Tag Archives: reflection

Hardest thing I’ve had to do as a parent

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After a few days of what was probably denial, and my attempt to make life wait for me to be ready, I had to wake up and smell the coffee. That Tuesday, I knew that Patches needed to see the vet. I knew I couldn’t hold off any longer. He hadn’t eaten much of anything over the weekend and was clearly not doing well. In my head, I was still holding on to the hope that this was just a bad flare up of his intestinal condition. But, since I had to take the kids with me to this appointment, I needed to prepare them for the worst possible scenario. After all, Patches was almost 15 years old.

When I explained to them that we might need to say goodbye to Patches, I got mixed reactions. Anna cried. Tommy was clearly sad, but did not shed a tear. Perhaps he was in the same land of denial that I was in. He asked if we could take a picture of Patches. We’ve seen this before with Tommy. He takes pictures of all our pets with us on vacation so that he’s not sad about missing them. It’s one of his ways of coping.  We took a few pictures and then we headed off to the vet…in a very somber state. The appointment was fairly uneventful. The doctor took some blood and then sent us home with some critical care dog food, some pro-biotics, and some medicine to help with nausea. This was great for the kids, but I knew what was coming.

I was finally letting myself deal with the possibility that we would have to put Patches down. I waited anxiously for the call from the vet the next morning. The news was pretty much what I had expected. Patches had significant kidney failure. He gave us the option of bringing him in for IV fluids or subcutaneous fluids twice a day…and we’ll see what happens. At first I went for this…took him in for the sub. cu. fluids that afternoon. (I didn’t want to leave him all day for IV.) But I couldn’t ignore the numbers. Clearly, his kidney failure was severe. He wasn’t going to get better. It was time.

That night we all sat down together. We told the kids what was going to happen. They asked a lot of questions and cried a lot. The kids each took a turn holding Patches, hugging him, saying goodbye. We looked at pictures and even laughed a little bit. Tommy had a really hard time getting to sleep that night. (as did I.) The next morning, Tommy was ok. He said his last goodbyes and headed off to school. I think he had already moved on. Anna and I were another story. We were both falling apart at the seams. Grandma and Grandpa came to stay with Anna while I took Patches, and to be here so that I didn’t have to come home to an empty house. After school, Anna’s teacher said that she cried twice while she was there. She also got really upset at bedtime. Thankfully we had a very busy weekend ahead of us to keep our minds off of this.

This was whole experience was incredibly challenging for me. I’ve had Patches since he was 4 weeks old. I’ve always known that losing him would be very hard for me. As a mother, you just know that you have to be the rock for your children in times like this. But, I never could have imagined just how hard it would be to be that rock for them and to deal with my own emotions all at the same time. Definitely one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced as a parent so far.

Stress. Oh, how I despise thee.

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A few weeks back, things around here were pretty stressful. First, there was a week where the kids were out of control. It felt like were just running me over, again and again. The following Monday, I had high hopes for a better start to the week. No such thing. Monday morning: washer was dead. Tuesday: spent the day waiting for the new washer to be delivered. Wednesday morning: dryer will run, but will not heat. Seriously?! Everything that week was off schedule and/or backed up. All the extra running around to accommodate these things simply ate up whatever down time I might have had.

I don’t do well without my personal time. Sure, there’s time in the evenings after the kids go to bed, but that time is usually spent on household stuff. Since I left my job, I have learned that the 1 hour I have between the end of my class and the end of the childrens’ school day is critical to my sanity. My life these days consists of 3 main things: the kids, the house, and my classes. Over the previous 2 weeks, the kids and the house had each taken a week to kick my butt. Looking ahead to the following week, I knew that school was going to be the challenge. I had 4 tests spread over 8 days. Yes, that was likely going to suck, but at least I knew it was coming. Oh, and don’t forget Tommy’s 1st Communion on day 6 of those 8. I just needed to get through the next week or so and then things would settle down.

That Friday, the kids were off of school. In the midst of our day off of school slow start, I noticed something odd about the dog. He seemed unusually skinny. Perhaps my imagination? Nope. When I weighed him, I found that he had lost 2.5-3 pounds.  For most dogs, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but Patches only weighed 12-13 pounds to begin with. None of us could remember the last time we saw him eat. Being a dog who had a life-long intestinal condition, I just assumed that his lack of appetite had something to do with that. I know this is going to sound horrible, but I didn’t have time for this. Unfortunately, life’s ups and downs don’t always fit on the calendar .

I don’t do closure

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The dream of not having to get up and rush out to work everyday is finally within my reach.  It’s so close, I can almost reach out and grab it.  In just over 2 weeks, I will walk out the door at my current place of employment for the last time.  Standing between me and that day is what seems like an eternity.

