Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Luke Kornet's Concussion. A Mother's Confession.

I've been questioning lately if I'm becoming numb to emotion. If I can still love like I used to. Care about anything as deeply as I did when my children were young, my family was growing, my career was budding.

Tonight I think I know the answer.

I haven't cried like this, or feared deep loss like this, since my mother was dying.

But that was my mother. This is my child.

I simply can't bear the thought of losing Luke.

I don't know how parents of terminally ill children get through such heart-wrenching times. I have a full-grown, 19-year-old, healthy son and I will be crying myself to sleep tonight at the thought of what just happened becoming something much worse.

I just watched Luke get clocked during a basketball game and slam to the ground. Nothing broke his fall. Just his head.

I was watching the game in my cubicle before anchoring the 10pm news, during which I often report terrible stories about concussions, accidents, falls, and beatings. I've heard too many times the deadly brain hemorrhages that can follow such head trauma. Luke's injury sent me into a tailspin.

After witnessing my reaction to his fall, my sweet producer told me not to worry about doing the newscast. I knew I could pull it together and clean up enough to do the show. No one would know. After all, Luke was able to stand up and walk off the court. Sure, he looked out of it. He wobbled. But he did stand up and walk.

But I knew what would likely happen. Our 10pm news has a sportscast in it. I'd have to see that video all over again. This was the semi-finals of the N.I.T. tournament against Stanford, for the chance to play at Madison Square Garden. When ESPN replayed the incident right after it happened, I think I screamed. I don't remember. I pretty much lost it. If I had to watch that again on-air?

I took my producer up on her offer and allowed myself to sit this newscast out.

I've been crying off and on ever since.

Tonight I sit here on my living room couch, fearing the worst....what happens if? My husband is in California and says Luke is talking. He is repeating the same questions over and over, but Frank assures me he'll be okay. I am praying, pleading to God that I don't have to let go of my child tonight or tomorrow or any day while I'm still on this planet. You just don't know with brain injuries. I am typically a positive, hopeful person. But the thought of losing my son? I can't imagine it. The pain I'm feeling right now is almost too much for me to bear.

For all of you parents who've endured such a loss...I am just so, so sorry. There are no words that will ever provide the peace or comfort you must so deeply crave. My heart is breaking for you tonight.

I don't ever want to forget that. Or lose compassion for you. I don't ever want to read another news story and not feel deep sympathy for the families affected by the personal, devastating losses we report.

I guess I'm not so numb after all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Non-Blog Blog

It is hard to blog when there are so many people we're obligated to protect.

I don't want to embarrass the kids or get them in trouble (any more than I already have).

I don't want to divulge any station secrets or affect my reputation as a news person.

Yet I want to be authentic, relatable. Right?

Isn't that what a blog should be?

I keep sitting down to type and end up erasing every thought...out of fear. It's no fun living this way.

So I've decided to type a few of the random thoughts and feelings I've had these last few weeks. And then I want to hear YOURS.  Deal?

Tracy's Random Thoughts

1. I feel gross. This winter has just about destroyed my energy, desire, and ability to stay active. I have spent entirely too many mornings curled up on the couch in my leopard PJ's, reading and watching "Love It or List It" before work. I finally got to the gym today, and I'm determined to get back to my old self and out in the sunshine (once it decides to visit Nashville).

Not a fan of dreary, cold days

2. My kids' happiness or lack thereof affects me so deeply, that I think something is wrong with me. I mean seriously...what's the deal...they are all doing well. But when they have any kind of struggle or emotional difficulty, I want to run and fix it. And this past year has brought difficulty I've/we've never encountered before. It sucks.
Good times cuddling on the last Kornet road trip

3. I am still having trouble feeling consistently happy. I'm on a stinkin' emotional rollercoaster most of the time. I still find myself missing the life I lead pre-move: the laughter, love, and the music. Yes, I now live in Music City, and I still miss the music.

4. I need some new nude heels for 2015. I'm excited to see what Antonio Melani or Gianni Bini has in store for us this year.

5. Joyce Meyer's "Confident Woman" and Angela Thomas' "Stronger" are awesome daily devotionals.
Great study. Thank you, Kimberly, for the suggestion!

6. I can't wait to read Amy Poehler's book, but I have yet to allow myself to splurge on it.

7. My eyesight is fading so quickly, I may have to upgrade from the 1.25 readers to the 1.50 soon. Don't be a  hater, folks. It's still a royal pain in the butt. And I now understand why my grade school friends' moms never spotted those nasty chin or upper lip hairs when they drove us in carpool. They couldn't see them.

