Sunday, March 2, 2014

I'm too sick for this guilt trip...

This morning as I dragged myself out of bed at 9:30, after a long night full of sneezing, coughing, sore throat, maybe a bit of whining, achy muscles and a mild fever, I entered my family room to see two of my kids arguing.  I stopped briefly with my whisper of a voice and told them I didn't feel well enough to deal with who had the remote control to the TV.  Never mind the fact that all four of my kids were lounging on the couches.  Later that morning when I reappeared, Mikenzie was cooking chicken, at 10:30 in the morning??  I didn't really care, I just wanted Tylenol, Ibuprofen and some cough drops to go with my Kleenex and misery.

As I laid back down in bed I pictured of one of the "perfect sisters" in my ward who most likely had her home humming with happy, well groomed children completing their chore charts with smiles on their faces, all while primary music was playing in the background ( and I can almost guarantee you, that this was in fact happening and it is just not an exaggeration-- they truly exist ).  I laid in bed for a few minutes before I drifted off into yet another restless nap to help me overcome whatever illness I am battling and  thought " I am really NOT the best mom, my kids should be working, cleaning, practicing piano... wait... I'm too sick for this guilt trip... " and into dream land I traveled.  

Later today, when I finally arose with  my ears ringing and throbbing from what I am assuming is a double ear infection ( aren't 42 year olds too old for that ? ), hacking all the way to the bathroom and finally out the bedroom door, I found... no... not a immaculate home filled with sunshine...  but I did find that maybe I am not the worst mom either.

Mikenzie had readied herself for her job, which she had acquired on her own at 15.  One check in the good mom box. I have raised an independent, hard working child. 

 Kyle had taken her to work so I could rest.  One more, no two more check's in the good mom box.  #1, I have a kind son who had concern for his mom and was #2, responsible enough to take his sister to work.  Hmmm, not sooo bad I guess.

I then found Baylie, cleaning the kitchen.  Only half a check in the good mom box, as she had ulterior motives for the cleaning.  It is National Share A Smile Day and she was baking a cake in the form of a big smiley face.  Not sure who gets a check in their box for that one, me for raising such a sweet little girl, or Heavenly Father for sending her to me.  He must  think I can do something right, so half a check to even it out to four checks.  She had to hurry, as she was helping with hair and make-up in the school play.  Voluntarism! Another check!

And then we have Brandon, who was arguing earlier with Baylie over the remote.  He was off playing in a basketball game.  Another check for keeping my children well rounded and physically fit? Kyle was there watching, supporting his brother.  James was able to go as well.  Maybe another check for all that? 

Later today, Kyle suited up and went to work as well. Another check in my good mom column.  He is a hard working kid, he just doesn't enjoy it as  much.  I think he would rather be here at any given moment on any given day : 

So, a grand total of 7 checks in the good mom box for the day.  I guess I can take that with a good pat on my own back.  I think I can honestly say have raised some pretty decent kiddos.  And I am NOT going to be a dutiful accountant at the end of today, subtracting from my good mom column the many things that I am sure I did wrong, wrong, wrong... nope, I'm just too sick for that guilt trip today.

Be Grateful!

Finally Blogging Again

Boy has it been a long time since I last wrote a little something on this blog.  I have been thinking about it for months, but I just never seem to have the get up and go enough to get it done.  As I reviewed my quiet little blog tonight, I realized what a treasure it is to reflect on over the past few years.  Little memories that may have slipped by if I had not taken a minute to write them down.

Life has not been kind to us in many ways over the past six-nine months.  It has been a long difficult winter in more ways than the cold temperatures and extra snow we have received this year.  We have had job loss, funerals, children with medical issues, one son leaving for a mission, another one leaving for BYU.  It has been a busy time in life.

A year ago today, James sold  his private practice to move towards a more lucrative career opportunity.  Things were going swimmingly well and everyone was happy.  James was actually working less, I was at home and NOT working in the office.  The pay was unbelievable, we almost  had to pinch ourselves at our good fortune every time a pay check was deposited.  We had plans, big plans for being totally debt free in 5-7 years time.  Life was great.  Kids were growing and we were moving right along.   The kids had a phenomenal summer, with a lot of travel and fun.

