Untitled (as of right now)

Every parent has to have conversations with their children that are inevitable. I am sure a few popped into your mind when you read that. I bet they included the ones about whether Santa, The Tooth Fairy, and/or The Easter Bunny are real. I’m almost 100% positive that “where do babies come from” also flew into your brain. But what about those conversations that not everyone has to have? Those that only single parents (or those of adopted children) have to have with their children. Those conversations about where they came from- not the mechanics of where, but the “who” of where. Those conversations where you sit on your bed with an 8-year-old boy who is crying because he “[wants] a dad.” What about those conversations? For a bit, it is enough for him to be told by others, “Your mom is just so awesome that you don’t need a dad.” For a while, that honestly works and he will be happy about the fact that his mom is so awesome she can be a dad, too. He will actually respond with this when asked where his dad is. “I don’t have a dad because my mama is so great I don’t need one.” For a while, that answer is enough.553656_3557747458609_1191736414_n

But then it won’t be.

At some point, a few years after the initial realization that most children have 2 parents, this answer won’t be enough. He won’t believe, anymore, that his mom is Super Woman and that she’s so awesome that no dad is needed- because one IS needed. We live in The South, so at some point he is going to be called “son” by someone who is male and isn’t his dad. This used to not be paid attention when he was younger, but now it rings as loud as bells in Notre Dame Cathedral. He notices that other dads come and coach this or that sport. He notices that other dads are present during Life Group get-togethers on Sundays. Even when we think he isn’t listening, he hears people, out of love, tell his mom, “He REALLY needs some male influence. You know, guy time.” There’s nothing that can be said in response except “Yeah. I know.” Sometimes, “I know, but I can’t do anything about that.”

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What do you tell an 8-year-old boy who is upset because someone was joking with him and meant absolutely zero harm said, “I’m your daddy now”? What do you say to an 8-year-old boy who has never been able to call anyone by that name? You can tell him it’s ok that he doesn’t have one because there are so many wonderful men who care about him and love him so much. You can say that, but it’s not going to make it any easier- it isn’t the same. It shouldn’t be. It wasn’t designed that way. We weren’t created to have children and raise them singularly. We were created to live as families. Man + woman + children = family. Dad + mom + children = family. He knows he has a mom so where is his dad? “Why don’t I have a dad?” “I don’t know, baby. I can’t answer that question for you right now.” How do you tell an 8
-year-old that, for some reason, the man who would be his dad truly doesn’t care for or love him? You don’t. You never say that. You stall until you think he’s mature enough to understand an explanation for a situation that shouldn’t have happened in the first place. But how do you know that he will be able to handle being told something that could alter his feelings of self-worth for the rest of his life? I don’t know. I am hoping I can avoid being honest about that forever, but I know I won’t be able to. At some point, I will have to tell him that his “dad” chose a life without him not once, but thrice.

Until that day comes, though, I will continue to be Super Woman. I will continue to force myself to sometimes live uncomfortably and to go without things in order to make sure that I can be there for his school performances, parties, or sports practices and games. I will continue to only work jobs that will either allow
me to work only when he is in school or that will allow me to have him with me. I will continue to do this because he is already missing out on so much, and I refuse to give up time with him just to make myself more comfortable- to be able to travel, shop, go out to eat, go to movies, etc. I will continue to wear the same unfashionable clothes for oh-so-many months or years in order to save to be able to do little extra things for him. I will take 6 years to finish a 4 year degree. I will continue to take him to church multiple times a week and to Life Group- even if I will end up stretched for gas, water, or phone money as a result. I will do all of this to make sure that he knows that I see his worth even though someone else didn’t. I will do all of this to make sure that he knows Who he ultimately belongs to, to make sure he is surrounded by people who will help instill this truth in his heart, and to make sure that he knows that though his earthly father failed him, his Heavenly Father never will.

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30 Before 30

29.

