|Me and Mike the IHOP Waiter (Cool Dude!)|
My 40th year was an exciting one. My mother prepared me well for it. She repeatedly told me throughout her own 40-somethings that they were the "best years of her life" and once I reached them I completely understood what she meant. I'm no longer tied to conformity. I don't care what people think of me. I say what I damn well want to say, do what I want to do, wear what's comfortable, shake my bootie and have never looked or felt better in my life. But yes - these years have seen dark days too. Days so dark I couldn't see my own hand in front of my face. Times when sleep, permanent sleep, seemed like the only reasonable solution to a life with such incredible challenges.
Today, as I blew out my imaginary candle on my gross blueberry breakfast pancake, I figured a few things out. Here they are...
First, Michael, my waiter here at IHOP, is a sweetheart, it's his first day and I'm his first table EVAH. Poor dude. No one should have me as their first customer. I'm a serious pain in the ass. I'll be sure to leave him a nice tip.
Last night, as I looked into the beautiful blue eyes of my husband, whom I've loved for almost my entire life, I realized what a ridiculous decision my suicide attempt was last year. Most nights, I struggle to even turn off the lights because I don't want to stop looking at him. Why on earth would I consider losing a moment with Eric regardless of what lies ahead? Whatever happens, we'll be together; probably laughing, perhaps crying and most certainly exchanging some serious curse words but that's okay because we'll be with one another. I adore you, Eric. Thank you. I'll never attempt that bone-head maneuver again.
Another thing I've concluded is that I live in a fantastically beautiful state. Colorado is my home. No where else takes my breath away quite like this place. I feel safe even in areas my girlfriend calls the "nastiest" parts of town. I laugh because I think, "Hell, I used to live in these types of areas in LA". No. I may be from SoCal but my heart was born in the Rocky Mountains.
It's been a tough road with my boys. It's still a tough one and Lord only knows where this road will take us yet there have been moments where I've seen so much progress. Yes, Austynn is almost a foot taller than I am and his anger at sixteen is usually directed towards me. Honestly, he frightens me. Earlier this week, I was afraid to be home alone with him (due to some contraband found in his room) so I asked his older brother and Eric to come home early. I can defend myself - to a point - but Austynn is now capable of hurting me. Fortunately, everything stayed calm but it could have gone either way. Eric and I choose our battles carefully with Austynn just like we did with William when he was this age and we survived William.
William came from rampaging our garage with an axe, threatening our neighbor and hurting us with hateful words to a loving, gentle young man. He may still be afraid of facing the world but now he comes to me asking for advice on how to defend middle school kids from hoards of bullies, sits with stunned birds until they're capable of flying away from possible predators and comes up to stray dogs - walking door-to-door if necessary - searching for their owners. I'm so proud to be his mother. Whatever he chooses to be in life, I rest in the knowledge that he's a good, kind soul. I love you so much, William.
I have not been practicing my faith. I've mentioned in the past that I'm Catholic. I am; however, extremely spiritual. I believe in humanity. I hold firm that people, in general, are good and that we - as human beings - are all connected. Eric and I share this same core value. We may not have much financially and probably, because of this ideal, will always struggle. What little we have, we tend to give. Our opinion is that we can't take "it" with us. We have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and money (sometimes just barely) to pay the bills. We're okay BUT there's always someone less fortunate. We have a spare room. If someone needs it, there's a reason we have it.
We've raised our boys with these same values. If there's an elderly person, pregnant woman or physically challenged individual, they've been taught to stand up immediately and offer up their seat. They've seen their father go hungry because he's given away his lunch countless times to the homeless around his workplace. Our family has taken in strangers around our table because they're cold and hungry. We never question - we trust. We've taught William and Austynn to treat every human being who enters our home with the same level of respect, whether they're wealthy or poor. To quote George Bernard Shaw, "There are no third class carriages in Heaven". Eric and I may not approve of guns or war but we thank every Veteran who has served our nation and for the sacrifices they've made. We do not criticize any President on any public forum where foreign countries can mock our country. We live in a Democracy. We have the ability and right to vote. If we're very unhappy, we march and make our voices heard. We're not complacent. We discuss politics with the boys. We ask their opinion and we NEVER discount their thoughts but we will debate them. If the boys choose not to believe in God, they are now old enough to make their own decisions. They've been to church with us. They know what we believe. All we want for them is that they know the difference between what is morally right and wrong. That they always help those who can't help themselves; the weak, the undefended, animals, children, the elderly and the voiceless. NO ONE is considered "a stray". My children know this better than anyone because the system told Eric and I once that our boys were "unadoptable". Some days, some dark, ugly days when I worry about throwing away baseball bats in my neighbor's trash for fear of my own safety I think, "yes, adoption was a bad decision". Then, I recall the laughter around the dinner table, or how once Austynn waited, holding a door open for 10 minutes while an 80 year old woman hobbled through or when William rifles my hair after a long day because that's how he tells me he loves me. No, there are no strays. Everyone deserves to be helped. We'll make it through this and Austynn will turn out fine eventually. He has a very good heart even under all of his sixteen year old angst.
And finally, I've learned that I'm funny. Yep, I'm owning it. I may not ever get hired for a gig but I concede that I have some friggin serious cajones for a chick of 48. I had nerve enough to go into a local community theater and give my one-woman show proposal to a stage manager and so okay, I got turned down but next week, I'll go to another theater and try it all over again. And - while I was waiting for this manager - I had five construction workers and the receptionist rolling in laughter because I was going on about something completely off the wall. I made them happy and that, after all, is what I'm supposed to do, right? Make people laugh? And, when I was at the optometrist yesterday with my crazy kid, I was throwing out one liners left and right and the doctor says to me, "You should be a comedian"! Funny, and so...I AM.
Happy Birthday, Bri Potts.