Saturday, November 18, 2017

Neither Merry not Bright

Thanksgiving is in a few days.


Couple few years ago, Aaron, my older brother, adored by me since day 1, liberally slathered his turkey and taters in caramel sauce instead of gravy. Now, to understand the hilarity of the situation, Copernicus didn’t take one bite, surmise something was amiss, and assess. No sir, McCormick’s don’t do half measures. He devoured the sweet sauced food without commotion or complaint.  Every bite gone. Nary a morsel or a sweet scrap left.  After the family had polished off the stuffing and bird, we go for the good stuffs. Aaron inquired why everything tasted cloyingly so sweet. Bless.

 Aaron is one of the best people I’ll ever know. No contest. A cherished Thanksgiving memory that will surface in a few days. My family will need this happy memory to carry us through the first holiday season without our dad.  If we all don’t drown in our river of tears first.

Last year, at this time, between mom and dad’s house fire, my move from Chicago to the camper at the KOA, back to Chicago (wish I was making this up) dad’s job loss, heart attack, impending leg amputation, and rapidly declining health, “The Holidays” sucked.

Putting it mildly.

Our faith is the only way we survive the dark days. Walk by faith not by sight. What we’ve seen has been horrifyingly heartrending. We knew dad’s time was drawing near. An unspoken misery.

There is a time to be born. There is a time to die. Ashes to ashes. The circle of life.

We carried on secure in the knowledge, when we die, we know where the others are going. Someday, the circle won’t remain unbroken. If you don’t know where you will be going when you die, better get right with the Lord. There will be hell to pay. That’s it. It’s all the hope we have. It’s all you need.

Now more than ever, I understand why people dread this time of year. The lights are blinding. The songs & sleigh bells sting.  Pictures of togetherness make me more lonesome.

 I might jack slap the next punk who blasts Michael Buble’s Jingle Bells, especially if it’s before Thanksgiving. I’d like to ring his bell. I’ve cried every day for the past 6 weeks. You’d think about some point, you would run out of tears.  

Mariah Carey got it right,"But then I miss you, most at Christmas time." 


It’s a time to draw near. A time to pull in close. How do you do that when what you want to draw near to is gone? The eternal question. My heart aches for my loved ones wanting to draw near, but what they want to draw near to slipped through the cracks. For whatever reason. 

Loss is hell. Death, divorce, wayward children, you name it. 

An empty place at table.  An even bigger one in my heart. There is still much to be thankful for. Prayers still reach God’s ears if you have tears in your eyes.

I’m going to buy a real tree this year. I’m going to sit my family. We will watch the kids run around. There will be laughter. There will be tears. There will be a void. Dad is always in our hearts. His humor and faith will sustain us, when it’s not merry or bright. 

The sweet babe that came to save us all means more to me now than ever. Thankful for that home birthed cherub all those years ago. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

It's Like A Dagger Through the Heart

I’m bad at blogging. I think about it. I quite like my little (War & Peace length) FB update statues. You is welcome. The central theme of these last 9 months has revolved around my dad, namely, his earthly departure. The expanse of my emotional depth goes from dolor to rage & every other emotion under the sun. A reoccurring notion has been I’d like to put my 2 cents in the bucket held out for the Great Unwashed. While it’s not sexy or fun, it’s imperative. Let’s talk about grief. Ladies choice.

                Told you. Are you uncomfortable yet? Do you regret clicking on this link? Are you muttering, “Stephanie, Stephanie, Stephanie!” under your breath? Good, now I have your attention. It’s perfectly fine for you to recoil at this taboo topic. Perhaps your think flowers and funerals. Or  weird memories of your great aunt Mary lying in a casket with a downturn smile because of an overzealous mortician. Still gives me the shakes. You had your warning. I gave you a chance to opt out. I’m a sold-out believer who knows discomfort is paramount in learning. Wise words that still bring a smile to my face, from a youth pastor many moons ago, “Start living or start dying.” – James Matchette
                I spent the last 5 nights of my father’s life sleeping in the 3rd floor waiting room at Lutheran Hospital. These were my creature comforts. Hospital blankets with a scarf. A  generous  gift from a previous nanny family. Seemingly innocuous items to sustain me while the light was draining out of my father’s eyes just yards away.


