Tag Archives: family

Way Too Long

Well hello there! Remember me? Sorry for it being so long since I last posted. I’ll try to do better in 2013.

So, we got moved to Georgia in mid September of 2012 and the day after – yes, the day after we unloaded the last truck, we got the dreaded call – the contract had fell through. Yep. We loaded one more truck and headed home to Indiana. That was a scary and defeated feeling. I hated those days. Saying goodbye to something that I had no sooner said hello. The thoughts that rushed through me were common; ‘Why?’ Why did we literally pack everything we own and spend $1000’s of dollars just to move right back? My Mom taught me the most valueable lesson of my life in her last days. “There’s always a reason, we just aren’t meant to know why sometimes.”

By the end of October we were back in Indiana. His folks visited us a couple time for the holidays and I was very happy to host my family twice when my sons came to visit. My middle son came first the beginning of December with his wife and my first grandson, Riott. We had 21 family members over for Sunday dinner. It was amazing! Always wanted a place big enough to host my ever-growing family. If you think 21 is large – that was not even half of my immediate family. My nephew and niece-in-law announced their big news: due in July!! Yes, yet another grandchild to add to the family tree. What a joyous moment!

Hosting the family wasn’t near as much stress as I thought it would be and I was glad to do it again in January when my oldest son visited with his new wife. She’s due May 22 – yes, going to be grandma x2! YAY!! Another branch extends forth!! Found out it will be another boy, Noah. Can’t wait to meet him. Sucks that we live so far away. Doesn’t matter if I live in Indiana or Georgia or ‘Timbucktoo’; both my sons live in Missouri. That’s probably the part I don’t like about my life most right now; I can’t just stop over and see my kids/grandkids. Can’t just babysit and spoil my offspring’s offspring…but thank God for modern technology. I can text, call, Skype and keep up on their to-do-n’s on Facebook. I can see progressive baby belly pics and hear all about her craving and emotional boundings. I can still offer my motherly advise and be involved. It’s the little things 🙂

I found a new job – one I love so much. I work from home now. It’s great!! I actually turned down 2 other offers in town. That was scary. I’ve never worked on a contract like this before and after what happened to Dave’s contract last year, I feared the worse. Besides, I cannot recall ever turning down a job offer, but something told me to take this one. I knew it meant I had to disciplined. I knew the risks. It took almost a month before I actually started. I worried if it was real. But my worries were soon layed to rest. When I started working, it was just as I remembered. It was like dusting off a bike and hopping back on – I was a little wobbly the first couple days but before I knew it, I was doing flips and coasting with my hands up in the air! The people I work with are fun, dedicated, understanding and just down right great people. They have faith and that really sold me on them. They weren’t afraid to say it in both my interviews. Know how when you talk to someone, you just click? Well, that’s the way it was with this team. I’m glad I listened to my gut.

And it’s a good thing I took that remote job – we are back in Georgia!! Yep. Last truck is unloaded and no call yet. (And there better not be, God willing! Lol!) I have faith that this time is it. We are here for good. Today marks his first day at his new job. Kinda scary, but in a good way. Dave and I are as strong as ever. He even left me a little note in my office this morning. Love those little moments…don’t think he realizes how much…

So, what’s the moral of this blog? Don’t give up. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the best things happen out of the worst circumstances. It is our struggles – our victories and our defeats – that makes us who we are. We can chose to begrudge life and anticipate the next hurdle or we can face each day for what it is, knowing that we have the opportunity to rise above, grow and be grateful. I got to host my family not once, but twice. I got to have my sons over and create some new memories together. I got to spend some quality time with my daugther who is growing into the woman I knew she could be. I got to overcome one of life worst disappointments with the one I love. I am thankful for technology that allows me to stay connected no matter where I am. I am thankful for my faith that continues to see me through – and I am reminded that through God’s strength, we can do anything.

Until next time!

 

“The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.”  ~ Psalm 69:32

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.”  ~ Romans 12:2

“Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”  ~ 1 Corinthians 13:7

Resist the Path of Least Resistance

Oh, my dear invisible blog reading friends, it’s been awhile. My apologies. But, nevertheless, I am back. And again, I find myself pondering which topic to write about. I’ve had a lot on my mind lately so I figured it best to let the creative juices flow via my keyboard. I’m not sure where this is going so, pour a little more coffee, put the phone on vibrate and enjoy the ride.

