Monday, February 9, 2015

Why I WILL be watching 50 Shades...

Following the recent success of the 50 Shades of Grey book series, there's no doubt that the impending release of the film adaptation of the first book in the series has caused quite the uproar- especially in the Christian community.

Disclaimer: Before I go any further, let me go ahead and state that I AM a Christian. I was raised Episcopalian, and I love my Lord and Savior. I believe in God AND I believe in science, and I feel like that makes me a minority at times. I've been called a hypocrite, and to be completely honest, it doesn't bother me all that much. I respect other people's opinions and beliefs (well. for the most part) even when they differ from my own. However, I am aware that many of my beliefs and views aren't necessarily popular ones (I mean, a Christian Southern Democrat who likes her wine, reads "mommy porn", and loves Neil deGrasse Tyson... I'm used to being referred to as a walking contradiction). But I believe what I believe and if there's one thing I've found since starting this blog and turning my many facebook status updates into blog-worthy posts--- it's that I'm not always alone in feeling the way that I do. ((What?! Other women are just as crazy as ME?? Say it ain't so....))

So. ALL of that being said- I don't see what the big deal is. I hear (ahem. *read*) what you all are saying. And I respect your decision to not see the film, just as I respected your decision to not read the book. I mean, I don't know if it was so much me respecting your decision as it was me really not caring what you did or didn't do because it in no way affected my life. But regardless, this book in no way negatively impacted my relationship and, I would be willing to venture out so much to say that it did wonders for MANY relationships.

Let me argue this point for a moment. The biggest complaint that I've read is that this is considered "mommy porn" and that it is unladylike for a woman to be sexualizing a man in such a manner and that it is disrespectful to our husbands and boyfriends. The most common counter argument I've found is "well, men have been doing it for years". Well, I don't care about that. Men also scratch themselves in public and smell each other's gas and I don't care to do any of that. So that argument is invalid to me. However, what I WILL argue is this- yes, I read the book. I've read similar books. I've watched Magic Mike. In fact, I was an extra in the sequel to Magic Mike with one of my best friends. I was mere FEET from Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello. And do you know that I have never ONCE fantasized about these men? Honestly, I have not. Yes, they are beautiful. Christian Grey in the book was sexy. His character was designed to be so. But, again, not once did I fantasize about him. What I DID do was think about the man that I do have. Granted, I didn't imagine him dancing shirtless to Pony, grinding on a stage. But, I absolutely used what was given to me by the films and books and projected them into my own relationship. "But that's not realistic." Well, duh. It's a book. It's a movie. Do you think Nick Sparks is realistic? It's a fantasy. (I would even be willing to go so far as to argue that the Notebook has given women more unrealistic expectations about love and romance than E.L. James on any given day) I do not feel that it is disrespectful to my boyfriend for me to enjoy either of these for entertainment. No more than I consider it disrespectful when he appreciates a woman's appearance. It doesn't bother him. It doesn't bother me. He's not concerned that I'm going to leave him because he isn't Grey-esque. (I will not fault that man of mine for failing to know the importance of Charlie Tango)

I also feel like the majority of the women who are anti-50 Shades haven't read the book. They formed an opinion based on what they've heard. We do that with people oftentimes, don't we? We hear something and immediately form an opinion based on the bits and pieces that came from someone else, rather than looking at the bigger picture. If you read the book, you'll find that while, yes, there are some very sexually explicit passages, there's also a genuine love story at the heart of it. It's the story of an innocent girl who falls in love with a broken man and teaches him how to love. They open one another up to things neither of them had previously experienced. It's a beautiful story. It's also a very sexy story. But calling this book "mommy porn" would be no different than calling it a "love story". It is both of those things, I suppose. But it can't be defined as just one or the other.

I'm not trying to convince you to go see it. To quote the great Rhett Butler- Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. Watch it or don't. Read it or don't. But the rest of us who are all about some Ana and Christian would appreciate you not treating us as second class citizens (or as though we will burst into flames should we walk back into church on Sunday morning) when we buy our tickets in advance.

