Still Here........and yes, Everything Does Happen for a Reason

Wow, where has the time gone?
For the last six months I have been incredibly swamped with responsibilities so, once again, my project has had a delay. But, that doesn't mean it has been erased from my consciousness - actually, the need to carry on and complete it always nagging at me - one day the stars will align and I will be able to get back on target. As for now there is something far more important at hand, making sure my sons have a foundation to fall back on when my time is up on this Earth and being a single mom there are times I feel like I am running backwards on a tread mill that is speeding out of control.

In the last six or so months a lot has happened to our little family unit. I started off the year with a promotion as I am now the editor of the newspaper I work for. Leave it to me to finally make it through the ranks at the tail end of an industry's need. A sad part to my promotion is why is happened, a good friend of mine to her leave from the paper to fight a battle with cancer. A situation like that makes it hard to even want to get excited about making it up a wrung on the ladder.

Then also in those six months...more like a 4 week span of time... my basement flooded twice, my furnace and water heater took a nose dive, my car decided to be an asshole and stop working -  and, also my best canine friend, Mindy, was ripped away from me when bone cancer took her life.  All of which I am still trying to tackle the layers of stress thrown on me in an attempt to get things somewhat back to our level of normal.

Yes, I think it is a test on how many straws there are left to break before I collapse in a ball on the floor as I call for a reservation in need of a padded room.

Did I mention that during all of this one of the very reasons I started that project, #WhenIBecameFree, resurfaced, slapping me in the face? My abuser who is out on probation has taken back to drinking so my fears surrounding personal safety are always lurking in the back of my mind.

Through it all I kept telling myself, as I have always done, that this test is preparing me for something good about to unfold. It is the very same thing I used to tell the boys when we lived life on my then poverty wages during very bleak and cold winters eating yet another version of top ramen stir fry or french toast routinely for dinner. .

I have to giggle now thinking about the line of BS I used to throw at their then very young and eager faces needing reassurance, "We're on a great adventure - learning new skills and experiences so we can be rewarded for the great thing about to head our way -be patient."

I had to tell them that so much that I actually started believing it.  I must admit that when something good would happen, no matter how small and insignificant it seemed to others, we found a reason to celebrate, which in return we also found motivation to move forward.

Our little family unit bonded over situations like that, and like this year. That is one thing I can honestly say, and will always appreciate. As the boys have grown into young men that bond has remained. We talk openly about life's situations   - real dialogues where problems are tackled and our little team deepens the commitment of supporting one another for the decisions any one of us make.

Over the course of the last couple of years it has been that bond and mutual support where as a team we've rallied around my youngest son, Kyle. who through all of our ups and downs expressed himself with music he has created from his gifted mind and talented hands. Kyle was blessed with a talent beyond his young years. Throw an instrument at him, and he will play it even though he is not classically trained and cannot read music. The music he plays is emotional, his emotions - and he tells the story of his life through the music he strums on the instrument he loves best, the guitar.

He was just 15 years old when his gift caught me by surprise. You see while I knew he was exceptional I didn't realize just how much as he kept his music, for the most part, his own little secret - a private hideaway. ..then one day he plugged in that electric guitar to an amp while I was in the kitchen doing dishes. The sound I heard almost caused me to drop a plate.   . I could not comprehend that my son who at that point had only been playing the guitar for a couple of years was not  only so proficient - but also all the emotion that could be felt from the sounds he created.  Without him knowing I grabbed my camera and video taped what I was witnessing... a proud Mama moment had to be documented and shared and that is exactly what I did - I shared the clip on my Facebook page. That simple action just over two years ago took our lives down a new path.

I have a friend who is a gifted performer and she saw the video. She shared it with others in the industry and the next thing I knew we were planning a trip to the Blues capital of Memphis. It was a lot to take in, especially for Kyle who while never one to back down from offering comedic relief, his music - his emotional creative expression was something he never brought attention to.

After coming back from the trip we were told he needed to move to Memphis and his career as a musician would take off. We contemplated it, but Kyle decided he wanted to finish high school in his hometown of Mauston, Wisconsin. As a team we discussed the options, and his brother and I told him we would support whatever decision he made, and we did.

In the two years since that decision was made we maintained his website and social media. Kyle is an old soul and really doesn't like social media so I maintained it for him, most of the time with him giving me thumbs up or down before doing something.

His brother Justin had to go through the shock of his little brother getting so much attention - the green-eyed monster every so often raised flags but again, as a team we worked through some long discussions. Now Justin is one of his biggest fans.

I guess I am purging all of this, the memories and steps we've taken over the years because our team now is entering a new path in supporting our youngest member in his musical career. He did in fact finish high school in his hometown, and has worked as a local musician playing solo gigs and with other musicians at area venues - While that experience has been a tremendous benefit for him, the one issue is Kyle at heart is a Blues guitarist/musician and in rural Wisconsin it is hard to find other musicians with the same passion for the soul filled music Kyle  needs to play. It is not a want, it is a need,

That need became clearly evident within the last few months as he neared graduation. He had been rather successful playing that guitar of his and working with others in covering songs, and even creating some originals but it was when he once again started creating music in his own private space that Blues oozed out of his soul. The stars aligned and soon he'd received an chance to play his Blues solo at a Memphis style BBQ joint called BP Smokehouse in Tomah, Wisconsin. It was a spur of the moment opportunity but when he met with the owner and showed him what he could do, the spark in Kyle came back. On the ride home all could talk about was being so happy playing the blues again, and what stunned me the most was when he said, "Mom, I think I also have to sing,"

You see  two years ago he had blues artists like Preston Shannon and Ruby Wilson tell him he also needed to try to sing, but Kyle refused...until just recently. He's working on singing and when he is ready to debut his singing voice he will let us know. Kyle is humble, and non combative, but Kyle cannot be forced into anything - he is stubborn and very much in control of what he does, and what he will not do - a trait I respect -

And while all of this is great news the best news of all is that as he neared graduation focus on his outstanding talent was back and a recording session was set. That session took place on Saturday. One of the producers involved flew out from Atlanta on Friday just for the Saturday session at the Madison Media Institute where Kyle recorded 6 songs.

Sitting in the studio and watching my youngest live a life going after his dreams made me realize that despite everything currently on my platter filled with stress and while all of it was falling down around it was actually for a reason... ""We're on a great adventure - learning new skills and experiences so we can be rewarded for the great thing about to head our way -be patient."  And as we are being patient Justin and I will support Kyle as he walks towards decisions ahead of him. Justin will be that brother who is always there with some kind of joke or brotherly love insult, keeping Kyle grounded as it reminds him there is no need for constant praise to know you're loved. As for me, no matter what happens I will always be mom  -there for him when he needs guidance and a sounding board, helping him with those little things he has no desire nor ambition to do ... while also helping ensure that foundation is firm for the day I leave this Earth.  In return for our roles on this ride of Kyle's we get a front row seat as Kyle tells the story of our family and life through the special way he communicates his emotions, through his music...sometimes Blues, and many times, more..


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