The masses have returned.

Tuscaloosa is weird. Within our humble city lies all facets of industry providing gainful employment to anyone looking to make an honest living. Good, hard-working, blue-collar people are primarily what make our area tick. The industries feed our economy and our families whether you or a family member are directly employed by them or not. 

Six years, three months, and 10 days into motherhood, I have noticed some things. I’ve hit a high professionally, my Little is more independent of me and is thriving in his new school environment, and he and I have had conversations that are a little bit more “grown-up” than normal. We’ve talked back and forth, about big people things, with no tantrums or denials of guilt and amusingly solid moments of reflection on his behalf. Is this what it’s like when previous stressors become mere normality, depositing blocks of time back in your day since they are no longer causes for anxiety? I think so. 

What am I to do? Amid moving to a new home, navigating a new business, and learning a new way to school for my Little, there are some key things I’m trying to remember as I learn this new way of motherhood. I’m surviving and growing independent while my Little does the same. 

There are dozens of reasons to appreciate The Sidewalk Film Festival, downtown Birmingham’s annual seven venue showcase of films, food and community. The most obvious is the thrill of seeing films with an audience. In an age of multi-media input and output, which is all but demanding that the audience enjoy their movies in the comfort of their own home, there is still a purity and a thrill to sitting in the dark with a group of strangers have sharing a common emotion.

Do you choose your friends, or do you your friends choose you? 

That debate has gone on for years, and I don’t think I seriously formed an opinion about it until I started doing Campus Life 10 years ago. As we have discussed a wide range of topics with students over the years, friendship has certainly been a recurring theme. Now that my own children are coming of age, the topic means even more to me.   

Each August, I pull out my calendar and try to rein in my activities. I always look forward to a fresh new one. Now is the time. I tend to over-complicate things, creating my own dated calendar each season tailored to my personal goals and my moving target of a work schedule. 

With a son going into first grade this fall, my husband and I are learning quite a bit about options. Should our Little buy hot lunch, or bring a lunchbox from home? Do we feel safe with him riding the school bus? Should we come straight home and start our evening as a family early, or allow him to spend a few days after school participating in extended enrichment activities? Also, if we do decide on said enrichment activities, how often should we participate, should we stick to what our Little likes, or try something we think will be more beneficial in the long term?

Whew. 

With school right around the corner, I’m navigating through these decisions, and I’ve reached a few possible conclusions. 

Growing up, so many aspects of my life revolved around swimming. There was team practice, competitions year round, and, best of all, those shopping trips with my mother to buy new swim gear. And then? You guessed it, rinse and repeat. For 12 years. 

With a growing Little, I’ve had an internal battle. Should I teach him to swim on my own, or should I send him to a more traditional summer swim training program? I opted for the latter, and here are a few things I have learned in the process.

At differing times in life, everyone should take time to reflect and be painfully honest: What have I accomplished? What were my mistakes? Where do I want to go from here? And, how can I do better in the future?

Here’s the deal with mistakes: most people think of failure as an enemy to success. It’s not. The only way you learn from mistakes is to make them.

I love July.

Cities display flags along the highways. I always wonder why they aren't displayed all year round. I sit up a little higher in my car when I go by, realizing how lucky I am to be an American. Even in the midst of so much controversy, we should all appreciate the right of choice to debate.

It’s done! I’ve survived my first wedding as "mother of the bride." I was so proud of my daughter, who didn't freak out that day, as rain blasted sideways and the palms framing the walkway to the beach swayed. She was one of the few, along with me and my husband, Chad, who believed God would not let this day be spoiled.

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Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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