Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Listen To Your Mother - Little Rock

Here's the piece I read at LTYM - Little Rock on Mother's Day..


A group of young men, handcuffed and shackled together, were ushered into the courtroom.  One by one, the deputy unlocked the handcuffs and the men were instructed to sit on a long wooden bench against the wall.  My eyes scanned the row, and filled with tears when they came to the prisoner seated third from the left.

Was that really my son? He looked so scared, so unsure of himself.  He looked tired and much older than his 18 years.  It was hard to imagine what he had been through in the last 24 hours and harder still to imagine what would happen in the next 24 hours.

My ex-husband called me the day before to give me the news that Brian had been arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.  Arrested… Marijuana… Distribution.  What did it all mean?  It sure wasn’t supposed to happen to MY FAMILY.  It was supposed to happen to bad families; families that didn’t care about their children; families where one or both parents were drug addicts.  Not to MY Family.  I’m a good mother!

As I sat there, my Momma Bear instincts kicked in.  It was my God given right as a mother to protect my cub.  All I wanted to do was stand up and yell at that stupid judge and tell him what a horrible mistake he was making.  There was no way my son should be sitting there with those criminals.   But there he was, sitting on that long, wooden bench wearing an orange jumpsuit with the words “County Jail” emblazoned on the back.

I felt equally torn between helplessness and anger. Helpless because I couldn’t just go up there and take him home.  Helpless in that I couldn’t fix this – there wasn’t a Band Aid for this.  On the other hand, I was so angry.  “What in the hell were you thinking? Drugs?”  I knew in my mind that I couldn’t protect him from the situation or the consequences of his actions, but I was still his mother.  I carried him for 10 long months, went through a difficult delivery and vowed to God above that I would take care of him and love him and be the best mother I knew how to be.  What now??

Brian was released on bond and a court date was set.  The judge ordered a suspended sentence, assigned community service, probation for the next three years and then one final court hearing at the end of the three years.  Unfortunately, he fell back into drugs and on the last court date, showed up high on meth.  He was ordered to serve one year in a drug boot camp in a town 3 hours away from home. 

Forms were required so I could visit.  The visitation schedule changed each week, so I never knew until just a few days prior when I could visit.  I dreaded the drive to the prison – it was lonely and by the time I arrived my stomach was in knots.  I was allowed to bring in my keys, driver’s license and a zip lock bag filled with quarters for the vending machines.  Brian was brought in to a room and we were allowed to hug upon arrival and departure.  No other physical contact.  We sat across the table from each other; his back was to the door and the word INMATE was on the back of his shirt.  Guards and cameras were everywhere.  Inmates and their families all sat in the same room.  There was a soft drink machine and a snack machine.  Occasionally, one of the inmates, a photographer, was available to take pictures.  We talked and talked and talked.  He wanted to know absolutely every detail of life at home.  Funny, he never wanted to know before. Leaving him was almost more than I could bear.  I would  get in my car, fumble for the box of Kleenex, turn on a Michael Buble CD and cry most of the way home – every.single.solitary.time...

Only by the grace of God did I survive the next year.

Brian had a lot of time to reflect on the bad decisions he made. He had time to realize he desperately needed to make some changes. He worked the 12 step program.  We talked more in that year that we had talked in the previous 5 years.  His head was clear and drug free.  It helped me, too, because I truly understood I couldn’t fix Brian and his problems, only he could do that.  I was learning to sit by and let him take charge of his life.

As his sentence came to an end, he was back in court. Our lawyer asked me to bring clothes and shoes just in case.  What if he wasn’t released?  As I sat there waiting, another mother sat down beside me.  I could tell life had been rough for her.  We looked at each other and she grabbed my hand and held it.  It didn’t matter that we came from different backgrounds because that day we were just mothers, waiting for the outcome of our boys’ futures. I never saw her again, but we helped each other get through that day.

When the judge ordered Brian’s release, I sat there for a minute just to make sure I heard him correctly.  Our attorney turned and told me to meet them downstairs. When Brian finally came outside, we ran to each other and just hugged and held each other.  My son was free. I could hug him, touch him, look at him and know he was safe, at least for that moment.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Listen to Your Mother 2014

Yesterday, I attended the meet and greet for the 2014 cast of Listen To Your Mother OKC!  The director and co-producers graciously invited the 2013 cast to be a part of the day.  We had an absolute blast!

This year's cast is as diverse as the 2013 cast - kudos to Misti, Heather and Julie!  Cannot wait to hear the stories!

Best part for me was I got to see my 2013 cast members!  I absolutely and totally love these women.  If it hadn't been for LTYM, I would never met these women.  Ann Imig, founder of LTYM, has done such a wonderful thing!  Women of all ages, sizes and backgrounds come together to celebrate motherhood, but more than that, we celebrate being women!  It is truly empowering.

I used to say that men could bond much more easily than women - if you put a garbage man and a CEO of a large company together and they both play golf, poof - instant friendship.  Generally, women don't warm up to each other quite so fast!

LTYM is that kind of sisterhood...............

I am beyond blessed and humbled to be able to tell people that I am part of this troupe....

