Monday, January 23, 2012

My Son

I have tried so hard to not "label" my children.  But I am afraid it is inevitable.  When asked about my children I often describe Stephen as the athletic one and Allie as the musical one.  This doesn't mean that Stephen has no musical  ability or Allie has no athletic ability.  Allie has always been the one totally devoted to school and good grades and Stephen has always been totally devoted to being the best in baseball.  But I hope that I have conveyed to them that these are descriptions and not judgements on who they are.  Because as we all know, as we grow, those descriptions change.

That has happened in Stephen's life in the last year and it has been miraculous to watch.  As a young boy, Stephen had a passion for throwing and catching balls and writing stories.  He was creative not only with stories but with making up games with balls.  One of our favorites was "This and That".  Don't ask me to describe it, I still don't understand the rules.  "That's okay, Mommy, I will wait for Daddy,"  was often said at our house after a few rounds of This and That.  Stephen also wrote incredible stories and was quite prolific.  I was thrilled that his Kindergarten, First and Second Grade teachers encouraged this creativity and didn't try to harness it into a formula.  Unfortunately by third grade we had moved to a state that had the "WRITING" test in 4th grade.  I am not sure I can describe the sorrow and pain I felt as I watched the creativity being squashed in my talented little boy.  I was devastated.  I was an educator for god's sake.  I knew better...but I had to sit by and watch.  I tried to continue encouraging his writing, but his confidence was taken away and a greater passion was taking over, baseball.  For the next several years I watched as my son's joy and confidence in academics ebbed away.  Finally in 9th grade he had a teacher who sealed the tomb on Stephen's academic interest.  At the same time, Stephen's passion and talents in baseball flourished.

The baseball field was the one place I could see him hold himself with confidence and surety.  It was beautiful to watch, because we all want to see our children happy and confident.  He went off to college to play baseball and once again I had to witness the killing of my son's dreams.  He had a coach who basically took Stephen's dreams away by tearing down his confidence and self-esteem.  But, my son was stronger than that.  He knew he was more than that.  He stood up and spoke up for himself and declared that after the summer, baseball would be over.

Honestly we all feared what would come next.  Stephen didn't see himself as we saw him, a smart kid.  Now he didn't  have baseball.  What would happen?  What came next is still miraculous to us.  My son woke up and found himself.  He found that boy of 5,6 and 7 who loved to read and write. He found his love of thinking and asking questions.  My son has become the academic that Jack and I always knew was inside him.

Getting a phone call telling us about a fantastic professor he has is exhilarating.  Looking at his Christmas list and finding several books and none of them about sports, it is amazing.  Seeing the sparkle in his eyes once again is more precious than gold.

There are many more adjectives that pertain to Stephen. He is much more than those adjectives.  He is an amazing young man who is beginning his journey as a man.  I am honored to be his mother and have a front row seat to the miraculous life he is living.  I only pray that he knows I see him as more than what he does, I see him.  My boy.  I see his heart which is gold.  All the rest is just gravy.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

"Mom Voice" vs. "Me Voice"

[I wrote this last week, but am just getting around to publishing it.]

My son is leaving today.  He has been home for the holidays since the 23rd of December.  I am ready for him to go back.  But I am choking up and feel teary.  This is motherhood, isn't it?

We constantly live with 2 voices waging war inside our heads.  The one voice is looking out for us and our wants and needs. The other voice is looking out for what is best for our child, what they want, what they need.  Right after I had Stephen, I remember saying, "I never thought I was a selfish person until I had a baby."  And I think it is true.  I wasn't a particularly selfish person, but I just had the one voice in my head.   Life was so much simpler.

For the past 19 years, the "Mom voice" was the loudest and demanded the most attention.  Not that the "Me Voice" didn't shout and scream, but she just so often lost the fight.  As my children entered adolescents, "Mom voice" started taking some breaks.  Don't get me wrong, it still had a lot to say, but there were more periods when things were going smoothly.  In that period "Me Voice" started making noises.  "Hey, why don't you go to the movies tonight?  Kids are gone for the night!"  And little by little she became stronger and stronger.

