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The Cabin

Creative writing is still very difficult for me, but I appreciate these challenges. Writing Challenge #2, click HERE to participate!

Every morning around this time of the year, for about 4 weeks, I would wake up to the most beautiful smell: Pumpkin Marshmallow. The sweet-smelling aroma swiftly engulfed the cramped cabin where my family and I stayed during the Holidays. The scent was not overbearing, it provided just the right amount of warmth needed for those chilly November mornings! The sound of pots and pans raddling and clanking in the kitchen was just a little reminder that Thanksgiving was around the corner.

 

Mother loved Thanksgiving; it was the only time of the year that all the family came to town and enjoyed each other’s company. The holiday visit usually lasted about 2 weeks; once the it ended everyone quickly returned to their busy eventful lives in the big city! Everyone tried to stay in touch the first few weeks after Thanksgiving, but generally that didn’t last! It would go back to just being Mother, Dad, and the twins after the Holidays. The twins are Lily and Kyle; my family adopted them when they were about 6 months old. They are actually blood cousins, but according to documentation and family bond they are my younger siblings! In total Mother and Father shared 6 children: the Twins, Mark, Cassie, Paula and Myself!

 

I usually came to town a few days early to help with the Thanksgiving preparations. The week leading up to Thanksgiving we were required to get everything in the house impeccable, as Mother and Father prepped the food. Mother wanted floors and walls scrubbed spotless,  Fall decorations flowing throughout the house and the fireplace equip to burn chips of wood all week long. The house remained very busy and smelled delightful, between scented candles and home cooked greatness. As each day passed everyone’s excitement grew greater. The anticipation became almost unbearable the day before Thanksgiving Eve. This was also the day for the final touches on the menu and last minute cleaning sprees!

 

On the day before Thanksgiving, Family would start to arrive at all times of the day. Some would bring dishes of dessert and others would bring the liquid inspiration, not that anyone needed it. The men would gather in the den to watch sports while trying to smoke Cuban Cigars on the hush; Father would open windows hoping to air out the smell but it never worked! Aunt Francis would bring Christmas sweaters that she was able to weave together on her own. She was very good at what she did, but those sweaters were not always appealing. Every year she would request a picture of everyone in their sweater and it eventually became a Christmas card. Then there was Cousin Billy and Cousin Frank, they are brothers and I believe my 2nd or 3rd cousins; they always seemed to have a “new date” or “new friend” every Thanksgiving. It’s like those two were allergic to settling down.

 

Each year it seemed like our family grew; everyone was branching out and starting families within our already large Family. The cabin was always so full of laughter and love during these days. We all would sit and talk for hours about former memories and share outrageously embarrassing stories. Mother would always find a way to sneak in her photo albums; she mainly went for the same one every year. This photo album as outlined in the shiniest silver you would have even seen & if it was tilted in the correct position the reflection of light would allow the pages to shimmer. It was a very beautiful album. The album contained baby photos of my siblings and myself. Every year we created new traditions and even revisited old ones. Every year we argued, laughed till we cried and cried until we laughed.

 

*……..*

 

It has been a long while since I experienced a Thanksgiving so full of joy. Once Father became sick the holidays became dull and the laughter was no longer present.

 

He fought his battle as long as he could; but after 2 years of fighting it was understandable that he was tired. Mother took his passing very hard; she began to give up on life herself it seemed. The Twins moved out and off to college right before Fathers passing, so it was just Mother- alone. I asked Mother to stay with me because she didn’t need to be alone, but she felt closer to him at the cabin.

 

Days would go by before she returned any of my calls. Each time I talked to her she sounded more lost than before. I wanted to help her but I didn’t know if I could. She lost her life partner, the man she loved since the 8th grade. How could I possibly provide her with the right words and support to get her through this?

 

Each day grew harder; instead of healing I felt my Mother was withering away. Eventually she refused to leave the cabin at all. She refused to eat and take care of herself in any way. So I finally decided to move back with her. This decision shocked many of my friends; they didn’t understand why my older siblings did not volunteer to take care of our Mother. I tried to explain that everyone had children and families their own; to pick up everything and move thousands of miles would be unfair and unrealistic for them. However, it was just me. I lived alone. I dropped out of college shortly after father was diagnosed.  All I did was work a dead-end job and attend night clubs!  I felt as if my life was going nowhere fast and I needed to be with my Mother! I needed to add purpose and substance to my life again.

 

I did not realize until I packed up and moved with my Mother that I was also still in pain. I had not completely come to terms with my Father departing this earth when he did. I ignored what I was feeling for a long time.That was no longer an option when I moved back to the cabin.

 

My mother had not left the cabin for many months; she felt closer to Father there and I could understand that. We shared so many good memories in that place.

