November 14, 2008

Team Cougar

One thing that is sorta my Dad's mantra is that we are "_______s and they are tough" (maiden name removed for privacy purposes but imagine a tough sounding last name like the 'Gritts' the 'Moxys' or perhaps the 'Cougars'). I can remember him telling me this when I was away at school for the first time at Colorado Northwestern Community College. It was a whole 300 miles from home, and to console me before leaving he said something like, We are tough as nails and we have that Cougar Bounce! You'll be fine! Then when they left, I plopped my 18 year old self on the top bunk of the room I shared with the room mate I had yet to meet, and bawled my Cougar eyes out. But he was somewhat correct. After about 2 weeks, my Cougar bounce started to show and I was snarling at people and showing my Cougar claws. I had to bravely recruit patients to be my guinna pigs in the dental chair- that took courage! I had to turn down endless invitations to go to keggers. I had to fight of frisky boyfriends, go to church alone, and on and on. I invented a ritualistic thing to show myself I belonged to H hall (the only co-ed dorm btw). Every time I passed a certain spot in the dorm hallway I touched a red button that had some unknown purpose. It was more like a light than a button. It didn't trigger anything- just a habit like the Notre Dame football team touching their 4 leaf clover dude on their way out to the football field. (Didn't you see Rudy?) It seemed to give me power and soon my mealy-mouthed room mate Pam was touching the button too. A trend setter!

Months later when I would call home with a problem with my hard life my father would again mention my Cougarness and I started to believe him. We cougars were like invincible or something! The toughness truly came from my Father's side. So he was most proud of it. I recall my youngest sister actually having a dream of being chased by a tiger and instead of being afraid, she mounted the tiger and rode off into the sunset.... Cougar bounce my friends.

Some in my family are not Cougars. They come from a different blood line. My family is combined. Dad will often point out the differences. The 'Milkmaids' have a calmer disposition. Slow to anger, but sensitive and sometimes grudge holders. Never needed spanking. Not the Cougars. I was spanked plenty of times and even recall a time when Mrs Stansfield my kindergarten teacher one-handedly grabbed my cheeks and closed her grip on my face to stop me from sassing or something. Did I get nervous or sad? NO! My Cougar roared up and through those squished up cheeks I stuck my tongue out! Can you believe I did such a thing? Well I did. And I was sent to Principal Eddenfield for it. (Real names used- it was 35 years ago for heaven's sakes!)

When my husband talked to my dad about the idea of asking for my hand in marriage, he has a clear memory of something my Dad said to him about my capabilities as a wife and mother. "K is strong, and strong-willed. Treat her nicely and she will respond in kind, but one word of cation... Never pinch her cheeks, it's like unleashing an avalanche!" (kidding). He went on to give this great advise though "When you decide to start a family she will serve you well. She could probably handle like 6 or 7, maybe 8 kids.... but you two better talk that over and decide what you'd like to do" (gee thanks), Troy was a bit taken aback. We've settled for 5 but that is nothing to sneeze at and I am sure I could have handled more due to my Cougarness and all. But we have done okay I think.

Medical school, residency, being a military family, and living overseas have all been hard things. But once again, my Dad would say time and again "You are a Cougar and you can handle anything that comes your way."

So where am I going with this? I guess I am trying to screw up my Cougar courage since it was my first crybaby day today. I may have some Milkmaid moments, but deep down I am a Cougar, and just may be indestructible. So worry not for me people. I am sticking out my symbolic tongue at this deployment thingy. At least for today.


Eileen said...


I loved this post! I was laughing so hard and Lyle kept saying from the family room, "WHAT?" And I didn't want to stop reading, so he came and stood behind me so he could read it too.

Right now Lyle is telling me to write, "Rise and shout, Kelly is out. She's on the trail to fame and glory."

I can totally see you sticking out your tongue at your kindergarten teacher, you mooning child you.

And your dad's comments, well, I'm sure that conversation would stick in T's memory! Lyle's conversation with my dad also stuck in his memory because my dad told him, "Why don't you two just live together for a while to test things out?"

I'm so proud of you Kelly and your cougar toughness! I'm afraid I'm more milkmaid.

Love you, Eileen

Kelly said...

Thanks for the nice comment Eileen. I think you have some Cougar in you. You are so honest and true (true blue!) It means a lot to get a compliment from such a good poster as yourself. Makes me want to write more -which is a good outlet for me I think. Tell Lyle thanks as well, and that I was grinding my cougar teeth all night long! Arrrrgh!

Lisa said...

Hey, Kelly...

I'm a friend of Eileen's and she told me about your situation over there, and I just wanted to say, "Hang in there, girl!" My husband was deployed last year and I well know how tough it can get and how those crybaby days go...we need all the cougarness we can get on days like that...I'll be praying that God graces you with lots of it for the days to come! Cougar up, lady. :) And hey, cut yourself some slack when you need to have those Milkmaid days...I had to just let a lot of stuff go last year and go, "Well...this too shall pass." :) Sending some best wishes and smiles your way....

Lisa :)

Kelly said...

Thank you Lisa- you are too kind. I have lurked on your blog before. You are funny! I am honored that you would comment.

Natalie Daines said...

Kelly~ Just got caught up on your blog! Wow... so much has happened in the last few months! I know you are a fantastic woman that can do amazing things...this deployment thing included! Miss you! ~Natalie

Kelly said...

Natalie! So glad you found me. I found you first though I guess. Welcome back from Africa. Thanks for your kind words!

Melissa said...

Kelly- I love you. This is just what I needed to read today. You made me smile.