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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Much Needed Break

I need to write, it is something my soul craves and when I don't, I feel off. Usually I only write in the mornings, the calm house before everyone wakes calms me as I put something on paper. I've been working on our renewal of vows details almost constantly and I just needed a break. Mark and I are having a ceremony next Saturday, August 2nd to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary. It isn't like we are going all out, but any large gathering takes much planning and work. The ceremony means much to me and there are many details to iron out. Mark's family is musically gifted beyond words. They will share their talents with us and the guests, but the Bradley's tend to be procrastinators and getting them to give me details has proven difficult, my Mark included. There is food to be made, flowers to be gathered, projects to be made. There are lights hung in my yard and I've bought candles for the evening. I've shopped for clothes for my "five" family for at least triple the hours than I spent looking for my dress. Spending far more money on my eleven year olds dress than my own. If you don't know me, I HATE shopping! The lists are endless and my sleep is little as I fear I will forget one more detail I suddenly remember in the middle of the night! I wrote my vows and I believe those are done. They came to me quickly like God Himself was guiding my hands on the keyboard. I keep telling myself that it will be ok, that if I forget something or there isn't enough food or drink, stores and pizza shops aren't that far. With my being Celiac, I was hoping to keep the food safe for me, but pizza is a good option if our guests are hungry. So, this was my break to clear my thoughts a little and hopefully let go of the stress I seem to be carrying today... In the end it is about Mark & I and the deep love we share, the rest is just icing on the cake! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Part of Me Missing

I woke early, knowing Teale is not in her bed. It's a strange feeing not having her here. I can't quite put my finger on it, but it never feels quite right. The quiet of the house can be eery, the strangeness of part of my heart missing is the only way to describe it. I yearn for the quiet, the peace, the calm, yet when I get it, it's like my body is no longer whole and my soul is lost without the job of being Teale's Mom. I woke and immediately started thinking about her and the camp she is at, wondering if she slept ok, if she was too hot, if she brushed her teeth before bed? The peace in the house is so different from life with Teale. My post traumatic stress disorder is not amped up. I'm not on edge wondering what my day will be, because I can predict it and enjoy it how I want to. There will be no glitches, I will not be Teale's puppet on a string. But, I miss her, I miss the energy she brings to my life. I miss hearing her laughter, because no one laughs like Teale, with the complete joy that her laugh holds. Life before Teale WAS so much easier. We were so much more organized and able to do the things we wanted, but what she has brought to our life can not be replaced. Teale brought us unmeasurable love and strength. She taught me perseverance and determination. Teale may have taken away parts of my life I miss, like the ease and joy of traveling, but she brought me much more than she took. I am a whole person because she is in my life, I am embraced by more people and supported by more love. So as I enjoy this week "off" from being Teale's Mom, I also want to thank her for teaching me to appreciate life so much more than I ever did before knowing her. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Standing Joke

Who else would take us? Who else would step into this life we live and embrace it? It's really just an inside joke between Mark and I, but it has some truth too. We work hard at keeping our friendship and love strong, not only because we both see that as a priority, but also because neither of us would want to start over with new problems to work through. Thankfully, we both are strong believers in "the grass in not greener on the other side of the fence." Where we may have jealousy because someone seems better off than us, we both know that things are not always as they seem. People who are financially more stable than us may have that, but do they have a marriage as easy and loving as ours is? We expected to be in a much better place by now in our life. We expected that working hard and doing the right things for ourselves and our family would somehow make it all work out. That, in many ways has been the truth. We have made devastating financial decisions for the good of our kids and our mental wellbeing. Things like closing the daycare and my staying home to be with our children, Mark's going back to college and working outside the home, these decisions have not had a positive impact on our financial security. But we continue to enjoy each other's friendship and company because we have chosen to except that "it's only money" and we have much more than that. So the joke between us is that we must work at us, because no one else in their right mind would want either of us and the burdens we both carry. To quote the Beatles ~ "Money can't buy me love." 

