Monday, October 17, 2016

I Don't Know About You, But I'm Feeling 82

I went to take care of some business at my local bank.  The friendly bank teller asked me, "How was your weekend?"  I stared back at her and said, "I wish I could remember that far back!"

I was invited to hike a 14-er (for you non-Coloradans that's code for a 14,000 ft mountain peak) and I replied, "I don't think my knee can take it."

There are hormone pills, iron deficiency meds and vitamin D supplements in my cabinet, I have an assortment of creams trying to address my childhood in the sun, and I even went off dairy/sugar/flour/all things bright and beautiful for a whole month trying to reduce my cholesterol.  It worked.  I celebrated with dairy/sugar/flour/all things bright and beautiful for the NEXT 30 days.  So maybe the point wasn't to improve my cholesterol so much as make me empathize with alcoholics who come out of rehab and immediately toast their sobriety with a beer. 

The point is, I'm feeling really old, you guys.  I knew it would happen, I just didn't expect it to be so soon.  At 45 my mom had a toddler and two kids in elementary school, but I'm shuffling around my house trying to make sure I don't mistake cool whip for eye cream.  How much longer before I accidentally frost those cupcakes with Preparation-H?  NOBODY KNOWS.  I've already been known to hit up Texas Roadhouse for their early bird special so anything is possible.

In other news, I would like to update since the last post.  It's been 10 months, it's the least I can do.  I didn't think anyone would notice because reducing writing to once a year doesn't tend to draw an audience.  However, I have had a few emails requesting an update so this is for you.  Long story short:  all is well.  Short story long:  On the weekend that my daughter was leaving for her mission my son was two weeks into a very puzzling set of symptoms.  We had been in/out of various doctor's offices but the day before Samantha's farewell we were called into urgent care (that's right, THEY called US) because he had alarming results to the blood test taken the day before.  At 10am they told me they were worried that his symptoms were pointing to leukemia.  They drew more blood, put a rush on the test results and told us we should hear back by the end of the day.  When we got in the car Drew tried to remain calm and asked, "Mom, if I have cancer can I finally get a dog?"  It was funny/not funny.  When my phone rang at 5:30pm the buzz of nervous energy surrounding our visiting family went radio silent as they watched and listened for my response as I talked to the doctor.  Results were back to normal.  I repeated it out loud as I nodded to my family in the other room, everyone exhaled, and we went back to focusing on sending Samantha off in style.  Cactus coolers all around!

Samantha has been serving as a full-time missionary for Jesus Christ for 8 months already.  We receive weekly emails, and we got to Skype with her for about an hour on Mother's Day.  We look forward to being able to do that again on Christmas, but otherwise we only hear from her via email once a week.  Sometimes I have dreams that I am hugging her.  Only 10 more months.  I'm already planning her homecoming party.  I'm thinking...cupcakes?  I know I have some frosting in a drawer somewhere....

Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's OK. It's Not OK. It's OK.

The halls of my home are stilled, and quiet fills the air.  

There’s a gentle hum in the basement that comes and goes with familiarity.

The oven has been on all night; a routine move reserved for tried and true methods for the best Sunday roast.  

But these halls, the basement, the oven; they do not speak for me.

There is nothing quiet about the thoughts that wake my mind at 5:00am on a Sunday and refuse to retreat and let me sleep.  There’s nothing gentle or familiar about spending the last seven days in facilities all over town trying to figure out why my  15-year-old, 6’ 2” son can’t walk up the stairs without gripping the rails or eat more than a piece of toast.  Routine doesn’t even begin to make the short list of words to describe how I feel about putting my daughter on a plane with a few skirts and a toothbrush and telling her goodbye for eighteen months.  

People say change is good.  I support that notion when change is defined as, “Hey, let’s eat shave ice in Hawaii for Christmas instead of scraping ice off our cars in Colorado!”  But the kind of change that says, “Hey!  We don’t know what’s wrong with your kid and your family that you have devoted your entire life to is never going to be the same!  And while we're at it we're taking Downton Abbey off the air and Costco is replacing the Ghiradelli chips with the Kirkland brand,” is the kind of change that can shove it.  

I do have to be fair, though.

My phone has buzzed incessantly this week with messages and calls from loving family and friends.

There have been gentle nudges from divine intervention to remind me that this little family of mine is no accident and is never going away permanently.  

I am routinely thankful for the good people who surround me and make the stresses of life easier to shoulder.

