Dawning…

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Last week my youngest became a Sophomore in high school. Next week, my oldest daughter will be a bride. In each of their lives (and as a mom, for me as well) these are defining moments, yet somehow I sit here wondering what is next for me… I have all of these goals, that haven’t really changed much, over the years. My life has. Time has. Timing has. Things around me have changed, like headlights on a late night busy highway, speeding through… These goals, hopes, plans and dreams remain. Unattained, unstepped towards, Un…

And suddenly I am forced to self reflect and of course I come to the conclusion that this simply will not do…

It seems like the majority of themes in books about 30-40 somethings is that marriages and families fall apart because the characters stopped. They stopped seeing each other, stopping feeling seen by others, or stopped caring about something, stopped pursuing something, stopped something. In my own life, it does feel like the majority of my milestones happened long ago, and suddenly I live vicariously through the milestones of my kids. That can’t be right, can it? I mean, surely? Is that at the heart of why marriages fail, affairs happen, careers tank, etc? Is it because people just needed something that was theirs? Some milestone to mark an age and tether them to a time period and bring them back to their own lives a little? Because, to me this sounds partly insane and partly 100% sound.

All of that to say, I’m not doing any of those things, but as I consider the fact that it has been a really, really long time since anything in my life happened that was for me, I got to wondering what happens when someone else feels the same. And I don’t mean that all whiny, like “What about me??? Why don’t I ever get to do anything???” I mean, as adults who are married and parents, we lose ourselves a little. (or sometimes, a lot.) When you throw into the mix special needs parenting, it’s even tougher. Actually, this brings to mind the movie Catfish. Have you seen it? If you have, then maybe you realize I just illustrated my own question with a cinematic answer…

Maybe, as people, we are wired to hit a panic switch (which often screws up our whole lives) whenever we start to feel irrelevant, but we ignore the warning signs for so long. Like, while I would love for my husband to always remember to place me on a pedestal and to think that spending time with me is the absolute best and greatest thing on the planet, this isn’t realistic and it’s kind of unfair of me to expect for him to be the source of my fulfillment. Just as I know personally that those Hallmark penned cards which say the best Mother’s Day things feel lovely to read, the adoration spewed my way won’t always look like that. Sometimes it will resembled adoration or love and the majority of the time it may be joy sucking. No one ever promised easy and it’s not on my kids to be my reason to wake up and keep living. Choosing to actively love them is a great way to live, but they don’t deserve the responsibility of my fulfillment. They can never  win with that. My life, my goal achievements, my successes, my __________________, those are on me. Yours are on you. We all own our own. So often we place blame, blame on our spouses, kids, parents, gardener… (Maybe not the gardener.)

I’m questioning if the greatest tragedy in my life might be that of this fog of distraction I slip into. The one where meal plans and household chores consume me. Within the safety of those confines I have a purpose and I am needed. For the twelve seconds that my home is clean and looking magazine spread worthy, I feel satisfaction. Within that frame of mind though, there is no love. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying my husband or family don’t love me. I’m saying they can never love me enough to make up for the fact that as long as I hide there, without taking personal risks, making personal strides and attempting personal growth (and failing, because we learn when we fail,) I will likely grow a little sadder. Maybe sad is the wrong word. Maybe more accurately, I will become less and less me.

feelings…

A couple of days ago school began for kids in our area. Busses were back on the roads, parents were frustratedly waiting in carpool lanes and if you fine-tuned your senses just right you could sense that autumn nip in the air. All was as it should have been, at least in our little bit of our sweet little town. We breathed our air as we listened to music and made the long trek home from school. Just one street over, at that same exact time, another family was on their way to pick up their own kids from school too. After nearly colliding with a reckless driver, the reckless driver proceeded to fatally shoot the father at an intersection…

Up until that moment, there were all sorts of things at the forefront of my mind. House hunting stresses and disappointments, frustrations with professional people who don’t do their jobs which therefore make it difficult for me to do what I need to do, etc. Up until that moment I was pretty full of me, I guess you’d say. And it’s not that these weren’t real things to be concerned with. That’s not my point… My point is simply that a man was killed at 3:30 on a Tuesday afternoon, in the middle of a street at a red light. This man was a father and a husband. His wife sat in the passenger seat watching. This happened in front of the ice cream place my daughter grew up visiting. Their children were sitting at school, eager to tell their mommy & daddy about their day. It’s so senseless and big, so, so big.

