Guess Who’s Coming to the Stage???

The last time that I had the pleasure of stepping onto a stage, it was 1989 and I was the props manager for my school’s production of, “The Pirates of Penzance”. About a month ago, prompted by an email from my good girlfriend Nae over at I Choose the Sun, I threw caution to the wind and impulsively decided to audition for a play. Say what now? A play? Ya girl on a stage???

FP

You’re shocked, right?  Yeah, me too.  Go ahead and snicker if you must. I’ve been told that I have a flare for the dramatic, but I’ve never been sure if those comments were compliments or not.  Hmmm………

Well, a super talented group of people in the DC metro area auditioned for the national show, “Listen to Your Mother”, and I’m delighted to confirm that I was one of the 15 selected to perform here in DC. Head on over to the page and check out the full cast list. To be honest, I was already nervous enough about jumping on the stage, so once I saw the full cast list and read their bios? Whew! I am truly in the company of some amazing people.

Of course, I wouldn’t be my authentically nutty self if I didn’t find a way to make things even more challenging for myself.  The show is April 28, the very same day that yours truly had already set up and recruited a group of friends and family to walk/run a 5K fundraiser for LittleTDJ’s school.  And the events are a mere 70 miles apart.  Oh vey!!   So yup, I’ll be loading up on the vitamins that week and bracing myself for a very, very full day.  We’ll hit the race hard at 8am and I’ll be on stage at 2pm.  Yes, I do know that I’m a little crazy.  All in the name of motherhood and LittleTDJ, ya know?

Local folks in DC, Maryland and VA, I’m gonna need ya to come out and support a sista. Info on tickets can be found here and be sure to let me know if you’re gonna come through.  Y’all know that the last nine months have been more heartbreaking and painful than I can express.  A performance in a program like this is so far outside my comfort zone, yet I was instantly drawn to the idea of it.  With just under 8 weeks until the show, I’m feeling kinda giddy.  And giddy is certainly not a feeling that I’ve had in quite some time.

 

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A Moment of Reflection

Time

As I watch my friends and fellow bloggers reflect upon the end of the year, I have a sense of joy for all that is happening to others around me. There is a feature that keeps rolling across my Faceb.ook timeline called “Year in Review”.  Seeing the year that my friends and family have had, makes me smile at their successes and achievements, while continuing to wish them well on the not so great moments.

For me, the year was defined by my husband’s death. Maybe in years to come 2012 will have an abundance of layered memories. But at this moment, the singular, overarching thought is simply that in 2012 my husband died.  Oh there’s more of course. As a ripple to his death, my heart experienced blackness I didn’t know existed, my mind was pushed near the point of madness and my life changed course in the most unexpected of ways.

So, it is with bittersweet apprehension that I peek at 2013.  I can already sense the great relief at seeing a different year in “print”, while acknowledging that 2012 represents a time when my husband was alive and with us. I spotted the quotation above and it struck a chord.  We thought we had more time. Who’s to say how much more time, but we didn’t see his time here on earth ending in June.  2013 starts anew without him.  There will never be another calendar year in which he is present.  There isn’t a day that I don’t think of him at least a dozen times. But he isn’t here.  And I am.  I continue to push forward in fits and starts. Some days I experience bursts of laughter so true and authentic that I feel guilt, even as my face cracks a smile. Other days I feel waves of despair so deep and dark that I think this will be the one to push me over the edge and I struggle to hold it together.

But held it together is what I’ve done. Yup, I’ve done it for 6.5 months.  Not with a flourish or exclamation point.  No, rather with a battered dingy, full of holes and a roll of super sticky duct tape that keeps getting tangled in my hands.  I can’t stop thanking God for this special duct tape though.  My duct tape is made up of tears, deep breaths, long periods of silence, held breath, collective prayer, family, friends and tons of wine.

We have survived my 36th birthday, my 8th wedding anniversary, my husband’s 37th birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Oh what an emotional ride this holiday season has been.  Tonight, NYE marks a “holiday” full of traditions that we built over the years, but that he and I won’t ever share again.

My prayer for 2013 is that I remain gentle with myself as I certainly know there is no “end” to what I’m experiencing while trying to be as in the moment as I can with our son, Little TDJ.   May peace and blessings be upon all of you and your loved ones, today and in the year to come.

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I’m NOT a Single Mother

I’m not writing to discuss and debate the legitimacy or emotion behind the term single mother.  Nope, I’m not really interested in any kind of deep, political, racial or socio-economic debate about single mothers in our society.  That’s not my soapbox.  If anyone starts that foolishness in the comments, I’ll actually delete ‘cha, m’kay?  Cool.

What I do want to discuss is NOT being a single mother.  I am NOT a single mother.  Let me repeat that once again for folks sitting in the cheap seats without a good view of the jumbrotron – I am NOT a single mother.

In the most basic of terms, yes, I am a mother and no, I do not have a living partner.  I am a widow.  I am a mother.  I am a widowed mother.   To call me single is just inaccurate.  I was raised in a family that encouraged me yet set certain expectations for how my life should proceed.  This isn’t judgement or censure for what anyone else was taught, how they were raised, or for the choices that they make.  This is about ME.  Things in my life proceeded in the way that I felt they should.  I fell in love with my high school sweetheart.  We dated.  We got married.  We bought a house.  We decided together to start a family.  We had a son.  Then my husband died.

I fell in love with a nice kid, who turned into a decent young man, who turned into a good father and husband.  I certainly wouldn’t have written the movie of my life with my husband dying at 36 but I had no choice in the matter.  I did not choose to parent alone.  I did not pick a bad partner.  I was not deserted or abandoned.  My son was not rejected.

I’m in the other box now.  The widow box.  When filing out paperwork, there are boxes for single, married, divorced and widowed.  I am a widow.  I am a mother.  Just as divorced and widowed are not the same, neither are single mother and widowed mother.  They simply aren’t. The person who prompted this post did not deserve my response, so I did not offer one to her.  My stony glare and silence were loud and strong.  Regardless of how it is intended, recognize that it is insulting to my deceased husband and it is offensive to me.  Please do not refer to me or any other widowed parent as “single” because we are not.