I never had a chance.

Happy New Year, folks!

Well, now that the holidays are behind us, I’m looking forward to a fresh start and a new and improved year ahead. Did ya’ll make resolutions this year? Same old stuff? Lose weight, save money, and quit eating corn tortillas dipped in chocolate syrup while in your underwear at 3am alone in the kitchen? Well, maybe that last part refers just to me. However, I do have a few things I’d like to work on in the Year of Our Lord, 2010.
I’m going to try to be more patient. Well, as in patient…period, really. I’d like to be a better wife and stepmom, too. In addition, I’m going to try my hand at piano and posting more pointless drivel on this here site as well.
Here’s the thing I’ve been coming back to again and again lately. I’m sure by now you’ve heard of Charla Nash. (warning – grapic photo) She’s the courageous woman who was viciously attacked by the 200 lb chimpanzee last February. The attack itself almost killed her but now she’s facing the fight of her life. Her face was mutilated, as were her hands. She no longer has eyes, lips, or a nose. She speaks and eats through a large slit in her head put there by her Doctors. Plainly speaking, the woman is a miracle. I’ve been somewhat obsessed with Charla because I find it incredible and unbelievable that;
1. She lived.
2. That she wants to.
Seriously, I don’t think I could dig deep enough, folks. Vanity doesn’t even enter here compared to the loss of eyesight. The loss of your hands. Life as she knew it will NEVER be the same. Her independence is gone. She has a teenage daughter. Her appearance is frightening to others. Yet her spirit and yes, even her sense of HUMOR is still in tact. She answers brutal questions with grace and dignity. She doesn’t wallow around in self pity and misery. I sure as shit would. I don’t think I’d make it.
My point here is this: I’ve been thinking a lot about Charla lately. You know how sometimes you just have a really bad day? Your car battery died and you bounced a check. Your kids were unruly and you lost your wallet. You forgot your umbrella and your hair is a wreck. Your jeans are too tight. Your phone battery died… whatever.
This is my new 2010 mantra. Pardon it’s simplicity, as it is in no way meant to make light or folly of Ms. Nash’s situation. It is simply how I put it to myself to put things in proper perspective.
Let’s say, well, just recently – I put the girls in the bathtub for their evening wash. They were taking their bath when I hear piercing screams from above. I dash up the staircase taking two stairs at a time to find Ella sobbing and Lily pointing to Ella’s backside.
“She has a piece of poo hanging out of her bottom”! Lily announces. “Don’t let her get in the tub with me”!
I look (oh yes I did) at Ella’s bottom and there is nary a turd. I scold her sister for winding the little one up and the bath proceeds. I return downstairs to finish supper.
Whereupon I find that my ladle is broken and I’m out of spaghetti. Sauce is cooking and Texas toast is in the oven and I have zilch in the noodle department. Craptastic!
Next, I hear a strange sound. A weird guttural sound, like a growling engine trying to start. I find Mr. Cooper in the dining room vomiting NOT on the hardwood floors, but the nice new rug under our heirloom table. Frothy foamy puke…everywhere!
The girls get out of the tub and into pajamas. Upon returning downstairs Ella somehow careens into our free-standing coat rack and it topples down next to her, scaring her to bits. She starts wailing. So now I’m cleaning up dog barf and comforting a terrified four year old. Oh, and dinner is STILL screwed. I start to lose my proverbial shit.
And then it hit me. It truly did.
I took a deep breath and thought; “Was my face ripped off by a monkey”?
No. Not even close. Again, no disrespect or silliness meant by the curtness of the statement. It’s the truth and that’s totally how I put my own life in check. Do I REALLY have a serious problem? No.
It should be easy really. We should always know that it could always be worse and there are million of folks who don’t have the fortunate circumstances we embrace. But we don’t. We bitch and we complain and we lament.
Look at Charla Nash and tell me your life sucks. I dare you. So, here’s to Charla. Hearing her story, I hope, will make me a better person. She’s certainly a better person than I. I think of her every single day.
My Mom sent me a photo recently that she had found amongst my childhood relics.

What the fuck? I’m around ten or eleven years old, and tapping a keg. What little girl doesn’t remember her virgin keg!?!? AWESOME. Judging from the green ribbons in my braids and the faded green turtleneck my Father is wearing, I’d say we’re having a little St. Patty’s celebration. Not to say that we didn’t always keep a cold keg in the kitchen. Geez.
Look at the whimsical pride in my Mother’s eyes. Of course she’s proud, you’ve seen her enchiladas. (I’m kidding Mom!) Don’t even get me started on the look on our drunk pal Al’s face. He pretty much looked that way my entire life. Although here he looks like he’s about to fall over. Erin go braugh!
So, here’s to another new year. Here’s to health, happiness and safety. Here’s to loving one another and appreciating not just what we have, but who and what we are. Here’s to making the most of ourselves, and of each day.
Happy New Year, my friends.

7 thoughts on “I never had a chance.

  1. Tyge says:

    Wow, never saw that pic before. Nice post although I wish I hadn't seen the photos of Charla… can't say I wasn't warned!Since when do you keep chocolate syrup in your underwear? Meh, I'm just mess'n with ya!

  2. Jen says:

    Notice I changed it to "while"….thank ya!

  3. jill says:

    Awesome post. I so agree….there are so many things we get upset about that are really NOTHING compared to some peoples troubles. Yeah 2010! I love the picture of you tapping a keg at 10 years old. And I'm trying the tortilla/chocolate thing.

  4. Sometimes I need to be reminded that I am so blessed. Thanks for the reminder. Happy New Year!

  5. Clueless says:

    Happy New Year to you too. Thanks for the lift.

  6. amy says:

    Jenny– I loved that beautiful old brick house–assuming that's where you tapped your first keg! Nice pic and nice mantra. Thanks for sharing and have an awesome 2010!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Monkeys are bad. I told you before… Monkeys, clowns, station wagons…they're no good.N

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