Laters, baby. ;)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

To The Next Girl Who Dates The Man That I Love

To the next girl who dates the man that I love,

This may seem strange that I would even do this, but if I’m completely honest- it’s because I love him. He’s an incredible man, this man that we love, and I want all of the happiness in the world for him. There are things that I’ve learned in our time together- some things that I did right and some that I did terribly wrong. But, regardless, through much trial and error- I figured a lot out about this walking enigma of a man.


First and foremost, he’s not as confident as he appears. I’ve always said that no one loves The Sir as much as The Sir loves The Sir. That’s not entirely true. He talks a big game. By the way he acts, you would think that he thinks he’s the greatest gift to the world. He doesn’t really feel that way. Trust me. He’s intelligent and he knows that. He’s confident in his abilities at work, and knows what an asset he is there. As for the rest of his life, he’s as insecure as anyone. Compliment him. Don’t assume that because he says “I know” when you tell him that he’s sexy that he really does know. Most of the time he doesn’t really feel that way. Assure him that he is beyond attractive in your eyes. Find things that make him uniquely him and tell him how much you love those things. I’ll help you out a little. If you haven’t noticed yet, he smiles with his eyes. It’s the most beautiful thing in the world. Pay attention to that. That’s when you’ll know he’s truly happy. His hair two weeks out from a hair cut… It’s just enough to be ruggedly handsome. Run your hands through it. Not too much, because he gets annoyed with too much affection (we’ll get to that later), but do it and tell him how amazing his hair is. He’ll say “I know”. Don’t tell him he’s an ass. Don’t tell him he’s cocky. That’s something I would do. That’s something I shouldn’t have done. Laugh it off. Maybe say “Well, good. You SHOULD know”, and leave it at that.


Make sure he drinks water. It makes a huge difference. Maybe by the time you come around, he will have slowed down on his drinking, but whether he has or not- his water is important. But if he IS drinking- make sure you keep a cup of water nearby. If you’re out, always keep a water. He won’t order a water at a bar. You have to order it for yourself. Trust me, he will drink it. You may have to remind him that it’s there or hand it to him from time to time, but he will drink it.


He’ll take vitamins if you remind him. You may actually have to remind him, but it’s worth it. You want to keep him around as long as possible right? Remind him to take his vitamins.


He still cares deeply for every girl he’s ever loved. Do not let that hurt you. This is one thing I did right. Accept that he will always love those women and that it’s okay for him to always love them. It means that he has a huge heart. And he really, really does. Sometimes he will play songs that make him think of them. Sometimes he’ll do it when you’re not around and he’ll just kind of drown in the emotion of it all. That’s okay. Sometimes he’ll do it with you sitting right next to him. At this point, you have the option to get offended by it and consider him inconsiderate for doing so, or you can see it for what it is- he feels comfortable enough with you to let you in to see all facets of his beautiful soul. When this happens, just reach over and touch him. 3-5 seconds is long enough. He doesn’t require much. But stroke his arm or the back of his neck or put your hand on his thigh and squeeze for a second or two. Just let him know that you’re there. Please don’t get upset with him. This is just a part of him. Let him be free to be himself.


Another part of him- he can be extremely inappropriate at times (if you haven’t figured this out by now). When he gets out of line- tell him. But don’t be a bitch. That only makes it worse. Change the subject. Hand him the water (because that’s a sure sign that he needs it). Do something to make him laugh. 9 times out of 10 it works.


Dance with him. Let him twirl you around the dance floor and act like a complete idiot. He doesn’t know any actual dances. Do not let that stop you from having the time of your life with him.


You do not need to spend hours or a ton of money on a fancy meal for him. While he absolutely loves a good meal, he appreciates the thought and the meal itself more than the effort. I once spent about $30 and literally an hour and a half on this fancy, from scratch potato dish with ridiculously hard-to-find cheeses to accompany our evening meal. He ate them and appreciated it, but went back for seconds of the chicken that cost somewhere around $10. He pretty much ate all of the chicken, now that I think about it. He doesn’t need elaborate. You can pick up take out and have it waiting on him when he gets home. I think what he appreciates the most is that he didn’t have to worry about dinner for himself, and someone else is going to be cleaning up the mess afterward. And DO clean up the mess afterward. He won’t do it. He may say he will, but I know him. It will take you 5 minutes and it’s so worth it. He probably won’t even notice that you do it. But try not to let that hurt your feelings. Do it anyway.