Isn’t it amazing how life can be going along just as decent as you please, then all of the sudden you are side swiped by an event you never saw coming? It happens to all of us. Life is full of brick walls that must be torn down or climbed. Being a parent is not a requirement, but in times like these, you better buckle your seat belt because it will rock your world in unfathomable ways.

Not just my daughter, but one of son’s has given cause to buckle said belt lately. I don’t want to go into specifics, but let’s just say we don’t wish these things on anyone. It’s easy to shower a child with love and even easier to make excuses; it’s when the parenting becomes a job that many fail or fall short. You cannot love them out of their predicaments, and unfortunately, they cannot always learn by example: they have to experience it themselves. Sadly enough, sometimes in witnessing these choices we are reminded of our own poor decisions in youth and we discover a new appreciation for our own parents…something that for me has occurred quite frequently throughout my ‘adulthood’.

We can fall prey to becoming the enabler – which is the worse thing for them and everyone involved. No one wants to watch someone fall, especially a parent, but sometimes we must. If we continue to throw in the proverbial life preservers we are only preserving the action that got them there in the first place. If they never experience consequence for their actions, the lesson is never learned. Life is a series of tests that we will take over and over again until we learn them. And even then, we will have surprise pop quizes to ensure we have retained what we’ve learned. (Ain’t life grand?) We can repeatedly instill in them basic morals and concepts but it’s up to them to ‘get it’. Some will get it when they are children, others well into adulthood…some never. But that’s not up to us. We are responsible only for our own actions. In being role models in living out our philosophies.

We have now what we call a generation of entitlement: “I want it. I get it.” They don’t deserve or earn these privledges or materials but they get them anyway. And who is to blame? Parents? Society? The percentage of children with phones, games, and name brands is expotential compared to any generation before. I get it that we want to spoil our children, but come on! Some things need to be earned. If ‘Johnny’ is failing at school, the last thing he needs is a vehicle to puruse the streets as he wishes.

And what happen to discipline? The metal locker hallways amplifying the echo of a paddling was terrifying to me as a student. Sure. I had “Attention Deficit” but that paddle was much more effective than any form of medication. Not to mention the price I would pay when I got home if I had gotten into any trouble. That paddle was nothing compared to what my father was capable of. What do we have now? Oh. That’s right. Detention. Oooh. I’m scared. Whatever.

I’m not saying we have to be hard asses to our kids, but what I am saying is: we have to demand respect as parents FIRST. I could care less if my child considers me their friend if I don’t have their respect as their mother FIRST. No. I’m not perfect. Some of my choices flat sucked but I’ve done and am doing the best I can with the knowledge I have. So did my folks. They did things I didn’t agree with and I have resolved to never be like that. But that’s how it works. We are supposed to take that knowledge from our childhood and use it to improve ourselves when it is our time to be the parent. That’s the natural cycle.

I guess I’m just trying to encourage other parents like myself to resist the path of least resistance. Yeah. The easy road feels much less stressful at the time, but I’m telling you, if you travel down this path thinking it’s going to be all pavement and straightaways, you are only kidding yourself and as a result inevitably hurting those you love the most. That road ahead is full of potholes that take much more effort to repair and bridges that once burned, can be near impossible to rebuild. Anything worth having is worth working for and that includes parenthood. Buckle your seatbelts and enjoy the ride.

Bigger than the Biggest

So. I feel like blogging…so many things to blog about. The hard part is picking one. It’s the day after Christmas. Just got off the phone with my second oldest sister. This topic seems appropriate. For those who don’t know me, I’m the baby of 8 full-blooded siblings. My folks were married almost 50 years. I’m the youngest. Sixteen years separate me from the oldest. All but me and a brother are married and every one of us have at least 1 child. You’d think our Christmas would be filled with merriment and joy and family upon family. But no.

