i'm for sale. (black friday special)

I have a friend that I like a lot. She doesn’t live close and I see her almost never. But she knows I run lots of little races and asked me about a month ago if I wanted to run a half marathon with her.
I said yes with little hesitation.
Partly because there isn’t so much she could ask me to do that I wouldn’t say yes to. And partly because it meant hanging out with her and possibly fitting back into my skinny jeans.
I am not much of a detail girl so the fact that it is a good 10 miles longer than the majority of races I run didn’t really stress me at the time.
One little detail did make me panic.
I had to be part of a team. A team that I agreed to try and raise money for. And even though it was for a ridiculously good cause. This little detail rather than the 13.1 miles with hills (lots of hills!) made me break into a little mini panic attack. Kind of like when someone asks me to go swimming with them. But worse. In other words, I think I’d rather wear my swimsuit in public than ask my friends for money.

 So a while back I made it official. I signed up for the race. I signed up for Team World Vision. I just didn’t ask anyone for money. I thought that maybe I’d ask for that for Christmas. That not getting Christmas presents would be admirable. And I have all kinds of stuff, it’s not like I really need anymore. And I did email my inlaws and my siblings (even though I don’t think we get each other gifts anyways) the website, but when my parents called and asked what I wanted, before I could stop myself I accidentally said an ipad2.

 So then I started to try and think of marketable skills. That maybe I could “earn” the money I was supposed to be raising. And I’m pretty sure that I am too old for a paper route. I am a sucky babysitter. Unless you like your kids watching cartoons, eating happy meals and coloring on the furniture…and then I am at your service. And I might have a masters degree, but not so many practical skills. So I mentally ran through my resume.

 When I was in middle school I cleaned my neighbors house for 20$ a week. I mostly played her cd collection and ran the vacuum across the floor so it left those little marks. Sometimes I didn’t even plug it in. I sprayed plenty of lemon pledge and windex so it would smell clean. But smelling clean and actually dusting aren’t exactly the same thing and I was fired pretty fast.  My parents used to pay me a buck for each Christmas present I wrapped. Which I also did poorly. I even wrapped my own presents which I’m now thinking I should have charged double for. And my dad would also offer to pay me a dollar to run my fingers through his toes. I’m sure that no amount of money I earned for that will ever pay for the therapy I will need later. In high school I occasionally played Christmas carols at banks or the occasional wedding reception. For the bargain price of 20$ a gig. But my violin hasn’t been touched in a while and I think mostly people would pay me not to play at this point. I also worked at Dairy Queen, TJ Maxx and Putt Putt. In other words – I can make a blizzard, fix a jammed batting cage (yes while people were still batting) and do not think I learned any real skill from TJ Maxx. Except that you should never under any circumstance touch money that a large woman pulls out of  her bra.

So back to the drawing board for money making skills. I don’t clean well. I don’t drive well. I can’t paint. I can’t draw. I can’t do your taxes (but both my parents are CPAs if that counts). I can’t decorate cakes or arrange flowers or organize closets. I would be a disaster at selling make up because I barely know how to put it on. If you've seen the inside of my car you wouldn't even consider asking me to wash yours.
This is getting depressing and I think maybe I should focus on the things that I can do:
I can make cool things with modge podge. I can read really fast. I can write long nonsensical emails in way less time it takes someone to read them. I can simplify complex equations. I am good at crosswords. I am a fast shopper. Still. Doubtful that anyone is willing to pay me for any of those things.

But I settled on a few marketable skills that I am willing to do for a donation

1)      I can cook. People never believe this. And assume that this, like most of my domestic skills, is lacking. They are wrong and I’m happy to prove it. Just tell me what you like. I do not, however, bake. That requires following directions which I do not do well. So I mean this. I will cook and deliver dinner (within a 20 mile radius). Just like Pizza Hut, but I’ll need more than 30 minutes notice.

