Tag Archive | life

Valentine Tears

Today is Valentine’s Day!  A day of love, hugs, kisses and gifts and for some, a day of tears.  Not because the person you are dating didn’t buy you a gift.  Not because your spouse forgot to tell you Happy Valentine’s Day.  Not because your children didn’t show appreciation for what you do for them.  In my case, today is a day of tears because a very special Valentine will not arrive from my Mom.

It’s been 5 1/2 years since my mom died of cancer.  My grief for her is not as debilitating as it used to be.  I can go a month or so without missing her to the point of tears.  But on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, I miss her so much.  My mom always had some special Valentine’s gift for my siblings and I.  It could be something simple like a coloring book or just a box of chocolates, but no matter what, she always had a gift for us.  Even when I moved away, she would send me a care package at Valentine’s with a bag of my favorite candy bars, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

When I would call and thank her for remembering, she would tell me that she had to make sure her kids had a special Valentine’s gift from her.  (Yes, she would send care packages to all of her kids.)  Which explains my Valentine’s Day tears.  Memories of her love and care flood me with grief over the fact that she is not on this earth anymore.  Yes, I am an adult and a mother of four, I can go and buy as many Reese’s and I want for myself.  But that’s not the point, the point is that my mom took every opportunity to show me how much I meant to her and I miss the fact that I can’t hear her voice or read a special note that she’s written to me in a card.

I miss my mom today more than others, because it reminds me of how great of a mom she was.  I try my best to be that kind of mom for my kids, but I don’t know if I do it as well as she did.  Yes, I have bought some Valentine chocolates for my kiddos to receive tonight.  Yes, I purchased and helped them make out Valentine cards for their classmates.  And yes, I will most likely pop in during their Valentine’s Day party at school today.  But for some reason, that doesn’t seem like as much as my mom had done for me.  I’m afraid my grief for my mom makes my efforts a little less special for my kids.  But maybe that’s just the Devil trying to pull me down when he knows that I am weak.

So now that I have shared with you the love I have for my mom and the pain and tears that come with Valentine’s Day, I will wipe away the tears and do my best to make this day as special as I can for my kiddos.  So that one day, they too can have fond memories of me on Valentine’s Day.  To all those who find it hard to put aside their grief during this Valentine’s Day, I give you my own words of advice.  Spend a few minutes thinking of the one you lost and remember the great things they did for you.  Then get up and make this day a special day for someone special in your life.  Spread the love that you would have shown to your deceased loved one with someone that needs it most today.  Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!

 

One for the Record Books

It has become a family tradition to help decorate and ride on the school Christmas float in the Williams’ household.  We have done it for at least four years now.  There is normally a handful of students that ride on it, along with some parents and the nuns that teach at our school.  It’s always a lot of fun and I’m glad we do it.  However, this year’s Christmas Parade has to go down in the record books as the most memorable to date.

We have had some unusually warm weather lately for our area.  Normally it’s pretty chilly after the sun goes down.  But last night we were riding in the Christmas Parade and it was in the high 60’s, with a chance of rain.  In fact, there was a few times while we waited for the parade to start, that it started to sprinkle on us.  Thankfully, we had some umbrellas and ponchos, just in case.

As the Christmas parade began, things seemed like every other year.  The kids and I were sitting on the float, waving and yelling Merry Christmas to the spectators.  The only difference was, that this year, Frank was riding on the float too.  We had a live nativity scene on our float, so we were all decked out in costumes.

We made it up to the spot where the local broadcasters were filming the parade.  They announced our float and we all waved and spread our Christmas cheer to the people viewing at home.  Things went well, until we got a little bit further down the parade route.  Then things got a little intense.

First, it started to sprinkle.  Then it started to rain.  Okay, we had umbrellas, so we continued to do our best to wave at the spectators that were being pelted by the rain.  Then came the real downpour.  What do you do when you are riding on a float in a downpour?  You continue to wave and wish people Merry Christmas, as you laugh in disbelief at your circumstances.

What came next was definitely not expected.  The wind picked up, which made the rain start hitting us at an angle.  But hey, we had umbrellas.  That is, until the wind caused our umbrellas to flip-up in the wrong direction.  So picture this, we are riding on a float, waving at spectators, as rain is hitting us at an angle and our umbrellas look like bowls on top of poles.  Couldn’t get much worse, right?  Wrong!

