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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Just Like That


I got word yesterday through Facebook that an acquaintance of mine had died over the weekend.

Tom was someone I had known from my youth group at church. To be completely frank, I don't remember a lot about him from that time period, just that he was a nice person. We didn't really hang out much.

Tom contacted me as an adult on FB a couple of years ago. Over time I came to recognize him as an exceedingly kind and gentle soul. He wasn't married, nor did he have children, but he had dogs that he trained for agility and he loved them as his Fur Kids.

I've been processing the notion of his passing. I had a classmate also pass away a couple of years ago, but she had been fighting an illness, so while it was still shocking, it was somehow also vaguely expected. But this, a sudden massive heart attack, with no warning, has really been weighing on me.

How is it that we exist on this earth and then just POOF, game over, just like that? No goodbyes, no finishing the bucket list, no making an arrangement for your beloved Fur Kids.

Over the past month, I've applied a renewed focus to my health. I've been working to lose weight, yes, but also to build strength and endurance. I've seen the changes already, both in my physical shape and in my mental well being. My motivation is the trip I am taking this summer with the boys, but also, perhaps even more so, for my own self, for my own health.

As my kids are aging out of their school years and into their own lives and futures, my attention has turned to what I want to do. There are so many places I want to go, so many things to try, and taste, and see. The urge to explore and travel has by necessity been somewhat dormant, but I feel it rising in my chest, ready to break free.

I want to make sure that I can get out there and do everything.
I so wish Tom had had that chance too.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Tuck Ins


A while ago, maybe a year or so ago, a relative expressed surprise that I still tucked my boys in.
They didn't understand why boys 12 and 15 needed to be tucked in.

Truth is, they don't. They are certainly CAPABLE of putting themselves to bed. And more often than not, the 15 year old will poke his head in and say Good Night and that will suffice.

But oh, how much can be missed by not taking those moments to tuck in a child, even a growing or almost grown one.

Tonight, Trey and I discussed five things he is grateful for. It was touching to hear his list (family, friends, parents, heart loves {God and Roonoff}, and all the things he needs and some that he wants.)

He elaborated on all that I do "with most of the time no one saying thank you" and the work his Dad does "having to get up early and work late and even work on the summers" as well as his "heart loves"- "I mean, I can talk to you about almost anything but when I am really mad at you and I can't talk to you I can talk to God or Roonoff."

And then I tucked in Chris and lingered a bit and was able to talk with him in the dark about life and the trips we had taken this summer (highlights for him: Costa Rica mission trip, St Louis and Branson particularly the cliff and helping Grampie jump off the cliff) and also about his upcoming school year, for which he has high hopes.

These boys (and my daughter too but she is out of town) are such amazing gifts. Even when I am tired, I am so glad when I find and take the time to stop and listen.

I still, after 19 years of parenting, just cannot get over how freaking lucky I am.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Slave to the Lender



As I was tucking Trey in tonight, he was being especially sweet. One of the things he said also struck me as very profound.

"Mom, I'm grateful to you and Dad for taking care of me and letting me go to college debt free. One day when I finish I'll be free and debt-free. Some other people will be independent, but they won't be free."

Very interesting to me how this child has so fully absorbed the lessons from Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace, at the tender age of 12. I guess he's been the one who was fully steeped in it from such a young age. I hope the concepts continue to stick with him throughout his life!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Every Mother Should Have Sons


While I love all my children, it has become my firm belief that each and every parent should have a child (at least one!) of the opposite gender in their home.
There is just something about it- little girls and their Dads, and Moms and their sons.

For example, tonight Rob, the boys and I went to see our county's production of Les Miserables. My kids have seen Les Mis a couple of times over and we know the storyline and songs well. I was between the boys and we were all armed with tissues.

I cry at various songs, some harder than others- "I Dreamed a Dream" gets me, Fontine's death just about does me in.
During both these songs, the boys grabbed my hand or wrapped an arm around my shoulder.

