Basketball and Perspective

Right now the record of the HCHS freshman and their fearless leader, Dr. Moses, is 2-4. They play tonight so hopefully we can add a win. I wore my “I Love the Coach” shirt to his first game. They lost. The shirt has been folded and once again placed in the back of my drawer. Side story about this now infamous shirt: I’m probably too old to wear it but Stephen assures me it “looks great!” Bless his heart, he either REALLY likes me in this shirt or he’s too afraid to say, “Honey, I appreciate your zeal but I think a nice button down would be more appropriate at your age.” He should stick with the looks great. I’m turning 36 in a few days and appreciate any lies at this point.

The concession stand is my own personal hell. I think Lily could enter some kind of eating contest involving candy and take down a person twice her size. Poor Bailey has food allergies so I pack all of her snacks. She usually has them all eaten by the two minute mark…of the first quarter. Riley suddenly becomes a starving child with a pitiful face and voice to match. I think she counts on the pressure I feel when I realize about twenty other people have heard my eight year old claim “her stomach hurts because it’s been SO long since she last ate.” They all know it’s an act but I can see the mix of pity and relief when they look at me. You know what I’m talking about, “She should just cave and buy the dang popcorn” but mostly, “Thank God my days in her shoes are over.”

This weekend we made it through one and half games. The back to back games are a challenge. *And there was NO concession stand. During the second game I could tell my time was limited. Everyone was tired and we were driving to my mom’s house as soon as Stephen was finished. The team was losing and I decided to leave. Worst decision ever. My calm, quiet husband got called for a technical foul!! I am not kidding. His dad was there and called me from his cell to report this most unusual but hilarious news. I couldn’t believe it. Coach Dr. Moses picked that one instant to do something so completely out of the ordinary and I missed it. He didn’t use bad language and after the game he apologized to the referees. Classy guy I married. I have to be honest, I was proud. His team was getting some really bad calls and he voiced his opinion. I’ve had lots of fun “T-ing” him up this week. At some point I might get a tiny bit annoying.

The schedule has definitely been more challenging for me this year. The demands of Stephen’s real work and volunteer work have meant a lot of nights of being solo at home with three energetic kids. We are all exhausted. 

I was going to stay home tonight because I didn’t want to drive to an away game. I have  a three year old who didn’t take a nap, a six year old who is being quite challenging, and an eight year old who already asked if the concession stand will be open. Then I thought about the tragedy in Connecticut and I felt ashamed about my petty concerns and complaints. So what if they fight all the way to Nicholas County? Who cares if they eat too much junk food tonight? Each precious girl is with me. I can hold them, give them a bath, and read their favorite Christmas books before bed. I can go to bed with a a stomach full of popcorn and heart full of thankfulness.

I’m Terrified of Girls

I have three daughters. I should have this whole mother of girls thing under control. Negative. When I started this gig eight years ago I had no idea that two more little darling females would join the ranks of our family and at times join forces to try and take me down. Somehow I am still standing. 

I want to be clear about something; I am thankful for my girls. They are amazing and for the most part, very well behaved. I’m cool with their interests and they make me laugh every single day. The precious present is awesome. The future is my concern. There will be a time when I will have three teenage daughters living under one roof. Are you starting to see why I’m panicking early? Can one income support that many rolls of toilet paper, makeup, clothes, and heaven help us… shoes??? Will I be able to stomach the drama? Am I actually supposed to help them learn to drive and let some boy take them out on a date?

Friends, I’m scared. But I’m not really afraid of their hormones or the disagreements I know we will have. I’m terrified because they are mine and no matter how tall they grow, how beautiful they become (I’m biased), and how successful they are are, each sweet daughter is a precious gift from God. A gift that I can’t keep wrapped up and safe forever. My babies will want to leave someday and make their way in the world and I will let it happen. But before they go we have to talk about some things. They need to know the facts of life. Hopefully we can have this fun conversation (not) in a way that won’t be too horrible. (Their doctor dad should be good at this. He can really scare them if need be.) I want them to be tolerant and kind to others. I want them to choose friends who will appreciate their quirks and support their dreams. When they make mistakes, I want them to take responsibility.

My husband often gets the comment, “You sure do have YOUR hands full!” I like to chime in, “Actually, his hands are fine. I’m the one on the front lines thank you very much.” But the truth is, we are in this together. I know that I will have many terrifying girl moments in the years to come. As the only male in this house, Stephen will probably spend a lot of time of listening. Maybe we can keep up the facade of “in control.” If it all falls apart we will just keep plugging along…and never let them know we are afraid.

Hometowns Are Where the Heart Is…

I’m a proud mountain girl. Nine times out of ten if you hear me utter the words, “I’m going home,” I’m referring to the tiny town where I was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky. This has to be normal, right? I haven’t actually lived there since I was 18 but throughout college, graduate school, jobs, and moving around after I got married, home was always the county seat of Knott County.

I’ve been very lucky to have short term hometowns as well. My favorite will always be Washington, PA where we spent three years while my husband was doing his family medicine residency. I knew nothing about Pennsylvania and at first living thirty miles outside of Pittsburgh didn’t sound very appealing. But it was a beautiful town and there were just enough hills to help me feel like I belonged. What made this place so special were the people. We made lifelong friends and two of our girls were born at The Washington Hospital. (Lily loves to tell people she’s from Pennsylvania.) However, I always knew this would be our temporary home. We wanted to come back to Kentucky and raise our family and be closer to our parents and siblings. The day we drove away form our little house on Main Street I cried like a baby. I couldn’t wait for our new chapter in Cynthiana, but I couldn’t figure out how to bring all of the people I had grown to love back to Kentucky.

I have to be very honest, my transition to becoming a Harrison County girl wasn’t an easy one. I loved my house and really loved having grandparents nearby for my girls. I was so proud that Stephen was working toward being the owner of a practice and my own parents were just two and half hours away instead of six. But I was lonely. I missed my friends so much and felt out of place. I wasn’t from here and suddenly this was where I would be living for a very long time. This is where my husband was born and raised and I had to find a way to make it my new hometown.

Thankfully I am not shy and I accepted pretty much any invitation from anyone for social and church activities. I took my girls to story hour at our library, joined a Mothers of Preschoolers group, and started exercising and met new people. I grew to love and appreciate Cynthiana but deep down I still considered Hindman as my true home.

In February my life changed forever. I lost my dad and thought I would probably lose my mind next. My mom was now in Hindman without any of her kids close by. I was worried about her, I felt I needed to be in Hindman, and worst of all, I couldn’t go “home” for good. Slowly I began to realize something had happened during my six years in Cynthiana. This was no longer just Stephen’s hometown. It was my hometown too. A week after my dad’s funeral people started cooking for me. Friends would text and call and made it clear that they were here for the long haul. These weren’t favors. They wanted to help me. One night as I marveled at the cards and kind deeds pouring in from people in “his” town Stephen quietly said, “Cassie, none of these people are doing this for me, they are doing this for YOU because they love YOU.” I was stunned. He was right.

As my heart continues its long journey toward healing, I am so touched and humbled. Whenever someone asks me where I am from, I will tell them I am actually from two places and both are my hometown.