It’s the little things that still take the air out of my lungs. It’s like a dagger through the heart. The question remains, how do we deal with grief? I don’t have an answer. But how we deal with it now is sorely lacking. I fully intend for Grief to be my topic of study for Grad school. What I offer instead is, a humble suggestion. I have been earlobe deep in research from renowned experts on shame, grief, loneliness, and isolation. The 4 Groomsman of the Grief Apocalypse. A humble suggestion purposing we do a little less talking and a lot more listening to those in the throes of their loss. Ranging from death, divorce, or amputation. Loss is loss. Sucks.

In my own walk down this long road, there is an overarching mantra of perceived ungratefulness. When I disclose I miss my father, typically it is retorted with,” Well, you have many nieces, nephews, siblings, and a mother, most people don’t have.” “Really?! Say what?! Get clear out of town. Still don’t have my dad. K bye.” Rude. Ticks me right off. The loss of my father does not mean I am not grateful for what I still have. It means, the loss of my father shattered my whole heart into a million-teensy weensy small bits. GO AWAY, jerk. Thankfully, my parents taught me to not say every little thing I think. Eh, they did the best they could with what they had. Bless.

“The loss of one does not replace the company of many.”- Unknown. Give whomever came up with that wisdom a big, fat, wet one from me.  I’m 30 & single. Sigh. The most important male figure in my life, now resides at Six Mile Cemetery with an upturned face.  Be gentle, please? Don’t tell me it’s ok. He isn’t suffering, or, wait for it, he wouldn’t want me to be sad. Let me be. Hug me. Pray for me. Tell me something funny he did. If you got nothing,  a genuine smile does wonders for the soul.

Grief takes on many forms throughout life. The loss of my father was compounded by my parent’s house fire. Most things from my childhood didn’t survive, again the infuriating mantra was, “Be thankful your parents made it out alive. The rest is just stuff.” False. I am all for less crap & stuff, but childhood photos are not stuff. My old teddy bear was not just a thing. It’s a thing with value to me. Again, the loss was totally mitigated. It’s a special kind of hell to sit in the charred remains of your loved one’s house inventorying burnt remnants of a life.

                The lack of knowledge about how to converse with the hurting is sorely lacking in society. I want to study it, write about it, and offer what insight I’ve had. It’s been a cool drink of water on a hot day to talk with others who say, “Me, too!” Others have also expressed the same sentiments in being the proverbial turd in the punch bowl. I want to expand the narrative. Include those in the fold who are divorced, widowed, or parent-less. The better we understand grief, the better we can sit who those eyeball deep in it. Baby steps. Pain will not be ignored. In my attempts to understand my own, I pray someday it will help others with theirs.



Saturday, December 24, 2016

Keep your Buts, and Well, Ya Knows, && You Must Not Forget About So & So.

      I've noticed a troubling overarching, underlying, redundancy is frowned upon in Writing, theme sneakily creeping into our everyday dialect. This belittling trend has a startling impact on our fellow brothers and sisters. 

We've arrived at a place, in this society, where everything is mitigated and downplayed. I'll explain in a hot second. Perhaps it's the constant buzz of a constant stream of news on our smartphones, tablets, computers, WiFI-enabled cars, wrist watches that tell us when to move, and other chord chasing gadgets. Things & stuffs that suck up our attention spam, time, and, data.  Perhaps it's being globally connected to the free world in the waiting room of your local Jiffy lube, via a handheld device with the forbidden fruit that is a global brands logo? I'm not sure how. I don't know when. I don't know why, but it's go to stop.

Recently, a good friend's parent died. Said friend and I sat at dinner discussing the ends & outs of life over cheeseburgers and spinach dip. The general rigmarole of work, love, life, topics were discussed. The conversation turned to the heavier side of things. It was brought that my sweet friend has heard, from numerous sources, "Sorry, you lost parent X. You should be thankful you still have so. so, and so. My neighbor lost both parents at the same time. You can't even imagine. Be thankful you still have so, so, and so. 

