A blog by Lori Lyons

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

She's just a little girl

She’s almost taller than me.

We can hardly find clothes that fit her. Already she has outgrown most of the sizes in the girls’ department and she can’t quite fill in the 0’s in juniors.

She has to look down to see most people her own age or even older. One older but littler girl was dismayed to meet her in a line for a Disney park attraction, and late another night a group of nasty teenaged girls mistook her and me for a same sex couple sharing a little kiss.

Sad, I know.

She gets funny looks when we walk down the street holding hands and second looks when I give her a hug or a kiss.

She gets exasperated when she tries to get dressed and the clothes we bought her last month no longer fit and her shoes already are too tight.

Other moms think it strange that she wants to ride the kiddie rides at the fair with her friends, even though her legs and arms stick out the little cars. And they laugh awkwardly when she picks up her friends to help them board.

And little kids wonder why the big kid is waiting in the line to see Santa.

Because she is only 9 years old. And, even though she might look 10 or 12, she is still a little girl. MY little girl. And regardless or how big she is, or how old she looks, she still deserves the chance to be a little kid.
For a little while anyway.

We all know its hard enough being a kid in the world today. She has her own blog. She wants a Facebook.

Need a Power Point presentation? She’s your girl.

Need to change the settings on your iPhone? No problem at all.

Spot Justin Bieber on TV? Please call her. Then listen to her sing along with her angelic little voice – perhaps the only part of her that hasn’t outpaced her age. Or, if you’d like a new song to sing, ask her. She probably can write you one. Or a poem. Or a story. Or a computer-generated video.

She’s sharp. She’s smart. She’s quick-witted and becoming an expert in the art of sarcasm. She likes irreverent t-shirts and is developing her own fashion style, but I have a hard time getting her to comb her hair.

But she still gets scared in the dark, and she still loves to snuggle with her mommy at night and in the morning. We can even play footsies.

And she still believes.

You see, she’s still a little girl, with lots of childhood left. If we let her be.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

To you and yours

Fun Holiday Wishes Christmas
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Dear Lori at 16

There have been a lot of changes in my life recently -- some good, some not so good.

I'm getting old and getting crickety. Bones ache and crack. My roots are fighting back but I can't see well enough to do battle.

And my beloved Grannie left me her feet.

But after 24 years, I'm finally able to get some much-needed rest. I'm no longer running around the River Parishes like a madwoman, searching for stories and cajoling coaches into interviews. I no longer crank out copy at a frenetic pace like I used to, back when I covered sports for the newspaper. And I do mean covered.

Alas, my years of chasing teenaged boys have finally come to an end.

I have become what I like to call an "Internet Specialist." My new (seated) position affords me many hours to peruse the news of the day and other time-killers on the Internet. Facebook, Google and Twitter are my very good friends. I don't know what I'd do without them, frankly.

And I am beginning a love affair with Twitter and its 140 character updates. Quick and easy. Yes indeedy.

And a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon an intriguing hashtag:


Now, some Internet junkies took that to mean tweet as if you were yourself at 16 -- which seemed rather pointless if you ask me. I mean, the only thing I was thinking about at 16 was boys, boys, boys and more boys.

But to tweet back to myself at 16, well that I certainly would do. Certainly should do! And I did..

Imagine love story between mortal teenage girl and vampire. Now write it.

I had a pretty good imagination back then, good command of the English language, a bleeding heart. Could happen.

I also told myself:

Buy Apple stock! Lots and lots of Apple stock!

Don't I wish?

Then there was the practical:

Slow down and enjoy Europe.

Because you're likely to never get there again. Those 28 days in Europe with cousin Ted and cousins Lance and Gloria will have to last you a lifetime. And even though the love of your (then) life, Doug, is waiting for you, you should slow down. Look around. And don't miss a thing.

Not wanting to be a Twitter-hog I didn't tweet all the advice I would give my 16-year-old self, but since then, I haven't stopped thinking about all the things I would say to my younger self, if I could.

Things like:

Study harder. Especially in college. And don't drop all those classes.

