Cloudy without Sunny ☁️

* R.i.P. *

Sunny Kimbrell

1986 – 2019

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A collage I made from some of her Facebook photos.

Sunny and Allen met in junior high at Bartlett.  Their tight-knit group was close throughout high school.  Although they drifted apart during his college era, they rekindled their friendship a few years ago and remained good friends.  Watching him mourn her loss makes me feel helpless– it hurts seeing him in pain.  I hope he knows that he never has to endure grief alone.

His…often hilarious and always entertaining…stories about Sunny left me eager to meet her.  We finally met at Urban Outfitters.  I had the passenger visor flipped down and was scrambling around trying to find some eyeliner.  Without hesitation she reached into her purse and offered me hers– to keep.  That small gesture spoke volumes about her kindness and generosity.  Allen stepped away to take a call and we continued chatting.  I’m sure by most civilized folk’s standards our girl talk would be rather crass and raunchy, but that’s what made it all the more delightful.  The ability to share a candid dialogue with another female who has walked a mile in my shoes let me know she was a kindred spirit.

Beyond that day I think I saw her two more times.  We also spoke semi-regularly on Messenger.  She never hesitated to call Allen out and poke fun of him [in a loving way], the way you do with those to whom you are close.  It saddens me to think I will never see her again, never be able to continue what I felt was a blossoming friendship.  img_1768

Sunny with Sadie and Sailor ☀️

Because I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Sunny very well, I wanted to share some words from somebody who did.  This passage comes from the wife of her cousin, Joey Noffsinger.  According to Allen this description fits her perfectly:

“There are beautiful, terrible stories in this world. Some we see from a distance and some that are apart of our inner lives. This one touches many of us. We are broken hearted to say that Kimbrell Sunny has passed away. She left us on March 3. She was a beautiful girl inside and out in more than a few ways. She tried to help others when she could even from within prison walls. She sent letters to women in prison when she was out in hopes of encouraging them not to give up. She helped her friend recently while he was fighting a battle with cancer. Sunny was a fighter, no doubt. For good or bad she did not give up easily. She lived with loss and tragedy even from a small child. She lost her best friend and sister Jamie Ray when she was about 7 years old. She lost her mother Candace Noffsinger and father James Kimbrell and recently her grandmother Cora Noffsinger. Throughout all her losses and struggles Sunny continued to fight, to love, to hope, to dream. I believe she fought to the end. I believe we are more than our failures, more than our struggles. Sunny was not a one dimensional person. She brought fun and light to many around her. She gave my husband and I the best gift we’ve even been given.. our precious girls. I don’t understand so much about life but I believe she was used by God in bringing these two amazing girls into this world. For that we are forever grateful. She loved them. She called and sang happy birthday to Sailor Wednesday. She seemed to have a premonition about her death, posting on her Facebook page that she’d be gone soon. We pray now that she is living free and full of life with her sister and family and friends who have gone before her. We love you Sunny. Shine bright sweet girl. You will be missed.” ~ Mende Noffsinger

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Her memorial service was the 15th of March in Bartlett.

Echoing the sentiments of several others, I deeply regret one of the final conversations I had with her.  Hindsight is always 20/20.  You just never know which interaction might be the last one you have with a person….

At the time my reaction [irritated, incredulous, & incensed] seemed proportional to the situation.  Looking back I realize that I should have seen my own behavior mirrored in her actions and recognized the struggle.  Instead of chastising her I should have reached out and been a better friend.  When things are going well in your life and the demons lie dormant, it’s easy enough to forget you were once in the trenches.  Those stupid appliances taught me a valuable lesson that I can’t afford to forget.

Rest easy, Sunny.  Corny as it may sound– the world is pretty damn cloudy without you in it.  You will be missed.

P.S.  I couldn’t resist whipping out the Nutbush tag. 😳👽👑

 

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

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Posted in * R. i. P. *, Al Jizzy, Death, Grief | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Operation Biological Information: Mission Accomplished

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I woke the morning of 10 March to a ping on phone notifying me of a text message.  Several days prior I sent some vague inquiries to few potential candidates, wondering if I would get a response, or if any of the numbers were even correct.  Embarrassed, I deleted them immediately and pretended it never happened.  One of those numbers responded with an ambiguous single word reply.  I asked if I had the correct name.  She answered affirmatively.  Before I could even launch into the spiel I’d practiced a million times in my head she said:  “I know who you are.”

Bingo!  Spared from the awkward did you birth me question and a clumsy avalanche of words in an attempt to identify my relation.  Almost immediately she agreed with my observation that speaking to me must be overwhelming and completely unexpected.  That I could understand.  I’ve been a legal adult for 15 years now.  Perhaps she thought I wasn’t going to attempt contact since so much time had passed.  Whatever the case I can only imagine the state of utter shock my unexpected arrival caused.