This blog will not be filled with happiness and joy, nor oozing with holiday delight and moments of love and cherished memories. No. I’m pissed. I’m pissed that I have such a large family and we don’t take the time to be together like we use to. If my Mom were still alive, she’d be pissed too. Oh yeah. We are getting together, on New Year’s Day. No food. Just stop by between 2pm and 5pm. I doubt everyone will stay 3 hours. Several nieces and nephews won’t be there and half of us live out of state. I wonder if everyone is going out of desirement or requirement. (I know it’s not a word. Sue me.) What gets me most is, back in the day, it was “we eat at noon.” You could show up early but rarely did anyone ever show up late without cause. And while it was hard to find a day when no one had committments with their inlaws, most stuck around until it was dark. What the hell is 2pm-5pm?? Having a beginning and ending time sounds more like a meeting, not a gathering of family. Maybe I should take doughnuts. (Yes. It’s okay to laugh. I am.)

Every year we use to gather on Christmas. If not Christmas day, a day very close to it. My old bedroom usually served as the coat room: I smile when I think about my old bed hidden with stacks of coats, scarfs, purses and gloves. And as you would suspect with a family my size, there were more gift than the livingroom could accomodate, but even better, it was a necessity to drag every chair and table from the basement upstairs so that no one had to stand. Everyone worked together, everyone pitched in. (No. I really had to go to the bathroom when it was time to do dishes. 😉 ) Kids chased each other down the hall, their laughs echoed from the basement where the adults would also congregate eventually to play ping pong or pool. The holiday feativites fostered a time for nieces and nephews to stregthen their bonds. A time for brothers and sisters to poke fun at ugly sweaters, compliment new hairdos, talk about new things in our lives, and maybe make a joke or two. 

An array of food always adorned several tables and nooks and crannies in the kitchen. There was always chicken and dumplings – a specialty my Mom and Grandma would tediously and religiously begin preparing the night before. And everyone brought a dish. Some we became accustom to every year: my sister-in-laws famous 8-way potatoes. Another sister’s spin on broccoli casserole. Always the familiar, and ever so popular peanut butter balls, fudge and sugar cookies with the Hershey’s kiss on the top that my second oldest sister would make. They weren’t even popular that first year she made them. Oh. She has a way with desserts. When I saw her pull up, I always ran out to help her bring stuff in just so I could get a sniff.

We are a strong family based on faith, yet while we always said grace before a meal, one of my sister’s would always include Jesus by telling a story. Usually before opening gifts to remind us what the season was all about. My niece and nephews even put on a show one year, costumes and all. They were so proud and we were proud just watching them.

All of these things – the food, the family, the traditions, the working together, the laughs, the pokes, the attempts to avoid doing dishes, the watching grandma fall asleep upright in the recliner –  it was what made the holiday special. Man. I love those memories. I can close my eyes and I’m there again.

If you find yourself complaining about traveling to visit inlaws, or trying to juggling seeing both sides of the family during the holidays, next year, just do it and be thankful. Don’t let the holiday’s become a chore. It’s not about presents and food and ugly sweaters. It’s about spending time together. Even if it’s in 3 hour allottment… No present, no dish, no card, will ever replace those moments. Maybe next year will be better. Until then, I’m going to enjoy every second, even if there’s no sugar cookie with a hershey’s kiss in the middle, because it’s more about just being together because when you take all those little things in life and put them together, they become bigger than the biggest things. And those are often the most irreplaceable.

I’m not pissed anymore. The holidays may make me sad, but I know I’m still blessed. Even my own children were scattered around the states with their significant others. So, the holidays may not be exactly as I wish they would be, but I do appreciate the memories. Maybe that’s why I’m the first to volunteer to do dishes now….

You don’t need a holiday to hug the ones you love.

Oh! And let me add: remember the movie “A Christmas Story”? The mom goes through all the work to make a big meal, and the dog eats the turkey and ruins dinner so they go to a Chinese restaurant? It wasn’t about the food, it was about being together. Thanks for reminding me of that, Dave. While we just went there to eat, it meant much more to me than you know. But that’s how God works. In the simple details. I love you.

Screaming in Silence: Allowing the Inner Child to Cry

Funny how I can be thinking of what I want to write and no sooner do I sit down and start typing, something else comes out. Sometimes it sucks to come face to face with ourselves, but some times that the only way we can truly grow. Being transparent isn’t easy…especially in the mirror, but it sure is enlightening. Oh, well. Guess this was what I was suppose to write about. So…here goes.

