Thursday, March 15, 2012

Take A Chance On Someone

This morning, on my way on to work, I stopped at WallyWorld for a couple of items. I headed to the fast lane and yelled at my cashier, “Jerry, I’m making you work!” He laughed at me and said it was nice to see me.

We chatted for several minutes as the store wasn’t very busy at this time of the morning. He surprised me when he casually said in the middle of the conversation, “it’s been 16 years since you and Nick looked out for me and got me back to working. Thank you. I’ll never forget it.”

We continued reminiscing and complaining about time flying. I was actually purchasing party favors for JP’s FOURTH Birthday. Jerry reminded me of the emergency ride he gave me one morning that Nick had had an accident on the way home from work. He said I had looked terrified.

We finished up the conversation and I went on my merry way. In the car it hit me: WOW! Sixteen years!
Sixteen years ago Nick and I were renting our first place together. It was a dive. It was located east of the “big city” in a little crabbing town where everybody knows everybody and we were the strangers renting in that white house down yonder.

Jerry lived next door. From day one he’d holler next door as we were coming and going “howdy neighbor.” He was always nice, always kind, always on his front porch. Always. No matter the time of day, he was on his front porch. We’d venture closer and closer as the weeks went on with longer and longer conversations. The way you do in a new neighborhood when you first move in. We would learn more and more about him. He loved cats, he loved the fresh air, he was single, he had been there for years, he knew our landlord, hell, he knew everyone in town. One thing I never did learn, still don’t know, is how and when he got the scar down the entire right side of his face. We never knew, never asked. Because, honestly, it was irrelevant.

Time went on and one of the things we learned was that Jerry was unemployed, living off the state. It bothered us, I’ll be honest. Two young “kids” working our butts off to pay rent, start our lives together, move up in the world. But we knew nothing about why or how it came to be or whether or not he had tried to change his situation.

Until one day he said something about no one wanting to hire him. They wouldn’t give him a chance. We didn’t ask why. Again it was irrelevant. We decided we would be the ones to give him a chance.

At the time, I was working at my Church in the Athletic Department. (Who am I kidding, the department was my Dad, me, Nick, and a slew of volunteers!) We went in to work and talked to the Head Custodian. We told him about Jerry and that, being a wonderful Catholic Church preaching the Word of the Lord, we should give him a chance. Yeah, it was a guilt trip. But it worked. He spoke with Jerry soon after and he hired him.

A year or two went by and we would see Jerry occasionally. We had moved out of the place we were renting in the crabbing town to relocate in the “big city” so we didn’t see him on a daily basis anymore. When we did cross paths he was still always pleasant, always kind, always nice to us.

To our surprise we ran into him at WallyWorld one day. Not shopping. Working! He had taken on a second job to “get ahead on some bills” and get himself “further down the right track.” How awesome! I was proud of him.

And now, after all these years, he’s paid off his house, fixed it up, gotten a couple new cars over the years, and even lost some weight and taken better care of himself. Annnnnd, I just found out, donated to the Rhonda Curley Fund to help her with rehabilitation from her severe stroke. Now, THAT is good news.

Sixteen years later, Jerry still remembers who took a chance on him. That’s a great feeling!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Forty One Wishes

Dearest Angela, 

I wish for you the happiest of sunrises.
The healthiest boys.
Belly laughs.
Tickle fights.
And pillow fights.
I wish you the time to grieve when you need to.
The time to be happy because you deserve it.
I wish for you the sincerest of friends.
The support and comfort of family.
The closeness to your step daughters.
I wish for you a baby unicorn in your honor.
I wish for mountain hikes.
And rainbow chasing.
And mud pie making.
I wish for t-ball playing.
And Lego building.
And creepy bug collecting.
I wish for you the brightness of the moonlight.
And the peacefulness of the stars.
I wish for you a thousand memories.
And then a million more.
I wish for you to begin the new ones.
To treasure how they started.
To hope for those memories to grow.
I wish for you to hold your independence high.
I wish for you to know how far you’ve already come.
I wish for you to dream new dreams.
Want new wants.
And need new needs.
I wish for you the time to smell the roses.
To watch the grass grow.
And gaze at the mountains in the distance.
I wish for you the peace and love he gave to us.
But to you tenfold.
I wish for your true happiness.
I wish for you the strength to raise your boys.
The strength to know you are not alone.
I wish for you the strength to carry on.
I wish for you a restful night sleep.
With his arms around you.
His soul guiding your heart.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Eleven Things

I was just tagged by my “Little Sissy,” Trinity on her Blog at to participate in Eleven Things.

Here are the rules:
-Post the rules
-Post a pic of yourself & 11 random facts
-Answer the previous Blogger’s questions for you
-Create 11 new questions & tag new bloggers to answer them
-Go to their blog/twitter/facebook & tell them they’ve been tagged

Eleven Random Facts
1.       I enjoy writing.
2.       I embarrass easily.
3.       I worry about worrying.
4.       I love crafts and projects.
5.       I drink way to much soda.
6.       I organize the organization.
7.       I would love to be a SAHM.
8.       I wish I lived closer to my Gram. 
9.       I am addicted to Care Packages.
10.   I wanted very badly to be a teacher.
11.   I just put these facts in order of length. 

Trinity’s Questions/ My Answers:

1.       What is your guilty pleasure TV show?
I’m not much of a TV fan, so I’m thinking Dancing with the Stars is about as swept away as I get.