Summoning every ounce of self-control, I resisted the urge to bombard her with questions.  My insatiable curiosity about any possible siblings would have to wait.  Ever since I connected with The Half Sibling my mind races with possibilities.  As an adoptee [or at least for me] you think of the biological mother and father– not half, whole, or step siblings.  That prospect thrills me.  How I’d love to discover and– hopefully– form relationships with other brothers and sisters!

Deliberately avoiding anything too intense, I spoke generally about myself.  I thanked her for giving me the gift of a wonderful life with a wonderful family.  I sent a recent picture of Allen and me and then another of me with the kids.  I told her that I had two children who were happy and healthy.  She told me she was very pleased to hear that I was doing well.  She didn’t send me any pictures and I didn’t ask.  Because I discovered her Facebook profile I know what she looks like, otherwise not having a photo would drive me crazy.  She volunteered very little information about herself.  Most of her replies were terse– though she was always polite.  I feared if I pushed too hard with my line of questioning or talked too much I might push her away.  I pace myself and try to avoid expressing excessive emotion.

My oft-recited internal Mantra:  1) We’re at different places on our respective journeys.  2)  Not everyone gushes with enthusiasm and curiosity like I do.  3)  She’s never been in this situation before and has no clue how to react.  

Truth be told, I don’t know what I was expecting.  It wasn’t some glorious “I’ve waited my whole life for you and I’m so glad you found me!” type of reunion.  Never once did it feel uncomfortable or forced but I definitely felt awkward on multiple occasions.  Thankfully I never felt any negativity from her end.  She didn’t seem annoyed, angry, upset, or anything of that nature.  Initially I misread her brusque replies for irritation– I have since learned that’s just her texting style and [see above Mantra] she wouldn’t be responding if she wasn’t interested in talking.

And then there’s the nomenclature….

What do I call her?  We haven’t had that discussion yet and I doubt we will anytime soon.  Yet for the purposes of this blog she needs a title.  The ‘M word’ feels wrong; besides, I’ve already got one of those.  Biological mother seems too technical.  Her first name doesn’t distinguish her from any other person I know.  So from this point forward she will be known as Treasure.  You don’t assign the name Cherish to your newborn–that you know you will be soon relinquishing to another family– unless you are coming from a place of pure love.  She wanted the absolute best for me, parents to cherish me.  Therefore I treasure her for the loving, selfless decision she made on my behalf.  I treasure her for not throwing me into a potentially messy situation and trying to raise me when she could not.  I treasure her for the life she gave me with my parents.  Treasure just fits.

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Actual request[s] for my placement as included in my records

Two days of semi-regular texting passed without broaching any heavy topics.  Two days later Treasure suggested we move it to the phone.  Gulp.  Sooner or later I knew it was bound to happen– the inevitable leap from the safety of text [relatively impersonal with the ability to edit your thoughts] to the uncharted territory of actually speaking aloud and hearing a voice on the other end of the line.  My hands trembled and the butterflies in my stomach fluttered vigorously.  Was I really about to talk on the phone with the woman who gave birth to me?  Shit’s getting real.

Time and time again I sought to convey empathy.  I wanted her to know I understood.  Though I have never been in her exact predicament at that time…I can only imagine how excruciatingly difficult every aspect of her situation was, from pregnancy to birth to adoption.  Even when I was a small child and first learned of my adoption I never felt ‘unwanted’ or ‘abandoned.’  I owe my life to her!  She doesn’t owe me any explanation.

Towards the end of our tête-à-tête, I learned that Treasure has been reading this very blog.  Wow.  It touched me deeply to know that she chose to visit this site and take the time to read what I had to say, thus learning more about me and my life.  I felt pretty damn special.  She told me that I was a fantastic writer and I should keep pursuing my passion.  Thinking back to her request for “well-educated” parents with at least “one of the parents is in some form of journalism.”  Not only is Dad extremely intelligent [a highly respected attorney for the State for many years until he ‘retired’ into a second career as a university professor] but Mom earned a Master’s degree and was a professional writer of children’s books!  Her article about the treatment of Vietnam veterans post-combat was published in Newsweek.  All of us are avid readers.  I’ve been writing since I was in preschool.  Whether it’s Cocktails With Hemingway, short stories for my memoir, essays, or reporting– I live to write.  I started my first online magazine at the tender age of 11 [a story for another day] and most recently was the creator/editor/primary contributor for the now-defunct JiLTED.  My degrees are in political science and English, as my original plan was law school.  Much to my dismay that probably won’t be happening, though I would love to go back to school for an advanced degree.  Forgive me for going off on a tangent….but I want you to know, Treasure, that your hopes for me were fulfilled.

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My big mouth is staying closed.