Another thing about his eating- he’s not a big fan of desserts either. Go ahead, spend hours on a home made apple pie. I did. I ate it all myself. I can’t think that he even tried it. He does like banana pudding though. But he prefers the one with the Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies rather than the Nilla Wafers recipe. It’s more rich, and far more expensive to make, but this is one of the exceptions to the rule of not spending a lot of money on his food. But don’t make it often. Again- he won’t eat it. But maybe if you go to his mom’s for dinner or a family function, make that. (also along the line of desserts- if you can bake at all- the neighbor at the lake house loves a 17 layer chocolate cake. Yellow cake, but home made buttercream chocolate frosting. Have Ben take one to him. They’re very, very kind people and that kind of gesture means a lot)

Thank you cards. That will be on you. He won’t do them. It isn’t because he isn’t thankful. His intentions are always the best, but he simply will not take the time. Do them for him. Maybe have him sign them, but just make sure they get out the door. He will appreciate that you care enough about his friends and family to ensure that they are appropriately thanked for the things they’ve done for him.


His friends. They may not like you at first. Don’t let it get you down. They’re good people. All of them, actually. Some of them may be a little wild… a little rough around the edges… but they are ALL good people. And what they all have in common more than anything- they, too, love this man. Especially his best friend. Hopefully he won’t hate you the way he does me, but if he does- please understand that it’s only because he wants the absolute best for his best friend. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t the best for him. It just means that he’s protective of him and there’s a possibility that no one will ever be “good enough”. But maybe he will love you. Regardless, he and his wife are two of the funniest, kindest, most gracious people you will ever meet. Be kind to them whether they like you or not. They love him. They are family.


He likes liquid fabric softener. I don’t even know that he knows he likes it, but he does. And when you wash the sheets, add in some of the fragrance enhancer, as well. It makes a huge difference. He may not notice that part, but if you use the lavender, it helps him sleep better. He tosses and turns less in his sleep and snores less, as well. I never told him I did this, but once I noticed the difference it made, I always used it on the sheets.


Pay attention to things that he wants or needs, but won’t purchase for himself. If you ever ask him what he wants for his birthday or Christmas, he will tell you “Nothing”. That’s not true. Oh. One thing- he prefers the women’s razors. The super expensive ones that already have the soap bar on them. The Gillette Venus ones. Make sure you keep those on hand for him. He won’t purchase them, but he loves them. He breaks a lot of beard trimmers, as well. I had planned to purchase an extra one to keep on hand for when the next one breaks. That may be something you want to go ahead and do. I did some research and Norelco is the brand you’ll want to get. And he loves hoodies. You can never go wrong with a super comfy hoodie “just because”.


Sundays are hair cut days. He hates getting his hair cut. More than getting his hair cut, he hates waiting at the salon to get his hair cut, but won’t call ahead for an appointment. Your best bet will be to call and schedule an appointment for a Sunday afternoon around 3:30/4. Go to a late lunch where he can have a couple of drinks. Then he won’t care as much that you’re taking him to get his hair cut. And then he won’t have to wait. Trust me, waiting with him is not fun. You do not want to wait. **make the appointment**


Game Day Saturdays. This is a big one. Do not expect communication. Period. He will text you. Just expect that he will not. Your life (and your relationship) will be better for it.


Do some research and find little hole in the wall bars with good music. That’s his element. He loves places like that.


Do not expect a lot of affection. He shows love in different ways than you’re probably used to. Usually it’s something cute like a silly nickname. If he calls you a silly nickname, that’s the equivalent of him kissing you. Take it as such. He won’t kiss a lot. He just doesn’t. And he doesn’t really do PDA. Don’t even try it. I mean, you can kiss him on the cheek, or even lean in for a kiss if the moment is right- but don’t push it. It will push him away.


Love him with everything that you have. Don’t worry about what the books say. Don’t play games. Just love that man. Defend him, when necessary. ALWAYS remember that you are a team. It is the two of you against whatever problems arise- never against each other. He needs your love and support. Even if you don’t agree with him- support him. He needs that. Encourage him. Compliment him. And just love the hell out of him. Do more than I did. Don’t do anything to give him any reason to let you go. Don’t let him go. Fight for him, but don’t fight with him. Fighting with him is never worth it. Remember- never against each other.


