Monthly Archives: May 2015

If you see me crying…


If you wonder why I’m a bit erratic right now, a bit like a toddler who didn’t have a nap–If you wonder why I’m likely to be laughing and have my eyes well up at the same time and have to wipe the snot coming out of my nose, here’s why.

I’ve spent the last seventeen years being a mom to a daughter who is graduating this year.  I have spent the last twelve years here in Charlotte, yelling her out of bed every morning–I swear some mornings took seventeen tries.  I spent two whole years doing read aloud of the Harry Potter series, two years listening to stories of the royal monarchy of the UK, a year listening to facts about Rosa Parks, two years listening to the details of the anime show called “Naruto.”  I spent countless hours in the car on long road trips listening to Madison’s vast and diverse music collection.  One year’s trips on movie scores, another on Japanese pop and K-pop.  Another year on metal and this final year on a mixture of the best of the above, plus some angsty but good indie music.  I spent lots of money on sketch pads and arts supplies as well as a once used box of Legos that were necessary at age eleven when a favorite teacher died suddenly.   I’ve spent time at 504 meetings, and meetings  with various school counsellors and wondered at times if we’d get through.  

Someone told me today I did it all on my own.  But that isn’t true.  Once I dragged my friend Meg to a 504 meeting (Madison has Aspergers disorder  and add), I’ve called friends when I needed help.  When I was getting daily calls from Madison’s first school I brought her to Park Road where we all worked on helping her through it.  At Park Road I sometimes sat with her on the beautiful grounds and helped her calm down when she was too upset to move forward.  When I was too upset to move forward a friend would step in and listen.  I came to love and depend on so many of the moms at Prm who couldn’t always offer answers–it turns out most people really don’t have perfect kids–but they sure did keep me from doing it alone. Friends have left us gifts along the way.  This year when Madison suddenly decided to go to prom, friends offered us dresses.  I’ve so loved the community I’ve been gifted at my school that I return yearly to a job that doesn’t pay much money, but pays so much in love and support.  In all places I’ve looked there’s been that same love–my church, weird and inappropriate rafting friends and an  indispensable group of cycling crazies.

Slowly, over the years, the storms have calmed.  This past year Madison grew up so much it took my breath away–a lot of that simply because now she is able to wake up on her own and get in the shower (there was an era where showering wasn’t a given), no more seventeen wake-up calls.  She got a job; and after many years of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad grades, she started trying harder and brought her grades up.  Checking online for her grades no longer filled me with dread.  This year we’ve biked the city, gone to movies and met a whole bunch of cool people.  This year I watched her go from spending a ridiculous amount of time in her bedroom to getting out and exploring, donning the polka dot helmet and hopping on her bike.  She’s grown into this strong, fierce and independent force.  And just as I had to do when I was her age, sometime this summer she’s leaving home.  She will move to Seattle and live with her father.  She’s taking her bike and she wants to take a backpacking trip through Europe in the not too distant future.  She’ll work for a while before she starts school because she needs a little time.

If you see me, please remind me to finish the cookbook of her favorite recipes we make at home that she asked for.  If you see me crying,  smile–and lets maybe not talk about it too much because I’m super sensitive about such things and will absolutely fall apart.  But remember I’m sending a fledgling adult out in the world…I’m a little scared, I anticipate being a little lonely, but for the most part, I’m so proud of The Girl.  This person they once handed me at the hospital to keep.  That time I looked at the nurse and thought, “you don’t even know me.  You’re giving me a whole human to raise and I could be anyone.”  And here we are this year, at the end of high school having spent this life together.  Sometimes I did a good job and sometimes I was really bad at it.  But in this community of kindness and love and sometimes by the skin of our teeth, we made it through.

Cycling-Free Your Mind—No Rhino Mart Victory Laps for Me


Yesterday I went on my first ever road cycling ride with a group–Monday’s Uptown Cycles ride (they leave at 6). Let me tell you how it happened.  I’ve been thinking about riding for weeks now, going on rides by myself at my own best pace hoping that eventually I would be okay enough to not embarrass myself, or suck a lot worse than anyone else.  You know, on my 1980s Schwinn that I got from Mark Chenney for less than a hundred bucks.  And also with my pink helmet that is now completely covered in stickers (it started with just one) that makes me look like I’m trying to block out the voices.  

I have a friend who does this ride and I sometimes meet him after for dinner and watch all the cool, spandex clad folks coming back from the ride in those jerseys with the back pockets and zippers and their fancy bikes.  I’ll admit I sometimes roll my eyes just a little, but secretly I feel inferior.  That’s the secret…I hardly ever feel I will measure up to all that hype.

But last week I talked to my friend Noelle, and I talked to my friend Dianna, and we agreed we’d meet for this ride.  I was really glad about that because the other thing besides spandex and shiny bikes that I have a difficult time with is new people.  Let me say I’m excellent with the people I already know, but I’m really bad at new people.  I’m awkward times about a hundred.  So I felt I was set…or as set as you can be on a 1980s Schwinn with a voice blocking helmet showing up to ride with fancy cyclists.  What can I say?  Sometimes I need a little help from friends.  Which is why it’s awesome to have people who will show up for you no matter what you’re getting ready to do.

So in case you thought this was going to be a story about how I showed up and rode a bike, kicked ass and did a victory lap around the Rhino Mart, that is not what happened.   This is not a victory lap story.  It’s just a story about pedaling hard to keep up with people who were in all very nice about riding. It’s a story about how I had to stop on the road twice and flip my bike over to work out a kink in my chain and its a story about how much I enjoy riding with friends even if I have a hard time talking and riding at the same time.  But also, I think there’s something here about continuing to show up botched and imperfect, on a bike that needs a new chain in my helmet that looks like I’m trying to block out the voices.  There’s something about not waiting around for myself to be ready for the moment–because I may never be.  But instead to show up just myself and hope that the moment is ready for me.