Far away …

Today my son George officially found out that he will be studying abroad his next school year. He will be heading to Germany, and he will be leaving sometime this summer and he will be returning in late Spring 2020. When he sent me a copy of his acceptance letter I literally stopped and wept. My son’s dream came true. And it’s absolutely beautiful. As much as I struggle with the changes that have come with having adult children and the directions we have all been pulled, I can’t help but feel overjoyed. I am so incredibly thankful for the opportunities that have come George’s way. He has worked hard and he has persevered and God has blessed him abundantly. I know that at some point the distance and the time apart will hit me like a ton of bricks. But for now, I’m just going to be happy for my son and grateful that he is living the life that he’s dreamed of.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you get to go FAR AWAY!!!

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Stay humble, work hard and relax harder …

Yesterday was my son’s first full day at home in 2 months. I am so HAPPY he is back! He has been very busy at school, so keeping in touch this semester has seemed different. Not difficult and not distant, just different. George has created a nice life for himself at school with friends, clubs, sports and church. And he’s a good student. It’s really all a mom could ever ask for. I honestly couldn’t be happy for him. The thing that blows my mind though, is that he handles almost everything on his own now. Shopping, scheduling, meetings, appointments, etc. It has been such relief to see him take these responsibilities over easily and master being an adult. We have always had a great relationship so thankfully he balances all of that out, still asking for advice and assistance when he really feels he needs it. As a mom, I needed him to get to THIS place in his life NOW. Why? WeIl, if it all works out George will be studying abroad the entire next school year. This is also something he’s handled all on his own. Which has shown me so much about my son. He is driven. He is responsible. He knows what he wants and he is capable of making it all happen. And somehow he maintains an air of humility that is rare to see these days.

Yesterday, we had fun. George loves to cook so we shopped at his favorite butcher’s market to get food for his week home. We planned out our week ahead. And we also started researching and shopping for some of the bigger items he may need for his year abroad. It’s all very exciting! I am so thankful that he includes me in all of that when he can and I am grateful that there are pieces of it that I can still help him with. And it really helps me have a better understanding of what his year away will be like. A familiarity of sorts. I think he knows that including me in what he can somehow makes it all a little easier for me knowing he will be so far away for so long.

If I had to describe my son in one word (it’s really impossible to do that) I would choose KIND. He knows that I will never let my fears hold any of my children back from chasing their dreams. So he does his best to ease my nerves when he can. Even if he has no time in his day, he will find the time to reach out to me if he thinks I’m worried. I appreciate his compassion. And I appreciate him so much.

Yesterday I surprised George by sending him off for his first day spa visit. This was DEFINITELY not something he would have ever planned for himself. Not. At. All. But I sure think he deserved it.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you stay humble, work hard and relax harder!!!

The same but different …

My son George headed back to his university this morning. I absolutely love it when he is home. Before he graduated from high school we would have daily talks. At some point almost every afternoon I would make my way to his room and plop down on his couch for our talk. Out of all the things that I miss about this kid when he is at school, that is what I miss the most. Sure, we text, talk on the phone and FaceTime, but it’s not the same.

This holiday week was a busy one for us and although George and I found plenty of time to have our talks and hang out, I never made it to the couch where our talks usually took place. We laughed a little bit about my rigidity on this one since I literally talked his ear off all week. He is SO patient with me! HA! Anyway, we did have our talks this week and we spent lots of time together, but there is a part of me that will always remember a simpler time. A time when he was just a knock on the door away. I miss those days, but I am finding that lately I embrace the changes easier knowing how happy he is with his life. THIS could quite possibly be the most comforting thing I’ve felt as a mother. When your child is happy, nothing else seems to matter. At least that is how I feel.

This morning I got up and made one of George’s favorite breakfasts, Eggs Benedict. We were busy trying to get him out the door with packing and loading his car. But I just had to do it. I made my way to his room and plopped down on his couch. We talked briefly, but he completely understood that I needed a moment there. I had to claim a little of our past together in the midst of his beautiful NOW and on the verge of his incredible future. I can accept all the change that has happened and all the change coming, but the mom in me will still steal a glimpse of his childhood every chance I get.

Well, I hope you all have a day that is the same but different!!!

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!!!

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!!!

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!!!

Faith, love and miracles …

Despite posting these words every year they still bring me to tears. Happy tears. Tears that warriors cry after winning a long battle. I don’t think I will ever be able to change how I tell this story. To do so would be an injustice to her and to me. And to all of our family and friends who stood by us then and who continue to walk through this life with us now. This story is about our beginning together. The story that we all fought so hard to tell. It is a story about faith, love … and miracles.

When I was about 11 weeks pregnant we were told that she did not look quite so “typical” … I didn’t care. I loved our baby. And I prayed.

A few weeks later we were told, that not only was our baby “not typical”, but that there was a chance I would be delivering her stillborn. I wanted our baby even more fiercely than I had before. And I prayed.

Several weeks later, we almost lost our baby … to which I screamed an angry and adamant “NO!” And I prayed.

A month later we were told that our baby had a “very large hole in her heart” … to which I said, “I don’t believe you.“ And I prayed.

Two months later we were told, “Your baby is small” … to which I laughed and said, “Of all the things that you have told us, this seems pretty manageable.” And I prayed.

Two weeks later, on what was supposed to be a brief doctor’s visit before we headed to our local water park, we were told that our baby was not growing, that she was too small and that she was not acting the way that she should be. We were told that I would be given another amniocentesis to see if her lungs were developed. If they were, my doctor wanted to take her right away. I felt like my body was failing her. And I prayed.

My doctor gave me a drug to speed up our baby’s lung development. The results of the amniocentesis were not what we had hoped for. My doctor told us that our baby’s lungs were not developed, our baby could not breath on her own. Now we had a team of medical professionals. They hoped nothing would go wrong for the next 48 hours so that the steroid they had given me would have time to help our baby’s lungs grow … to which I said, “OK”. And I prayed.

Less than 24 hours later I had a hospital room full of people wearing blue. They were running around and pumping my body full of fluids and drugs. We were told that we could no longer wait. We were told that our baby would not be breathing and that she would be very small and weak … to which I cried in her father’s arms and said, “I’m scared.” And I prayed.

Minutes later I was strapped to a table. I had refused anything that would alter my mental state. I wanted to be there for our baby. It took a long time to get her out. I was told that she was so small that she kept slipping through the doctor’s hands. I kept screaming, “Is she out?!?!” And I prayed.

Then, I heard a cry … to which I thought, “That is a loud cry for a baby who is supposed to be weak, small and not breathing.” And I prayed.

A few minutes later our baby was brought over to me, warmly swaddled, pink as could be, breathing all on her own and with no hole in her heart. (Sure, she had some extra chromosomes, but who cares about that?) And when I saw her I thought, “You are my miracle and I love you.” And then, I praised God for our beautiful daughter.

Nine years ago today, through God’s amazing grace, Reese Lindsey Grace Henry was born by emergency cesarean section. She was 6 weeks early. She weighed 2lbs 15oz and was 15 ½ inches long. My world has not been quite the same since that day … and I would have it no other way.

Happy 9th Birthday to my precious miracle! Reesey Roo you are my JOY, the smile on my face and my WHY! Mommy loves you and all of your extra parts 💕

Well, I hope you all have a day where you celebrate a miracle … and always remember to pray!!!