Keep in mind, this man holds a place in my heart that no one else could ever fill. I just wasn’t the right girl for him. I still want his happiness above all else. Maybe you won’t make the same mistakes that I did. Don’t hurt him. Just love him. Always love him.


The Ex

fake it til you make it

she just woke up one morning and decided she didn't want to feel that way anymore....

well, that all sounds easy enough, right? i mean, how do you just *change* how you feel? i don't think this is about changing how you feel about how you feel about someone or something, but more so about how you let those feelings affect your life.

the sir and i ended our relationship on the 8th of september. for another handful of weeks we were off and on, back and forth. while the relationship, for the most part, had been phenomenal- the breakup was a difficult one. the weeks following the breakup were worse. the constant checking of my phone to see if he had called or text. having to actually delete his number so that i wouldn't call or text him. we would each say hurtful things. hateful things. things that we knew would really hit the other hard. then we would each act as though we didn't care, only to apologize hours later with an "i love you". it wasn't healthy. but we did love one another. we still do. i know that i can speak for myself only, but i will always love that man for all of the good that is within him. and there really is so much good. i used to tell people "i just wish that everyone could have someone look at them the way i look at 'the sir'", and i meant that. everyone deserves that. including myself. i deserve that, as well. sometimes he would look at me and i knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this was the man i was going to spend the rest of my life with. that nothing in this world could change my love for him. and i was right about parts of that. we definitely have that "for better or worse" thing down. because we showed each other our "worse". both of us did. and while i loved him through it, sometimes love isn't enough. i am well-versed in love not being enough to sustain a relationship.

we wanted different things, ultimately. that's what i tell people. and it really is true. that's the biggest issue. our "fundamental flaw" as he puts it. he has two vices- women and a bottle. i was an emotional rollercoaster (and trust me, the lows go as low as the highs go high) and i kept things from him and would lie to him to cover up the things i was keeping from him. and we would both try to "fix" ourselves and "fix" one another, but at the end of the day- as much as we loved each other- we really just wanted different things out of life.

so i've cried probably buckets of tears. and its not just the relationship ending. there has been so much going on in my life that i will some day sit down and write about because it's a part of my still evolving testimony. but for now, (because i'm asked daily how the sir is doing or if we're still together) this is what you're getting.

we tried. both of us did. and maybe we didn't try as hard as we could have. we're both stubborn people. extraordinarily stubborn. and prideful. neither of us wants to be the one to back down. ever. and that's difficult when both people in a relationship are that way. we brought that out in one another. but i say ALL of that to say this--- i woke up and decided that i no longer wanted to feel that way. so i didn't.

i made the conscious decision to be happy. i decided to surround myself with other imperfect people who know how ugly THEY are and know how ugly I am and that want to grow with me. people who encourage my walk with Christ. people who will pray for me, but also pray WITH me. people who talk about their faith with me and allow me the freedom to talk about my faith with them.

and while it's difficult to just not feel a certain way... it's not even so much that you don't feel it... you just have to "fake it til you make it", right?

Monday, November 3, 2014

Dear Audrey, June, and Rita...

"Audrey, I won't live another year without you", are the words he uttered from his mouth. The man was so desperate for your love when it came down to losing you that he honestly could not fathom that he could survive 365 more days without you by his side. Yet, when he had your love all to himself, the booze and the pills and the warmth of other women lured him away every time.

Audrey, how do you love a man like that?

When he crawled deep in to Nickajack Cave and had no intention of ever coming out... When Johnny would pass out before shows, after shows... and fall down in a drunken stupor during shows... When you watched him kill himself slowly for years and put up with the outbursts and insanity... Tell me, June- what made you decide that you could love that man through it all?

June, how do you save a man like that?
He finally put that bottle down just as you had asked him to for years. Of course, by the time he did that, you had no idea who sober Kris was. You were living with a stranger and it was confusing because- it's what you wanted, right? You wanted his eyes more clear... you received exactly what you had wished and hoped for. But it wasn't at all what you had hoped for. You knew things would never be the same even though you loved him with your whole heart.
You have to tell me, Rita- how do you let go of a man like that?

