Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Level Three and Karma for Me

In 2008, I  lost about sixty pounds.  I kept that weight off for about three years, and then the weight started creeping back on after I stopped exercising and went back to work.  What can I say - I can only focus on one thing at a time. 

This year my husband and I are trying to lose weight together.  Our oldest daughter is with us in this quest also.  Friday we had yet another snow day, so we were all home. The girls started getting too aggressive with each other, so I sent the oldest to get on the treadmill to work it off. 

She did level two, which is an improvement from the level one that she usually saunters through.  While she was walking, she kept telling me how much she hated me.  Of course then I started giving her a hard time for saying that, when she was only on level two.

Saturday morning I couldn't talk myself out of getting on the treadmill, which is what I normally do.  The girls had to be somewhere early so I was up, with time to kill before getting ready for my son’s basketball game. 
I got on the treadmill and started on level three.  When it started, I thought to myself, “This isn't so bad, I have no idea what her problem was with level two.” 

Below are the things that passed through my mind as I continued.
1.       Wow, this is a little harder than I remember.
2.       Speed four is really fast.
3.       Incline ten?  Really?  I don’t want to climb Mount Rushmore; I just want to burn some calories.
4.       I haven’t gone a mile yet?  This thing might be broken; I know I've gone three.
5.      Wow… my head is starting to hurt.
6.      If I trip and fall off of this, can my ten-year-old get me up?
7.      My spine may be out of line.

Climbing a mountain again?  Don’t they give you ropes when you climb mountains?  I think my head may explode.  I think I have a brain tumor.   It could be a blood clot.  It can’t be in my legs, because they are now rubber, so it must be in my head.

When my husband got up, he asked me how I was doing. I told him I was pretty sure I was going to die.  He asked me what level I was on.  I told him three.  He shook his head, chuckled, and walked away.  He didn't know about the blood clot in my head. 

When I got off the treadmill, the room started spinning.  I felt like I was walking through a clown house on my way to the other room. 

So the moral of the story is this:  Don’t laugh at those who do the work you should be doing – or karma will give you a headache. I think that’s going to be a popular phrase soon. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dear Mom, Happy Birthday

Dear Mom,

Today is your birthday.  You would have been sixty one today.  Crazy to think that this is another year we won’t be celebrating your birthday.  Things are getting better.  I can get through every holiday like a trooper now.  It’s your birthday and mine that get me every time.  How is it that February 25 is here and you are not?  If you were here we would go to Texas Roadhouse for your birthday dinner.  I would have made you a white cake with peanut butter icing.  What would you have asked for? 

My heart hurts today.  I feel like I’m being ripped in two.  I think about all that has happened that you weren't here for.  I learned how to make jewelry and you loved jewelry.  Are you mad that you didn't benefit from that?  Do you even know that now that you are in heaven or are you so busy you haven’t noticed what has been going on?  I started writing.  I’m not sure that I am good at it.  I suppose that is subjective but I do enjoy it.  Your oldest grandchild is starting to drive, your second is going to start driver’s ed in the summer, the baby is ten and he has hair.  You would be so proud of them.

Today I find myself in another battle.  The voices that haunt me are back for the day.  “It is your fault.” “You didn't fight hard enough.” “Did you really do everything that you could have?”  “What if you did this or what if you had done that?”  “You just gave up, you gave up and now she is gone.”  They persist with their accusations and it tears me apart.  Eventually reason comes into play and I realize what is happening.  I suppose I am a slow learner or after almost nine years I would be able to shut them down faster. 

I did not then and I do not now have the power to save anyone.  While I took on the responsibility to take care of you alone, I was not then and am not now an oncologist nor am I God.  Your life, just as mine, was in God’s hands and his hands alone.  I know that God has a plan to bring beauty from these ashes.  I revisit those last days and then I remember that even at the end God was there.  He sent his son to stand at the foot of your bed and take you home.  I know that.  I was there, I felt his presence.  I know you are home.  I know you are having a wonderful birthday in the presence of our Lord.  I know all of these things and I am so sad I am missing the party.  I can only imagine the kind of party that God would throw.  I can only imagine the joy he felt that you came to know him and you were saved and are with him now.  These thoughts bring me peace when I feel that I cannot hold on. 

I keep asking God to keep me moving.  I ask him to tell you how much I miss you and love you.  Sometimes I just get so mad at you and I tell him that too.  I didn't get all of my questions answered.  I didn't learn everything I needed to from you.  I can’t bake like you could.   I miss talking to you on the phone while I fix dinner.  I miss shopping with you.  I miss arguing with you.  I miss all of your expressions.  “What do you want to do now kong?”  “Do you have to go poo poo in the pee pee potty or pee pee in the poo poo potty?”  The kids still remember that one and they think it is so funny.  I walk through shadows today with the hope that tomorrow the sun will shine again.  God brings the light to my weary soul.  I know that he will bring me through this day like so many others. 

