A hand to hold …

As of yesterday afternoon my world finally calmed down. Yay! It’s honestly been a whirlwind. A wave of relaxation literally washed over me after my last meeting yesterday. Last night I realized that I’ve been so busy that I hadn’t really even given much thought to my favorite holiday fast approaching. Even after decorating, confirming with George when he would head home and after booking Sid’s flight it still hadn’t hit me. Talk about distracted!

I had big plans today. Plans to nurture myself. THIS is so important. Seriously, we all need to do more of it. But that’s a topic for another day. My day started early with a wonderful carefree run. I prayed. I thought about Thanksgiving. I thought about how blessed we are and how thankful I am. And then it hit me! ALL of my babies will be home. SOON. I was instantly overcome with emotions. I have not been with all four of my kids at the same time since early August. That’s a first. Again, I don’t like it but I wouldn’t want it any other way. They are off living their lives and becoming who they are meant to be. It’s beautiful.

The picture I posted with this blog is quite a few years old but it’s one of my favorites. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t miss those days. I do. They were days when we were all a bit younger and life wasn’t pulling us in so many different directions. I’m not one to want to turn back time, but I do like to look back. It makes me appreciate our togetherness even more now. I love our family history and the memories that we have made. They are, after all, what paved the way to what is our now. Again, it is beautiful. I know that our NOW might not look like our THEN but it still takes my breath away. These incredible souls are my WHY. I am blessed to be their mom. So so so blessed. And I am grateful that regardless of how much time passes or the distance between them, that they will always have each other to walk through life with. As an only child I wanted this for them. No. I needed this for them. And knowing that they have each other fills this mama’s heart with immeasurable peace and joy.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you have a hand to hold!!!

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Looking back and moving forward …

This morning I was looking at my Facebook Memories and realized that 5 years ago today Sidney and I attended a traveling college open house event. She was at the beginning part of her junior year and this visit would be the catalyst to more than I could have ever imaged. This would eventually be the university Sidney would choose to attend.

In the post I struggled with all of it. I guess nothing has changed there, HA! But it was amazing to see how much time DID change things. I remember that day perfectly. It would be the beginning of so much; a pre-college stay on campus, tours of the city, the application process, a portfolio, her senior year of high school and what would come to be her final year at home. What a journey it has been. To see how much she has grown is incredible. She has accomplished much. As I progressed through all of that with her I could not deny that she was on the right path. She FIT perfectly through every door that was opened for her. I watched her fall in love with all of it. And because she had the courage to take a chance on herself she has now created a wonderful life for herself. Despite being so young at the time my baby girl chose her future wisely. She listened to her heart and committed to nurturing and growing the gifts and talents God gave her. And in what seems like the blink of an eye … “my baby” girl grew up.

Five years.

A lot can happen in 5 years. Nothing in our lives looks the same as it did back then. Applying this knowledge to our futures fills me with a sense of excitement, but also with a little MOM sadness too. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the simpler times when my big kids where little. I do. But watching them mature and seeing them chase their dreams and achieve their goals brings me overwhelming amounts of joy. I have mentioned before that this process comes with many ups and downs for me. I don’t do any of this gracefully. I feel my way through it. I’m thankful that my kids allow me to SIT with all of it in my own way. After all, it’s not just them who has been growing in all of this. I have learned and changed too. I am honestly fascinated at how so many lives can grow together yet still be on their own personal paths. I have come to believe that THIS is what life and love should look like when they are set in motion over a lifetime. And I don’t think I have ever been a part of something more beautiful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you look back and move forward!!!

Too excited to sleep …

I couldn’t fall asleep last night and I woke up at 3:30 a. m. this morning.

WHY?!?!

Because after two months away at college I FINALLY get to see my son George today. It’s his university’s family weekend. YAY! And get this! Sid has arranged to spend some time with me today too! I get to spend time with BOTH my big kids! WOO HOO!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are too excited to sleep!!!