If I could sit these three down, I know they'd understand. They could tell me what to do. I'm no Audrey or June or Rita. I'm not as strong. Not nearly as sturdy. But maybe if I had spoken to Audrey, she could have told me what not to do. If I could have lunch with June, she could have helped me to be more firm and pointed me down the path of what I should do. And to sit down with Rita and have her tell me where to go from here- how to rebuild with dignity and still love that man, but maintain the ability to just walk away- I think that's what I could use more than anything.

"Like a bird on a wire
Like a drunk midnight choir
I have tried in my way to be free."

Praising Him in the storm/ I will wait

If you know me well, you know that I used to attend church camp during the summer. Honeycreek QUICKLY became my favorite place on Earth, and it's still a place that I hold very close to my heart. It's where I first really came to know God. I had been in church my entire life, but that 15th summer of my life was a big one. However, this post in particular will not be about my love for "the creek".... just about how certain things just stick with us and we pull from them when we need to.

I'm in a bad place in my life right now. A really, really dark, negative place. I'm the happy girl. The funny girl. I'm not allowed to be depressed. I'm not supposed to have the thoughts that I've had lately. I think the persona that I've created for myself (quite possibly as a defense mechanism to keep people from getting too close) makes being "down" even more difficult because people just don't expect that out of me. I'm expected to always be "on". To always have a joke. And sometimes (this past week, for example) I just don't have a lot of jokes.

A good friend whom I consider a "life twin" (we've been through so, so many similar things so she just "gets me") sent me the song "Praise You in This Storm" this morning. It was funny, because it's one of my go-to songs when things are going wrong; when the storm comes rolling in.

But throughout the day, as in so many other times in my life, another song kept coming to mind. And the only other people that I know of who even know this song are other kids who went to Honey Creek. The lyrics cause me to hit my knees every time. The kind of song that I just can't help but be affected by. The kind that puts me in tears and makes me look deep inside myself.  They're such simple lyrics, but the message is essentially the same- praising Him in the storm, waiting on the Lord. So I sing it over and over... and maybe this blog post is just for me. There's something so therapeutic for me about the rhythm of the keyboard clicking beneath my fingers. Almost like a song... the keyboard is my instrument. This is my song. (I'm not a great song writer. I ramble.) But maybe no one else needs this like I do right now. And, even if no one else reads this post, I had to write it.
So. The lyrics. The song.

As the years of my life pass me by, pass me by
I will wait, I will wait on the Lord.
When the day turns to night and I pray to see the light
I will wait, I will wait on the Lord.
Through the calm, through the fears. Through the laughter and the tears
I will wait, I will wait on the Lord.
Feeling sure or laced with doubt, Going with or without
I will wait, I will wait on the Lord
For as long as I am living
Just as sure as time goes on
On and on
I'm holdin' on....
I'm holdin' on.....

I know. It's simple. I told you it was. But there's something about that song that just hits me deep.

I know that I'll get through this. I know that it's one of those things where I'm gonna come out of this thing with some seriously bruised knees from hitting them so hard in prayer. But, I WILL come out of this. I don't know how. And at this particular moment, I don't see a silver lining, I don't see a light at the end of the tunnel... but I have faith that it's there. And as Christians, isn't that the foundation of everything we believe in? Faith? Well- when faith is the only thing you have left, it sure helps to lean on it. Maybe that's God's plan all along. To give me no choice but to lean on Him.

He's a smart man, that God.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Engagement Chicken

I have been on both sides of the engagement fence. I've been in a relationship with a man for more than 4 years who swore that he would spend the rest of his life with me, but would never marry me. (he did, eventually... and we were divorced before our second wedding anniversary) I've also been dating someone for a month when he popped the question (ring and all) and I said "yes" because I felt like I had to (oh, the pressure!).... within another month, that relationship was also over. I've gone on dates with guys who have ZERO interest in marriage, and I've also dated men who seem to obsess over it more than women. One guy (affectionately referred to in my favorite circle of friends as "Stalker Barry") actually wrote me an 8 page letter telling me how his "biological clock is ticking". We were around 23 at the time. We had gone on just a handful of dates. I ran.