Really? You are talking to someone who just lost said mama. You have the nerve to play the comparison game? Really? In what world is that helpful? Why don't we say, "That sucks. Tell me your mom's favorite thing to do on a lazy Saturday morning? Or was her favorite holiday? Or how about a hug? Or a warm smile? Perhaps, an interpretive dance  It's akin to you telling me your house burnt down to the crumbs & dirt. I respond with.' At least you still have the garage!" My aunt's house, garage, barn, and lean to all went up in smoke!" NO NO NO NO NO NO NO 

Does that help you pick up, inventory, appraise, and reorder all of your earthly possessions, toothbrush and clean underwear all back right square again? NO! Believe me, a fire is no joke. Or stroll down the beach with a wine slushie and a caramel tan. Perhaps all of this access to news reminds us to be thankful. I agree whole heartily. Also, I hold fast to to the belief you can't speak to what you don't know. I've never lost a parent. The thought alone just drops my heart out of my butt. I know it's a road we will all walk. And even that floods my eyes. 

This is all of these Buts, and Well, Ya Know && You Must Not Forget About So & So.  No on needs your opinion, Just your love. It's devastating in the middle of suffering to hear someone ignore your strife because they have a neighbor that lost parents instead of just one. We are to be thankful in all things, not for them. World of difference. I'm just as guilty as everyone else. Not by any stretch of the imagination am I waving my Dan Marino mitts in anyone's face. 

These cataclysmic events that happen in our lives might not seem like the world came crashing down, because we can google someone else's suffering in a nano second. I'm not saying tragedy doesn't befall us all. In this life we are promised heartache and strife until the close the lid. I'm no so sure it won't carry on for 3 days after the worms have creept in, but here is to hoping. 

This past Fall, I stood over the casket of the principal's daughter of my school's baby girl. Katie was 9. She had brown hair and loved theater. It takes your breath away to even say it. Undoubtedly, he will know deep, unspeakable sorrow all of his days. He will never be whole until he leaves this world to be reunited with his love in the next life.  We were in line to greet the family at the viewing, and I overheard, "My feet hurt. I have piles of laundry in the dining room that is just sitting there. Ah, yes, like your dirty piles of Levis are such a troubling weight on your mind. Let's take care of each other? Can we? It took all I had not to punch the person in the face who popped off about the funeral line being so long. Heaven florid the worst day of someone's life interfere with your dirty underwear. When did taking care of our brothers and sisters become so hard? When did we forget how to just shut up and listen. 

Let's all agree, the next time we hear of someone's trouble. We will listen. We will care. If our big Buts, Well, Ya Knows, && You Must Not Forget About So & So, even pass through our tongue lets just put it right back where it belongs. Shut your mouth. Open your heart. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Chin hairs & Mustache wax

Long time no see old friends.  I've been busy. Not so much busy, as I have been lazy. There I said it. Well, I'm back. Happy to join you. Writing is powerful. Words are profound.  Mustache wax is painful. Shall we?

I was diagnosed with PCOS at 18. Long, gross story short, I have problems with my womanly innards and hormones. I.e. Thinning hair, sprouting chin whiskers/ upper lip fuzz. Why get a cat that has whiskers when you can grow your own and save on Tidy cat? I rest my case.  Also, midsection weight gain. Basically a spare tire of flub you could smuggle Mexicans in. Hey, Grandpa Joe!  (Yes, these were the terms Web MD uses. I was shocked, too. How rude!- Stephanie Tanner. Long live the 90's)
Bla bla, medical words & heartache. I was put on meds to combat said ailment. FAIL.

Over the course of 6 months, things started to go awry. I was a bald walking pair of boobs. I lost about 60ish lbs. woohoo! The walking pair of boobs comes into play because that what I was.  As much as that is annoying at times,  you got to work with what your mama gave you. Suddenly, my spare tire went from Tractor tire to tricycle tire. Hay!

The problem was along with the weight also went my hair. big clumps or handfuls just it got thinner and thinner. Deb, who is a second mom to me, was cutting the remnants of what was my hair. She is loving and tender. We both knew the conversation that was bound to happen. I had a pit so deep in my stomach, I was sure it was big enough for me & all 7 of my hairs to crawl into and hide in forever. Solid plan.