Finish your education degree. You'll wish you had.

When you see all those nice people passing out credit card applications in the Quad, keep walking. Very fast.

Learn to live without carbs. They're very, very bad.

Leave your hair alone, even when Mom suggests that you add some more red. It will turn purple. The week of Janine's wedding.

When you're 25 and think you're too old to have long hair? Get over it. You're not.

Listen up! You cannot handle your liquor. Drink ONE beer, then stop! Trust me on this.

Don't wait so long to start a family. It will be too late.

But don't worry. God has the perfect child all picked out for you. You have to wait, but you'll get her someday.

Don't fight with your brother. Hug him. Love him. And nag the hell out of him about wearing his seatbelt.

Don't leave the hospital when Dad is there.

Ditto for Grannie and Gran and Grandpa. They'll all be gone the next day.

Pensacola Beach is a cool place for a couple of young, single girls to spend a weekend. You should go!

Take a year to work at DisneyWorld. Be the balloon holder.

When the 18-wheeler is in the turning lane, with his blinker on, he's going to go straight.

That house you want to buy? Comes with a parade.

And, whatever you do...

Take the buyout!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dispatches from the Pink Room

I had forgotten about this... This little blog chronicling the life of my child...

I will remember it. And update it.

I promise.

Dispatches from the Pink Room

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Katrina + 5

Everyone is asking. Everyone wants to know.

How did Katrina change you?

I didn't lose my house. I didn't lose anything I owned, really. A tree in my front yard. A few shingles maybe. And a couple of fence boards.

I know people who did, though. Lose everything. And I do mean everything. Homes. Possessions. Jobs. Friends. Relatives.

My in-laws were left with a plastic grocery bag of possessions and two empty lots in Waveland, Mississippi. We lost my father-in-law four years later.

But wherever we happened to live on the vast area known as the Gulf Coast, we all lost something that day in August of 2005. We lost our security. We lost our peace of mind.

It's five years later and I live my life -- or at least four months of it a year -- ready to go.

I pay for a big SUV, not because I have a bunch of kids to ferry around or because I'm not concerned about our ecology, but because I know I can fill it with stuff when I have to.

And I will.

I know what's important. I know where it is. I know what I will take. And I know my husband won't even laugh at me.

Sure, I know to take the important papers. Insurance. Medicines. My dogs.

But I also know that I must take my daughter's baby book, her school memory books, her scrapbooks, the box of memories from the day her adoption became final, her original birth certificate with her original name.

Her art.

The two books I've written just for her.

My wedding album.

My baby book -- the one I had to re-make after a puppy named Laycee chewed up the first one.

The one album filled with photos of me, my sister and our late brother as children.

I know how important those things are because my husband has none. Not one baby photo of him survived the storm and only two of the three boys as children.

I have spent months scanning photos into my computer and uploading them onto safe places in the web so they won't be lost.

Katrina did that for us. Taught us that some things just can't be replaced. Ever.

Like our innocence. Our security. Our peace of mind.

Or the people we will never see again.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Game changer

I was one of the lucky ones.

I was one of those people who woke up every day and went off to a job that I genuinely loved.

Oh sure. I bitched. I complained. NOBODY likes to cover soccer. In the snow. Or spend four days in a hotel room. In Sulphur. To cover swimming. Or drive to West Monroe.

But those were mere nuisances.

Because for more than 20 years, The Times-Picayune paid me to cover games. Football games, baseball games, basketball games, volleyball games, golf, tennis, wrestling, track and field and, yes, even soccer.

And while everybody else had to pay to get in, I got paid to get in for free. Occasionally I even got a hot dog or some jambalaya. Lutcher folks gave me candy.

Sure, sometimes it was miserably hot. Sometimes it was bitterly cold. Sometimes I wished I had become a school teacher instead.

Not often.

Because I genuinely loved what I did.

And because I was damned good at it.

Yes I won awards. A couple of big ones. But I'm prouder of the fact that I never blew a deadline. And I became the one to do the late games because I was fast. And good.

