I have returned to ‘normal’ life. I have desperately launched myself into rekindling a relationship with myself. In my spare time, I hunt for my mom. Notes she had sent me. Things she had said I should go and do. I see her face all the time in my head. I see her face in crowds and places that had been ours together. These temporary comforts are like trying to solve a problem until I die. And I say to myself, how can I embrace the “empty”? Can I acknowledge it’s presence without struggling so hard to fill it? And lastly, how can I shine brightly onward with my life? The more I focused on filling my own emptiness, the less I seethe brightness and beauty, the wisdom and wonder, of the path in not only my future, but in my sons too. From birth my mom wired me to seek out radiance in life, but ashamedly afraid to admit I’m less than okay. In my sadness, simple day-to-day normalcy I want to ignore. The disappointments in my life and the way life has happened for me has left me feeling damaged and stained. Forever. Perhaps, I can move forward despite loss, disappointment, and disillusionment. Instead I’m choosing to embrace the resistance of the story I’ve build for myself by moving on. Embracing this emptiness is not submitting to control but rather, it’s recognizing that I must coexist with things that are not what I’d wish them to be, but by honoring those spaces as sacred fulfillment’s as I live fully. Learning how to rewire the radiance my mom left me. I have to show my precious Cameron that the brightness intensifies as we find joy that we are wholly and hopefully and completely ourselves in the now. IN THE NOW. Balance. Perspective. Life is not just challenging, it is also growing. Relationships are both hard, and lovely. We can hold life’s empty wounds sacred, and we can still be bright and radiant. We don’t have to ignore or deny the tragic or pretend emptiness doesn’t exist to be able to see our own bright lights through the void we accept as our home. Shine brightly onward into the empty brave heart. Where will your light take you through your emptiness?
Nashville isn’t known as Music City for nothing! Stage lights and intimate gigs was my scene a few weeks ago. This southern state has so much to offer and so family friendly! Nashville has completely stolen my heart! We left and drove 10.5 hours to the Gaylord Hotel and Resort. The first night arriving at the resort was completely overwhelming for me though. It took us an hour to find our room! The coterie gave us a map to find our room, but it was completely pointless. You have to take an elevator (which I’m completely terrified of) to the 3rd floor then walk across this huge, beautiful catwalk to another lobby, to get on another elevator to another 3rd floor where our room was. My suggestions are google the hotel and find a map before you get there and study it before arriving. The Gaylord Hotel also has one hour parking before you can either self-park or pay the valet. I know now why they offer the 1-hour self-parking, because it takes you an hour to find your room!
The first night we arrived was the last night for all the Christmas festivities, which was also overwhelming for me. It was really neat to experience but also expensive. You could pay 25.00 per person to slide down a tube. It was baby-ish but I paid for two tickets and Cameron went down the slide 3 times. Then you could also pay another 25 dollars if you wanted to ice skate. Cameron and I only took a picture in front of the ice-skating ring! After returning back to our room I realized Cameron and I both forgot our toothbrushes. So you guessed it, I had to make my way back down to the lobby and purchase them. GUYS! Get ready for this! Two, toothbrushes costed me 17 dollars and some change. When the cashier told me this I literally bellowed out HOLY CRAP! She laughed but I was so shocked. Cameron and I better never use another toothbrush for the rest of our lives. The Gaylord hotel was really, really nice but if you aren’t there for the National Baseball Conference then you better start saving NOW! Rooms run around 400.00 a night. They have loads of shops and restaurants but if you aren’t a millionaire then you better pack a sack lunch or like we did, drive across the street to the Waffle House. We did eat there the first night at a restaurant called, Fuse Sports Bar. The bill was 97.00 for 3 people. However, we did drink alcohol. It’s much like local Walk-Ons.
