It’s a little over the top

I had somebody ask me if I ever loosen up and “go crazy” – the context being they saw me as super in control and kind of like I have a stick up my butt.. they were thoughtful as they asked if I was ever just so carefree that the next morning would be full of “oh my God that was SO fun”. Wild. Over the top.

I have thought a lot about that question. My friends, good friends and best friends all would chuckle at that – but I get it. I once met a coworker face to face after much time of working together and they were amazed, “you’re so laid back”, she finally laughed halfway through our conversation, admitting she always knew me as intense.

But, I couldn’t answer that original question right. Everything out of my mouth sounded a little too square “yeah, I mean, sometimes I have three glasses of wine” or “sure – when I go out, I’ll have some Grand Marnier” – but it’s true: I don’t drink to have a good time. I just don’t – it is something I changed when I got divorced and wanted to know where my emotions were coming from. Do I drink? Yes. Do I have a good time? Yes. Do I drink fast, a lot, or drink what I don’t like? No. No and No.

But yet, the answer to the question was a hard core yes. I do loosen up. I do “go crazy”. I do go wild. Life is, at times, over the top.

And today, when I was driving east on 70 from St. Charles down to Pridefest – rounding hour four of my Three Little Birds Pandora station – I realized, this is the yes.

I use the fact my daughters trust me to get in and out of the car with me over and over and over again and I use the fact that I have a fantastic sense of timing, a logistical intuition, to kick it – all over town, all over the country. I max our experiences. I put the onus on them at times, I put the onus on me at times, and – I guarantee, tomorrow, we will be playing it all back over French Toast & the last of the week’s fruit.

I woke up right at 9am “I wonder what time it is” – (I did not get up when my normal 5:30am alarm went off) – yay, it was the exact time I needed to get the house up.

French Toast on the griddle, dog fed, girls up. Ellen’s game.

I ran over a plastic tupperware, it popped and turned heads. I got back from my water and juice run and learned everybody laughed at me (so the girls say). I expected that.

I was “that mom” with the Sex and the City Miranda hat, no makeup and glasses.

Guess what? I didn’t care.

Ellen had some awesome at bats. It wasn’t burning hot. And my dog dumped in the bushes / ivy, unaccessible to me, so I didn’t have to pick it up. A good time.

We went home. Snacked. Hydrated. I put on hoop earrings. (I mean *you dress up for Pride*) and we hit the road.

Ran through the timing of what we thought we may be able to accomplish today and switched the plans. Onto I-170 to 70 to Main, it was. The girls had some birthday shopping to do and Ellen had a craving for Valentis.

The girls bummed Main Street while I bought Ranger a taco dog treat. (That I almost just capitalized, because it was that prominent.)

We ate sandwiches. I got a coffee. I got a really really good coffee. The barista looked like that guy from Twilight – not the werewolf – but the other team, just with blonde hair and blue eyes. Young, but beautiful, and I would have let him talk to me about how proud they are of the way they roast the Ethiopian beans for at least another 15 minutes.

We wrap it up. Pridfest is next. The whole time, we are listening to One Love, No Woman No Cry, Ziggy Marley left and right, Sitting on the Dock of the Bay. From the backseat I hear, “Mom, this is so your radio station.” It reminds me of West Palm Beach. I start craving crab legs and a Southwest ticket.

We get to Pride. We got an awesome parking spot. Just like in St. Chuck. The girls are hilarious. They are so into it. Everybody loves Ranger. He is loving being a part of the pack.

And all the fries on the ground.. Obviously.

Next up – Soulard, just for ten minutes, we need to restock kitchen essentials. Mainly: Vanilla. Because… “Mom, you have made French Toast literally everyday this week.”

It’s true. I have worked 7:30-11:30a from home, then taken the afternoons off to relax with my kids. Each day, it’s French Toast. Capitalized. Prominent.

Before getting on 44 to head home, we loop by Tower Grove. To feed the sister’s cat (Lucy’s summer gig: cat sitting, hit me up if you need help). This whole plan is working out perfectly.

Home. Feed Dog. He is wiped out. Water the plants. Hydrate. In the car.

Three Little Birds radio is still kicking it.

Six Flags or bust. Because, why not? I knew last night it was possible to hit a Saturday wavelength with the girls that would be reminiscent of our 5am drive north to St. Augustine from Orlando, my Beach Front Avenue cruise, that we would be able to go – over the top.

Over the top. That bubbling over of righteousness, that radical laughter when “Day-O” by Harry Belfonte comes on as you are pulling onto Six Flags drive and the girls whoop “MOOOOOOOM!”

“This day is amazing!”

“MOM THIS IS YOUR SONG!” Remember when you made up that whole story about this song and sang into a flashlight?

// Pandemonium. The Boss. Batman. American Thunder. Ice Cream. //

My kids buy their own gimmicks and sweets, by the way. Not all of this was my dime. (Well, directly, they get a no questions asked allowance. As long as they have something left for the offering plate and their end of mom week checklist is done.)

We were starving. I was thinking.

“Burgers sounds good.”

9:15pm. Schnucks. Sirloin. Buns. Pickles. Lettuce. Tomato.