As we round a corner, the wind catches two of the small Christmas trees we had sitting in the corner of the float and starts bringing them down beside me.  I didn’t know what to do.  Do I catch the trees or do I continue to hold the umbrella that my two little kids were hovering under?  I decided to continue to hold the umbrella and let the trees go down.

By now Ann, my youngest daughter, is crying and I’m trying to calm her down.  It didn’t help the situation when the ambulance that was following us in the parade decided to turn on their sirens.  Yes, there was one moment during this whole event that I was thinking this was really becoming a true nightmare.  A float ride from Hell, if you may.  Then it happened, the must unexpected and memorable moment of the parade.

Right around the time the two Christmas trees fell over, I glance up at the nuns that were sitting across from me.  What I saw was awesome.  Two of the nuns, who are probably in their early 30’s, were huddled next to each other.  They were holding an umbrella that had flipped up into a bowl and they were laughing their heads off like they were teenage girls.  It was great, seeing them laughing at the unexpected situation.

It was at that moment that I realized that this float ride was a good example of life.  There will be times in your life where you think things will go smoothly.  Then, out of the blue, the rain will come along.  A little rain doesn’t seem so bad, but when the rain gets harder and you’re not as comfortable as you started out, then you have a choice to make.  You can either crumble under the pressure of life or you can throw your head back and laugh.  Your reactions will not make the circumstances change.  The rain will most likely continue to fall, whether you laugh or cry.  However, how you react to the situation will make a difference in how you feel about your circumstances.  What difference does that make?  A big difference.  Your attitude or reactions to the difficult situations life brings you makes a difference of how happy you can be in your life.

I am happy to report that the rain and wind died down before the parade was over.  By the time we were rounding the last corner of the parade route, we were thanking the rain drenched spectators for sticking it out with us.  I have a feeling that Ann will never want to ride on a Christmas float again.  Her memories will most likely be full of fear and misery.  However, the only thing I will remember about this year’s Christmas parade will be the beautiful sight of those two nuns, having a ball in the middle of a rain storm.  So will I be riding on next year’s Christmas float?  Heck yeah, even if there is a chance of rain.

My Summer Journal (Life After Layoff – Chapter 19)

I had a plan for my summer school, to have my kids make a summer journal.  I wanted them to make a diary of what they did during the summer, to show them how much fun they had.  I bought them composition books and I believe each of them have used a few pages of the notebooks and that is it.  I’m not even sure they know where they are now.

So I have decided to make a summer journal for all of us.  I need to do this for them and for me, because there are days when I feel like we are having the best summer ever and then there are days when it feels like this is the worse summer ever.  So I’m going to take inventory of the summer so far.  This is not for bragging purposes, but to help me see that I have done my best at keeping this summer fun for my family.

  • Water Play Fun badge – We have visited five different splash pads and five different pools this summer.  Some of these locations have been visited multiple time.  Sometimes with friends and sometimes just with our family.  Not to mention the many times the kids have played with the water hose in our yard and a number of water balloon activities.  So I feel confident to say that the Water Play Fun badge has been earned.
  • Zoo Goer badge – We have visited the local zoo at least 4 or 5 times this summer.  Some of the times were as a whole family and a few were with me and the kids.  At each occasion we either took a ride on the merry-go-round or the zoo train.  Heck, we have rode on both during the same visit at least once.  So the Zoo Goer badge has been earned.
  • Bowling Fun badge – We have went bowling at least 4 or more times this summer through the Kids Bowl Free program.  Sometimes as a whole family and sometimes just me and the kids.  So the Bowling Fun badge has been earned.
  • Kids Discovery Zone badge – I have taken the kids to a Kids Discovery museum so they could run around and learn while they are having fun.  It’s like an educational Chuck-E-Cheese without the food.  They play with different exhibits that will teach them about engineering and math.  The kids think they are just having fun, but they are also learning about how to build things.  So the Kids Discovery Zone badge has been earned.
  • Tour De France badge – No, I didn’t take them to France to watch the bicyclists.  Nor did I make them sit in front of a TV and watch it for a homework assignment.  However, I did introduce them to the competition of cycling during a weekend in June.  Frank and I took the kids to a local cycling race downtown one Saturday.  The kids had so much fun watching and cheering on the riders that I took the kids the following day to see them race at a different area in town.  They call it “Cry-Baby Hill” because of the steep hills the cyclist have to ride up and down.  It was a great, new experience that will most definitely become an annual tradition for our family.  So the Tour De France badge was definitely earned.
  • Campfire Fun badge – Frank and I took the kids to see our country friends for a cook out one night.  It was the first time we ever roasted hot dogs over a campfire.  The first time to roast marshmallows over a campfire.  The first time to learn that my oldest son has an attraction to fire.  Patrick was enjoying the experience of burning trash a little too much.  I got to watch that kid.  So the Campfire Fun badge was earned that day, along with a possible Too Much Smoke badge.  🙂
  • Baseball Fun badge – Frank and I took the kids to see the local minor-league baseball team play a game one night.  Since Frank is able to get company tickets on occasion, he has taken the older kids a few times this year.  But since he can only get 4 tickets and there are 6 of us, it’s a rare occasion that the whole family will go.  But during our 4th of July weekend, the whole family took a trip to the ballpark.  It was fun, but I spend my time in the kid’s play area, while Frank sits in the stands and actually watches the game.  So the Baseball Fun badge has been earned for the year.
  • Rainy Day Activity badge – We have spent some time at home doing different scientific or art activities.  Patrick is always finding a new experiment on YouTube that he wants to try at home.  So we have made some things like: Cloud in a bottle, God’s Eye decorations, Glow in the dark deco-podge bottles and a Glow in the dark pinata to name a few.  So the Rainy Day Activity badge has been earned.
  • Teen Beach 2 badge – The kids and I have watched the Teen Beach 2 movie enough times that we know most of the dialogue in the movie.  We definitely know all the songs.  So the Teen Beach 2 badge has been earned.

