I don’t hate the way I look today, which for me is a huge accomplishment. Even bigger, I am not judging myself as good bad or ugly based on the way I look today. Why? Well, I’m actively in the process of losing some weight, I eat clean and vegan 99% of the time. I am getting more exercise and I belong to an incredible emotional eating (EE) group that is teaching me how to understand that feelings and urges are feelings and urges. They pass, I can separate myself from them. I can observe them. They are not me. But even if I wasn’t doing all that, I am learning to love myself, no matter what my size is. It’s a strange, but delightful feeling to reconnect with my body. We’ve been so distant from each other for so many years.
My daughter’s absolute favorite song is Bridge Over Troubled Water sung by Johnny Cash. I wonder if she remembers it from her embryonic days, but will never mention this to her, as I’m sure she will once again proclaim my weirdness and stop talking. She actually loves several versions of this song, and yesterday we sang them all in the car on the way to Mimi’s and Nana’s and back home again.
I realize that I am by no means a gifted singer. I am a shower singer, a driving in the car by myself singer, a person with music, good and bad, sifting around in my head all day singer. The right phrase spoken out loud by stranger can trigger a song in my head and sometimes out of my mouth. Such words Spoken by a friend can lead to both awkward or funny blurts of melody and lyrics, based on my timing. Timing is everything.
When I was pregnant with Julia, I not only sang to myself, but I sang to her. I felt like I could communicate to her through my car and shower singing rituals. But just in case I couldn’t reach her, I spent many relaxing hours with a pair of headphones on my belly so that she might get exposed to some people who could actually sing – George Jones, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson to name a few. Mellow, sweet and sad songs that could calm her while opening and forming her little unborn mind. Songs about love and loss, which sounds depressing, but it was the tonal quality of the voices and the music that I was after, to soothe her, and myself.
Once Julia was born, the music really began. I sang to her in the car before she could consciously object. I danced her around the house to George Harrison All Things Must Pass and other Beatles songs every evening before bed. Reading stories included music and singing songs, always. From infancy to at least 2 years old or so, she stopped crying almost instantly whenever I sang Michelle to her.
The first song she ever sang was the Winnie the Pooh theme song. We’d drive to daycare and kindergarten singing Elmo and other Sesame Street character hits; I grew to enjoy Elmo’s screeching little high-pitched laughter (I no longer can tolerate him, thankfully). As she went through elementary school, we’d still sing in the car in the mornings, to everything from Julie Andrews to Hannah Montana to Weird Al Yankovich, based on whatever stage she happened to be going through. The songs she learned in school were also belted out on the way to the grocery store, bank, or whatever other errands we ran together. Singing with her, though not a conscious activity (as in NOW WE SHALL SING), was our way of connecting. I never thought that would change.
If you’ve read some of my past blog posts, you will learn that eventually, around 5th or 6th grade, in Julia’s mind, our music became “your music” and “my music.” ( Read https://pattytmitchell.com/2012/11/16/my-daughters-music/ or https://pattytmitchell.com/2013/10/13/changing-times/) Me singing Julia’s music became … unappreciated. In fact, it was very much frowned upon. My heart shattered, my ultra sensitive feelings crumbled. How could she shut me out? How can I believe that she still loves me? So many parts of our relationship began to change. She became a DT – Disagreeable Tweener.
I’ve now learned to appreciate the moments when we are both together and somewhat aligned, and that’s certainly helped me accept her becoming the individual that she is. They are small and sometimes short-lived moments, but relished and sealed in my heart forever. And becoming more frequent these days, thankfully.
So yesterday was Mothers Day and included car rides to visit my mom and my mother-in-law. Julia normally changes the radio to one of “her” stations as soon as the ignition turns over, or plugs in her phone and her music before I even get a chance to object. But not today. Today Paul McCartney belted out Till There Was You without interruption or eye-rolling. No looking out the car window with disgust, just a patient tolerance. And then after came our medley of Bridge Over Troubled Water. Some gifts are priceless.
Take a listen to Julia’s favorite renditions, in order of preference
Read Mike’s blog to see his interview with me to promote the ARIA Book Expo on November 8th – that’s next Saturday! He has been doing a fantastic job promoting the event and the authors. Check out his Overlordsfantasy series too!</http://theoverlords.blogspot.com
Julia frantically brushed the pine needles off my car, her arms flailing with an urgency normally reserved for blocking shots on the basketball court. For a moment I thought she was helping me from having a pine needle induced accident on the road.
Mommy’s little helper?
Mommy’s little conformist.
“You need to start parking in the garage Mom,” says my out of breath and exasperated eighth grader. Your car is a mess!”
I have a garage. I actually have 2 garages. I still leave my car out in the driveway sometimes, like last night, when it rained that kind of autumn rain which blows leaves and pine needles off the trees and onto the ground, or anything else left outside.
It’s no distraction to me at all. They cover the windshield and the windows and the moon roof of my little SUV (aka the station wagon of the 21st century). By the time I get to work, the morning breeze and the highway sun will have blown my car dry better than my hair was blown dry before I left the house.
However, that quarter of a mile to school, which she does not have to walk, by the way, is not enough time to remove the tell tale signs from the night before — an un-garaged car.
This shame holds true for more than pine needles – also for frost, ice, snow or anything else Mother Nature dishes out the night before or the morning of.
