Friday, May 15, 2015

To Catch You Up

So, I've been a little quiet in this space the past couple of months even though I had vowed (resolved, aimed, promised... you fill in the blank) to write every day. Namely because life gets busy and also because I've been trying not to get on my computer as much. It hasn't worked, but I've found myself advancing in Candy Crush like never before. Ok... maybe that's a lie, because I've always been pretty addicted to Candy Crush.

Let's stop to think about that a minute.

How is it that a game can hold someone's attention for so very long?  I mean, I loved Tetris and Super Mario Brothers growing up, but a girl could only play so much before her eyes started crossing. I think Candy Crush baits me in by having limited lives.  I hold my breath for 25 minutes until I can play again... and in the meantime read and sleep.

And I've also been walking a lot, holding hands with Caleb when he'd allow it, and watching TV with Wallace (we are currently addicted to AD, Criminal Minds, and I've found myself involved in Bates Motel, which I find really, really hard to believe. And just last night there was a new Pawn Stars, so I'm pretty sure that our summer is set.)

I've also been following the NFL Deflategate situation pretty closely, only because I used to think Tom Brady was pretty cute but I developed a strong dislike for him a couple of years ago for some reason. And cheaters never win... and he looks a little too scruffy sometimes... but we won't point fingers at quarterbacks who sometimes make poor decisions because Big Ben hasn't always been the sharpest tool in the box. Speaking of my Steelers, I have been in slight mourning because Troy retired (yes, I can call him Troy. He is younger than me and I feel like I know him on a first name basis).  I was elated when Bud Dupree was drafted and signed by the Steelers, though... because he is a Wildcat and we all know that Big Blue Nation is great... maybe not always at football, but Dupree is legit.

Also going on in the last couple of months: I've been trying to lose weight, but I like chocolate a little too much, and also Lemon Oreos (which are divine.  A small taste of Heaven in between two cookies. God did good when He gave someone that idea). I have lost some weight, though... but I couldn't tell you a number because I have no idea what I weighed this time last year. Seriously.  Scales were not my friend.

And they still aren't, but I'm happy to say that despite the Lemon Oreos, I've also managed to lose all  most of my baby weight.

It's just taken me 12 years... but Wallace said the other night, "This just might be the smallest you've been since you had Caleb."

So we can call it baby weight...

One way I would NOT recommend losing weight is the horrific stomach virus that has been going around.  The whole family was down for the count last week (except for Wallace. I think he must have some kind of secret immunity. That, or he quarantined himself in the bedroom and I was nice enough to sleep on the couch.)

I'll let that sink in for  a minute, too... the SICK individual in the house on the couch, while the healthy individual enjoyed the luxury of the bed. However, if you know Wallace and know how much he enjoys his sleeping, you know that I couldn't take that away from him. And obviously, I didn't do much sleeping that night because I was too busy dying... He was nice enough to occasionally yell, "Lauren, are you ok? Do you need anything?". Well... hmm... nothing that I can think of. And in the midst of dying, when I thought I was going to pass out because I felt like my sugar was dropping, he did come running to my aid...

with a bag of blueberry muffins in one hand and a Fiber One strawberry streudel in the other. Um... STOMACH VIRUS??? But it was the thought that counted...

Anyway, things are pretty much back to normal around here and no one died from the virus. I actually have some control over Mount Laundry in the hallway and am vowing not to sleep away the summer.

I'm making no promises about not reading it away, though...

Or relaxing in the hammock most of the day...

Now that I've filled you in on all things going on in the Bates house, I'm going to go get my Lemon Oreos and grab Nobody's Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankle ( a must read!). Have a blessed day!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Thank You to Those Younger Than Me

Dear Sweet One,

I don't even know you and yet I do... because I sat in that same place (or a place somewhat similar) just a few years ago.

Ok, maybe it was a little bit longer than a few years ago, and maybe it was in a different gym, but there were still balloons festooning the bleachers and lights flashing as the DJ played some sappy love song that will be out of season before the night is out.

I see you there, spinning on the dance floor, the skirt of your dress flaring out around you.

Tonight, you are magical, and you don't even know it.

YOU are beautiful.

Not your fancy dress or your makeup or your nails or your updo.


Even when you go home and collapse into bed (which by now you already have) without washing the hairspray out or the makeup off...

when you wake up and that eyeliner is smudged around tired eyes, you'll still be beautiful.

The dress doesn't make the girl, and it's high time that we realize that.

As I sit here, admiring how the light sparkles off the sequins of your dress, I'm envious of your youth.

You have the whole world at your fingertips.

But hindsight is 20/20 and even 20 years down the road I still don't have it all figured out.

I do know this, though.

You are beautiful. You are you... in your Chuck Taylor converse (blinged out for some of you!) or your short puffy dress or your multicolored hair.

Oh, you may not be the most beautiful...

but comparisons are silly and are ruining us.

There isn't a comparison between apples and oranges and it's high time that we stop comparing each other, too...

because I wasn't the smartest or the prettiest or the most eloquent... but I was me. And it's taken me 20 years to figure out that was enough.

I'm not sure when I started thinking that I wasn't enough...

I'm not sure when that less than attitude kicked in...

I just know that sometimes as a teenager one becomes overcome with emotions and hormones and start to see how you may or may not look in the eyes of others.

And as vain human beings, we tend to think that everyone is judging us...

and sometimes they are.

But the thing is, we too often judge based on what the outside looks like, and that is crazy...

because air is freshest just after it rains and sometimes even on the sunniest days, things aren't beautiful because you can't breathe.

I wish I knew all of your names. I wish I could tell you that the mirror sometimes lies and that we are often our own biggest critic. That sometimes you may feel like hiding in a corner but it is never worth it. I wish I could tell you to take a deep breath and relish how special you feel, that excitement of the perfect dress... the intoxicating rush of being a princess for a day... because who doesn't want to be a fairy princess?

And maybe your evening didn't even start out that way because your dress isn't perfect and your hair won't stay up and for the love of God you've never gotten the hang of painting your fingernails and you can't afford a manicure.

You know what?

That doesn't matter.

We aren't beautiful because of what we wear or how much we weigh or how fancy our hair is.  You aren't beautiful because of who you are... but...

You are beautiful because you are you... and no one else can be you.

And today, as I'm reflecting on being old and watching youth in all its glory last night...

I say thank you....

Thank you, even if you don't realize you are beautiful.

Thank you for helping me affirm to me that beauty is contagious.

Keep on keeping on, and keep on being you.

The Older Me, who Wishes I had Realized this a little sooner.