8.  I love my little cubicle. Pictures of my friends and family make me very happy.

9. Water, coffee, and red wine are just about the only liquids I drink. Which means Crest White Strips have become a necessary chaser!

10. I'm extremely grateful for Dillard's. The Nashville store at Green Hills Mall sponsors my wardrobe. I have loved their clothing lines for years, and I'm honored to wear something shiny and new almost every single day. I don't want to ever take this luxury for granted.

I am even more grateful for that help when I don't feel fat!

Okay, folks. It's your turn!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Seeing Both Sides as a Basketball Mom

You know what I consider a big positive about this 24-hour news cycle?

What may seem like the end of the world one minute, will be quickly replaced by the next earth-shattering story.

A big negative? The scary reality of video, the replay button, and the need to feed the beast.

You've likely seen by now what happened after the Vanderbilt-Tennessee basketball game last night. After a tremendous win, Vandy Coach Kevin Stallings ran straight into that media fire. Today he profusely apologized for the obscenity-laden correction of his player's reported unsportsmanlike behavior. Hopefully, it's a learning lesson for everyone. Heck, watch any episode of Dr. Phil, and you'll see that losing it--for whatever reason--never looks good on tape.

Some of you reading this remain shocked to see a coach yell like that.

I know I used to be. And I stayed that way for years. (For the record, I still believe coaches can rise above dropping F bombs and taking God's name in vain.)

But then my kids got seriously into sports.

And now, I get it.

Boy, is it a good thing I married Frank. He's helped me understand the other side. That people are different.

If I had raised my kids on my own, I may have encouraged them to quit when the going got tough.
I may have over-reacted when I heard an adult use bad language or even raise their voice at someone's child.
I would have likely scheduled dozens of meetings with school administrators and teachers, admonishing them for destroying my child's self-esteem.

Basically, my sensitivity and need to protect their psyches may have really screwed them up!

What I have learned as the mother of athletes is that compassion does not fly in the heat of battle.
Military folks know this too. They're used to this kind of coaching/leadership style.

So for all of you who struggle with a coach yelling at your kid, whether in high school, the YMCA, or college athletics, I certainly get it. I wish they would only encourage, hug our kids, and treat them kindly!

But I have also learned there is a place for the opposite. I've learned our children are smarter and tougher than we think. And experiencing different personality styles may prepare them well for some difficult situations--and people--down the road of life.

Which brings us back to the 24-hour news cycle and how similar it is to sports.

Both require you to move on quickly from the last breaking news story or big game.

It happens, you accept it, and you either suffer the consequences or delight in victory and celebrity.

And then you move forward.

If only heartbreak could be so speedy!


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lunch with Reba

Here's something cool about living in Nashville: Reba pops in and sings at your Saturday fundraising luncheon.

Before this ridiculous ice storm rolled into town, a long-lost college friend invited me to her inaugural Valentine's Day luncheon.

It was Cheryl Davis' first major event since joining the Nashville Rescue Mission, a non-profit doing a tremendous job helping and rehabilitating the homeless and others in need.

Sure enough, Reba McEntire marched out on stage, sang a few songs, and held the whole room in the palm of her hand--all to honor the tables full of female graduates of the Mission's Life Recovery program.

It was a most meaningful way to celebrate Valentine's Day and brought many of us to tears.

I especially enjoyed a conversation with one of the young women seated at my table.

She was a Vanderbilt graduate and a co-believer in the liberal arts education our university (and others like it) provides students.

We both shared appreciation of the extensive, core class requirements. Sure, they may have been a pain in the butt at the time, but exposure to such fascinating and brain-expanding subjects is what education should be all about in the first place.

The conversation reminded me of this one below, which my former Dallas colleague and I taped long before I ever considered returning to Nashville. (Gina Miller, how this makes me miss our Real Botox Diaries!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mean Girls Suck

First, this post is NOT about me. Yes, I've experienced mean girls several times in my past. Just not in this particular season.

I am posting this amended version of some past thoughts, because several conversations with others in recent months have inspired me to do so.

So whomever this is meant for, I hope it helps. 

Have a "mean girl" in your life? Get to know her story. Or cut your losses and leave.

Empathy is the great equalizer. It is hard to be jealous of or angry with someone who is struggling, hurting, or being treated unfairly. You will understand how to love mean girls (and boys) and overcome their ugliness when you seek out the "why" behind their actions.

