Sitting in an arctic Starbucks is not exactly the most conducive environment for writing. The a/c is blowing so forcefully my hair is actually whipping around in my eyes. Hopefully, that makes me appear to be some type of supermodel goddess to the other latte-sipping patrons. That was said with a smirk, of course. It has been many years and numerous junior sizes ago since I have come close to giving that appearance. Even though I was rockin’ some mighty fine Victoria Secret jeans in 2003. And yet again – that was many years ago, huh?
I’m not exactly sure why I’m here. Well, I know that Luke is 10 minutes away frolicking in nature with his new camp buddies and hopefully becoming properly socialized with his peers. But why I felt the need to hit up the closest Starbucks with David’s laptop is what truly defies logic. Normal logic at least. When will I get over the idea that I want to be a writer? I can’t even tell you what kind of writer I want to pretend to be. I just want words to pour effortlessly from my fingertips and upon perusing them find that I am in reality as amusing as I imagine myself to be.
In truth, I am wasting an hour and ½ of my life but making it marginally appealing by adding a venti frappe and a pair of sunglasses to the image. I mean, only the cool folks spend their time in SBux on computers, right? I look around at my neighbors to gage the coolness here. It seems to be a haven for “older” middle-aged men. The only customers here are five gentlemen – all over the age of 40 and all here as singles. Do these men realize that they are nowhere near a college campus and they are not going to be able to ogle sexy co-eds looking for a caffeine fix? Or maybe they are here looking for middle-aged housewives that are bored of staying at home, making pornographic webcasts and seek normalcy at the neighborhood java hut. I am a disappointment to them either way! This atmosphere actually makes me miss Luke. The constant chatter of the baristas (is a guy coffee-dude a barista?) is positively annoying as it reeks of teenage angst/flirty banter even though I guess that is what to be expected of the under 25 set these days. If they start singing Justin Bieber songs, I’m outta here.
I do enjoy the smells here though. They are rivaled only by the briny beach breezes that carry along hints of coconut tanning oils. Ahhhh, the beach. My addiction. David asked me this morning if I had an addiction and I put forth my best insulted glare and coldly replied, NO! Why would my 11 year old even be curious about addictions? Why is addiction even in his vocabulary? And why would he assume it is okay to ask me if I have an addiction. Do I seem like I would have an addictive personality? Of course, he followed up this question with, “I thought everyone had an addiction.” Only now does it occur to me that maybe I should have a follow-up conversation with my son and figure out where his head is at and exactly what his addiction might be. Which brings me back to my dreams that the sandman seems to be completely incapable of fulfilling. I NEED the beach. I need the saline injection of waves, water, sun, wind. I don’t even need perfect weather or pink sand — I just want the beach.
I actually ventured forth to a real estate website today that specializes in Outer Bank homes. And no, I haven’t completely lost my mind. The ocean front, water-front McMansions are not even a consideration for me. I really want to find a HOME that puts us in close proximity to beach living without the threat of losing my little piece of heaven to erosion or hurricanes. I want to live in a neighborhood where the boys can have neighbors THEIR AGE and have a basketball hoop in our concrete driveway. I want a deck that I can decorate with whimsical wind chimes and bird feeders. I want a pair of comfortable Adirondack deck chairs so that each night, Wayne and I can enjoy a glass of wine while breathing in air that seems to seep out of smoked oysters. I want to be able to walk 10 minutes and find an ecological adventure, salt-encrusted of course. I want each summer storm to blow away our cares and bring renewed hope and each sound sunset to take our breath away. I want my children to learn that is okay to just slow the hell down and enjoy life. Why does this have to happen at the beach? Because it is the only place on earth that has had that effect on me.
I may not look like a beach girl, but I am. I have salt water flowing through my veins. When life becomes a bit difficult or I become weary, I escape to the ocean. It wasn’t acknowledging another trip around the sun that sent me running this weekend — though some will not believe me. I needed the salt air and crashing waves to center me as I mourned the passing of a wonderful man that I had the honor of knowing for many years. He left this Earth way too soon and left behind an amazingly strong wife and two young, beautiful children. I let the frigidly cold ocean winds wipe away my tears. While there is much sadness and heartache in this world, we also have so many amazing blessings. The beach reminds me of this and comforts me once again.
You may remember that I did not make any New Year’s Resolutions, but listed a few wishes instead. One wish I’ve had FOREVER is to become an all-around better person. After many years of battling depression (with and without meds, with and without therapy), I am discovering that being a better person starts with being a happier person. When I am happy, I have energy to do more for others. And I have also discovered that opening my eyes to the little moments and the “common” beauty around me makes me happy. It makes me even happier to catch one or more of those moments with my camera! Now, to find a way to share that happiness with others!! I’m working on that one!
I truly did not believe I would have an opportunity to participate in this week’s challenge because of the challenging theme. To me, launch brings visions of flight — balloons, rocket ships, fireworks. Nothing I had scheduled for this week. But thanks to my husband and his ingenious knack for bringing adventure to our lives, I had the perfect photo-op for LAUNCH in my own backyard!