Love, Laugh, Live

When that saying came out, I saw it as very Mark and I. We love much, we laugh much and we live much. Our journey to today has not been paved with gold. We have struggled and we have hurt. Our imaginations could not have made up the things we have lived together, the joy and the pain. Mark and I have been alone in this often. We share much with our friends and family, but even with how open we are, I do not believe anyone can understand the sorrow and the love we have experienced. Our faith is strong, we both have ever evolving beliefs in our God and where we are going in this life of faith. I have personally gone through stages of extreme comfort in knowing there is a God who loves me and is looking out for me, to the complete opposite extreme of feeling completely alone and lost in the crisis of the moment. There have been times when our daughter has gone through extreme mental or medical crisis and my faith was lost. After all, what God would allow a child to suffer like she has? And why Mark and I? Many times I have wondered what pushed us through those crises, how did we survive on very little sleep and even more significantly, very little joy? How did we not turn on each other during those times of pain? I also believe we have witnessed miracles, not just one, but many. From the moment Teale was brought back to life in that operating room after her traumatic birth, she has molded and changed us and our lives. She has been our inspiration and she has kept us going. Teale has made Mark and I stronger, not only in ourselves, but in our faith and in our marriage. We have fought hard to Love, Laugh &  Live.

Thoughts Keeping Me Awake

We are just weeks away from our Wedding renewal of vows ceremony and celebration. Details are slowly coming together, but I find my head constantly spins. There is always something I need to do, a detail I want to get done, a thought I want to write down before I lose it to the other crowded thoughts floating in my head. Tonight was no different. Mark was in bed all day yesterday with flu like symptoms and I woke around 2:30am with a headache myself. I got him some Motrin and Tylenol, popped a few myself but then could not fall back asleep. My head was awake and details were filling it up. I need flowers for the church, we haven't connected with all the people we want to help us with music, am I getting the illness Mark has, how will I pack Teale for her overnight camp if I am? I finally gave up and made a cup of tea, and am sitting at my computer with a list, my thoughts and a hope this headache goes away...

One of the biggest tasks I still have to do is to write my vows. I've had many thoughts on this and haven't settled on any, so I thought I would write a few different things and see what comes of it.

Our marriage started out when I was just twenty two and Mark was twenty four. We had not been dating long when we decided to wed. It was a fast courtship that has turned into a life of deep love. My friends have called us soul mates, a term overly used these days, but I think for us, it fits. There was a comfort in our relationship from the very begining. It was evident to those we knew that Mark and I just clicked. We share many of the same values and wants from life, we respect each other and there is a deep admiration too. From the beginning I have felt like we lived another time together. I'm not sure what I believe when it comes to these thoughts, but I have vague memories of something long ago that makes me wonder if this is not our first go at life together. I have a deep fear of cold and drowning in cold water. There is a repeated dream that Mark has had over the years of drowning in a cold river. The two things somehow seem significant and make me wonder if we are here together again for a reason? I believe in a God and a Heaven, but I also am open to the idea of being on earth to learn lessons your soul needs to learn before your soul can reach enlightenment. Have we lived other lives together and this is our final journey? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Blogging and Walking

If I want to get in my "steps" I must give up much else. I have found it difficult to both blog and get in the steps I had committed too when I bought a FitBit. I succeed at one thing, failing another. My energy has wained on walking because the results were not showing. I started at the end of February, pushing to get 15000 steps a day. By the end of May, still no real results, as in no weight loss! I was still walking and trying, but now I'm just stuck, not trying & frustrated.
Why is it so easy to put on weight and so difficult to take it off? Blogging was killing my progress, so I basically stopped. The sitting to type my innermost thoughts meant just that, I was sitting! The funny thing is, if I don't get out my feelings in writing, they are often bottled up inside me. I say much and am considered an open book by many, but if you only knew what I don't say...
So here it is, three months of walking six and a half miles practically every day and I have nothing to show for it! NOTHING! Not a pound down, not a pant size down, not one compliment on my looking fitter, not a boost in self esteem because I felt better about my looks.
So what is next? Do I give up and hate myself more? Do I push through and focus on the fact that I did feel better?
I'm not sure, but I know I need to take care of me and that I have been notoriously bad at that. I am a care giver and the care of others always seems to come ahead of my own care. I need to cut myself some slack and not expect changes to happen instantly.
I need to blog because blogging clears my mind of the frustrations, fears, worries and stress I often feel. Many may think I am making excuses. They may think it's not that difficult to use self control and lose weight. I know I have also judged people who are morbidly obese and wondered how they got that bad? But then I take a step back and look at my own life. The stresses, the health issues I have faced, from Celiac Disease and being hyperthyroid to having severe Seasonal Affective Disorder my whole life. The losses and the stress we have faced as a family are too many to name. I also look at my daughters. Teale is on many medications that cause weight gain, her mobility is an issue. She is often alone or with just family and doesn't choose to be very active anymore. Her activities are very sedentary and she eats much out of boredom mostly. Gwenn lives with the stresses of life with Teale too. We all struggle in different ways. I tend to reach for sweets and fast energy foods. I don't eat breakfast or even lunch often, but then am starved by late afternoon. That is the thing about being healthy, you often know what you do wrong but struggle to change it! So here I sit pouring out my soul and just hoping I HEAR IT!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Holidays Aren't Perfect

