Monday, May 20, 2013

Semi Underdressed

Last week was a whirlwind of evening affairs.  Chuck's company was hosting a conference in town and there were 3 evening functions that he wanted me to attend with him.  I said, "Pick one."  He said, "I need you at all three."  I immediately get tired thinking about being out past my bedtime 3 nights in a row.  Not to mention that I already know I will overeat because there will be 4 courses served along with trays of wine coming around the corner every time I look up.  If you are thinking that I could just not eat it all, you clearly don't know me well. I have never, ever been one to turn down dessert.  First World Problem...I know. 

The first evening affair was a wonderful dinner hosted by Chuck's company for the Chairman of the Board at The Houstonian Hotel. Business Casual.  I'm not really sure what that means but I was dressed least as well as the others. 

The second evening was a Texas themed Gala hosted by the Conference Board of Directors. "Western Wear" if you have it.  I had it. Well, I have boots.

The third evening was a Reception and Awards Dinner...Chuck would be wearing a suit because he was being awarded an award.  I would wear a maxi dress with a sweater with beading on it. Beads mean dressy, right?   And heels!  I.  Never.  Wear.  Heels.  So that makes it dressy in my book.

I take off early from work each day to race home, get freshened up and change clothes...then make the 50 minute trek to downtown Houston.  By Thursday, I am feeling worn out.  I wash my face, put on new make-up, get dressed and head out.  I am 5 minutes down the road when the dinging starts...the dinging that is accompanied by LOW FUEL flashing on the dashboard. Grrrrr.  I'll never make it downtown and back home again without stopping for gas now.

I pull in to the next station I see....rushing, rushing, rushing.  I put in $40...which is just about a half of a tank these days... take the nozzle out of the tank...but don't let go of the handle.  Gas spews everywhere.  I jump back and avoid getting it all over me....except for my arm and beaded sweater.  I run over to the window to tell the attendant that I spilled gasoline...wait, wait, wait while she finishes whatever she was doing behind the window...she rolls her eyes and comes over to look.  I apologize and tell her I am so sorry...I've never done that before...guess I'm in a hurry and wasn't thinking.....blah, blah...she says "okay well I'll clean it up...thanks for telling me... most people wouldn't."

I jump back in the car reeking of gasoline, so I have to turn around and head back home.  I run in, pull off the sweater, wash my arm with soap and water, dripping water down my dress...oh, well...and put on a denim jacket.   I breathe deep, telling myself to slow down and relax... and head back out for the long drive downtown.

Chuck meets me at the door of the hotel and we head up the elevator and go in to the Reception area.

And all I see are women in black sequined dresses.  You know...COCKTAIL DRESSES!

I look at Chuck and say, "I'm clearly underdressed!" 

He says, "Well, maybe take this blue jean thing off."  (Meaning my denim jacket) So even he knows I'm underdressed. 

I say, "NO!  I have bra straps showing under here. Not to mention upper arms."  Has a man ever had to worry about their upper arms?

So I ask him what exactly was the "dress" for this evening.  He says "Well, I'm wearing a suit.  I told you I was wearing a suit." Like the word suit has ever been put on an invitation describing the "attire" for the event.

A few minutes later, our daughter arrives and she is wearing something very dressy.  I ask her, "what was the dress for tonight?" She says, "It said SEMI FORMAL on the invitation."

Yeah.  The invitation I never saw. 

Evening wear for me is Old Navy pajama bottoms and a t-shirt. Semi Formal would be throwing on a robe.  I'm back to my real life this week and it feels so good. 

P.S.  Congratulations Chuck!  I love you and am so proud of you.  Next time you see the words "Semi Formal" on an invitation for a function you want me to attend with sure and say those words out loud to my face. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dear Will...

To my sweet Will,

On Sunday afternoon, right before we were heading out to celebrate your college graduation with a dinner out with family, I wrapped your gift and tried to write a few words to you on your graduation card.  And that's when it really hit me.  How in the world could I put in to one or two paragraphs just what you mean to me? 

Just to be sure your sisters don't think I love you more...I should clarify that I love you all and would die for any one of you.  But you are the baby and the only boy and the "whoops" and my direct hit from God. 

You've been told this story your whole life but humor me while I repeat it again.