Just because I have no qualms openly documenting every step of this crazy adventure doesn’t mean the other parties involved share my comfort with being transparent.  And I respect that completely.  It’s astounding what you can do with a name and a birthday these days– personal information in the public domain for all to see.  I didn’t have to hire a private investigator to gain substantial knowledge.  However, safeguarding her privacy is imperative.  Just because I know something [whether I discovered it independently or she told me  herself] doesn’t mean I’m sharing.  Is this difficult for me?  Very much so!  Everyone who knows me understands that I am an open book and that’s just how I like it.  But there are more lives than just mine involve and I must respect that.  Therefore, I will not divulge specific details or share her picture until– if and when– she is ready.  Thank you for understanding the need for discretion in this delicate matter.  

Treasure repeatedly emphasized that she is in no way ‘ashamed’ of me.  Of course I already knew that but I appreciate her reiterating.  Her desire for confidentiality has nothing to do with me and everything to do with her own life.  Not everyone in her world knows that she had an unplanned pregnancy as a teenager and placed her daughter up for adoption.  When she lovingly gave me to my family, she reclaimed her young adult life without the burden of parenthood.  This is pure speculation on my part…..but I’m sure she thought of me often, wondered if I was okay, envisioned milestones– yet kept those feelings in her head– and tried to move on with her life as best she could….and I absolutely understand why she wouldn’t want to discuss the adoption with very many people.  My existence could disrupt a lot of lives and deeply hurt people who have done nothing to deserve it.  I get this.  How she chooses to introduce me into her status quo [if that’s what she wants to do] is entirely up to her.  I don’t have to be ‘long lost daughter.’  She could have met her ‘new friend Sloane’ anywhere.  The ball is in her court with all of that.

Someone once told me if I keep my expectations low then I won’t be let down or run the risk of getting hurt.  Smart policy, play it safe and protect yourself.  But it’s damn near impossible for me to maintain the emotional equivalent of a poker face.  No one will ever accuse me of possessing a stoic temperament.  I’m putting myself out there with her– and that opens the door for disappointment.  I accept that.  We’ll see where this goes.  It is my greatest hope that our relationship evolves into something mutually rewarding that lasts for years to come.

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None of this would have been possible without the invaluable assistance of some intrepid sleuths– everyone from amateur investigators to curious friends to genealogy enthusiasts took time to help me on my quest.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  The U.S. Family Search Angels were a godsend.  Their tireless dedication blows my mind, as does the fact that they are passionate enough to offer their services free of charge.  Special thanks to the angelic Karen U. and Ellen R. with her insider knowledge of my case.  Alexandra Timberlake from the State of Tennessee deserves recognition for her courteous and prompt service.  If not for her efficiency I would not have received my records as quickly as I did.  Chrysti H. not only got the ball rolling for me with Ancestry DNA but she also provided me with some valuable information, as did Elizabeth T.  My favorite roomie, Megan, inspired me with her own journey and has been in the loop since day one.  Birdie shared a unique perspective having been on the other side of this process.  Krystal let me pour my heart out on the phone.  Everyone in my beloved Grace House Mafia offered unwavering support, just like they do with everything else in my life.  Holly T. routinely checked in to make sure my sanity was intact and kept me laughing hysterically with her voice messages.  Throughout this I have also grown closer to Aunt Nita…it’s pretty mind boggling how our relationship has evolved throughout the years but she is now one of the first people I turn to with anything.  My Soul Sister, Maris, and the Yin to my Yang, Allen, ensure I never walk alone.  Last but certainly not least, my parents.  I truly hit the parental jackpot with Mom [Suzanne] and Dad [Steve].  They never hid the fact that I was adopted, gave their encouragement and blessing for my search, and taught me the definition of family.  Thanks also to everyone who shared my ‘Cherish’ status.  I cannot express my gratitude enough.

For those of you interested to see how Operation Biological Information came to fruition, click here to view the archives.  

 

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Adoption, Birdie, Da Real Homiez, Family, GH Mafia, Holly Tuck, Maris- my soul sister, Megan Childers- favorite roomie, Motherhood, Sloane | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gangsters, Russian, and my biological mother

Before I dive into anything too intense, let me first bring you up to speed with my status quo.  My world these days is…calm.  We’ve settled into a routine.  Sometimes I get bored.  Dare I say it’s ‘normal?’  Nothing excites me more.IMG_1788

2 distracted & impatient children + 1 sweat drenched & exhausted mom = decent family photo

Tatum turned seven on 21 February.  Her birthdays are inextricably linked with what our family endured in California…and I’ll leave it at that.  We celebrated the following weekend with a small gathering at Urban Air.  I’ll have to post additional pictures and video footage of my little daredevil at a later date.  She swung across a zip line suspended high above the air, scaled climbing walls with ease, and even cleared a giant leap from a tall platform!  Watching her reminded me of all the adventures I had doing indoor climbing with Dad.  No doubt she has her mama’s fearlessness.

