Andrew recently graduated from Military Combat Training at Camp Pendleton. We were going to drive out for his graduation ceremony and would get to spend a couple of hours with him before he was shipped out to MO to continue his training.
“Would you like for me to bring anything for you, son?” I asked.
I was thinking maybe he’d ask for me to bring food, or his favorite candy.
“Please just bring my guitar so I can play for a little bit before shipping out.” he replied.
I was so moved by his simple request.
I brought his guitar as he requested. After the ceremony was finished and photos with the family had been taken, my son was able to play for a few minutes before shipping out to MO.
I can’t wait until I can hear him play again. Hopefully in time for Christmas.
Write something. Write anything. Just write.
This is what I tell myself every day. Then, I sit down to write and I’m frozen with fear. Overcome with insecurity. Paralyzed with self-doubt.
I’m not smart enough. I’m not funny enough. I’m not clever enough.
But you love to write. I tell myself. So, just do it. Just write.
There are so many things I want to write about, so many things I should write about.
Like the heart warming visit I had with my son at Camp Pendleton this weekend. Or the conversation I was forced to have with my daughter about wearing deodorant at eight years old. Or how I have committed to another six weeks of fitness boot camp.
I should write about everything. I should write about nothing. I should write like I used to. I should write like I love to. I should write like I want to.
Tonight I’m doing it. I’m writing. But more importantly, I’m going to hit publish and then do it again tomorrow.
Even if no one is reading. Even if everyone is reading.
Write. Just write, dammit.
A couple of months ago a friend of the family told me she was getting remarried and asked if I would be her wedding photographer.
“I just love your photos.” She said. “I know you’ll do a wonderful job.”
This woman has been like a second mother to me. I love her dearly, so I wanted to say yes, of course I’ll take your pictures! But, I’m not a professional photographer and well, it’s a wedding. A wedding requires a professional.
I told her that I was flattered, but I also reminded her that I was not a professional, that photography is something I love, but not something I get paid to do.
“I trust you.” She replied.
Because she is dear to me, and because she did so much for me growing up, I agreed to do it. I had no intention on charging her because again, not a professional. I was going to do it because I love her and because it was something she really wanted me to do.
The wedding was on Sunday. On Saturday night, I’m not sure I slept for more than 3 hours. I tossed and turned all night. I was terrified, nervous and insecure. I did not take this job lightly. My called my sister and expressed my concerns. “Be confident, own it and kill it.” She said.
I arrived an hour earlier than they asked me to be there so I could check the venue out. I was sweating before I had even taken my camera out. I was nervous as hell.
The bride arrived and I just started shooting. She didn’t have specific requests (aside from traditional family type poses before the wedding.) So, I just watched and tried to capture the beauty and details of the day. I’m telling you, the next day, every muscle in my body ached from standing, squatting, laying on the ground and running. My respect level for wedding photographers went up by the BILLIONS.
I posted the album of photos the day after the wedding. I was nervous, afraid I had missed things or not done a good enough job. Then, she left a comment (and later that day, left me a voice mail) that said the following:
“Yvonne I don’t know what to say… Every picture is perfect. You are the best! Another talent you have you have been blessed with.”
It wasn’t until I read those words that I realized just how stressed out I was. I actually cried with relief to know that she was happy with what I had captured. I was happy to do that for my dear friend, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again for anyone any time soon, or probably ever. I’m way too big of a wimp to deal with that kind of pressure.
After seventeen days, Andrew’s leave ended today.
We left the house at 6am and just a few hours later, I was saying goodbye in a parking lot. As I walked around the car to give him a goodbye hug, I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes, but I fought them back.
“Stay strong. Son.” I said. “Make me proud. I love you so much.”
He hugged me, I hugged him back.
“I will, Mom. I love you too.”
He turned and walked away carrying all of his things. I sat in the car and watched him walk away.
“He’s a man now. My son is a man.”
I wanted to roll down my window and shout out “I love you! I’m going to miss you!” like I used to do when he was just a little guy. But I just sat there, watching him, proud of him. And then, I drove away and left him to do continue his journey.
His time here with us was simply wonderful, but the days flew by too quickly. He’s gone again and his presence here is already missed deeply. I can only hope the next three months pass as quickly as the last seventeen days did.
Guess what? I’ve gained 20 pounds.
I’m not happy about it, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I could write a long, thoughtful post about why I gained the weight, but I’ll spare you the excuses. I gained weight because I’ve not been eating healthy food and I’ve not been working out. (And maybe, just maybe I stopped taking metf*rmin without my doctor telling me to do so and well, I probably shouldn’t have done that.)
Today, I’m putting a stop to being unhealthy and unkind to my body. Today, I stop focusing on the “how I got here’s” and put all of my energy into “how I’ll change going forward.”
Here’s the plan.
I want to lose the 20 pounds I gained over the next 3 months.
How do I plan on doing that?
I’m going to put spiders in all of my food and drinks. Just kidding. Although, not my worst idea ever.
It’s simple, really.
A liiiiiiiiiittle less caramel cheesecake bites and a lot more fruit and vegetables.
A liiiiiiiiiittle less sitting on the couch watching Real Housewives of Everywhere and a lot more running, squats, sit-ups and push-ups.