Sure, I’ve had these plans in mind for months.  I’ve been working on making them happen.  I’ve been looking forward to my new start.  But now that it’s so close, I have to face the reality.  There is going to be closure.  Let me tell you, closure and I are not good friends.  Take the excitement I have about starting school and embarking on my new journey.  Add to it a strong dose of anxiety about new, unknown territory.  What you have there is already an emotional tidal wave.  Top it off with the fact that everyone and their brother here at work is going to want to say goodbye to me, and you’ve got yourself a really big mess.

This is a reality that I knew would come.  Right now, the excitement is pushing through pretty strong and is drowning out the anxiety.  That surely won’t last.  I expect that by the time I return from our vacation, the anxiety level will be maxed out. 

On my last day, my group is having a “going away lunch” for me.  While I do appreciate the gesture, I don’t want to have to stand in front of people and say goodbye.  It’s going to be tough enough to have people come to me one by one.  At the lunch, I’m sure there will be some expectation that I’ll say something to the group.  There will also be people there that I don’t really feel the need to say goodbye to, but I’ll probably have to do it…as a formality. 

I don’t want to have a grand sendoff.  I just want to leave quietly…like I would any other day. 

Of course, I’d still do a major happy dance in the parking lot.

The cat is out of the bag

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Back in January, I was talking about reflection and direction, about goals (AKA resolutions) and about soul searching.  At that point, I had outlined these 3 broad goals:

~Turn our house into the home we’ve been dreaming of by prioritizing home improvement projects.
~Sacrifice quantity for quality in everything that I do.
~Define my dream for the future and work towards implementing it.

Many people know about the home improvement projects.  I’ve discussed them here quite a bit.  Those are ongoing, and I must say, are moving along nicely.

The sacrificing quantity for quality…that’s a tough one, but also ongoing.

That brings us to the 3rd goal.  As it’s written, it sounds incredibly vague and open-ended.  Truth be told, I had already started working on that one when I wrote it.  Now, I’m happy to say that the dream is definitely defined and I am in the process of implementing it.  I haven’t discussed the details here at all just because I didn’t want it to accidentally slip out.  Sure, the likelyhood that someone from work would stumble upon my blog is pretty low…but it was not out of the question.  So, now that my boss knows and all the people who should hear it directly from me (or who would expect to) have been informed, the cat is officially out of the bag.  In 6 weeks, I will be leaving my job of almost 9 years.  Why?  Because it is time for a fresh start.  I’ve been looking, albeit halfheartedly, for the next thing for quite some time.  Several times over the past couple of years I have hit lows with this job.  I have wanted a break.  I knew it was time for something new, but it wasn’t until this year that I knew what that something was.

I have enjoyed my career as a chemist, but I must admit that I stumbled into it in a very odd way.  The decision to switch to a chemistry major in college was a very spontaneous one.  I didn’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about what I wanted to do with my life.  Now, 15 years later, I have revisited the idea of what I want to do with my life.  And, it is through my life experiences that I have come to know of this career direction.  I don’t think I ever would have chosen this even if I had done serious soul searching back then.  This fall I will be taking a couple of classes that will prepare me for a program that I will be applying to, and hope to begin the following fall.  By doing so, I will get a bit of a break.  I will get to spend more time with the kids, even volunteer in Anna’s kindergarten classroom.  Sure, going back to school will be challenging, but I feel up for the challenge at this point.

So, what is it that I’m going to be doing?  Do you really want to know??  OK…I’ll tell now.   I will be pursuing a Masters degree in Occupational Therapy.  Over these past few months with Tommy, I have not only been exposed to the field, but have also gotten to see the impact it has on the lives of others.  The ability to have that impact on someone else’s life is what I’ve been missing lately.  I want to work with children.  I want to help them overcome obstacles.  I want to make a difference.

So, 6 weeks from today I will begin a new chapter of my life.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

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Remember that book?  Great message.  It needs to be my new motto.

Lately I’ve been reminded of how much I tend to dwell on the little things, in many cases blowing them out of proportion.  It’s not new for me, but as time goes on it is becoming more of an obstacle in my life.  I just have to let go of some things.  I need to accept the fact that I cannot control everything.  There’s only so much I can do.

What I’ve learned lately:

I just have to do my best and then let go.  I can pack the things the kids need each day for camp.  I can remind them when I drop them off what it is that I packed for them that day.  After that, it’s up to them.  If they don’t pick up where I left off, and take a little responsibility for their own needs, there’s nothing more I can do.  I need to remember that eventually they’ll learn their lesson and will start to be more responsible. 

If I buy something or do something nice for the kids, they may or may not show their appreciation in the way I expect.  They may not even pay enough attention to ensure that the purchased item actually arrives at home safely.  Things will get lost.  It is not the end of the world.  Maybe a little sadness over a lost treat will help them remember to pay attention next time.

The kids will experience sadness and disappointment, and I can’t (shouldn’t) always make it go away.  Yes, it may be hard to watch them be so upset about something that they lost, but it is just a part of life.  This temporary pain they’re feeling will help to shape who they are.

When looking for lost treasures, always be sure to look up.  If I had been thorough in my searching for the aforementioned “lost thing”, things wouldn’t have been so ugly.