Chris' favorite song is "Stars" and Trey's favorite song is "A Little Drop of Rain" although it absolutely KILLS him every time.
When it is time for A Little Drop of Rain, I could feel Trey sobbing and sobbing beside me. This continued for quite a while.

A bit later, he leans over and whispers "It took me two songs to recover from that!"
"Me too, buddy" I whispered back, "I was doing the ugly cry."
"That's okay Mom" he leaned in and said quietly, "even when you do the ugly cry you're always beautiful to me."

THAT.
That right there is why Moms having sons is the best thing ever in the whole world. :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flashes of Light


"Oh, GREAT," I muttered to Rob. If there was a sarcasm font, this would be written and bolded in it.

You see, Trey has been attending a camp this week called Extreme Recess. It's a long day- it runs from 9-5. He loves it though. The first day I picked him up early and was instructed to 'please don't pick me up early again.'

The downside is that this camp is positively kicking the child's butt. He is T-I-R-E-D at the end of the day. As in crankapotamous, -can't talk to him for at least an hour after it's over- kind of tired.

After a particularly whiney evening, Rob and I decided the boy needed to go to bed early. He clearly was exhausted, clearly needed rest. We told him he had to be in bed to sleep at 9 PM.

What had me so irritated, then, was that the thunderstorm in the area was rolling in right around 9:30, and Trey still has a fear of thunder in particular and lightning by association. If he was still awake, there was no easy way to get him to sleep.

"I hope Trey's asleep or else he is going to be in our room," I continued as I got up and headed toward the kitchen. I was dead tired myself, as I've been battling a particularly long-lasting insomnia bout.

At exactly that moment I bumped into something warm and furry. It grabbed me and I whirled around and SCREAMED. It was Trey in his flannel robe. I swear I thought I was seeing an apparition. We have very creaky stairs so we always know when our kids are coming up or down. It was like he VAPORIZED there.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I screamed HOLY SHIT! And I'm not sorry.)

"It's storming," he helpfully informed me as I gasped for breath and clutched my heart. "There's thunder and lightning."

I could hear the whine in my voice matching the whine in his. "Yes, it is storming. There's thunder and lightning. But you are fine. You are safe in the house. You know the thunder is just a sound- the sound of hot air and cold air colliding. It isn't going to hurt you."

But it was no use. I could tell that he was freaked out and he wasn't going to be able to go to sleep.

"Just go in your own room and turn on the light and read then," I said in a short tone, "I'm really tired and I want to go to bed."

He went into his room and I went to mine. I got ready for bed, turned on a light, started reading a magazine. I was about ready to nod off when there was a soft knock at the door and Trey appeared. He looked nervous but determined to say his piece.

"With no screen, the rain is hitting my window and it's really loud."

I sighed heavily. This was true but dammit, I'm tired!

"Come on, Trey" I grumbled, "you are almost 13! You've got to get past this. Go tell your Dad about the screen and then just go back to bed. Or go into Kate or Chris' room since they aren't there. They have screens."

He shuffled out, informed his father, collected his various bedtime belongings (alarm clock, night light, pillow, etc) and moved into his sister's room. I laid in bed, stewing.

Come on!  I thought to myself. He's got to move past this.

But as I lay there some more, I pictured him in Kate's room. The big bed, the unfamiliar feel of it, the flashing lighting and rumbling thunder. I pictured him lying there scared, and I couldn't do it.

Yes, he's 12. But he's still a boy.
And he's scared.

He's not going to go off to college afraid of the dark, and lightning and thunder. And if he does, so what? He'll have a room mate and he'll have to deal. But right now he's just a boy and he needs the security I can bring him.

I got up and went into Kate's room. He was just as I imagined him to be- ramrod straight, eyes wide open, scared. I climbed into bed beside him and he curled up against me gratefully.

Yes, I thought to myself, he's still small.
Right now, he is still small.
But time is going fast.. and I held him a little closer.. and he drifted into sleep.

(And I'm not sorry.)