Facing the Unknown–My Messy Beautiful

When I first received the email from Momastery detailing The Messy Beautiful Warrior Project, I knew I wanted…no…HAD…to be a part of it. You see, the whole reason I started this blog is because of Glennon and the shameless truth-telling and hope-spreading she does everyday when she shows up for her Monkees, as well as the rest of the world. Truly a force of nature that one. With all her brokenness, and honesty about the brutifulness of life, she sets me free over and over again by reminding me it’s okay to let the world see me. Shame doesn’t lie in honesty. Peace does. And when you come clean, you often discover not only are you not alone, but you’re in amazing company…and together we’ll make the best of what’s around. The last part is a line from a Dave Matthews song. I feel the same soul connection to him that I do about G…I’ve just known him longer.

Completely blurry and imperfect...but you can see the joy!!

Me and Glennon. Completely out of focus and imperfect…but you can see the joy!!

But I digress.

This post is about how my broken, messy path in life has qualified me as a warrior and equipped me for future battles.  If you follow my blog already (thank you, btw), you may have read this. If not, then welcome! The aforementioned post is not required reading by any means, it’s just a prequel…sort of.  But onward we march.

I grew up in a small Southern town, where people not only knew each other, but could also greet the skeletons in their respective closets by name. In fact, trying to keep secrets was as useless as a trapdoor in a canoe. Perhaps that’s why, once I managed to recall and assemble the memories from my fractured childhood, I felt perfectly comfortable…even relieved…writing about them for the world to see. Except for one, which continues to haunt me to this very day. In fact, my heart is racing and my hands are trembling as I sit here on Good Friday, about to lay my soul bare just before attending a prayer vigil at church. No time like the present, right? Okay, no more stalling.

When I was in the 3rd grade I had a very good friend–let’s call her Ginger–because that’s not her real name. She lived just down the street from me, so I used to walk to her house to play and vice versa. Although we lived very close, we went to different schools.  Her mom worked at a local elementary school, so Ginger was allowed to attend that school because logistically it was easier. The only time we saw each other was after school, on weekends, during holiday breaks or for sleepovers. Ginger lived with her mama and adoptive dad. Best I can remember, Ginger’s biological father either died when she was a baby, or was never part of her life. When her mom married Guy (also not his real name) he adopted Ginger so they all had the same last name. Or something like that. Sorry for the hazy details. Maybe that’s what happens when you suppress memories for 30+ years and then try to drudge them up?

Anyway, Ginger was the only child in her house. Although her mom and Guy tried to have a baby, I think I remember overhearing Mama say–in a hushed tone– they were unable to conceive. In hindsight, this was perhaps a God-send. What I  remember in shockingly vivid detail though, is one afternoon in particular. I was at Ginger’s house, and I’m not sure why…but her mom wasn’t there. Guy was in charge. We were playing in her room and he came in and sat down on her bed. Then he began stroking my very long, straight hair while saying, “Your hair is pretty. If I ever have a little girl, I want her to be just like you”, despite the fact Ginger was sitting right there listening. I’m sure that must have upset her, and evoked resentment. Just writing it makes me sick to my stomach. Sometime after that, could have been days or weeks…the phone rang at my house, and it was Ginger asking me to come over and spend the night. I covered the phone, turned to Mama and explained how I didn’t want to go and “would she please tell Ginger’s mom I couldn’t”?  She obliged, and may have asked why I was adamant about not going, but I don’t remember her pressing the issue. Again, it’s all foggy.

Eventually they moved away, out of state. I have no idea why. Maybe a change of employment, maybe a guilty conscience. Who knows? Ginger and I kept in touch by writing letters. On real paper, with stamps and everything! Then one day, maybe during 4th or 5th grade, I was in class and the office aide came to get me because my mom was on the phone and needed to speak to me. Thinking about that day still makes me shudder. Mama was calling to tell me that Ginger and her parents had shown up for a surprise visit. Oh, and Ginger and her dad were coming to pick me up from school early! A feeling of panic set in, but I internalized it, careful not to draw attention to myself while standing in the school office. I told her I wanted to stay at school, and begged her not to send them. By then she had to know something was amiss, because let’s face it…what kid doesn’t want to leave school early? Seriously.  Nonetheless, they picked me up…but Mama was with them. Thank you, God. After that I don’t remember seeing or talking to them ever again. If I had to speculate, I’d be willing to bet both my parents suspected Guy of molesting me, but couldn’t prove it because I was too afraid to tell them anything. Apparently, they decided it best to make sure the friendships were simply severed. Since they lived out of state, it was easy enough to just…lose…touch. Figuratively, and literally. Amen.

