Monthly Archives: August 2012

Adjusting

It’s been almost two weeks since we drove off and left Oldest Son all alone in a strange town. I think it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Getting back in the van after saying our good-byes was painful. Like pulling a piece of my heart out of my chest.

It’s crazy really. This is the thing that I have spent the last 18 1/2 years preparing for. This is the point of raising children. So they can go out and live a productive, happy life. This is the logical next step in the process. And he is well prepared for this adventure {except for the random things we forgot to pack!}. He has chosen a school that is a good fit for him. He has picked a curriculum that I knew was right for him about 13 years ago:)! He got into the dorm he wanted. He has a few close high school friends going to the same school; on campus but not in the same dorm.  Close enough they can get together, but not so close he doesn’t make new friends at college. He is playing in the marching band which is awesome! He will make so many friends through band and have lots of activities to be involved with. It’s all really good!

But it’s also really different. I remember crying in my dorm after my parents left. I remember thinking, pardon the language, “What the hell have I done! I have to go home. I can’t do this!” Fortunately, my parents knew it was the right thing for me too. I stayed, made life long friends, had experiences that shaped the person I am today and met my husband! It was a good thing. Just as this will be for Oldest Son.

But it’s really different. We’re a family of five who is now buying four-packs of tickets. Everyone has their own side at the dinner table. It’s different.

It’s so hard to go from knowing what is going on in their life every day, to being outside the loop. From being a part of decision-making, even as a sounding board, to not knowing when decisions are being made. This is the way it should be. I’m proud of who he is. It’s still hard.

Each day gets a little bit easier. It reminds me of when he learned to walk. You spend lots of back-breaking days, bent over holding hands walking with them. They fall down a lot. And sometimes you think, it’s way too soon for this! Gradually, you move to holding one hand letting them stagger a bit. But eventually, you have to let go all together or they will never learn to walk on their own. And it’s scary to let go. Scary because they could fall and get hurt. Scary because they might not go the direction you thought they would. And scary because they need you a little less.

It’s the way it should be, but as a Mom I deserve to be a little sad. It’s ok for me to take some time to adjust to this new way of relating. Just like it took some adjustment when he entered our lives and turned our world upside down. So it is now. We’re a little out of kilter and need some time to recalibrate.

We will get there. All in good time.

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Filed under Family, Lifestyle, Parenting

My Heart is Full

I just spent the weekend working and my heart is full. I think I’ve mentioned before, I work for the National MS Society. I love my job and this weekend is one of the reasons why!

Our Chapter hosted a couples retreat for people living with MS. I spent the weekend with 40 people living with an unpredicatable disease, who care enough about their relationship to do some hard work. They spent time talking about the tough stuff; how frustrating it is to have to carry more than your share of the housework, how sad it is to not be able to walk hand in hand, how scary it is to not know what lies ahead for the one they love. They talked about feelings of guilt, anxiety, resentment. All the emotions that come with living with a chronic, unpredictable disease.

They also celebrated the gifts they have been given. They shared the blessings that have come from living with this disease. They supported and encouraged each other. They confirmed their commitment to face their future together, whatever it may look like.

MS affects every person differently. Many people don’t show any outward signs or symptoms, but deal with extreme fatigue, painful “pins and needles” or numbness that no one can see. Others deal with a continuous progression of symptoms leading them to become dependent on mobility devices, and eventually dependent on others for their daily needs. No one knows which course of this disease is in their future. They must plan for the worst and pray for the best, taking each day in stride. I really don’t know how I would handle that situation. I fear it would not be with grace.

 It is so very easy to take my life for granted. It is easy to get wrapped up in my own universe; to be so caught up in my life that I forget to give thanks. It is easy to get my shorts in a knot over the small stuff; to think my problems are big. It’s not that my problems are insignificant, it is about seeing them for what they are- challenges that can be managed. I think perspective is a gift and I appreciate the opportunity to gain some every now and then.

 I feel blessed to have been a part of this weekend and met so many wonderful people. I am grateful for the work I am able to do and proud of the people I work with who are not afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. committed colleagues who work long hours and many who have dedicated their careers to improving the quality of life for people living with MS. They inspire me and motivate me. And programs like this weekend remind me how fortunate I am to do the work I do. It’s humbling.

