Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Because Death Is Just So Full And Man So Small

The title of this post is taken from the song After the Storm by Mumford and Sons.

My Dearest Mike,
    I haven't listened to this song by Mumford and Sons very much in the last few years. In the months after you passed I listened to this song over and over again for hours on end. I didn't sleep and all I could do was cry. I can't believe the 14th marks seven years since you passed away. Eighty four months since I've heard your voice. Yet, here we are. I still struggle. I often wonder what you would think of this life I've made for myself. Sebastian is the spitting image of you and has so many of your mannerisms. He's making decisions about college and his future. I wish you were here to see the amazing young man he is turning into. Tyler is turning into such a beautiful and amazing young lady. She's started to struggle a little with anxiety. I worry a lot about her, but she's much stronger than I am. Mason, our dearest mason. His anxiety has gotten better, or at least his coping skills have. I marvel at how far he has come. He was so young when you died. He struggled so much more than I realized. He's asked me several times if I remember when he would put his hands around his throat to try and kill himself because he wanted to be with you. He's come a long way and I'm so proud of him. I see you in each of them. In the little things they do. Sebastian came running upstairs the other day to play the new Breaking Benjamin song for me. I'm taking him to see them in Richmond in a few weeks. His taste in music is a lot like yours. Tyler was driving the other day and air drumming on the steering wheel, just like you used to. Mason forever has a book in his hands and every free minute he has before or after school he spends it in the library. I think he may love reading more than any of the other kids and that says a lot. 
     I watched a video of you with the kids the other day because I'm starting to forget the sound of your voice. I find myself looking at pictures more often to make sure the memories don't fade. I recite the same stories about you to make sure they live on. I try to make your memory apart of everything we do. I hate that I don't have new stories to tell. I only have the 15 years of memories we made. No more, no less. I still get super angry that you are gone. Sometimes I feel cheated. I get even angrier for being so freaking angry because if anyone knows that they need to treasure the time they have with their loved ones, it's me. Most of the time I think I handle things well, but the week leading up to the anniversary is especially difficult. I think about all the what ifs. What if I had just tried to wake you that morning. Would I have realized something was wrong? I will walk through every moment from now until the moment I found you. After that things are blurry and memory isn't so good.    
      This letter sounds so sad and depressing. I have some great things going on in my life. The kids keep me motivated and moving forward. I love my job and the people I work with. My own anxiety is better than it has been in years. This week is just hard. We miss you. Watch over us, especially the kids as they travel with the band and choir to Disney this week. I worry about them enough for both of us.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

You Can’t Find The Fighter, But I See It In You So We Gonna Walk It Out

The title of this post was taken from the song Rise Up by Andra Day.

     As I'm sitting here typing this Sebastian is sleeping after slurping down dinner, he had his wisdom teeth removed last week. Mason is playing zombie cat with Blake. I don't even know where they come up with this stuff, but I love that my 11 year old is playing with the almost 3 year old. Jaxon is sick and sitting next to me watching cartoons. Tyler is at the store with John. I'm just taking it all in and reflecting on the year.
     2017 - We've had our ups and downs. It's been a year of struggle mixed with moments of enlightenment. Things came to a turning point for me the day before Thanksgiving. We were all out of school for break and I had a pretty bad panic attack. I was at home with the kids and it kind of came out of nowhere. I don't like to talk about my anxiety. In our society there is such a stigma around the discussion of mental health and those that suffer from it. My anxiety is a part of who I am and I'm able to function with it, but the potential for having more peace in my life is great and that's what I'm working on. Anyway, I had been looking for a therapist for about a month and just hadn't gotten up the courage to call one. That day I did. Honestly, it was the day before Thanksgiving and I really didn't think anyone would answer the phone. Imagine my surprise when not only did someone answer but they had an appointment open for later that afternoon. I forced myself to go. It was the single best thing I've done for myself this year. I saw a therapist after Mike passed away, but I don't think we were a good fit and so I was skeptical about this one. The doctor I found is freaking amazing. I'm still dealing with my grief over losing Mike along with the generalized anxiety that developed after he passed. So, I'm seeing my therapist regularly as part of my self care routine. This alone has given me the courage to work on other parts of my life. I've started meditating each morning. A dear friend had been telling me about how it has helped her stay centered, but I didn't get it until recently. Now it's just a part of my daily routine. I'm ending this year on a very good note full of hope and plans for a wonderful new year.
     2018 - I'm not making new years resolutions this year. Instead I'm focusing on habits I've already started and adding new ones as I feel I'm ready. My focus word for this coming year is Present. I want to live more in the present and not worry about the past or the future. Sebastian will graduate and go on to college this year and while I need to plan and make arrangements I want to enjoy it and live in the moment. I'll continue building on self care even when it's boring self care. I have long term goals for myself, but now I'm focusing on the steps that will get me there and not changing everything all at once.
     Tonight we ring in the new year without any fan fare. Just my small family doing what we do. I'm wishing all my friends and family the very best in the coming year. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Who I am, who I’m not, who I want to be