It was Chw who first told me, mere moments after it happened. He texted to make sure we were home and safe. Details weren’t out yet, other than a shooting and a death, and their location. Our town is sweet and I simply kept thinking about how unfathomable it all seemed. It wasn’t until the next day, however, when the depth of it really hit me. I was reading a news article and it said that amidst the gunshots, witnesses heard the anguished scream of the wife from within the car.

Anguish…

All at once I wanted to know her. My heart ached to provide love and shelter to her family and do everything in my power to bring them whatever worldly comfort I could, even though it would feel like nothing at all in reality. Anguish. This woman is living and breathing in anguish. Those children want their daddy.

Last week Gen and I drove by our local funeral home and noticed there was a funeral procession beginning for a local fireman. To see the outpour of community and the volume of firetrucks/firemen melted my heart. My face becomes a puddle, my chest morphing to sobs. Being human, at its heart, should be to care for others. For our hearts to literally break along side a strangers because pain is pain. This is compassion, and compassion is derived from PASSION. Shouldn’t we act on our compassion passionately? When did we forget that the absence of compassion is indifference?

I asked myself Sunday why it has taken me so many years to realize these things.

A woman’s world exploded within that witnessed anguished scream, and those words are haunting me. Can we help the anguished ones? Can we love the world into a less hurting place? Is that unrealistic? I mean, certainly remaining indifferent to the aching for me-centric stresses doesn’t seem like a solution…

here’s the scoop, and why it’s taking so incredibly LONG…

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Every person has a unique story. For a long time now, due to our passion for helping marriages as well as families who have struggled through infertility, Chw and I have been asked/encouraged to do a Podcast. When the topic came up pretty seriously, this past spring, the two of us were heavily entrenched in drama with our youngest (who is 15) and laughed off the guidance with “yeah, we are the LAST people anyone wants to hear about this stuff from.” Our supporters came back a few days later with, “so, we talked to so-and-so, and this-other-person and some-people-over-here and it was unanimous that your candidness and heart coupled with how raw you are about your journey is exactly why you are who people WANT to hear from.”

We thought about it, some. We prayed about it. Meanwhile, oddly, another friend began a podcast (completely unrelated) and the more we listened the less overwhelming of an idea it seemed to be.Still, the teenage rage filled wars waged on at home and so we decided we’d set a launch date of July 15. This gave us a few weeks to get our heads on straight and our daughter would be visiting friends. It seemed great.

But then, Chw got sick the week Gen left. And then just as he began to get well, I lost my voice and this turned into pneumonia. Before I could speak without sounding like a crazy 76-year-old smoker, it was a week into August. We set a new launch date and wouldn’t you know it, Chw’s company sent him out-of-town on business, two weeks in a row. All hell sort of re-erupted with Gen forcing us to put everything on hold and then this wild and crazy scheme to start taking steps towards A.) moving and B.) bringing my mother (from New Mexico) to live with us, just sort of snow balled…

It’s been nuts, you guys. Seriously not a second’s peace since mid June. Before that, I’d guess last fall, maybe?

We are so excited though because it’s going to be funny, and real, relevant, honest and hopefully something useful to someone somewhere… In the meantime… I need your help!

1.)Do you have any questions you’d like to ask about marriage, reconciling from divorce, our story, infertility, adoption, Reactive Attachment Disorder, etc? We’ve already received some great ones on our Facebook Page. If you have questions please message us there, or email me at rainydayinmay(at)gmail(dot)com, subject Podcast.

2.) Like our FB page, if you haven’t already, and spread the word!