In between time, we have made some trips to the library and just chilled out at home.  There are days and weeks that we are on the move non-stop and then there are days and weeks that we are home-bound for various reasons.

Considering that we are into week 6 of the 9 week summer, I think I have done a pretty good job keeping the kids entertained.  And the summer ain’t over yet.  I still have a few tricks up my sleeve that will surely blow their socks off.

Thank you for letting me take a little inventory of our summer fun.  Seeing the 9 badges I have earned so far, gives me the strength to make it through the rest of the summer.  I want the kids to have as much fun as they would if they had went to a summer camp and I see now that they are.  They are also earning some other badges that I’m not as proud about.  For instance: Night Owl badge, Noon Riser badge, Whiner badge, Sibling Bickering badge and Tablet Junk badge.  Although I am not proud of them, I guess these badges need to be acknowledged too.

After typing this post, I think I may have just come up with an idea for a new game app.  I can call it Summer Time Fun Saga and you have to go through different lands to earn the badges.  Man, if I only had someone who knew how to create an app, I could be rich someday.  Oh well, I guess I’ll just live out the game in real-life and enjoy the riches of good memories instead.  🙂

Happy Summer Everyone!

Life of a Diabetic’s Wife

I had an exciting morning the other day and I’m not talking fun exciting.  I’m talking scary exciting.  My husband Frank is diabetic.  I know I have mentioned this at least once in my blog before.  He is a type 1 diabetic, which means his pancreas does not make insulin.  This is something he has lived with for 14 years.  Or should I say, something WE have lived with for 14 years.  Because I have been by his side through this whole adventure, from the day he was diagnosed to now.  For the most part, our lives are as normal as most couples.

Frank has an insulin pump and he maintains his blood sugar levels daily.  But on occasion, life throws you a curve ball.  That’s what happened the other morning, a curve ball was thrown our way when I wasn’t looking.  My alarm woke me up at 10 til seven, which meant that Frank was running late.  Because he is normally leaving for work around that time.  So I started talking to him and nudging him.  But he wouldn’t wake up.

After a few more attempts of waking him in the dark, I turned on the lights.  His face was a dead give away, his blood sugar was too low.  How did he look?  He had his eyes wide open and his pupils were as small as could be, but he was not there.  You know the expression, ‘The lights are on, but no one’s home.’?  Well, that is the best way to explain what he looked like.

After trying to wake him one more time, I went to search for his blood glucose meter.  I needed to check his blood sugar to confirm it was too low, because his blood sugar could also be too high.  Yet, that is normally not the case during the night.  Thankfully, Frank let me prick his finger and retrieve a drop of blood from it, so I could use it in his blood glucose meter.  The number that came up was 42!  This is NOT GOOD.  A safe blood sugar level is between 70-100 first thing in the morning.

