- I checked Montana off my bucket list. Nine states left to go and I’m planning on crossing off another state in a couple months.
- My new phone takes amazing pictures which I am hoping to share with you this week.
- I love to travel but nothing beats sleeping at home in my own bed.
- Visiting Yellowstone.
- Getting caught up on my long to do list after getting back home.
- Uneventful flights.
- Being married to a wonderful guy for 25 years.
- Having a husband who is as adventurous as I am and likes to travel.
- The house was still standing when we got back home.
Gratitude week 67
- I’m grateful for a best friend who brought me a bouquet of flowers on Easter.
- I’m grateful that I didn’t chicken out and was able to cross getting a tattoo off my bucket list. This is something I was really anxious about. I was tempted to cancel the appointment. The tattoo artist was running late which also increased my anxiety. But it wasn’t all that painful. Going to the dentist for a cleaning is a lot worse. Maybe it was the release of endorphins, but the rest of the day I felt peaceful and calm, almost euphoric. The process didn’t take as long as I expected. My arm isn’t a big painful oozing pus open wound. To me it looks like I put on one of those sticker tattoos. I am in relatively no pain at all. A cartilage piercing was a lot more painful. So, the whole process went a lot better than I could’ve ever expected.
- I’m grateful that my son’s band is getting back together again. Someday soon I will get to see him play again.
- My mom is moving in with us today. I’m grateful that she seems to be on the path of healing. I’m still uncertain what this process will look like. I am rather apprehensive about the whole thing. Everything happened so suddenly that my head is still spinning. But this can be a good thing.
- Just an hour or two after my mom asked to move in, Paul’s step-dad Darryl stopped by out of the blue. He brought his new girlfriend, or should I say fiancé as they got engaged the day they stopped by. Although it was only the second time I saw her, I think they will be happy together.
- I saw my cranial sacral/massage therapist this past week to help me relax before the tattoo. I’m grateful for other people that help me along on my own personal healing journey.
- I’m grateful that the grass turned green again.
- I’m grateful for change even when I say I am not. Sometimes I get bored of the same old routines.
- I’m grateful to have had a wonderful grandma to remember. Today would’ve been her birthday.
- I’m grateful for the good things in my life when I’m going through hard times.
A new family
Last night our foreign exchange students arrived, Clara from Germany and Estelle from France.
I felt anxious all day. I couldn’t believe it was really happening.
I worried. Would our new “children” like us? What will this next year be like?
My oldest two children are not as excited about it as I am. I think they think I’m replacing them. But maybe in a way I am. They are adults and don’t need me being a mother hen to them anymore. They are off living their own lives like they should be.
I am excited about this new adventure, but as with anything new a little frightened too.
I wonder what it would be like to see everything for the first time through their eyes. Maybe even for us, the old will become new again.
I hope it is a wonderful experience for all of us.
Goals for 2019
**I thought I published this post a couple of days ago, but it was still in my drafts.**
I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions. I think that we should all have goals where we strive to be better people year round. But January is a great time of year, as we put a new calendar on the wall, to reflect on what happened over the past year and to plan for growth in the new year.
As you can see by my post from yesterday, last year was a year of great change in my life. Going into this year, originally my goal was for stability and stagnation. I have a hard time adjusting to change. It is even bothering me that today on WP my publish button is a new color. Seriously! Why?
But I also realize that if I want to grow as a person, it is going to involve change. I don’t want to be the same person that I was 5, 10, or 20 years ago.
So I created a list of goals that I have for myself and I will expound on them over the next couple of days…
- Run a 50k/work out more.
- Spiritual growth.
- Start the process of writing a book.
- Worry less/let go/learn how to relax and handle stress better.
- Work on documenting the family history and preserving the family pictures with my mother.
- Try new things/explore different interests/be fun/lifelong learning.
- Finish strong with parenting and be the life partner that is enjoyable to be with.
- Try not to be too hard on myself.
- Work hard, but take time to rest.
- Make peace with the past.
