Saturday, September 03, 2011
Yep. I just sent my baby girl off to college again for her sophomore year. I reflect back on the memories of this past summer; concerts, the wisdom teeth fiasco, 2 a.m. key lime pie thefts from the fridge, a house full of laughter at all hours of the night with friends (my adopted sons and daughters). Suddenly, once again, the house is silent and there are remnants left of her presence. She forgot her phone charger. Her birthday cards still adorn her dresser along with her eyebrow tweezers. (She's going to have to get a new pair quickly! Like mine, her eyebrows grow into a unibrow!) The barren spot in the driveway where her car used to sit sends tears to my eyes...
She took her car this year. THAT MEANS SHE CAN COME HOME WHENEVER SHE WANTS. Okay, that makes me feel a LITTLE better but still....
Ugh. I'm not looking forward to coming home from work to an empty house. I'm more upset for myself. She's happy and well-adjusted. She's excelling. She possesses a positive and nurturing personality and has the most outrageous and engaging sense of humor of anybody that I know. I must have done something right with this kid. I thought it would be easier the second time around sending her out into the world but it feels so much more difficult this time. What's up with THAT??
Okay, center yourself, Michelle. Breathe. One day, one breath, one step, one heartbeat at a time. (My new life motto.) There is one thought that keeps entering my mind. "When I grow up, I want to be just like you." That's what Bre has said to me through-out the years, almost from the time she could talk. But I'm not hearing it in her voice anymore. I'm hearing it in mine...saying it to HER.
I want to be just LIKE YOU. I want to look at each moment as a new adventure, an opportunity to reach beyond my own self-imposed limits. I want to find laughter in the small things and learn how to be content in the MOMENT. Just like you. I want to grab the small beautiful moments by the tail and ride with them, like you have done, and share them with the people around me. I want to be able to share a smile with others even when my own heart hurts, to hold out my hand to help another who has fallen, just as you have done all of these years. Your heart is bigger and fuller than my own. It has always been given to others with so much fervor and grace, so much love, that it cascades over its own walls.
As much as I want to sit here and allow the tears to fall from my face and retreat to my bedroom to wallow in my loneliness, I will not. You would not do that. I imagine that you are giddy with excitement, fixing up your dorm room and sharing time with your friends.
But I miss you. And I love you more than what a human being could possibly love another. I truly believe you do not experience earthly love so fervently and real until you hold your babies in your arms. So, just wait. The true gift of love is yet to come for you when you hold your OWN baby beanie in your arms.
And I will be there. Right beside you...both.
But until then, enjoy being you and learning everything new and exciting about yourself. I will be here when you miss home. I will be here when you need someone to talk to. I will just always be...
HERE for you.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
I feel bad for laughing at her now....but, I gotta tell ya, she was just so daggone funny that I laughed until the tears ran down my face. This morning was Beanie's oral surgery to remove her two upper and two lower wisdom teeth. Although I was filled with worry and trepidation, I couldn't help but giggle when I walked into her recovery room.
She was lying beneath the covers, jaws plumped out with gauze...and the most amazing, widest smile I've ever seen. One eye tended to wander while the other stayed in place and her face beamed when she saw me walk in...
Although I couldn't understand most of what she was saying, I did make out several key words.
"Need more of this stuff...so freakin' awesome!" then she burst out in laughter.
"Baby, are you feeling alright?" I asked.
"Are you freakin' kiddin' me??? When is...doctor coming to take out my teeth?"
"You're done, sweetie!"
"(Laughing uncontrollably) Spifffffy! (Laughing uncontrollably)"
"(Laughing uncontrollably) Not feeling any pain?"
"(Laughing uncontrollably) Shoot! Tell 'im to get back here and take out some more!"
"Nooo, you can keep what you have now. We wanna keep that beautiful smile."
"(Taking her hands and mimicking biting with her fingers...) "Ight!"
""Ight'?? You mean 'bite'?"
"Ask if I can get some to take home with me...I will share. 'Ight??" (Winking...)
"OOOkay, young lady..."
"(Squealing in laughter) I should have worn pants today!" (She DID.)
I was laughing so hard that I couldn't see. But I managed to get out my phone and take a few shots...
"I can't believe you got me without my glasses!"
"You usually want pics taken WITHOUT THEM."
"Oh dear, you're a handful today."
"That's what HE said."
Now I feel bad for laughing, however. She's lying in bed, jaws swollen, waking every hour. Sometimes a little moan will escape from her lips and I will jump to her side. Even at 19, she's my little girl. She always will be. And when it comes right down to it, no matter how old my kids get to be, they always seem to want me, need me by their side when things just aren't "'ight." It makes me feel amazing, loved, and honored...
But, oh, we are sooo gonna get to the bottom of the "that's what HE said" comment when she feels better.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
I am cancer-free.