3.) Do you know someone who might make a great guest on our show? (we can skype them in, no need to travel!)

Best laid plans, right? We’ll get there… Wish us luck! (and health, and peace!)

Nearer my heart…

unnamedFor quite awhile, my youngest was obsessed with Paris. When she turned twelve we naturally had a Parisian themed birthday party complete with French movies, a fashion show and crepes for breakfast. While I think visiting Paris would be lovely, someday, I never shared her obsession or wonder over the fantasy of what she believed Paris was. Her Parisian focus certainly did not come from me, but we homeschooled at the time and I think our lives (as such) blurred the lines between where Gen ended and I began in areas. Many of my friends assumed I loved Paris, and Gen simply mimicked me.

For one of my birthdays, amidst of France phase, my friend gave me a french coin inscribed with a phrase, (in French), a turned into a pendant and put on a chain. The inscription read “The joy of life.” It was very unique and I loved it simply because I love my friend, though honestly the French aspect meant nothing to me. Then, last year when we moved to Michigan, I lost it. I hadn’t realized consciously that I wore the necklace every day until I was forced to go a day without wearing it. I felt vulnerable and unprepared. One day, some months later, it mysteriously appeared in my night stand drawer. While that’s a whole other set of stories for another time, I can honestly say I’d never been so happy to see a piece of jewelry in all my life.

I deeply missed my friend.

It felt like home…

I took the necklace off, in Chicago, to put on something a little more fancy for a small date with my husband. Since that day, those weeks ago, I’ve made the knowing decision every morning NOT to put it back on. It felt to big, somehow. Like choosing to wear The joy of Life around my neck was simply more than I could take on in that moment.

Last night Chw and I had dinner with dear friends whom we hadn’t seen in years and years. They have walked the parenting road we walk now, and it hasn’t gone lovely for them. While they understand how hopeless and insurmountable life, right now, truly seems/feels, just talking with someone else who gets it was reassuring. I can honestly say, in all my life, I have never felt more alone. There are several ugly, regret filled conversations that have filled our lips these past weeks/months, but there is no room to dwell on such things. Instead we must stand up, brush ourselves off and move forward. The Joy of Life. I don’t know how to have it today, but I do know I’m in charge of choosing it.

This morning my husband flew across the country for work and I got up, got dressed, washed my face, walked my dogs and then came inside and put on my necklace.

The Joy of Life.

I will have to remind myself with every tear fall, with ever ice pick twinge to the head, with every second that reality crashes around me… but even in the seconds when I forget that I do have some choices and that joy is one of them, the reminded will be there whispering its French inscription to my heart. Not only tying me to such a truth, but to my beautiful friend and a time when motherhood wasn’t so overwhelmingly dark.

Touching base…

Wednesday morning I met a new friend and we chatted and cried. I sipped tea and felt the heavy water-weight of this life that I’m very much drowning in. I don’t have any answers and I’m living a life right now that needs about seven hundred of them, yesterday. Post our tea and tear session, I had to drive through some back country roads. Tears turned to sobs and vision blurred as curves were hugged. Music quiet on the radio became background nonsense as I was lost in the wave of complete brokenness. I wondered how I would (or could) even live beyond that day.

And then a song came on from several years ago. The song itself didn’t signify anything but in the back of my mind a voice said “I really love his voice, I’ve always loved his voice.” He would be Gavin DeGraw. Did that make the world all better? No. But that tiny second of something else was enough for me to grab tight and hold on.

I’m really excited to be promoting Dolphin Tale 2 because the first film was such a special, special story. I was asked to share this video with you and well, when I first previewed it and saw it was by Gavin DeGraw, I couldn’t help but feel a boost. And naturally, the words are amazingly fitting for life right now and the video is exceptional! It makes me even more excited for this movie! So go check it out, and then tell me what you think… tell me how you get through the hardest/darkest times or just say hi (really, I need the “hi!” right now…) and I’ll choose a winner Sunday to receive a download of this song!

Have an amazing weekend, you guys!