There is nothing as exciting as writing a game story on deadline. The rush of adding up statistics, coming up with a storyline, then a lead and putting it all together in 15 minutes. Or less. Then getting your computer to work. In the old days I used to have to drive back to my office. That made the work dangerous.

And thrilling.

Sometimes it would take me hours to come down from the high.

Then they took me down.

The newspaper business is hanging by a thread, they said. Everybody has to do their part. You have to give up what you love. We need you to answer the phone instead. Greet the customers we still have. We'll get other people to do what you've been doing for 20 years.

This after I spent months in anguish over whether to stay or go with a buyout offer in my hand. After changing my mind a million times. After ultimately deciding that I could not leave because this wasn't just what I do, this is Who I Am.

They took it from me. And tonight, instead of kicking off my 20th football season of River Parishes football, I came home and watched football on TV.

I know I should be thankful to HAVE a job. Many don't. And it's not a bad job. I sit. And answer the phone. And make sure people can pay their bills. And rewrite crime briefs. And chase stolen flamingos. And wonder if this would have happened to me if I was not a woman. And try to find peace.

At the same time I mourn the things I can no longer do, I celebrate the things I no longer have to do. And there are some rainbows in this cloud.

I can go away for a whole weekend. I can go to Disney World for Thanksgiving. I can go to the the Natchitoches Christmas festival in December. I can take a sick day without worrying about how much work I'll have to make up tomorrow.

There will be no more soccer in the snow. No more bees and wasps in the press box. But no more Friday night football games. No more spring afternoon baseball games. No more overtime basketball games. No more volleyball tournament. No more bylines in the sports section.

And that just breaks my heart.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm waiting for my banana trees to grow back from last winter's freeze.

I'm waiting for my pool to reach optimum swim temperature.

I'm waiting to see how much money I will clear after changing my deductions on my W4.

I'm waiting to go to Home Depot to buy flowers for my backyard.

I'm waiting for the weekend.

I'm waiting for lunch.

I'm waiting for June, when I'll have lots of time off!

I'm waiting for the last day of school.

I'm waiting to see if I've lost any weight.

I'm waiting for the guy to come fix the lights on my pool.

I'm waiting for tonight's episode of Glee.

I'm waiting to find out who gets booted from Dancing with the Stars.

I am always waiting for my husband.

I'm waiting for a message from the professional who is reading my book. Waiting to see if she likes it, if she thinks it has potential, if she can find me an agent.

Right now, that's the hard one.

I should be good at waiting. I have lots of practice.

I waited six years to become a mom.
I waited 72 times to see if I was pregnant that month.
I waited in six different doctor's waiting rooms, hoping each one would have THE answer.
I waited six months for a baby to be born to another woman. Then, when she left, I waited two more months for the right one.
I waited three days to take my baby home.
I waited five days for her mother to make sure she was sure.
I waited 18 months for a judge to say she was mine.

I should be good at this by now.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 15

To most of the world, today is Thursday.

To most Americans, today is Tax Day.

But to the Luquet family, today is much more special than that.

Today is Lora Day.

It was eight years ago on this day that our family, Marty, Daniel, Courtney, myself and a little baby girl named Lora Leigh, went to the St. Charles Parish court house with butterflies in our stomachs and joy in our hearts. And after but a short wait, Judge Emile St. Pierre declared what we already knew -- that we were a family forever.

A tax deduction, he said.

So much more than that.

How about a dream come true? An answered prayer? A miracle?

Certainly a gift from God.

And a woman named Gail.

For six long, painful years we tried, we yearned, we hoped, we prayed. And time and again we cried and wondered why. And we searched for answers. There were none, until a brave woman chose us to parent her child when she felt that she could not.

And our prayers were answered in a different way.

"God has three answers to our prayers:
1. No.
2. Not yet.
3. I have a better plan."

Tonight at dinner, we recounted the events of the first Lora Day to a now 9-year-old little girl who has no memories of it and no idea how special it was.