2)      I can take pictures. Now do not for a second think you are getting some cheap photography deal. I am in no way pretending to be a photographer. I do have lots of photographer friends and one of their fancy hand me down cameras. I shoot mostly in auto and don’t know how to use photoshop. But I do edit a little and am free (well, like a car wash is free…) And I’m probably better than the self timer on your camera.

And if you don’t live anywhere near my zipcode….

3)      The other skill I have been well known for since I was a teenager and got a stereo with a double cassette deck is that I make a mean mix tape. And these days it has been upgraded to cd which I can mail anywhere….I’ll also throw in a book. Because I have lots of those laying around. And I don’t mean a book I wrote. I mean a book I probably bought at half price or in the sale section of Mardel or borrowed from a friend and never returned.

So if you are interested in any of those things….or want me to make you a blizzard….
Donate here: http://support.worldvision.org/site/TR?team_id=26640&fr_id=1471&pg=team
And email me here: shaun.michelle@sbcglobal.net and I’ll take care of you.

The race isn’t til February. So you have lots of time to cash in on me. Tell your friends that I’m cheap. (yes, that was a bad joke….notice I didn’t list good joke teller as one of my marketable skills). Until then, I might want to think about how I’m going to run those 13.1 miles without puking. Ok. I will probably puke at least once. I’ll aim for without dying.

peace and quiet and turkey

My parents cook all night and all morning for a ridiculous feast. Usually for atleast 20. And more often than not there is someone around the table (tables to be more accurate) that I have never seen before in my life. Ever.
They may or may not be related to me.
And that hardly matters as long as they are willing to flatter the cook(s) and pour my dad another glass or wine. or bourbon. or slice of pecan pie.
Holidays at my house are a little crazy.
There will be yelling. There will be enough food to feed 40. My dad will tablescape and cook something I can’t pronounce and it will be delicious. Plates are paper and people often fight over leftovers. Prayers are long winded minisermons. There are 8 grandkids all competing for who can be the noisiest. And there is often football in the front lawn or atleast nerf balls being thrown off the balcony. There will be bad words. And at least one person will pass out. From too much turkey. Or wine. Or both.

I have spent the last few days with my husband’s family. I’ve said it several times before. I know my way around this town better than my own. And it is a lot quieter.
No one was up at 5 am cooking.
My mom didn’t set trays of dressing out on the breezeway because there wasn’t anymore room in the fridge, only to have it eaten by neighborhood dogs. (this was classic, and never again was the ping pong table used as food storage regardless of the outside temperature). The plates were real. And we all fit around one table.
It is almost 7 pm and we are all still awake. There was a turkey trot. Numerous games of candy land, checkers, 100 piece puzzles, a little bit of crafting. I’ve read more than one book. The kind without pictures. I’d try to go to a movie, except I don’t think the theatre here is open today. I ate really good food. Cobbler. I can’t recall anyone dropping any f-bombs. Tess has a stomach bug. But other than that it has been a restful, calm, day of too much yummy food. I have spent a great deal of it in yoga pants. I won’t be venturing out in a few hours for black Friday sales. And I hope to still be in bed until I can’t ignore my kids any longer and then I will venture out in my pjs. Pour myself a cup of coffee. Eat some cobbler for breakfast. And watch more TV. Read more books. Play more checkers. And probably go for another run.

And I will go back home tomorrow or the next day a few pounds heavier. Well read. Well rested. Calmer. Like I’ve been doing yoga instead of just laying around on someone else’s couch. I might have even graded all those papers I brought that are still sitting in the truck. And all of those things will be good for me. Except the pounds. But the 20+ miles I’ve ran this week should help balance that out.

And this is going to sound a little nuts….because I love all that. I need it to make it through December (well maybe I could have done without the half dozen jelly cookies I ate. just today) but I miss the loud and the crazy and of course the pie.

...and my favorite holiday movie. ever. and almost makes me feel like I am at home. be warned this isn't rated PG.

PS. Who wants to go to Fajita Jacks????