With that said, mean girls can sometimes grow up to become mean women. When you encounter a mean woman--and especially if she is in charge--one of you may have to leave. And unless God or karma intervenes first, it will likely be you. The nice girl. 

This is extremely painful, and it may require that you leave something you absolutely love and/or people you adore. But unless mean girl gets fired or does something to completely tarnish her reputation, you may be absolutely stuck and suffer deeply and intensely trying to take the high road tolerating the mean girl. It may chip away at your self-worth. It may take you down a dark and dangerous path of being victimized in other areas of your life. It can cause PTSD or other life-long, emotional effects. 

Girl, it's not worth it. 

Sometimes you need to cut your losses, take your ball, and go play on someone else's court. Give yourself a fresh start. A clean slate. Embrace a new leader or boss who believes in you and allows you to shine. Some of us, especially us nice girls, are emboldened, strengthened by and flourish around people who believe in us. Their faith in us makes us stronger. It's like new, romantic love--it makes you feel invincible. The sky becomes the limit. Our confidence soars through the roof. Success follows.

Remember, mean girls are usually jealous; somehow, some way you make them feel inferior. Or perhaps you represent their unrealized goals and dreams. Or you've been given a greater gift or talent in an area they deeply desire and/or envy. So they choose to punish you for it, for as long as you choose to work with/for them.

Life is not fair. 

But I'm not sure it ever feels *more* unfair then when you're forced to exist for an extended period of time alongside a mean girl.

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Live from Nashville, It's..."

When's the last time you printed actual photos that you can touch, feel, and retrieve in 10  years when you can't find a thing in your phone or on Facebook?

With only two short years left of college basketball memories, I realized I had better go old-school and get some pictures printed, enlarged, and framed before this precious phase is all over. 

I also decided to get off my derriere and save a few clips of my first day on-air here in Nashville.

Check out this warm welcome from my classy co-workers, whom I've grown quite fond of over these last four months, I might add:

You know what else is cool?  This beautiful blonde Jennifer, is also my neighbor! We literally moved next door to each other, unbeknownst to us both at the time.

I am still in transition, but I'm trying to count my blessings and focus on all of the *good* change can bring. Bought this for my cute cubicle, in fact. Hope it helps you focus, too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

I'm An Addict

I'm an addict. I binge on fun.

Broadway shows & girlfriend trips. Concerts & coffee. Happy hours & Home Goods.

Once I get a taste of joy, I only want more.

But lately, these pleasures have lost their allure.

And I believe I now understand why.

I often binge on books, too. So in the interest of full disclosure, this latest revelation came via a new-found philosophical nugget, Fulton Sheen's 78-page paperback called "Finding True Happiness." A lady passed it out at Christmas mass at the Cathedral here in Nashville.

Sheen asserts that pleasure is best enjoyed when it comes to us as a "treat," in contrast to experiences that are less pleasurable.

This makes a whole lot of sense to me. Sheen writes, "Self-discipline brings back to us the excitement of our childhood, when our pleasures were rationed--when we got our dessert at the end of the meal and never at the start." (Unless you take the kids to the Cheesecake Factory. I always had us order the cheesecake first. Isn't that the reason you're there in the first place? Why waste money on 3 meals you'll be too sick to your stomach to finish?)

Sheen's second law: Pleasure is enhanced when it has survived a moment of tedium or pain.

My daughter says her Coach Sherri Coale preaches this all the time. We must keep going at anything we do until we get our second wind. This also makes sense, although feeling despair, heartache, and regret truly HURTS. Does it make us stronger in the end? I sure as heck hope so. But the whole process stinks.

Sheen's third law: Pleasure is a by-product, not a goal. "Many people forget that pleasure comes only from the fulfillment of a duty or obedience to a law--for man is made to obey the laws of his own nature as inescapably as he must obey the law of gravity."

This is likely why my girlfriend said after leaving her day job, she had lost anticipation about an upcoming trip to Paris: "Vacations are more rewarding when you have something to vacate from!"

Again, I'm not a fan of martyrdom and self-denial. Sacrificing is NOT easy. I'll readily admit, it's been the most difficult part of my recent move to Nashville.

But I know it's good for us. Every moment of every day can't be the grand finale. Otherwise, the grand finale would be ordinary. The thrill of a major comeback in double overtime wouldn't be as thrilling without the lows of being down at the half.

Pleasure is best enjoyed in contrast to experiences that are less pleasurable.

Hope this helps you appreciate the pain --and the pleasures-- of 2015!