So now I'm dating a guy. A pretty awesome guy. People call it a long-distance relationship, but I swear I spend more time at his house than my own, and we see each other usually Friday night through Monday morning, so we get our fill of each other, no doubt. It's only hard usually Thursday night. Because by the time I've been away from him for a few days, I start to miss him. I miss my buddy. But that "missing him" is healthy. It's why we work. Because we have the opportunity to miss each other. Marriage is something that, right now, scares the daylights out of me. Not because I don't love this man. I absolutely do. I, honestly, have never been so happy in a relationship. We test each other and challenge each other and make each other grow. We bring out the best in one another and I think that's what it's all about. It has taken THIS long for us to ease the toddler into our relationship (he's the one I'm most concerned about getting attached to someone. The older two have a daddy that they see and that loves them very much. Bray has Mama. That's it.), but now that the almost 30 year old and the almost 4 year old have spent time with each other, they're getting closer than I imagined. They have a genuine bond and love each other. So, yeah... that makes me think "family" and wonder if there's some sort of permanence here.... but I know that if it's supposed to happen, it will. When we're both ready. It could be 3 months from now (it will not be 3 months from now), it could be 3 years from now. But, we're both happy. And there is no immediate need for either of us to rush into anything.

And then I get on Pinterest. His mother and I are planning this big 30th birthday extravaganza for him and I want it to be amazing. And I see this pin (don't act like you women don't know what I'm talking about) for Engagement Chicken. The story goes, you make this "succulent, juicy chicken" (albeit bland, according to reviews) for your significant other and within weeks, you will have a ring on your finger. Some call it "magic". (Magic... VooDoo... whatever) One obviously desperate woman stated that she had been dating her man for 2 weeks when she made this chicken "just to see what would happen" and that night he said "I love you" for the first time, 6 weeks later he asked her to move in with him, and within 6 months they were engaged. They were to celebrate their first wedding anniversary the week after she posted her comment. Well, congratu-frickin-lations. You two weirdos should be very happy together. I know, that sounds a lot like judgement... and that's because it is. Look- I already acknowledged that I accepted a proposal from a guy who popped the question 4 weeks into dating. But I didn't marry the guy. (that doesn't make it okay... it's just what I tell myself to make ME feel like less of a bad person... if I felt like a bad person at all. which I don't. Because we had no business getting married. Period. I just don't like pressure.) But I can assure you, I don't need a voodoo chicken to get a guy to want to marry me!!! (remember- Stalker Barry?!)

Some argue that the reason that this Engagement Chicken (and the subsequent Hook-Him Apple Pie) works is because it shows your man that you care. You're taking the time to make the man a chicken. Just like Mama would have done. Let me tell you what I do to show the Sir that I care. I clean his apartment. I do his laundry. I pick up his dry cleaning. I make him laugh. I don't get bent out of shape over stupid little things (most of the time). I treat him the way that he deserves to be treated every single day. Not when I decide that I deserve (or just plain want) a ring. I don't cook dinner for him and expect ANYTHING from it other than a satisfied, full man. IF the Sir and I tie the knot (3 months or 3 years from now) PUH-LEEEEEZE rest assured that it's because I am awesome and I picked an equally awesome man, and not due to the consumption of a lemon-stuffed marry me chicken.

Besides, if I really wanted to make that man of mine happy, I'd throw a Stauffer's lasagna in the oven. Dat baby loves him a frozen lasagna. ;)

P.S. If you're intrigued, you can find the Engagement Chicken recipe here:
and the Hook Him Apple Pie here:
(if the pie didn't have such a horrible name, I might have made it.... I do love an apple pie. Way to ruin it, wedding-hungry bias)

And if you make either of them, I still wanna know if it worked for you. If it took 17 weeks for him to propose- it wasn't the chicken. Geniuses.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


for Lent I wanted to give up guilt. it's something that i think we all deal with on a daily basis. guilt for not being a good enough friend. guilt for my children being from a broken home. guilt for maybe not handling certain things the way i should have in the past. but i'm trying to let go. i'm trying to just accept that things are what they are and even if things are my fault (and a lot of them are) just moving forward and not harboring on the coulda/shoulda/wouldas.

but there's one thing that i just can't let go of. and it's something that i've never told anyone. it's something that not even my best friends in this world knows and it breaks me down on a regular basis. i guess i just feel like i have to write about it. i don't want to TALK about it, because if i do i'll just cry. hell, i've been bawling for hours now over it and can barely see to type. but i don't let a lot of people see me like this. i just don't. regardless, here it goes.

