A to Z Challenge, L is for Love Yourself

The problem with having siblings is that you are all constantly being compared to one another. And as I’ve said before, I was (and still am) the black sheep of my family.  For the better part of my youth, I was “the skinny sister.”  I was never thin, exactly, but I was the thinnest of us three Smith girls.

Now, I am the heaviest. Well, I look the heaviest.  I couldn’t tell you what the other girls weigh.  And it’s hard.  Elizabeth, the used-to-be heaviest sister has spent the last two or three years losing 80 pounds.  I applaud her for doing that, because she looks great.

But what people don’t tell you about weight change is the toll it takes on the people around you.

I talked to my Daddy the other night and part of the discussion involved this topic. My sisters are just so different from me.  I told Daddy that Elizabeth is not the same girl that she was when she was heavier.  And the rabbit hole Daddy went down went a little something like this:

Daddy: Do you remember when you were 16?  You were skinny and pretty and outgoing.  Because you felt good about the way you looked, and so you were confident and spontaneous and popular.  Elizabeth never got to have that kind of personality, because she was always heavy.  So now that she’s thinner, and she’s getting a lot of attention, I’m sure her personality has become more like yours used to be.  She’s confident and outgoing, too.  Maybe this has been the “real” Elizabeth all along.  She was just never comfortable enough to be who she really is.  You know, Megan, every time I get on Facebook, I look at your posts and they usually say something about how ugly you are or how fat you are, and while that’s not true, you’re a different person than you were when you were skinny.  You can’t afford to be mean or confident or outgoing or bubbly, because you’re not as skinny as you were back then.  It’s like you and Elizabeth have switched personalities.

And I got off of the phone with him, in full “reflection” mode as I cried and tried to process everything he said to me. I typically cry when I talk to my daddy, and it’s usually because I can hear disappointment in his voice, and I know there is nothing I can do to make that better.  But this time, it was different.  This time, while I understood Daddy’s points, I had to sit on my couch, crying and disagreeing with everything he said.

First point of disagreement – Yes, I did a lot of awful things when I was a teenager (as most teenaged girls do). I broke the rules more than Elizabeth did.  I had a smarter mouth.  I had more boyfriends.  I had more friends.  And I was skinnier and prettier than I am now.  But all of that was in spite of the fact that I HATED myself.  Even now, I’m still outgoing, spontaneous, funny and popular.  I have just as many friends now as I did back then.  When I was single, guys flirted with me, just like they did in high school.  And once Jack and I started dating, I knew I could have sex whenever I wanted.  And while I don’t show my cleavage like I used to, and I don’t wear skirts like I used to, that has a lot less to do with the fact that I’m fatter, and lot more to do with the fact that I’m older and wiser and don’t feel the need to show the world what I’ve got.  Either way, whatever confidence Daddy thinks I had or displayed for others to see when I was 16 was completely pretend.  Truth be told, my self-esteem was flushed down the toilet the second my mother walked out of my life, and that’s the truth.  At 98 pounds or at my current weight (which, yes, I am embarrassed to share), I have always, ALWAYS hated myself.  It’s not a weight thing.  It’s a mind thing.

Second point of disagreement – Elizabeth lost her virginity way before I did, and she is 16 months younger than me. Elizabeth started drinking and smoking before I did.  She was sweet and polite and kind on the outside, but what I know that Daddy doesn’t, is that she has always fought demons, just like everybody else.  She wasn’t perfect when we were kids, unbeknownst to the family.  Yes, now that she’s away from Daddy, she can be the person she wants to be.  But that’s not to say that she’s a different person just because she’s lost weight.  She’s always been the person that she is right now, at least on the inside, weight fluctuations aside.

Third point of disagreement – We sisters’ personalities have not flip flopped. I spent a lot of my youth making GIANT mistakes that I can never take back, even though I wish, every day, that I could.  But all of the mistakes I made, while they did reflect poorly on me as a daughter, were never made with the intent on maliciously hurting another person.  Yes, I PRETENDED to be confident, when in reality I was, and still am extraordinarily insecure.  But I was also kind and friendly and gentle.  That has not changed.  I think that because Elizabeth was so afraid of Daddy (to him, fear and respect are much the same thing), she was kind and friendly and gentle.  Because she HAD to be.  But Elizabeth, currently, not having to answer to anyone for her actions, has become quite the “mean girl.”  And again, I don’t think that has anything to do with changes in someone’s weight.  I think it has to do with someone’s sense of accountability.