The Walk of the Unashamed

The other day I had to have a difficult conversation with someone about a difficult situation. It was the kind of conversation that it is best to prep for. To think about and maybe even write down what you want to say. And a conversation that I had been putting off for months….and people kept telling me over and over I needed to have. And I’m not even really sure what it was that was keeping me from it. Until I started talking.
The conversation happened when I was least ready for it with absolutely zero prep time. And I caught myself saying the same phrase over and over...  "i was afraid that..._________(fill in the blank with one of a half dozen things)."

Somehow, over the last few months I have let fear get the best of me in lots of situations. Personal and professional. And I have tried really hard to raise my kids so they never let fear win. However, sometimes fear is a good thing.  For example, I am afraid of snakes and bears and black ski slopes. And steering clear of them might help keep me from breaking my neck or getting eaten. I am afraid of getting in trouble. I am afraid of consequences...and sometimes that is enough to keep me from doing really stupid things. But finding a balance. Between healthy fear and irrational fear….well, I’m not sure I have that figured out. I found this piece on my computer this morning. I wrote it months ago…and never posted it. And, made me think that maybe my six year old has a better grasp on it than I do.

The Walk of Shame

I am not the most patient girl.
I will do almost anything to avoid long lines.
Yesterday someone asked me if I would be hitting the mall on tax free weekend. I said I’d rather have a pelvic exam.
More new In and Out burgers opened up in town and the wait in the drive through is a couple hours.
No fast food hamburger is worth that kind of time (and yes, I’ve had an In and Out burger before. Love the fries. Not a fan of the 1000 island dressing).
It took me three trips to the DMV last time before I finally gave in and waited it out.

So yesterday was my last official day of summer and I’d put it off as long as I could…
I owed my son a date to Hawaiian Falls.
Just me and him.
It was hot and crowded and I like wearing bathing suits in front of people even less than I like waiting in long lines.
Owen put sunscreen on my back (meaning I am super burned except for a few 6 year old hand prints on my back!) and we hit the wave pool. And then I thought we’d see if he ws tall enough for some rides this year.

My favorite waterpark ride is the one that looks like a giant funnel and it happens to be one of the tallest at the park.
He hit the height requirement. But just barely.
And you could ride double so I thought it would be perfect. But there was a really long wait for a double tube. After Owen watched at least dozen people grab single tubes and hop into line ahead of us. Owen announced that he could ride by himself. So we grabbed single tubes and hopped in line.
A really long windy over four story line. That took the better part of the hour. I was a little nervous about how he’d do. But he watched rider after rider and seemed excited rather than his usual scared or cautious. All the way to the top.
And I hate heights and we were pretty high, so when he’d lean against the rail to look out or watch, I’d pull him back. I tried not to think about it or pretend that my stomach wasn’t flipping  a little. It was finally our turn and Owen insisted on going first. He still didn’t seem afraid. He put his tube in the water and I went help him in and he slipped straight through. We tried again and his hands couldn’t reach. He fell through the middle again. He may have met the height requirement but couldn’t fit in or on the tube. The lifeguard tried to suggest laying across but it was too late. The tears were already coming. And they kept coming. I tried to convince him. And usually this is where I give my kids a good shove and make them do it anyways. But I knew, that in this situation that would do more damage than good. So I quickly said it was ok. We grabbed our tubes and head back down. All four flights. Hitting people with our tubes the whole way.

The walk of shame.

Because people kept saying. Did he get scared? Was he too little?
Owen didn’t look up once.
Some even laughed. And I wanted to punch them in the face.
A few were sympathetic and said they were scared the first time too.
I just wanted down fast.
And was afraid maybe we’d have to spend the rest of our afternoon in the lazy river.
Or the toddler play area.

I don’t want my kids to live scared.
But I also want them to be ok saying.
Not doing something until they are ready.
So I told him it was ok and asked what he wanted to do next.

He marched straight over to another slide.
Not quite as high.
No tube required.
And flew down it with a crazy smile on his face.
Then went straight back in line for another slide.
And another.
And another.