We told her about our trip to the court house and our wait in the courtroom. When she got a little fussy, I took her into the hall to pace. Then Judge St. Pierre called us all into his chambers where we signed papers and posed for pictures. Then the whole family came to our house to celebrate.

I had asked everyone to write her a message that day -- a wish, a hope, a prayer. Some were simple and sweet. Others were sentimental and all-encompassing. We read them all (or tried to - we cried A LOT), then put them in a box so she could read them one day.

Maybe today.

Then I pulled out her big scrapbook and showed her the photos of us with the Judge and our attorney, her cake which proclaimed -- simply -- "Finally!" and the small pink Japanese Magnolia we bought and planted that day outside our dining room window.

It was a joyful memory.

But it wasn't long before my smart, inquisitive and oh-so-savvy 9-year-old came back to me with questions of her own.

"Mom," she said, looking worried. "I have a serious thought. I'm thinking how different my life would be if Gail had kept me with her."

"Yes, it would," I said. Carefully.

"I wouldn't even know you," she said.

"Probably not," I replied. "But I think you were supposed to be mine. That's why you are."

Everyone says that God works in mysterious ways. I certainly can't question that. I do believe this was the child I was destined to have all along, this mini-me who could not be more like me if we tried. It's as if God said, "Lori. I have a special one picked out for you. You just have to wait for her."

Lora had more questions swirling around her brain. She is beginning to wonder why she ended up with us and not the family she still knows, why her first mother could not keep her for herself. I will explain as best I can.

She did what she thought was best for you. She knew I would love you and take care of you. She knew you would be safe and happy. But she never stopped loving you or wanting you and she always will be in your life.

And if she asks, I will tell her:

She didn't give you away.

She gave you to me.

Monday, February 8, 2010


It's the day after.

The New Orleans Saints now have been Super Bowl Champions for a whole day. We've all pinched ourselves and haven't woken up.

We turned out, 30,000 strong, to greet the team at the airport. My own sister-in-law and niece were in that number.

We saw all the fingerprints and all the lip prints on the Lombardi Trophy, still clutched in the fist of our coach.

We saw our hero, Drew Brees, visit Mickey and Minnie in Disney World then fly up to New York to yuk it up with David Letterman -- who is from Indiana.

And we heard, over and over again, how this was a team of destiny. How this was all God's plan.

We all looked for signs. And there were plenty.

There was the thing with the number 4, and the thing with the number 9. There was the fact that the last four teams to wear white won. Somewhere in our brains we found reassurance in them, confirmation that, despite the dire predictions of the NFL "experts," we did have a chance.

And there was the good-guy quarterback with the destroyed shoulder who had a choice to play in New Orleans or in Miami...where this year's Super Bowl was being played.

I am not a religious person. I'm more of a casual church goer, making my way to Sacred Heart because I'm supposed to and because I want to be part of the church family with my husband and my child. I wouldn't say I'm devout.

But sometimes you just have to believe.

I believe.

But that's because I am the woman who was desperate to become a mother and could not have a child. I am the woman who had a woman who had made me a promise change her mind the same week my husband's family was giving me a surprise baby shower, 19 days before the date circled on my calendar.

I am the woman nicknamed Lo who took a random phone call from a woman named Lodrigue and knew in her gut that there was a reason why. Then convinced her husband.

And I am the woman who became the mother of a daughter who is so like me that it is frightening. And I believe that I was destined to be her mother all along.

They say everything happens for a reason. If I hadn't been infertile, I would not have become the mother of this wonderful, extraordinary, incredible child. And yes I believe that it was all a part of God's plan.

So let us believe that this was too. That a town still struggling to its knees from the knock-down from Hurricane Katrina four years ago was due for something good, something wonderful, something special in Super Bowl 44, the year we elected the 44th president.

And let us believe that our No. 9 was better than the guy born and bred in New Orleans, whose father had been our previously most beloved quarterback, and whose jersey No. 18 added up to 9.

And let us believe that this was fate and destiny.

Or just dumb luck.

We'll take it either way.

Dancing in the Street

It's nearly 2 a.m. on the morning of February 8, 2009, and I'm sitting here like a kid on Christmas Eve.