Oh, the holidays…joyous days filled with frolick, family, smiling faces, and cheerful music. Sounds great, right? But oh, how I’ve grown to despise this time of year. Over the years, all holidays have done for me is add weight to an already overflowing mind. I try to look at it as any other day. And I think I’m over it until I start writing about it and the emotions just start flooding back. I know other’s have this holiday heaviness. So…I guess it’s time to be transparent and just write about it. I tell people bits and pieces of this story and then shrug off the implication that it was really ‘that’ bad, but it was…it impacted me for a long time…and it still haunts me on occasion. Holidays – and my childhood – have been instrumental in teaching me that if you don’t expect anything, when you don’t get it, it won’t matter.

Growing up in a large family of 10, you would think this time of year is naturally full of family memories and traditions. But. It’s not. Sad, but true. We do spend Christmas’ together but Thanksgiving, that’s another story. I do good to even speak to a family member during this time. It all started many years ago – I’d say mid 1990’s – I hugged each of my kids as they piled into their dad’s car for an extended weekend stay. Back in the house, I bounced over to the phone to call Mom and check what time I should come out for Thanksgiving dinner. Inspecting my contribution to the festivities in the oven, the phone rang and rang. No answer. That’s odd. I called my sister who, to my shock, informed me that they were in New York visiting my other sister. WHAT?? Why didn’t they tell me? And more importantly, what now??

My mom had vocalized her growing detest for Thanksgiving. Starting on the eve of the holiday, my mother would toil away for hours in the kitchen making the best of the best, only to have everyone come out solely to eat and then move onto their inlaws house. She wanted more time for visiting, a small concession for sweating over the stove. I can’t blame her. Yet, I didn’t have inlaws. I couldn’t imagine our family not breaking bread on a day such as this. Besides, without my family Thanksgiving…where would I go?? Well, that year, the unspeakable happened and the answer was Shoney’s…a popular buffet just down the street. Table for one please.

It was hard watching all those families interacting together. I would’ve given my right arm to fight over the last biscuit or to have my brother give me crap about how much I could pile on my plate. For the life of me, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that my parents didn’t tell me they were going to be out of town. Could I have really been forgotten?? Surely they didn’t decide to fly out the night before. Knowing my Mom’s innate ability to squeeze a penny, this had to have been planned for quite a while. Nothing hurt more then the reality that I had been forgotten by my own family…not one sibling called me that day…or even that month. Which isn’t out of sorts to begin with. But not even my sister who delivered the blow thought to soften it. I’m sure they were busy with the bustle of their own holiday merriment. And I am sincerely happy and thankful for all my family, however, the little girl inside me was left scared in solitude, screaming in silence.

For a couple years, another lone neighbor of mine and I would cook an elaborate spread for our kids and invite other ‘loners’ to join in our meager festivities. That made me feel awesome, like I was just another toy on Misfit Island; flawed but not alone. I most wanted to be with my kids, if possible, and others who could appreciate life’s simplest blessings. That’s what Thanksgiving is about to me. Always has been, always will be. And a couple years I did accept invitations to dine with other families. It was nice to be a part of someone’s celebration…even if they couldn’t remember my name, yet it was never the same. I actually didn’t expect it to be. I was grateful to be there but honestly didn’t mind being alone. What I craved most was my immediate family. Not turkey, not dressing, just me and my kids. 

Being alone can be tough on any day yet the holidays can serve as a proverbial diving board, plunging us head first into an inescapable confrontation of how we really feel inside: that little girl that absorbed all of life’s blows. There, it is easy to drown ourselves with the ‘what ifs’ and ‘poor mes’. Each cheerful melody on the radio, submerging our frail inner child deeper into the suppressed darkness, cutting off our breath and compressing our lungs. It’s hard to breathe there. The ability to mask this saddness become an art. We pretend to be grown up on the outside. Yes. Certain songs, events or whatever can set us back even on regular days, but the holidays…they are almost impossible to conceal with a smile. …but you know what? That’s just the devil coaxing us into a pit of self pity using what he knows will hurt us the most. We have to remind ourselves that we all have that inner child, and we all have a right to be sad. God said overcoming our trials would be worth it, yet He never said it would be easy. Our most pronounced growth comes from taking the time to learn about ourselves, connect with that inner self and relearn how we have come to percieve things as a result of our experiences. This process can be downright painful…it’s hard to look that little girl/boy inside of us eye to eye, but we must. Some times we need to do an overhaul on our perception. Change the lens in which were percieve life. Some times we even have to change our surroundings completely, least it drain us of our ability to enjoy even the simplest things in life. We have to do what we must in order to understand how we got to thinking one way before we can redirect that idealogy and start creating new, more fulfilling memories. We have to hold that child inside of us and let them know it’s okay to feel bad.