There are few things in life I’m fearful of. Among them…snakes, water I can’t see through (oceans, lakes, rivers, etc), suffocation (I’ve been in anaphylactic shock numerous times due to medication allergies, so I know what it feels like) and… that man’s face. Yes, I remember it. If he were to pass me on the street, I would stop dead in my tracks. His gaze haunts me, and the sound of his voice in my head is frightening. He is my Boogeyman, but the exact details of why are no doubt lying just beyond the reach of my cognitive memory. Both my parents are in Heaven now, so I can’t ask them what really happened. Nor do I blame them for not pursuing the matter. Living in a small town is both a blessing and a curse sometimes. Thus far, just the flashbacks have made me hyperaware and vigilant when it comes to the safety of The Beans. I’ve made sure they understand never to be afraid of tattling on anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable. Even adults–especially adults. Be warned: come after me, and I’ll fight ’til I fall. Hurt my babies? God have mercy on your soul. My survival is a testament to sheer will, considering all the things I’ve endured, and if this tiny little five-foot-one-inch warrior can walk through the fire of life unscathed, forgiving along the way…well then…so can you.

So I guess that’s it. Not a secret anymore, and if knowing I’m a Messy, Beautiful Warrior helps someone else drop their armor and face their own battle then it’s definitely been worth telling.

Now. Back to Dave….

Hey my friend
It seems your eyes are troubled
Care to share your times with me
Would you say you’re feeling low and so
A good idea would be to get it off your mind

See, you and me
Have a better time than most can dream
Have it better than the best
And so can pull on through
Whatever tears at us
Whatever holds us down
And if nothing can be done
We’ll make the best of what’s around.

(The Best of What’s Around; RCA Records, 1994)

MBW-285

This essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, CLICK HERE! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback, CLICK HERE!

I’ve got major mommy skills….or not.

Okay, I’m digging in the archives to bring you a list of reasons why I should be Mom of the Year. Or, perhaps have DCFS called on me for a series of Epic Parenting Fails, depending on your perspective–and sense of humor.

And also because I have a bit of writer’s block. Personally, I think this whole middle-aged thing is to blame.

This was originally featured over on Mom of the Year, back in May, but I wanted to share it again here, in case anyone missed it! And of course because I think Meredith is the bestest and deserves a shout-out 🙂  

 

Unlike the other Moms of the Year, I wasn’t invited to the party ….I ASKED to be included. Fortunately, Meredith–the genius behind this collection of kick-ass moms– decided I was cool enough. Or else she thought, ‘Wow, this gal is from the South? Seems like her manners have been replaced with giant, Hollywood-sized balls’ and that intimidated her enough to let me in the club. Whatever. I’ve got the prize.

Hell to the Yeah!!

hell to the yeah!

 

Now I need to tell y’all why I think I deserve it. I’m the youngest of 7 kids, so you get 7 reasons: 

1. I discovered I was preggo after an 8 day vacay to the Sundance Festival, followed by Super Bowl weekend in Vegas in 1999, with my then boyfriend-now husband, The Man. Ironically, I was on BCP’s, and my cycle had always been like clockwork. However, upon our return from a glorious 10 day stint filled with lots of partying like celebrities and rock stars (and some tumbling down snow laden hills with a board strapped to my feet) I realized I was LATE. Took a test: Positive. Went to the doctor: 5 Weeks Positive. So, clearly I was Mom of THAT Year. Mostly because I had been pregnant the entire time we were there, but didn’t know it….and Sugar Bean survived it all, making her healthy entrance into the world 8 months later. Cart before the horse? Check. But hey, when in Hollywood…. 