Okay, so now that I knew he his blood sugar was too low, I had to get some sugar into his system.  I tried to get him to drink a glass of juice, but he would not sit up and drink it.  Next, I tried to get him to chew or suck on a glucose sugar pill.  A glucose sugar pill is like a big horse pill that is made of flavored sugar.  I’m talking a disc the size of a quarter that is a few inches thick.  If I could get him to eat one of these pills, it would be the equivalent of eating 15 grams of carbohydrates.  That could be enough to get his sugar up to a safer level.  However, Frank just let the pill sit between his teeth.  He wouldn’t chew it or even suck on it.  I thought if I could dip the pill in the OJ and then place it in his mouth, it might dissolve faster.  However, Frank closed up his lips tight and was not going to let me try that plan.

I stuck a straw in the glass of OJ and tried getting him to drink it one more time.  Nope, his lips were sealed.  So I had one more thing to try.  If it didn’t work, I’d be calling 911 for an ambulance.  I went for the emergency glucagon shot that we keep in the medicine cabinet.  It’s a little red kit that can be carried around with you.  If a diabetic’s blood sugar gets to low and passes out, another person can use it to shot them with a sugar mixture that will bring them back to the living.  That is what I had to do.

Thankfully for me, there are little diagrams in the kit that shows you what to do.  You have to take the syringe and the vial out of the kit.  Remove the caps and insert the syringe into the vial and inject the clear liquid from the syringe into the vial of white powder.  You remove the syringe from the vial and shake the vial up.  This mixes the liquid and powder together.  Then you insert the syringe back into the vial and withdraw the liquid mixture back into the syringe.  The last step is the hardest.  You have to give the diabetic person a shot with the syringe.  This can be shot anywhere in the leg or butt.

So I grabbed Frank’s leg and shot him in his thigh.  That made Frank wake up enough to say a few cuss words.  Unfortunately, Frank also started to move his leg around with the syringe still in it.  I got the syringe out and prayed that this would bring him back to life.  He laid there for a bit, not moving.  I continued to talk to him and waited for the sugar to kick in.

Frank let me check his blood sugar again and it was 49.  That wasn’t much improvement, but it was getting higher.  So while I gave the shot a few minutes to work, I called his boss and told him that he was not able to come to work at the moment.  I told his boss that I would have him call as soon as he was able to.

Thankfully, by the time I got off of the phone, Frank was conscious and talking.  He was shaky, but was able to drink the OJ.  After lying down for a bit, he got out of bed and was able to call his boss.  Although he was going to have a headache and a leg ache all day long, he still went into work.  Because he knew his workplace would be short-handed without him.  (I think it’s because he didn’t want to be home with the kids. LOL )

It might sound strange to some people, but I love my husband enough to shoot him…with a glucagon shot that is.  🙂  Unfortunately, if you are a wife of a diabetic, it is something you have to be ready to do.  Thankfully, someone created the emergency glucagon kit to use in times like this.  Otherwise, we would have had an ambulance visiting our house the other morning.  I’m just glad that Frank is okay now.

Here's a Sugar Pill and the Syringe I was referring to.

Here’s a Sugar Pill and the Syringe I was referring to.

To All The Mothers

Mother’s Day is this weekend, so I thought it would be appropriate to salute the life of a mother.  I am speaking out for all those mother’s out there, in the trenches, raising one, two, three or more kids.  This one is for you!

Don’t judge me…if you stop by my house and see the pile of dirty AND clean clothes that have not been cared for.  Although laundry should be a simple task, sometimes things get out of hand.

Don’t judge me…if my kids are late for school all the time.  Although the reasons may sound lame, sometimes the tardiness is due to a simple thing like finding a clean pair of underwear, matching socks or a lost shoe.

Don’t judge me…if you wonder why my kids or I appear to be disheveled.  Although we do our best to look presentable, sometimes we might forget to run a comb through our hair before we rush out the door.

Don’t judge me…if you see me pulling into a parking spot and notice my kids are not buckled or sitting in the proper spots.  Although I know it is a law and it’s for the child’s safety, sometimes things happen during the drive.

Don’t judge me…if you see a photo that was posted on Facebook of my family and you notice a lot of stuff scattered all over the place.  Although I would like nothing more than to have a tidy and clean house, I have not found a magic wand that would make all the stuff disappear.

Don’t judge me…if you think my kids have too many toys.  I am aware that they do, however, you are only young once.

Don’t judge me…if you notice miscellaneous things scattered in my yard.  They are most likely things that my kids have found, destroyed, invented or forgotten while they were playing with their friends.

Don’t judge me for these things and many, many more.  Because I have done more than enough judging for the both of us.  The worst critic to a mother is herself.  There are many times that a mother is walking around with this guilt of what they should have done.  In fact, there are probably times when they are sure someone is judging them and honestly, the only one that is point the finger is the mother in question.

