Author Archives: kstormy

Another “Aha ” Moment

A few weeks ago I was driving to work , listening to my favorite radio station interview a local dance teacher about Nutcracker rehearsals and tryouts for Snowflakes.  I have seen the Nutcracker once, and  fell  asleep during part of it- I blame my holiday diet of straight sugar starting Halloween and going to the first of January.   I do remember it was spectacular how graceful the dancers were and the girls enjoyed it .  Jesse was nine and McKenna was three and I was wanting a family holiday experience.  Topping the list though, is my long-held secret dream to be a ballerina.

As I whipped into the parking lot at work, I stayed to listen to the dance lady talk about the auditions .  She said,” bring your child down and they can try out, no dance background needed.”  I knew in my heart that God wanted me to sign McKenna up.  I was convinced that the universe had made me late this particular day so that  my child could be a Snowflake.  This was going to be a dream come true for both of us!  How fortunate am I?

Well. I called the ballet school and I asked about the lessons and the lady was very sweet.  One of the questions I didn’t ask ,was how much money?    Laugh with me,  I have seen all the Step Up movies and Dirty Dancing at least 100 times.  Nothing can stop a dream.

“How would you like to do ballet class and then be in a play, like your sister Jesse?” I asked my youngest daughter sweetly.  She shrugged her shoulders, nonchalantly.  That being said, I immediately drove  to Walmart and bought her pink tights and a black leotard. “This is going to be so awesome!” I said with a big smile.

On the Saturday of tryouts,  we went to the ballet school.  It was a tiny studio and you could see all the older dancers, piroueetting in their pointe shoes.  “Oh!” I gasped and held the door for Jesse (still on crutches) and McKenna .  “See! See!”  I said all excited.  Jesse rolled her eyes.  McKenna looked at the other girls and at the older dancers, and she sat down.   The other parents and I filled out paperwork and fussed around.  My daughter didn’t have any ballet slippers, but another mom gave us a pair to try.  Mac listened to the dance teacher and did all the moves a little timidly but all the Snowflakes made the cut.  No one was in tears and it made me feel great that my daughter had an opportunity to dance with part of the Moscow Ballet and live out my dream at the same time. Thank you youngest child. I see discounted therapy in your future.

We are about six weeks into this and I am very nervous.  I think Mckenna may be anxious also.  They sent us the music for the Snowflake part and I am having trouble downloading it onto a CD.  It looks to me like most of the other girls have taken ballet lessons. (What a surprise!)  She has practice for a half-hour every Saturday and I have missed every home Grizzly football game this year (Les is not delighted) and the other moms’ run marathons, literally,( not just barely finish a 5K  and  celebrate at 5 guys).  I feel somewhat awkward.  The big show is  same time the Griz Bobcat game starts,  (Go figure?)  and McKenna told me this morning she wants to quit ballet.

It is Friday night and I watch my little snowflake sleep and I am thankful for this entire experience.  It has been eye-opening how quickly I projected something I didn’t even know about myself onto my child.   We have practice tomorrow and whatever happens after that,  we will roll with it.  At least, we have tickets to see the Nutcracker and hopefully my little gal will have a great time with as little trauma as possible.   I have learned a valuable lesson about myself in all of this, ( I am a flake)  but, I also know all the steps to the routine. Remember, nothing can stop a dream.

Never a Dull Moment

So Jesse started 8th grade with a broken foot, crutches and a boot, not a cast.  People think you are faking with a 20 pound boot, apparently.  I calmly and quietly freaked out over the knowledge that Jesse did A Lot around the house  for me and now I was working a 24 hour shift at the beck and call of a thirteen year- old in addition to the seven -year old and the lack of communication from Keeley, “I lost my phone again, a month ago, and oh, I’m in Oklahoma.”

There are so many things that we take for granted, like “Take out the trash, Go get your sister, Please grab that last bag of groceries..” the list goes on and on of the little things our kids do for us as they get older.  Jesse is solid for being responsible and mature( most of the time) and I am in awe of the way she handled having her leg broken, starting the eighth grade, and turning thirteen in the space of a couple of weeks.

I would have been a sobbing, pathetic mess and I was at times.   I surprised myself with  nursing skills.  A long resume of ” Would you like cream with your coffee?” helped me to be a decent caregiver and we iced and elevated and we concentrated on the things that we had going right. The list is unending, but simple.  A home, our quirky little family, a job, a car.. you get my drift.  I quit complaining as often because I watched  Jesse crutch into middle school with a 40 pound backpack for the past  eight weeks. She was like Rudy going into the tunnel at Notre Dame.

Les was equally amazing and supportive.  He always says “That’s why there’s two of us.” I am so thankful.  He  joined us at the doctor’s office every time to cheer for the basketball girl who got sidelined by a skateboard.  He makes me laugh when I want to scream.

Jesse has been off the crutches and the boot for a couple of weeks now, but still is under strict instructions not to run or pivot.  She limps but has healed enough to do three hours of trick or treating the other night with her girlfriends and race through a haunted house.  Whoops.

Now she asks me to go get her backpack and I have to stop myself from automatically going down the hallway and bringing it to her.  She is used to my willingness to be her servant and has questioned my loyalty on more than one occasion, but most of all, she has earned my admiration for getting through the tough times by looking forward.

Things are almost back to normal.  She is back to prowling the mall, not taking out the trash and fetching  her sister by standing right next to me and bellowing her name.   I find myself wanting to tuck her in at night (NOT! she says) and going in for more hugs despite the teenage disdain.  That’s ok.  Keeley had a long-boarding accident on a chunk of sidewalk- no broken bones, but has located her cellphone and moved back to this side of the Mississippi.