2. What is your favorite book?
I’m a Golden Book Addict. It would have to be “Mommy Really Loves Me”

3. What is your favorite color?
Purple, purple, and oh, yeah, purple.

4. What country would you most like to visit?
I would love to one day visit England. Yes, I know, cliché.

5. What has made you laugh hardest in the last week?
JP. When I woke him on Tuesday I was kissing all over his cheek. He rolled his eyes and says “oh geez” as if he suddenly became 15 and kisses from Mommy were a bother.

6. What is your favorite board game?
Right now I would say Headbandz and Connect 4.

7. What one DVD would you hide if you knew someone was going to look through your collection?
My wedding video.

8. Do you have any weird talents?
I can flare my nostrils. Not so much weird, but maybe unexpected, I have a nice 3pt shot.

9. What are your cold remedies?

10. What is your favorite comfort meal?
Chicken Parm, Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, or French Toast

11. [Borrowing Melinda's] How do we know each other?
You took a chance and met me for Friendly’s lunch one day.

My Questions:

1.       How do we know each other?

2.       If you weren’t in your current Career, what would your Career be?

3.       Where would you love to live one day?

4.       What is your biggest challenge at the moment?

5.       When you were younger, how many children did you think you would have?

6.       Who is your Hero?

7.       What’s the best vacation you were ever on?

8.       What would you say your Passion is?

9.       What’s your favorite animal?

10.   When is the last time you peed your pants in laughter?

11.   What is your idea of the perfect day?

Mel, from Mel's Box Of Chocolates is now it. Tag!

Good luck, Mel!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Betcha Didn’t Know I’d Continue This List

Read my first three lists here and here and here.

I don’t care for self pity.
I saw Marky Mark’s underpants in concert.
I’m a Goonie.
I would rather eat out.
Littering ticks me off.
So does road rage.
I’m overly picky about babysitters.
I can’t leave the house without a shower.
Even when I was in labor with Madi.
My OCD is rubbing off on my kiddos.
And I’m ok with that.
I’m shy.
I don’t fight fair.
Rude customers tick me off.
I would nap every day if I could.
I don’t believe excuses.
I still dream about teaching.
I don’t like birds. Even pet ones.
I think I’m funny.
But I tell dorky jokes.
I am sentimental.
I have a good memory.
And attention to detail.
I don’t like to be late.
I love song lyrics.
I have never punched anyone.
I could make a wish list though.
I have to work from a clean, clear desk.
I love warm beer bread and zucchini bread.
I never tire of pizza.
I have a tattoo my daughter drew.
I’m waiting for my son to draw my next one.
I have a slinky on my desk to hold papers.
I have too much interest in Pinterest.
I’ve discovered Moscato.
I love a good Mani/Pedi.
I’ve never had a massage.
I should attend Church.
I do Pray.
I know too many product jingles.
And movie lines.
I wash our bed sheets at least weekly.
Our hangers are color coordinated.
I become a better Mommy every single day.

Hoping This Doesn't Go South

When I was in Sixth Grade, on St. Patrick's Day I was decked out in everything green: green skirt, green shirt, green ribbon barrettes in my hair (it was the 80s:), even down to my green paperclip necklace. I was always picked up first and then a few stops later my BFF. We sat together every day as these were the days long before assigned seating was so necessary on the school bus. 

There was a kid on the bus that decided that would be the day to pick on me. I don't even remember his name. I remember, though, arriving to school in tears. His subject matter that day, my legs. My hairy, unshaven, never having been shaved before, legs.

Did I call him a Bully? I don't think so. Did I cry forever, was I hurt, did it damage me? No. I went home and cried to my Mom and begged her to let me shave my legs. She gave me all the reasons in the world why I shouldn't and then told me that I could if I wanted to. I've regretted starting that process every razor burn and cut since. (I should've listened, Mom.)

Then there was the first week of school, every single solitary year. Roll call brought me anxiety in my belly every time. How would my last name be butchered by this poor teacher? Who would laugh and crack up at the sound of the mispronunciation over and over? Where would I be placed in the classroom if the teacher was doing the dreaded alphabetic order? How long would it be for classmates to realize (or assume) it was a dumb Pollock name and start in with the jokes? What jokes would I hear? Perhaps they would finally have a new one? 

How do you get a one armed Pollock out of a tree? 
What was the Pollock doing up there in the first place? 
How many Pollocks does it take to screw in a light bulb? 
How does a Pollock tie their shoe? 

Did I call them bullies. I don't think I did. I would take it in stride and "grin and bear it" until class was over or the jokes were exhausted or the classmates moved on to someone else to pick on. As I got older I ended up being the joke teller and beating them to the punch. Some of the jokesters were my friends here and there. Did it damage me? I'm thinking no. I mean, I remember it, it's a memory, but it's not sent me to therapy or to the funny farm or worse, sent me on a killing spree. (Yet:) {Jokes, people. Just jokes.}

So it brings me to today. Not today specifically but rather this day and age. Do you ever wonder if we over analyze childhood? Do we over rationalize? Do we sensationalize all things childhood in the media too much? Do we bombard our kiddos so much that they are 'looking' for the bully to put a name on them? 

I'm really not quite sure. It's got me wondering. Got me thinking.

I think a lot of the solution lies with our parenting. My Mom and Dad did a great job in showing me how to pick myself up and dust myself off. They didn't spend time petitioning or fighting for those other kids to be thrown out of school. Instead, they worked with me (who was in their control) on how to handle it, how to succeed despite them, or maybe because of them, how to take responsibility for myself and hold myself accountable. I think in my case it worked. Well. 

I'll follow in their footsteps with my kiddos.

I can't help but think, sometimes, that in some cases, we need to just... Lighten Up.