That’s how old I’ll be in about a month. Twenty. Nine. The big TWO NINE. One year away from 30.
I don’t know how y’all felt/feel about turning 30, but it worries me. Haha! Now I know that age doesn’t define who you are or, for the most part, what you can do…. but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like time is slipping away. I feel like there are a lot of things that I haven’t done that I had hoped I would do by this point in my life.
Those who know me know that the past few years haven’t really been easy on me. From relocating to going back to school to struggling with working and making sure that I don’t give up any time with Mini-Me, I have pretty much stayed in a constant state of stress. I have become someone who is not quite “me.” I used to have no problem meeting new people or trying new things. I now live in a bit of a shell and only let my 4 closest friends see “the real me.” Truth be told, I think I am a better “me” in some ways. I have been slowly cutting out people who I feel aren’t genuine. I have been trying to do better about living what I “preach.” I have been trying to be more available to my friends if they need me, to help people who need it, and to be a nicer person in general. I just want to me MORE “me.” Pretty sure that doesn’t make much sense to you guys, but it is what it is. Ha!
Because of these feelings, I decided to be a bit cliche and come up with a list of things to do before I turn 30. (Yes, I know the list below is more than 30, but it’s my list so..) Some of them are things that I have wanted to do for a long time. Some of them are things I just think would be fun. The others are things that I think will challenge me in some way, like face a fear or really force me step out of my comfort-zone and try and overcome some of my anxiety. {Of course I have goals for the next year that aren’t on this list. I have left them off because they are things that I have already been doing– example: work on being able to talk about beliefs and the Bible with “The Kid” regularly and to help him learn and memorize verses.} It is my hope that, in completing this list, that I will be able to learn more about myself and the world around me.
And so, ladies and gentlemen! Without further ado, here is my list! I will put a date next to. strike through, and make them purple once I have done them. Hopefully some of them will become posts themselves, and if they do, I will link them.
30 Before 30
Take “The Kid” to DC to see monuments and Smithsonians
Finish decorating and setting up my house
Create and sell a painting
Turn the extra bedroom into a small home gym and get back in shape
Take “The Kid” to the Chattanooga aquarium
Go up in a hot-air balloon

Do a photo challenge

Learn about and to shoot guns. Own one.

Start getting things set up to be a foster parent

Build at least 4 pieces of furniture
Have family photos made of myself and “The Kid” and of us and my parents
Take a train to New Orleans and stay for a few days
Own a cello
Take a small road trip through Mississippi
Run a marathon (or something close to it)
Make a small garden
Get new tattoos (Ephesians 6:19-20 and my grandparents’ writings from my Bible)
Learn to invest $$
Write and mail a letter at least twice a month
Dye my hair a wild color
Sew that Vogue pattern dress I’ve had for 4 years
Go camping or hiking alone
Write a song and perform it (or see it performed) for others
Master 10 difficult yoga moves
See the sun rise or set at the Grand Canyon
Go to a drive-in movie – July 8, 2016 “Tarzan” with Britt Martin
Read more Walt Whitman
Encourage different people with a note or small “happy” once a month
Do volunteer work with “The Kid”
Start some kind of ministry to help further “Love Madison”
Go without junk sugar for 30 straight days
Hopefully I will be able to complete this whole list. If anyone would like to join me in any of these tasks or help me finish them, let me know! I would love to have partners in crime and get to know some of you better!!
(Originally posted on my old blog on August 2, 2016)

Chicks Before….

There are a lot of posts on social media about relationships. They give “advice” on how to better your relationship. Some tell men how they should treat a woman. “If she is important to you, show her.” “Don’t let your pride get in the way of treating your woman right in front of your guys.” Some tell women how to treat a man. “If you have a man, do what you can to make him happy. If he’s hungry, feed him.” Blah blah. Most of the people who share these posts don’t follow the “advice.” I’m sure there are some who really do, but for the most part, they think the posts are inspirational or somehow make them seem smarter by sharing them.