We have this preconceived notion of what we should do as a mother.  We want the best for our kids, but sometimes the best is not within arms reach.  That’s when we have to accept the fact that we have to settle for being mediocre in some areas.

In a perfect world, my kids would pick up after themselves.  Keeping our house and yard spotless.  Getting themselves to bed at a decent hour and ready to jump out of bed and get to school on time.  In a perfect world, my kids would understand why it is important to be in the proper seat with their seat belts on.  In a perfect world, my kids would help with chores like laundry and there would be enough room in our house to put away the clean clothes.  In a perfect world, moms would not be so tired and stressed all the time.

But you see, it’s not a perfect world.  There isn’t a survival guide to read when you are a mom.  If there is, I can guarantee that for most moms there isn’t enough time in the day to read the survival guide.  There is no such thing as a quiet, stress free, car ride with children.  There is no such thing as a clean and tidy home that is really ‘lived’ in.

Kids are messy, that’s a simple fact.  Some might be more willing to clean up after themselves, some of the time, but all in all it’s normally up to the mother.  A mother has to choose between being a constant maid and servant of her child(ren) or actually be part of the family and just belong.  I choose the latter.

Yes, I want my kids to look their very best.  I want them to be on time for school and to be properly buckled in a vehicle.  I want my house to be less of a minefield of toys and my yard to look less like a city dump.  But I also want my kids not to fight with each other all the time.  I want the luxury of not worrying about money.  I want everything in its proper place.  But I also want to enjoy the time I have with my kids and capture the precious moments of my kids being young and carefree.

If you want to put a smile on a mother this Mother’s Day, tell them they are doing a good job.  Trust me, they need to hear that.  Because in their mind, they are wondering why they can’t be as ‘together’ as those other moms.  They are doubting every decision they make and they are praying that they are not screwing up the child(ren) God blessed them with.  They are doing their best and they need to hear some reassuring words from their loved ones.  It is the simplest gift you can give a mother on Mother’s Day, yet it’s not done nearly enough.

{Side note:  In regards to the seat belt situation, I want it to go on record that with the exception of running up the block to the school, I make sure my kids are buckled in the vehicles.  However, that does not mean that my kids might not try to unbuckle the seat belt before we get to our destination.  On times like that, I do my best to get one of the other kids to try to get the other child buckled again.  Whether or not they are successful depends on the day and time.  I have thought to myself many times that I will feel so guilty if one of my kids ever gets hurt in a vehicle because of me not taking responsibility over the seat belt issue.  However, I think back to my childhood and to people I know that would have not survived a car wreck if they were wearing their seat belt.  So instead of over thinking the situation, I just pray to God that the family makes it to their destination safely.}

Intro (Life After Layoff – Chapter 1)

Is there life after being laid off from a job that you have worked at for almost 15 years?  Yes, yes there is and it’s a good life.  How do I know this, because I am living it.  But do not get me wrong, my life is not all sunshine and happiness.  That is part of the reason I started this new topic on my blog, because there are things I need to vent about.  I hate to tell you this, but my blog is the only way for me to have a therapy session and not have to pay for it.  So if you are not in the mood to hear about my issues, just keep on scrolling past my post.  But if you want to see what life is like after layoff, then keep  an eye out for my new topic.  I am happy to report that there IS life after layoff and it’s a lot better than you would imagine.

Late Again

{Just to clarify, this is a story I had written back in 2013.  A lot of things were different then.  I had an office job at the time and life was a lot more stressful.  My kids and I have matured greatly over the years.  However, we still have those days that we are late for school.  Yet the mornings are not as stressful as they use to be and I am so glad they are not.}

Do you know that game called “I’m tired”? My kids do. We play it before school, practically every morning. One morning, I’m ranting and raving through the house as I am scrambling to find a jacket for Patrick to wear. I finally came to the conclusion that a leather jacket, that is way too warm to wear right now, is his only option. As I am slamming the door shut with the leather jacket in my hands I find Patrick sitting in the van with a lightweight jacket on, ready to go. I was fuming. If I were a cartoon character, I would have had fire shooting from my ears!

I get them to school, LATE, which is sad, considering we live less than a block away. I am sure Patrick and his sisters completely forgot the scene and went on with their day like it was wonderful. I, however, sat in the school parking lot, trying to breath deeply and get calmed down. As I back out and point my van in the direction of work, I say another prayer to God for help and guidance.