Daddy also told me that, one day, Elizabeth will have to face the fact that she has made mistakes. That she will have to accept her part in the dissolution of her marriage, the failure in raising her children and the breakdown of her life up to this point.  He said that it can’t always be someone else’s fault, and that one day she will be held accountable for her poor decisions.

My sense of accountability can be found in the bodies of a 10 year old and an almost 8 year old. I found that accountability when I realized that I had to break the curse that was placed on my family when my mother’s mother left her, and then when my mother left me.  And now I practice that sense of accountability, daily, anytime I make a decision or face a problem.  And I hope Elizabeth realizes that she is in the same boat as I was 10 years ago.  I hope that she gets the help she needs.

And that’s when I decided that I was going to PROVE to Daddy, to Elizabeth, to my ex-husband who had weight loss surgery in April, to everyone, that a person can lose weight and still be a nice person, whose personality does not alter just because she is thinner.

My friend Lori and I were discussing weight gain at work yesterday. Lori is a 5’3” teeny tiny little thing, but according to her, she has gained a lot of weight over the years.  She told me that no matter what she tries, she just can’t lose weight anymore.  I agreed, as I ate my sad little salad for lunch, and I told her that I want to get these 40 pounds off, because I hate how I look.  And she said something very wise to me that I hope I never forget:  “I think part of the problem, especially with women, is that we can never learn to just accept ourselves for who we are.  We are always climbing a metaphoric mountain, trying to change our appearance.  The happiest women are those who truly accept themselves and love themselves, no matter what the scale says.”

There is so much truth to that. If I lose weight, I need to do it for me, for my health, and not just to prove anybody wrong.  Moreover, whether I weigh 98 pounds or 698 pounds (I don’t weigh that much, but I’m just saying…), I need to learn that I’m okay exactly how I am.  Accepting who I am, as is, is the key to being truly happy.  And the number on the scale has nothing to do with that happiness.

Love who you are, Ladies.

XOXO.

Meg / cC

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A to Z Challenge, K is for Kid Pics

 

In this post, I thought I’d just show everyone some pictures of my little family – how much we’ve all grown and changed.

Starting with my oldest…

And then there’s the boy…

But was the dynamic duo always meant to be?

And here are some of all three of us…

And then, one day, an amazing thing happened.  I met a man.  A man who welcome my kids with arms wide open.  A man who would rather be their dad than anything else.  A man who loves us with his whole heart, and as exactly who we are.  We are blessed to feel so loved.

And together, we make the happiest group of four you’d ever know.

XOXO!

Meg / cC

A to Z Challenge, J is for Jameson David-Scott

Since I used the letter ‘A’ to talk about my girl, it is only appropriate that I use today to talk about my boy.

Jameson David-Scott was born on August 20, 2009, when I was 22 years old. I knew Jameson was going to be a boy from the second I found out I was expecting.  Sometimes moms just know.  So I didn’t even bother looking at girl names, but I did toss and turn for what seemed like weeks over this kid’s name.  I wanted to name him after my daddy’s daddy, but there was already a “Drew” in the family, so we couldn’t use Papaw’s middle name.  And I wasn’t a huge fan of James because I didn’t want people calling my child “Jim” or “Jimmy.”  Jameson means “son (or grandson) of James.”  I immediately knew it would fit this kid, so I stuck with it.  David is his dad’s dad’s middle name.  And Scott is my ex-husband’s (Jameson’s dad’s) middle name.  Since we could not decide on which middle name we preferred, we called a tie, and hyphenated his middle name, just like his big sister’s (whose middle name is Lee-Ann).  These days, he goes by “J,” “J-Bird,” “Angel Boy,” “J.D.,” and “Hoshmen.”

Jameson came into this world one week early (although he was full term), by C-Section. Weighing 6 pounds and 6 ounces, he was born with no hair on the top of his head, but LOTS of hair on the sides and back of his head.  He looked like an old man.  So much, in fact, that he wore lots and lots of hats.  He was tinier than his sister (probably because I learned a lesson from my 70 pound weight gain with her and only gained 16 pounds with him).