Meanwhile, Adam preferred being on solid ground.  Once he discovered the bumper cars he lost interest in all other attractions.  When asked if his little sister was going to be the brave one, he was proud to let her have the limelight.  No one cheered louder [from the safety of solid ground] than him.  My heart swelled with pride.  These two children are the reason I keep my eyes on the prize.  They deserve it.  I want my daughter to have a better understanding on an age appropriate level of the confusing things in her world, why her family is unique, and just how many people love her.

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Any job where I can take two steps outside the front door and  buy manna from heaven

Recognizing the need to contribute financially, occupy my time in a constructive way, and feel a general sense of accomplishment I knew I had to find employment– jobs that didn’t depend on tips or commission for a paycheck.  Legal and legitimate businesses.  Not places where I’d be too embarrassed to admit I was on the payroll [here’s looking at you, ‘Vixen dude’]– I will not be showing up for Career Day at Riverdale Elementary as a phone sex operator/cam girl/massage entertainer.  I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

A very exciting prospect invited me to their career opportunity event.  Lo and behold, I was offered the job!  Another huge milestone in my adulting quest.  I’ll copy and paste the press release directly from the Book of Face on 2/22/19:

🚨Announcement 📢
It is with great excitement that I announce I have joined the e-Commerce team at Kroger! 🌟 I work to ensure Click List deliveries are accurate and include fresh, high quality produce. 🥗 You’ll see me zooming around the store, keeping things running smoothly in our part of the store, and maybe even running the goods to your vehicle! 🛒 I’m doing training to be able to work in multiple store departments if needed because I’m planning to be at Store 405 [Bartlett Blvd. & Stage] for a long time and want to be able to help in a variety of ways.🏆 The benefits are amazing, their employees are treated very well, and I definitely see long term potential—maybe even climbing the ladder! 🚀 This was definitely worth the wait. 💖
P.S. They have Girl Scout cookies out front! 🍪

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Donna, Allen, and Cheri

Allen celebrates his birthday four days after Tatum’s.  His mom treated us to dinner at the restaurant of his choosing.  Oysters were calling his name so I suggested Half Shell.  Surprisingly enough for somebody who salivates over seafood– and has lived in the Memphis area his whole life– he’d never been.  We split a gulf coast shrimp appetizer that was delicious and he thought his fried oysters were the bomb.com.  But the absolute best thing on their menu doesn’t swim….The Big Cheese.  “Havarti, brie, smoked Gouda, pepperjack, provolone and cheddar cheese with fresh basil on toasted wheat-berry bread. Served with a side of tomato jam.”  OH. MY. GOD.  Quite possibly one of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth.  Beyond delicious.

Special thanks to Allen’s Aunt Cheri who surprised us at the restaurant for a few minutes.  She’s had some pretty serious health issues lately and is still getting back on her feet.  I know it meant a lot to Allen to see her.

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“Up in the [hood] just workin’ on my fitness, he’s my witness…” 🚶‍♀️🏋️‍♂️🧘‍♀️

Despite my previous paragraph extolling the virtues of food, Baberz and I have made a team effort out of getting in shape.  Due to our lifestyle changes both of us put on a considerable amount of weight.  I gained 35lbs and he’s not liking what he sees on the scale.  Every morning we start our day with a protein packed smoothie with fresh fruit.  No more sugar laden cereals with strange ingredients and empty calories– at least not on any sort of regular basis.  I’m trying to drink a gallon of water a day [though lately I’ve been slacking with that] and eat a clean, vegetarian diet.  He’s taking gradual steps to get more nutrition but I am super proud of him for cutting back on soda.  I know that’s a difficult addiction.

We’re also walking together every day.  Our standard route is a 1.5 mile loop around the neighborhood.  Both of us have gym memberships [that are lying dormant] and want to try yoga.  Having a partner to hold you accountable and make your workouts more fun makes all the difference.  However, I have a boost in the fitness department because I walk all day at work and he sits at his desk.

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I like the sound of that.

Thanks to Duolingo I am now studying Russian.  As some of you may know, being able to speak the language of the Mother Country has been a longtime dream of mine.  How nice it would be to have a native speaker with whom I could practice.  ‘Being able to speak’ jumps the gun a wee bit– the Cyrillic alphabet and guttural sounds proved far more difficult than I ever imagined.  I refuse to get frustrated; instead, I’m editing my approach to study.  How cool is it that an app exists where I can learn another language for free?

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“Prohibition has made nothing but trouble.” – Al Capone

Recently we finished our latest binge, Boardwalk Empire.  I would include a shot from the show but I was more than a little bit conflicted because I am equally obsessed with the actors who portrayed Al Capone, Arnold Rothstein, and Nelson Van Alden.  Hence the historical document from prohibition acting as a visual.

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Isn’t she glorious?

