Wednesday, September 25, 2013

She's Finally Home

Mimi finally got to go home and be with Jesus early this morning.  It's been a long time coming, and something she's yearned for asked about often.  Today, we're celebrating her life and what a pillar of strength, faith, and beauty she's been to our family.  I keep imagining what she must've been seeing as she met her King face-to-face.  I read this old blog entry over today and remembered a couple summers ago when we stayed with her over the weekend.  I remembered her asking over and over, "When can I go home?" Today...she's home...and I couldn't be happier for her.    

This weekend, my in-laws went out of town. Gary's mother has Alzheimer's and has been living with them for the last six months. Yesterday was my Mother-in-law's birthday and Gary wanted to take her away for a couple days to go fishing and relax. We have had the joy of spending the last two days caring for Mimi. I say joy because in these last twelve hours I've reflected on what's really important in life. I've been watching her: sit in her favorite chair and pick at her nails, and drift into and out of her own little world. Every now and then she comes back to us and carries on a conversation. Even though she repeats the same things over and over, I never grow tired of hearing stories of her childhood. Stories of living on a farm in Calvin, Oklahoma. She is a hard worker and has led quite a life. The wrinkles in her face seem to tell her story. She's a stubborn woman...stubborn in a good way. She's having a hard time letting go of her independence even though she seems to know she's not quite capable of keeping it up anymore. One thing seems to make her happy and that's the boys. Whenever they are around, she smiles and laughs and tells them what good boys they are. She doesn't seem bothered by their orneriness. She'll smile and say, "That's what little boys are supposed to do."

I worked in an Alzheimer's unit at a nursing home in college. I was a Nurses Assistant and the Activities Director. This disease has baffled me for quite some time. It's heart-wrenching to see someone revert back to child-like tendencies, to wander around aimlessly wondering what to do with themselves. Last night, she must've asked us where Gary and Gloria were four times. She seemed to get a glimmer in her eye when she asked, "So, I'm here alone this evening?" I had to explain to her that Jon and I were spending the night here too so she wasn't quite alone. Her face dropped and she closed her eyes. "I can stay by myself. I'll be just fine. So, you now have the burden of babysitting me, do you?"

"No, Mimi...we have the joy of spending time with you. You are NOT a burden." I put my hand on top of hers and her chin started to quiver. "I don't want to be a burden." My heart breaks for her. I'm holding back tears as we discuss how she just wants to go home. She tells me that she wants to go to her house and sit in her spot on her couch and be alone with her things. There's something comforting to us about "home". We learn this early in our lives that it's a place of solace, peace, a place where you feel at ease. I want her to be at ease.

We continue to talk a while and finally around 7:30, she tells me she's headed to bed. This morning she seems refreshed and ready to start over again. I know the same questions will happen today just as they did yesterday.

It made me think how this earth is not our home. Our home is with our Heavenly Father. It makes me long for Heaven. So, today I'm thankful for simple things. I'm thankful for health, for my independence, for a roof over my head. I'm thankful for my children and the innocence and joy that only children can bring. I'm thankful for being able to pick veggies out of the garden this morning and the sun that beats down on my back. I'm thankful for the cool relief from the swimming pool. I'm thankful for my mid-afternoon nap that I'll take. I'm thankful for my dog to keep me company. I'm thankful for good memories I have. I'm thankful for Mimi. I'm thankful for what joy she has brought to our family and lessons that she still teaches me today...whether she realizes it or not. Her worth is invaluable to me.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

It's Been A Long Time

It's been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, time...since my last blog post, I mean.
I've been thinking about it for months now.  I've been wishing I had more time, telling myself that I'll do it tonight instead of watching TV, or doing laundry.  Having that third child has rocked my world.  Rocked. My. World.  Bravo, to all you moms who juggle four, five, six, etc.  I bow before you, like Wayne and Garth, and say..."We're not worthy, We're not worthy, We're not worthy, We suck!" (Only us kids who grew up in the 80's/90's will get that one).
Anyway, about 11 months ago, I "grounded" myself from blogging.  I did this because I simply cannot do everything.  CAN-NOT.  I am NOT every woman.  It's NOT all in me.  Anything, you want done, baby.  I do NOT do it, naturally. (Again, I'm dating myself).  Anyway, it's been a struggle for me.  I can't juggle it all-kids, laundry, carpooling, cleaning house, grocery shopping, meal-planning, breast-feeding, cooking, organizer, home-renovator,....there's summer Pinterest activities with the kids during the day, 'sex-kitten' to my husband at night (Sorry, dad), bible study, working the church nursery every Sunday morning, making a meal for the person who recently had a baby...or a surgery...or moved.  At the end of the day, I felt like a failure.  I had good intentions, but I'm only one person, and at some point, I've got to make myself believe that Martha Stewart has an entire entourage of staff who clean her house, and create that amazing garden, and label everything with a label-maker, get the permanent marker stain off her favorite shirt using only "green and organic" solutions that she makes herself, polish silverware, do yoga and "juice",  cooks the best roasted leg of lamb, and hand makes origami place cards for the Thanksgiving table.
I couldn't keep up with it all, and something had to naturally, I punished myself and took away the two things I enjoy most: working out, and writing. Okay, maybe not the the working out.  I mean, I didn't take it in,...I don't...workout, that is.  I haven't since 2011, maybe 2010, I can't remember, and that's the honest truth.  But, I sacrificed the thing I did for me.  Blogging became something that I told myself I could make time for again, when I got the swing of balancing things better.
But...over these last few months, you know what?  I haven't really made any drastic improvements in managing it well.  It's still a struggle for me...and, that feels like death to a "Type-A" personality, but I really don't see things getting easier any time soon.  My life is not going to slow down in the near future.  Actually, until the boys go off to college, it's only going to get crazier, and more stressful, and more balls will be thrown at me to juggle (That sounds dirty... sorry, I live with four guys, and a male dog.  Naturally, there's a lot of "ball" humor at my house.)
So, I've decided, that once again, my idea of a "good" mother/wife, will have to change.  It will have to include something for me.  I don't want my children to one day leave my nest, and find myself wondering, "Who am I? Who are you, Steph? What are you about? What are your dreams and ambitions? What do you enjoy?"
So, since I've added blogging back onto my list of what's important, I guess something I'll have to sacrifice something perfection.