Years were shaved off of my life …

In the past year I wrote about how I will never EVER feel calm when teaching one of my children how to drive. I believe that I stated previously that I would always find it difficult to trust my life with anyone I needed to teach to eat with a spoon. Let’s revisit this thought … OK, REVISITED. And it still holds true! Teaching my children to drive has been the single most frightening parenting experience I’ve ever had. HANDS. DOWN.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you didn’t have years shaved off of your life!!!

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Marianne (MY ROCK) …

Being an MSW and a parent for over 20 years has not given me an immunity from worry. Heck, sometimes I think they may have made it worse, HA! Trust me when I say that I have seen some ugly horrible situations. So when it comes to my precious babies (yes, I know two of them are adults now) I can’t shake the worry that comes when they are sick, injured or recovering from surgery. I know I should be a pro at this by now. But I’m not. And times like this are when it comes in handy to have an incredible friend. My best friend from high school is one heck of a woman. She is ALWAYS there for me. She is the level headed thinker when I am the wreck. She might be just as worried as I am but she pulls together a strength for me that is grounding. Her love and support has carried me through many times when I have felt scared and alone. And I couldn’t be more thankful for her.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you have someone to rely on!!!

Keeping my cool, parenting and IKEA …

In the past I have described parenting as a cross between two professions. The first, an air traffic controller and, the second, a hostage negotiator. After 20 years of parenting experience I am pretty sure I could do both those jobs simultaneously. My proof? Not just anyone can get a HANGRY 8 year old to stop alternating between laying on the floor, climbing the walls (literally) and throwing stuffed animals into the high ceilings of IKEA … without breaking a sweat.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you keep your cool!!!

A story about faith, love and believing in miracles …

I post these words every year. I don't think I will ever be able to change them. To do so would be an injustice to her. To me. And to all our family and friends who stood by us then and who continue to share this life with us now. This story is about our beginning together. It is a story of faith and love … and believing in miracles.

We were told when I was about 11 weeks pregnant 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 still born … 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 adamant and angry “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 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 who 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 on her own and with no hole in her heart. (Sure, she has 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.

Eight years ago today, through God’s amazing grace, Reese Lindsey Grace 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 … and I would have it no other way.

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

I can’t imagine what it will be like …

Next Sunday I will wake up to two sleeping children. Not four. Sid will be in her new house and George will be settled into his dorm. It will be the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. I'm trying very hard to picture what this new chapter will look like. What it will sound like. And what it will feel like. But I just can't. I'm not sure if it's my heart or my head that can't fully grasp it all. But I can understand why I can't. It's just too big. It's all so emotionally charged. And it's unfamiliar. A life not yet experienced. A life unknown. I'm literally at a loss at what to expect. So, I guess I'll have to wait to see what it's like when I wake up next Sunday morning. BIG sigh.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you can't imagine what it will be like!!!

I’m going to miss this (boxes and bags included) …

Our house is a disaster. Moving Sid and George out of the house on the same day is just NUTS. But it is the only way it all makes sense logistically and with the time frames we have been given. So, we have two people who are cleaning out their rooms and closets. They are also, at the same time, boxing up things that they will take with them, things they will leave here and things they will donate. Then you have me who keeps buying things to make sure they have exactly what they need to actually move out. We also Libs who is getting ready to start her sophomore year of high school and a busy tennis season. And we have an excited Reese who is eager to "help" with everything. Oh! And let's not forget the online orders that are starting to arrive. You know, the stuff I thought should be ordered for school for the younger girls to save time as summer draws to an end. Yep, this house is an explosion of boxes and bags. And you know what?

I love it.

I look around and I see FAMILY and LIFE and LOVE. I see ADVENTURE and NEW BEGINNINGS. It's what's happening NOW to and for my most favorite people in the world. It is a snapshot in our lives. A time that will pass quickly but will have lasting memories. This is US. And our US is on the verge of another major change. It excites my soul and breaks my heart all at once. I want to keep my children little and safe and with me. But I also want them to grow and experience life and learn every lesson they can even if that takes them away from me.

I will always look back at this time in our lives as truly special. An unexpected gift from God. When Sid moved out I wasn't sure if we would ever get this much time together again. I accepted that. But when I got sick last Fall it's all that I could think of. US. Together again. These past few months with everyone home has been exactly what I had hoped for … and needed. To see it all change again is hard. But I refuse to be greedy. I got my heart's desire. Now it's time for these amazing young souls, that I had the privilege to raise, to venture out into the world. I can't wait to see what is in store for them. For me. For us.

Thursday is coming quickly. The day all this change goes into motion. I'm ready. More importantly, THEY are ready. I am consumed with every mom emotion I have ever felt. I am blessed to feel so much and experience this unusual balance between loss and gain again. Life will take on a new shape for us. I know this and it's OK. Our time together will be altered by distance, schedules, and responsibilities. But we will figure it all out. Love just does. A new normal will soon set in and this transition will become another notch on our family belt. The hardness of this will all fade away. But for now, I will just cherish every last familiar messy moment we get spend together. Boxes and bags included.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you're going to miss this!!!

Letting go (and crying AGAIN) …

It's getting close. REAL close. George's college move-in date is just next week. Again, this whole process is absolutely exciting and also utterly heartbreaking. How I view HOME is going to, once again, change. It is a change that does not come easily or without pain. At least not for me.

I have always had a great relationship with George. Conversations come easy. We are close. He knows how much I love him and how much I want for him. I couldn't be prouder of the man he has become. He is ready to take on the world. He knows that I believe that he has what it takes to achieve all
of his goals and more. To put it simply, we have talked it all out.

But there is one conversion I had not had with George yet. At least not until yesterday. And boy, it was a DOOZY.

Yesterday Facebook memories reminded me that I had the same conversation with Sidney two years ago just before she left for college. It was to date, the most painful and difficult conversation I had ever had as a parent. But it had to be done … for her. I had planned on having the same conversation with George this week so I decided that yesterday was as good a day as any to have it. Yes, I decided that yesterday was going to be THAT day, and I gave myself permission not to like any of it.

So yesterday I had, for the second time in my life, the hardest most difficult conversation I have ever had with my child. I looked at George and I told him that no matter where life took him, wherever I was, he would always have a home with me. That he would be welcomed back, loved, and cared for. And then I took a big breath, held back my tears (not very well) and told him that it was also OK if he chose to just make his return home a pit stop. Temporary. Short. Brief. I told him that if his life and his dreams lead him on long or frequent travels to far away places, that I would understand. I told him to enjoy every second of his journeys. To truly LIVE and LEARN. To explore the world and find where he fits. And most importantly, I told him to take chances because great things didn't happen to people who always played it "safe". And then I explained to him why, despite all the heartache, I felt this way. I told him that my love for him has allowed me to find great joy in knowing that he is chasing his dreams and becoming the man he has envisioned … even if all of it takes him away from me.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you let go!!!