Check out Allen’s new toy.  Tax returns equal splurging on the most badass Alienware computer ever.  It’s faster than the speed of light and quite aesthetically pleasing.  Therefore it deserves a mention.

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Casper [white], Nikki Coco [gray center], and Knievel [foreground]

I met Allen’s three cats in August 2017, the first time I came over to his house.  23 February 2019 marks the only time I have ever been able to get all three kibbels in one picture.  Trust me when I say this is no small feat.  So remarkable in fact, it got recognized on here.

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Behold, my adoption records from the State of Tennessee…

Operation Biological Information yielded significant results.  Truth be told, I’m overwhelmed.  Never in a million years did I think it would be this…intense.  Shortly before receiving my records I discovered a half-sibling through Ancestry DNA.  We have communicated regularly over the past few weeks but they are not quite where I am on the journey of discovery– my existence shocked them and they were caught totally off guard– so I respect that.  Their privacy will never be compromised.  Hopefully we will continue to deepen our relationship and eventually they will be comfortable sharing it.

I know who my biological mother is and am pretty sure I know how to contact her.  Additionally, I have been able to discover my maternal grandparents and her ex-husband, who could possibly be my biological father.  As of now I sent her a friend request and message on Facebook.  Neither has been acknowledged but I don’t know how often she gets online, or if the message went to her ‘Other’ folder since we are not friends.  It has not been read.  I do have a phone number for her but I am still working up the courage to call it….

Going into this I thought I was pretty even keeled, even stoic.  That has not been the case.  The second I discovered my biological name was Cherish Marie King, tears rolled down my face.  Biological Mom knew I was going to another family and she gave me a name?  I don’t know if that’s a common thing but it hit me really hard.  When I saw that she left loving instructions for the family I should be placed with , I lost it.  I never felt like my adoption meant I was ‘unwanted’ but when I saw just how much I was loved and all the wonderful things that she wanted for me….no words.  I hope we can connect and pursue some sort of relationship.

 

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Employment, Family, Love, Mother Russia, Pets, Tatum | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Open the floodgates….

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Some say I’m plucky.

Grab a flotation device because the proverbial Sloagan dam is ready to burst…

Never again will I remain silent.  I will use my voice and speak my truth– even if my words shake.  What other people think of me is none of my business.  Fear and uncertainty no longer hinder me.  I feel liberated.  I feel confident.  My core values reaffirm my worth and dignity.  I deserve to scream it from the rooftops.

The sole purpose of Cocktails With Hemingway is to be a conduit for sharing my most authentic self.

Such a rousing battle cry, no?  I am Sloane, hear me roar!  If somebody unfamiliar with me read only that first passage they’d think I was combating oppressive forces willing to go to any length to prevent me from exposing them.  Quite the opposite actually.  Scrolling through my past Facebook statuses [the ones that survived deletion] reveals a tendency to say exactly what I’m thinking.  Off goes the filter and out comes the word vomit.  Sometimes this translates into an empowering experience– the overwhelmingly positive feedback I received when I went public with my struggles with addiction. Countless people praised my decision to be transparent, calling it an inspiration. Those affirmations transformed the way I view my platform.

But not everyone cheers for me. There are lots of cruel people in this world and they love nothing more than picking you apart online. Quotes get taken out of context. Liking a certain page makes a value statement. An unflattering teenage photo puts your credibility in question. It’s easy enough to root for a recovering addict bettering themselves– who can argue with a feel good success story? Add religion, politics, and other socially impolite topics to the mix and even an inspirational figure becomes polarizing. Those who disagreed with my liberal views spewed vitriol.

So I played it safe.  A self-imposed set of guidelines kept things relatively PC in the circus that is social media. No need to give the ‘haters’ ammunition.

Maintain that facade long enough and it takes a toll.  I felt like such a phony, a total fraud.  Censoring my own words felt like creative death.  Production all but stopped on this blog.  In person, my energy is palpable.  I am fiercely opinionated and passionate about my beliefs.  From the moment I could stand I marched to the beat of my own drum.  I fight for the underdog.  My little family is many things–conventional isn’t one of them.  I gravitate towards the eccentric.  Don’t take life too seriously because none of us make it out alive.

I never shy away from a spirited debate; however, controversy is not what I seek.  I offer substance, not shock value.  You don’t have to be an asshole to get ahead.  The Golden Rule embodies my philosophy.  Bullying is unacceptable.  Every single person can teach you something and I love to share the stories of people.

Are my thoughts even coherent at this point?  I feel like I’m rambling and have gone on multiple tangents.  Let me try to reel it in and wrap it up so I can get lost down the ADD rabbit hole you can resume whatever it is you’re doing.