I had already said our traditional pray with the kids as I am racing to school. You know the kind of prayer. The one that has little in-your-window comments in it. Things like, “God, thank you for this day you have given us. Help us all throughout the day and help my children understand the importance of getting to school on time in the morning….” Yes, it is my prayer of guilt. I am trying to make my kids feel bad by asking God to help them to stop being such “a kid” and get to the school on time. Does it work, probably not. I am sure once they hear me start praying out loud, they probably tune out what I am saying. However, it helps me to get my frustration out. And what better person to talk to, when you are so furious with your children that if you started spanking them you would probably end up beating them to death, than God.

So now, I am saying a much calmer prayer to God, with a little less stress and anger. I am thanking him for having Ann walk into her classroom for the second day straight without crying. This, in itself, is a miracle. I am asking him to get me through the day and to remove the anxiety that I have felt all morning long. After I finish my prayers, I turn on my CD and sing along as Matthew West sings Strong Enough. That is one of the songs that gets me ready for the day ahead. And when I am at a weaken, frustrated state like I was today, it also makes me cry. But that is good, sometimes I need to cry.

I hate to say it, but this is a typical morning for me. I have some good ones in between, when everything goes smoother or I am less tired and emotional and can keep my cool. However, if you were to drive by my house around eight in the morning, you would most likely see me storming out of the house with my head spinning around and yelling at the kids like there was a fire to run from. I told my oldest this morning, “It’s mornings like this that make me thankful to go to work.” Cause that means I don’t have to spend as much time with my children!!! I wonder sometimes why God blessed me with four children. Really, what was he thinking?

{As I mentioned in the beginning, this was something I wrote on September 17, 2013 and never published.  I’m not sure if that was because I was ashamed at the time to confess that mornings were too tough or because I never got the time to go back and edit the story.  Although my mornings are not this bad any more, I wanted to post it.  It helps me see how much better things have gotten.

Just a side note, on September 17, 2013, Marie would have attended the 5th grade.  Just three months after her brain surgery.  Patrick was attending the 3rd grade, for the first time, and would end up repeating the grade the following year.  It was a tough decision to hold him back, but it was the best thing for him.  Ann was in Pre-K and Christopher was attending a daycare that Frank took him to every morning.

I would have returned to work full-time at my desk job and not have the slightest idea of what date I would be laid off.  I knew my job was going away, but not when it was going to happen.  That sort of uncertainty was part of the reason I was so stressed back then.  Thank God that my life is a lot more laid back now and thank God that he helped me through those rough days back then.}

It’s My Turn!

I’ve been a mom for 13 years now and you can imagine how many times I have heard the phrase, “It’s my turn!” being spoken.  Not by me, mind you, but by my children and by my children’s friends.  It gets to be like a skipped record that never stops.  Well, I finally decided that this time, it’s MY turn.

I have survived the loss of my mother and in my opinion, kept it together.  The last few years of her life was not easy.  During the most stressful and traumatic times of her health issues, I was working a full-time job and pregnant with my fourth child.  I was 40 years old and although it might not have looked very graceful, I kept it together.

Two years later, my 11-year-old daughter had to have brain surgery to remove a tumor.  During that time, the future of my job was questionable and our financial situation was not the best, but I kept it together.

These past few years, I have had a handful of friends pass away unexpectedly.  I have lost a job that I had worked at for fifteen years.  I have entered into a new world of substitute teaching and being a stay at home mom.  Even then, I have kept it all together.

So it occurred to me tonight, that the way I have behaved the last two weeks is justifiable.  Because, it’s my turn!  Everyone else seems to get a turn, so this time, it’s my turn.

It’s my turn to be sick and stay in bed as much as I need to.  Even if it means the rest of the family has to fend for themselves.  Yes, I have slacked on the upkeep of the housework.  But there are many capable hands that can wash a spoon or dig through the pile of clean clothes to find their own underwear.  Because it’s my turn to not be the hub of this household, just for once.

It’s my turn to wait for family members to call me with information about my dad’s health.  Instead of being the lead on all the new information and being the first to call or post Facebook updates asking for prayers for my family.  Even if I feel guilty doing it, it’s my turn to share or copy my siblings Facebook messages about my dad, because I’m not able to convey the news as well as they can right now.

It’s my turn to not go the extra mile and physically dress some of my children who are too tired to get out of bed for school.  Even if that means my children might show up an hour late for school.  It’s my turn to sleep most of the day, due to the emotional stress of my life at this moment.  Because sometimes you just have to shut down.