Libs and here we go again …

Yesterday Libs took the PSAT. She took one last year, in her sophomore year, and did well. We also arranged to have her take an unofficial SAT about two months later just to see how she would do. The test evaluator was pleased to see her score since Libs was technically about 18 months out from taking the official SAT. When the evaluator found out that Libs had forgotten her calculator she changed from “pleased” to “shocked” that Libs did as well as she did.

Telling you all of that is not to brag about my smart kid. Trust me, she IS smart, but it’s because she works so hard. Heck, Libs welcomed all the testing last year just so she could see where she was AT educationally. She’s always thought this way. She is the kid who checks her student portal obsessively after a test or big project. So much so that we had a year when we had to implement a time cutoff to check grades because she would get upset if they weren’t posted. It would ruin her whole evening. That limit really helped her balance fun and work and helped her to see that there is a time (and importance) for both. Anyway, Libs has some lofty college goals and when she started verbalizing them to me we had a long talk (several actually) about what it would take to achieve them. She knows it won’t be easy but she knows what she has to do to make it all happen. When I saw her commitment to her goals and saw how it was all effecting her I went to her counselor, coaches and favorite teachers to let them know what she wants. All of them were on board. Libs has the support of MANY. An army of people who see that she CAN achieve the goals that she has set for herself. As a mom, I couldn’t be more thankful. But I have to say that yesterday has been a stark reminder of times that are soon to change. Again. I’ve been down this road twice before. It is a beautiful road but it does have its’ thorns. The reality of my third baby growing up is creeping in. As much as it all fills my heart with joy, I find (ONCE AGAIN) that my heart can ache at the same time. I have no doubt that when it’s time for Libs to head to college that she will be ready. She will embrace the new life laid before her. She will thrive as an adult. But until then, I will cherish every last childhood moment that I am blessed to share with her.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you see it all happening again!!!

A mental health day …

I am a big proponent of self care. Having lost my mom as a young adult I learned VERY QUICKLY that if I didn’t take care of me, no one would! As an adult, no matter how young, there is an assumption that you will self-regulate your needs. But this DOES NOT always come naturally or easily. We are often consumed with very real stressors and self-imposed expectations that literally run our lives. I have tried to teach my children that taking care of themselves, mind, body and soul, is an absolute necessity. I remind them that they are precious beings and that investing in themselves will only leave them better equipped to tackle their goals and meet their responsibilities. I tell them that there will be days when they just need to “push pause” on their normal daily routines. And I assure them that rest, nourishment and a little bit of laughter go a long way.

Well, I hope you all take a mental health day!!!

Bugging …

My oldest daughter Sidney has mastered surprise visits home. Heck, she’s mastered them when we are on travel! This kid is GOOD. Today, however, she is flying home and I know about it. And WOW, in the past few hours I’ve learned a lot of new things. One being, that I am a lot overzealous and probably a teensy weensy annoying. HA! In my excitement I have text Sid TOO MANY times today. Like WAY too many. But it helped me figure out why Sid likes to add the element of surprise to her visits. It keeps me out of her hair!

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t bug someone!!!

Changed for the better …

Last night was the 40th Year Celebration of our local Down Syndrome Association. It was wonderful! I have been blessed to serve as the facilitator for one of their support groups for almost 7 years now. The event could not have been more perfect. The venue was lovely, the entertainment was fantastic, the food was tasty and the guests were simply amazing. It was a great evening connecting with old friends (and making some new ones) and celebrating the organization that has so positively and profoundly impacted our lives. What an accomplishment it is to serve a community of people with such dedication and diligence for four decades. It literally brought me to tears last night. I am truly grateful to have shared in DSAOC’s incredible history both as a client and as a facilitator.

When I was pregnant with Reese and found out that she had Down Syndrome I never shed a tear. Reese was going to be who God created her to be and I was the woman He chose to make sure it happened. I promised Reese that I would always be the mommy that she needed me to be. And that I would make sure that she would become who God intended her to be. Even as a social worker, at the time, I wasn’t quite sure what that all would look like. But I knew that I loved my daughter fiercely and that I would somehow figure it all out. DSAOC helped me do exactly that and I simply couldn’t be more thankful. Without a doubt, I would not be the person, or mommy, I am today without their influence on my life.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are changed for the better!!!