2. Now, I must preface this one by saying The Man is an eighth Mexican, and I’m part Cherokee Indian, so we are not pale people. Therefore, Sugar Bean has beautiful olive-toned skin as a result–a natural, year-round tan. So imagine my surprise when I took her in to the pediatrician for a check-up around 10 months old, and the doc asked about her eating habits. “Does she eat green veggies?” “Yes,” I replied, “but she prefers orange and yellow ones”. “I can see that,” she remarked. “What do you mean?” I said, puzzled. “Nancy…look at your child. She’s ORANGE. She has beta-carotenemia. Make her eat more greens before you have to change your last name to Oompa Loompa.” The only thing missing from the doc’s response is the word ‘DIPSHIT’ at the end, because that’s what I felt like. Clearly this is Mom of the Year moment #2. 

3. In June 2007, just days after moving into a gated community, I found my 3-year-old Butter Bean playing in the backyard. Buck nekid. Despite my suspicion our neighbors might think The Clampetts had moved in, I just let her be. For all they knew, we were nudists. What’s worse is, she was apparently in a phase.…and preferred being naked, to wearing clothes. I decided not to fight it, and she played naked in the yard all summer. Can’t really say I blamed her…we lived in the Valley, which if you know anything about Los Angeles….is hotter than two rats fucking in a wool sock in the summer. So, allowing nakedness makes me Mom of the Year. I did remember to apply sunscreen each day, in case you were thinking I deserved WORST Mom of the Year. 

4. When Sweet Pea was 3, she accompanied me to do some “day of” birthday shopping for my then, 9 year-old Sugar Bean. While standing in line at Justice, she announced she needed to potty. There were 2 women in line ahead of me, 3 in line behind me, and I had an armload of stuff I couldn’t just abandon to go in search of a mall bathroom, as I was short on time anyway and wouldn’t be able to come back. So I explained to the Tart-in-Charge, that she was currently potty-training, and couldn’t hold it, asking if they had a bathroom she could use. No. Employees only. Upon hearing that, Sweet Pea unleashed a flood and peed in the floor, as we continued to wait in line to pay. I had a few choice words for the cashier as she rung me up, and stared like a deer in headlights. Oh, and the women behind me applauded my Mom of the Year skills as I walked out.  

5. As if we moms need anything else to make a big deal out of for our children, I came up with a whole new holiday deliverer of treats….The Valentine Fairy. She brings gift bags of goodies and small presents for The Beans to wake up to on Valentine’s morning. Sometimes she even leaves a trail of glitter from their bags to the window, depending on whether I want to clean the shit up or not. Of course, in their eyes, it makes me Mom of the Year, while in the eyes of the moms of their friends who inevitably know she visits our house…..I’m more like Overachieving Bitch of the Year. But that’s okay, because it’s the only area I don’t slack in. Besides, it sets the bar very high for their future loves, because they will have always been celebrated on the one day of the year designed to be dedicated to love. Gag, right?

6. Mom of the Year reason number 6 can be directly attributed to the fact that on every birthday in our household, we eat cake for breakfast. School day, weekend day, holiday….doesn’t matter. If it’s your birthday, you get dragged out of bed at 6am and have cake for breakfast. Or pie. Your choice. And you must endure having your early morning party documented with photos showing you looking EXACTLY like you do when you wake up. No primping allowed. Feel free to steal this awesome tradition and practice it in your own family. I stole the idea from my friend Sarah. 

7. I allow Candy Saturdays in our house. What’s that, you ask? No sugar AT ALL during the week, but The Beans can have as much as they want on Saturday. The word “NO”, as it relates to candy, is not uttered on Saturday in our family. It’s my way of making sure they gorge themselves almost to the point of sickness that day, so I don’t have to deal with the begging eyes, requests or tantrums in line at Target while they are standing by the candy displays. So far, it’s worked like a charm. They even FORGET about it from time to time, so they go several weeks without sugar. Oh, and our dentist….she thinks I’m a freaking hero! Or….Mom of the Year!

If this made you laugh, please leave a comment and let me know! And if you have moments like these to share….feel free!

I LOVE to know I’m not alone 🙂

 

CalibamaMOM of the Year!!!