Jameson’s birth scared me more than Lexi’s. Not physically, but in an emotional way.  You see, I have six little sisters, zero brothers, and I had no experience in taking care of boys.

The second I held this baby in my arms, though, all of that anxiety went away. I knew I had met my soulmate.  He only wanted me for six weeks.  And honestly?  He still only wants me.  That mama’s boy knows who he’s got wrapped.

Although built just like his daddy, short and stocky, he has my eyes, nose and lips. He can make me smile just by looking at me.  He is smart and sweet and the comedic relief in our house.  At night, he climbs in my lap and hugs me for a few minutes, asking if I’ll scratch his back, and I just melt.  His cheeks are the most kissable of any human’s, and his eyelashes are those of innocence.  He comes into our room at night time sometimes, just for extra cuddles.  His laugh is contagious.

Jameson’s hobbies include playing video games and on his Kindle. He also loves our snack drawer, spaghetti, pizza and chocolate milk.  He’s not much of an outdoorsman, but he does enjoy playing at the park and swimming at our local public pool.

I could just cry (and, in fact, I am tearing up) when I think about him. The relationship that he and I have is what being a mommy is all about, and I cannot believe I got so lucky.  He is such a good kid, even if I’ve made him rotten.  Jameson has had a problem with bullies over the years, and while he doesn’t act like it bothers him, I know he just wants to be accepted.  For that reason, I probably do make exceptions to rules for his sake.  I want him to be happy, as he has made my life something truly special.

When I’m old and gray on my death bed, there are only a few things I hope my life will have reflected – one, that I tried to treat everyone with grace and kindness, as I know how it feels to be criticized, ridiculed and rejected; two – that I will have shown others that I loved with my whole heart; and three – that I will have raised well-rounded, happy children who care deeply for each other. In my experience, closeness to siblings can make or break your life’s happiness.

XOXO.

Meg / cC

A to Z Challenge, I is for Interviews

With the whole family!  We’ll go youngest to oldest.  My family were all asked the same series of questions.

Jameson:

  1. What is something mommy always says to you? I love you.
  2. What makes you happy? Some friends.
  3. What makes you sad? Movies.
  4. What makes you laugh? Funny faces.
  5. How old are you? 7.
  6. How old is Mommy? 30.
  7. How old is Mr. Jackie? 41 (he’s 42).
  8. What is your favorite thing to do? Playing with puppies.
  9. Who is your best friend? Gannon.
  10. What do you want to be when you grow up? A farmer.
  11. What are you really good at? Singing.
  12. What are you not very good at? Football.
  13. What did you do today? Played with Aiden (his cousin – my sister’s son).
  14. What is your favorite food? Pizza.
  15. What is your favorite song? Cake (y’all – that song is so dumb).
  16. What do you want for your birthday this year? An RC car like on t.v. (good to know since he will be 8 in less than a month).
  17. What is your favorite animal? Puppies.
  18. What is love? God (good to know I’ve raised him right).
  19. What does Mr. Jackie do for work? Check people for money (he’s a nurse).
  20. Where do you live? Louisiana.
  21. Where is your favorite place to go? Heaven (Me – you’ve never been to Heaven; Jameson – Okay. Church.).

Lexi:

  1. What is something mommy always says to you? I love you.
  2. What makes you happy? My mommy and stepdad, Mr. Jackie, and Mommy’s cooking.
  3. What makes you sad? When someone is mean.
  4. What makes you laugh? When someone tickles me.
  5. How old are you? I am ten.
  6. How old is Mommy? 30, but she doesn’t look it (this child is the best).
  7. How old is Mr. Jackie? 41, I think. Not sure.
  8. What is your favorite thing to do? Hang out with y’all.
  9. Who is your best friend? My fave friend is Landry (apparently, “best” friend is too concrete for 10 year olds).
  10. What do you want to be when you grow up? To be a lawyer.
  11. What are you really good at? Singing.
  12. What are you not very good at? Swimming.
  13. What did you do today? Talk to my friends, eat, play with Playdough.
  14. What is your favorite food? Chicken spaghetti.
  15. What is your favorite song? “Help me Help You.”
  16. What do you want for your birthday this year? A Samsung phone (thank God she’s joined the Droid train) or a stuffed animal the size of me or bigger.
  17. What is your favorite animal? A puppy.
  18. What is love? When you kiss and hug each other.
  19. What does Mr. Jackie do for work? He is a nurse at Franklin Medical Center.
  20. Where do you live? In Jagger (we definitely live in Girard, but that’s cool).
  21. Where is your favorite place to go? To a water park or the beach.