(having trouble embedding, so if it doesn't show, click here to "shake it out" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbN0nX61rIs

dancing with myself

I was hesitant to put my daughter in dance.
Partly because I think she is too young, and partly because the whole idea of dance (and dance moms) scare me. That and Tess’s hair is still too short for a bun.

But people kept telling me that I needed to. And she loves to dance. So I signed her up.

Every Wednesday is crazy. I rush out of school earlier than usual, pray that I remembered her dance bag, pick up Tess, squeeze her into tights and a leotard and get her to dance abd then I’m usually right back out the door to pick up her brother, find his soccer gear and then back to dance. Usually just in time to watch the last 20 or so minutes through a one-way window. On my tip toes.

Her class started with 5 littles. One girl with a matching, leotard, dance bag and bow. All with rhinestones. Mom took several pictures of the whole ensemble before walking in the door. Two sisters, possibly twins, who were adorable but would much rather play with each other than actually dance. A little boy who was somehow related to the teacher and I think mostly in the class because she was babysitting that hour. And Tess.

I watched from the one-way window. As the teachers played music, tried to get them to stay on their spots and learn a few simple dances. Tess was serious and intense every class. She watched and tried to repeat the moves. The other kids giggled and played. She made the silliest face and always got stamps for good behavior afterwards.

After week one, I never saw the best dressed girl again. The sister/twins lasted several more times but then stopped coming. The last time it was just Tess and the boy. But she didn’t mind all the one on one attention.

This Saturday was the first little mini recital. At some Junior League Christmas shopping event.
First hesitation – Junior League. Reminds me of my cotillion days which I don’t look back on fondly.
Second hesitation – I don’t have a clue what to do. I walk in to a packed convention center and am lost. I find my way in. Find the stage and head to the room behind it. That is filled with dozens and dozens of girls in black leotards. Then I really start to panic. I don’t know what to do or where to go or who to hand my little bitty 3 year old off to. I find a familiar face who tells me to put on her ballet slippers and then hands her to a teenager.
And. no one has seen the other boy in her class. The main teacher was also out with a death in the family.
Gulp. Tess might be flying solo.

I go to try and find a seat. Which was impossible because apparently you have to get there crazy early for an actual seat, but Shaun and Owen had claimed a bench in the back. Someone near me had a schedule and I found Tess’s number 8th on the list of about 25.

Several little groups come out. Most about Tess’s age or maybe a little bit older. Groups of 5-6 girls at a time. And they are more comical than anything. A few dance in the middle, some do their own thing, some even try to walk off the stage completely. But they are cute. And everyone laughs and claps.

It gets closer to Tess’s turn and I wonder if she is ok back there. And I pray that she won’t have to venture out on that stage alone. Because I know that I’d be scared out of my mind if it was me. And I have a good 30 years on her.

And Tess isn’t exactly Miss Independent. She doesn’t like to sleep by herself. She doesn’t like to color by herself. Or play by herself. Watch movies by herself. She even wants me in the room with her while she poops. All this togetherness wears me out.  And brave is not really an adjective I'd use to describe her either. When we went to the beach, she wasn't interested in the waves. I have to push her down slides. She takes a while to warm up to new people and new situations. And she is afraid of the shower, self flushing toilets and the vacuum cleaner.
So I was panicked about what she would do when she walked out on a big stage and saw all those people. And had to do her dance. By herself. I wondered if she would cry. Or panic. Or if I would. If maybe I should go up on stage with her. And suddenly I wished that I had watched closer through that window rather than texting friends or checking facebook, so that I could do the dance with her. Because I would have.
Just before Tess’s turn I walked to the side stage and found Tess attached to the same teenager’s hip I had left her with 45 minutes earlier. She looked a little unsure. And so I gave her my best pep talk. And almost cried Told her I couldn’t wait to see her dance and how proud I’d be. Then I pulled out the best mom trick in the book. I shamelessly bribed her with the Barbie of her choice afterwards.
Just as I heard the microphone announce her. Just her.