I AM CANCER-FREE.
Hearing those words this morning made me feel a number of things. Joy. Exhilaration. The mother-load of relief. I swear, I think I even had an out-of-body experience. I hung up the phone, looked at Brian and burst out crying. I don't think I have ever seen him rush to me so quickly and throw his arms around me. He kept whispering, "What, what, what...what did they say???" and I could finally blurt out the words I've been longing to say.
"It's not cancer. I am okay."
A very sweet man recently told me about the "dark night of the soul" and how it is God's way of making us who we are, how it can serve as a catalyst to draw us closer to Him. I always thought God and I were on the same page during my journey with Him. I always thought that we pretty much wanted the same thing for my life. When I was told about my lupus and heart defect, I accepted it for what it was and placed my trust in His ability to take care of me. But when I was told about the possibility I may have cancer, I became angry with God and almost felt a sense of betrayal. I started to push Him away when what I should have REALLY done was draw Him closer to me.
Even though I was feeling this way, almost to the point of shutting Him out of my life, He STILL wrapped His arms around my soul and took care of me. Imagine that.
Our God is an awesome God.
Someone else told me that I have to allow my friends to be there for me. It's funny how I know that it is true deep inside my heart and yet, I was almost afraid to let it out. Maybe out of fear of being seen as a drama queen and not wanting to bother everyone with my problems...you guys have plenty of dilemmas of your own and I did not want to add to them. But MY GOODNESS I am glad I did because I am sure...NO, I KNOW...your prayers are what helped to pull me through this. And it gave you all an opportunity to reach out and do what your heart longed to do. I owed you that. And I benefited in the end.
NOW, what am I going to do with the rest of my life? Now that I am cancer-free? It feels like the whole world has suddenly opened up before me and there is really nothing to get in my way. I don't have to worry about the "what-ifs." I don't have to lay in bed and worry and go through the thousands of scenarios a cancer diagnosis could bring. But I gotta tell you, it gives me a taste of what those who DO have that hideous disease are going through. I can't even begin to imagine the feelings that they have. It gives me a new appreciation for their tenacity and strength. It gives me a deeper respect for those who have battled it and won back their lives. And it gives me a sadness in my heart for those who couldn't persevere, who lost their lives and left behind broken families who are asking the same questions. "Why MY mother? Why MY daughter? Why MY FATHER or SON?
Valuable lesson learned. MANY valuable lessons learned.
The biggest one is that my God never left me even when I pushed Him away.
"What can separate us
From the love of Jesus Christ?
Nothing this world can even change.
I thought I once was lost
But now've been given grace...
It's a mystery that I will not chase..."
Thank you for your prayers. And thank you for being a patient and loving part of my journey...
...For I believe the wings of angels are often found on the backs of our closest friends.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
I've been gone so long, I almost forgot how to navigate through SparkPeople. Shoot, I almost forgot my password and had to dig out the notebook where I keep such things. (There must have been a half inch of dust on it.) I am a mess, to be totally honest. I am so used to being able to be the happy one, the one with some sort of "learned lesson" to share with others. Yes, there were alot of times I would have struggles and blog about them but usually, at the end of it, I would find a way to make it okay. To realize something profound. And hope that in some way it would help someone else.
But lately I haven't had any of those experiences. I've been numb, going through the motions of day-to-day life and wondering why I feel the way I do. I've been lost. My feet have felt like they are stuck in muck and mire. And when I logged on the other day and saw that Willow passed away, I wanted to do nothing but cry. She was a selfless soul, constantly giving of herself, exuding nothing but hope and faith to all those who knew her and they rejoiced in her presence. I immediately logged back off and tried to desperately understand why life is so unpredictable and cruel. At times. I know that life is that way and that is when we must rely on our Lord's understanding and not our own. But it still hurt.
I am looking forward to Beanie's homecoming next week. Maybe that will help.
I've been working unstable, sometimes long, hours. To be blunt, my job sucks because it has sucked the life out of me on so many different levels. One day I love it, the next I hate it. Some days I am widely appreciated, some days I am looked at as if I am a witch. I was offered a management position and I looked at them like they were on drugs. I am being offered a couple of training courses specifically tailored for another position in the company, which would give me a pay raise, but I can't seem to give them a definitive answer. My latest evaluation was graded "exceeded expectations" so why do I feel so empty? I don't care about the money. I don't care about the title it would give me. I just want to go home and sleep before I have to turn around and do it all over again.
I'm sorry, guys. I really am. I think I am depressed. So many of you have given me goodies, written emails and showed so much love and concern toward me. I am deeply touched. I am sorry that I have been non-existent here and I MISS YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH. Before I know it, one day turns into two, two turns into four and then twenty three days later after my last post I decide to write a blog about how yucky I am. I'm sorry I don't have much good to say. I'm sorry I can't make you smile.