 

My 1st night back was uneasy; I heard my Fathers voice bouncing off the walls! I could feel his presence. I knew it was my emotions and completely in my head, but it felt so real! The smell of his cologne lingered through the cabin that night. I thought Mother may have sprayed it, so I walked down the hallway to her room. She was in a deep sleep. It looked as if the sleeping pills I gave her did the trick. As I looked around the room I didn’t see any of Fathers belongings. It looked like the room they shared and been wiped clean that he was ever there. I did not understand how Mother could get rid of all his things but still sulk in grief for his passing.

 

I grabbed for the handle on the door to exit my Mothers room, as I tried twisting the handle the door seemed jammed. I tried my best to wiggle it open as quietly as possible; I didn’t want to wake Mother. As I tried pulling the door handle for a 4th time I felt a cold chill down my spine; I spun around quickly and caught a glimpse of this dull grayish light. I shut my eyes quickly; I kept telling myself I was tired and just needed to get some sleep. My gut was saying something different! I turned back to the jammed door and heard a unclear whisper. I could not make out what was said. I thought it was my mother so I called out to her, but there was no reply. I assumed she was talking in her sleep.  As I redirect my attention back to the door I heard that faint whisper again, but this time I can make out what was said.

“You cannot leave me! We are a family! I will never let you go!”

In that moment I understood why Mother would never leave this cabin.

He would not let her!

Michelle A. 11/23/15

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The Feast is creeping…

Well Thanksgiving is right around the corner! I am curious, what are your Thanksgiving favorites?

Every year we all go to my grandmothers (nana as I like to call her) house for a great feast; she generally cooks everything by herself. Well this year I would like to bring an item. Yes only 1 item, I know- I know!

 It does NOT have to be fancy, especially because I doubt anyone will touch it. But I am a Mother now and this is something I should do: Learn to start preparing Thanksgiving meals… right?

Any one care to share any of their holiday favorites?

Whatever I find, I will be sure to share my Thanksgiving cooking failure with you all. 🙂

“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something” – M.U.

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The Man in the Captain Uniform

I cannot remember the last time I participated in a writing challenge; If I had to guess it was probably in my junior year of high school. I decided to try out the righting challenge presented by Ronavan writes.

I am beyond rusty, but I like the challenge and think I will use this to brush up on my “skills”

Here goes my short story attempt:

 

She stood at the window. Her face consumed with this look of sadness; Her eyes  empty. She watched! She waved! She endlessly pounded on the glass!

And she received no response!

She watched as the man continued to walk, never turning around to acknowledge her, never turning around to wave back to her. She continued to watch the man in the highly decorated Captain uniform slowly walk away; his stiff, unchanging walk, she could never forget. She watch until she could not longer see him and then she watched some more. She did not cry; she was to strong for that. She did not ask questions, because she already knew the answers! She simply watched.

Even at the young age of 6 the young girl understood that the man in the Captain uniform was a hero and he had to leave. She understood that no amount of crying would change that.

But what she did not know is that man in the Captain uniform could not wave goodbye without breaking down. As he drove away and seen that little girl in the rear view mirror , his eyes became full, watery and began to burn; he had to let out what he was feeling. He did not want to leave his precious little girl, but he loved his country and made an oath. He feared she would never understand or forgive him for leaving.

But he should not worry for she is strong! She is strong for for her mother and younger brothers. She makes sure they know that Daddy will be home soon, with hugs, kisses and stories.

The man in the captain uniform is a Hero, but so is HIS little girl.

 

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Morning Time in My House is like…

I am dreaming, I am dreaming, I am …… awake!

My day generally starts between 5am-6:15 every morning. I do not wake to the sunlight shinning through the blinds or the smell of coffee and breakfast cooking; I wake to the screaming of a toddler, a foot to the side or maybe slobber on my face.

Oh how I love my mornings.

I would not trade my mornings with my toddler. Some mornings she is all fun and games other mornings she is little Miss Attitude. Some mornings getting dressed is a breeze & others I have to chase her around the house while she screams.

Oh how I love my mornings.

Some morning she will just lay with me and watch a little TV and then there are most mornings when she rather not!

Oh how  I love my mornings.

“Kennnnzzyyyy….where are you?

Hey, get down from there!

No, No! You shouldn’t do that baby.

Lets put on your shirt!

You wanna sing Row your boat? ABCs?

I love you. You love me. We’re a happy family…. Hey I thought we were singing!”

Haha…Oh how I love my mornings.

About the only thing I am 100% sure Kenzy will enjoy doing in the morning, is brushing her teeth. (Its the most adorable sight to see.) She walks in the bathroom and says “Ahhh Ahhh.” I automatically know what she wants, but I try and get her to tell me. (We are working on the word ‘Teeth’.) Once I put toothpaste on her toothbrush she is in concentration mode! She doesn’t really ‘brush’ her teeth; its more of her eating the toothpaste than anything else! I try and get her to copy me, but for some reasons when she see’s my toothbrush she thinks we need to swap!