Up until that time in my life, I was all about control.  I put a capital P in Planning.  I would have 2 children by the time I was 30 and then I would sell all the baby stuff and go back to school to get my college degree.  The Plan was rolling.  I had the garage sale and sold the baby stuff.  All of it.  I had my 2 sweet girls and the youngest was almost 2.  It was early 1990 and I would begin to Plan for the next steps of getting back to school.

And then the nausea hit.  I was sure I was coming down with the flu.  But the flu shouldn't make me late. 

Oh, no. 

Oh, yes.

I cried.  I prayed.  I cried some more.  How could this happen?  I am a Planner.  I Plan.  There was no room for error.  I was always in control.


 I'm not? 

I spent my days nauseated and sleepy.  And trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I was not in control and I was, indeed, having a third child.  I had to make the phone calls to the parents and tell them the news.  The news coming out of the same mouth that announced to everyone just a month or so before that "we weren't having any more children....I was done and going back to school."  Yep, the same mouth was now saying, "I'm pregnant." 

I really was sad.  Not because of YOU.  Because I really didn't know you then.  I was sad for me.  For my big plans and my big mouth and my control issues.  And my insane fertility....while others around me had trouble getting pregnant. 

Around 17 weeks, I had an ultrasound.  It was YOU.  And you were a BOY.  And I swear on that afternoon, I felt God.  I had a strong change of heart.  I suddenly let go.  I let go.  And I knew I was supposed to be the mama to 3 children and it was all going to be okay.  It was God's plan for me.  Not my plan for me.  But His.  And it was all going to be okay. 

I spent the next few months awaiting your arrival and I have never looked back.  You were my direct hit from God.  And I thank Him always. 

You were the sweetest baby and perhaps "hen pecked" a little more than necessary by me and your sisters...but only because you were like a real, live baby doll...we just couldn't leave you alone.  You never really got to open your own Christmas or Birthday presents because of all of their "help."  You know, because you were the "baby." 

I know you are good to the core.  You are handsome.  Kind.  Loving.  Funny.  Smart.  You have a bleeding heart for others and animals.  You are creative.  And you are going to make a mark in this world.  You are.

And when you move away and our lives get further apart, you must promise me that you will never, ever forget how much you are loved.  Not only by me and Daddy...and your adoring sisters, but by God.  He knew before I knew.  He knew I needed you.  That our marriage needed you.  That your sisters needed a brother.  That this world needed your kindness and creativity. 

You can never, ever do anything to make me love you less.  Even after that time you jumped out of a moving car...and I was mad and scared, I still loved you and prayed many thanks to God for your safety afterwards.  I can't imagine how I could love you more. Except, I'm sure I will.  You just continue to amaze me.

When you left for college, I wasn't sure how in the world you would be able to get up for class without me yelling at you to turn off your alarm and get up...and yet you did.  I remember all the stressed out phone calls from that first year away and even the first few weeks of each semester after that and I prayed that somehow you would get through it.  And you did.  I have loved watching you grow in to the man I could never imagine.

I blinked and four years went by and now you're a college graduate.  I'm very, very proud of you.

Now go get a job. 

Love, Mama

Proverbs 19:21

 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Last One

I attended the college graduation ceremony for our last child.  I am hoping that is the last one I ever have to attend.  Not that I won't attend a future one, but it's not something I will anxiously await.

Not because it's not a wonderful celebration of an awesome accomplishment...but because it's 2 or more hours long and I spend most of that time trying to find my one little dot of a kid in an ocean of dots, then quickly lose my attention and am forced to sit rather still for 2 or more hours.

It's a privilege, a right of passage, a ceremony that should be revered...but once the speeches are over, there is nothing but hundreds of names announced for the next hour and a half.  I planned on yelling when Will's name was called, but by the time I saw him at the edge of the stage and got my camera ready to aim, he was announced and gone....pushed through quickly for the next graduate coming behind him.

I took a lot of shots (lots of blurry shots) and tried to yell out his name at the same time...but it came out more like a spastic screech and then it was over.  He did it.  He graduated.  It's over.  I.  Think.  I'm.  Going.  To.  Cry.  Now.

Because we are only half way through the ceremony.  And I just want to get my hands on that kid and wrap my arms around him and scream, "How did this happen so quickly?"

This is it.  The last kid.  The last graduation ceremony.  The last kid has been raised.  It's over.  And I'm not sure I can even remember it all. 

Time, you are a sly one.  You make us wait, then it's over in a flash.