It seems that social media has pushed intimate/boy-girl (or otherwise) relationships to the forefront. Social media helps teach us and put in our minds that having a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife should be the most important thing to us. To me, this is just absolutely absurd. In The South, most of us have been raised to think that we are supposed to get married young and have a family almost immediately. That’s our culture. Add in the pressure from social media posts and it gets our young people (and some grown-ups) all twisted.
While there is technically nothing wrong with these bits of advice, what about the age-old sayings “chicks before *ahem* dicks” and “bros before hoes?” Why do we not push friendships like we do romantic relationships (RR hereafter)? Friends are there when those RRs break down. Friends become family at certain points in our lives. In my opinion, it is more important that we cultivate true and lasting friendships. When we are able to create lasting and healthy friendships, it will be easier for us to later in life create lasting and healthy RRs.
Let’s be honest, RRs should start out as healthy friendships first. So instead of worrying about getting a man to treat right, treat your friends right. Check up on them regularly. Do things to let them know you care about them and that they’re worth something to you. This not only helps you, but it helps them, too. You build their self-worth. When someone knows their worth, they are less likely to allow themselves to be in a RR where they are underappreciated or not really appreciated at all. It’s a bit of a positive feedback chain or a “pay it forward” type of thing. You cultivate healthy relationships and help your friends do the same. In turn, they help their other friends have healthy relationships. It goes and goes.
(Originally posted on my old blog on November 3, 2015)

Memory Lane

This entry is going to be a bit different from the other recent entries.

Today I was working with Deddy at his law office.  It was a trip.  The other man who works with him is a HUGE John Wayne fan.  I mean HUGE.  He has a bust of John Wayne on one of his desks, a John Wayne clock, a life-sized cardboard cut-out of John Wayne, and numerous other John Wayne memorabilia.  It’s pretty close to a museum in there!  Obviously, I LOVE IT because I’m also a huge fan.

Here’s a pic of me and John Wayne a few months ago:

Anyways.  Deddy also tried to get me to address envelopes on a type-writer!! Needless to say, I the computer and printer.  (It looked better.)
When we went to lunch, we got talking about Georgia title laws and such, which lead to talking about my grandparents.  I learned that my Grandpa Patterson had been a minor league baseball player.  We talked about how Grammy once pulled a water hose through the house to help my mom get her sister back from throwing a water balloon at her.  (Mama would flip if we had done that.)  We also talked about how Papa liked to play tricks on Jeb (one of our other youth leaders who spent the summers with Papa when he was younger.)
This is Dadaddy, Papa, and me!!
The funniest things I learned, however, were 2 stories Deddy told me about Dadaddy- aka Judge LaBarre.  Now, I have heard PLENTY of stories about Dadaddy from when Deddy and my aunt and uncles were younger.  These, though, I have never heard.  It’s stories like these that caused someone to created waterproof mascara.
Dadaddy liked to drive fast.  I mean, 90-to-nothing.  Apparently, on of Deddy’s favorite things to do was go riding with Dadaddy.  Some times when they would go riding, Nana would give Dadaddy a box of stuff she wanted him to put in storage.  Dadaddy being Dadaddy decided he was going to do what he wanted, and as they were driving, he would roll his window down and just chunk the whole box out the window.  Deddy said he would always say, “She’ll nevah know thah diffruhnce.” (For those of you who don’t know, that’s True Southern talk spelling.)
The story that had me crying, though, was this:
Dadaddy apparently kept a stash of his earned parking tickets in his glove box.  (I don’t know why the police would even issue them, because even I know that he had no intention of paying them.  He was a judge and did what he wanted.  Even if he hadn’t been a judge, I’m pretty sure he would’ve STILL done what he wanted.)  One day, he was driving down East Avenue.  For those of you who know Vicksburg, this road is up and down and up and down.  Anyways, some guy decided to pull in front of Dadaddy causing him to spew profanities.  He stomped on the gas and sat on the horn.  He ran the guy down, passed him, and cut him off.  He reached in the glove box, got out one of his many parking tickets, wrote who knows what on it, and got out of the car.  He told the guy who cut him off, “I want to see you in city court tomorrow morning!!”
I guess you would have to know Dadaddy (and the rest of the family) to really appreciate the hilarity of these stories, but I just wanted to share.  Deddy says this is the best picture of Dadaddy… I disagree.  The best picture of Dadaddy that I have seen was him in his army uniform.  Wish I could get a copy of it.
I guess the moral of this story is:  Love your grandparents and spend as much time as you can with them.  Learn everything you can about their younger days and their parents.  It not only brings you closer together, but it sheds some light on who you are and where you came from.
(Originally posted on my old blog on November 14, 2014)

It’s Not Me, It’s You

Last night, I got one of the most…. hateful text messages that I have ever gotten.  First: let me give some background for this person.  I met him when I was in school in Gainesville: the very first day, actually.  We became friends fast and I totally had a crush on him, but felt that he was being nice to me just like he was to everyone else.  Unfortunately, this was also around the same time that I was dating the “sperm donor.”  I didn’t know until a long time after I had Mini-Me that this guy liked me in a way other than just a friend.  I had NO CLUE.  Since then, he and I have had many conversations about the situation and I have apologized COUNTLESS times for it.  Each time, he had assured me that it was fine and in the past.

