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Archive for the ‘Mom’ Category

What’s the job where if you do it well enough after about two decades you are guaranteed to be fired??  Oh yeah, motherhood. blog

The summers of 2013 and 2014 I was suffering from the damage caused by Ativan and it’s impact on my brain and central nervous system.  One huge side effect of that iatrogenic illness was emotional blunting.  I felt nothing.  I spent 20+ hours a day in bed just trying to survive.  Had there been a fire in my house it’s not an exaggeration to say I am unsure I could have worked up the energy to bother getting up.

During those lost years of illness my children grew up.  The youngest graduated high school and joined his brother at college.  The transition from homeschooler to successful college student was seamless.  They managed their course loads, performed well academically, chose good friends, made wise decisions.  Both have become amazing citizens and will be successful in anything they attempt.

But now I am feeling well and FEELING in general and they are living at home.  But instead of the kids I sent off to college, I’m living with two adult males who no longer need a mommy.  That’s been my identity and the only job I was designed for since June 1993.  My brain knows I’ve done my job well and it’s time, but my heart says “just a little longer please.”  I’m grateful that I can again feel all the emotions God gifted us with, but some days I wish that elusive time machine would finally be built so I could hold my boy’s hands and relive some of the best years of my life.

I love this scene from Galaxy Quest.  Gwen sums up what I was and what I shall always be.  Please watch:

http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi2625634841

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Today is Mother’s Day but this post isn’t so much about being a mother as it is about family. A few weeks ago, going through my mom’s things left to me on her passing, I rediscovered my grandmother’s mother’s ring. These rings are the piece of jewelry given to many moms with birthstones representing their kids.

I slipped Grandmas ring on and it fit perfectly.  Like it was made for me.  I have found myself looking at my no-longer-young hand and thinking of Grandma.  blog4Remembering fondly the many summers spent with her, my aunt & uncle and cousins who enriched my childhood. Time and distance, families and responsibilities of our own means close family ties get farther and farther apart, but those memories are precious to me.  Baseball games, Marco Polo, Del’s lemonade, Tripoley….fun.

As an adult who had great conversations with my Uncle who is no longer with us, I now realize they worked hard to help improve a childhood they knew was not easy.  Uncle Bob & Aunt Pauline were the example of a loving married couple who doted on their kids and took in my Grandma and cared for her.  Contrast that to my own Mom’s example of three marriages (by the 70s when divorce wasn’t as common), walking away from two kids, emotional abuse….

I feel eternally grateful that I had summers living with a family that not only showed me what family was supposed to be like, but gave me a goal to achieve.  I wanted for my kids what my cousins enjoyed.  God is good and I married a man from a similar emotionally unhealthy childhood and we broke the cycle we could have repeated and instead created a close family with lots of love and memories of our own.

Mother’s Day is not an easy holiday for many.  We didn’t all get the moms we wanted and even as adults may still be dealing with toxic relationships and hurts.  If this is your story, I am so sorry.  I feel your pain.

I won’t be thinking of my own mom today with gratitude; I just can’t.  Instead, I’m focusing on the whole family who helped me grow to be the person I am now.  I’m remembering summers in Pawtucket.  I’m thinking of my two guys knee deep in final exams.  Praying for my many “kids” I’ve adopted in my heart as my own.  Dreaming of a future in our soon to be home of West Virginia, the birthplace of all the kids in Grandma’s ring.  And I’m hoping that when my boys are grown and raising kids of their own, they will remember their mom as the person who loved them beyond measure and was proud of the men they became.

