Time changed much but not us …

I work up early this morning, despite being up way too late. The house was quiet and I began feeling a bit nostalgic. I always do this time of year. With summer break ending and the new school year starting in a few weeks I tend to feel similar to how I do on New Years Eve. It’s my time to reflect and I look back on summers past. With two adult children off to college I feel even more emotional than I normally do. And it all came out this morning! I spent much of my early morning looking through old pictures of my kids. I laughed, I cried and I soaked in every wonderful memory. It is like time stood still for a moment, but also flashed by in an instant. It’s all a blur but I remember almost every second of it. It sort of makes me sad yet I also delight in knowing that so much has changed but not the love we share and the memories we keep. They are our constant and they are our story. And they are what makes us … US. I am comforted in knowing that no amount of time or distance can ever change that.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you can say that time changed much but not us!!!

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Special …

Last night Sid, George and Libs (my three oldest children) took me to see Imagine Dragons at The Forum. It was incredible! I LOVE Imagine Dragons but it didn’t occur to me until last night how many songs of theirs I actually run to. HA! I guess their songs really speak to me. And they certainly got me up and dancing last night. The performance itself was absolutely phenomenal. The band really puts on quite a show visually and sends some beautiful and authentic messages throughout about acceptance, suicide, depression and mental health just to name a few. And if you thought Dan Reynolds’ voice is powerful when you hear it on your earbuds, JUST WAIT, until you hear it live. WHOA! I am no expert but I will tell you that this man can sing!

But what I loved most about last night, is who I got to share it with. My kids. They started planning this 50th birthday celebration for me a long time ago. The effort it took to pull it all off and to keep it a secret from me until my actual birthday took a village. They certainly surprised the heck out of me and made me feel loved. I know I say this a lot but I really do have the greatest kids in the world.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel special!!!

Loved and needed …

Having four children, and one with special needs, comes with an incredible amount of responsibility. Even with two adult children now, life can often seem like it’s pulling me in every direction possible. Maybe even in some directions not yet discovered by scientists and mathematicians, HA! I am constantly doing something for someone or planning something that needs to be (or someone wants to be) done. I am their GO-TO person for problem-solving and … cash. HA, again! We share long talks late at night and I receive ugly early morning wake up calls. I have event alerts on my phone for us along with calendars (TWO) posted in our kitchen to keep us organized. Every night I review my To-Do List for the next day. It is usually filled with things that they need help with. I am available 24 hours a day 7 days a week for them. Until I die. And even then, l’m sure that I’ll figure out a way to still stay involved. HA, again again!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am NOT complaining. Actually, I feel like I’m bragging.

Why?

Because my kids are incredible human beings. They are thoughtful, kind, loving, responsible and driven. And they LOVE and NEED me. To be LOVED is wonderful. To be NEEDED magnifies love 10-fold. Heck, 1,000,000-fold. Is that even a thing?!?! Regardless, my heart is full. My life is blessed, SO BLESSED, because of these humans who I love beyond measure. It may sound exhausting, and honestly some days it is, but I wouldn’t trade this life with them for anything. I love that they still need me. That they choose to make me THAT person. Because really, they don’t have to. They can turn to friends and other family members who would be there for them just as readily as I am. But they go to me. Their mom. And well, I don’t think there has ever been anything in my life that has been quite so rewarding and humbling. I thank God every day for them and the privilege of being their mom. And all the duties and responsibilities that go with it and that I take on. It’s an honor. Truly.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you feel LOVED and NEEDED!!!

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!!!

Run down …

At the end of another busy day we found ourselves out to dinner AGAIN last night. UGH. To put it into perspective, Libs didn’t finish up at school until 7 pm and she probably could have stayed longer if I had let her. Again, UGH.

Sitting at dinner last night I was abundantly thankful that I didn’t have to cook. I really don’t like eating out during the weekdays, but I was so tired and hungry that I didn’t care. I’d even been feeling a bit sketchy earlier in the day too. Almost like I was about to come down with something. I dismissed it because I’ve been so busy and stressed these past few weeks. Add in the poor night’s sleep that I had the other day when Reese had her growing pains and it wasn’t a good equation. I, however, chose to remain in complete denial. Bad idea. Again, again, UGH.

As we were enjoying our not-homemade blessing of a dinner last night, I caught a glimpse of something on Reese’s face. SNOT. Her nose was dripping ever so slightly. I instantly began claiming that the chill in the air both inside and outside the restaurant must be causing it. As she began to drip more I moved into accusing allergens as the culprit. This was clearly a desperate stretch since the child doesn’t even have allergies! By the time we got home Reese was in full drip mode. Somehow I still managed to give her a bath, dry her hair and get her into bed a few minutes before her bed time. Moments like that, I feel like I have magical powers.

Unfortunately the magic wore off pretty quickly. My poor baby girl was not having a good nights sleep. I rubbed her back, repositioned her and cuddled her all night long. At around 4 am she seemed to be more comfortable than she had been all night and was sound asleep. I was SO THANKFUL!

So what did I do? Sleep, right?!?! NOPE. I got up and rummaged through paperwork. Really Jennifer, REALLY?!?! Oh and I forgot to mention that at some point in the darkness of night, my denial officially wore off. I began to feeling sniffly too.

1000 times, UGH.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you don’t feel run down!!!

24 Groundhog Days later and love still knows no bounds …

Today is Groundhog Day. It is also the day that my mother died. For 24 years this day has not passed without tears and sadness. Sure, some years are better than others, but generally it’s just awful. I usually spend most of the day trying to avoid contact with the outside world. I try to limit my interactions to the people who know me the best. Those brave souls who have seen me at my worst and loved me anyway. Because for the most part, on Groundhog Day, I’m a wreck.

Twenty-four years later I STILL find it difficult to maneuver through this day. I mention this because ongoing grief is not something people talk about much. The initial grief that comes from loss we all understand even if someone has never felt it. But ongoing grief is a different beast. It shocks me how it still consumes me. It can be as painful as the day my mother died. And I think I know why.

When I feel genuine love for someone and they feel it for me, it’s like this energy has been created. It’s one of the most beautiful and powerful feelings I have ever felt. Being a mother myself and now having children venturing off to college, I find that their absence, although not permanent (thank you Jesus), still leaves an energy behind. It’s a connectedness that pulls on my heart and makes me want them home with me. And it’s also that connectedness that fuels their desire to return home. The love I have experienced both as a mother and as a daughter does not understand time, distance, physics, or logic. It is almost a stronger KNOWING than faith. This love just … IS. It is a constant. And although it’s not always at the forefront of my mind, it is and (I believe) always will be present. And after 24 years of grieving I can assure you that the energy that came from the love I felt from and for my mother is still as strong as it was when I could reach out and touch her. It has never gone away. I still want her to come home. I still want to hug her and spend time with her. Put simply, I STILL want my mommy. And I’m thankful. Although these ties to her tend to cause me incredible pain on days like this, it is a reminder of the gift that God had so graciously given me. Genuine love. And I will ALWAYS be thankful for that.

Well, I hope you all have a day where love knows no bounds!!!