And everyone stopped to look at the cute little in the black leotard that her daddy had accidently put on backwards earlier ( don’t worry, we fixed it before the big show).

The teenager peeled her off. And set her on the stage.
I camped out right in front. Without a seat. Not worrying about blocking anyone’s vision because it’s not like anyone eles’s kid was up there.
Owen gave her a thumbs up. I held my breathe. And she looked a little scared.
But not nearly as scared as I was. About what she would do. Or what I would do.
And the music started and the teachers off to the side started to do the routine.
And then she did the absolute last thing I expected.

She nailed it. The moves. The hand motions. The twirls. She even smiled.

I snapped a quick picture. Hoped Shaun was taping in the back. And noticed a few people beside me, strangers, get out their phones and start taping too.
Because she was that cute. And little. And the girl who refuses to so much as go to the bathroom by herself, completely owned the stage.

Afterwards, when everyone clapped and cheered, this mom blubbered like a baby in the front and wondered what Barbie we would be adding to our collection.

(almost impossible to see b/c Shaun is so far back and she is so tiny...but look close, she is the tiny dot in the middle)

(yes, i know billy idol is more appropriate here...but i love this song and especially the T&S version even more....although I have done my share of dancing to some idol)

Guns, Boobs, and Racist Comments

...all from my kids.

My son was talking about someone named Maddy. We have a good friend named Maddy, but we haven’t seen her lately and I know that it is a common name so I was trying to decipher who exactly he was talking about. Our conversation went as follows:
Me:“Owen, is there a Maddy in your classs?”
O:” Yes, but that one is a different color than us.”
Me. (trying not to freak out or make it too big a deal, but slightly concerned and wondering where this conversation was going to go…because I have never heard him mention race or color before)…”hmmm, what does that mean Owen? What color are you?”
O: “Mom!!! (like I am asking the most dumb and obvious question ever). “I’m blonde”

In the car on the way home from dinner, Owen and Tess were entertaining themselves in the backseat. Mostly by Owen pretending that his hand was a gun and was shooting his sister with his fingers. Tess, might be the girliest girl I know….but she can wrestle and play legos and hang with all the boys on our street…took no time at all to get out her “handgun” and start shooting back. With full sound effects. After firing off just a few rounds, She looked at her hand, then at me and says, “Mine’s not working!”

We pulled into the parking lot of a local Mexican restaurant that happens to be one building over from a Hooters. I go to help Owen out of the car and his face is all lit up and he excitedly exclaims,
“Mom! We’re going to Hooters!”
Uhm. No. And we never will.

(and keeping w/ the kid inappropriate theme...two more things they should avoid, but makes for a pretty great song.)

I may run like a tortiose, but this isn't a fable.

With the gift of an extra hour ( I love falling back…just don’t talk to me in March when I have to “spring forward”), I decided to sneak in a short run before church. There aren’t many things out there that clear my head, but running is one of them. And it usually takes at least a few miles until my legs hurt enough or the oxygen is all in my muscles rather than my brain before things start to clear out.

This morning however. That was not the case. The longer I ran. The more muddled my brain became.

And it started to sound a lot like my three year old, asking lots of why questions. Things that haven’t bothered me in a while were sneaking their way back in. And I tried turning up my ipod and running faster. But. neither worked.
So, I decided I need to shut this down fast.
(and please don’t act like you don’t have conversations with yourself. We all do it. It is called self talk. And it can destroy or save you. And frankly, I’m tired of losing. So, I decided this morning that I was gonna win this one).

So, I decided to figure out what I was supposed to be learning from all this.
Because God uses stuff. The ick. And the bad and the hard. To teach us lessons right? I figured the answer is to just learn my lesson and it will all go away. And my feet could go back to running without all this nonsense running through my head. So I asked God what I was supposed to be learning.


This is also going to sound a little crazy. But sometimes God talks back. And not like some thunder or voice or burning bush. Sometimes I am not even really sure it is God. It might just be me. Or what I want to hear. Or maybe I am crazy.

