Thursday, April 23, 2020

Trying to Be Better at Life

Trying to Be Better at Life

I am not exactly sure where to start with this post. It has been several months since I have written anything at all. I have been having a little pity party for myself the last few days/weeks. Sometimes life just gets overwhelming. Some people like me are in the thick of life raising teens and young adults, taking care of a household, caring for aging parents, and a whole host of other obligations that are priorities in their lives not to mention just trying to keep their head above water. Time, energy and attention seem to be at a premium and constantly in high demand. It seems that there is not enough of me to meet everyone's needs. 

My mother suffers from dementia. Some people fully understand the implications of this statement, yet others have no idea of the magnitude to which this impacts every aspect of  our lives. From the outside looking in you might see someone that is a little more quiet than usual, or someone that can't remember where they put their glasses or can't seem to remember the conversation that you just finished but that is only a snapshot into the life of a dementia patient and their caregivers.

Well meaning people often ask about my mother. They say things like," I saw your mom and she always seems to know who I am." Sorry, she has absolutely no freaking idea who you are. She is a master at faking small talk. This is her attempt to hide the fact she doesn't know you and is terrified that you are acting so familiar in her personal space. 

Friends  and family always ask how my mother is doing. My oldest daughter has a lot trouble with this question. You see the polite answer is that she is doing alright. My go to answer is we have good days and bad days but some how that does not even come close to answering this loaded question. People don't want to hear the truth, they just want to go on about their business as usual. It is really okay, because things are different, things are hard, and the reality is that as bad as it is now it is only going to get worse. But as for me, I am going to continue to praise Him in this storm.

Christmas Extravaganza, NOPE!

This year, I struggled to get into the holiday spirit. There wasn't one big reason, just a lot of little nagging ones. I could blame it on the fact that my Dad passed away ten years ago during December, or that it is just a stressful time of the year, my Mom's dementia, the fact that we just buried my Aunt after a hard fought battle with pancreatic cancer.

 The truth is that I am just tired of all the commercialization, entitlement and wanting more of everything. I long for the days when the holidays were simple. There were presents under the tree, but most importantly there were loved ones around the tree, in the floor, in the kitchen and laughter filled the air.

I miss those days...

Once Upon a Time Plans Changed

Once upon a time I was a classroom teacher. I taught for about 15 years, mostly in 1st grade. I have taught with wonderful colleagues that helped me become the person that I am today. I have had wonderful supportive parents and classes filled with amazing students.

Then plans changed, I became overwhelmed and began to feel out of control. You see things changed, I moved to a different grade, leaving my comfortable 1st grade classroom behind. My mother began to exhibit signs of Alzheimer's. My life seemed to spiral out of control, anxiety and depression took over. All of this, on top of being a wife, mother and teacher was more than I could handle. So considering these circumstance and along with few others, I resigned from my teaching position. At the time, I thought that this was a horrible devastating event.

 During this time, I prayed more faithfully than I had ever prayed. I got on my hands and knees and I prayed. I prayed for his will to be done. It is amazing what he can do when we get out of his way.

You see this change of plans enable me to be a better wife, mother and daughter. It gave the ability to be truly present for my family. It allowed me to recharge mind and spirit giving me the opportunity to grow as a individual.

Things that could have caused me to become broken and bitter allowed me to become stronger in my faith. It restored me.

The Story in the Storm

The Story in the Storm

I recently read an article about how we are handling the social isolation and the corona virus. The quick and dirty of it is that it said we are all in the same storm but not necessarily in the same boat. That really hit home for me, while my family may not be sailing through this storm in a yacht, our little boat holds us and keeps us safe. Some days it feels like our boat is a canoe with a leak and I am using a flip-flop to paddle and a thimble to bail water but at the end of the day we are still afloat. 

There are a lot of emotions in the story, my son and his wife are so excited that the child they have prayed for and waited for will be here in August. The reality is that they are not able to celebrate with friends and family, they may not be able to have baby showers and be loved on by their family and friends, she has to attend doctor appointments and ultrasounds alone, if things don't improve they may be alone when she makes her appearance in this world. It saddens me as a first time grandparent that I may have to wait to hold this sweet baby girl.

My oldest daughter was smack dab in the middle of her student teaching. She is going to be a fabulous and amazing high school Ag teacher but for now she has unfinished business. Teachers don't just teach students, they love them. You see she wasn't done loving them yet. She worries about them as people not just students. She worries if they are safe, if they are fed, if they are loved  and if they are emotionally okay. She has no control over the things that are happening around her, distance learning, school being  cancelled for the rest of the year,  MSU cancelling her graduation, and the unthinkable, one of precious students committing suicide.

My youngest, this is supposed to be an amazing time in her life. She got her drivers license this last year. She loves school and everything that comes with it. She is missing out on so much. She was named  FFA Regional President, she was supposed to be installed into office in March but that was cancelled, now FFA camp and State Convention are cancelled. She has lost her job due to this mess. She is missing out on all the fun stuff that your junior year and the summer before your senior year lets you experience. Making memories  with friends, prom and just experiencing that freedom that being a teenager brings. She has worked really hard for these accomplishments and it is painful to see her hurting.

My husband is my hero during all of this mess. While we are stuck at home whining about all the things that we are missing. He goes to work each day. He goes to the grocery and makes sure we have everything we need so we do not have to risk being out in public and bringing the virus home to my 74 year old mother that lives with us. He worries about us all and wants to  keep us safe while doing the things that have to be done.

Now for me as a public school teacher, I miss my kids. I worry about them daily. It breaks my heart that it ended this way. I wasn't done loving them yet. Our time was cut short and it just feels wrong.

I wrote this because I want everyone to see that in this storm we all have a different story. It doesn't matter your age, your job, or the size of your boat. Life is most definitely messy but there is still beauty.

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