I keep moving because I have hope.  Hope for tomorrow, hope for His plan for my life, hope that one day I will see you again.  Hope that when July comes as it always has and it’s my birthday God will bring me through that battle as well.  This year we will be very busy.  Busy is good it is less time to dwell on things that I still have no control over.  Then the light bulb goes on and the lesson is learned yet again.  I am not in control.  I never have been and that is such a relief.  It relieves my soul to know I can go to my father and lay down my sorrows and troubles at his feet.  He will wipe my tears and pick me up again and we will go on with the journey he has for me.  And somehow I think maybe you know that too, that maybe he fills you in. 

Love until we meet again,

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

If they don’t get older in the scrapbook, does that mean they will never leave?

My oldest daughter is a junior in high school this year.  My time for getting her scrapbooks caught up is ticking away like the second hand on a clock.  I may have to hire it done.  I’m not even sure you can do that.  I just know that my feet are stuck in the sands of the hourglass, and I am not getting it done.
I think part of me thinks if I don’t get it done, then she will stay with me.  I’m not ready for her to go.  Sure; there are days when I am more than ready to see what comes next for her. I am terrified to not have her here.  How do you go from spending every minute with them, to sending them away to school?  I don’t remember that section in the book we received at the hospital..  You go from having them with you twenty-four hours a day, to not having them with you at all. 
I know by the time we were juniors in college, we didn’t even go home for the summer any more.  We just stayed at college and came home for major holidays.  I can’t decide if that was a blessing to our parents, or if they struggled also.
My middle child, a high school freshman, went away to honor band for a weekend recently.  I was lost.  I kept thinking that a part of  me was missing.  There are supposed to be three of them here, not two.  It was odd.  This letting go business is hard. 
We have started the journey of looking at prospective colleges with my oldest daughter, and true to my nature, I notice the quality of the food at each place.  It is good that colleges provide food.  If left to her own devices, she may starve.  She won’t have a stove in her room, so she wouldn’t be able to make a pizza, and that is pretty much the only thing she can cook.  She once tried to make a hot dog in the microwave and she cooked it for four minutes.  Do you know what a hot dog looks like after four minutes under nuclear heat? I’ll tell you - it doesn’t look like a hot dog anymore.  This doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in her striking out on her own. 
When I worried about her going to first grade, I wondered how she would carry her lunch tray to the table without spilling it. Now the first thing I worry about for her in college is her food situation again. 
Of course, I also worry about her safety, her study habits, and her ability to make friends.  She is pretty quiet. If she and another quiet girl met, they could be good friends—but then again, if they are both quiet, who is going to talk first?
I met the love of my life my senior year in high school.  I had him for support during college.  She hasn’t started dating.  This is a fact that I am happy about currently, because I have seen how some of those high school boys drive; heck, I have seen how SHE drives, and it is a frightening prospect. 
There are upsides to her leaving, of course. It’s one more person to write actual letters to; I remember waiting anxiously for mail.  Back then, you waited days for letters.  Now with email, the wait is minutes.  I suppose in that instance, the immediate-gratification era has a point in its favor.  With cell phones and email, we can be connected at all times.  And she’s good about calling me. As it is, she calls me from her room, when I am downstairs. 
So if I never finish the scrapbook, will she never leave?  Will I be holding her back from all she is yet to discover and be?  Should I force her to do things she doesn't think she wants to do, just so she doesn't miss out on the experience?  What will I do when I do let her go, and she pulls a Heather, and doesn't come home at the holidays?  Does that reflect well on my parenting, or poorly?  Which part is easier—sending them to college or marrying them off?  If I hit menopause when she does get married, can I request a winter wedding, so I won’t sweat like a pig and stain the satiny dress I will be required to wear?  Are teenagers so difficult to understand and deal with so it will be easier to see them go? 
Oh, how I wish I could ask my mother or grandmother about these things
My questions are many, but the solutions are clear.  When crunch time comes, the scrapbooks will be done, and I will let her go.  She will spread her wings and she will leave the nest to see what the world has to offer, and experience what God has planned for her. 
I just need to realize that while she is my child, she is also a child of God, and I don’t own her.  I have to hope that I have taught her something about the world and that she knows how to get through life without too many scrapes.  God is as much with her as he is with me, and he will be with both of us during the next chapter. 
After all, once in high school, I caught the kitchen on fire making a Pop Tart for breakfast.  All she did was overcook a hot dog, and the microwave is still in working order.  She is already ahead … and I turned out fine.  Right?