To my family and friends, it probably seems a little strange to see me react this way to my Dad’s health issues.  It’s not that I am not worried and scared, because I am.  Please don’t get me wrong, I am not whining because I feel like no one is helping me.  On the contrary, I am stating all of the things that I feel guilty for doing right now. (Or NOT doing right now)  My family and friends have stepped up to the plate and been there for me, without complaining.

I guess, without even realizing it, I decided it was my turn to not be in charge.  Instead, it was my turn to just be.  A Facebook friend posted this picture on her wall the other day and it speaks volumes of how I am feeling right now.

 

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I strongly believe that we are in each other’s lives for a reason.  That’s why I would like to thank all of my family for allowing me “to just show up” for the moment.  Because that is all I am capable of doing right now.  I know there will come a time that I will take the lead again.  But for now, it’s MY turn to just be.

P.S.  My dad is doing much better.  He’s more responsive and has been moved out of the ICU and into an acute/long-term facility where he can recoup.  Thank you for your prayers during this difficult time.

Life Is Like A Cow Pasture

Yep, if you haven’t guessed it yet, my family made another venture into the country the other day.  🙂  My two oldest, Marie and Patrick, had a sleepover with our friends that live in the country.  So the fam and I had to go pick them up yesterday.  While we were there, we had to take a trip out to see the new baby goat via the cow pasture.  As we were walking through the cow pasture, we met a variety of things…but mostly cow patties.

You can imagine the conversation we were having with the children at the time.

‘Watch where you are stepping.’

‘Look, there’s old crap.’

‘Don’t step in the new crap.’

‘Boy, this is a lot of crap.’

I think you get the idea.  There was a lot of ‘crap’ talking.  😉  It was all said in fun, but thinking back now, I realized how true it is.  It’s like the famous quote from Forrest Gump; “Life is like a box of chocolates.”  But it’s a little more messy and a little more real.  Let me try to explain.

Life is like a stroll through a cow pasture.  You start out with a mission in mind like finding a spouse, becoming a parent or living a single life.  As you venture into the cow pasture of life you will encounter old crap that you thought was gone.  Some past mistake, bad choice or old experience that was part of your old life.   Yes, the crap is still there, but it’s old news now.  It doesn’t sting as bad when you think about it.  In fact, you can look at it now and realize that this old crap helped shape you to what you are today.

A step further into the pasture and you hear the sounds of nature.  The sounds make you feel tranquil and calm.  But the next step or two you take could lead you straight into a new pile of crap.  This new pile of crap could be small or big, depending on what direction you go.  So what do you do?  You venture forward and do your best to step over the crap.  Because with every step forward into life, you encounter something new and good.  Like a new fallen pine cone or pine needles on the ground.

Yes, there are times you might step directly into the newly fresh and still steaming crap.  But that is life.  Life is not clean and tidy, wrapped up with a bow around it.  Life is messy and fun, with unexpected messes along the way.  But if you don’t keep going forward in life, you won’t get to experience the pleasure of living.  I don’t mean the kind of living where you are just standing in one place and breathing.  I mean the kind of living where you feel the wind in your hair and hear the sound of your own laughter.  Yes, living will bring times of crying, troubles, sorrows and pain, but it also brings the opposites of those things.

Really living means you have the strength to step out into the cow pasture of life and meet the piles of crap that are along the way.  If you step directly in a pile, you might need to drag your feet a bit and wipe it off.  Or take a moment to take your shoe off and clean it thoroughly.  Sometimes, life requires you to stop in your tracks and back up a step or two, so you don’t walk through the same pile of crap that got you down before.  Sometimes, the piles of crap are so small that you don’t even know you stepped in it and it has left your feet before you ever knew it was there.

Regardless of how much crap you might have to dodge, the outcome is worth it.  For me and my family, it was the pleasure of seeing a new-born goat.  So small and sweet with fur that looked as soft as a feather.  Standing there with my kids, listening to the baby goat make soft baa’s, it was worth the trip.  To feel the wonder and joy of the experience, not to mention the pleasure to enjoy it with my family.

So yes, life is like a cow pasture.  It’s messy and smelly at times.  It’s fun and adventurous at times.  It’s unexpected and hard at times.  But it’s all part of living and isn’t that what God intended us to do on this Earth?  Just live life to the fullest…you just have to be care where you walk sometimes.