If you want to be a part of making a difference you can join the movement with me! www.MSmidamerica.org Ride your bike, volunteer, donate, get involved!

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Filed under Randomness, Thankful

Big Day

Today is a big day at our house.

These little guys…

Now look like this.

Youngest Son just left for his first day of high school. I don’t know where the time went. I hear parents say that all the time, and it sounds so corny. I think their elementary years do go by slowly. Maybe because there is less transition happening each year. But, once they hit middle school change is the norm. Each year brings something new and different. And take that times three kids, just two years apart each, and you have constant change. It’s all for the good {mostly:)},  but change is still hard work.

My living room is full of boxes, carpet scraps, gaming systems, a giant cardboard dough boy, and pretty much everything Oldest Son cares about. And his room is very empty. The pictures that have hung on the wall for years are down and packed away. The bulletin board full of memorabilia has been cleaned off and put away. The room is ready for Youngest Son to move into. Middle and Youngest Sons have shared a bedroom for the last 10 years. Prior to that all three boys shared a room. They are tight like that. They all slept in one room and used the other for their toys. They like each other. Which makes this transition all the harder.

Soon we will load all of Oldest Son’s things in the van and head off to college. It’s a good thing. He’s picked a good school and I know he will thrive there. It’s good.

But I am going to miss him terribly. I’m going to miss talking to him every night. Miss having him around to give me perspective on what his brothers are dealing with. I’ll miss his sense of humor and always positive attitude. And I will miss our family together. I will miss ridiculous dinners with flying biscuits. I’ll miss the hallway surfing and wrestling matches in the living room {Really! I will!}

It is really all pretty selfish of me. My life will never be the same. I know there are good times ahead of us. I know it’s good, and it’s what we’ve apparently been preparing for, but it’s still hard. I don’t think it really occurred to me when I was trying to teach him everything he needed to know to be successful in life, that I was getting him ready to leave. You are preparing them for something that will be so painful for yourself. You want it for your child, but man it’s uncomfortable for you as a parent. I guess it’s kind of like childbirth – the most painful, awesome experience imaginable. I hope I get 6-8 weeks to recover from this too!

And if their leaving the nest is just like their birth…please know Middle Son, it may be even harder when it’s your time to go. And it may take me much longer to recover. {Heaven help us all!} And Youngest Son, when it comes time for you to move out, remember how quick and easy your birth was? Don’t be offended if it is quick and painless for me. That’s just what happens with the third child. It doesn’t mean I love you any less – I’ve just learned how cope.

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Filed under Family, Legacy, Parenting

The Call

I got the call parents of teen drivers dread. {Ok, one of the calls.}

Mom, I got hit.

It’s funny how you switch into a whole different mode when something like that happens. It’s hyper-controlled Mom mode. Making split second decisions and moving twice as fast. The questions fly while trying to maintain a calm demeanor for a teen dealing with his first accident. Assessing the situation while driving to meet him is nerve-wracking.

As car accidents go, this was a great first accident! Middle Son was leaving the high school parking lot, looking for oncoming traffic before pulling out onto the circle drive. Unfortunately, that’s the moment a school administrator decided to back out of his parking spot. He didn’t even see Middles Son’s car and Middle Son didn’t even know what hit him. Neither of them were hurt, but both vehicles had some damage. The administrator was great, he could see how upset Middle Son was and told him to call his parents. I’m sure it was not an ideal situation for him either. He took responsibility and his insurance company has been great to work with so far. The car is already at the garage and we are picking up our rental today to get the family around until the car is fixed. We really couldn’t ask for a better experience…if there has to be an accident that is.

Someone is a little stressed.

Ironically, we were school shopping earlier in the day and got on the subject of car insurance. We talked about comprehensive and collision, uninsured and underinsured motorist and why we carry the coverage we do. Less than two hours later, we are standing in the parking lot calling our insurance agent. We have now banned that subject, don’t want to jinx ourselves:).

So it was a big day for Middle Son, got a job and had his first {and let’s pray, last} car accident. So many lessons to learn.

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Filed under Parenting