little boy and would cry, it was simple to figure out. Little boys cry, Mommies fix it for them. 

But….now he is 13, not so little anymore. On the cusp of manhood. And I’ve watched him cry quite a bit recently. Because of you. Sometimes its just a little redness around his eyes as he ducks into his room. But last night he sat at my kitchen table crying, wiping his eyes, saying things about how hearing your lies might be better than not having you in his life at all. And my heart broke into a million pieces. And it wasn’t for my own hurt. I don’t give  a rats ass about my own hurt. I just tried my very best to take in the hurt of my 4 oldest sons, especially the eldest, and heal it. And I CAN’T. The only person who can make this any better is YOU. And I doubt that will ever happen. 

You left us 7 years ago. Decided an 18 year old stripper who did drugs was far more fun than raising 4 young sons. And I was left here to sweep up the pieces you left behind. Sure, I was devastated over the loss of a love I had believed in and the fact my marriage was gone. But more so, I was here dealing with the hurt your boys had. Zane, my sweet, calm boy who suddenly became a tornado of rage and would hit me and throw things and call me names. Aidan who started hurting any children that came into our home (not great considering i was a home daycare provider.) and also lapsed on his potty training and began peeing the bed and peeing all over the house at random. Bailey, who was so little and went chasing after your van one day when you came to visit one day with your new girlfriend and didnt even bother to say goodbye to him. His chubby little toddler self went running down the sidewalk alongside your van screaming out in his tiny voice “Daddy! Daddy!”, and the memory of it, so many years later, still makes me cry. 

But I doubt you even remember.

And a few nights ago when I tried reminding you of WHY the boys and I have some problems with trusting you, you had the audacity, the nerve, the balls, to tell me “Why are you bringing up the PAST? It’s over and done with. It doesn’t matter. ” But the thing is, to you it NEVER mattered. You never apologized. You always had someone else to blame. It was somehow MY fault. And on the rare occasion it wasn’t ME, you had some handy excuse. Always an excuse. Never man enough to just say “Hey, I messed up. I was wrong. I’m SORRY.” 

You dropped off of the planet in 2007. Literally vanished. Skipped town to avoid a court order in child support. I didn’t even know you were gone until you didnt show up for your court date after they put a warrant out for your arrest for lack of payment. It was better that way. how many times had you called and said you were coming to take the boys someplace and never showed up? I would get them all ready and the oldest two would stand at the door, coats and hats on, watching and waiting for hours. I was glad you wouldnt be around to do that to them any longer. 

But last June you popped back into our life. Not physically. Long distance. Via the phone. And it was hard to allow my sons to speak to you after all these years. I was afraid of you hurting them again. Plus it just rubbed me wrong you kept calling them OUR boys. As if you had had anything to do with who they were at this point. 

Do you know how much can happen in 6 years? 

School, potty training, Christmas mornings, taking the training wheels off of bikes, took them all rollerskating, picnics, hikes, teach them to swim, their step dad died, a few pets died, Aidan won a spelling bee, Zane wrote/drew his first comic book, Thanksgivings, the leprechauns came on St Patricks day, family vacation to the beach, family meetings, movie nights, church, Aidan and Bailey got baptized, Zane and Aidan went to a friends funeral, learning manners, chore charts, stitches at the ER, wrestling matches, 2 new baby brothers, …….LIFE. Just life. and you missed every damn minute of it. Because drinking and drugs and selfishness, that’s why. Wipe away your excuses. Make room for some humility. Find it in yourself to be man enough to say simply “I messed up. I did wrong. I am sorry.”
A few days ago you got on the phone with me and began to cuss and yell and express your frustration that I wouldnt “send the boys” to you. You proclaimed a desire to be a father in person, from half a country away. But yet, Christmas had come and gone and the gifts you had promised to them never came. You told Bailey you were “too busy”. Two months after Christmas. Too busy. At 8 years old, he is not stupid enough to buy that.
Then Zane turned 13. And I knew days in advance you would let him don. Knew it in my gut. I bought him a couple gifts, took him out to eat just he and I on a special date because 13 is a big deal. And he got his favorite dinner at home that night and his requested cheesecake. It was fun. It was nice. And he waited. For the phone to ring. For a gift or a card to come. For you to show up in some form.
And you didn’t.
And at the end of the day he went into his bedroom and cried alone.
Happy birthday to him.
Thats a stain that will never wash away from his memory. And no matter how special I tried to make that day, it will also always be the day his dad let him down and forgot his birthday.
HOW can you forget your sons birthday????? Don’t you recall that day 13 years ago, when he made his debut on this earth? All scrawny and pink, 5 weeks premature. They intubated him and wrapped him up in an isolette. He was so small but so strong. Began his life in the NICU. Remember? Remember how when he cried it sounded like an indignant lamb? Remember?
I cried while we talked. One, because you were yelling at me, but two, because I realized you still didnt GET IT. Didnt see the pain in the boys hearts every time you let them down. You told me “Stop your blubbering. This isn’t about YOUR feelings.” You cannot understand a real parent does not separate her childs hurt from her own. I ache deep for the tears I cannot stop from falling, for the disappointment in my sons hearts. I cried because my oldest son cries. Because where the other boys dont really recall you very much any more, Zane still remembers being a Daddys Boy. And he wants that back. And at 13 he is grieving the loss of such a huge part of himself. I told you “Theres a little boy here that thinks you are Superman, no matter how many times you fall from the sky.” and then I hung up. Because you were already back to yelling at me and I was done. Done trying to make you hear or understand.

