Where is 2015?

That’s right, I’m rushing 2014 to end.  And we haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet.

This year was a rough year for me.  Starting with losing my job in March (I was looking to leave anyway).  Three weeks later, I lost my grandmother (my mom’s mom).  High notes?  I spent 2 weeks at home and celebrated my birthday and my aunt’s wedding.  Super high note?  I got a job.  A job I LOVE!  Still love it.  It’s absolutely amazing, and I am able to use all of my skill sets.  Then, the bottom fell out.

My mom died.

That’s the first time I typed it.  And explicitly shared it on social media.  Sure, I’ve posted pictures of her and me.  I’ve shared when I’ve had crappy days.  But I never stated on Facebook, Twitter, or any other forum that Southern Mom is gone.  It only took me 6 weeks to share it.  And I feel some type of way about sharing it.  Like if I didn’t say it aloud or share it with proverbial strangers that means it wasn’t real.  To go from talking to someone everyday for 32 years, and then to not being able to talk to them unexpectedly, it’s just…I can’t describe it.

The great thing is that since Southern Mom retired last year, she and I were able to pretty much keep true to our word of seeing each other at least once a quarter.  Last summer, we went on a family vacation with our extended family.  Then she came to DC when I competed in the Exquisite International Pageant in August.  I spent all of my Christmas vacation with her.  I spent two weeks in April with her.  She came to DC for Mother’s Day, and I went back and spent a few days with her in SC.  The last time I saw her was in September when I went home for my linesister’s wedding.  When she dropped me off at the airport, we actually sat and talked and spent quality, quiet time together.  She said she would make my favorite cake (key lime) when I came home for Christmas.  (My cousin and I made it when I was home.)

Less than a month later she was gone.  Suddenly and unexpectedly.

Some days are great.  I can smile when I talk about her.  Not choke up.  Still keep a sunny disposition and happy demeanor.  Other days, I cry.  I can barely get dressed, and I want to stay home.  I can’t talk about her, because my eyes start to water and my throat tightens up.

I’m sure these roller coaster of days will last until God decides I’ve served my purpose on this earth and calls me home.  Until then, I plan to make sure I make my mother proud and ensure she has left behind a positive legacy.

So, yeah, even though great things happened this year, the ultimately worse thing happened, too.  I’m super ready to see January 1.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

Happy 60th Birthday, Southern Dad!

No, my dad will not read this as he’s not much for the internet, but I can tell him about it.

What can I say about Southern Dad?  In a lot of ways, we are very much alike.  I even think I favor him more than Southern Mom. 

My dad jokingly calls me by one of his cousin’s names who remembers everyone’s birthday AND how old they are!  Each year I remind him just how old he’s getting.  But he also turns the table on me a time or two. 

Growing up, I couldn’t wait to see my dad; to me, going to Hilton Head or Jacksonville was a vacation.  I remember sitting on my daddy’s lap as a little girl, watching tv and rubbing his beard.  I’m fiercely protective of my parents, maybe because they were of me…and quietly still are.

My dad has challenged me in ways I never thought imaginable.  And even though I’m sure he has wanted to keep me as his “Little Boo Boo”, he has allowed me to grow up. 

So, to my daddy, retired educator, avid golfer, brother, and uncle, I wish you the happiest of birthdays this year.  You have touched so many lives, from your students, nieces and nephews, and especially mine!  Enjoy your day, and go play a round of golf!

Merry Christmas!

Christmas is by far my favorite holiday!  Growing up, it was definitely because of the gifts.
🙂 Now, it’s because I get to spend time with my family.  Last night, my maternal side had Christmas Eve dinner a day early.  It was awesome seeing my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I especially enjoyed meeting my two new baby cousins.  Most important, I get to spend time with Southern Mom!  We’ve hung out, talked, cooked together, and even did a little shopping!  Tonight, we’re going to see Christmas lights.

I’m excited about going to visit my paternal side on Christmas Day for our annual family dinner.  Southern Dad and I get to hang out a little, which we haven’t really done since I moved to DC.  Although I won’t get to meet my Godson this time, I can’t wait to see my other family members.  Southern Cousin and I are getting our run in on Wednesday, and the rest of the clan is supposed to go see “Django Unchained” later in the day. 