Also? I will take all medications that have been prescribed to me by my endocrinologist until I am told it’s okay to stop taking them.
Dealing with Hashimotos and insulin resistance and my other health problems makes losing weight complicated, but I’ve done it before, I can do it again.
I will do it again.
Yeah hear me? I’ve got this.
This morning I stopped by the Starbucks closest to my house and ordered my favorite cold drink.
A venti black iced tea, easy water, extra ice, 3 pumps of sweetener.
Yes, I’m THAT jerkface.
I waited until after I had dropped the kids off at school before I begin to sip on my It’s Complicated Iced Tea.
Very first sip, something slipped through the straw and into my mouth. My brain was all “Oh! a piece of ice!” and so my teeth chomped down and BIT IT.
HERE’S THE THING, YOU GUYS.
It wasn’t a piece of ice.
It was a whole spider.
AND IT WAS CRUNCHY AND IT TASTED WEIRD AND I SPIT IT OUT AND THE ROOM STARTED SPINNING BECAUSE I AM SO SCARED OF SPIDERS AND YET I ACTUALLY BIT INTO A SPIDER WITH MY TEETH IN MY MOUTH.
I started to freak out. Like, crazy, losing-my-shit freak out. I ran down the hall and threw open Andrew’s bedroom door. I was hysterical.
I don’t remember what I said but I think it may have sounded something like this:
“Oh my God, I just bit into a giant spider and AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH *GRUNT GAG SPIT GAG BODY SHIVER* I don’t know what to do and are you recording me with your phone? Stop recording me with your phone and please go look and see what kind of spider it was because what if it was poisonous am I going to die? HELP ME FORGET THIS HAPPENED. I TASTED IT, ANDREW, I FELT IT AND I TASTED IT AND AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HELP ME.”
He went to go examine the spider that I had spit out of my mouth. He started to laugh. “Mom! It’s not big. It’s a small spider.” I was all “It’s small because I ATE HALF OF IT.” And then he examined it closer and laughed some more. “It has all of it’s legs, mom.”
AND THEN I STARTED CRYING AGAIN.
And then he laughed some more.
It’s been hours since this happened, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop feeling it in my mouth.
I had to run to Target really quick on my lunch break because we were out of toiler paper and while I was there, I wanted to tell every single person I saw what happened to me.
“Oh, hi! Did you now I accidentally ate a spider today and it tasted weird and PLEASE HOLD ME?”
I’m just not sure how I can ever forget the way it felt in my mouth or the way that it tasted. Maybe Vodka will help. It’s it 5 yet?
I can’t believe I’m posting this, but I AM POSTING THIS.
Our son has been home with us for twelve days. Having him home here with us has been wonderful. We’ve gone out for pizza with friends. We’ve gone out to breakfast. We’ve gone thrift store shopping. We’ve sat on the couch late at night and reminisced about the past. We’ve watched our favorite T.V shows together. We’ve eaten our favorite foods together. We’ve visited with friends and family. We’ve laughed. A LOT.
My son is definitely a changed man, but the core of who he is has remained unchanged. He’s still kind, loving and hilarious. He’s been transformed into a confident, strong, focused individual. He’s also not ashamed to admit that he is proud– proud of what he’s accomplished, proud of who he is. As his mother, this brings me immeasurable joy.
His time here at home is short– there are only five days left until he has to leave us again for another three months. (He has Marine Combat Training for thirty days, followed by his specialty training in Missouri for two months.) When I think of him leaving, my heart aches because I know I’ll miss him like crazy. However, I’m better prepared emotionally this time around. Even though I will miss him, I won’t allow myself to be consumed with fear and worry this time around. My son is no longer a little boy who can’t take care of himself. He’s a strong, capable, brave man. Not to mention, a freaking U.S. Marine.
This is a true story that happened just now.
An old friend of mine sent me a message on Facebook just now. It started out like this:
“So, my husband has been telling me he sees a picture of you in some warehouse on his route…”
I instantly felt afraid because, SAY WHAT?
The message continued:
“today he talked to the owner and found out the story. The owner is the guy who bought your old house and found stuff in the attic. He took it to work to throw in the dumpster and the Mexican workers found the picture and dug it out of the trash and hung it in their warehouse where they eat lunch. Funny huh? It’s a pick of you and 3 other women in a bathroom mirror.”
Funny? Or creepy?
It feels creepy.
I wrote back and sent the photo I suspected they had HANGING IN THEIR LUNCH ROOM. (WTF?!)
“Yes! That’s it! I guess they enjoy the view while they eat lunch. Too funny!”
Again, say CREEPY. NOT FUNNY.
(But maybe a little bit funny? It is a little bit funny, yes?)
I’ve been told this is one of the most awesome photos I’ve ever taken. I guess the guys in the warehouse on 8th street would probably agree.
I’ve lived in Southern California my entire life. There are places here that are near and dear to my heart because of the memories made both as a child and as an adult with my own children. Knott’s Berry Farm is one of those places.
If you’re not familiar with Knott’s Berry Farm, let me tell you a little bit about it. Knotts Berry Farm is a theme park in Orange County. It’s 160 acres and has five themed areas. There are roller coasters, thrill rides, live shows and attractions. Something fun for all ages, for sure!
It also has funnel cake. Delicious, fresh, fruit-topped funnel cake I sometimes dream about.