At thirteen, I remember caravaning((see below) down Chaffee Ave. with a city bus right behind us.  No helmets, no pads, no fear, some blood.  By the time McKenna turns teen, I will have a full head of snow-white hair and soft pastels will illuminate my padded room.  Bring Halloween candy, the kids count theirs.

Caravaning- an eighties practice of balancing 2 people at the top of a steep hill with their butts on a skateboard and their heels on the other persons’ skateboard and locking hands, leaning to the side and kissing any exposed skin or common sense goodbye.

Last Leg of Summer

Right at the end of a beautiful summer in Montana, my daughter broke her leg.  She hovered in the air for about 2 seconds I gather , and fell off a friend’s skateboard while I was at work.  I got the call from my neighbor that afternoon, which had me concerned because we have that dialogue now, after many trial runs.

Phone Rules while I am at work:

1. Call to ask if you can go anywhere outside the neighborhood.

2. Don’t call to tell me you are bored.

3.  Please do not have me pick you up acting like Scarlett O ‘Hara

on her last carrot in the potato field and then be jumping on the couch 15 minutes later.

4. Call if you are bleeding .

5. Don’t call because you can’t find the remote.

So I finished up my tables and went home to see her laid out on the couch and I knew right away something was very wrong with her leg.

We got in the car hopping clumsily and with a lot of pain.  It was hot and I had to pick  her sister up at daycare.

“Mom, ” Please don’t take forever at Jane’s ,” her brown eyes pleaded with me over her tear-streaked face.

“I won’t,” I said with great fervor. Then I went into Jane’s house and had a ten-minute conversation with her about which hospital to go to.

It was August 25th, my brother Jeff’s birthday.  When Jeff was eight or nine, he ran into a clothesline pole at the end of a grassy hill.  It was the only thing standing in the middle of the yard and he broke his femur.  Due to the randomness of this event and Jeff’s reliance on high drama at this age, we didn’t take him to the hospital immediately.  Actually, I believe I got a bad perm that same day. Jeff spent the whole summer in a body cast. Now, he repairs power lines in extreme storms – climbing 70 feet in the air in hurricane winds. Go figure.

I patted myself on the back for having the sense to change out of the all black waitress uniform I wear during the day. No, I am not complaining, I have a great job where I look over  the  river all day long.  The nearest thing to a life or death decision is what type of salad dressing to serve and I have benefits. I am thankful especially as I watch these bills drift in. Oh am I ever grateful.

Jesse was fitted with an air-cast walking boot because she had a spiral fracture near her growth plate.  They fitted her with crutches and I admit my first thought as I watched her lurch down the hallway was, “We ‘ll be back.” I chased that out of my mind and concentrated on the new reality that things were going to be very different this school year.

Where is Main Street and How can I get There?

I have been watching the occupation of Wall Street and I am heartened at the unity of all these different people coming together.  I am hopeful that this will bring a global change.  Balance, equality, communication.  Living by values.

In my world, Homer Simpson is to be envied.   He owns his own home.  I’m a waitress, mom, forever renter and a writer.  I carve my writing life with a kitchen timer. I feel blessed to have what I have and I try to give.  It’s a tithe, my time, my money , my attention to matters outside of myself.  They are organizing or unorganizing as they say, occupations all over the United States.  Who are they? I don’t know.  They are not victims.  They are empowered by the first ammendmant and they are giving voice to general dissatisfaction of giant corporate interest.  I am proud that I live in a country where people can do this  I am also ashamed that a country can have such an imbalance  of resources. They are victims.

Change is electrifying, a shift of energy between powers and this shift is creating energy, forming alliances and working for the good of all, I hope and pray. Change is also terrifying for some of us, fear of the unknown, fear of trusting ourselves and our safety net of the present.  Change requires sacrifice, cooperation and faith.

Faith is huge in my life.  I hold fast to faith that this change will be better for all. That is why they are there.  That is why I continue to pray and pay attention to the 99%.  It is important to pass on a world where we act to make a positive change in a peaceful way. It is essential that our children believe and value everyone’s life and their actions and impacts.

One minute

When I am dead and gone to this world and my children are gathered in an overheated and overpaid lawyer’s office, salivating over the decor of my home which I lovingly refer to as Early American Garage Sale.  I have instructed  the lawyers to look into each of my children’s expectant, yet sorrowful, faces and say, “One minute.”

Twenty minutes later, they can divy up the  contents of my life, a collection of rocks, baby teeth and stonewashed jeans. Let’s not forget the giant bag of mismatched socks we gathered and decorated as a pumpkin for Halloween.

Over the years, in the space of a “One minute..” I have been able to highlight my hair and then run to the salon to fix it, try on 7 outfits with accessories  just in case I have somewhere to go,( besides, work, the grocery store or the mall.) I have been able to clean my car, watch an informercial on lint cleaners.  You get my drift.  When I ask, ” Set the table or brush your teeth or stop texting  at the table, please. ”

“One minute, ” my teenage daughter will respond as if the weight of unloading the dishwasher was a comet thrown from space.

“Justa sec,” my seven-year old will say. And roll her eyes.

Yes, I have a wish to go out like Liz Taylor, 15 minutes late to her own funeral, having the last laugh.  This morning as both daughter’s were calling me from separate rooms, I was tossing the clothes into the hamper and running around the kitchen, “One minute!”  I yelled.  Hmm… The apple doesn’t fall from the tree.