I missed out on spending time with family last year, so I’m enjoying every moment of being back in my home state.  And I think my family has and will enjoy it, too.  Especially my older cousins that still pick on me.  And I wasn’t ready for my younger cousin, who alerted me to his high school graduation next year, saying “Yes, ma’am” when I confirmed that he was in fact a senior.  I told him to pump his brakes-you don’t have to call me “ma’am”!  But I am glad to see his parents are raising him right.  Those children in DC don’t say it. 

So, whatever your traditions, make sure to enjoy this time with family and friends.  But don’t forget the most important reason for this season-Jesus.  I wish you all a happy, safe, joyful, and blessed holiday!  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

An Ode to Grandmothers…

I have one grandparent who’s still alive.  She’s currently in a nursing home recovering from an infection.  I’ve always loved my maternal grandmother, and I affectionately began calling her “Granny” when I was in middle school, just like my friend Crystal called her grandmother.  For Christmas, my Granny gave me this beautiful bracelet with a heart charm.  On the inside reads the inscription, “Granddaughter, you will always be in my heart”.  I thought this was the sweetest thing.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun to realize that I should appreciate all of my loved ones, especially my grandparents and parents, while they are here with us, and I should let them know how I feel about them.

My great-grandmother (Granny’s mom) used to always say, “Give me my flowers while I’m living; don’t wait til I’m dead”.  So I told my mom I wanted to buy some flowers for my Granny while she was going through her physical therapy.  My mom and I chipped in and bought some roses and an angel figurine (which sits on her nightstand).  She LOVED them, and she even sent me a “Thank you” note.  I’m so happy that I was able to let my Granny know how I felt about her while she’s here, and that she was able to see her flowers.

My paternal grandmother passed on May 5, 2010.  She had been sick for awhile, but I thought she was getting better.  I was devastated when one of my cousins called and told me she passed.  I took her death much harder than I thought I would.  This was the woman who I spent every summer with and every other holiday while I was growing up.  She cooked me breakfast every morning, with the exception of the last Christmas I spent with her; she was too weak.  I spent my summers shelling peas for her fruit and vegetable stand, and she always gave me a few dollars.  Every once in awhile, it hits me that she’s gone; sometimes I feel like it just happened.  It feels weird going back to her house and knowing she’s not there.  But I know she’s enjoying her time in heaven. 

I don’t mean to shun my grandfathers. 🙂  My paternal grandfather passed away the year before Southern parents got married, and my maternal grandfather passed the summer after I graduated from high school.  (I can’t believe he’s been gone almost 12 years…) And after my graduation, he gave my mom $100 and told her to use it towards my college tuition.  I will always love and appreciate him for that; when I think about it, it still brings a smile to my face. 

I wanted to write this post to let my grandmothers know how I felt about them, even though one has already moved on.  I am in awe of their strength, determination, and perseverance.  I hope I make them proud and that I grow up to touch as many lives as they have touched in such a positive way.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

“Sperm Donor” and Other Revelations

Earlier this week, the Style Network premiered the new show “Sperm Donor”, which follows a man who donated sperm, one of the women who chose his sperm, and two young girls who have the same biological father.  While I’m very happy that the two sisters found each other, this post is going to focus more on the donor we know of, Ben, the mother of two of his children, Sharon, and my own thoughts about sperm donation.

While in law school, Ben donated sperm for some extra cash.  He is now engaged and has discovered he has 74 (yes, the number is correct) children.  Understandably, his fiancee was concerned.  The mother of 2 of his children has come forward, and she’s concerned that more will be reaching out.  He thinks she’s worried for nothing; but he did tell her on their 3rd date that he was a sperm donor and has “children” in the world.  Now Sharon’s dilemma is a little more difficult.  She has to explain to her oldest, her daughter, that Ben and Mommy were never together and that he’s engaged to another woman.  As most children do, Sharon’s daughter has concocted this fantasy that Mommy and “Daddy” will be reunited, get married, and live happily ever after.  But what’s a 7 year old to think?  I have to admit, there were times growing up when I wanted Southern Mom and Southern Dad to get back together.  It wasn’t until I was 10 or 11 that I realized that wasn’t going to happen.  Sharon was able to get through to her daughter to make her realize that Ben wasn’t going to marry her.  They had a great meeting and have decided to keep in touch.

To my VERY close friends, I have mentioned that if I am not married or in a serious relationship by the time I’m 40 (up from the close age of 35), I will get artificially inseminated.  The show “Sperm Donor” has brought my worst fea rs to life.  What happens if I go to a sperm bank, pick a man that is “highly desirable”, and find out 50 other women picked his sperm, too?  And I don’t know too much about the whole sperm donation thing, but I thought that everything was supposed to be anonymous?  But I guess with this new sperm donor website, where you can find a man based on his donor number, nothing is a mystery anymore. 

