Did I Really Just DO That?

I just did something that I always knew was coming, but as usual I kept telling myself that “there are years before that happens.” Well, I can’t say that anymore…I just wished my son a Happy 20th Birthday…I no longer have a teenager. Wow…just WOW… Where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday I was holding him for the first time and promising him that we would always love him and that he could do anything he set his mind to accomplish. As much as things change over the years, the more they stay the same. I find myself still telling him this very thing. I look back over the years and I am amazed at how much he has grown and matured over time. Gone are the days of him putting a plastic bucket on his head and running into things, immediately cackling with laughter; gone are the days that he needs his Beary Bear to comfort him through the night. Gone are the days that he needs me to do everything for him. A lot of things have come and gone in 20 years. (yes, still letting that one sink in) A lot of good, and a lot of bad have happened to us. The one constant in all of this is the love I have for him and what he does/will do. He is an amazing young man who just happens to be my son! I know that there are many amazing young men out there, but I happen to know for a fact that mine is the absolute best! If you doubt me, check my Mom’s Prerogative and have no doubt. I am entitled to and I would dare say required to believe this!

Anyway, I digress. ( I can guarantee you NEVER thought I would do that.  LOL)  Today is a milestone for him, but also for me. He gets the wonder, excitement, fear and anxiety of leaving his teen years behind him and I…well, I get the fear, anxiety, wonder and excitement of him leaving his teen years behind him. While I know he is more than capable, there is (and always will be) a part of me that so strongly wants to be there to help. I guess my new mission is to fully trust that what I have done has been enough to get him a head start and even a heads up to what is coming. While I fully acknowledge that I made a LOT of mistakes, I also see that he is turning our pretty well and – inspire of my efforts – is more than OK.

Today is the first day of the rest of his life, but it is also the first day of the rest of MY life. Not only does he have to adjust to his new reality of adulthood and such — I have to adjust to him no longer being a teen. All I know is that no matter what comes, I will always be his Mom and he will ALWAYS be my baby boy. Somehow, someway we WILL make it through and the future is bright! How could it NOT be with a son like mine?  🙂

Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!

The List

As the 5 year anniversary of my Mom’s passing approaches, my mind goes back to the months following that day. As many of you understand, the first year after the loss of a loved one is full of firsts — firsts days, first weeks, first months and so on. In the midst of this comes the first holidays, birthdays and anniversaries and no clearcut guidelines as to how to approach and deal with these events. Looking back, the first few months are a blur and I really don’t know just how I processed those first few months, especially that first Mothers’ Day — I just know I did. As the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approached, I found it to be more difficult than I though it would be — you know what I mean. It had been several months and I was “supposed to” be getting on with my life and starting to heal, but that wasn’t the case. Because of this I knew that I would have to make a concerted effort to bring my focus back to where it needed to be. My Mom would not want me moping around feeling sorry for myself and missing out on the true purpose of these holidays, so I made a plan and, thankfully, I stuck to it. Sometime in October I made my mind up that on November 1st, I would start a list of things I am thankful for and post it to Facebook each and every day the month of November. Looking back, it really did allow me to search for things that were a positive in my life and there were many. I also chose to stop posting them after November 30th; that doesn’t mean that I stopped being thankful, it simply means that I make it a more private endeavor — and the things became more and more personal as Christmas approached, but the habit was in place. For that I am very thankful because I needed the focus for a while longer. For some reason, I kept that paper with my list — I guess it was a symbol of how strong I could be when necessary; then I lost track of that list, or so I thought…

While going through some papers the other day, that list reappeared and at that moment I remembered why I had put it in that place. It was one of those days that I needed a pick-me-up and I was not disappointed. In honor of April 23, 2009, I want to share this list with you. Please keep in mind that the list you are reading is a much condensed version of what I posted each day to Facebook in November of 2009, but I am still thankful for each and every one of them. I hope this list brings positive things to your mind.

I am thankful for:  You, yes you…God is… True Friends… Music… Family… Forgiveness… Freedom… Today… Military… Veterans & their Families… Inspired Writers… Justin… Change of Seasons… Laughter… Andy… Andy’s continued employment… Memories… Random Acts of Kindness… Conversation and Dialogue… Andy’s Contest Entry & win… Another Day… Time with Mom… In-laws… Joy… Thanksgiving… Relationships… Love… Anniversaries… Simple Pleasures…

When originally posted, I expanded on some of these a little, others a great deal and still others were simply left alone — it all depended upon how much I chose to share at  the time. At first sight of this list the other day a smile immediately came to my face and a lot of emotions followed — yes some sad, but mainly happy. While it is true I am a fairly private person, I needed to share this list 5 years ago, but I also need to share this now. Looking back, my list is in no way complete — it doesn’t even come close to covering all that came to my mind while I was doing it. This list helped me through a tough time, but more importantly, it taught me that I could and would make it through a very rough time in my life. I hope those of you that are going through something will be inspired to find your strength to persevere and push forward.