I am invigorated today - ready to tackle anything - my sisters have breathed life back into me again.  We laughed and cried together AGAIN....  Seems to be a theme here - have box of Kleenex - must be going to a LTYM event!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Birthday Week

Last Thursday was my birthday.....  It was an unusual week filled with unexpected emails, Facebook posts and text messages.  I have never received so many birthday wishes.  It also gave me cause to think about the unexpected ways in which the internet has impacted my life.

I received over 125 posts on Facebook, numerous text messages, a dozen or so emails and even a few phone calls.!  Before the internet, I might have received a few phone calls or a couple of birthday cards, mostly from family. This year, I was overwhelmed with birthday wishes. 

The thing is, I sort of miss the personal phone call - hearing a voice.  Hearing the excitement and the singing of the Birthday Song - you can't get that "on the line"....  Is the exchange worth it?  Have we given up too much?  Are we sacrificing our abilities to communicate with one another?

Don't get me wrong - I loved each and every FB post, email and email...  It was lovely to hear from each and every one of my family and friends.  I was overwhelmed with the birthday wishes.  BUT, I still have to worry a bit that we are may one day never verbally communicate with one another.  Will we remember how to look someone in the eye and talk on the phone?  Land lines are already becoming extinct... 

So, on this beautiful first day of October, let's just remember some of the old ways should still be kept alive...  Call someone you love today.  Let them hear your voice, hear the inflection in your voice when you say hello....

Thursday, September 5, 2013


It's been awhile since I've posted anything.  The summer went so fast - so much has happened.  My class reunion was probably the most important accomplishment in recent years.  It is amazing the number of classmates I now keep in touch with every week.  I am so beyond blessed to have this wonderful people in my life.  It makes it all worth getting up in the morning.  The feeling is like comfort food (yes, I seem to always compare everything to food)...  These are the folks that helped shape me in my youth.  Seems only fitting that we should enjoy each other in adulthood.

The remodeling project is finished!  My new kitchen and den are fabulous.  Taylor did such an amazing job - the fireplace is probably my favorite - black marble and a new mantle.  I can just sit on the couch and look at the fireplace and get all teary-eyed...  It's always the little things (actually, the fireplace cost about the same as I had budged for my England trip).....  Every little detail Taylor put into this project is amazing.  I am so grateful to him.

Have had a few parties this summer - class reunion committee, band reunion for Tom and Joy and the big reveal of the remodeling!  Each one was a joy and again, such fabulous friends.  The band reunion was probably the most surprising for me - I wasn't in the band in high school - gave it up for pep club!  Lord, the decisions we make as young people.  Anyway, Tom was in the band and unable to attend the reunion.  I didn't know him in high school, but we connected on Facebook.  Then, I got to know his wonderful wife, Joy.  It just seemed fitting when he told he would be in town, that a party should be given.  So, we planned it and almost everyone Tom wanted to see was able to come!  Again, fabulous food and friends.....

The Remodeling Bash was a couple of weeks ago.  I wanted everyone to meet Taylor and share in my joy of my remodeled digs.  It was so much fun - a fabulous mixture of people from all phases of my life.  We all wore name tags with a notation of how they knew me - that was hysterical - there was anything from "met her in jail", to "met her at a strip club", so "my brother from another mother" (he's Chinese)...  High School friends, oil and gas friends, neighbors, friends of friends that I know treasure as my own and LTYM soul mates!  I must say I drank a wee bit too much vodka that night, but all in all, I think it was a smashing success!  Thank you to everyone that was able to come.

So, now I'm wondering what will be next for me.  It's OU football time and Thunder basketball is around the corner.  Life is such a journey - so far, it's been quite a ride....

Friday, July 5, 2013

Old Friends are the Best

Last weekend was my class reunion - 40 years.....  Hard to imagine what I've been doing the last 40 years.  Doesn't seem possible.

We arrived at the Friday night location and the next 3 hours was just a blur.  Some faces were very familiar, but others were a bit more difficult to recognize.  Classmates flew in from all parts of the world - London, Maine, Detroit, Washington state and Washington DC.  Unbelievable - it was like Field of Dreams - if you build it, they will come............

Lots of picture taking, hugs and kisses.  We all share a history - some from elementary school.  We laughed and talked and tried to catch up as quickly as possible.  It was sort of like speed dating!  Just trying to cram everything in a very short period of time before someone else walked up and it started all over again.  I think I finally got to bed at 2:30 am.  What a night!

Saturday morning, a group of about 50 met at the high school for a Memorial service and a tour of the school.  My old friend, Andy, who flew in from London, handled the Memorial service.  It honored all our classmates that are no longer with us.  It was a fabulous service.  Andy was perfect!

The school tour was interesting - certainly have been some changes in 40 years!  LOL  The highlight of the day was when I asked the principal a question - "just how old are you?" to which he replied "37"~  Seriously?  Very nice guy - so energetic about the school and trying to make a difference in students' lives.

Saturday night was a blast!  We had a photo booth which turned out to be awesome - silly pics!  We took a class picture AND elementary school pics, too.  That was amazing.  My elementary school had the most classmates show up!  YAY Jackson!!!