The title of this post was taken from the song You Found Me by The Fray.

Things I've said to my kids this week.

"Get the magnet out of your nose!"

"Get your finger out of your nose!"

"We don't eat boogers!"

"Why do you smell like spoiled milk?"

"I'm your mother not your maid!"

"No that grade is not okay. No, I don't care what your excuse is."

"Stop wiping your snot on my shirt!"

"Put the chormebook away!"

"You can't leave that blank. Colleges ask these questions for a reason, and no I'm not doing it for you."

"When you get a job and make your own money you can buy those things."

"I don't ever let you do anything or have any fun? I don't provide for you? Fine, if you don't need me and all the things you have you can go sleep naked in the road."

"We don't kick our friends."

"Stop licking your shoe."

"Don't use your shirt as a tissue."

"If you don't put down that phone it will be mine!"

"I don't have the money for that."

"For the love! If one more child touches me, pulls on me, or attempts to wipe something on me I will lose it!"

"We are not stopping for donuts you are pre-diabetic!"

"We did not just have this for dinner I haven't made it in a month."

"I can go to the bathroom by myself."

"You do like this you eat it all the time!"

"Use your napkin not your shirt!"

"Don't drink your bath water!"

"Don't stick your fingers in the dog's ears!"

"Stop telling me you've pooped when you haven't!"

"Stop dancing around and just go to the bathroom."

"Get your hands out of your pants."

"No, I don't know where you left your fundraiser."

"I'll pay you $20 not to participate in the fundraiser."

"No, you can't play with your magnets because you were spitting out your milk at lunch."

"For the love! Get your hands out of your pants!"

"Do you want me to talk to your coach? I cry when I get anxious too."

"Come tell me about that A you got on your math test."

"You were working hard at soccer tonight. I'm proud of you."

"Let's read one story together and then make one up ourselves."

"I do think your dad sees all the things you are doing."

"Sometimes when I'm overwhelmed it helps me to make a list. Do you want me to help you make a list?"

"Sweetie, what hurts? Your fever is 102."

"Come snuggle me."

"Do you know how much I love you?"

"You may be almost 18 but you will always be my baby."

"You know you love my jokes."

"I didn't wake you because I knew how tired you were."

"I made your favorite dinner because I knew you had a rough day."

"Let's pretend the floor is lava!"

"I believe in you and everything you want to do with your life."

"Never sell yourself short. I raised you better than that."

"Tomorrow is a new day."

"Good luck! I know how hard you've worked on learning your routine."

"Okay, tell me about your game. I just don't understand it."

"Call me if you need me...or just call me if you want to talk."

"Always remember who you are."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sometimes When I'm Alone, I Wonder Aloud, If You're Watching Over Me

The title of this post was taken from the song Cemetery Gates by Pantera.