I'm listening for the telltale sounds outside on my front lawn so that I can run outside to pounce. I hope I don't scare the poor man away.

I simply can't wait to see Monday's edition of The Times-Picayune.

It's not that I don't know what it will say. In some form or fashion, it will tell me and the rest of the world that the New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, beating the unbeatable Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning 31-17.

But I already knew that.

I watched the game. I screamed and yelled and jumped up and down with my husband, my mother and my daughter. My brother was there too, in spirit anyway.

And my father-in-law. Well, he's really here. The box containing his ashes is on a shelf in my living room. And after the first quarter, when things weren't looking so good for the home team, we realized that his box was wearing the wrong hat. We quickly switched him from a Destrehan hat to a Saints NFC Champions hat and, suddenly, things changed.

The Saints got hot.

They began to score.

Our screams became more frequent.

We started to believe. REALLY believe.

And as the final seconds ticked off and the Saints carried their coach onto the field on their shoulders, we ran outside to scream some more and see the fireworks and hear our neighbors who were screaming too.

And we cried.

Then I grabbed my 9-year-old daughter, who has absolutely no idea of the magnitude of this occasion, and ran into the middle of our empty street. And we danced around in circles.

Then we came back inside to watch our team and our town celebrate with the big silver trophy.

And in the hours since (about four now), I've been surfing the Internet for the stories of how the game was won and the photos of how the game was won. And I've chatted with friends and colleagues who were actually there to write about the game, living the dream night of their careers and trying to come up with the greatest words of their lives in this monumental occasion.

Now I am in my living room, passing the time as I wait for my Monday edition of The Times-Picayune to land on my lawn. And when it does, I will run.

I can't wait to hold it in my hands. And I can't wait to see the headline my oh-so-clever co-workers have come up with to mark this moment in history. And I can't wait to read the stories and the statistics. And I can't wait to see the pictures my friends took.

And I know I will cry.

And then it will go into the big box in my upstairs closet for safekeeping. And maybe, someday, that 9-year-old daughter will find it for herself and sit down and read it. And maybe she will understand.

And maybe she will cry too.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Dis and Dat

Flags are flying from houses, from car windows. People are installing flag poles just for the occasion.

People are shoe polishing their own car windows.

And grown women are wandering the aisles of Barnes and Noble wearing football jerseys. On a Saturday afternoon. The week before Mardi Gras.

In New Orleans.

There is definitely a phenomenon going on.

It's called Who Dat Fever, and the city of New Orleans certainly has it. So do the suburbs.

On my street alone there is a house with Who Dat spelled out in Christmas lights, there are several "Who Dat Nation" yard signs and a giant plywood Who Dat adorns a front lawn. Then, the local A/C repair company installed a giant flag pole yesterday -- to run up a Saints flag.

I even have my own little Saints shrine in my front window.

Yesterday I saw the gas man in his Saints jersey and he didn't stand out at all. So are all of the shoppers in the grocery store and all the kids at my kid's school.

And every woman in the city owns at least one Fleur de Lis piece of jewelry.

A drive to the city today was like being in a summer all-star parade. Shoe polish doodles spell out "Geaux Saints" and "Who Dat" on every other car window. Those that don't have either a Fleur de Lis decal on the back or black and gold flags flying from the windows.

The New Orleans Saints are in the Super Bowl for the first time ever, and it is an amazing experience.

We are savoring it. Every second of it. Because it took us 43 years just to get here and we know not if we will pass this way again. People we know didn't live to see this. Will we live to see it again? Is this truly an historic event?

It certainly is for the Who Dat Nation. I have friends in Miami for XLIV, co-workers and colleagues who are writing their dream stories for their papers and their blogs and their networks and us fans.

I have friends in Miami who scored dream tickets to the dream game.

I have friends in Miami who are just getting drunk.

And we are spending a sleepless night because we are excited. But we also are a little worried. They are saying we can't win. They are saying we won't win. They are saying there is no way we can beat the son of the most beloved quarterback in our team's history, who is currently considered the best in the game. They are saying we will be crying on Monday.