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Humans by nature remember.  We mark important days in our lives, celebrate birthdays, commemorate anniversary dates.  Sunday, January 27, 2013 will be one year since we said goodbye to our beloved family companion, Mocha.  She lived a good life, and enjoyed 14 years surrounded by her brothers and Mom and Dad.  Anyone who knows me will surely understand that this week has been full of tears as I can vividly recall our world 12 months ago.  The day before my 47th birthday I took Mocha in to see her lifelong vet because she was not eating normally and I sensed.  I sensed that this would be one of those moments which are marked in our family history.  Very quickly the doctor knew things were not good and ran tests.  On my birthday we learned that Mocha’s kidneys were failing and time was short.  We chImageanged up her diet, added even more pills to her daily regimen and my 16 year old son stepped up to the plate and administered IV fluids to our girl every other day.  He knew I could not do it and that was the first time I saw in this boy the man he would become.  He loved her and did what he knew no one else could for her.  A gift I treasure.

At her diagnosis the vet told us we might get 6 more months; we got 15 more days.  I have often wondered over the last year if the vet really missed the mark on how long Mo might live, or if she gave me a gift.  I don’t know what those two weeks would have been like if I had only heard the loud clock ticking off the remainder of time we had left.  Instead, I forged ahead making plans, pricing medical products we would need for the next 6 months, taking Mocha to her beloved Rock Creek Park and preparing salmon and scrambled eggs for her breakfast.  By this time her appetite was so poor that we fed her anything she would eat.  I will always treasure one of our last videos of Mocha eating her very own Happy Meal.  Another gift to see my best girl enjoying food again and my precious sons laughing.

Mocha gave us many gifts during her 14 years with us.  She taught us how to stop and smell even when we felt hurried to get to the next thing on our list.  She understood her place in the family and that she “outranked” the youngest child (the man who later took care of administering her meds).  The two, boy and dog, enjoyed a life of plaguing each other.  As soon as Trevor left his room, Mocha entered in search of anything she could steal.  It was a game which brought us many smiles.  Trev and Mo, very early in her life, were involved in an incident which included the breaking of a brand new glass floor lamp.  Only the two of them were in the room and both blamed the other for the running and knocking over.  Mocha made a deathbed confession about that lamp; she confessed that Trevor broke it.  A gift of remembering when life was simply about running and jumping.

It has been both a long and short year.  I can honestly say that I think of Mocha daily.  Pictures and paintings of her fill the house; her ashes reside in a beautiful wooden box which I treasure.  It has taken at least 6 or 8 months where I could think of her, or share a story, and not break down in tears.  Mostly.  This week, of course, remembering the last of everything, has been pretty teary.

I loved being a dog mom, and especially a stay-at-home, homeschool dog Mom.  Mocha was part of all I did, and spent more time with her family than the average dog.  We kenneled her one time when we had to fly to a family wedding, and another time we had a friend move in when we took the kids to Disney.  Other than that, Mocha traveled with us on all our family vacations.  She spent weeks in Canaan Valley WV, Chincoteague, VA and the beaches of the Outer Banks.  If bags were packed, she parked herself in the foyer to ensure we didn’t forget her.  Like we ever could.

Part of my sadness is not just the loss of my best girl, but it is the realization that that part of my life has ended.  Trevor graduates high school in May and will be joining his brother at college in Pennsylvania in August.  In September I plan to return to the work force after decades at home.  It doesn’t make any sense to even think about adopting again since the house will be empty.  It wouldn’t be fair.  So, Mocha was my first and last dog.  I am grateful that God gave me the one He did.

I love you Mocha and know one day you’ll be running alongside me without pain and with great joy.

Mom

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This is step one in helping me redefine who I am as a person, Mom and wife.  For the past 18 years, I have been a mom to at least one child, joined later by a second.  I also had the great joy of homeschooling my boys starting in grades 4 and 6.  Now that the oldest has left for college (without even looking back once!), and the youngest has less than 2 years before his departure, I have begun examining my life.  What will I be now that homeschooling is ending, and motherhood is changing from hourly duties to occasional special appearances?

I don’t know where I am going to end up on this journey, but I know that I need to begin with the first step.  This blog is really going to be me thinking out loud, and testing the waters.  I don’t know if anyone will ever read this stuff, but the point is more about me having the courage to write, and act.

If you are here to find yourself as well, welcome.  Let’s get started.

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