It is devastingly painful to be half bald in your early 20's. A special kind oh hell fo sho. I'm as sarcastic and mouthy as the next Mccormick.  I have broad shoulders & mitts like Dan Marino.  But if someone was so much as even stare at the top of my head too long or ask me about what was wrong with my hair,  I could not stop the inevitable title wave of tears .  And it didn't matter that you were close to me or if it was a stranger I was just so uncomfortable and it was so hard I would just instantly cry . And even talking about it now I can still feel some of that old despair creep back in.

 I do believe authenticity is what we all desperately crave in a world that is so photoshopped & staged.  They call it the ugly truth for a reason. This is about as authentic as it gets.  I'm also aware that men struggle with hair loss .  I am by no means diminishing their struggle. As a woman I thought there was something particularly awful about this affliction. Meaning no one give me any crap about being insensitive or ignoring the plight of a balding man. Focus.

I went off the meds, on rogaine and all of that stuff. Read: craptastic results. Ida had more fun lighting the money on actual fire. All Rogaine ever did was drain my bank account & nothing to cross the great divide that was the chasm of my missing nothing to cross the great divide that was the chasm of my missing hair. I gained the weight back but not my hair.

 Fast forward 10 long years, and my hair is coming back. My kitchen is lab of organic experiments, teas, tinctures, balms, and bottles.  After a lot of research and book digging,  I created my own little hair serum. At seven weeks into my experiment,  I realize my results were astonishing.  I didn't tell anyone I was doing this .  I snapped a shot of my sparse part , and let the mixture work it's magic.
 My little bottle of sprouts has proven to be small yet mighty.

 I'm going to name the stuff Sprouts. I plan on selling it. Seeing how it goes, and then on from there.
 What I want more than anything,  is to help be able to hermetically seal shut that pit in anyone else's stomach that is carved out by what they have lost. Yes it's just hair. But I'll come take away half of it, and we will see how big the hole is in your heart.

The proof is in the tasting. Tastes pretty sweet. I'll post another progress picture in a month. Baby steps. From the absolute bottom of my heart, thank all of you for the love, support, and faith. There are no words to express my gratitude. 'Our deepest hurt will bring about our most powerful stories' -Amen

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dire Straits

The original definition of courage meant to tell your whole story with your whole heart. Well, this is my story.

Panel is a big, huge, obnoxious, (very important & rightly so,) test that everyone takes at Columbia. I didn't pass this past May. I had too much on my mind and not enough skill to pass. I failed. (Truth is, I spent 3 days locked in my apartment crying & watching all 8 seasons of Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe, straight through) My proclivity for a middle aged, dark hair blue eyed host not withstanding, it's a fantastic show!  Between you, me, and the fencepost, If I'm going to be sad, might as well fix my eyes on something visually appealing. ( Hello! Mama didn't raise no fool ;) Hi, mom! <3 Love you!

The ramifications of not passing this Panel are rather serious. It meant I was forced to take a summer class, and possibly be held back a semester. (totally unacceptable! I got things to do. Those things would include moving on with my life, && graduating before I'm old enough to draw Social Security. Lofty ambitions).

My original summer plans of working, soap making, & chasing around  little yahoos, wouldn't go as planned. I needed help. Lots of it. * screwed, at this point, I am so screwed.* That meant I had to ask for help. I had to make myself vulnerable *gulp* . It meant I would have to find my courage.  I would have to ask for help because I failed.  I would have to tell the story of not passing an important test. Shoot me now. I didn't want to. It was embarrassing, and awful. It meant I needed help, and was only going to get that help,  If I asked. Shoot me now!

I don't like to ask for help. I speak a few languages, can handle anything in the kitchen & consider myself a whiz with old people & babies. (I am smarter than I look. Just don't ask me how many times
 I have fallen down the stairs, or burnt the stuffing out of myself on the crock pot, k?! ) *cough
cough* Me, stubborn? What's that you say?  pride cometh before the fall? BOOM. Timber. Crash. I will take my humble pie al mode, please.