And last night, Zane came home from his week at Grammys house. And I sat him down at the dinner table while he ate cake and talked to him. Explained to him why I had changed my number.Why we were taking a break from you. Not forever. If he so chooses to contact you down the road, I will allow it. But right now I am putting my foot down. My boys need a break from the emotional roller coaster. And I for one cannot allow a man into my realm who cusses at me in rage and yells at me. If thats the kind of “man” you still are, I dont want my sons around that, frankly.
My boys and I, we like our peace. Our simple days of love and laughter.
I won’t apologize. After this many years of being here with these boys every single day, I’ve earned every right in the book to call them MINE. I’ll be the one to respect my son enough to make no mention of his tears or attempt to wipe them away. But I sure as hell WILL fight like a lion to defend his heart and make a voice for his hurt.
I don’t know if you will EVER fully understand what you missed out on.
But if you do, I imagine it will be the greatest regret of your life.
These boys are pretty amazing, wonderful young men. It’s a shame you won’t ever know them the way I do.
Sincerely,
Tonia
MoreThanCheeseandBeer

Reflecting On The Past 34 Years…..

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Bright and early this morning I woke up to a text from my ex husband. Which resulted in a barrage of unwanted texts. Which resulted in my having to change my phone number. But more about that in tomorrows post.
Because today is about me. Thinking back to where I’ve been and all I’ve gone through and how it made me who I am today.
All those texts did was make me so very thankful I am no longer where I was 13 years ago when I first married that man. I’m no longer that girl. Hell, I’m not even he person I was yesterday. That’s the beauty of life. If you’re still breathing, something is changing. Always.
This isn’t a day for regrets. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
My life is not where I intend it to be. Not yet. But I am so utterly beyond grateful for where I am in this moment and who I have in my life. This precious life growing within me, rolling and kicking and stretching. That chubby toddler with the fat-bottomed cloth diapered little bum and the way he throws his head back to laugh from his gut. The 5 year old with his imagination and stubborness and sweetness. And how he holds my hand to fall asleep. The 6 year old who has so much going through his brain that his mouth never stops moving, and who carries more logic than an old man. the 8 year old with his idiosyncratic collections tucked into his pockets and his giggle and the ay he says the TH sound with a softness to it that I know I will miss when he grows up. The 10 year old with his passion and heart and the way he can always make his baby brother smile. And the way he smiles back at him. The 12 year old who has been with me through it all, and is one of my best friends. How he can read betwene teh lines so well and discern the heart of the matter in a situation.
These are slivers of my soul, sliced right out of the brightest part of my spirit. They are what makes my hips find rhythm when I dance. They are the drum beat in my song. They are the ink on paper with every poem I pour out. If you asked me what I would die for, what I believe in, what I live for, you don’t have to look any further than right here by my side. These 6 amazing young men. They are who I am.
I was probably about 3 minutes old when I decided I wanted to be a mom. When your own mom is your hero, its easy to want to follow in her footsteps. I carried a torch for a handful of other dreams along the way. Dreams I have helped to bring to light in one way or another along the way. But the greatest dream I ever saw to be was Motherhood. And there are moments I want to just put my hands up and thank the Higher Power for this gift.
A decade ago, two decades ago….I saw my life ending up differently. Sure. But it’s still so good. So very good. My family. My mother. My sister and brother. My cousins. My Gram. Uncles and aunts.
Friends. Some incredible friends. REAL friends. The kind you think might actually be soul mates. Or long lost sisters and brothers you never knew you had. Folks who know me at my darkest and love me nonetheless. I am so very thankful to know that. To have that. there is nothing I could possibly ask for to add to my life to make it any better, any more blessed than I am right now, right here, in this very moment as it goes fleeting past my window.

1 Corinthians 13
New International Version (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTuZDfqwCsHJMnxpXSV_KSGbDiHDmsz6Pu5M3fMvpGQiaeooVscBg