Then the kids leave for college.  The "Mom voice" becomes frantic at the idea that she will no longer be needed and starts making the "Me voice" feel guilty for the thoughts and plans she had started making in the last year.  Sometimes "Mom voice" wins still and we stay over-involved in our grown kids' lives.  Hopefully, the "Mom voice" realizes that she is still needed, but it is her time to rest and give "me voice" more air-time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with people that I doubt I would have ever reconnected with.  It gives me a way to reconnect with boundaries.  I share only what I want and they share only what they want.  We aren't sitting awkwardly with each other trying to evade questions we would really rather not answer.  We get to see photos of their lives and feel like we have not missed anything.  We get to wish all these people happy birthday without spending a penny or getting out of our house.   I have now connected with people from just about every aspect of my past life.  That is exciting.

For the past several months, the buzz seems to be about Pinterest.  Well, at least among my women friends.  There is some debate over whether one should sign up for this and whether it will be helpful or just another time suck.  I have found Pinterest to be a vital tool for me.  You see, my memory seems to be ebbing away.  Either that or I just have SO much IMPORTANT information stored that where that recipe for chicken is just doesn't make the list.  Whatever, Pinterest is my new  storage unit.  It is my file cabinet, my bulletin board, my online memory!  If I see something online, a new project, a recipe, an outfit, or a book, I simply pin it to my board in Pinterest and then go on my happy way.  When I need to retrieve said item, I simply log into Pinterest and search for the photo, I am a VERY visual learner, and bam, I am sent to the link!  It has really made the internet easier for me to manage.

For Christmas, I gave my parents a webcam.  On Christmas day, my brothers set up the camera and we got to "see" all my family.  It felt as if we were there in my parents' home with them.  I didn't get to feel my mom's arms around me, but it was the next best thing.  Now I want to be able to connect with my little nieces more.  I think I have convinced my brother and his wife to get a webcam for themselves.  I am so excited!  I have already begun to plan activities and books I want to read to them!  They are homeschooled, so I am hoping to be able to help in some of their lessons!  It feels like the best of both worlds.  I get to see my family and talk face to face without having to leave my home in North Carolina and all my friends here.  Recently I had a "coffee date" with a friend who lives in Iowa.  It was so cool to get to see her and talk.

Technology has many pros and cons.  I know that all of the above can be abused and used for evil.  But like everything in life, there is a light side and a dark side.  I continue in my quest to look at the light side and find it wherever I go.   What gifts have technology given to you?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Toying with Ideas

Well, it is the new year.  Along with the new year comes the resolutions.  Every year I make some resolutions, I will lose weight, exercise more, be nicer, remember to send birthday cards on time, etc.  Some years I vow NOT to make a resolution.  Yet, secretly in my head I make them.  I seem to enjoy setting myself up for failure.

Currently I am toying with the idea that this year I am going to work on building up my strength.  When you are chronically ill, it seems you become MUCH more sedentary.  Now, I know, all the docs, nurses and PT's tell you it is important to move.  I KNOW it is.  But when I feel like shit, I am sorry, I don't really want to move!  When said movement is going to make me hurt worse for the rest of today and possibly tomorrow, it is really hard to get motivated!  Sometimes watching Biggest Loser, I wonder if I was on the show, if I really could push myself like those people do.  I mean, I am not more than 15 pounds heavier than I should be, so surely I can do what they do.  I wonder what Bob would say?

I say toying, because I don't want to say anything to my family about it.  I am scared I will just fail one more time and well, I really don't want any witnesses to that!  I really do yearn to be stronger.  I have noticed a significant weakening in the last year and that scares me.  So, we will see.

Another idea that I am toying with is the idea of writing.  I would like to set up the habit of writing every day.  I would like to promise you, my faithful readers (jack), that I will blog every day in 2012.  But, I know that won't happen.  There will be days when nothing will flow from my brain.  My novel is still brewing in my head.  The main character keeps coming up and speaking to me and telling me stories that I should write down.  I need to make space for her.  So, we will see.

Maybe I should make a schedule for myself:
7:00 a.m. wake up and eat breakfast
8:00 a.m. exercise alternate walking and weights
8:30 a.m. sit down to blog
9:00 a.m. write
10:00 a.m. clean house
10:30 a.m. Work
12:00 p.m. lunch break
1:00 p.m. work/run errands
5:00 p.m. start dinner
6:00 p.m. eat dinner

Wow, sounds great, except for the hour to shower and the hour to nap or lay down to recover from the exercise.....

Well, we will see...