My Mom is no longer here with us, but her spirit, her memories and her energy will always be a part of my life. Was my relationship with my Mom perfect? Absolutely not, but there are plenty of good things and pleasant memories I have to keep her alive in my heart. Maybe one day I will write a blog on her, but we will have to see about that.

 

Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!

Braver, Stronger and Smarter

When I was a little girl…just a couple of years ago…I absolutely LOVED a certain cartoon bear named Winnie the Pooh! That relationship still exists to this day — he is a special source of comfort and friendship for me. It is for this reason that I introduced my son to him from the very beginning; it just so happened that Disney decided that the world had been devoid of a full length movie about that lovable bear and his friends not long after his birth. Before the time “Pooh’s Grand Adventure” was available on tape, we were limited to a variety of short videos starring this “tubby little cubby all stuffed with fluff.” From the very start, Justin was just as enthralled with him as I was; this of course was heavenly for me. There is one quote from that movie that still lives in our family. A. A. Milne had it right when he wrote: “Promise me you’ll always remember You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” To this day, those words have special meaning and touching memories tied to them for our family.

Isn’t that the epitome of what we, as parents, dream for our children — that they would be confident in themselves and their abilities? That they would be braver, stronger and smarter? Of course it is! Naturally, each child is different and one or more of those qualities will be more readily attained than the others. In addition to that, some kids are naturally more receptive to the encouraging we provide and even some of us, as parents, are a little lacking in the abilities to follow through with our ideal plan. Even with those limitations, we still hope and dream that our kids will achieve greater than we did and become the very best they can be and achieve lofty goals — because of, or inspire of, our own involvement.

Justin turned 19 yesterday and I wanted to write something on his Facebook wall for the world to see. As I sat there trying to come up with something particularly witty or sentimental, my mind kept drifting to the above quote; I quickly determined that this quote was exactly what I wanted to say and that I didn’t need to reword it or even try to catch the sentiment. I really needed him to hear — ok, read those words from me. Then the realization happened; at that moment I realized that I needed to say them. Not because I thought he had forgotten or that I was afraid he would not remember — I needed those words to flow between us because I just needed the connection. From his 13th birthday through his 17th, I was not able to celebrate his special day with him — it has always been put off for a day or 2…or 5 because of traveling with his youth group. They returned from the trip ON his 18th, so at least I saw him for a few hours of it. All of that was ok because I had the luxury of seeing him daily leading up to and following. This year is different; not only did I not get to see him ON his birthday, but I don’t get to see him daily any more. That is just how it works when college years attack. We are at the phase of his life that he is spreading his wings and learning to fly on his own. I guess in a very real sense I am doing the very same thing, but that is a good thing. (That is not the subject of this post, but it may come out in another — who knows?!)

The entire quote goes like this:  “Promise me you’ll always remember that you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is,even if we are apart, I’ll always be with you.

As Justin has grown and matured through the years, this quote has always been a part of our lives — and I expect it always will be. We learned it well before he started school and repeated it as recently as yesterday — its message remains the same. To be honest, I expect him to be telling me this one day as he moves on with this adventure called life. When that day happens, I will have to remember that I am braver than I believe, and stronger than I seem, and smarter than I think. But the most important thing is, even when we are apart, you (Justin) will always be with me. 

Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!

The Storm before the Calm

Well, believe it or not — I AM BAAAAAAACK!!!!  When I started this blog I had plans to write something every week or two; in fact I did pretty well in the beginning, but I have not done so well over the last few months. I ask that you bear with me as I pick this up again and venture into my new reality…my new adventure if you will.

To say that a couple of things have happened and changed in the several months since my last post would definitely be an understatement! Between Senior Prom on April 26th, emptying the house on May 26th and finally making the final move to Nashville on June 4th, we had just a few things to juggle. A few of the highlights include college registration, family visits, graduation, graduation party, packing, moving, cleaning and a trip to Texas. This doesn’t even take into account the regular day-to-day stuff involved with daily life and having a Senior in the house and a husband 3 hours away, but I think you get the general idea — I was BUSY!  Oh, and did I mention that we made another move on June 15th into our current place? Well, yeah, we did that too. I think I am due for a season of not moving for a while.