Noise caused by unsupervised children should be promptly investigated.  As the kids get bigger, their bickering and fighting is only getting more dramatic.  There’s more hitting, shoving and kicking…and it’s all getting stronger.  Last night’s family explosion could have been avoided if we had stopped what we were doing and gone down to see what was going on.

Glasses containing alcohol (or any other beverage) should not be left on the side tables next to the couch.  Especially in the evenings, the spats between the children tend to take place on the couch and are centered around personal space.  This personal space includes, but is not limited to the couch.  Arms and legs may protrude in odd directions.

On Tuesday, I dressed the kids in their swimwear and sent them out the door with everything they needed for the day.  When I picked them up, Anna was wearing pants (instead of the skorts she left the house in) because she didn’t pay attention to where she put them.  I was then informed that they both had bowled that afternoon with out socks because neither remembered/noticed that I had packed socks and gym shoes for them.  On Wednesday, I bought Tommy a small stuffed monster from a crafter at the Farmer’s Market.  He didn’t show nearly as much excitement as I had expected.  On the way home, he noticed it was missing and it was deemed lost after returning to the presumed scene of the crime and coming up empty handed.  This made for a miserable evening of me being angry, him being upset, and me feeling horrible watching him feel horrible.  Lost turned to found in the morning when the kids piled into the van and Tommy looked up to find his monster tucked securely in the handle above his seat. 

After spending the bulk of our holiday weekend painting Tommy’s bed and finishing up his new room, the children were left alone together watching TV.  When they started bickering, we didn’t drop what we were doing to go put an end to it.  So the bickering came to us, complete with the report that “Anna spilled something.”  The “something” that she spilled was Aaron’s full glass of beer.  After interrogation, it was determined that Anna came in contact with the glass, which caused it to tip.  She did so as a result of being kicked or hit by her brother.

Change is a funny thing

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Change is a funny thing.  At times, I crave change.  I need change to keep things from getting dull and stale.  I do change better than many others probably do, but I still have my fair share of issues.

First, it is important to know that I am a bit of a control freak.  The other thing to know is that I am a very emotional person. 

When it comes to change, the best case scenario is when I’m driving that bus.  If I have made the decision to head on to something new, then I am able to look forward to the destination and end up putting blinders on through the journey.  Not always a good thing, but usually less of an emotional blow.  If I don’t unpack the emotions until I arrive at the destination and am fully immersed in some new, fun thing, then they aren’t as overwhelming.

But, when change is brought upon me, I am forced to deal with it.  If I’m not driving the bus of change, I am likely not as invested in the new destination.  I am more likely to see, and give notice to all the emotional road signs along the journey.  More advanced notice isn’t always helpful, as it gives me more time to stop and dwell on things.  On the other hand, short notice has its pitfalls too.

At this point, you might be thinking of all the unexpected changes that may befall a mother of 2 children, and you might find yourself wondering how on earth I cope.  The short answer there…I roll with the punches and take things one day at a time.  I have to keep things in perspective and keep my sights set on the bigger picture.

There is definitely change brewing in my life over the next several months.  A major portion of that change is my doing.  I am definitely driving the bus of change for me and my family, and it is very exciting.  But yesterday, my bus of change was hit by another bus.  That other bus did not completely throw me off my course, but it will likely require me to stop and assess the damage.

Musical Reflection

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This morning, I heard a song on the radio whose lyrics I would like to share.  I’be heard this song many times before, but this morning I heard it sung live by the artist.  That changed everything.  The words spoke to me far more than they have before.  That’s about all I want to say because I want the words to speak for themselves.  The song is called The Lost Get Found by Britt Nicole.

Hello my friend
I remember when you were
So alive with your wide eyes
Then the light that you had in your heart was stolen
Now you say that it ain’t worth stayin’
You wanna run but you’re hesitatin’
I’m talkin’ to me

Don’t let your lights go down
Don’t let your fire burn out
somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don’t you rise up now?
Don’t be afraid to stand out
That’s how the lost get found
The lost get found

So when you get the chance
Are you gonna take it?
There’s a really big world at your fingertips
And you know you have the chance to change it
There’s a girl on the streets, she’s cryin’
There’s a man whose faith is dyin’
Love is calling you

Don’t let your lights go down
Don’t let your fire burn out
somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don’t you rise up now?
Don’t be afraid to stand out
That’s how the lost get found
The lost get found

Why do we go with the flow
Or take an easier road?
Why are we playin’ it safe?
Love came to show us the way
Love is a chance we should take
I’m movin’ out of the way

Don’t let your lights go down
Don’t let your fire burn out
somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
(Stand out)
Don’t let your lights go down
Don’t let your fire burn out
(Stand out)
somewhere, somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don’t you rise up now?
Don’t be afraid to stand out
That’s how the lost get found
The lost get found

So when you get the chance
Are you gonna take it?
There’s a really big world at your fingertips
And you know you have the chance to change it