And we likely will be.

But we've been crying for 43 years, over every loss snatched from the jaws of victory, over every missed field goal, every fumble at the goal line, every Hail Mary pass thrown against us.

But we've been crying for two weeks, ever since that goofy looking little kicker clutched out and kicked the most historic 40-yard field goal in football history, ever since my friend Jim Henderson screamed at the top of his lungs that pigs were flying, ever since we punched our ticket to the big game for the first time EVER.

And we've cried each and every time our brains try to wrap themselves around the thought, "The Saints are in the Super Bowl. OUR Saints."

And win or lose on Sunday, we'll be crying some more.

Monday, January 25, 2010


So January 24, 2010 will go down in history.

It will be the day that WE WON.

It will be the day that one player scored the game-winning points in the final minutes of the game.

And it will be the day her mom will never forget.

It has been a rough season for the Norco 7-8-year-old girls basketball team.

The team with the girls who look like they should have driver's licenses beat us 19-0.

The team with the coach's kid who plays like a boy (yes I said it) and shoots NBA 3-pointers at 8 beat us twice. Yesterday they beat us 20-4.

And walking out of the gym with my arm over her shoulders, I did my best to convince my soon-to-be 9-year-old daughter that having fun and loving the game are more important than winning. Sometimes teams are just better, I said.

And today, she got up and put on her uniform and went back out on the court with a smile on her face.

We're not a bad team. We have girls who can dribble. We have girls who can shoot. And we have a 4-foot-8 1/2 soon-to-be 9-year old that other teams guard like white on rice. The problem is, we can't pass. Or catch.

And the big girl -- they call her The Shaq -- stands on her spot and patiently waits for someone to throw her the ball. But nobody does. And if they do, she's likely not to see it anyway. And if a reboundable ball comes her way, it's just as likely to hit her on the head as on the hands. It did today, anyway.

But as the final minutes were ticking off and Norco was trailing 4-3, a ball bounced off the rim and hit her hands. Her hands closed on the ball. And after just a moment's hesitation, she remembered what she was supposed to do.

Shoot it.

And she did.

And it went in.

And her mother stood up and screamed like a fool.

Running back up the court to find her defensive position, she looked up at me in the stands and smiled. Big. She was so happy. She was too far away to see the tears in my eyes, but knowing me the way she does, she knows they were there.

And then her father and I clutched each other and prayed that the other team would not score.

They did not.

We won the game.

She won the game.

And the smile on her face was huge as she accepted high-fives from her friends and her coaches and the other parents.

But it was nothing compared to mine.

Pigs are flying, Hell has frozen over and the Saints are in the Super Bowl

It was a long time coming.

Too long.

Some said it never would happen. Some believed it had to -- eventually.

And millions of us waited. And hoped. And, yes, prayed.

For 43 years Saints fans young and old, black and white, rich and poor, have lived and breathed and bled for the Black and Gold -- living for the good times and dying a little at each and every bad time.

We agonized through the humiliating defeats where we never had a chance and the games that gave us hope only to slip away in the final minutes. We learned to hate the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers who sank daggers in our hearts so many times.

And yet we continued to watch, continued to hope, continued to love and continued to buy tickets. Like the puppy kicked every week by its owner, we always came back for more. Some wore bags over their heads to do it, but still they came back.

Because we believed.
Because our parents and grandparents believed and taught us how.

So when Garrett Hartley's 40-yard field goal split the uprights to give the Saints a 31-28 victory over Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game and propel the Saints into Super Bowl XLIV, the citizens of New Orleans sent up a joyous noise to the heavens.

And we shouted out to the grandfathers and fathers and brothers and sisters and aunts and uncles and friends and neighbors and local media personalities who did not live long enough to see this day, and who won't be with us on our sofas in two weeks to watch the New Orleans Saints play in their very first Super Bowl. The one that so many thought our team would never get to.

We so wish they were here to see it. We so wish we were here to share it. We so wish we could hear them say, "Who Dat?" just once more.