Cameron and I were by ourselves a lot because my husband was doing his baseball thing so this was really good quality time with my sweet kiddo. Thankfully, the Gaylord Hotel and Resort was just in walking distance from the Opry Mills Mall, and the Grand Ole’ Opry itself! The Grand Ole’ Opry was nothing like I expected. I didn’t realize it was in the parking lot of a mall. It was neat to see the outside of and tour the gift shop. Whenever I travel out-of-town I’m always on the hunt for a good coffee table book. I found two in the gift shop at the Grand Ole Opry. Reading about the Opry house was very interesting and I completely forgot it flooded in 2010 and that the original Grand Ole Opry started downtown Nashville. I’m such a sucker for gift shops, like really cool gift shops bot the Grand Ole Opry and The Gaylord Hotel have amazing gift shops. Lots of goodies! Cameron and I both started crying passing the Elvis décor. It was really sad and I’m finding myself having more and more ‘panic’ attacks here lately. Also the Grand Ole Opry gift shop has the cutest Dolly Parton tees.
Cameron and I got a bit to eat at Opry Mills Mall. This mall was pretty sweet, as it had many stores I’ve never been able to go into. My suggestion is skip the stores you have locally that you know you can shop in and spend a little more time in the stores you typically don’t get to shop in. My favorite was the True Religion (got 3 pair of jeans) and Ralph Lauren. For Cameron it was Champ Sports and the Nike outlet. The mall makes a really big horse shoe so wear comfortable walking shoes. We ate lunch at the food court. Well, Cameron did not me. They have a lot to choose from including restaurants like Claim Jumper and Rain Forest Café. Being that we are on a budget we decided to spend the money and tour the, Madame Tussauds wax museum since neither one of us has ever been to a wax museum before. It was really neat and we took lots of pictures with the figures. Cameron lost it when he saw Elvis. He really had to walk away for like 10 minutes and cry it out. Which made me start crying, but like my dad says, we just have to get through it.
That afternoon we met up with some of the best people on the planet for a little night on the town, which was great because I love having someone fun to hang out with! But at the same time, it also made me a little nervous having my 13-year-old son tag along with us in the bars/restaurants. Once the baseball meetings were done we caught a bus and headed downtown. It’s about a 10 to 15 minute bus ride but well worth it. I don’t trust Ubers. *FYI Ubers were everywhere though
We arrived downtown Nashville and holy smokes it’s more than I ever imagined!! I didn’t realize when they say it’s awesome, it’s really freaking awesome! You’ll find more aspring to fame and fortune per square mile than in any other suburb of the US! There is live music everywhere you look and I think that is what makes it a fantastic place to be! It’s also so family friendly. No matter where we went Cameron could come in with us and our first stop was at the Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock N’ Roll Steakhouse! I know my mom would have loved this place, because she was such a big fan of Kid Rock. They had an awesome band playing called, The Trailer Park All-stars! They really were a great band, and played a variety of music. We sat up stairs and truly felt like VIP! Although Cameron hated it and thought the music was so loud. We were literary on top of the band looking down on them. The Kid Rock had the best food from the entire trip. It’s a great place to eat! So yummy! Also what I love most about the upstairs is that you could open the side windows to look down at the street, great place for pictures if you’re thinking of photographing the streets and the main strip.
We stayed about an hour socializing and eating dinner. Then we hopped on down to Jason Aldean bad and restaurant. WOWZA, all I have to say! That view of the skylines was completely unbelievable. UNBELIEVABLE for a photographers dream shot!
I could just see someone getting engaged on the beautiful rooftop. Although those are the only two places we went because we had our son with us, it was a great time and I could have seen myself staying there a long time listening to music with a cold beverage. On the way back to the bus stop, I stopped in the Wild Horse Salon. That place was huge and also had a great gift shop! *we saw party busses EVERYWHERE! Our bus driver on the way back to our hotel said that they are really popular in Nash.
I WILL be back to Nashville. I will NOT stay at the Gaylord Hotel and Resort but will book a room downtown. These are the places I’m checking into, and I will NOT drive but fly next time. Here are a few of the places I’m checking into: • Nashville Downtown Hostel• I dream of Weenie (food truck)• The Bluebird Café• Ryman Auditorium
In the end, I know this is what my mom would want me to do. She would want me to go on with my life as hard as it is. I would like to leave this blog post with a quote from Margery Williams Bianco and that is, “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are REAL you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”