I once read in a novel the amount of nicknames you give someone is equal to the amount of your affection for them. If this is true, Max is one of the most loved beings I know.
Here’s a list of some of his many names:
Moo Goo Gai Pan
Little Old Baby
Like many of you, I am not quite sure how to make the world better right now. My heart has been a bit frozen from fear and general overwhelm. I often think, “What can I do?” Is there anything I can reasonably contribute that might help?
I have this blog so I intend to start writing more. Maybe I can channel some love into the world through this keyboard and maybe that’s something. It doesn’t feel like enough, but it’s all I have to offer you.
All each of us can do is start where we are and love as much as we are able.
In my dermatologist’s waiting area, there are a few areas of distinction. The muted color scheme is lovely and soothing. Then, there is this cascading water feature in constant flow adding to the serenity. It all makes for a pleasant experience as you wait to be called in for your appointment. That is, until you start watching their video feed.
In this feed, it shows you the additional services they offer besides skin care. While I appreciate the ads for sunscreen, everything else I could do without. According to this video feed, I could use help with my furrowed brow, crow’s feet, sagging cheeks, skinny lips, back fat, and let’s not forget, my droopy caboose. It was hard to sit there and watch as each successive product or service offered was like taking a bullet to my self-esteem. I texted a friend during this ordeal for validation and support. No sooner than I hit send, I looked up to see I also could use a “chin assessment”. Apparently, the angle of mine is ‘wrong’.
As women, we are expected to uphold a ridiculous standard of beauty. No one really talks about how insane it all is, but I imagine, most of us could rattle off ten to twenty things about our appearance that we don’t like. If we had unlimited resources, I suppose each of us could spend our time fixing these ‘flaws’, but when would it stop? Most of the options available are temporary at best. Who has that kind of time for all that upkeep?
When I think about real beauty, the kind that is sustainable through years and transcends aging, I always think of my Mom.
To me, she was the most beautiful woman in the world.
She kept her hair short, rarely wore make-up except for the occasional swipe of red lipstick, and preferred jeans and t-shirts as her wardrobe staples. What made her beautiful wasn’t her adherence to unrealistic cultural beauty standards. Instead, it was the sparkle in her clear-blue eyes, the playful laughter that would rise from within, and a smile that lit joy into whatever room she entered.
That’s the kind of beauty I want in my life. The best part of this kind of beauty is that it isn’t earned. It’s uncovered. It shows its way through the cracks of our facade by living life. It emanates from a soul that has weathered loss, but still finds the ray of sunshine peeking through the rubble.
It is intangible and perfect.
It does require upkeep, but not by spending hours and dollars at a doctor’s office. It shows up when we follow our hearts, love without limits, and let the stars of heaven shine through us.
At a certain point in the day, I am over watching tv. Especially on days I’ve clocked in a four-hour-plus baseball game. Sometimes I’m over reading, too. When these moments happen, I just want to call it a day. Even if I’m not truly tired I’d prefer to have dark and quiet. Mad Dog isn’t always in agreement, but part of marriage is compromise.
“Are you planning on reading?” said Mad Dog as he finished up brushing his teeth.
“Nope. But I did think we could talk about our feelings,” I said.
It includes unique prompts that make you stop and reflect about your day. This way it’s not a rote listing of the same things over and over. The only one I struggle with is “Favorite people I saw today.” The answer is always the same: Full Speed, T.Puzzle, and Mad Dog…it’s the pandemic y’all (I always add that in so if future generations look back at it they won’t be sad that I had no friends).
6. Get outdoors until I remember I live in Texas and it is currently a thousand degrees and I retreat indoors before my face melts off.
7. Question why I live in Texas.
8. Eat chocolate.
9. Eat more chocolate.
10. Allow for bad days, offer myself some kindness, and hug my boys (T.Puzzle LOVES this!).
11. Cardio kickbox my way through some aggression.
12. And last but not least, remind myself that there are awesome people like you in the world.
I’m not sure exactly why my family still allows me to wield a knife.
To give some context, a few weeks prior to quarantine I decided to begin a meal kit delivery service. Lucky for us, we now have a few meals a week planned and delivered, but the dark side of this is, well, …me.
It all started innocently enough. Sure! I thought. Why not have the boys alternate nights and ‘help’ me. Our first forays into the realm of kitchen adventure were tense. I barked orders and became increasingly exasperated by each and every OBVIOUS question.
Case in point:
Full Speed (asking this while I have burners going and the oven already ablaze): “Where are the paper towels?”
You mean the paper towels that are two feet away from you sitting in the very spot they have sat for NEARLY TWO YEARS? You mean those paper towels?
“Full Speed, could you grab the pulled pork from the fridge? It’s on the third shelf from the top.”
An inordinate amount of time passed, even though I am busy with twenty other things, I pause because I didn’t ask him to go to Timbuktu to get it. Our kitchen ain’t big folks! I look up to see him squatting down absently perusing the bottom draws of our refrigerator.
“Um, Full Speed. Those are DRAWERS, I said SHELF.”
Thinking this solved the issue, I went back to work. And, still, no pulled pork arrived.
With painstaking effort to not lose my cool, I glanced up AGAIN. This time I found him looking at the inside door catchalls that hold condiments and drinks and the like but NOT THE PULLED PORK.
I said this while thrusting my finger at the pulled pork like an accusation.
The whole scenario, while only lasting a minute or two, left me feeling drained.
Fortunately, for all involved, I had finished the chopping portion of our meal prep so the knife was already put away, but other times, I won’t say the danger was imminent, but there were some dangerous moments (at least in my mind).
It’s a harrowing existence as the lone emotional being in a house of super laid-back men. I wouldn’t want it any other way, but I definitely am the most shall we say ‘expressive’ of our family. Most of my outbursts and/or meltdowns are due to the stress of our current situation. Contrary to popular opinion, I am falling within a normal category of cooped-up-and-about-to-lose-it behaviors. My favorite is when Full Speed then imitates my meltdown.
“I’m Mom and I’m mad for no apparent reason. Stop looking at me. Stop taking up space. Stop existing. Just. Stop.”
He does this while flailing his arms about while shouting hysterically.
He’s not wrong.
I commend you if you have yet to lose it. Please tell me how you have managed this feat.
And, if you have lost it, know you are not alone. Just dust yourself off and get on with your day.
I trust you know the difference between a drawer and a shelf so obviously you are already crushing your day.