Nana had COPD. her lungs were hardened and it was difficult for her to breathe. i knew that. i had known for a long time. i didn't know exactly how bad it was, but i knew that she used a breathing machine at night. she just wasn't one to tell a whole lot about her problems. i think she told me and my aunt jackie faye more than she told anyone, and even i didn't know just how bad things were. i think part of it, too, was me not wanting to know. we had an agreement that she would live to be 103... then when i became afraid that i would still not be ready to go by the time she turned 103, i decided that she had to live until i was 103. if i didn't know how bad it was, i couldn't acknowledge that losing her was such a real possibility. honestly, i swear, i always thought we would go together.that's what i wanted. i have never needed a person in this world the way that i need her, and i could not imagine that there would ever come a day that she would cease to exist and i would be left here.

but she was fine. christmas came and she was fine. we did the usual riding around looking at christmas lights together and driving down jerry jones to see the peanuts gang in front of that house with snoopy on the roof.... she was fine. then braydon got sick. typical december in south georgia stuff. the weather changed so much that his little immune system was no match for it. he was coughing terribly. i took him to his pediatrician and was giving him medicine, but i had also just moved into my apartment a couple of weeks before. i still had so much unpacking to do and i was now living across the street from Nana (walking distance!!) so she came over every single morning to get him in his stroller and take him to her house for the day so I could get things done. but he was sick. i knew he was sick. and i knew that Nana wasn't well. i knew about the COPD. i knew. and i was selfish because i just wanted to get the house unpacked. i let her take him knowing that he could make her sick. i didn't think about it like that at the time, but i had to know it in the back of my mind. there's no way i didn't. but, in typical selfish kayla fashion, i did what was best for me. i thought about myself. within days Nana was sick. January 1st she couldn't come over for black eye peas and ham and collards. i cooked and took them to her. but she wasn't feeling up to coming over. the next day was her birthday. i told her i would bake her a cake as soon as she felt up to eating it. the day after that, she was in the hospital. she was going to be fine. she was only 73. 73 and a day. i made the decision to let them intubate her, because that was supposed to let her lungs rest so her body could heal. so she could come home. i told them to go ahead and do it and i would be on my way back up to the hospital. i had been getting ready for church because she told me the night before to go ahead and go without her. i told her we would all be praying for her. i should have told them to wait. i should have told them that they could do it after i got there. but they said that she had a really rough night the night before and i just wanted to let her rest. i thought i was doing the right thing. they put her to sleep and put the tube in and she never woke back up. she knew i was there because her heart rate would go up every time she heard my voice. once, when i told her i was leaving, she started moving and her heart rate shot up dramatically. i stayed. i cried and i told her that if she had to go, it was okay. i told her that i would be okay. i lied. i made her sick. i let my baby go over there, knowing he was sick and knowing that it could potentially make her sick. i didn't know it was going to do all of that. i didn't think for a second that it would kill her. all my life, she took care of me. i was her favorite person in this world. i know that. i was the reason for almost every thing that she did for close to 30 years. she loved me like no one on this earth ever has or ever will again. and i let her get sick. i let them put her to sleep without telling her goodbye. but i didn't know she wasn't going to wake back up. i thought it would just be a few days and she would be coming home. the last thing i said to her before i left for the night, the saturday night before they intubated her was "you know that i love you more than anything else in this world, right?" and she said "i know". i know that she knew that. but i was always so selfish. and if i hadn't been, she would still be here.

and today is just one of those days that i absolutely hate myself because i'm scared and i feel alone and i just need her, and she's not here and it's my fault. but even me needing her like this is selfish. i just can't make this guilt go away.