The news of my failure couldn't have arrived at a worse time in my life. The past year had been one that broke my heart in a way I never thought it would heal. If I told you I had been lonely, miserable, and down right a nightmare to be around, it would be the understatement of the decade.  I had experienced indescribable grief, forced goodbyes, and now, glaring failure. Anything else, really? Oh, yes, the roommate from Hell. Sad. I loved my former roommate. She is a peach. Very much. Broke my heart when I had to say goodbye.

I swallowed my pride, and much to my surprise, something amazing happened. The people asked for for help, did just that. There was no judgment. It is an absolutely amazing thing to ask for help and
get just that. Initially, even talking about my seemingly impending doom made my brown eyes drip.
My tears were met with warm hugs, caring eyes, and a willingness to see me pass Panel, no matter
how daunting said task was. I was blown away. I shouldn't have been surprised though. I am blessed.

Summer would prove to be an adventure in new experiences & even a new language. (Braille! I love it!)  One of the people I met at the DeafBlind retreat presented a lecture about asking for help. I spent a week volunteering at this retreat.  It was stated that it is easy to ask for help when it is obvious you need others. I.E. a person breaks a leg, or has a house fire. Of course, you would need the aid of others if your house was no longer intact. But it takes real strength to ask for help when others see you warts & all. (Your pride prove its destructive capabilities in every aspect of your life until you learn to suck it up, Buttercup!) I learned this lesson the hard way this summer. However, it is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

You have to learn to ask for help when it is hard and painful. You must be willing to share with others things that you would rather keep to yourself. You must accept the fact we are not 
meant to do this on our own. 

I really appreciated everyone that helped me out this pit. I spent the summer interpreitng all over everywhere this summer. I just worked my tail off and it all paid off. I have an amazing mentor that was wiling to work with me. I just cannot ask for me. The plan is someday, to mentor someone who will find them-self in the same position I was in. In order to ever give love in any capacity, you must be able to receive it.  I am beyond bless to have such a wonderful group of people in my life. I love you all. I learned so much. My heart is so full.

The good news is, I passed my test. I am on the right path. I am so happy I was able to work through it this summer. In this life you will have heartache and strife, but you must always move forward. You must ask for what you need. You must be willing to ask for what you need.  Big things coming my way!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The 3rd Party Perspective

Here is it, my opinion. You didn't ask me and I don't care! Here is it. You is welcome!


Yep. That 7 letter word (-) the plural(s). It's incited a riot between everybody. I stay out, well, because, ya know, I like my head attached. I am now speaking out because I have a blog. (whoopiedoo!) Having 0, that's right, count em' on no hands, 0 kids myself I have an opinion. (I can hear and see all of you rolling your eyes and sighing VERY loudly, geeze a whiz, just have a little patience, would ya?)  I listen to your screaming, hollerin, carryin' on kid at Target every time I go in the store, afford me the same courtesy?. Thanks in Advance :) Mighty Kind.

Woman, to the point! Oh, hi!

I have spent my entire life around kids, seriously, it's a little bit much. My mom babysat kids and then I started babysitting myself. I have years and I mean years of experience with children. DISCLAIMER. I by no means, of any stretch of any imagination am saying that I know what it's like to have a kid. Nope. Didn't  say it. Shh, shut it!… Keep reading.

I have been a babysitter/nanny/crumb gobbler/ankle biter/ taker-carer-of-em for all of my life. I love em' all. I swear. Even on the days I swear my tubes tie themselves bc the kids make me crazy. They all have a special place deep inside my heart. Despite the barf in hair or blowout on my dress. You can't take the good without the bad, smelly, and gassy. I digress.

What I have been privy to a rare glimpse into many different parenting styles and methods. The one I am paying special attention to VACCINES. Why? I know how these kids are before they have these shots and I see how they are after. It scares me. It sickens me. It makes me worry for what their lives will be like in the future.

I have taken car of many babies that after their SUGGESTED vaccines, the change in their countenance is alarming. I don't just mean a fussy baby for a day. My stomach always does a cartwheel or 7 when a family tells me the little just had the required shots. I don't what what the babies reaction will be, but it aint pretty.