At this point in our lives, no one really cares how much money you have or don't have or what you do for a living.  We were just glad to see each other - reminisce about crazy stuff we did in high school and just enjoy being together.  A group of us sat outside the hotel until 3:00 am - we just didn't want to let go - didn't want it to end - went by way too fast........

All in all, a fabulous weekend.  I love my class!!!  We will probably get together in 2 years to celebrate our 60th birthdays!  I still think most of us still act like we are still in high school!  LOL

Go Tigers!

Friday, June 14, 2013


Today is Friday...............

I am on complete and total overload.  I do this to myself all the time.  Must find the time to figure out why I do, but then that's another thing to do...  Oh vey...

Two weeks from today will be my class reunion - I have taken on this job and as always, will be so glad when it's over.  So many things to do, questions to answer, emails to send, text messages to answer, details to worry over, and yet somehow I know it will all come together and be a blast!  Right now, I'm worried we don't have enough folks signed up to pay for the reunion.  Everyone tells me it will be fine - everyone tells me it will all work out.  Who is this "everyone" cuz right now I'd like to punch him/her right in the face.......

Tonight, I'm headed to Norman to eat sushi and drink dirty martinis with some great friends.  These ladies are all part of the committee and I'm sure they are all tired of listening to me.  Guess that's why Nancy has lined up her girls to drive me home tonight - she has a sneaking suspicion that I might drink a few too many martinis.  I'm a thinkin' she might be right!  LOL

I am starting to believe that I'm wired up pretty tight right now.  Mr. Handyman told me straight up last night that I should start smoking pot!  He thinks I need to jigger down a bit (my words, not his cuz I can't remember exactly the words he used)....  I don't think anyone has ever said that to me before.  I mean the smoking pot thing, not the wired up thing.  So someone had the balls to tell me I need to slow down a bit; that I should take the pot?  Guess it's something to consider.  Who knows maybe that's why I used to be more fun in my earlier years - those hazy days as I like to call them.... 

Hhmmm, let's recap.  Things going on in my life right now:  reunion, remodeling, daughter home from college with her stuff everywhere and I do mean everywhere, working fulltime, my sweet puppy has been sick on and off for 2 weeks, backyard landscaping (now finished) and just life in general being a single woman that owns a house.

OK, kids, I will keep you posted on how everything is going!  Hopefully, there will be no need for a bail bondsman tonight!  HA

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Thank God Life Goes On.....

This past Sunday was such a treat - the first time my Listen To Your Mother cast has been together since the show!  Almost   We cooked burgers and hot dogs and everyone brought their own special dish.  We laughed and hugged and talked and hugged.  It was just love! 

Crazy to think we barely know each other, yet we absolutely adore one another.  We come in all shapes and sizes from all walks of life, all kinds of jobs, all kinds of experiences, but we are bound together by this one fabulous moment in our lives - the Listen To Your Mother show!

I know for sure I can't image my life without these women in it.  They make me think outside the box, make me laugh until I can't breathe and give the absolute best hugs!!!  Most of all, they give me HOPE!  Hope is such a magical gift!  Hope that I can step outside the box anytime I want and without question, they will be there to catch me and to root me on to the finish line.  Hope that tomorrow will be even better than today.  Hope that my life is far from over.

To be honest, the last couple of years have been tough.  My house has been a bed and breakfast (not by choice) - my son moved home for over a year, my sister moved here from Houston and lived and worked with me for 6 months, and then my daughter came home from college. 

I was seeing a man for a couple of years and it didn't end very well.  He was my first love and someone that has been in and out of my life since I was 16.  Other than my brother, he has always been there for me.  I didn't take the breakup very well - gained about 80 pounds and just sort of holed up in my house.  I just felt like a complete failure.  I didn't realize just how lonely I was.

Then, came Misti and her announcement she would be directing the inaugural Listen To Your Mother show in OKC.  I had written a story for a writing class I took in college a few years ago.  It needed a little work, so I pulled it out and began working on it.  I'd throw it away and then a couple of days later, I'd think about it and pull it out again.  This went on for a couple of weeks.  Misti posted a deadline for submitting stories.  Again, I went back and forth.  It was now or never.  Not sure how long I looked at the "Send" button before I pressed it and then gasped that I had actually sent the story.

The entire process of making it to the live show was so completely and totally out of my comfort zone.  I wasn't sure about anything going on in my life and I kept asking myself "Why did you send that stupid story", but I just kept hearing Misti's voice telling all of us how awesome an experience she had last year and that "everyone has a story to tell"...  Yes, I had a story, but would anyone really want to hear it?  Lucky for me, they did...

Suffice it to say, my life is changed forever - it was an experience that is hard to put into words.  This group of women literally saved my life.  I feel alive again.  I believe that I can do anything.  I'm investigating some new business opportunities that may take me away from OKC, but I am not afraid anymore.  Hope.......

I love, love, love my LTYM sisters and I do believe there is a GIRLS NIGHT OUT looming in the near future...  Stay tuned.........