An Engagement, a Prom and a Birthday

  

I have learned that it is much more difficult to parent older children, especially adult children, more so than smaller ones. I’m not downplaying the difficulty of raising little ones. Raising little ones is more of a physical drain whereas raising older ones is an emotional one.  Yet, all of is more gratifying than most anything else you’ll experience in life.

I remember those days when my kiddos were little and learning to ride a bike. It was hard in its own way but mama had control of it all. When your kids are older, you must parent with little to no control over their lives. Letting go is hard.

Within one week, my oldest got engaged, my youngest went to his first prom and he also turned 17.  It feels very surreal; like being in some sort of time warp or maybe an out of body experience.  At times I feel like I’m hovering above my life looking down and not really even recognizing it.  It seems like everything is changing all at once but I guess that how life goes, right?  “Children grow old and then they leave.” -Parker Millsap, Homeless.  Just sitting over here trying to adjust.

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Perspective and a Mexican Fisherman

Sunset Hand

Where are you going?  This is something that I’ve been reflecting on here recently as I think about the fact that my children are getting older; one in college and one in high school.  I technically have three years left with kids living at home full time.  This is surreal.  I want to soak up every last minute; every last second with them.  I want to slow down my life.  I want to slow down time.

At the same time, it’s exciting to begin thinking about and planning the future with just me and the hubs.  What will our lives look like?  Will we live in a cute cottage on a big piece of land?  Will we live in an old Florida home near the ocean?  Will we travel around part-time or maybe even full-time in an RV? There’s so many questions and so many unknowns.  It’s exciting.  I love daydreaming about these sort of things.

Today, a lady at work shared the following story that completely touched my heart and certainly put into perspective.  We must be sure to focus on what really matters in life.


A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took him to catch them.

“Not very long,” answered the Mexican.

“But then, why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more?” asked the American.

The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.

The American asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

“I have a full life. I play with my children and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, play the guitar, and sing a few songs….”

The American interrupted, “I have an MBA from Harvard, and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat.”

“And after that?” asked the Mexican.

“With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise.”

“How long would that take?” asked the Mexican.

“Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years,” replied the American.

“And after that?”

“Afterwards? Well my Friend, That’s when it gets really interesting,” answered the American, laughing. “When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!”

“Millions? Really? And after that?” said the Mexican.

“After that you’ll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings doing what you like and enjoying your friends.”

“With all due respect sir, but that’s exactly what I am doing now. So what’s the point wasting twenty-five years?” asked the Mexican.

Know where you’re going in life… you may already be there.

I’m THAT Lady

I find myself sitting in the doctor’s (ahem, gyno’s) office and waiting out my time. In my personal experience, there is usually only one pregnant woman in the waiting room at most (maybe I’m there at an odd time). This visit, was a bit different. Not only were there multiple pregnant moms in the waiting room, there were a couple of moms with fresh newborn babies. The sweet, soft, fuzzy hair brand new fresh kind. The kind you can’t help but stare at. I had one of each sitting across from me; one with a fresh 6 week old and one 40 weeks pregnant with her first child. I listened in at the anticipation, the excitement, the wonderment of the new little human coming into each of their lives. It is truly is exciting. But all I could think was that mine are grown. Where did the time go. It seems like only a very short time ago, mine were that little. I want to so desperately interrupt that conversation and look each of those ladies in the eyes and tell them to savor each day; savor each moment because before they know it, they will wake up and those sweet, fresh babies will be moving out of their house. I wanted to tell them to love deeply. Take the time to rock, snuggle, and play at all costs. In the blink of an eye that babies bedroom will be empty and their hearts will ache. Sure, as kids grow and move out, motherhood just shifts, but for a season of time, it feels like it is stripped away from you completely. I was almost THAT lady. You know, the kind of “older” woman (God help me)  that likes to randomly give you unsolicited advice?  I listened just as long as I possibly could stand it, decided to let them have their excitement, and go sit outside.

A Berry Picking Birthday

Berry Picking Truck Dee Picking Berries Nell and Dee Selfie Nell and Dee Sitting Nell Picking Berries Pickings and feet Nell SillyNell walking to camera

Well, I just turned 39.  I was told to enjoy this last year because your 40’s are the hardest decade.  Typically, you’re taking care of children and aging parents at the same time.  Most likely you make good money but not yet the best of your career and you’re strapped to put kids through college.  I don’t know if this is exactly true.  I am raising children and will be putting one in college and one in private school (God willing) this fall.  My parents are young; late 50’s but with my mom’s recent car accident and struggle to get well, maybe that qualifies.  They way I look at it, I hit the “hard decade” early.  That’s probably because I started young; married at 20 and first baby at 21.

All in all, I’m still going to enjoy this “last year”.  My birthday weekend was the first time I set aside time to just play and enjoy myself since my mom’s accident two months ago.  I ache when I can’t be there with her but I absolutely love spending time with my family.  This birthday was spent thrift clothes shopping and berry picking with my favorite girl and grilling out my favorite foods with my family at home.  It was amazing.  I have to remember to set aside time for myself and simply enjoy life.  40 will be here before I know it.  😉

*the berries were used to can jam – stay tuned for a future post.

Life…

Crazy Life
Sometimes life kicks you directly in the butt!  This past week life has not only kicked me in the butt, it has done so over and over again.

  1. I had to fire my first employee (ever).
  2. Dealing with (and am still dealing with) some serious emotional baggage.
  3. My daughter totaled her car by t-boning another vehicle going 45 mph which resulted in an ER visit (she’s ok – thank God!).
  4. My son came down with pneumonia.
  5. My project manager on our large tech project quit.

So, I am praying this prayer that I came across during my morning reading.  It was just what I needed at just the right time. 😉

Prayer: Lord, when I am weary, when I struggle, when circumstances seem greater than I can handle, Your call – first, last, and always – is to be strong in You and to trust in Your mighty power.  Today, may my life demonstrate what only you can do. Amen.

Mothering a Teenager

Aiport Drop to Cali 2014
Summertime is here. School is over and it was time again to drop my teens off at the airport to fly across the country to stay with my parents for a month. Letting go is never easy and lately I find myself having to let go of my teens more and more. It’s such a stark and drastic difference to go from a life that revolves around them to an empty home. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the alone time with my husband but it’s quite the adjustment.  Letting go is like ripping a band-aid off in one fail swoop. As they get older, I find myself trying to balance that need to protect them, but also giving them the room to make their own life decisions. This is particularly difficult for me with my 17-year old who is on her way to senior year, making college decisions, and has a long distance boyfriend coming home for the summer. We are on the peak of so many very important life decisions for her. Some that will impact her for the rest of her life. It is exciting, scary and sad all at the same time. There are more emotions than I could ever begin to express. With God’s grace, I just do my best to find that balance and walk closely with both of my children on each of their journey’s guiding, supporting, and, yes, sometimes letting go.

I find that as my children moved from childhood into adolescence, the exhaustion moved from physical to mental and emotional. But, it’s worth it. It’s worth every single moment that I have invested whether that was cheering for a victory or crying alongside them in defeat. They always say that a mother is only as happy as her happiest child. I find a lot of truth in that. As a mother, my heart and soul is poured into each of my children so whatever they go through, I truly go through it along with them. Mothering a teen is hard but it is also incredibly rewarding. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.