I spoke of the purpose for Cocktails With Hemingway and now I want to further expound on my vision.  First and foremost this space gives me a scrapbook to document my life.  The kiddos think it’s so cool their mom is a Blogger with a capital ‘B.’  It’s also my sounding board if I need to vent and an open forum if I want to share essays, articles, and opinion pieces.  Many moons ago it was an opinion piece that thrust my blog onto the national radar and grew my readership exponentially*** and I look forward to creating content that gets people buzzing.  I don’t want to get too big for my britches but I’d love to have sponsors provide a steady stream of revenue.  Maybe even go to that Fyre Festival.  If only I could be an Instagram Influencer….

Supposedly niche blogs garner the most success.  This is not that.  Unless of course you count yours truly as a niche….but even then I’m all over the place.  Committing to a single idea or theme just isn’t possible.  My interests range the gamut.  As do my emotions.  You’ll find poignant juxtaposed with trivial, seethe with fury on one post and wet your pants laughing the next.  Regardless of the topic at hand, I guarantee I will always stay true to myself and won’t ever hesitate to go there.

I realize these are lofty ambitions.  Even more so for a professional procrastinator who lacks a penchant for proofreading.  Throw in some daydreams, distractions, and all the other things a space cadet may encounter– undoubtedly I’ll fall short a few days.  Maybe even miss the mark entirely.  Yet my commitment to you, dear reader, is 30 minutes to one hour of time six days a week.  I crave so desperately the Cocktails With Hemingway I outlined above and bringing it to fruition will be cathartic for my soul.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who supports my writing and encourages me to continue the pursuit.  Much of my life is far more entertaining than fiction.  Stay thirsty!

*** Two words:  Fox News  [but that’s a tale for another day]

 

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Changes, Highest Self, Sloane, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year!

When you can’t get your Christmas cards completed in time– don’t feel bad for procrastinating– just go with it. Make New Year’s cards instead! 🎉 🎈🥂

My professional looking masterpiece was created in approximately a minute and a half. Thanks to the [free] app ink Cards, I was able to select my photos, switch two of them around, and…voila! I’m all about things that make me look like a graphic designer and feel like I’m tinkering around with arts and crafts.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Changes, Family | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2019

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Happy New Year!  Instead of writing something profound for the purpose of this post, I’ll take a screen shot of what I posted on Facebook.  A brand spanking new calendar year always comes with excitement, motivation, and optimism associated with a fresh start.  Or at least that’s the case for my Polly Positivity outlook regarding the situation– I wholeheartedly believe this is going to be my year.  Resolutions aren’t my thing so I’m going to be super vague and generic and set the intention of living my best life for 2019.

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I woke up to a torrential downpour and extreme winds on 31 December.  Combine that agonizing cramps [apologies if that’s TMI but on a scale of one to ten my uterus was an angry 25] and I didn’t want to do a damn thing.  Even though we had tickets to the Oklahoma State and Mizzou game at the Liberty Bowl– thanks Ms. Williams!– the last thing I felt like doing was watching a sporting event when it was both cold and yucky outside.  Being the devoted girlfriend I am I grudgingly trudged along….and I am so glad I did!  Not only did the weather clear up and the temperature rise, I actually had a blast.  We became Mizzou fans for the day [our tickets were in their section so we went with it] and their enthusiastic fans enhanced the experience.  The game itself was close up until the very end even though ‘we’ ultimately lost by five points.  Pronto pups and a funnel cake were consumed.  Allen, let’s go to all the live games we can in all the sports!

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Behold, my first selfie of the new year.

Lest the bare shoulders and sopping wet hair weren’t a giveaway, I literally took this as soon as a I stepped out of the shower.  I find this to be a metaphor.  Washing away the bad juju of the past and coming out clean to embrace new opportunities.  Stripped down naked [not really as there was a towel but go with it] and vulnerable.  Truth be told I was debating whether or not to post this on social media.  No eye makeup!  Lack of interesting scenery.  Would people think I was in my birthday suit and get the wrong idea?!  Yet I decided that it was tasteful and accurately represented my mindset at the time, so I went with it.  I find it refreshing that there was lots of positive feedback.  The ‘real’ Sloane, unfiltered and au natural.

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Clark flees the scene.

Performance anxiety, anyone?  This photo has absolutely nothing to do with the new year but I laugh hysterically every time I see it.  After a semi-confrontational meeting between Tony Stark and Clark Kent [complete with Mexican standoff and plenty of side eye], we decided two males might not be the best of friends.  Tony’s a pretty chill dude who seems largely apathetic towards any other reptile so we decided Clark was the better candidate to meet our female, Dani.  After looking at each other awkwardly for ten minutes– much like a junior high dance– Clark apparently got overwhelmed.  We’ll try it again soon.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Changes, Duderz, Highest Self, Love, Pets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blended fam, co-parent fail

Allow me to offer some expository information for you to better understand the events that led us to where we are now.  I’ll keep this as concise as possible.

