Moving Forward

It has been almost 6 months since Southern Mom passed.  Some days are great.  Some days are not so great.  Last week was rough since I had to go to home to handle some business on her behalf.  (I took the shortest trip home I’ve ever taken this weekend.)  And while it was rough, especially Sunday, I am moving forward.

There have been some upsides and positive things that have occurred-I presented at a workshop this weekend related to education.  I received an email earlier today about speaking at an engagement this weekend.  I started a book club.  We’ve met twice so far, and these ladies are a trip!  We have so much fun together.  And, most importantly, I bought a house.  In DC.  (My soror/friend/road dawg Original Najeema suggested I blog about that.)  Let me say that was not an easy process.  And I definitely thought it would take me at least a year to do it.  But I did it.  And I love my house.  Now, I will be brutally honest with you-while I LOVE my house, I was hoping that the seller would have assisted with the closing costs, but that didn’t happen.  And while I definitely could have walked away, I didn’t.  And for a number of reasons.

One, I love that house.  It is completed renovated and has the amenities/updates that I wanted.  Two, I was tired of house hunting.  Sure, it was fun in the beginning.  But every house, with the exception of one, that I put an offer on or was interested in, someone beat me to the punch. (LONG on that first house…)  I got tired of finding gems that other people found before me and watching them take possession.  Third, it was EXACTLY what I told my realtor I wanted.  So why wouldn’t I keep it and move forward???  Lastly, I had to tell myself that while I was putting up all of the money upfront, it would still be MY money, going towards MY house, and benefiting ME in the long run. So, earlier this month, I became a homeowner!  My realtor took a picture of me at the last walk through (where I was VERY animated), and of course, I celebrated with a happy hour.  What’s super funny is that Southern Dad called it.  His words two days before I closed?  “Ok, Elle, when you close, it’s not the end; it’s the beginning.  And don’t think you have to go out and celebrate with a happy hour.”  O_o Color me shocked!  How did he know my life???  Needless to say, I didn’t tell him until the day I closed that he was right about the happy hour and that invitations were sent the previous week.  We both got a good laugh from that one.

While I’ll always mourn my mother, I can’t become stoic.  I have to keep moving forward.  I know that’s what she would want.  And I thank God everyday for my family and friends for their continued support.  I know I couldn’t do half of the stuff I need to do without them willing to lend a helping hand.

I read an article this weekend when a friend shared it on Facebook.  While I don’t like the term “Motherless Daughter”, it was SPOT ON with all of the thoughts that I have when it comes to my mother and how to deal when people ask about my parents or how to deal with a potential mate in the future.  And even now, certain things happen that make me think of memories I have with my mother (that time we would sing Sisqo’s “Got to Get It” just because of a particular lyric in the song, that time I heard her curse for the first time because I spilled Dr. Pepper in her car (I was floored!), how she would tell waitresses to call her by her name and not “Hun” or “Sweetie”).  She was such a dynamic person, and I hope that I have made her proud.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

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Snow

“Mom, it’s snowing!”

“Oh, I wish I was there with you!  Take a picture so I can see it!”

That was how a conversation typically went whenever I would call my mom and let her know that it was snowing in DC.  That woman loved snow.  When I was younger, I remember when my mom would make ice cream from snow.  But never the first snow of the season.

“You don’t use the first snow of the season; you have to wait until the 2nd or the 3rd.  And you have to make sure that it’s pure white and doesn’t have ice mixed with it.”

Then she would make it.  I’m not sure what ingredients were used, maybe some vanilla extract, but that’s about it.  And it didn’t snow that much in South Carolina when I was growing up, at least not often enough to have multiple snow days each year.  But I distinctly remember my 9th or 10th winter when my best friend lived around the corner, we made snow angels in my front yard, and my mom made us ice cream.  And it was delicious.

I’m not sure what difference it made whether it was the 1st snow or the 10th snow, but it was embedded in my head to not use the first snow of the season if I wanted ice cream.

Every time it’s snowed since October, I’ve thought about my mom, even if it snowed less than an inch.  Even today as I was cleaning off my car, I thought about her.  The snow was so pure and white and, without any ice mixed in-the perfect batch with which to make ice cream.  My first thought was, “I should scoop some of this in a bowl and make some ice cream.”

When I purchase my first home, I’m getting an ice cream maker.

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

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.