 This is not an informative post to explain every side effect or reaction. It's meant to just ask you to do your homework on whatever you are putting into your child's body. I cannot tell you how many mothers/fathers I hear saying I wish I would have doctor never told me…why don't people warn you..I could go on for days with this one…It breaks my heart.


It's important to remember when I say a parent needs to do his or her homework on vaccines, I do not mean go to your doctor's office. I mean do your homework, read books, watch a documentary or 6. Listen to a parent speak, let their message be understood. When you do your research, go in with an open mind. If you approach this topic with an open mind, you might be surprised as to what you find. Don't think or say what kind of idiot. Take his or her opinion in, take it to heart.


I have worked with kids who are and who are not vaccinated and the difference is astounding. The ones that aren't do not have the same health, mental, and emotional problems that I see occurring in the ones that are. I am not saying that every problem in the world is tied to a vaccine, not at all, but I do see their damage. It's not a medical perspective, my opinion is what I have seen first hand. No one can tell me what I have seen with my own eyes. No one, ever.

If anything, this should post should remind you that your children are precious, they are the hopes and dreams of the ones that went before us. They will be all that remains once we are gone. That's not an if we are gone, that is when we are, all will perish from the Earth. They are to be loved, snuggled, rocked to sleep, and taken care of. The times they are a changin', baby. Get with the times. Your job as a parent now to do the dishes, wash the clothes, and do your homework. Your choice, your kid, but it would be shame to have to say I wish I would have known…

I encourage all of you to watch this. I challenge everyone that reads this to read, watch, or find 3 articles, books, or documentaries about vaccines, that are different that the current viewpoint you hold. Understand why people believe and feel like they do. It may change your mind, save a life, or for the first time, you will understand the other side believes what he or she does.

This is a humble persectiptive from the nanny. I did not go into great detail because I am not putting out my own thoughts and ideas. I encourage you to formulate your own, based on your research. Remember cheater's never prosper ;) It don'ts mean anything unless you have made a decision because of what you believe. I am simply expressing my concern over what I have seen come to pass. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

That sucks! Want A Sammich?!

The very sound of "Bless Your Heart" makes me want to yak.  What is really being said is, "poor sucker, awe, life is rough when you are slow..." It's crap! Downright BS. It fits right up there with "that's life" really? That is what passes for encouragement these days. PTI-A-FREAKIN-FUL. So now we encourage our brothas and sistas with bumper- sticker platitudes and trite sayings from Chicken Soup for the Soul? Ouch.
*Side note* This blog could possibly be from the recent turn of events, those events being going home, the Holidays,  and Finals in 2 weeks* I know, just breathe., step away from the 5 hour energy.   So if this is blog has a bit more sass or zing to it, I make no apologies , like I ever do, but it is about time it was said! * Continue reading at your own free will :)

It is easy to forget our own thoughts and actions once we are removed from a situation. i.e. the loss of a friend, raising children, ( I got NOTHING on this one. I also refuse to open that can of worms.I am just trying to get you there, OK?) going through school, moving across state lines....yada yada yada . You get it. You is smart, You is kind, You is important :)

My (grass-fed) beef is that once we are out of a situation we become experts platitude givers . We offer little to no  empathy or support   to others who are walking the same road. I will put myself out there on this one. Most of you know over the last few years I have been gypsy livin! It has been some good times. Moved out and  away, grew up ( work in progress, I know)  Lived alone and loved it Well, 95% of the time. This ain't an SAT test, numbers are not scored here! I pride (Pride- that will come back around to bite your in the rear) myself on knowing how to make a budget, pack up an apartment, and start over. It's been a blast meeting new people, learning about different places, and really making my own life. There are stories that are special to me from each place I lived. Every place has a place in my heart and my life. but......

