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!!!

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And then there were two …

Sid left very early this morning to return to school. With George already at school that leaves just Libs and Reese at home. The whole house sounds and feels different. It looks different too. Inside is a stark aftermath of a busy summer. Outside looks almost barren with the lack of cars. The changes are almost disorienting. After coming home from moving Sid into her dorms her freshman year a friend of mine came over to visit me. She said that she was shocked by the energy change in our home. And I couldn’t agree with her more. I was struck at that very moment with a true understanding of what it meant when people say “making your house a home”. I had always lived that way but it was such a different way to experience those feelings. Our house is a living breathing thing because of the souls who both live and visit here. They are the ones who make it a home. And the changes I see and feel around here are because of the love I feel for them. Do I wish that they were always here? Yes. A million times, yes. But I also love the things that this house has become because of their absence. Adulthood comes with new challenges and new sources of joy. This is now the place where they return to share all of that with me. I am comforted knowing that this house is a place that, no matter where life takes them, will always be their home. It is their safe haven in tough times and a place to celebrate all the good. A place that they can always count on to receive unconditional love.

We are considering a big move in the next two years and my thoughts have been drawn to our future house. Where will it be? What will it look like? It’s a bit anxiety provoking with all the unknowns. But then I remember that it really doesn’t matter where the house will be or what it will look like. That house will be filled with everything this house is and more. Undoubtedly our family will grow with marriages and grandchildren. I simply can’t wait for those kind of wonderful changes! Those kind of blessings sure makes all the growing pains that I feel now seem trivial. And when I get past all my wild emotions, deep down I know that our new house will become a home with a familiar story to tell. The story of a family who’s love, history, adventures and traditions make their house a home.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you are down to two!!!

The times, they are a-changin’ …

Packed boxes. Full suitcases. Books. Supplies. Plane tickets. And lots and lots of different emotions. We have been HERE before. And I can’t seem to get that song out of my head.

Well, I hope you all have a day where “the times, they are a-changin’”!!!

Our summer story …

It’s (almost) the most WONDERFUL time of the year! Tomorrow is Libs’ and Reese’s last day of school. Thank you SWEET BABY JESUS! It has been a long DOOZY of a school year and these girls need and deserve a break.

Summers look a lot different around here now. With Sid in San Francisco full time and George home from college but working, it’s definitely not the summers of our past. Gone are their days of early childhood. Thankfully, because of Reese, we are still allowed glimpses of them peppered into our every evolving lives. I cherish these moments that keep us connected to those carefree times. I wish that they were as abundant as they were, but I have learned to take what I can get. And trust me, I am grateful. Because even though they occur differently now, they are all still so precious to me. So. So. Precious.

As I look back over the past school year I am reminded of how quickly time passes. People grow out of routines. Life simply changes. Again, I am thankful. And even more so that this family of mine, just seems to roll with it. I am the one who hangs on tighter to the past. Which is silly because, as painful as I find all of this sometimes, I have found that change has never let me down. I have learned that as the pages of time continue to turn, it allows us to write new and adventurous tales into our family history. It is a perspective that has not come easy for me. But I’m continually feeling the comfort it brings me. It is nice to know that nothing is truly ending … it’s just the beginning of another new chapter.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you begin to write your summer story!!!

Living your highest potential …

When I was young I believed that finding my purpose in life would also be when and where I would find my greatest joy. When all the other drama I focused on would just miraculously fall by the wayside. Like a BOOM of clarity that would leave me feeling good and right and comfortable in my own skin.

And … it is ALL that.

But there is something that I have learned as I’ve gotten older. Something my young mind never considered.

I’ve got A LOT of different purposes. Actually, TONS.

It is a blessing to know this now and it’s something I wish I could go back and tell my younger self. How freeing it would be to know that all my eggs weren’t in just one basket. To understand that time and wisdom opens doors to new opportunities to recreate or find one’s purpose. With all the gifts we are given and the diverse personalities we embody I can’t imagine that God would only have one BIG thing for us to become. We are capable of so much more! And as I inch closer to my 50th Birthday I am wildly aware that time dictates nothing. As long as I have breath, I have purpose. It’s just up to me to allow it to happen. Over and over again. To seize every exciting day as a lesson and treat it as an opportunity to grow even more into me. Could you imagine if we all lived with this freedom? A world where we never gave up on ourselves or settled. Where change was welcome and passions were lived no matter what our ages may be. I don’t know about you, but I think it would be pretty amazing.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you live your highest potential!!!

What a difference a year makes …

Yesterday we attended the annual Down Syndrome Association of Orange County’s Breakfast with Santa. I love this event! It’s so much fun and I love seeing many of the families who were and still are a part of the group I facilitate. I love to see how much everyone has grown and adjusted to their lives since having a child with Down Syndrome. It’s one of the most beautiful things I get to experience over and over again in my life. I am so grateful to share in their lives. It’s incredible what time does to you, your journey and your life.

This morning a Facebook memory popped up from the breakfast last year. It was of Reese and I. And it really took me back.

It wasn’t even 6 weeks after I got sick. I remember looking at that picture after it had been taken and thinking how different I looked. The fatigue and illness had definitely taken its toll. I looked tired which makes sense since I was exhausted 24 hours a day back then. My face was swollen despite being the lowest weight I had been since the last time I had meningitis. My smile, although genuine, was different. My face wasn’t familiar to me. And it really bothered me. Seeing this picture honestly stopped me dead in my tracks. Whoa. Yesterday we took a ton of pictures. Maybe seeing the picture was so shocking for me because I had such recent pictures of myself in the same exact place I was last year. Whatever it was, I was able to confirm one thing. I’m a whole lot more me today than I was then … and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you know first hand what a difference a year makes!!!