Sunday, September 22, 2013

10 Years Later...

This past week marked 10 years living in our home.  10 years.  Typically when these events arrive I’ll ask myself, “Where did the time go?”  Today, however, I’m amazed by what the past 10 years has placed in my life.   I’m asking myself, “How did all that fit into 10 years?”  10 years ago John and I moved in with 2 cats and barely enough belongings to fill the rooms.  Now our home is full with 2 kids and pets.   

We’ve experienced life’s greatest moments through the births of Elliot and Sydney.  We’ve felt the deepest sadness life can bring in saying good-bye to my in-laws.  This house is where my kids learned to walk. This street is where they learned to ride 2-wheeled bikes. This is our home.

I’m feeling nostalgic.  I’m also again reminded that life happens outside of what I have planned.   As I have written before, this geographical location isn’t what I envisioned for my life.  I’m learning though to yield to what life is providing to me instead of fighting it in an attempt to get what I think I need.  It’s in those moments of letting go, when I “live and let live” that I experience meaning and happiness.

Living here, in this house and in this neighborhood has given me beyond what I could dream up for myself.  I’ve met some awesome friends that have encouraged and inspired me, challenged me; they’ve helped me grow.  I’m learning to let them know me too. And, I can only hope I am encouraging them. 

This weekend I was invited to a girls’ night in.  We played Bunco and we laughed and we laughed.  All of us come from different backgrounds and grew up in various locations.  We are laced together in this neighborhood and share the common bond of motherhood.  For those few hours we socialized and shared life.  The evening unfolded just the way it was meant to be. It was wonderful. 

This morning I rewatched a video of Jimmy Valvano's 1993 ESPY Speech when he accepted the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. He was nearing the end of his life due to cancer.  His speech is remarkable.  In it he talks about 3 things we should all do every day of our lives.

  • Laugh: we should laugh

  • Think: spend some time in thought

  • Cry: have emotions move to tears (could be happiness)

You can watch the video yourself to hear why these 3 things are important.  I promise you will be inspired.  

It is my hope that in the next 10 years I’ll be able to look back and be proud of the person I grow into.  For me life is a process.  I’ll never be finished growing and learning.  I don’t want to be finished.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes.  I just hope today I’m a little bit better than I was yesterday.  Imperfect progress. 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, September 16, 2013

What If? What If? What If?

The topic of worry was the focus of one of my daily readings the other day.  It wasn’t so much about what we fret over, or what causes us anxiety, but rather what we can do to calm ourselves?  I can make a list of the things that run through my mind when I can’t sleep at 3 AM.  There are less important things like: remembering to return library books on time. Did I program the coffee pot correctly?  Will I get called to sub tomorrow? Beating myself up for not eating enough vegetables and loving chocolate too much.  And, there are also more pressing things like: hoping my kids are kind to others; wondering if I properly answered Elliot’s questions about heaven correctly.  Asking myself if I’m doing the right thing by not letting my kids share a room except on weekends? What if the small growth on my lung is getting bigger?  All these thoughts swirl through my mind.  If I allow the worry to gain strength, before I know it I am struggling to keep my head above the current of the thoughts. 

So this brings me to…what can I do about it?  Usually I start by asking myself "what if?"  What if I didn’t turn the coffee pot to “auto?”  What if I didn’t say just the right thing to Elliot when we asked me if Grandma Mary misses him even though she’s in heaven?  What if we don’t spend enough time studying math facts?  What if the library books are late?  Usually the answers to the questions help place the problem in a different perspective.  When the answer to the “what if?” isn’t so powerful; it’s a correlation to me that the worry isn’t such a worry.  For me, it can be as simple as asking “what if?”

Now, sometimes the answers to “what if?” are scary too.  Each new school year I have to fill out paperwork for Elliot.  Each year I have to explain to his new teacher about his cyst on his brain.  The cyst has its own set of “what if?” questions.  So far we’ve been so fortunate that the cyst hasn’t changed in size or caused him physical problems.  I cannot worry my life away over what may or may not happen to Elliot. 

In those first few weeks of learning about Elliot’s cyst (when he was 3) I would sit in his room while he slept and ask myself those scary questions.  My heart would race and hot tears would sting my eyes.  I felt really angry at God for what we were facing.  Through those angry prayers, tears, and then support of family and friends I’ve been able to let go of the worry.  This doesn't mean I don't feel concern.  It means (in general) it doesn't keep me up at night.  I am completely powerless over the situation.  I’m learning to place that worry in its true perspective.  When I do, I find it loses its power to dominate my thoughts and my life.  I can let go and let Elliot live the life he is meant to live. 

Worry is a challenge for me.  It will be something I will battle against again and again.  I’ll have to keep reeling in the thoughts and ask “what if?”  I’ll also have to ask for the courage to place the worry in its true perspective.  How grateful I am do have found one way to deal. 

Gratitude.  That’s another way.  Sometimes it’s a simple statement.  Other times (or when I’m struggling more) it’s an A-Z list. 

Today’s “B” is blog.  I’m grateful to have this blog to share my random thoughts.  “R” is for the readers. 

Thank you for reading.  xo