Each one also has its own struggles, defeats, and losses at every new place. I have forgotten how hard it is to pull up roots and start totally over. The move from home was the hardest. It by far was the best experience I have ever hard, but also the most challenging on many levels.My mind, at times,  glosses over all of the hard parts and focuses on the good. So when I hear someone wants to move away I am the first to make a list of what is needed for packing up an apartment. ( Toss your junk before you move! There is always a Bed, Bath, & Beyond & a  20% off coupon close at hand:)

A friend of mine recently got into an excellent law school in DC.  I said GO. Move across the country you can always move home, me you have seen! It is great advice, so proud of you , Jasmine <3. However, there is also more to it than just Lowes boxes and packing tape. It means pulling up roots, exposing yourself, and being VULNERABLE.. ( That means being ok with saying, HALP!) What better time to say, "Halp"

So, since I am nice and settled in CHICAGO ( I made it, baby!) , it is easy for me to dole out advice about moving, However, what I need to say is, Ah, moving. there is a reason it rates very high on the stress scale. Instead of just saying that blows.and walk away. Why not offer to help pack up, grab a box, or just say we should go spend a night walking around Bed , Bath, and Beyond. I have coupons. Bury me with em," ok?

I am reminded of how many people had patience with me when I first started out on my ASL journey. ILY BETH!!!!!!!!!!! <3 I now work in the ASL lab at school so now I deal with ASL one students. They are so cute! Scared crapless!  It is something else to walk in there with everyone who can sign like it aint no thing and ask you what you need help with. If you can get your knees to stop shakin' long enough, and your hands to work, and your brain to remember how to spell your own name, you are in the red, baby! It is a good day. But it aint, your hands are clammy, you know the sign for book and the polite girl behind the desk signs BOOK , but you get that deer in the headlight look. Fifteen minutes later communication has happened. Now, I look back on those days fondly! Ah, good times, right? Well, kinda.

It is the job of the older ones to help guide the younger ones. It is really a charge to the ones who have walked before to show them how you survived Panel 1 & Panel 2 ! OMG. That means we should speak edifying words to each other like...." I remember those days, you need to go to tutoring every week to improve," or other sound advice.Of course there is a time to lead the pack, and let them figure it out on their own. But that's another day.

So the charge is that those of us who have survived, perhaps a little beaten up, but still here, should serve as a guide to the ones who are following in our foot steps. Also, are our footsteps what they should follow? It isn't that have to be perfect, but did you do the best you could?

I think of the holiday season and how many people will be without a loved one at the table. I sobbed at I Miss You Most At Christmas Time by Mariah Carey the other day. Absolutely reduced to sobs and snot. It hurts. The holidays will be rough this year. So say a prayer for those families this year that will have one less at their table. An empty place an the table means an emptier place in the hearts of the ones that loved the one that has gone on. Hurts.

 People say life is but a vapor. I get it. SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!. When a person is closer to 50 it is easier to say that so carelessly, sometimes, even down right cold. At 26, my friends are my family up in Chi.  School and work is my life right now. So it isn't just oh whatever, it doesn't matter. It does to me. It is all about perspective. So before judgement is passed, stop, think, then speak. Remember being 26 and sometimes feeling like the world is crashing down? Sometimes it does feel that way. Sometimes it does all go up in smoke. This life turns on a dime. So saying life is short at 50 holds a different meaning than at 26. I have a longer journey. 26 > 50, 'member?

The whole point is to remember what it was like when you walked that same road. It isn't the friend who remembers those days that means anything to you . It is the one that sees you in the mire and climbs down in with you. Not the one who sees you in the hole and says, "that's life,  I would come down there, but I can't get dirty. Life is rough, wanna sammich ?" There is a time for sammiches and to pull your own self up. However, sometimes we just need someone who gets it. Who knows that grief is a process and sometimes it does SUCK.Things aren't always going to be ok. That in itself is ok, too. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert. These things take time. Dance when it's time to dance, and cry when your heart is heavy. Don't dismiss someone because you have survived said experience. Consider it a pleasure that he or she is comfortable enough to be vulnerable with you. Remember a time in your own life when if one more person said "deal, that's life" you were going to cry. The bible says love is what separates the world from the Christians. Love is a verb. Love sits in the muck and mire. Platitudes give you a handout, a sammich. Love gives you a hand up, a hand to hold. 

So are you climbing down in the trenches? Or are you holdin' a sammich?