Ok.. so back to last night.  I was sitting on my bed and I get a text from him– the first text I have gotten from him in A LONG time- a few months, at least– the text read (I apologize for the vulgarity): “I miss you, Anna!  I want that beautiful vagina of yours!”  I read it a few times to make sure I was seeing right.  I responded with this: “Excuse me?? I miss you, too, *Name*, but my opinion of you is greatly lowered because of your inability to talk to me like I’m a human being and not just a sex object.”

The message I got back was straight venom. I wish that I could post a screen shot of it, but unfortunately, my phone doesn’t have those capabilities.

“Sorry.  Liquid courage.  I’ll delete your number.  Apologies.  Wish we’d had the chance so long ago.  If you hadn’t willingly been someone else’s sex object in the past, maybe you’d be mine and not that of a dead beat dad.  Guess that’s my fault, and the reason I’m limited to drunk texting you wishing for old times when we were together, despite the fact you were sleeping with someone while hanging out with me.  All this mess is my fault evidently.  Sorry for that.  Women like you are the reason I drink myself to sleep every night and the reason I’m forever destined to be single.  My fault I guess.”  

Of course, this message from him hurt me really badly.  The “Guess that’s my fault” is him being facetious.  I tried calling him, but he didn’t answer his phone.  He refused to answer because he said that all I was going to do was fuss at him.  He couldn’t have been more wrong.    At the time, I was in tears.  I was upset for me causing that much pain in him.  I was upset because almost 7 years later, I was somehow still hurting him.  I left a message telling him that I was sorry that I hurt him and that I was sorry for apparently putting all women in a negative light in his eyes.  I texted my friend, Deidre about it..  After talking to her, I realized that it wasn’t me, and I wrote this response:

I know I sent you a voice-mail tonight saying that I was sorry for making you feel the way  that you do… but after thinking about it and letting the initial shock of your words wear off, I DO have something to say.  
Who are YOU to say those things to me?  Who are YOU to blame me for you being single?  How many opportunities have you had to spend time with me?  I’ve asked numerous times.  How many of those opportunities have you taken?  NONE. NOT ONE.  It has been about 7 years since I’ve seen you.  What in the WORLD are you doing sitting there and brooding about something so honestly insignificant so many years later?  It isn’t MY fault you didn’t take the chance when you had it.  It isn’t MY fault that you are single.  
As to the comment “Women like you are the reason I drink myself to sleep every night and the reason I’m forever destined to be single.”  At first, this hurt me.  “Women like” me.  That was meant in a negative way- reflecting the “me” you knew.  However, you don’t really know me anymore, do you?  You really don’t.  If you did, you’d know that “women like” me are strong, independent, loving, God fearing women.  “Women like” me won’t accept someone like you texting them and saying things like, “I miss you, Anna!  I want that beautiful vagina of yours!”  “Women like” me wont accept a grown man blaming her for HIS OWN faults, mistakes, and shortcomings.  The reason you drink yourself to sleep every night is this: you are unhappy.  You blame “women like” me because you somehow became less of  the “you” I knew and stopped taking responsibility for your  own actions.  I don’t hold that glass (bottle) of wine, bottle of beer, cup of rum & coke, whatever your poison is, to your lips and force you to drink.  You do that to yourself.  See…. you COULD have a “woman like” me…. but as long as you act this way and talk this way to a “woman like” me…. you’re right…. you WILL always be single.  
Just remember that it’s not to late to turn around and run to God like you used to do.  I still love you, regardless of how hurtful you try to be.   

I think the worst part of this was realizing that someone who was basically super-human in my eyes, is actually just a regular human.  Just don’t use your own hurt to hurt others,  You never know what someone is facing at the time…. Just like he didn’t know that this week has been mentally hard for me.  His words couldn’t have come at a worse OR better time.

(Originally posted on my old blog on September 18, 2014)