Y’all this can not be real. I am being punked.

This is my 10th blog since the world went crazy. I write every 2 weeks. That means it’s ONLY been 20 weeks!!! Half of a pregnancy. Every single blog I start by thinking that so much has happened that I cannot possibly fit it all into a blog. Each time I find myself wondering how so much craziness can fit into 14 days!

My last post was about returning to travel. I talked about 5 different places that I wanted to visit this year. I felt like it was time to possibly return to trying to find some sense of “normalcy” again.

7 days ago my 17-year-old daughter ran away from home. Packed a suitcase, left her telephone, walked out the door and I haven’t been able to find her anywhere. I don’t know if I can describe what this feels like because even though I’ve raised 5 children, this is the very first time that I have EVER not known where ANY of my children were for this long. I don’t know who she is with or what influences have advised her that this is a good idea.

I have spoken to her. I have gotten the police involved. I have an open line of communication with her.

7 Days. My youngest child. Still, a full year of high school left. A bright future and a beautiful soul. Our baby. She says she is “grown” and “not coming home”.

I never asked anyone to reach out to her. I never asked anyone to “help” us by doing anything other than spreading the word that she is missing and letting us know if she is seen. For some stupid reason, I thought I could use a network of people for good. I didn’t think about people’s selfish needs to be a part of the story. Or the fact that no one loves her as much as me and her dad and I can’t trust her safety with anyone else.

I have had so many “well-meaning” people call to tell me every horrific thing that they can think of that could be happening to her. People just never know when to shut the f@… A part of this is my fault, on the advice of the police, I let the world know she ran away on social media. Rookie mistake. I didn’t know any better. I am desperate to find my baby. I had no idea how cruel, clueless, and generally effed up people would be in a situation like this.

My aunt Linda (my dad’s sister) ran away. Over 35 years ago. No one has seen her. She is probably dead. I often wonder how long she lived and what it was like. I wonder if she wished she hadn’t run away. Trust me, I don’t need ANYONE to tell me all of the horrible things that “could” be happening. I’m well aware. There’s so much to unpack here and I just don’t have the energy or the time.

The ONLY person in the entire world that has kept me sane for the past 20 weeks is my granddaughter, Amerra. The sunshine and the love of my life. She is going back to California in 5 days. I don’t really have the words to explain how I feel about this. It’s been an incredible and amazing 7 months with her and I’m forever grateful for our time, even if we were stuck inside because of COVID. I pray that her and her mommy are able to be connected to their dad/husband in Italy soon and that they are happy.

2 weeks ago I told y’all that I wanted to start traveling again by staying really close to home and visiting New Orleans. I planned to attend a few events with the Krewe of Athena and the Stunning Stars. Those events were this weekend.

People from Florida are encouraged to stay in Florida (that means no one wants our germs). Louisiana and several other states are going back to Phase 1 and gathering are discouraged. Events were postponed. Even if I weren’t going to be spending the weekend passing out “missing” flyers and searching for Marie’s face in every teenager at the mall, I couldn’t travel this weekend.

2020 has been the worst and craziest year I have experienced in my life. I’m completely and totally over it!!!

I am sitting here reading what I have written and thinking, this may be a bit depressing. Maybe I should wipe it clean and publish my notes on Mexico or talk about my optimism for 2021 (and I AM optimistic about 2021) but what I have written is how I feel. It’s what’s happening in my life. It’s my story. I’m in no way ashamed or hiding what is going on. This is real life in the middle of a pandemic in 2020 and hopefully, when my grandkids read this in 15 or 20 years they will be able to realize that no matter how hard life gets, you just keep living.

I hope they will read my words and know that even when the sky is falling, even when there are gray clouds and it feels like everything is going wrong, we hold on close to each other and we draw on each other for strength. We love our family. We show that love. I am so grateful to be walking through this crazy life with my till death do us part partner. I’m so grateful that my daughter only ran away and isn’t hurt or kidnapped.  I’m grateful that even though I don’t like what she says, she is communicating with us.  I’m so grateful that even though we have been pent up in the house and can’t seem to get even a simple trip accomplished in 2020, our lives and our business will be booked and busy because so many people will be more than ready to travel after this year.

To everyone out there that has had a lifetime of crazy shoved into 20 weeks, just know that things are going to get better. My grandma always told me that tough times don’t last and she has NEVER been wrong. In the meanwhile, love on each other and send some of that love our way, we can use it.