Melly Was Here

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

April Again.

April has come and gone.  It’s a weird month for me, try as I do to make that not so.

We said goodbye to my big brother 13 years ago in April. And then, two years ago, my dad.

It’s also Autism Awareness Month.  As someone who has stepped out of the Autism Wars, it brings up a lot of old stuff of when Sundance was first diagnosed. Sad stuff.

And, I turned 41 this month.  I love my birthday.  And so far, my  forties are my favorite.

April has been bittersweet.  And I find myself going back and forth from sadness to happiness, from remembering really shitty days to being thankful those days are in the past and we are all doing so much better.

And now it’s May.  The school year is wrapping up.  I have a mountain of paperwork and a classroom to close up. Field trips and Special Olympics, class parties and school concerts.

Life goes on.

We miss those we loved and said goodbye to.  Miss them so much.  We know that they would be happy for us.  They would be proud of what we have overcome and what we are looking forward to.

They wouldn’t want us to stop dreaming, they wouldn’t want us to stop fighting for health and happiness. Because they loved us as much as we loved them.

So, here goes: Summer is coming.  And it is going to be a good one.

Because life goes on.


At Wildseed Farms in Fredricksburg, Texas. My new happy place.


My loves, being rebels. That sign is not the boss of them.

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These Boots

My big brother died almost 13 years ago.  I still miss him.  Everyday.

When my mom moved to town, she went through some boxes of his things.  She came across the cowboy boots she bought for him right before he got really sick.  I wanted them, thinking they would fit me.  They don’t.  He had pretty small feet.  Mine are enormous.  He also had better hair, by the way.  But, I digress.

I didn’t know what to do with them.  I wanted to keep them, but I have a clutter issue.  I didn’t want to sell them or give them away.  Couldn’t throw them away.  He was excited about them.  He liked them.  When I looked at them, I smiled.

I took them to my classroom and put them in House Area, next to the dress up clothes.   My students noticed them right away.   During our Worktime (free choice), someone always has them on.   Even when they are fighting over them, it makes me smile.  Because these beautiful little people, who I love so much, are enjoying something that belonged to someone else who I love.  It just feels right.

I don’ t think about the fact that he only got to wear them a few times.  I don’t think about how his death left a hole in me that will never be filled.  I don’t think about how a part of me – that part that ate cereal on Saturday mornings and stayed up late over Christmas break playing the Atari – died when he did.

I think about these kids.  These beautiful little souls.

I think about their lives – their futures – and where their boots will take them.



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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