I honestly don’t think we were designed to be alone. It is natural to long for a closeness with someone, even our families; but in life, that just isn’t always possible. Things don’t just happen because we want them to, we all know that. And some times it’s darkest before the dawn. We were not made to never be sad. We were not built to always hold it in. It has to come out at some point to avoid errupting as anger and hostility. That child inside needs to be held. They DEMAND it. Once we realize the cause of our pain, we can work on understanding it and letting it go for good. We need to enjoy EVERY moment we are given and use each opportunity to make memories, even the simple ones – whether it’s on a holiday or not. We have a right – no, a duty – to allow ourselves to ability to feel and validate even the most painful emotions.  It’s ok to admit that you are hurt. No one has to agree with you or give you permission. No one has to say they are sorry. The key is remembering that we cannot permit ourselves to STAY there. Lay it out to let it go. And I’m not saying you should call your best bud and just start laying out all the boo-hoo’s of your life; we should go to a private place, give our worries, disappointments and fears to God. Let that child inside of us feel what they feel. Give ourselves time to mourn. Tell Him what we are feeling and ask that He help us understand and let go of the saddness. Ask that He just hold us. In time, it will happen. That little child will smile.

So, I guess the bigger lesson life has taught me is that if you fall 10 times, get up 11. Life will continue to try and knock me down, but I refuse to let it knock me out. I will continue to expect things, and when they don’t come true, I will just chalk it up to timing, but I will never give in. I will find the lesson in every trial and make the most of everything opportunity in which a new memory can be created, however trivial it may be. And if that little girl inside need to cry again, I’m just going to hug her, give her permission to cry, and remind her it’s going to be alright. I’ll hold you, and one day, we will both smile again.

 

“If you live your Life fully, you will die only once. But if you are scared of every step, fear will kill you everyday.”~Paulo Coehlo
 
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” ~ James 1:12

Embracing the Journey: Navigating Life’s Detours

And so, here I am….again. Now, after reading the next few lines you might be wondering why the heck I choose this photo….just keep reading. (If you like my photography, please ‘like’ my Facebook page.) I’ll cut to the chase. My daughter had a miscarriage. We went for an ultrasound last Thursday and they didn’t see anything. I knew then something was wrong. The following 5 days were hell: waiting, wondering, worrying, praying, doctor appointments, blood work, and more doctor appointments and more blood work. So…here I am to public deal with my thoughts.

All along I knew God’s hand was in it. Never doubted that for a second. She didn’t do anything wrong – matter of fact, just as my daughter always excels, she did everything right: drinking lots of water, eating right and exercising. It just wasn’t meant to be. My main concern is her. Her mental health in dealing with it. I also had a miscarriage when I was just short of her age. I didn’t even know I was pregnant and my relationship was going down hill fast, so I was actually relieved, but she had really accepted this and embraced it. We all did…

I still see some disappointment in her eyes and she is quicker to get angry – but I understand and I let her know I’m here if she wants to talk. I asked if she was going to try again and she said ‘no’ – she wants to be out of school and have her own place – she wants to do it right. (Funny, she didn’t say married. Thanks society.) Regardless, I am proud.

In order for me to be the supportive mom, it’s best I filter through my emotions right now. It’s been hard and I think she’s handling it better than me. Why?? At first I was a bit mad…at everyone. I had bought so much already and really had embraced the idea of being an awesome Grandma; determined to be the most Mom to my daughter, too. Now. It was gone. Just like that. Why? There is no answer. God is God. Suddenly, I felt I had nothing to look forward to. But, what had I looked forward to before this?? I had to get out of this funk so I prayed the most simpliest, shortest prayer I know, “Help me, Lord.”