But. This time I heard,
“What makes you think there is a lesson?”
Well, because there is always a lesson. The bible is full of them. And the best way to get through a hard situation is to see the good and try to figure out what I’m supposed to be learning or doing different. Which was partly a lie, because mostly I justed wanted to fix my negative thoughts fast and be done with them. I wanted an answer. A solution.

“How about you just see the good. Stop trying to fix things. No lesson”

I was still confused.
There has to be a lesson.

And I suddenly realized that I had reduced God. And his story. And his bible. And his love to a fable.

With the assumption that hard things or good things and any thing is about teaching me something. And well, I’m a teacher. But I’ve always been a horrible student. I made good grade yes. But I was stubborn. And talked back. And skipped class. And have always had a bit of an authority problem. And apparently I’ve seen God as just a “teacher”. And I’m used to him trying to teach me the same stuff over and over. Because I rarely get it the first time. And plenty of people will tell you that Christ was a really good teacher or rabbi or even just a really good man.
And he was.
But that isn’t the same thing as a savoir or a friend.

I was still stumped on this whole – aren’t you supposed to be teaching me something thing.
So I kept arguing. Which is a pretty dumb thing to do with God. (forementioned authority issues.) And kept thinking, but Jesus taught in parables. Don’t they always have some great moral lesson at the end.

But apparently that is just a fable.

A parable and a fable, although similar, are not the same thing. Fables are short, like a sit com. Cutesy. They usually have talking animals. And tidy little moral lessons at the end. That is clearly spelled out. Just ask the tortoise or the grasshopper.
Jesus taught with parables, not fables. And according to my research ( and google totally counts as research). Parables are always about people. The word parable comes from a Greek word, “parabole” meaning comparison. And are used to show some bigger spiritual truth. And they rarely spell out the lesson at the end. It is implied, but you still have to get there by yourself.

In otherwords, Jesus, used stories to talk about people, with things they could relate to, to help explain some kind of bigger spiritual truth. But they usually end in as many questions as they do answers. And he only rarely explains them. No talking animals. No tidy little lessons. Just questions and challenges and some stories to really screw with our current social constructs. And I do mean current – not 2000 years old. I mean really, I still relate to the older prodigal’s brother, I still sometimes think that the vineyard workers who worked all day got jipped and I even think the guy who buried his talents got a bad rap. It’s not like he gambled them away in Vegas or anything. And so there are truths to be pondered. Questions to be asked. And views to be shifted.
None of them can be wrapped up in a cute little one sentence lesson about an ant, or a fox and grapes, or a lion and a mouse. And as I can remember, none of them had animals that could speak at all. And so it turns out, God is more interested in shaping and changing and becoming. He wants me to ask questions and seek and discover.
Not read a cute little story and learn a lesson.
God doesn’t reduce my struggles to a one sentence piece of advice.

God doesn’t tell fables.
Fables are short and fictional and rarely involve people.
Stories are long. And involved. And personal.
And not so much about a lesson and more about a relationship.
Especially love stories.

(And, yes. I’m well aware that it sounds like maybe I learned something after all. Just don’t expect me to sum it up for you in one sentence.)

daughter. mine. and a band.

There are two kinds of people.

Ones who will drive around the block again to finish a good song. And those who would never even consider it. Let’s just say I’ve made the block many times over.
Don’t have much to say tonight. Even though it was a really good night. But this song, that someone recommended to me today, is worth another loop around.


(and this might not have earned another trip around the block, but it did get her two hand stamps....which is the 3 year old equivalent of a 4 star review.

sleep to dream

My bed growing up used to scare me. I don’t mean going to bed. Or nightmares. Or things hiding under my bed. I mean my actual bed.

The headboard reaches the ceiling. It is 2-3X the height of a normal bed and the intricate carvings and designs I thought looked like a gargoyle face. At least they do when you are 6. Which is about how old I was when I inherited my grandparents antique bed. I practically needed a ladder to climb into it and rolling off in the middle of the night would cause me to check for broken bones. It creaked and cracked and occasionally the floor boards would fall out. This made sneaking out of bed tough growing up. And maybe my parents planned it that way.