A new journey has begun…
My last day of work
Friday was my last day of work. I thought that I would be feeling down like I did most days leading up to the last day. Instead I felt relief, and a lightness of spirit. I did end up inviting some close friends over that evening. Two out of three couples came out for my pity party. Two out of three ain’t bad for short notice over the holidays.
I invited out the brewer and his wife, the psychologist, whom I will call Rhett and Sue. Sue told me that she gave my name to her boss as someone who was interested in talking to the parents and siblings of autistic children. I still feel interested in helping people through similar experiences that I’ve had. I want to write a book. But first I want to go through all of my journals. It is going to be a slow and tedious process.
We also invited over Tim and Cara. Cara just wrote a book and now that I have more time, I offered to read it critically. She encouraged me to write my own book. Right now Cara’s job is also on the line. She would love to be a full time author. Paul and I thought of starting a sailing business with Tim and Cara. Paul is working on his captain’s license as we speak. It’s crazy, but we are thinking of starting another business together.
I’m not sure where the future leads right now, but I know that these other couples are involved in it in some way. We had a lot of fun Friday night and did a lot of laughing. I felt like whatever happens everything would be alright.
And so the journey starts…
Lost, that is what I would call him.
Never to be found?
Trouble, the kind he might never find a way out of.
Keep him in your prayers because no one else cares.
Homeless, yet at times living in my home.
It’s too cold to be sleeping on a park bench.
Sleeping on the floor in my son’s room.
Arms wrapped around the dog at night for comfort.
Keep him in your prayers because no one else cares.
Bouncing from home to home…only 17.
Skipping out of school.
Will he even graduate?
Keep him in your prayers because no one else cares.
Numbing his mind with whatever he can find.
He could die on the streets and no one would lose sleep.
Numb, the word permanently etched on his face
under his eye with a vacant stare.
It’s been a long time since he cut his hair.
Keep him in your prayers because no one else cares.
He’s drowning and pulling others down with him.
We had to break free of his grip.
Our son, we can only help save one.
But he is not out of the water yet..
Thanks for following my story! I really don’t tell you how much I appreciate you often enough. (Or maybe I am thinking about my husband…). I need to encourage more and criticize less…
What can I say? I’m always a work in progress…a story that needs writing.
I don’t mean to get sappy and all. But I just wanted to let you know how important you are in my life.
For once, I feel at a loss for words…
Luke’s visit, part 3
Today is my mom’s 70th birthday. She also decided that she was ready to retire from her career. It was almost getting to the point where I thought that I would be retiring before she did. My siblings and I threw her a party at the cabin up north this past weekend. We invited relatives, co-workers, and some friends that my mom hasn’t seen for years.
My dad thanked me several times for throwing my mom the party. She seemed so happy. I don’t think he ever thanked me before for anything. I didn’t see him get off of the couch. His feet were swollen and propped up. Paul said that I needed to start working through my issues and talk to my dad before it was too late. I haven’t felt the need to do that like my brother Luke did. Am I making a mistake?
Our friends Lisa and Tom came to the party with their daughter. Lisa did an internship for my mom a couple years back. Once Tom and Lisa arrived, we pretty much ditched everyone at the party and talked to them only. It was the first time that we were able to speak to them alone since their oldest daughter died.
Lisa said that they believe their daughter died in the car crash from falling asleep. The night before, her daughter had a sleepover with a friend. Lisa went to bed at 10. She told the girls to go to bed by 11 since they needed to leave early the next morning for work. They didn’t listen. The girls were giddy and giggly that night. They were on social media with friends until 3:30 AM the next morning. They might have had only 3 hours of sleep before leaving for work. It is assumed that both girls fell asleep when they ran off the road and hit the tree bursting the car into flames.
Lisa’s daughter told my daughter that her last words to her sister were ‘I hate you, go to bed’. The whole situation is very tragic. Everyone is having a hard time with it. Lisa told me that she doesn’t want to live anymore without her daughter. It was heart wrenching. I told her that she needed to do everything she could to stay strong for her other children.
