Children Coming Home

Shannon with one of her new best friends from Macedonia.

Four of my five kids are home, after a long two weeks with only one or two here at a time.

I have yet to process this comletely, but when we were riding home from the airport, together again, I realized how completely incapacitated I have felt this week. I was physically sick, yes; but that wasn’t necessarily kid related (“Or WAS it???” asks a maniacal voice, sounding somewhat like my subliminal self….)
My four oldest children were gone, and I became incomplete.
Before my mom calls me up to tell me I’d better get used to it – that they’re going to all leave eventually – let me say that I’m prepared for that. In fact, although I miss Sarah, there’s something very natural about her absence. She’s 18. She just graduated. It’s time for her to fly.
But because motherhood and its responsibilities have dictated my every choice, every action, especially in the few years, this felt like a huge, gaping, sudden and unexpected wound. Even though it wasn’t.
Makes me wonder how ready you can ever be to watch someone walk away. Even if you’re sure they’re coming back.
Makes me wonder what lies underneath all that’s labeled “MOM” in me. Even though I’ve always been pretty sure I knew.
I’m a lot less certain of that than I expected I’d ever be.

The World Didn’t End!

Fighting some kind of physical ailment since Tuesday; I had to give in yesterday when the fever arrived. Seems like some sort of flu-type thing, with congestion, coughing, aches, headache and the afore-mentioned fever and chills.

Thankfully, the worst of it seems to have come and gone – I hope. I slept for about 24 hours straight, with a break to pick up David from Art Camp. I think that helped.
My friend Jim Hamacher left a comment on my Facebook status that said, “Maybe your body is trying to tell you something.”
I’ve thought about that today – a lot. Without the energy to check email/work on projects/worry about work, I just let everything go. And I slept.
And I’m amazed by two things:
  • The world didn’t end.
  • I’m really, really relaxed. In spite of being physically sick, I feel like I’ve regained some emotional energy.
Go figure. This is worth thinking about. I need to quit complaining about feeling so overwhelmed and do something proactive. It doesn’t seem like a good strategy to get sick every 12 weeks or so.

Temporarily Changed Dynamics

This week I’ve had time to wonder how my life might have been different.

If I’d had only one child.

If David had no siblings.

If I’d had my last child first.

If I didn’t work with Brian Hughes.

If I had to drive across the river for work every day.

If I didn’t seem to eat as an emotional outlet.

If I wasn’t relatively healthy.
With just David at home, it’s been fascinating to see the different dynamic. He’s calm and gentle and quiet. He doesn’t mind being alone. He’s a wonderful, warm kid. I think he spends his ‘normal’ life getting lost in the shuffle. I’ve enjoyed this time, and it prompts a huge desire in me to do better by him.
Brian is on vacation this week, and without the dynamic of our work relationship I can see a difference of sorts – in meetings, in energy level, in adrenaline, in intensity. I’m not sure what life and work would really be like for me without that partnership; I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing.
Taking David to Art Camp at Hope Church this week and loving the rhythm of getting up and getting on 288 every morning. I’m sure it gets tiring after a while, but it’s a new routine and I like it.
I’m not very hungry this week. I think I’m usually not really hungry, but that I eat out of stress nad nervous-ness and just all-the-stuff-going-on. I feel better. Healthier.
Frustrated, waiting on some results of medical tests that will give me some answers about some funky physical issues I’ve been having. The doctor seems to be in no hurry to get back to me, but I was told before I left last week that something was wrong. I’m not enjoying the wait. Tell me now. Please.
Reading this book this week; John Irving was always one of my favorite authors. The World According to Garp came out when I was in high school and it was a defining moment for me, meeting those characters. I even bought a Garp t-shirt and wore it – frequently – to school. Can’t quite get into this book – after Owen Meany and The Cider House Rules, it’s been tougher to stay focused on his novels. But I’m giving it a good try.
Thinking a lot about the letter Paul wrote to the Colossians this week, too. Good stuff.

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. Colossians 3.1-3

Trying to look up. I think it matters.

Looking Back – July 2006

Here’s another blast from the past; dated July, 2006, here’s a look back at what my kids were doing – and how I felt about it – three years ago. Some things don’t change a whole lot…

My children have surpassed me in experience; they have done this thing you see in the photo above (though those are some other mother’s kids in this photo – my kid took the picture). All four of the older kids rapelled down either a 40 foot or 70 foot drop while at camp this week. I’m stunned. I’m glad I wasn’t there to watch; I’d have chewed my fingernails off and peed myself, probably simultaneously.

I picked them up this morning and was initially a bit unnerved by the laid-back, old-fashioned environment at the closing assembly. Southern Baptist sponsored, it was simple and fundamental – somewhat cheesey. Lots of happy smiles and a declaration of the number of rededications and salvations read by the camp leader (Baptists love numbers, as I recall…) They sang several old worship songs, played energetically by the leaders but sung reluctantly by the campers.

However, as the morning went on, the energy level quickly rose. The power point show elicited cheers and screams as the kids had a quick tour down memory lane, and the parents and friends caught a glimpse of what they’d been doing all week, and how they’d looked doing it.

On the way home, and even after we sat down for dinner, I heard them relate every silly camp song ever sung, tales of rain storms and mountain climbing, emotional conversations, bonds with younger children, songs inspired by the week and the mountains and some unbelieveable interaction between my kids.

They have shared something together as siblings that will serve them well as they grow into adulthood. Another step towards independence, I guess; memories made and experiences shared that built strength and a committment towards one another. It’s very weird that I wasn’t there at all, only to drop them off and pick them up.

They had a great time.

Sunday Night

Continuing to think about what matters most to me. I get so terribly overwhelmed and posessed by the day-to-day details of life and my job that I lose sight of the horizon. Derek Webb poses a great question, regardless of the subject at hand. Sister, what matters most to you?

I’m still cogitating on that one.
My house is quiet and clutter-free. One child in Tennessee with his step-mom, three in Macedonia having an experience completely foreign to me (no pun intended; just an awareness that the broadness of my childrens’ lives is leaving me far behind). My youngest and I, discovering a new rhythm of life. We’re talking Legos and a shared fondness for ice cream.
Great time tonight with dear friends. I’m grateful that Kevin and Candy are present in my life.
Spent some good time with my mom today. We went shopping, which is not a typical bonding activity for us. It was good to be together for a few hours. I love my parents.
I had no responsibilities today at church. It wasn’t so bad. I’m learning to release my tight-fisted control and let others lean into leadership. It’s good.
I laughed last night, hard. My best friend does a great job reminding me of how to be human. I’m so blessed.
I am really hoping to gain some insight into how to organize my days and nights in a more sustainable pace. I’m running in circles.