So…today I am being featured over on Mom of the Year!!!

The Mom of the Year

Oh, I know you must be thinking…“WTF? Why on earth would sweet Meredith allow that?”

Could be that I bullied her into it…or she finds my blog strangely appealing…OR perhaps she has a soft spot in her heart for moms who accidentally lock their toddlers in the car and have to call AAA. At this point…it’s a TOTAL MYSTERY.

Only ONE way to find out, huh?

It’s okay….go there

NOW!

(and then come right back, k?)

xo,
Nancy

I’m officially 20 days late….

….announcing that I’m a PUBLISHED AUTHOR folks.

Isn't it pretty?

Isn’t it pretty?

What? You thought I was late? As in preggo? BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.NO. That ship has officially  docked sunk. Unless God suddenly decides he needs another earthly being to bear offspring. And then I will still be on my knees praying he doesn’t like petite women, brunettes, moms who blog and swear, women who wear cowboy boots or females named Nancy. You get the point.

Anyway, what I’m actually talking about is my contribution to the ridiculously funny collection of stories, titled Parenting Gag Reel: Hilarious Writes and Wrongs, Take 26  published by Life Well Blogged. The book was released on Amazon.com on April 2nd, which was the official day I became a contributing author to an E-book, hence the 20 days late reference. In case you’ve lost your calendar wits…today is April 22nd 🙂 But…the fantastic duo of Abbey Fatica and  Monica Merrill-Mylet took it one step further…and the book is now available in PAPERBACK at CreateSpace  (hint, hint…I can autograph those puppies for ya!)  So, go there now and buy one. I’m begging. Pretty please…with some homemade, iron-skillet baked, cornbread on top? We’ll work out the logistics of cornbread delivery & autographing later. Promise.  

Oh, and the BEST part is.…a portion of the proceeds from the sales of Parenting Gag Reel will benefit Autism Speaks, an amazing charity helping children and families dealing with autism everyday. And if there is one thing y’all know about me…I am all about helping others. It is one of my callings in life, I believe. Besides making people laugh, and feel better about their own parenting skills by injecting humor into the obvious, epic failures in my repertoire.

Last but not least….One of the other contributors, the wonderful Kristi from  www.findingninee.com reached out to the rest of us contributors with a very personal plea in hopes for the successful sale of the book. I would like to pass that along now:

It’s so exciting to see people talking about this hilarious book, isn’t it?  Abbey has been kind enough to offer to donate a portion of the proceeds of each book sold to a fundraiser that we’re doing for my son’s Preschool Autism Class.  Other parents and I have been searching for ways to help my son and his classmates.  Through our research, we’ve learned that iPads significantly help children on the autism spectrum learn how to learn and even communicate.  

We’re holding a multi-family garage sale at the end of April and all proceeds will go toward the purchase of an iPad (or, if we get enough, 2 iPads as there are 2 PAC classrooms).  With Abbey’s help, and yours, maybe we’ll be able to get a little closer to our goal.  In order to get credit for the sale, people will have to purchase the book through the following link or through my site: 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C4ZVBOI/?tag=findnine-20.

Thank you so much!

So my desire for you to buy the book because I’m a contributor, and there’s a really funny story about Sweet Pea peeing in public in there, actually pales in comparison to my wish that you buy it to help Kristi’s precious son. At this point, I’m just honored to have been chosen as a contributing author!
BTW…I’m featured in Chapter….well, I guess you’ll
just have to buy it I guess, won’t you? 
Once you do, please share the news with friends via FB and Twitter, read/rate reviews —4 or 5 stars are preferred, but don’t lie–
and leave one of your own about what you thought on Amazon!
Oh…and FYI–glowing reviews help boost sales if you were wondering..lol.
BUY ME! BUY ME!

BUY ME! BUY ME!

***Or, you could always hop over to my Facebook page“Like” it (if you haven’t already) and leave a comment THERE with the name of the Bean who is featured in the essay published in the book. You see, I have 5 copies of the Ebook to GIVE AWAY, and I’d love for you to enter the contest. Winner will be chosen at random, and notified via email, after the contest closes on April 30th***

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