Jackie:

  1. What is something mommy always says to you? I love you.
  2. What makes you happy? My little family and my life right now J (yes – smiley face included).
  3. What makes you sad? Strained relationship with my daughter (it is true – but it is not his fault).
  4. What makes you laugh? My wife.
  5. How old are you? 42.
  6. How old is Mommy? 30. THE BIG 3-0 (I’m going to hurt him).
  7. How old is Mr. Jackie? See #5.
  8. What is your favorite thing to do? Spend time with my family.
  9. Who is your best friend? Megan (okay, maybe I won’t hurt him).
  10. What do you want to be when you grow up? Not sure yet…LOL! (I’ll vote for traveling RN).
  11. What are you really good at? Comforting Meg when she’s had a bad day (truth). And making alfredo from scratch (I can’t even think about it. It’s so good, but I’m definitely low carbing it until 40 pounds are gone).
  12. What are you not very good at? Getting motivated to work out (just another thing we have in common, Honey).
  13. What did you do today? Played X-Box and kept the kids alive (and we appreciate that)!
  14. What is your favorite food? Burger…any burger really.
  15. What is your favorite song? Right now I’m digging “Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt.
  16. What do you want for your birthday this year? Already passed…but next year maybe a good knife or a new phone.
  17. What is your favorite animal? Zeek, my lab.
  18. What is love? *sings* Baby don’t hurt me…no more (he thinks he’s funny). Butterflies every time you see “The One.” So I married her (I think I’ll keep him).
  19. What does Mr. Jackie do for work? Nurse.
  20. Where do you live? Girard.
  21. Where is your favorite place to go? Anywhere that involves my family. Vacation -> Mountains (in total agreement).

Meg:

  1. What is something mommy always says to you? Actually, I do say, “I love you” a lot.
  2. What makes you happy? My kids and my husband.
  3. What makes you sad? Other people in my family.
  4. What makes you laugh? Jackie. The kids. My friends.
  5. How old are you? I don’t want to talk about it.
  6. How old is Mommy? You heard what I said.
  7. How old is Mr. Jackie? 42 and aging like fine wine.
  8. What is your favorite thing to do? I like family date days, when we take the kids out to eat and to a good movie or shopping.
  9. Who is your best friend? Jackie Ray.
  10. What do you want to be when you grow up? I suppose at this point I’d like to head up my own industrial medicine clinic. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it?
  11. What are you really good at? I like to think I’m a decent writer. And I’m a pretty good cook. And given the budget, I can decorate the hell out of a home.
  12. What are you not very good at? Not getting my feelings hurt. Swimming. Walking around in general.
  13. What did you do today? I went to work, at an undesirable salad for lunch, drank a lot of water, smoked a pack of cigarettes and wrote this blog. Tonight I intend to vacuum, do some stair stepping or walking, dusting and laundry.
  14. What is your favorite food? Salad, which is dumb because I literally weigh half a ton.
  15. What is your favorite song? Of all time? “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley. But I generally love music, so this answer is subject to change.
  16. What do you want for your birthday this year? I got what I wanted! A mom ring. Some new clothes.  And a Beauty and the Beast rose (an Etsy find from my mother-in-law).
  17. What is your favorite animal? Zeeky Puppy Love.
  18. What is love? Love means caring about someone else more than your care about yourself.
  19. What does Mr. Jackie do for work? He’s a nurse at the hospital in a neighboring town.
  20. Where do you live? Louisiana, until the second I can get the hell out of here.
  21. Where is your favorite place to go? Pigeon Forge.

This one was pretty fun.  Tune in the rest of this week for J, K and L (at least).

XOXO!