I knew it wasn’t normal.
My friends had cute little trundle beds that you could pull out for sleepovers.
Or one friend even had a fancy four poster bed with tulle hanging over the top.
And to kids, tweens and teens my bed was just weird.
No amount of Tom Cruise posters or glow in the dark stars on the ceiling could hip it up.
My plain salmon comforter wasn’t doing me any favors either.
There were a few perks. Like it was easy to hide under with plenty of headroom.
I had all kinds of storage space.
And any one over the age of 50 was quick to compliment the antique that dominated my room.

My parents moved out of the house I grew up in over a decade ago.
Most of my things are in the attic.
But I still call the first room on the right upstairs mine. Because it has my bed.
The other upstairs bedroom has the cute little trundle bed I always wanted growing up.
And a bowflex.

Nothing about going home feels constant or static with me.
I know my way around my husband’s hometown and house better than my own.
I know that the coffee shop closes early. I know that if I look too hard in the drawers I might find a Christmas present. From last year. I know that you can’t go to the Coney at noon and expect to get a booth.
My own hometown is always changing. I sometimes get lost when I run. I know where to find ziplock bags and soft drinks and my dad’s candy stash. But I don’t know where to put the dishes or find a hair dryer. Even the highway exits seem to change.
And it’s not the house I grew up in. It isn’t even the house I usually visit. That one is in another town on a lake. And I keep an extra toothbrush, bathing suit and contact solution there.
But in that house I don’t have a room.
I choose. Each time. Between the one with the plaid comforter or the navy one. Both on nice comfortable perfectly normal looking queen size beds.

Last weekend I went home. To my hometown and not the lake. And my mom asked where we were going to sleep. Upstairs or down? And the question is really, temperpedic or antique.
And I usually pick the good mattress. But this time, I hauled my bag upstairs.
By the time I went to sleep – Tess and Owen were already sprawled out across the trundle bed. My husband was downstairs still watching football. And I pulled back the covers and crawled into my old bed.
The one I’ve slept in since I was six.
And everything in that town and house seems different. Newer. Nicer. With fresher paint and new comforters. There were no posters on the wall. No TV in the corner. No neon light up phone with a long cord tangled across my floor covered with clothes.
But my bed still creaked when I climbed (and I do mean climbed) in.
And as I laid there I closed my eyes and could picture my rooms. It was like a scent or a song. I suddenly could see it all perfectly clear. And I remembered a few shorter thinner versions of me laying in the exact same place. I slept in that bed before I could write cursive or multiply. And eventually that bed moved down the hall and into my brother’s old room. I slept in that same place after my first kiss. I read hundreds of books, spent hours on the phone and did my Calculus homework in that bed. And I even remember crawling in that same bed the night before I got married. I watched 90210 and cried and hoped and prayed on those same pillows and after my crappy night’s sleep the other night – probably even the same mattress.

The house is different. The comforter is different. The rest of the furniture isn’t the same. The posters are missing. The light up phone was thrown out years ago. But. The girl. The six year old. The sixteen year old. The 33 year old. In many ways, she is different. Changing sometimes as fast and confusing as my town. But, some things. They always stay the same. The carvings don’t scare me anymore. The old wood still creaks. And now, my kids are the ones hiding underneath. My current house doesn’t have a single antique. Most of my furniture comes from IKEA. The last thing anyone would notice when walking into my room is my bed. They’d notice the green shelves that a friend gave me. Or the carved brightly colored chest I splurged on when I was first married. The fact that my floor is still covered with clothes and occasionally papers and now toys that aren’t my own. But, I can climb into that bed at my parents new house and I know exactly where I am and remember exactly who I was. I know every creak. I know that I always sleep on the right side there (but not other places). I know the fan rattles when it is on high. I know that one blanket isn’t enough and that it is always further down (or up) than you think. I also know that it is way cooler than any boring trundle bed.