Melly Was Here

wife, mother, teacher, runner, writer, lover, fighter

Forty and Three Days

Ok, so I’m forty now. Between school, my actual birthday and the Saturday following my birthday there was a lot of celebrating. And cleaning for the party. Ok, my mom did most of the cleaning, but I did a lot of heavy lifting. Ok, Lance did most of the heavy lifting. I must have done lots of something because by the time it was time for my actual party, I was exhausted.

Anyways, forty. Yeah. Weird. It doesn’t feel all that different.  Except after this weekend, I have been walking around thinking about how great my life is.  This weekend was EPIC, people.  EPIC.

It all started on Thursday at school.  Cookies and “The Happy Birthday Song,” sung to me by my little students.  Then, some of them spent some of their free time drawing me pictures.  This one is my favorite.  It’s Thor. See his Hammer of Thor, there, with the lightning bolts?  Totally cool. My students and I share a love for the Avengers.

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Then, that night, my guys, my mom and I all went out to eat.  And, I had a couple of these.

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This is my favorite beer of all time.  I don’t indulge in them often because they are very heavy and very strong.  But, oh, so so good.

Friday, the actual day I turned forty, was spent mostly with my mom as we ran errands for the party.  I love that my mom lives here now and I get to see her everyday and that now she is really involved in our events.

Saturday, two of my girlfriends and Lance did The Muddy Mayhem 8K with me. Well, Lance and his friends didn’t actually run it with us.  You know, testosterone and all that.  I knew he was going to run ahead and that was fine with me.  They only thing I wanted from him was muddy kisses.  I got them.

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This is me, in a Dumpster. It was empty.  There was supposed to be water in it.  I felt cheated, but kind of relieved at the same time.

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This is me with my two muddy friends, Amy and Rachel.  So glad they joined me! Runner friends are the coolest friends of all.

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Lance and me.  Oh, how I love muddy kisses.

Then, we got home, got cleaned up and finished getting ready for the party.  It was a great party.  Almost everyone we invited came.  The house was full of people and their kids.  There was lots of eating and drinking, laughing and Nerf gun shooting.  I am still in awe of how many people wanted to come and help me turn 40.  I am truly rich in cool, kick ass friends.

Of course, I didn’t take any pictures during the actual party.  But, I think this one sums it all up.

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So, here we are.  It’s Monday and I’m 40 and three days.  I’m thinking of what’s next.  Thinking of ways I want to challenge myself and take care of my family.  It’s a good life and I’m one lucky chick.

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Forty Things I’ve Learned in My Forty Years

401. Your mama loves you.

2. Love is special. Cherish it.

3. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.

4. Get fitted for a bra. You are probably wearing the wrong size.

5. Stay away from negative people.

6. Own your mistakes, but don’t blame yourself for other’s mistakes.

7. Moderation in all things – except coffee, chocolate and love.

8. The laundry will keep, hold your babies.

9. Always sacrifice sleep for sex or a good book.

10. No one will love you like your dog.

11. When you find a good man, tell him he how much you love him. Love him like he deserves.

12. Find your passion. And pursue it.

13. Drink lots of water.

14. Rest.

15. Don’t be afraid to look silly. Just have fun.

16. Moisturize.

17. Use sunscreen.

18. Say the nice things you think about the people in your life. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

19. If it not helpful or kind, keep it to yourself.

20. If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember what you said.

21. Pray.

22. Say what you mean, mean what you say.

23. Create traditions with your children.

24. Take pictures.

25. Talk about the good times with your kids, help them remember.

26. Try your hardest to be kind. You never know what that cashier or waitress is going through. Your kindness might make all the difference.

27. Snuggle.

28. Take risks.

29. Plan.

30. Don’t gossip. You are better than that.

31. Put some effort into your appearance.

32. Always try to better yourself.

33. Laugh at yourself.

34. Go see the tourist attractions in your own city.

35. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.

36. Pay your bills on time.

37. Credit cards are the devil. If you can’t pay cash for it, don’t buy it!

38. Keep your house clean. Be proud of where you live.

39. It’s ok to ask for help.

40. Forgive.

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April

April is a strange month for me.