Please pray for me that I will snap out of this, if you can find it in your heart to do so. And while you're at it, please pray that the results of my biopsy will come back okay. I have two growths on my cervix that the doctor said are not typical and she was very concerned. That's kind of got me bugged out, too. I can honestly say that I love you all just the same, if not more. And that I miss you beyond all understanding.
And I really am very, very sorry for being away so much. With all my heart, I am very much missing you and feeling terrible for not being here for my friends.
Friday, April 15, 2011
A sense of surprise and pride can erupt from volatile situations, in places and times when you least expect them. They can even make you aware of flaws that you may have in your character or the strengths in other’s characters where you did not expect to find them before. These last three years have been difficult on my husband and myself with our youngest son. As with all of our children, he was given every opportunity to explore his talents, every opportunity to shine in athletics, the freedom to express himself in thought, voice and action. Yet, where his older brother and sister and youngest sister excelled, he wrestled with peer pressure and a need to prove that he was tough and above the rules of society.
Three years is a long time to spend behind bars. Three years is a long time to watch your son struggle with the consequences of his actions and miss major holidays and funerals that have occurred during his time away. At first, he had to “prove” that prison life was not tough enough for him. He had to “prove” that he could be the biggest and baddest in a place where being the biggest and baddest bought you "esteem" and "respect." He used his artistic talent to tattoo his entire upper torso and arms with pictures; his inability to think before he spoke bought him multiple nose fractures and scars on his rugged handsome face. I can’t even begin to tell you how many nights I lied awake, staring at the ceiling, praying until I could pray no more, crying, wishing, wondering what I could have done differently to have kept this nightmare from us all. Many days I would eat myself into a sugar coma, many more days I would not eat at all.
It took a long time for me to realize that it was not ME who placed him there. It took a long time for me to “let go” and realize that his decisions were his own.
This did not keep me from worrying about the day he was set free. Will he have learned from his mistakes? Will he realize that bad behavior begets consequences? Will he be able to resist the pull from the ones who assisted, who aided him, in his self-destructive behavior from his past? Will he be strong ENOUGH? Will he have LEARNED??? That day is today. He was released at 8 a.m. this morning. My phone rang at 8:50 and I heard a jubilant “Hi, Mom, I AM FREE. I love you so much and I am on my way to see you now.” Many mixed emotions flooded my heart and soul. I cried, I laughed, I felt joy. But I was surprised at the amount of fear that filled my mind…
One of the people who was the largest influence on his actions is his soon-to-be-ex-wife. I realize that his actions were of his own doing but this person was a major factor in his decision processes. I have always tried my best to exhibit Christian-like behavior through-out the 3 a.m. drunken phone calls from her or the threats that she would hurt him again when he got out. Whether it be using my grandson against him or me, I have done my very best to place it in the hands of God. Yet, today, knowing my son was getting set free, she wasted no time calling my house, screaming into the receiver, cursing me and my son. I have always had a little bit of a temper but I was not prepared for the torrent of emotion that arose from me. Before I knew it, before I could check my words, I found myself screaming at her loudly, so forcefully, so hatefully, and it left my son standing there in a silent, wide-eyed, state of disbelief. I even scared her. She quickly gasped and hung up on me.
I was shaking. I was livid, not able to see straight. How dare she do this, how dare she try to wreck his newly-found freedom! Then I was ashamed, painfully aware that I just exhibited the same behavior that I begged my son not to resort to. Yet….
He came to me with tears in his eyes and took my hand. This boy who spent most of his adult life trying to prove that he was big and bad, tough, above all things, wrapped his callused hand around my own, his opposite arm encircled my trembling shoulders, and he quietly said, “Don’t do this, Mom. This is not you. This is not ME anymore. Her behavior is not worth this. We are better than this. We are on a new beginning here so let’s not get tripped up over someone else’s selfish delusion of life. I’m willing to act and react like I should have done a long time ago. Now, let‘s not let mere words drop us to our knees. Let‘s stand together and embrace a new life.” Then, with eyes that looked years older and wiser, even weary and a little fearful, he nodded and waited for an agreement. He made me promise to focus on the future ahead of him, to not allow the darkness from the past envelope ME anymore. Then he said this:
“God is my mentor, Mom, and where there is God, there is hope.”
As I watched him leave, excited about his new apartment and new life that he had tucked safely away two hours from here (away from the past peers, away from the reminders of his past behaviors), he waved and smiled a smile that was brighter than ANY sun I’ve witnessed. Blowing me a kiss from the car window, he shouted, “I love you Mom…promise to make you proud now!”
So, you see, even in the worst of situations, you are able to see the flaws in your own heart. But even BETTER, you are finally able to see the strengths in the hearts of other’s where they might not have been before.
Perhaps it just takes a little time for THEM to see it for themselves.
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