Meg / cC

A to Z Challenge, H is for Happy

“If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s true, at least in my house.  Jackie will get mad just because I’m mad, the gets get really quiet (and actually behave), and even Zeek leaves the room.  Everybody in my house knows how important it is to keep me happy.  So I’ve created a “100 things” list for their reference.

  1. Jackie.
  2. Lexi.
  3. Jameson.
  4. Zeek.
  5. My nephews and niece.
  6. Nicci, my BFF.
  7. Shopping.
  8. Naps. Long ones.
  9. Drinking with Jackie.
  10. The smell of cigar smoke.
  11. Date night.
  12. Girls’ night out.
  13. Mountains.
  14. Snow.
  15. Scarves.
  16. My wedding pictures.
  17. Vacations.
  18. Concerts.
  19. Movies.
  20. Babies.
  21. Puppies.
  22. Penguins.
  23. Pizza.
  24. Pasta.
  25. Salad from Olive Garden.
  26. Tacos.
  27. Sweet tea.
  28. Netflix binges.
  29. UK Basketball. When they win.
  30. NSYNC jams on my way to work.
  31. Fall.
  32. Friends (the t.v. show).
  33. Not having to set an alarm for the next day.
  34. Compliments.
  35. A clean house.
  36. The smell of shoe stores.
  37. When my skinny pants fit me.
  38. Cheesecake.
  39. Mountain Dew.
  40. Memes.
  41. Tiny houses.
  42. Log cabins.
  43. A really good episode of Dateline.
  44. New make-up.
  45. Milk and cookies.
  46. A clean car.
  47. Smoke breaks.
  48. Throw blankets.
  49. Fireplaces.
  50. Hot chocolate.
  51. Remembering my Papaw.
  52. Remembering my Aunt Sharon.
  53. Good hair days.
  54. Tide detergent.
  55. New pens.
  56. Decorating for Christmas.
  57. Watching the kids play ball.
  58. Bowling.
  59. Stargazing.
  60. Baby clothes.
  61. Prank videos.
  62. French fries.
  63. The Walking Dead.
  64. House slippers.
  65. Back to school shopping.
  66. Baby elephants.
  67. College football.
  68. Fluffy pillows.
  69. Fishing.
  70. The Voice Auditions.
  71. Taco Soup.
  72. Everything about Kentucky.
  73. Japanese food.
  74. Waterproof mascara.
  75. Sonic slushes.
  76. The smell of fresh tomatoes.
  77. Hot coffee in the winter.
  78. Yoga pants.
  79. True Blood in bed with Jack.
  80. Fail videos.
  81. Giraffes.
  82. Facebook “Timehops.”
  83. Intelligent conversations.
  84. Blow Pops.
  85. Coupons.
  86. Popcorn and Raisinets.
  87. ASMR videos.
  88. Dr. Pepper.
  89. Not dwelling on drama.
  90. Hugs and kisses from my kids.
  91. Cuddles from my puppy.
  92. A really productive day at work.
  93. Reading other mom blogs.
  94. Milkshakes.
  95. Bath and Body Works.
  96. My husband’s beard.
  97. Cuddling up to Jackie when I’m really cold.
  98. Candles.
  99. Lemon icebox pie.
  100. Being a mommy.

XOXO!

Meg / cC

A to Z Challenge, G is for Getting Older

Yes, my sister really made me a meme – that is me when I was about 9.

I turned 30 on Monday. I had the Xanax on standby.  I am thrilled about being 30.  Or something.  I actually spent Saturday night crying alone in my room about it.

When I was 14, I actually remember saying that I wanted to die before I turned 30, because at the time, that just seemed ancient to me. But I thought about all the mistakes I had made in my 20s and what I have to show for the decade.  And yes, I do have an awesome husband, two great kids, and a dog who loves me almost as much as I love him – but that’s about it.