On August 21st we sent our first missionary off to the MTC in Provo.  We were thrilled to be able to fund his mission and were (are) so very proud of him.  There had been a few rocky spots along the way.  A little tension surrounding the elephant in the room, as Jeremy should have been missionary #2, not #1.  He shared with me the awkwardness of it all and I reassured him he should never be ashamed of making correct choices.  I was blessed to attend the temple with him a few times before he left and those were cherished moments.  My little boy was all grown up.

So, we outfitted him and sent him on  his way after a wonderful farewell and open house.  My Dad was able to help in setting him apart as a missionary, which I would have never dreamed of in a million years when I was a teenager.  It is amazing how much we all grow over time.

So, we were cruising right along until August 28th when James called me to tell me he had bad news.  Well, to be honest, he always has bad news.  He went on to tell me the company he was working for, the one with the fabulous salary, was closed effective immediately and he was no longer employed.  Surprisingly, both of us felt calm, and have continued to feel calm through out the entire ordeal.  But reality quickly set in.

It has not been pleasant financially.  It took James over a month to find another job.  And it pays much less than what we had been enjoying.  Even less than his office produced, and that was always a struggle.  He now has a second job to supplement, but it requires a lot of travel and a lot of  hours.  No one is too happy about that.  And, we are in a very deep hole financially due to the months of being underpaid.

But, we have learned a lot as we have reflected on all that we have been through.  A lot of self-examination takes place when you are on the brink of losing it all.  And now, it is time for us to rebuild. So many blessings have come into our life along the way, not in the form of our choosing, like another high paying job, but many blessings.  Friends and family offering to help pay for Jeremy's mission while we are getting back on our feet.  An escrow refund check arriving the very week we needed a big chunk of change to pay for malpractice, kind gestures and yes, even a big dose of humility along the way.  Many blessings indeed.

As we were pushing through the fear job loss brings, Brandon had surgery.  Kyle happened to break his ankle the same night I was staying in the hospital with Brandon, which was the same night James was in Michigan being trained for his new job. of those days.

I was heavily involved with multiple ward parties and Christmas giving throughout this time and I kept saying " If I can just get through Christmas... things will slow down and I can relax"

The highlight of our Christmas of course was talking to Elder Teela via Skype.  We spent almost two hours talking to the happiest missionary on the planet.  It was wonderful seeing him so very content and just HAPPY.

I called my mom after our family call to let her know we had spoken to Jeremy.  She was thrilled for us.  And then, she told me my sweet Grandma wasn't doing too well.  That she had stopped eating and was sleeping 24 hours a day.  She didn't have a lot of time left.

I scoured the internet for a not so cheap ticket to fly to Utah.  Buying a plane ticket last minute during Christmas season is not an inexpensive task.  I found a reasonably priced ticket and flew out on the 27th.  Praying the whole time I would be able to go say goodbye to a wonderful lady who meant so much to me.  When I landed at 10:30 p.m., she was still hanging on.  I prayed all night we wouldn't get "the call" and woke up feeling anxious to get to Levan to see her.  At 8:00 that morning, just after breakfast, my aunt called to let us know Grandma had passed away at 11:30 the night before.  She wanted to let us have a good nights sleep.  I missed her by just a few hours, but was grateful she was in a much better place, where she could walk again, use her quick wit to make others smile again and to be with more family and friends than she has left on this side of the veil.

We had a wonderful celebration of her life on January 4, 2014.  Grandma brought so much joy into so many lives.  It was a great family reunion, as my mom said " Well, it's too bad Mother passed away, she would have loved to hear who came to her funeral"  And she would have, she loved family and friends more than anything.

So, it truly has been a long winter.  A lot of cold and dark nights.  Worry and sadness for one child, not to be outdone by worry for another child and concern for another.  Many nights spent praying, worrying, crying, and praying some more about the temporal and tedious, but necessary thing, called money.  

 But with it, many bright, sunny days as well.  I have wonderful children who make me smile and cry and make me want to pull my hair out, and then laugh again...all within a 10 minute time frame.  I have a husband who will work as long and as hard as he has to for his family.   I have been so wonderfully blessed with a good life, not an easy one, but a good life.  So... we are on a bit of a detour.  We might as well enjoy the scenery of the enormous mountain ahead of us, there is more joy in the journey that way.

Be Grateful