Oh how I love my mornings.

Those who actually know me understand that I have never been a morning person. I would wake up in just enough time to get dressed and make it to work/school and the weekends I slept until at least 11; 12pm if I was lucky. I had no desire to wake up early.

But I do not miss that! I thought I would miss sleeping in and my silent mornings, but I do not! My mornings feel much more complete these days, much more eventful! Yes I am tired 99.99% of the time. Yes sometimes I wanna ship her to her grandparents house on some occasions, but I honestly would not trade my mornings for anything!

Oh how I Love my mornings with my Daughter!

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Health & Fitness

Fitness? Weightloss? Or none of the above!

So February 12th 2015, I started my “fitness” journey! (haha fitness)

In the beginning I did okay, I started using Shakeology and I was doing the workouts for the 21 Day fitness. Yes, I was doing all the fun stuff. I lost weight and you could tell a difference in just those 21 Days. So yes, I liked the program, but I did not stick to it after the 21days. Maybe I wasn’t committed enough? At least that what I kept hearing. I know could always start the program back, but I do not really want to. I don’t feel like the program was me. Sound crazy?

Every now and then I will do the workouts from 21 Day fitness, but generally I just like to do my own thing, which consist of running/walking, squats and ab work.

My hardest obstacle is eating healthy. I guess I know what healthy foods are, but I am needing meal ideas! Breakfast is easy, generally I do yogurt and a banana. If I am really hungry I will do whole wheat oatmeal and fruit. I consider my breakfast a healthy meal, but is it really?  When it comes down to dinner ideas, I get so lost. I usually go for chicken breast every time & that gets pretty old! I don’t even attempt to meal prep because I don’t really know what meals to make.

The past few weeks I have been looking all over the internet for recipe ideas and meal prep “techniques”. I am really hoping I can get somewhere with this.

I’ll be sure to share what I find works best for me.

I want to start healthy eating habits now so I can pass them along to Kenzy. I feel like if she grows up with healthy options, it will be a lot easier than trying to change later in life. No worries, I not going to deprive her of the childhood sweets. But I do not want dinner to consist of Cheeto puffs and hamburgers.

If  anyone has any recipe ideas, blogs, websites please share them. I would greatly appreciate any help at this point!

My goal? My long term goal is to be 20 pounds down. Not by any specific date although I have a  4 month marker in the back of my mind. That’s a piece of cake, right? (MMMM cake!) However right now, my main goal is to learn how to cook healthy. Once I have conquered that step I’ll move on to other ones! Baby steps! 🙂

discussion

Spankings? Right or Wrong?

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything; this is not because I lack things to say, but because I have failed at making time to say them. This post will be sort of all over the place; I apologize in advance for that.
Over the past few months things have been forever changing in my life. Two big events took place over the past few months, my daughters 1st birthday and my sudden change in Majors/career path. A lot of people do not understand my emotions for having to change my major; I have been dead set on what I wanted to do since I was in 10th grade & then next thing you know I had to reevaluate my choices. (That story is for another day.)
I am in a class called Sociology – Marriage and Family; the course is fairly interesting and we seem to always have engaging discussions of very different topics. Recently one of the discussions was over spankings. I realize this is a very controversial issue. The discussion left me questioning my decisions in how I disciplining my daughter. Although I may be judged I would like to share where I have stood on this situation for a while. (Please keep in mind, as I research and study more about human behavior I am a little perplexed with my current decisions!)
My daughter is only 1; I believe this is an age way too young for a spanking, which I read is defined as a swat on the bottom with an open hand. That is not generally how I would define a spanking. My definition was created from my childhood experiences. If Kenzy is to misbehave she is generally told “No No,” “stop,” or anything along those lines. I try to explain to her why she should stop or why she can’t mess with something in the best way I know how to a 1 year old! However there have been times I would pop her hand if her misbehavior was constant or she could potentially hurt herself. If I was to pop her hand, it’s just hard enough to get her attention and then I tell her why she was popped. (Not that she really listens.) I understand there are some people that may believe I am ruining my child because of my methods to discipline.
I would really love the opinion of other parents and grandparents on spankings. Are we expressing that we love our children less? Are we confusing them by using a physical form of punishment? Is punishment not the object when I child misbehaves constantly? Should we be focusing on reinforcement, reinforcing the good behavior of the misbehaved behavior? Are parents not reinforcing good behavior with the use of punishment or spankings?
Sure there are all types of studies provided from psychologist and other researchers regarding this matter, but I would like the opinions & ‘what worked best for you’ stories. I understand this is a touchy subject for most, but being open and honest helps everyone evolve