As days go by, I am reminded of things. Just days before finding out about the pregnancy, I had completed separated myself from my ex – deleted, blocked, the whole 9 yards. The headache, the turmoil, the mistrust, the manipulation and games; I just couldn’t do it anymore – I was fooling myself to think he had what it takes to build a strong relationship…and maybe I was fooling myself that I was ready for it, too. I had to admit that what I thought we had was only a fantasy and fantasies are dreams that never come true. We were far from equally yolked. Even God had taken a back seat. We had common interests and goals but we were worlds apart on so many other important levels. Squares don’t fit into circles and if you try, you better have some Excedrin on hand cause all your gonna get is aggravated.

It was amazing…after finding out I was going to be a Grandma, dating quickly lost all it’s luster. I still missed him, but I knew I didn’t need him…or the headaches. The ‘whoever’ that was going to be in my life, my grandbaby’s life, would have to be extremely special and since my rose-colored glasses were finally coming into focus, I knew meeting anyone possessing those qualities wasn’t going to happen any time soon – and I was more than okay with that. I eventually decided to play the field, meet some new people while keeping my emotions in check and analyzing ‘me’ in the process. All of our habits have a root – and there has to be a root which causes my focus to blur, landing me in bad relationships. So, why do I do what I do? Some of the books I’ve been reading are excellent – “In the Meantime” by Iyanla Vanzant and “Yesterday I Cried” also by Iyanla (just found this at a book sale yesterday and already engulfed in it’s contents.) I’ll write a blog just about each book soon because they are so enlightening and inspiring – I’m actually reading the first book a second time – it was that good.

Long story short, after losing my grandbaby, I have no desire to even date – still up to meeting people (sometimes) but my grandeous idea that Mr. Right is out there has all but faded. I realize life is not about that anymore. Life is about relationships in general – my daughter, my friends, my family. No one can make me feel better but me – the light I’m looking for, the reason to live that I am looking for, is right here – in me. I love me! I’m a great person with great goals and great achievements. I have wonderful talents and some I’ve barely tapped in to. I WANT TO BE ME. That’s an awesome feeling.

I have so much going for me and I’m not letting another moment slip by or get put off because of some guy. I’m pulling my head up out of the sand and refusing to take one more blessing for granted. In the last 3 days I’ve been invited to set up a photo booth at a major event (which could prove to be very profitable), booked a FREE 4 day vacation to Nevada with my best friend and purchased a new refrigerator and stove. I even joined Sigma Alpha Pi; after attending orientation, I feel a strong urge to run for a leadership position – maybe fund raising.

So, maybe now my photograph at the beginning of this post makes sense. It’s not where we end up, it’s how we navigate the now – the roadblocks, the obstacles, the challenges, the upsets. It’s not that we win every time, but it’s how we get back up and keep going. Cry if you need to cry, be mad if you need to be mad. They are your feelings and you’ve got to let them out – just don’t let them stop you from moving on. Life’s journey is scattered with beauty.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”~ Revelation 21:4

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk, and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31

“When times are good, be happy. When times are bad, consider; God has made the one as well as the other.” ~ Ecc 7:14

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.” ~ Colossians 3:1

“If you like yourself you’ll never run out of good friends.” ~ Joyce Meyer

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The Village Starts Within Your Own 4 Walls

I’ve had so much I want to write about lately but there always seems to be an excuse. I forget, get busy, can’t remember the main points I wanted to express, or I just plain feel too tired. So, let start with an update….

My youngest turns 18 tomorrow… Yes. I feel it. But it didn’t spring up on me; I’ve seen it coming. She’s always been a good, fairly responsible kid (c’mon, she’s a teenager after all) but ever since she got her driver’s license, I’ve witnessed her independence grow exponentially. She works and goes to school, always concerned with homework being done before bed; consciously packing her course schedule in order to graduate with Academic Honors, planning her career path with counselors and teachers carefully and thoughtfully. While I do have times where I miss my kids needing me on a daily basis, I admit this ‘new’ way of living holds such new excitement for me. C’mon! It’s been 22 years! I’m already experiencing being a parent to ‘adults’ with my oldest son being in the Army and my other son moving there to work on base. We’ve dealt with the ‘first apartment’, the ‘first serious girlfriend’, the ‘first serious breakup’…and I am proud to say, no matter what the issue was/is, they have come to me to talk, to get advice, to vent, to ask for help or to get my input. I’ve always had an open door, open heart policy. It’s definitely a different ball game, but…nice.