So, my thoughts on the show and sperm donation in general?  I definitely think that sperm donation is a great thing for women who want their own children or for couples who cannot conceive naturally.   However, I definitely think there should be a limit on how many children a man “fathers”.  And I thought the whole point of using an anonymous sperm donor was to say “anonymous”…  I have to admit I was afraid of the whole picking a random dude based on a list of things.  I’m kinda re-thinking this whole sperm donor thing.  Hopefully, I won’t have to make this decision, because I know it can be a hard one.   If you saw the show, what did you think?  Or what are your thoughts on sperm donation in general?  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!

Witty Wednesday-“The Sissy Boy Experiment”

Last night, “Anderson Cooper 360” covered the story of “The Sissy Boy Experiment”, which was a study done at UCLA in the 1970s to change the behavior of children who behaved like the opposite sex, i.e. boys playing with dolls and girls behaving as “tomboys”.  The subject of this story, Kirk Murphy, ended up committing suicide in 2003 at the age of 38.  His family blames it on the after-effects of the treatment he received during his time as a study of doctoral student George Rekers. 

Now, before I state my opinion, let me put some disclaimers out.

  • I am not, nor have I ever been or claimed to be, a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist. 
  • I do not have firsthand knowledge of feeling like I was born in the wrong body (meaning I don’t feel that way).

First, what happened to letting children be children?  Now, I don’t have children, but if my son wanted to play with Barbie growing up, I can’t say that I would allow it.  I definitely don’t think that I would allow him to dress in my clothes.  But, I definitely WOULD NOT send my child to a doctor to “enhance” his masculine behavior.  My belief is that no matter what one does, if a child is born to behave a certain way, that child will behave that way.  It doesn’t matter if the child reverts back to it as a teenager or as a 40 year old, but eventually the child’s true feelings will come out.  Case in point, Kirk Murphy ended up being a gay man.  Sadly, according to his family, he was never truly happy again after his treatment. 

Another point that Murphy’s brother, Mark, brought up in the interview is that Kirk learned what to say to the doctors to convince them he was “cured” and that nothing was wrong with him.  He wasn’t allowed to be who he was because he knew in doing so he could re-live the shame, hurt, and punishments he endured when he was younger.  I would not be surprised to learn that most of the students in this “study” did just that.  And isn’t that human nature-to tell people what they want to hear, especially if the opposite will have negative reprecussions for us??? 

The moral of my post today?  Let people (children) be who they want to be.  As long as they are not hurting anyone, we should embrace them for who they are.   Of course when children are born, their parents have these hopes, dreams, and desires for them, but children are not born to fulfill their parents’ dreams-they need to fulfill their own.  Yes, their life may be hard if they decide to live as a homosexual or as a transgendered person, but as their family, it is our responsiblity to let them know they have our love and support.  Making them feel ashamed of who they are could have dire consequences. 

Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city. 

P.S. And let me not forget to mention that last year Dr. Rekers travelled overseas with a male escort.  Dr. Rekers stated he did not realize that his attendant was someone who took money in exchange for sex (yeah, right.).  Dr. Rekers stated he hired this man to carry his bags.  Funny, since the good doctor was pictured pushing the luggage cart with his luggage on it in the airport in Miami when he returned home from said trip…

Happy Mothers Day!

Happy Mothers Day to all of the mommies, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and mothers-to-be! I was very happy to spend most of last week with Southern Mom, but disappointed she left on Thursday. 😦 But I cherished the time that we were able to spend together. I was really proud of myself because not only did I get my mom a few things, I also sent something to my maternal grandmother and my Godmother. I have to admit that today is a little bittersweet for me.

On this day last year, I drove to Hilton Head for my paternal grandmother’s funeral. (That was a long drive, and when I broke down, I called one of my best friends who cheered me up and was able to make me smile.) She passed on May 5, and even though she had been in the hospital, it was still a shock when my cousin called to tell me that she hadn’t made it. I’m thankful I was able to speak with her not long before she died and for the times I spent with her during my first 28 years on this Earth.

If you have a mother or mother figure that’s gone on, don’t focus on the fact that she’s not here; focus on the times you were able to spend with one another. If your mom is still here, take advantage of that and spend as much time with her as you can. And don’t ever take her for granted! I know I’ll always appreciate, love, and cherish Southern Mom! Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.