First off, I was born in April. I love my birthday. I have not ever expected a lot of gifts or anyone to make a big deal out of it, although they always have. First my mom, then my girl friends and now Lance and my coworkers. I can’t count the number of surprise parties I’ve had. A lot. I had to tell Lance that I was good for surprise parties for the rest of my life. This year, I am turning forty. It is the first birthday since 21 that I am really excited about. My friends and I are doing a mud run and then we are having a party at the house. It should be a pretty cool weekend.

My birthday has always been a time, even when I was a kid, to reflect on my life and my goals. And, this year, I feel good. I feel like I am at a good place. I don’t necessarily *feel* forty – however that is supposed to feel (most days, I still feel 15) – but I feel good. I am in pretty good shape, I love my job, I love my house and my family and I are all doing well. Of course, I have a few regrets, but nothing that keeps me up at night.

But, then, on the 14th, we mark the death of my big brother, Jimmy. I think about him everyday. I miss him everyday. The day takes me back, 12 years ago, to the day we lost him. And, it makes me sad. Because he was my brother and there is so much that only he knew – that only he would understand and remember about me. Saturday mornings watching cartoons while our parents slept, video games on the Atari, nights that our mom worked and our dad drank. He was a good guy who struggled much of his life with what I now think was Asperger’s Syndrome. He loved me, even though I was the typical bratty little sister. I loved him. He was taken too soon.

Then, on the 15th of last year, my dad died of lung cancer. I can’t believe it’s been a year. He went so quickly. He was not the perfect father – there are days I would even had said he wasn’t a very good father. He was a good person, though, he really was. He did not have an ounce of malice in his bones. But, I believe he was broken. I believe he loved us the best he could and was never even was self-aware enough to realize that he was an alcoholic. He missed out on so much life. A life that *could have* been so special. I miss him too, but the truth is, he wasn’t a huge part of my life for many years. He literally phoned it in. He called, which is more than a lot of fathers, I know. He sent cards around the boys’ birthdays. He was interested in them, but he was a stranger to them. And, that is sad to me, because I think they would have loved him very much. I don’t know if it was laziness or something else – some character flaw or product of a childhood trauma I think he may have lived through. And now, he’s gone, so I will never know.

And, lastly, it is Autism Awareness Month. I hate autism. It pisses me off. Honestly, that’s all I can say about that right now because I do not want to go down that road. I don’t have the energy.

Then, the tragedies in Boston and West. Such a sad week for our country. It has just taken the wind right out of my sails. I’m just tired. And sad.

Don’t feel sorry for me, that’s not what I want. I’m writing this here to get it out there in the universe, so it’s not just inside my head, bouncing around. I need to recognize these feelings, I need to name them – own them so I can get through them. I’m almost through this week and then I can spend two solid days with my guys. I need to rest. That should get me over this hump. I have a lot to look forward to. I’ll be alright.

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I Got The Fever

This time of year kills me. Spring Fever. The weather gets nice, the yard gets green and it dawns on me that summer vacation is just weeks away. All I want to do is sit in my back yard and read. Or run. Or daydream. Sundance has homework to do and I just cannot bring myself to make him sit down and do it. Butch hasn’t done his chores yet, but I kind of don’t care. We all have things we’d rather be doing. I would rather wander around in the backyard, snipping herbs and trimming the roses. I would rather turn on the hose and water the grass. Or open all the windows and lay on my bed.

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At school, my body aches to be outside. I can’t blame my students for not wanting to focus on lessons. They do not want to sit and listen. They want to be at the playground or the pool, the ballpark or the zoo. They can feel it in the air: Spring is here.

I can’t focus either.

On anything. I don’t want to pay bills or answer emails. I don’t want to lesson plan or cook. I certainly don’t want to do my taxes or enter assessment data. I have all this nervous energy and there are so many things I want to do, but it is impossible for me to focus on any one thing – so I do nothing. Which makes me feel even more restless and even a little bad about myself.

This is the time of year I daydream about giving up teaching and being a writer. My books are so successful, we can afford to move to acreage in the country. I look out the huge picture window in my office for inspiration. I have video conferences with my agent and sit behind my desk so she can’t see I haven’t put pants on. I take time off from writing to volunteer at the boys’ school (for that, I wear pants). I go work at the coffee shop to get out of the maid’s hair so she can clean (hey, it’s a day dream, ok?).

All of this nervous energy (and my inability to channel it) exhausts me. And I find the only thing I am capable of doing well at all is counting down the days to summer vacation. To when I can spend my days doing what I want and not feel guilty.

58.

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