Work Families

If you work for a company with a lot of employees, you most likely have a work family.  If the company is small, all the employees are part of your work family.  If the company is large, your department is probably your work family.  If you have moved from one department to another throughout your working career, you probably have two work families (or step work family, if you will).  I think you get my drift.

Work families, just like your blood relatives, come in every shape, size and color.  You have some that you are extremely close to and others that you would rather not invite to your home.  Just like your crazy Uncle, cousin, Aunt, etc…you also could have a crazy work family member.  It just occurred to me that I might be the crazy work family member.  If so, I’m doing a great job.  LOL

Anyway, the point is that if you work outside of the home, you have another family that is part of your life.  Actually, you probably know more about your work family’s life, than you do your cousin’s.  And scary as it may seem, you spend more waking hours with your work family, than you do with your immediate family.  This means that your work family probably has more influence on your life, than your blood relatives do.

With that said, let me tell you about my work family.  My work family is sort of like the United Nations.  There is a variety of religious beliefs, generations, cultures, geographic upbringing, etc.  But there is one thing that we all have in common.  We all are there for each other…and we all would love to win the lottery and quit our jobs.  LOL

One of my work family members (I’ll call her Mary) passed away today.  She would probably be the equivalent of an Aunt to me, if you were going by age.  I didn’t work with her side by side, but being on the same office floor, day after day, makes it impossible not to get to know each other.  At least it is for me, since I’m a people person.  🙂

My “Aunt Mary” was someone who always had a grin on her face.  And when she laughed, she really laughed.  She was raised in a different generation than I was and I would surprise her when I knew some of the “old time” sayings and songs.  I loved to joke with her and she would give it right back.  Her job required a lot of printing and I would tell her that if she didn’t stop, she was going to get attacked by squirrels for stealing their home.  One of my nicknames for her was “Tree Killer”.  LOL

It is sad to say, but I don’t remember if I told her goodbye and good luck the day before her surgery.  I knew she was having surgery and would be out for a while, but I didn’t think she would have complications from it and die.  Makes a person stop and think about what we take for granted.

But through the sadness and shock, I rejoice in knowing that after struggling in the hospital for about a week and a half, she is no longer in any pain.  She is now walking among the angels in Heaven and has had the honor to see God.  How can I not rejoice for her?  She is in a much better place than I am.  She has won the lottery, so to speak.  🙂

There was one other thing that made me both sad and happy at the same time.  Through this ordeal, with the help of Facebook, I befriended her two daughters.  I knew “Aunt Mary” had two daughters and a grandson, but I had only met them once in the office.  “Aunt Mary” spoke often of all of them and was proud of them.  But it wasn’t until now that I had been in touch with either of the girls.  What I found, when I became friends with “Aunt Mary’s” daughters on Facebook, was that she had two very spiritual girls.

They both are younger than I am, but they have the kind of spiritual wisdom that my mother had.  When they posted prayer requests on their walls for their mom, they always included praise to God.  When it was becoming clear that their mother was not going to recover and was ready to leave this earth, they gave her permission, so to speak, to go home to Heaven.  They told her that they loved her and would miss her, but that they would be okay.  When their mom’s spirit left her body, they posted that she was dancing in Heaven alongside the angels.

They have been very strong through this whole ordeal.  They will greatly miss their mother, like all children do when their mother dies.  However, I pray that they can keep that faith in God that their mother taught them.  I pray that they will find comfort in times of sorrow, knowing that they have their mother watching over them from Heaven above.  I pray that they continue to reach out to their friends, as they have done this past week, and ask for help when it seems too hard to go on.  I pray that they will keep “Aunt Mary’s” legacy alive.

So what is the moral of this story?  I suppose you could say that the moral is to stop and look around you.  The people you work with are your work family.  You spend five days a week with them.  When times are rough, they are normally right there with your blood relatives, wanting to help you in any way.

So it is your choice to be the well-loved cousin, the crazy Uncle, the nagging Aunt or the critical Grandma.  You get to choose how much your work family knows about you and your immediate family.  Yes, just like with every family, there will be fights, laughter, bickering, joking, crying and celebrations.  That’s what life is all about.

I’m not sure what role you will choose to take, but for me, I think I’ll continue to be the well-loved, loony, cousin/sister that I feel I have always been.  I will accept my role into this work family and I will be there for my family members, during good AND bad times.  Cause life is too short and you never know if the last time you tell your co-workers goodbye, it might not be the last time.

You will be missed “Aunt Mary” and I am very glad to have known you.

Rest In Peace