Thursday, September 29, 2011

Someday...

Tomorrow is Lakeview's Homecoming game. My baby girl is on Homecoming court, so that means that Brad and I get to walk her across the field as they announce her name and her future plans. That made me cry just typing that. Future plans. Those of you who know me well can imagine what a mess I am.

We have been going to these games since she was a tiny girl, watching my sisters in law marching in the band, then watching Chloe as a Little Bulldogs cheerleader, cheering with the high school cheerleaders, and now, here we are. I remember watching parents walking their children across the field and thinking how sweet it was and wondering if we'd get to do that someday, but someday seemed so far away. Now someday is tomorrow. She's the varsity cheerleader. She's on Homecoming court. And I've got to manage to keep my composure and walk her across the field.

Thinking about your child growing up and going to college doesn't seem that difficult until you are bittersweetly celebrating all their lasts. Her last Homecoming dress, her last Homecoming game, her last Madrigal Feast, her last year in high school. I almost can't bear it. I'm a crybaby, so I wept at all the firsts and seconds and thirds, but these lasts are really tearing me up.

I remember being a senior in high school--my mother wasn't the sentimental type, I don't remember her being broken up about any of these things. In fact I distinctly remember her yelling at me on senior night right before we walked across the field and wishing that she wasn't there. For me, every moment with Chloe has become special. I treasure each second I get to spend with her because I know that in the blink of an eye she will be gone. I guess I should do this with my other kids too, but their departures aren't as imminent, so unfortunately, I take time with them for granted sometimes.

This is good training, since I have to do it all over again in six years, and then again in six more years. God knew what he was doing when he only let me ovulate every five and a half years. I am going to need at least that long to recover from letting one child go before I have to do it all over again.

Today, I feel so proud of the young woman she has grown to be. So smart, determined, driven, and responsible. I feel so grateful for the time I get to spend with her. And at the same time I feel remorseful for all the times I was too busy, too tired, too ignorant to know that her childhood was going to fly by before I could stop and say, "Wait, don't grow up so fast..." I can't make up for that. I can only hope that I did enough, gave enough, and loved enough for her to know how precious she is to me.

And I can remind myself of this feeling each time I am too tired or too busy for Peyton or Lily, because someday this is going to be them. And that someday is coming way too soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Baggage

For the past month, I have been fighting with myself about whether or not to continue taking medication. I don't feel depressed anymore. I feel as if I can deal with my feelings. I am tired of being tired, and I really am tired of gaining weight. Faced with this dilemma, most people would go talk to their doctor; that would be the right thing to do. Alas, I'm not most people, and while I always try to do the right thing, it often isn't the socially acceptable thing.

I made a list in my head of pros and cons. Pros--I am happy. Cons--I've gained 20 pounds, and I'm tired all the time. When the doctor initially put me on this medication, she said that she didn't think I would have to be on it long-term. She said that she just thought I was going through a rough patch, and I needed some help to get through it. I felt as if I had that help, and now it was time to put my big girl panties on and deal with the issues I'd medicated into submission.

So I prayed for a sign whether or not to keep taking the medicine. That morning, on my way to the gym, I heard "Your help comes from the Lord," on the radio, and that was my sign. Instantly, I felt a wave of relief, and thanked God for showing me such a clear sign so quickly. Throughout the day, I had little signs that reinforced my decision, and I felt pretty confident that I was doing the right thing.

That was two weeks ago. Today, without medication, I feel tired, overwhelmed, and unsure. I think it was the right decision. I think it was what God wanted me to do, but the signs that so suddenly appeared to guide me have now vanished, and I find myself on a desolate path wondering if I'm going the right way.

I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I knew when I stopped taking the happy pills I was going to feel all the pain I'd been numbing for the past few months. I knew that I was going to have to deal with the fact that my baby is going to college in a few short months. I knew that when I looked at my dad's laminated obituary, the fact that my dad was dead was going to tear my heart to pieces, again. But I also know that if I don't feel these things, if I don't face that pain head on and deal with it, I will be stuck in a state of suspended animation.

I realized that for me, taking the medication was taking the easy way out. I don't want to be artificially happy anymore, even though it was nice for a few months. I want to be a better person. I want to grow and change and develop, and in order to do that, I know I have to walk through this pain. My vacation from tears was nice, but it was just that--a vacation. I needed it and am grateful for it. Now, it's time to unpack my bags and get to the business of dealing with all of this shit.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reasons, seasons, and lifetimes

I've heard the phrase people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime, but I had never read the whole beautiful poem. For the past several years, I have paid close attention and watched in amazement as this phenomenon has happened over and over in my life. I have made some great new friends, rekindled some old friendships, revitalized existing friendships, and sometimes regrettfully and often relievedly said goodbye to some relationships.

I wept with joy as I hugged my very best friend from childhood when we reconnected in 2010 after losing touch for 8 years. I can think of few scarier days in my life than my first day at public school after seven years of homeschooling. It's hard enough to be thirteen without that lapse in socialization that left me feeling out of place, out of touch, and out of style. But there was Lori. My soul mate. She's my only friend who knew my brother Chris. In fact, she's the only person in my life besides my mom and siblings who knew him. She has the distinction of having been my dad's favorite among my friends. She's real and true and knows everything about me good and bad and chooses to love me and be my friend. My BFF. She's here for a lifetime.

My friendship with her, though, made me analyze a lot of other relationships to consider whether they were for a reason, season or a lifetime. My friend, Vickie, needed no analysis. She's here for life. Biggest heart in the whole world. Kindest, sweetest, most thoughtful, loving person. She was my gift during a very dark time in my life, and thankfully, I get to keep her even though now God's light illuminates my path.

There are more, blessings all of them, my girls. Friends through my husband's friends, who became my card partners and then my life partners. Those who entered my heart through my kids but quickly took up residence there. The fellow baseball, football, and cheer moms, who became confidantes. Old high school, with whom I've been blessed--often through facebook--to reconnect. Some that I wasn't close to in high school, I now find we have so much in common, and I am grateful for the opportunity to know them again. To meet for coffee and swap stories, book recommendations, family dramas, and chat away two hours as if it was a minute.

There are the reason friends, who turned into more. Several months ago, upon making a new friend, I hesitantly pondered her place in my life. Then my dad died, and I didn't need to ponder any further why God had sent me a psych nurse.

Then there was the so-called friend, who talked behind my back at every opportunity. I tried to make a go of it, but realized it was futile. The reason she was in my life? Maybe to show me I didn't need people like her in my life. There was the acquaintance, who was friends with all of my friends but never liked me. She told lies about me, tried to make others dislike me and ultimately made me search my soul and question everything about myself. Several years later, I realized none of that had been about me but about her own bitterness that she was projecting onto me. Since finding that out, I've become much more comfortable with the fact that not everyone likes me. I am still a good person, and I don't have to convince my detractors of that.

So as I think about my reason, season, and lifetime friends, my heart swells. My soul is nourished by each of you, whether I picked you out and mentioned you, or I simply have written your name on my heart. Thank you for being my friend.