There were times in the midst of this maddening chaos that I really did want to throw my hands up and just scream; I needed an outlet for everything that was being pent-up because of the seemingly unending list that I needed to accomplish. In addition to this I had my new “normal” reality pressing in on me too — Andy was 3 hours away and we had only brief contact daily and the occasional face to face visit when it worked out. I felt alone and at times all I could do was to stop, cry it out and start over. Those times weren’t often, nor did they last for an extended time, but they served as an emotional reset of sorts and allowed me to reset and begin again. Ultimately it all worked and I managed NOT to maim or murder anyone or anything! See — self-control really does pay off!

Throughout the storm of circumstances swirling about me I knew that it would ultimately be worth it — our family would be back together in the same city and under the same roof!!! I was SO ready for that! All in all that, along with my Faith was what brought me through and kept me going even when it seemed that all was lost and I would fail. Never have I ever been more grateful for friends, family and Faith as I have over the last little bit. Without a doubt– even in the darkest of my days — did I ever lose sight of that or my goal. Now that we have made it through this storm we can set sail into the open waters and see just what the future holds.

Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!

Choosing Thankfulness

Three years ago, facing my first Holiday season without my Mom and a few other difficult situations, I was at one of the lowest points I can remember; I was having a difficult time finding myself. It was at that time that I knew that if I was to have a chance to move forward I would have to do so intentionally and on purpose — it wasn’t happening spontaneously. Somewhere during that October I decided to make November a month of thankfulness; instead of having one Thanksgiving Day, I would have 30 days of it. I purposed to start on November 1st and post something for which I was thankful on Facebook and I did it. Some days were easier than others but I did not give up and I not only made it through the Holiday season, I found a way to enjoy it — I had been able to move forward. My Mom was still gone and my difficult situations had not improved, but I had changed my focus.

Every year since, I have continued to do the same thing and I am finding that it is refreshing to stop and find something positive in each day. I am faced again with circumstances that could easily distract me and sap my joy, but I am again determined to keep my focus on the blessings in my life — and there are many. I have been reminded many times over the last 3 years that it is not always about the big, boisterous resounding events; it is often as simple as seeing my favorite Fall tree turn into a blazing crimson torch letting me know I am almost home. It is about stopping to notice the random acts of kindness going on around me each and every day. And it is in the great joy that a phone call can bring at the most unexpected moment. Life is our gift and it is up to us to choose how we focus our energy.

Since this is the first day of November, I want to start off my Thanksgiving month in this blog. So, to kick it off, I want to say that I am thankful for you, the reader of this blog. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read what I have to say! I greatly appreciate you and hope that you will share this with those you think would enjoy reading it too.

Now, while I won’t promise a blog every day — I can actually promise there won’t be 30 blogs this month — I can promise that I will keep looking for, AND FINDING things that bring positive to my life.

Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!

At Last

From the time our children come into our lives, we start the process of teaching them to grow up, mature and take care of themselves. That is, after all, our main mission as parents; however no one tells you exactly what to do it so it is all done by trial and error. Their lives are filled with Firsts that begin at birth and continue throughout their life. The Firsts are the things we tend to remember or make note of somewhere– good and bad. Whether it be the first time they roll over, say their first word, take their first step, get their first boo-boo or their first heartbreak. We are there helping them celebrate or console their pain. That is just what we do as parents. As they grow and mature more Firsts come and go and they grow up right before out eyes. Continue reading

All it takes…

Sometimes all it takes is for a service appointment to be missed, twice. Then, suddenly and without warning after scheduling a third appointment the eyes get moist and then it starts– for no apparent reason — the tears start and then come harder, like it seems they never will stop. All that goes through your mind is that there is no rational reason for this — this is not normal for you — what is happening?!  Then your mind goes to everything else over the last few days, weeks or months that has not gone right and then it jumps to a whole bunch of things that are undecided and there you are. You are at the point of not having a clue how everything got to this point and then right back to trying to figure out why the tears are still coming. After all, it is not the biggest thing in the world and in the grand scheme of things a missed service appointment is probably near the bottom of the list of important details that must be handled.

Wow! Are you tired yet? I am — It wore me out just typing all of that, but it doesn’t compare to the feeling after enduring it; we all have been there. While this is an exhausting process, it is often necessary to serve as an emotional cleansing. Sometimes the best thing you can do is let the tears flow — trying to stop them is not only futile, but it can often make you feel worse. Don’t let you convince yourself that it is all about a silly missed appointment or two. More than likely it is the latest drop in a very worn out bucked that lets the damn burst and send the tears forth; you know –the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Give yourself break — it has probably been building for a while, even longer than you think. Let the tears do their job as a pressure relief and then you can go on about your day. An afternoon or morning of tears doesn’t mean you are falling apart — it probably means that you won’t. Well, at least that is what I tell myself — and I wouldn’t lie to me! Right?

Let’s see what’s next…Thanks for reading!