It wasn't perfect, it wasn't the Easter I envisioned as a young Mom. Back then I would picture the idilic Easter I would throw for my family. In my dreams, the kids would wake and happily look for their baskets and then easily get dressed in their new Easter clothes. Off to church we would go as a happy family and come home spiritually lifted. It would be a beautiful Spring day, extended family would arrive and we would share a lovely meal. Mark and I would hide Easter eggs and the kids would have fun searching for them.
Our day wasn't quite like that, but it was good, there were memories made and it was real. Holidays are like life, just shortened into one day and the expectations for that one day are high. We are supposed to make it the perfect day, but the reality is, holidays are never flawless. I think we just forget the flaws as we age. We remember the good parts of our childhood and holidays done by our own parents seem better in our memories. Life was easier back when I was young. Times were tough, my Mom being a divorced parent, my expectations were pretty simple. I didn't expect a big Easter gift, a basket of chocolate and a few fun things was plenty. I remember the years a neighbor somehow arranged Easter eggs being dropped into our yards by a single engine plane flying overhead. I remember chocolate bunnies that took forever to finish eating. There were hams that tasted perfect while we sat at the dining room table with Grandparents who told stories of their idyllic childhoods.
This year was special though, mostly because we hosted both Mark and my family for the first time in many years. Holidays are not easy with Teale, so over the years we have tried to simplify them, knocking down the expectations for both her and ourselves. Her expectations were so high we just couldn't meet them. We would have meltdowns on holidays that went into other meltdowns. The whole day often felt like one big Teale rage, with little breaks of happiness. With public places closed, there was often no relief. Getting Teale out of the house used to be our only weapon to calm her. A visit to a favorite place would help her, but those favorite places, like malls, museums, the YMCA, a grocery store, etc. would close on holidays so staff could be home with their own families. This made our day more difficult. I remember one Christmas Mark spent at the stereotypical, bowling ally and Chinese restaurant. Those are two places known to be open on Christmas and Teale was happy there, but miserable at home. Beau, Gwenn and I tried to enjoy the peace while they were out, but my heart ached to be a family of five for that one day. I remember wishing we could just keep her happy at home, playing boardgames by a fire and sipping eggnog while Christmas carols played over the stereo. I was jealous of typical families, I've had the toughest time of any of us letting the dreams of perfect holidays go. I have been sad on many holidays because my dreams of what I thought my family would be, has not been.
So this year when I presented the idea to Mark of a big gathering at our house, I remember the feeling of excitement filling me. I thought out the menu, who would come, what we would do and then I prayed it would go smoothly.
As I said it wasn't perfect. Teale was upset a few times. We had decided that trying to go to church was just too much, for many reasons. A loss I struggle with. We weren't dressed in fancy new Easter clothes. There were many people who were unable to come. The potatoes were forgotten in the oven, until after everyone had basically finished their meal. The flowers never got picked and the candles never got lit to make the table beautiful. There were probably many glitches I was unaware of, but overall, everyone seemed to enjoy the day.
Holidays aren't perfect, but in our memories, we will probably only remember the happy times and the love that was shared.