Again, I am haunted by that no-talent hip hop group – the Uthah Muthas. They are the ‘normal’ parents who do not embarrass their children, but merely stand mutely in the background offering unlimited supplies of money and transportation. Transportation in normal cars, I’ll have you know. Fiends.
“You’re the only one at drop off with pine needles on your car. Everyone else’s car is clean.”
“Really, you notice these things?”
“Yes! I do. You always have ice, or something all over. And you can never even see. Why do you always have to be so weird?!”
Maybe I’m a little off, but I enjoy stepping outside to see what’s been left for me each morning, usually pretty designs made by Jack Frost and his gang start about this time of year. So we have to scrape a little, just enough to see to get her that quarter of a mile, that, as I believe I’ve mentioned, she does not have to walk, down the road. So what if there are a few coppery needles decorating my dark brown car? I enjoy fall colors.
I like to Park at the top of the driveway each night, because each night the beagle, the only one truly happy to see me, comes running out, and she can’t reach the garage to greet me, jump all over me, and yelp like she’s trying to get me to the Old Mill to save Timmy. And she’s kind of afraid of the garage door anyway. I do it for the beagle.
Maybe there are better mothers out there. But even though I’m not the best mother, I’ll never EVER be one of the Uthah Muthas.
I know I’ve been quiet lately, but am working away at a whole new version of my new book. Formally known as Don’t Call Me Poundcake, my new working title- Carry That Weight. It has taken me much time and reflection, and lots of slow running around the Smithfield High School track, but I believe I found the key to what was stalling me out after page 40.
CTW is the story of a girl who has a lot placed upon her shoulders – and learns how to cope, to love herself and realize the strength she possesses as she conquers her demons and makes positive contributions to the world around her. And it’s co-starring (sort of) The Beatles. That’s all I’m going to say, except that I’ve taken the theme that is most important to me, standing up for yourself and taking responsibility for your life, and paired it with other elements I love like, music, food, running, and the strong bonds between friends, mothers and daughters. I can’t wait to share some sneak peeks with you all in the coming weeks.
I am fortunate enough to have some dear lifelong friends that have helped me think this through without even knowing it. That includes my family of course, my sisters, my in-laws, my parents, my husband and my adorable bouncing baby girl that’s now at least 3 inches taller than me (Her new nickname for me is Midge- VERY non PC). And my friends, after all of these years, who are still so special and dear, and have experienced so many of the same things we all do as we learn to find our own unique voice. We’ve held each other up over the years and I hope this book is a proper culmination of my love and respect.
The biggest discovery for me is that I’m most comfortable and content when I write about the things I love; perhaps I’m not good enough yet to weave these important concepts into something unrecognizable. As they say, time will tell.
And if that all isn’t enough- I’m on the road this fall! My version of on the road, which is appearing around the area promoting my first book, A Girl From the Hill.
First, On Sunday October 5th there’s the Southern New England Women’s Expo
Then Sunday October 12th and Monday October 13th I will be at the Scituate Art Festival
And on Saturday November 8th I will be participating in the Second Annual Association of Rhode Island Authors Expo, with over 70 local authors making their work available. Why, you can get most of your holiday shopping done just by stopping by!
You can follow the links to the event sites for more information. I hope to see you locals at one or more of these events, to buy a book or just stop over and say hello. And as I move more fully into Carry That Weight, I’ll provide updates when I can and throw ideas out there for you to think about and provide your feedback.
Have a great weekend and remember that All You Need is Love.
I have been thinking a lot about ideas for my next blog post. Funny how things fall right into your lap.
This past week has been full. I’ve been editing the book, A Girl from the Hill . After my friend Lisa took the time to edit and proof the manuscript, my mother-in-law has kindly taken a second pass for me. Since I’m self publishing I’m not getting any formal editorial services. But with Lisa and Judy I have more than enough expertise and experience, not to mention heart, to get this book ready. I will sit with my mother tomorrow, hopefully, and start selecting pictures. Then we’re done. Fini.
I have been working on this book nearly every day for the past two years. It started out as a rough idea, and became a journey. I got to have some meaningful conversations with my mother, my sisters, my family. I learned a lot about my mother’s life, things I was too young for, or not even born for, for that matter. I learned how much we are alike, and realized how much I do love her, and myself.
A Girl From the Hill is my first public writing experience. It’s taken me my entire life to get enough confidence and strength to do this. Saying its a labor of love sounds trite, but all my love for my family and the journeys we’ve all taken is woven into this work.
Writing has provided me with a safe haven from the stress of my daily grind, from a world where I don’t always fit in. I’m like my mom, Auntie Phil, Auntie Alice, and my grandmother Maria. I want people’s happiness more than a person should sometimes. I’m a people pleaser. But I am trying, harder each day, to please myself first. It goes against my grain, but if I don’t do it I’ll get eaten alive, I’m sure of it.
You may notice that some of my posts, my excerpts from the book, are no longer posted. Please know that it’s not because I want people to buy the book when it comes out. While I’d love everyone to buy it in tribute to my mother, a money-making venture this is not. But because I don’t want to offend anyone mentioned in my book, and on this site, I’m taking down any potentially offending words. And I also must consider editing the book further, so that no feelings are slighted.