Mercifully, that is all too familiar.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Same Boy

The boy who has an hour before a lacrosse game but waits until five minutes before we have to leave to ask me if I've seen his navy blue shorts...

The boy who comes home from school and plays on his phone for 2 hours but waits until it is time for bed to put in a load of laundry and then has to wait another 45 minutes so he can put it in the dryer before morning...

The boy who has enough clothes in a pile on his bedroom floor to clothe all naked children in every third world country but claims he "has a system"...

The boy who was sent into the store to buy himself a winter coat and came out with a canvas windbreaker ("It's FINE Mom")...

He is the same boy who looked me square in the eye and told me I was a good teacher.
He is the same boy who went into Costco to get the protein shakes he needed and came back with a 2-pack of Vitamin C because he knew I wasn't feeling well.
He is the same boy who when I asked, "Would you rather bring in the trash cans or unload the groceries?" replied, "BOTH."
He is the same boy who says things like, "I just want to curl up in a ball and eat boxes of candy surrounded by a bunch of cute puppies."
He is the same boy who dressed up in a unicorn costume to deliver a birthday gift to a friend of mine that needed a good laugh.
He is the same boy who was summoned by an adult last week to ask a certain girl to dance and he immediately agreed.

The boy that drives me crazy but that I am crazy about... the same.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

What A Difference A Year Makes

Exactly a year ago I was in my family room pacing back and forth, sobbing and absentmindedly running my hands through my hair as I tried to understand what was happening to me.  I didn’t feel upset.  I wasn’t necessarily panicked (or so I thought).  I felt like I was under control but my body was responding otherwise.  It’s not like nothing was going on;  I was preparing to drive my oldest child, my daughter, off to college the next morning.  But I was happy for her!  And I am not dramatic!  (Much!)  So what was with all the crying?

I couldn’t understand it but I knew I needed help, so I called the only person I knew with the ability to calm me down. 


I have a lot of questions for Him on a regular basis, but on this night I only asked him one.

“Will you come with us?”

I uttered a few other concerns in my prayer.  Something about it being January...icy roads…two girls in a car for 11 hours…driving across Wyoming…oh, Wyoming, I’m sorry for whatever you did to deserve being Wyoming.  Do the overpopulation enthusiasts know about you?  Because I feel like it would help.  I’M GETTING OFF TRACK.  Sorry.  Heavenly Father, I know you love us.  I know there are bigger problems in the world than sending my daughter off to live in Idaho for seven months but…actually, no.  THIS IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING AMERICA.  Just, please.  Will you get in the backseat and come along?  We could really use your company.

And He did.

I swear, He did.

I felt peace.  I slept that night.  We got in the car the next morning, sang along to “500 miles”, took potty breaks at Little America, and drove to Rexburg, Idaho without incident.  However, it’s not the “without incident” part that truly gave me comfort, it was the comfort itself.  I am humbled by the peace that comes from a loving God and I felt it keenly during the next three days.  I felt it as we shopped for groceries.  I felt it as we unpacked and set up her room.  I felt it as I hugged her for the last time before returning home, and I felt it as I slept that night in an utter state of calm.  I hope you guys are paying attention because I just divulged that Heavenly Father can bless you when you go to Wal Mart in a town of 25,000 people where 15,000 of those people are students who are also all going to Wal Mart for the same reason.  I’m telling you, He is a big, flippin’ deal.

Fast-forward to the present day.  Samantha has been through a whole heckofalot this year.  A lot of it crappy, a lot of it not crappy at all.  But there’s something amazing I observed as I sent my child to live somewhere else away from my bottomless supply of toilet paper and Honey Comb and it is this:  Heavenly Father didn’t leave her alone.  In the midst of the crap and the not so crap He was there for her, and she listened to Him.  She asked questions, and He gave answers, and as a result of many months of searching she has decided to serve as a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  She will pack 2 dresses, 4 skirts, 3 shirts and a few personal items and move to Tucson, Arizona for eighteen months and try to teach people about the Savior, Jesus Christ.  With the exception of a weekly email and Skyping twice a year I will not see or hear from her for a year and a half.

I am a month away from dropping her off.  I haven’t started pacing and sobbing or pulling at my hair in bizarre, desperate ways, but I feel it coming and I sense that my plea to God will be similar. 

“Will you go with her?”

And He will.  

“Will you stay with me too?”

And He will.

And this time I don’t have to cross Wyoming.