Showers begin, burgers cook. Platter is made. I am literally having an out of body experience in my kitchen as I deliriously (I said “we rode motorcycles” instead of “rollercoasters”) put it together like the most meaningful guest was dropping by.

“YEAH THIS IS BEAUTIFUL” – “Finishing Strong” – “Way to finish strong, mom”

We talked about a couple things over our burgers. We talked about the protesters we saw at Pride. We talked about how cool it was to see people celebrating individuality, celebrating who they are…. We talked about if there was anything at Pride they saw that they didn’t necessarily agree with. (Putting duct tape on the nipples, didn’t seem like a great idea to us…) We talked about how when you’re in the zone, just finish strong. Let the whole day be epic. We talked about what was making the burgers spicy (red pepper and garlic seasoning from the Soulard Spice Shop.) And then.

Of course.

We started to talk.

About each part of the day.

That was so fun.

“That was so fun”

I can’t believe it.

“I can’t believe it”

Epic.

Over the top.

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This post was not intended to indirectly answer any one person, have a conversation I wouldn’t have in person, or put myself in any type of social positioning. If you thought that at any point in this post, I thank you for reading and assure you – this is just my life. These are just the dots that connected today.

Also, knowing that driving the 70 mile U to do these isn’t something common or practical is what puts it mildly on par with some of those all nighters, backstage passes and wall scaling type of ventures. 

PEACE

Aces, Trust & Remedied Lilies

UB40 is playing on my “Three Little Birds” Pandora Station and the mildly annoying chatter of two teenagers and my sweet Lucy rattles and laughs against the clank of dishes and commands of dogs (<< plural for poetic effect, though I am so preparing my heart for the right puppy number 2) from the kitchen. Ranger is not by my side, surprisingly, but is in the kitchen – hoping for an Alfredo noodle or some cheese or pretzel crackers to be dropped to him during the process of cleaning up.

I? Am in my writing studio, wanting to capture this week – this moment in time. My whole life, it seems, is coming together – tightening correctly, woven seams. And the reason I am confident in this is based on the fact that it is based on what I am seeing happening in *other people’s lives*.

But, this is the fun part of trying to find the threads in my own life. Let’s start here:

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So, when I bought my house (two summers ago), there was this big circle pod of day lillies right in the middle of my lot. Pretty, but odd. So last year, I dug them all up and put them in new corners, some in new rows and some in the trash :) And when I finally saw this crew in the one corner of my house bloom – this fleshy peach and ruby – I couldn’t help but feel some sense of validation in me doing what I wanted to my yard.

Sometimes, I don’t do what I want because it directly changes or opposes something somebody else intentionally did. The way my yard looks lately is proof to experiment with your own way.

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This is from Tuesday. That’s my oldest daughter, rounding home – listening to music – with a pack (complete with a full water bottle) – on her scooter. She was coming home from my brother’s house who lives up a few blocks east of me. This sight of independence was actually a reflection of my trust in her.

And let me tell you –

Seeing your trust in other people is a beautiful sight.

<insert prayer for the spiritual math on trust, giving trust, and building trust>

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So, the other day, I did not could not would not cut my grass. But it was uneven. And there were weeds. And some high spots. And it just “didn’t feel right”. So I poured a little bit of margarita and weeded. Checked it out. Wasn’t good enough. So I got my edger out and trimmed it up. Checked it out. Wasn’t good enough. Pulled out my mower and whipped through it. Blew off the clippings. Hosed off my porch. Wiped things down. Put everything way. And… twenty minutes later when it started to pour – I stood on my porch, in my Superwoman tank top (picked out for me by my daughter in a California Thrift Shop) and felt the power of doing things to your personal standards, even when you really don’t want to – and that relief, that satisfaction of having it done right when it’s complete.

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Wednesday night was an interesting one. It came with a dose of “personal conflict” as I decided where to spend my hour by hour over the course of logistics, farewells and seeing one of my best friends. As I was leaving the house where my daughters were swimming, I saw this on the host’s wall. And I love it. Because, at the end of the day, there is family, there are friends who love like family, there are friends, there are acquaintances and there are complete strangers. And I grew thankful I have family, of course, but especially aware of friends who love like family.

But you have to prioritize those friends who love like family. Those don’t grow overnight. Seasoned friendships deserve you, in your fullness.

This week has been really full of a lot of happiness. I almost can’t believe it. It hasn’t always been easy. But I can gladly say I am no longer learning from certain past mistakes but that I am actually a learned person. On our hike Thursday, Ellen started her inevitable complaints. But as soon as my agitation grew, I remembered I knew this was going to happen. And I also know not to get worked up. Go slow. Offer lots of support and encouragement. Validate everything she is feeling. Kick her in the butt when she needs it, but coach her through the experience. Then be quiet. Draw boundaries (ok no complaining now until we are half way). Let her get upset. Let her cry. Watch her frustration and pain and suffering chip away at the outside. Watch the process. Don’t battle it. Then, on the downhill side, watch her joy emerge. Watch her adrenaline kick in, see her gem. Watch her get excited. Wait for her to say it wasn’t that bad. And be thankful you didn’t lose it, because that would have really ruined the time.

Then, go get a milkshake.

Then, go jump in a pool.

Then, go home and take a shower.

Put on your favorite V Neck tee and go to dinner.

With a deck of cards.

PEACE.

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