However, there are some pretty awesome things that happened in my 20s:

  1. I finished school;
  2. I gave birth to my beautiful son;
  3. I married the man of my dreams;
  4. I divorced two scumbags;
  5. I rescued my puppy;
  6. I went to Disney World;
  7. And Sea World;
  8. I gained three nephews and a niece;
  9. I started a job I love and set a career path for myself;
  10. I caught my first ever catfish;
  11. I learned how to cook;
  12. I learned how to cut and dye my own hair;
  13. I watched to my kids go from toddlers to kids;
  14. I made a base hit in a co-ed softball game (for a fat girl, that’s a milestone!);
  15. I survived wisdom teeth extractions;
  16. I got two tattoos;
  17. I overcame a pretty rough cancer scare;
  18. I perfected my handwriting (I know some of you want to see it again – I’m working on it!);
  19. I let go of a helluva lot of drama;
  20. I figured out who I am, opinions aside.

So now I’m on the fast road to 40, and now that I’m over with my little meltdowns, I’ve been taking some time to create a bucket list for the next 10 years of my life.

Below are 30 things I’d like to do in my 30s –

  1. Get another tattoo or four;
  2. Pet a penguin;
  3. Move to Louisville;
  4. Buy/Build a tiny house;
  5. Learn enough carpentry to build a pallet shelf;
  6. Have another baby – or two;
  7. Rescue another puppy;
  8. Try Indian food;
  9. Lose 40 pounds (that’s four pounds a year – yes I did the math);
  10. Learn Spanish.
  11. Milk a goat and make cheese;
  12. Manage my own industrial medicine clinic;
  13. Bait a hook (and get the fish off) by myself;
  14. Attend a taping of The Ellen Show;
  15. Grow a small garden;
  16. Learn all of the bones of the body;
  17. Sing karaoke;
  18. Try teeth whitening;
  19. Use a real Christmas tree one holiday;
  20. Learn to play the guitar;
  21. Ride a horse (after I lose that 40 pounds);
  22. Perfect my calligraphy;
  23. Go to coding school;
  24. Volunteer at an animal shelter;
  25. Go back to Disney;
  26. And Sea World;
  27. Watch UK play basketball from a front row stadium seat;
  28. Learn a little more piano;
  29. Learn sign language;
  30. Watch my kids become teenagers.

That’ll keep me busy for a decade. Hopefully.

XOXO!

Meg / cC

A to Z Challenge, F is for Fighting

It is a common thing – sibling rivalry. But if my kids are going to fight, I’d appreciate it if the topic of their fight was at least meaningful and didn’t involve slaps and punches.

Below is a list of actual arguments that my children have had with each other. Think about these when you think your life is in a shambles!

  1. Which room they wanted in the new house (they both wanted the smaller room, which, you know, whatever);
  2. What to name our dog (I won that fight);
  3. How old Jackie is;
  4. How old I am;
  5. What side of the seat they wanted when loading the SUV;
  6. Who is more likely to be adopted (I saw them both and I know they’re both mine);
  7. Whether or not they want a baby brother or sister (I cannot have anymore children);
  8. Who got more wedges of the orange they were sharing;
  9. Whether or not God had a hand in the invention of couches;
  10. Who got the blue pen and who got the black pen when playing Tic Tac Toe;
  11. Whose farts are stinker (Definitely Lexi’s, by the way);
  12. Who Zeek obeys more frequently (he doesn’t listen to either of them);
  13. If there is such a thing as purple birds;
  14. Whether or not Humpty Dumpty was actually an egg;
  15. Who will be taller when they grow up (I’m 5’5” and their dad is 5’7” – they don’t have a prayer);
  16. Whether or not Jesus could turn water into apple juice if He wanted (this was during Sunday School, mind you);
  17. Who bites harder – lions or tigers;
  18. (In the same argument) If lions and tigers can fall in love and have babies;
  19. Who loves me more;
  20. Who draws better dinosaurs;
  21. Whether the volume on the t.v. belongs at 20 or 21 (even though they both quite enjoy the volume between 45 and 139058713495872345982);
  22. Who pees longer;
  23. Who can hold their breath longer;
  24. Who can climb the stairs faster;
  25. Whose blanket is fluffier (it’s Jameson’s);
  26. Whose head / brain is bigger;
  27. If zebras are just striped horses who have fooled us all;
  28. If red grapes are really red or if they’re purple (P.S. – I only buy green grapes);
  29. Whether or not one could actually drown in a bathtub;
  30. If kings and queens really wear crowns (if so, where’s mine?!).

There are others dating back years and years, but these are a few I remember off the top of my head.

XOXO!

Meg / cC