Through this I have realized that we never just stop being parents once they ‘come of any age’ – we just parent differently. We don’t demand near as much – cleaning your room is your business so long as you are paying the bills…but that doesn’t mean I won’t suggest a visit to the Laundromat or the value of investing in new kitchen sponges. (hee-hee!) The game is different now. Now we must prepare them for the real world and all its loopholes and rules – like what it means to sign a contract, how to manage a budget, what jobs to accept or turn down, how to know when you are ready for marriage, when it’s time to walk away or how to let go of someone who wants to leave…and so forth. Of all the things I’ve taught my kids to this point, I thought I was doing fairly decent – no one is perfect, but I was feeling pretty good. Then, I was caught off guard by one major, life changing event I thought I had prepared my daughter to avoid…

She came to me as I was going to sleep and confided in me that she thought she was pregnant. She has been on the pill for several years now, she knows better. Right? This can’t be. All I could think of was all the ways we could invalidate a test back in my day: shake it, touch it…a false reading was so common, surely she messed up. I had her take another and it came back negative…**sigh**. Although false, it gave me a sense of peace and I was able to salvage some sleep, yet…I had read the instructions and you are not suppose to over drink in order to ‘take’ the test. I couldn’t help thinking, ‘somehow the 6 positives she had gotten before telling me, HAD to be wrong’.

That morning, we woke at 5:30a…POSITIVE. I cried. What about her future? Her education? I remember all the times I struggled, feeling alone, helpless and out of my league. She is far more than I was at her age, prepared and ready to take life by the horns – a superior student with college goals?? She has everything to excel: smarts, looks, personality, spiritually, education – I called my sister who is 15 years my senior and much like my second mom growing up. She told me, “Angie, think about it this way, you can’t put it back. It’s here. Consider it a blessing.” And THAT was the turning point for me.

This news was not about death, it’s about LIFE. No. It’s not the right time, but thank God we no longer live in an age where the scorned mother has to go hide somewhere until the birth and thank God the Dad is an active and willing participant. Now, let me say straight off that I don’t approve of getting pregnant before marriage – it’s a hard and rocky road for both the parent and the kid. I was lucky. I had very supportive, loving folks. I wouldn’t have made it without them, and in turn, I wouldn’t have been driven to succeed like I have without my kids. I never gave up on them and they’ve never given up on me, and nothing is going to change that. Not only is our family built on love, it is built on determination, courage, strength, and faith. I will support my daughter just like my folks did…even more because I know how invaluable they were to me and my kids. It DOES take a village to raise a child, and that village starts right there within your own four walls. No. I won’t be her on-call babysitter and I won’t bail her out of trouble every time she calls, but I will be there, leading this little village of ours as I continue teaching her, guiding her, loving her and showing her how to fully embrace and enjoy the greatest responsibility and highest degree of selfless love that comes along with parenthood. There ain’t nothing like it. She can do this…I just know it. This, my friends, is a blessing. Thank you Jesus!

(SIDE NOTE: Keeping a baby might not be the best option for everyone. Before deciding, contact a professional who can guide you through the choices so that you can make the best decision for your circumstances. God bless. :))

Dedication to my Family

Created this today in honor of my family. While it was forming, I actually cried. I am so blessed…and I got to drive out to two of my sister’s to play it for them tonight. We sat and talked, and talked. It was so awesome. There’s only one problem with this video….we were missing some of our family. Special love goes out to those who were unable to attend. Know you are in my heart and my prayers.

Thank you Jesus for my loving family. Extend Your blessings to all of them and cover them in your love and peace. Also, please bless those who watch this video and read my blog. You are the Almighty, Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, so, thanks for all the cool stuff You manage to bless us with in the middle, Lord. Amen.