Many moons ago in October 2007 Will Reed and I got married.  26 March 2008 our son, Adam, was born.  We separated shortly thereafter and lived different lives in different states.  A brief reconciliation resulted in my unplanned pregnancy with our daughter.  Flooded with hormones and a desire preserve my family, I moved with Will and Adam to California to ‘repair our marriage.’  Our relationship came to a screeching halt in an ugly manner shortly after we arrived and both law enforcement and family court became involved.  We lost custody of our son– a long and convoluted story I’m not going to discuss here because it is even to this day still excruciatingly painful.  The last time Adam and I physically saw him was during the winter of 2011.

Tatum’s birth on 21 February 2012 flooded an otherwise dark and chaotic world with light.  Will was incarcerated  so he was not present for the birth, which took place in Memphis, and I left her with my parents to return to California.  Eventually in March 2013 Adam and I finally returned to Tennessee to be reunited with my Mom, Dad, and Tatum….where my children met each other for the first time….but only after Will and I had our parental rights terminated, something else I can barely talk about even now.  Thankfully my parents adopted Adam.  Meanwhile, Will got into trouble with the law again in California and went to prison for four years.

We are not divorced although I am in the process of obtaining the paperwork as I type this.  There’s a multitude of reasons why I never filed:  the whole ‘out of sight out of mind’ thing, not wanting to subject him to the revolving door of jail for inability to pay child support, lack of funds, the seemingly astronomical effort of going before attorneys and judges [mind you I was not at my best during this time], and mostly the fact that I never planned to marry again so I wasn’t in any particular rush to invalidate a piece of paper that really didn’t mean anything to me at this point in my life.  What I wasn’t doing was hoping for any sort of reconciliation.  That ship had sailed and we’d both moved on with our lives years ago.

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One of the last photos taken of my son and his father  [2011]

Believe it or not I was one of the captains of the Will Reed cheer squads post-prison.  Nobody wanted him to do well more than me [except for some of his family] because I wanted my children to have their father.  Truth me told my expectations were not particularly high but he continued to prove me wrong.  I was so proud!  He stayed in regular contact with the kiddos via phone, found housing and a job almost immediately, and was remaining clean and sober.  Visions of successful co-parenting danced through my head.

Things changed when he became romantically involved with a woman.  [[ DISCLAIMER:  I have nothing against this young woman.  I have heard wonderful things about her from sources that I trust and from what I hear she is a good influence on him.  I will never say anything unkind about her. ]]  Gradually the conversations tapered off and we heard from him less.  I figured it was a phase.  Who hasn’t gotten giddy with a new relationship and let it consume you?  I know I have.  When he told me things were serious and he was thinking marriage I was ecstatic….

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Team Reed/Wilke/Williams for the win!  …or not.

What a naive idiot I was.  Visions of blended, modern families swirled through my brain.  Maybe we could all go on vacation together!  His future fiancee and I could get our nails done and have girl talk.  Perhaps the guys could catch a game or go play pool.  The kids would have regular Skype dates and we’d send Christmas cards and birthday gifts.  Allen is the one for me.  This lady apparently is the one for Will.  I want what’s best for Will.  So of course I want what’s best for her.  We’re all adults, aren’t we?  And besides, we’re not important.  Our children are the center of our universe.  At least they are mine.  I can honestly say I was prepared to love her children as my own– and any children they may have together– because that is what mature, modern families do.  My dreams were quickly dashed as Will refused to even introduce me to his significant other and showed zero interest in talking to mine.

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Let’s take a moment here to acknowledge my 3,230,492,342,300,925 shortcomings.  Prior to getting clean and sober, I said some horrible things to Will via text.  I threw his past in his face.  I demanded to know why we never received any child support when he clearly had income and insulted him, insinuated he would never change.  Multiple times I called him a horrible father and person.  I know from the years we spent together the things to say to really cut to the core– and I went for the jugular.  Even after cleaning up my act I was not immune to acting out of hurt feelings or anger.  And for that, Will, I owe you a sincere apology from the bottom of my heart.  I am ashamed of my behavior. I hope you can forgive me.

Yet please don’t act as though I am the only one who has struggled with alcoholism and addiction.  That’s inaccurate and unfair.  We both went through it.  And I think it’s about damn time we each take ownership of it instead of using it as ammunition towards one another.  I don’t constantly bring up humiliations from your past [or share them with the masses] so I think it’s time you start doing the same.  Whatever happened to “if you can’t say something nice then don’t say anything at all?”

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How could anyone not want these two in their daily life ad infinitum?

“So Mom, do I sorta have brothers?” Adam asked me one day, apropos of nothing.  I could not believe my ears.  “I’m assuming you’re referring to the children of your dad’s girlfriend.  Unfortunately I don’t know very much about them.  But if your Dad marries his girlfriend and she has kids then yes, they will be a type of brother to you.  I know that sounds pretty exciting.”  He nonchalantly played with his video game a few more minutes and I wondered aloud what made him think of that.  “That could be cool.  Dad said that he and my stepmom might come visit me this summer so I was just wondering.”