That night after everyone left, the extended family talked. I felt rather alone because I was the only one in my immediate family that stayed overnight at the cabin. With the whole family there, sleeping space was rather limited.
They asked about Alex and his new car. I told the story of how he pissed off the wrong people the day he got his car and how they damaged his vehicle with a metal pipe. Since then, he hit a deer with the car and smashed the front end. Plus the car is leaking oil everywhere. I also spoke of miscellaneous fines.
I felt like almost everyone blamed and criticized me for being a crappy parent. That is what my family does, blame and criticize versus support and encourage. I am guilty of this too. The one who gave me the hardest time was my sister-in-law that doesn’t even have kids. I felt frustration with my family and with my son. Raising teenagers is excruciatingly painful and stressful. We feel like we are making the best decisions that we can in regards to our children.
I was starting to feel miserable about all of it. But then I thought in the scope of things, does it really matter?? Yeah, my son trashed a car within a month after getting it. Most of it wasn’t his fault, but some of it was. Yes, I am feeling really frustrated as a parent right now. But, he is still alive. I can still hug him and tell him that I love him even if he decides to make a mess of his life. That is an opportunity that not all of my friends have.
The next morning Luke apologized to me for being negative and critical. He said that he was sure that Alex would turn out just fine. He said that he was trying to turn his life around. He wants to be more supportive and less judgmental.
I told Luke that I was under the misconception that if I provided the right kind of home for my children that they would make the right decisions. It is very painful as parents to see our children make wrong choices, especially when I feel like my family is blaming me for the wrong choices my children make.
My life has been changing so fast lately. So have the lives of everyone around me that I am close to. I feel like everything is moving too fast. I want to be able to slow down and just catch my breath for a couple minutes.
My 4th marathon
On Thursday night, or I should say in the wee hours of Friday morning, I picked my family of travelers up from their vacation. As I went to bed at 3 AM, I dreaded the thought that I would be getting up in a little over 24 hours around the time I was going to bed that night to run my 4th marathon.
I didn’t get much sleep, but took Friday off to pack and get ready for camping. My husband went into work for a couple hours and was suffering from jet lag. We had to drive three hours to get to the campground.
We set up camp as a storm was blowing in. The torrential downpour started as soon as we had the tent set up. It rained two inches that night. When we went to pick up our race packets, one of the tents collapsed from the rain. We were going to go to my cousin’s camper for a spaghetti supper, but went out to eat instead. It was hot, humid, and stormed most of the night. But our tent stayed dry for the most part.
I woke up at 4:30 AM after a restless night of sleep. I was dead tired and had to scrape up some energy for a marathon. The marathon itself was brutal. My cousin said that it was the most challenging marathon he ever did. There were some very difficult steep inclines. We had to walk across slippery bridges and wet rocks. I didn’t fall, but I saw others fall and almost fell myself several times.
It was a very picturesque course with beautiful views at the top of the bluffs. It seemed surreal like I was on a movie set. I was waiting for the dinosaurs to come out at any minute. Even though it was a rather remote trail run, there were enough bathrooms and aid stations. I even drank some pickle juice which seems to be the new craze.
It was a tough race, but we finished it. Afterwards, we decided to head to the beach to cool our aching legs. I was only in the water for 10 minutes when someone took my beach towel. The beach was absolutely crowded on a hot Saturday afternoon.
Showering was another challenge. I showered in the handicap stall just because I thought that it would provide an area for me to sit. Undressing and dressing was a bit of a challenge. There was nowhere to sit and there was a lot of standing dirty water on the floor. So I decided to dress from the waist up and go into the dryer bathroom portion to get my shorts on.
I wrapped a towel around my waist for the short trip outside to the bathroom. When I walked into the bathroom, there was a man inside. He seemed to be checking on the cleanliness of the bathroom. He put his initials on the paper by the door and exited quickly. The bathroom and shower stalls were absolutely filthy. I struggled to get my pants on without having to take another shower.