In doing ”a year in review” for 2011, I decided to dig up some posts from my very first blog — done in 2006. It seems like a lifetime ago and at times it seems it was a life that belonged to someone else!
The following snippet touched me today because David has driven me to the brink of insanity over the past 3 days. I have to laugh now at how fearful I was for this child. He has hit puberty full-force at the tender age of 10 and there are no real battle scars to be found as of yet. Yes, he still misses Christian. He still gets teary when he visits the cemetery. But he has also learned compassion for others, especially those facing loss or grieving. He has also learned gratitude for having Wayne as “another” Dad. He is much more mature and self-sufficient than I ever imagined he would be at this point; however, he is more naive and gullible than I ever thought possible for a child of mine!!
From January 2006:
I will be sending David off to kindergarten in 7 months. That thought absolutely terrifies me. I know it is only natural for Moms to be scared and protective of their little ones when they are about to embark on such an adventure, but sometimes I feel it is more than that for me. Since David’s Dad died, I have felt an overwhelming need to shield him from more pain — to try to set his world right again. Believe me, I know in my head that I cannot and should not protect him from “life” — that I need to direct my energies into preparing him for it instead. But in my heart, I feel an injustice was done to him and that feeling is only reinforced when I catch him staring up at the sky with a lot of sadness in his eyes or when I see him hug his Dad’s headstone at the cemetery and hear him whisper “I miss you, Daddy”. I know that David is very happy and loved beyond belief and I know that he loves Wayne as a dad. But I wish David didn’t have to endure the sadness and emptiness that must accompany losing a parent. I wish I could give him a magic shield that would protect him from the fear, confusion and anxiety of entering kindergarten. Maybe I’m the one that needs the magic shield.
And while I claim that “I’m ALWAYS right”, I do believe I nailed it when I stated I was the one in need of a magic shield. I remember reading this quote by Elizabeth Stone in 2000, during my first pre-natal appointment with my ob-gyn, “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Awwwww, what a cool sentiment — exactly what I thought. I guess in this one instance, I was the one that was truly naive!! I now have 3 pieces of my heart walking around and it is no wonder I often feel like a warped ping-pong ball stuck inside of a perpetual pin ball machine.
I’ve decided not to air my recent grievances with David’s behavior, because my look back has taught me to be grateful for the amazing child(ren) I have. He has accomplished so much with so many obstacles to overcome. Through it all he has preserved his Dad’s gentle nature while exercising my vocal tendencies (thankfully only when a true need arises). I also must realize and accept that neither David nor I have control over the hormonal atrocity known as puberty. But I really do need my magic shield first … and fast.
I have never believed in making New Years’ resolutions, mostly to avoid the guilt that arises from lacking follow-through and the grueling self-inflicted beatings for my failures. This year is no different — no resolutions made, but wishes have been tied to my imaginary “Wish Tree“.
1. Once a month, after the boys have been tucked in their beds, Wayne and I will enjoy a bottle of sparkling wine (Champagne if we’re feeling extravagant) and an assortment of tapas (inspired by our New Year’s Eve dinner at Tasca Brava).
2. My camera will become my best friend. I will let “The Nik” capture the upcoming year without so much worry about getting the “perfect shot” — but just capturing the moment. And that also means I will be appearing in more images thanks to the awesomely cool gift from my boys, a wireless remote shutter release! (Ordering my own Christmas present was a win/win for all involved! You’re welcome, Wayne!)
3. Rekindle the passion. Ummm, not what you’re thinking. My relationship with Wayne is flaming hot … no worries there! I’m talking about being more passionate about my life. Photography, writing, travel, food, wine, friends — I will let passion be my guide! Watch OUT, world!!
4. Take care of myself! This is not a wish, but a must! I give my best to the boys and Wayne every day. It is time I give my best to myself, as well.
If you find that in a couple of months that my wishes are hanging tattered and torn, neglected and forgotten on my Wish Tree — don’t hesitate to give me a gentle nudge to revisit this post. Depending on my mood, be prepared for a not so gentle Thank You full of expletives!
I know, I know. I am stalling on my 30-day photo challenge. The bad habit day has truly frazzled me. I somehow cannot find the motivation necessary to photograph my Dr. Pepper (but at least it is diet now!), piles of freshly laundered but unfolded clothes (thank goodness my boys are now on Christmas break and thus, laundry duty) and my unkempt, torn, sometimes bitten fingernails (if anyone would like to give me a Christmas gift card for a manicure, I’d be so grateful!). Somehow, I was inspired by this week’s photo challenge. I do not like having my picture taken but found the self-portrait aspect very liberating. And once I lose ??? more pounds, then I plan on doing a series of self-portraits. Not a New Year resolution, but a much-needed goal — for my health and photographic peace of mind!
So — here I am:
‘Tis the season for waiting. Waiting in lines to buy, buy, buy. Waiting in lines to see Santa. Waiting day after day to get to THE day. My picture shows my boys waiting to see Santa during our trip on the Polar Express. It was well worth the wait as each child was rewarded with a silver reindeer sleigh bell. What are YOU waiting for?