     This is how I feel most of the time. Maybe I have moments when I start to untangle the mess of emotions, worries, stress, and anxiety, but mostly this is how I feel on the inside no matter what things look like on the outside. Sometimes I can shove this messy ball into a box and sit on it for awhile, but I know it's always there.
     Monday was Sebastian's girlfriends birthday.  Megan is an amazing young lady and I love her dearly. As I sat at dinner with her family and friends, I had the chance to talk to her aunt's mother-in-law. She is a dear older lady that just took in the moments as they went by that night.  She told me about working as a nurse and how later in life she went back to school and became a minister. She told me about the Bible study group she led each week. We talked about family history and she related some of her genealogy. For one very brief moment she mentioned her late husband. She didn't dwell on the topic but I suddenly became very emotional. I often get angry when I think about all the time I didn't have with Mike. Like losing him at such a young age somehow makes my grief greater than anyone else's. How difficult it must have been to lose her husband when they had been together for so long. For those few hours we sat across from each other I felt drawn to this lady. Maybe I'm hoping I can be as strong as she is when I'm her age.
     Today, as I was driving to another school I put in a cd. The only cds I have in the car are the ones Mike had in his car when he passed away. I put in Pantara and the song Cemetery Gates came on. I instantly remembered why I don't play his music much any more. I started to cry because I could picture him singing along to the song. How many times had I watched him sing this song as he drove, cleaned house, or worked on the lawn. I turned it off and pulled myself together, but the weight of the memory has stuck with me all day. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

But I Can't Seem To Find The Time.

     The title of this post was taken from the song For The First Time by The Script.

     Yesterday was a difficult day for me. Trying to juggle work and family is normally something I feel like I do an okay job at, but yesterday just seemed like an epic fail. I went to work at 6:30 and Tyler babysat the little boys because the Y was closed today. No worries, I'm paying her. Mason had 6th grade orientation from 12 - 1:30 and Sebastian's was from 12 - 1:45 and I had meetings before and during those times. Sebastian brought Mason for his orientation and I knew I could stay until 12:50. I thought no problem I can get most of it in and Sebastian will stay with him for the rest. It was a decent plan except his orientation started 20 minutes late. I met Mason's homeroom teacher, but Sebastian had to help him with his locker and meeting his other teachers. I knew Sebastian could handle his orientation by himself but it sucked not to be there. However a dear friend took these pictures and sent them to me. I cried just a little as I sat in my meeting.

Sebastian adding his handprints to the senior wall. I'm seriously crying as I type this.


Sebastian and Megan (his girlfriend). I absolutely love her!

Such wonderful kiddos.

I am grateful for my friends that help me look out for my kids, the friends that help pick up my slack. Thanks Lynette for taking these.  I did managed to leave work in time to pick up Tyler for her sophomore orientation, but we had to take the little boys with us. The same little boys that hadn't napped. They were absolutely wild while we tried to walk around the school and meet her teachers. Tyler wanted to get her chrome book, but the line was so long and I had a training to get to and we just couldn't wait. She was so sweet and didn't fuss but I knew she would have wanted to stay and I knew she didn't get as much time to walk around as she would have liked. I picked up dinner and left to drive an hour and twenty minutes to a training. It was absolutely wonderful but I didn't walk back into the house until around 10:30 last night. Throughout all the chaos today, all that I asked of my kids, and the small sacrifices they made not once did they complain. The fact they didn't complain sort of makes me feel even worse. Have they become so accustomed to mom just not always being there that they don't bother to complain? In the end everything got done. Maybe not the way I had envisioned, but it got done. Hopefully that's all the kids will ever remember. 
      I'm hoping today goes just a little smoother for me. I'm hoping I can cut myself some slack and remember that time with my kids isn't always quantity it's quality. At one point yesterday as I was feeling pretty down and I pulled out my phone and flipped through a few recent pictures of the kids. It made me feel a little better. Hoping today will be easier.

Blake lined up some of his stuffed animals on the chairs and then picked a book to read to them.         I absolutely love this picture. It was such a cute moment.

We took the kids to the Jackson River Trail for a walk the other day. They enjoyed it. Sebastian was at work and didn't get to join us.