Back.  The.  Eff.  Up.

I knew Will was seeing somebody and it was serious.  Because Adam saw a photo of them on Facebook I explained that Daddy had a girlfriend.  Yet all of the sudden a woman whom Will have never mentioned except in passing to my son is his STEPMOTHER?!  Talk about dropping a major bombshell on a ten year old.  When Adam met Allen, their first meeting was casual.  He met my ‘friend,’ Allen.  Then we became a couple.  Gradually we increased the amount of time the three of us spent together and now Adam and Allen are so close they have their own relationship outside of me.   And that’s exactly how it should be– gradual, allowing the child to dictate the pace, and making sure the little one is not uncomfortable.  Furthermore, I told Will as a courtesy when Allen and I started to get serious.  Not because I thought he cared but because it was a development that affected his son.  I expected the same courtesy.

As for that visit?  Just like I wish he’d help support his son financially, maintain a regular relationship with him, and show respect for Adam’s maternal family– that would be fantastic.  But don’t you dare tell Adam you are coming to visit without running it by me [and my parents] first.  And if you break one more promise to that poor child…don’t.  Just please don’t.  You rip his heart out of his chest every single time you fail to do what you say, whether it’s not calling at a certain time or not showing up for a visit.  DO NOT BREAK MY CHILDREN’S HEARTS ANYMORE.  Have they not had enough?

I’m just thankful that Tatum has largely missed this heartache because she does not know you and hasn’t had the chance to be let down or hurt.  What she is; however, is showered in love– and extremely confused.  Everyone from Bapa [my dad] to Gary [Theresa’s husband] to Allen to my ex she has called ‘Daddy’ and asked “Is that my Dad?” I’ve always wondered Will…is there a reason you rarely mention Tatum during the times you did call?  She’s your daughter too.

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Little Man and I have an unbreakable bond….I will go to the ends of this earth for my son.

Will accidentally sent me a text meant for his girlfriend.  In it he referred to me by multiple expletives– and we weren’t even arguing.  That really gave me pause.  Is this how he refers to the mother of his children to his significant other?  Wow.  I could understand if we were in the middle of some heated fight and he said something to his partner out of anger, but this was just an every day message.  Is that the amount of ‘respect’ I get from him?  Of course he can speak to her about me in any way he chooses but that hurt.  I never talk of him that way to Allen, or anyone for that matter.  That doesn’t change even if I’m angry or upset.  I know it’s none of my business what other people think of me but I couldn’t help but wonder if this woman knows everything my family and I did for Will over the years. Does she know that I spent a hefty sum of my own money to print out photos of the children and write updates to send him frequently while he was in jail and encouraged him to have a relationship with them?  Doubtful.  I’ve had two boyfriends in the past that had children.  The way these men treated the mother of their children– with respect and gratitude even if they weren’t necessarily friends– was of the utmost importance to me.

This text confirmed what I already knew.  My son told me that his father called me a not so nice name and said that I was being a not so nice person.  Excuse me?!  Adam immediately ran to me, upset that somebody was insulting his mother.  He told me he didn’t even want to talk to his father anymore after that.  Seriously, Will?  Do you think it’s okay to talk poorly about me to our son?  Newsflash:  It’s not.  Even when I’m having to explain very difficult subjects to him…like why you were in jail for so long  [I told him it was a ‘DUI’]…or why you so involved with somebody else’s kids but seem to have forgotten about us [I explained because of your legal status you couldn’t leave the state of California but you give other kids attention because he misses y’all so much].  He doesn’t have to like me.  But I demand to be treated with respect– at least around my children.  Do you know what Adam did after Will said these things?  He blocked him.  I didn’t tell him to do that.  Adam chose to because he is fiercely protective of his mother.

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Will, I’m done with you.  I wish you the best but you are toxic for me and I want no communication from you unless it is absolutely imperative.  Never will I tell my children how to behave towards you– and they will always hear from me that their father loves them very much.  I will be nothing but supportive if they decide they want to speak to you or pursue a relationship with you– but I’m over it.  You constantly make me feel like a terrible person, you’re unnecessarily unkind and hurtful, and are uncooperative when it comes to my attempts to co-parent.  I deserve better.  And if the kids ask why we don’t talk?  I’ll simply tell them it’s better for Mommy and Daddy to not be friends…but we both love you very much.  And at least on my end they’ll never hear me speak poorly of you.  Goodbye, William.

With infinite love, gratitude, and respect,

Sloane

Posted in Adam, Addiction, Adoption, California, CWS/Family Court, Family, Kids, Legal, Memphis, Motherhood, My Parents, Parenting, Pregnancy, Recovery, Tatum, Will Reed | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments