Sunday, October 25, 2015

My heart sings when my children are happy

I don't have any great philosophical thoughts to write about.  I just have this wonderful picture of Austin.  His smile could light up a room!

He is amazing; smart, resourceful, generous, caring, and happy!  If anyone deserves to be happy, it is Austin.

Friday, October 16, 2015


I look at the pictures I posted of my kids.  They are all adults and are amazing people.  I have known them intimately since before they were born.  I felt them flutter and roll and kick.  I nursed them and diapered and bathed them all.  Potty trained them.

Those things all sound like chores, like "jobs", maintenance, being a caretaker.   Yes, I was their primary caretaker, but our relationships were so much more.  We shared cuddles and I kissed skinned knees.  Nick and I went to, how many parent teacher conferences and back to school nights.

We raised these people.  These adults.  Our children.

The relationship is complex.  At first it is mostly primal.   Survival mode.  Nurse the baby to feed it.  Nurse the baby so mom gets relief and a hormonal rush of mothering hormones.  The baby needs to be cared for it is totally dependent.   I thrived on that.  Being the source of all that is good.  That period is brief though intense.

Those "firsts", smiles, steps, ability to read.  No less amazing and magical with the fifth than with the first.  If anything, I think my amazement grew.

And now, they are grown.  Independent.  And I sit here and reflect.  And wish I had been more patient.  Kinder.  Just all around better.  I am not looking for praise.  I am acknowledging life and it's frailty.

Placing that new life into your arms is so simple, yet enormous at the same time.  I thought I was shaping these new lives, each one.  And I know that Nick and I did a lot of shaping.  But I know that we also stood back and tried to let go, a little bit at a time.  To be here when we were needed and stand ready when we were not.

And now.  I don't know.  The love is there.  The intensity is there.  The fear and angst of anything ever hurting your child is there for the rest of a parent's life.   How do you do this parenting thing with adult children?   How do you accept their choices and their pain without interfering?   How do you, every now and then, swallow the hurt feelings when you are told to step back.  I don't know, but you do.   I guess in a way, the fact that I can feel hurt sometimes shows me a couple of things.  One thing it shows me is how tender my feelings are.  But it also, I hope, shows me that the relationship keeps growing.  That my adults (adult children) need to push me away sometimes to be independent and find their own way.

I wonder how many times I must have hurt my mother.  How many times I pushed and resented her.  She meddled and pushed back though.  The way she pushed me is not something my adults would put up with.  I have one child who says, sternly with hand held out "MOM".  That's all it takes to remind me to step back.    One time I wrote a letter to my father that told him just what I thought.  I was an adult, mother of five already when I wrote it.   He asked me "when do children stop blaming their parents?".    My stepmother was there.  She answered the question.  She said "never".

My own father must have been very hurt as a child.  He and his brothers all loved and cared for their mother.  But none of them ever spoke about their father.  He left the family in 1939, returning to his home, Norway.  They never saw him again.  I am so sorry my father lived with such pain.

And so the mysteries of life go on.  Who knows what happens next?   Not me.

I never thought it all through when I was young.  I wanted to be a mother.  Now I am.  I help new mothers figure out what their path is.  I hope.  I give them some direction and leave them to go on their way.  And one day they too will be wondering where the time went.  And who are these amazing people!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

My Five Amazing Adult Kids

Courtney born in 1978

Morgan born in 1981
Darcy born in 1984
Austin born in 1987
Chance born in 1990

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.

I know that it is in the "normal" state of life that parents die before their children.  Of course, children often do die before their parents.  My brother died before either of my parents.

Growing up, we had a lot of turmoil in our home.  That is not what I am here to write about though.  One of the good things we grew up with was family.  We had lots of cousins on both our mother's and our father's side, each of my parents coming from families with five children.

We knew and know all of our cousins.   They are all still alive and with us.  My brother is the only one from our generation, on either side, who is dead.

Our parents were the glue, I guess, that held the extended families together.  As long as our parents were alive, we belonged with the cousins.

We have the two sets of cousins, as I see it.  The ones on the west coast and the ones in Michigan.

Being geographically closer to each other has  meant that they all knew each other and saw each other more that we did.  We live(d) in Maryland and Virginia.

Time passes, we change.  Our parents die.  Significant birthdays and anniversaries come and go.  We hear about them after the fact, unless we happen to be visiting at the time.

We belong in many places.  With our friends.  With our children.  More so if they live near.  But we feel like our family of origin, our extended family of origin at least, is slipping away.

By we, I mean my sister and I.  We are closer than ever.  We make our way into the lives of family members.  Most recently we traveled to Norway where we had wonderful visits with family.  Second cousins.  We share an ancestry with them and we love them.  But they didn't grow up knowing our parents, nor did we know theirs.  Not in the same way as our own aunts and uncles. (And also recently we went to the funeral of a child of a cousin)

So, what is the answer?  I don't know.   I really feel that out of sight out of mind thing.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Feeling Better than I have been

I have been sick.  A bad cold or upper respiratory infection.  Maybe a touch of pneumonia.  I don't know what all.  I was just feeling really low on energy and depressed.   It stinks to have no energy and to ache all over!

I had just started a new medication around the time I got sick.  I am guessing that my illness was not caused by the medication, but it is possible that I felt worse from the new meds.   I was not sleeping much at night, and was feeling very much "done" dealing with anything.  I stopped the medication (under doctor's guidance).  I am doing better.  And, we have come up with a plan to help me get to sleep.

Whenever Nick reads to me, it puts me to sleep.  On our cross country trip three years ago we did this.  Nick read me "The Shipping News".    Right now he's reading a book on Australia written by Bryce Harper. It's a good book.  Some pretty funny bits and a lot of narrative and observation  about the place and the people.

We actually stared "reading" on our honeymoon.  We would sit on park benches while Nick read to me.  We got some strange stares, but that's okay.  I may have done some of the out-loud reading, but Nick is the better public reader.   I think he enjoys it.  I know that I do.


After being absent from church for a very long time, we went back for the in-gathering a few weeks ago.   That is the service that starts the church year.  People bring water from places they have visited over the summer.  I had a bottle of water from Icelandic Airlines, which I thought represented our travels.

The following week I had a seminar to attend, so didn't make it to church that week.

We went again again two weeks later for my friend Sue's memorial service.  I was already sick, so we didn't stay long.

This past weekend I had thought we would go to church on Sunday.  But, as we looked at each other in our pajamas, we both sort of said "meh".   And we stayed home.

I have been thinking about church.  I was very active in the church for a couple of years.  Especially when the kids were involved.   Mostly when Nick was overseas.    I reached out to the church when I had broken my ankle, and when I had brain surgery.    I love that it is there.

But, I wonder, what's it really all about.  I know we learn a lesson and either gain knowledge about tings, or acquire an wish to know and understand more.   But, for myself at least, don't I already know what I believe in?  Don't I know right from wrong?   On some level, when I am in church, I feel like we are a group of observers in the audience and the show is what's going on up front.  The minsters are the entertainment. 

Then after the sermon is done, we mingle with the people we have been sitting with, and we drink coffee and we talk about the sermon.   And a part of me really wants to go.  And another part wants to stay home.

I think (I know) that Nick only goes because I go.  He wouldn't even think about going to church I am sure.  So, when we do go to church, I know that Nick is only doing it for me.  That makes me feel guilty and like I have to look out for him.  I know I don't, but I feel that way.