That evening, my cousin and his wife made the spaghetti dinner that the storm prevented us from having the previous night. His dad and step-mother came over for a visit and wished me a happy birthday. They brought homemade strawberry shortcake. It was a nice evening.
After that, I spent another restless night trying to sleep in the tent. My body ached and I couldn’t get comfortable…Sunday morning we packed up for the long ride back home. I couldn’t relax. I found myself feeling agitated and depressed. Although my body ached, my mind couldn’t sit still. I took the dog for a walk when I got home and felt a little better…then had another restless night of sleep.
I think I had one good night of sleep in the last month. Staying up until 3 AM and then getting up very early to run a marathon probably pushed me over the edge. I hope I feel like my old self soon. Tomorrow I’m getting a massage. Maybe that will help.
My husband says that life is sometimes like a railroad track. On our journey, the rails of good and bad happen side by side simultaneously. Life is never all good or all bad. Sometimes the great and the horrible bombard us at the same time. I’ve never felt like that was more true than it is now. I don’t even know what to feel anymore..
Lately, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. My go to feelings these days are anger and a deep sorrow. I thought maybe a weekend up north in isolation would force me to reflect what my problem is. I am not a negative person, but right now the rose tinted glasses makes me want to gag.
What is my problem? Why can’t I have a light and fluffy blog? Is that even what I want? Probably not…
I consider myself a realist. But what happens when reality doesn’t even seem realistic?
The funny thing is that I achieved everything I wanted in life. I’ve worked really hard to accomplish my goals. I’ve turned out better than I even thought I would. That should make me happy, but it only leaves me wanting more. What can I conquer next? I already have a wall full of medals in my dream house.
Some things have really hit me hard…the terminal cancer diagnosis of a close friend…the death of a close friend’s child. I feel like I can’t talk to them anymore about the good or bad. How can I complain about my teen throwing a drinking party at my house when her teen daughter is dead??
There is a certain isolation of not knowing what to say beyond…I’m sorry this has happened to you..Life is unfair..You are in my thoughts and prayers..What happens after you said this a dozen times? What happens when words run out to express your grief for them? Do you go back to talking about every day ordinary life? I don’t know what to say.
The death of Lisa’s daughter stings. It was so unexpected and tragic. This wasn’t my plan for either of my friends. A child shouldn’t die, a healthy person in their 40’s shouldn’t get cancer…Whereas, I have never felt healthier in my life. My body is a lean mass of muscle from running and working out consistently for the last ten years. I still get carded to buy alcohol when some of my classmates are getting asked for their AARP cards.
My children are all healthy and normal. I worried for years that I would have a severely autistic child like my brother. That worry slipped off the horizon many years ago to be replaced by other worries. But they are all normal worries that every parent has..
I have a wonderful husband. I have a great job. I am reaching the end of actively parenting three teenagers.
Yet, I feel this isolation. Change is hard, even if it is good. I love my new house, but I don’t know who my neighbors are. My youngest daughter will be going to a new school and doesn’t have any friends in the area.
I feel estranged from my extended family. I haven’t seen my siblings in months. We rarely talk.
I feel estranged from my church family with all of the controversy lately. My best friend Cindy left the church and we might too. All of my kids were baptized and confirmed there. Must everything change all at once?
My husband, aunt, mother, and son have been on a school trip for the last couple weeks. I haven’t seen them in almost a month. I spent a week in Vegas and when I got back, they left. It almost feels like they are gone from me too. Is this what it is going to feel like if I, in the natural course of life, outlive my husband and mom? This emptiness?
I’ve spent a lot of time alone in reflection this past month. It’s really dark and messy in there. I want to clean things up but I’m afraid of what would happen if I disturb the cobwebs. I have to be really strong to go into the deep, dark ugly places. I just don’t feel really strong right now. It’s not the best time to poke at my demons.
My family will be coming home tonight. Maybe my mood will improve. Maybe I will find my way out of this sorrow. Maybe I will finally accept change, the good along with the bad. I’m on the right track, I just need to keep chugging along..