More Than a Mom · Thoughts

When Did I become a Loser?

I’ve never been one of those majorly popular girls but I did get chosen for the Homecoming Junior class princess in High School. I had a few really awesome close friends and a large group of kids I felt were good acquaintances back then. Once I got married I made friends pretty easily at church, with my children’s parents and with those I met at school functions. I’ve never really suffered from terribly low self-esteem even though I know my limitations, both physically and socially. At least until my two youngest girls became young adults.

What is up with the whole eye-rolling thing anyway? Why is it that anything I say now is either socially inept, boring, or only marginally factual? At what point did I get foot-in-mouth and OMG-Mom disease without knowing I even had the symptoms? Is it contagious? Did I get it from my own mother? Will it ever go away? Does it have any direct relation to my sudden realization that I’m suddenly gross sexually, can’t be trusted with secrets and can’t pull off anything that remotely hints at cleavage anymore?

I’m not in the least bit concerned that my own mom says things like “that’s cool” as she hits 78 but I remember being slightly embarrassed by it when she was 38 so I’m assuming this is their problem and not mine. Still I do find myself teary after a tongue-lashing of “Puh…leazzz…mom” and “Do you always have to talk for me?” (I talk for everyone, why should they be any different?) I try to chalk it up to peri-menopause but it’s really just a realization that I’m that loser mom that all teens create at some point in their lives.
The younger of these two girls turns 22 soon. Thank God my oldest is now 37. She’s no longer seeing me this way (as often) and is experiencing her own grief-stricken rejection as she kisses her boys in public. I wonder how my mother ever put up with us growing up.

Recently I bemoaned the fact to my mother that I couldn’t believe I had a child who was 37. She said, “You know what’s worse than having a daughter that’s 37?”
“No, Mom. What?”
“…Being the mother of a daughter who has a child that’s 37.”

Got me there.

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Pain and Promises

We call 2014 – The Year of Pain.  It is also the year we decided to be baptized. Isn’t everything supposed to be glorious when you decide to come back to God? I never expected death and devastation, trauma and pain to be a part of my pathway back. Yet there it was overwhelming me with pain and promising everything in return.

We started attending in December 2012. By December of the next year we were ready to move toward solidifying our relationship with God within a church community.  We had been attending regularly and had just joined a small group that I was asked to lead.  It was a privilege and an honor to be asked but we were told that since it was a couple’s group we were both required to be baptized and my husband had not been at an age of understanding.  We were ready for this and looked forward to it. Then the year changed to 2014 and the world began collapsing.

In January one of my daughters, then 22, had to be hospitalized for something that can only be explained as a nervous breakdown. In February my sister, only 48 years old (two years younger than I am), passed away unexpectedly. In March our 23 year old son (my step-son), a recovering addict, began stealing and pawning valuables from our home and cashing thousands of dollars on our stolen checks. Our business took a nosedive and it was then I began grappling with depression.

My husband began to be absorbed by his son’s day-to-day life and that took it’s toll on us.  In April we started writing our baptism script; the words that tell those baptizing you that you understand what you are doing and for what reason. I realized then that I was not completely over my frustrations with Christianity. It may have been due to the bouts of depression. As my husband finished his script I began arguing with someone about my own. By May I had decided to wait to be baptized, thus causing my husband to pull back, and we turned over the small group to someone else. Probably a wise decision in retrospect.

Holidays were horrible that year.  Each one more uncomfortable than the last. On Fathers Day our son nodded off in addiction, in the middle of his dinner plate and I watched my husband go pale. This was destroying the family.  I was in a major confusion funk. I doubted my life purpose, my ability to be a good parent, a solid wife, a practicing Christian, and an inspired business owner. I was expected to help others suffering with horrible life-choices but all I could see were the ones in my own home now.

My oldest son decided to marry his sweetheart that month.  They lived on the other side of the states from us so travel would not be easy. The truth is I couldn’t do it; financially or emotionally.  I thought my oldest son, always so understanding, and his fiance would understand.  They did not. My son took it as a sign that I didn’t approve of his decision and they became bitter.

In July my step-son finally entered rehab but quickly came home when he was able.  Much too quickly.  He started up again almost immediately. At that point I wasn’t sure how much more the marriage could take either. In September he asked to spend the night.  The next morning we found him on the bathroom floor. After performing CPR, following him to the hospital and sitting with him for 2 days he passed away and my depression became full blown.

All I could wonder is if people younger than me could die what in the world was the use of the rest of my life? Then I began to doubt how much of it I had left and determined there wasn’t enough time to care about anything anymore. My husband, dealing with his own sorrow and grief, struggled for normalcy. Our business, which had started to thrive, suddenly became difficult to keep up with. We were both exhausted, both trying to recover, and we both began making dumb mistakes and bad decisions.

I was not emotionally ready for either the news in October that ISIS was killing children or that I had a long-lost brother who insisted on getting to know me.  It was a tight-rope every day. Breaking up dog fights between our huge German Shepherd and our son’s Pitt-Bull was also not an event we needed.

Needless to say, ending the year with the holidays, minus two very important people you love, has got to be the hardest way to say goodbye to the most difficult year of our lives.  It felt like all the promises had been forgotten and only pain remained.

And yet, reviewing this horrible year I noted a very important thing; God had not forgotten us.

If it were not for the small group we joined, regardless of the direction it took, we would not have had the support we needed through the most turbulent year anyone could imagine.  With our son’s tragedy came clarity in dealing with clients we could never have otherwise understood. His death unexpectedly brought our family closer too. We began to hold tightly to those things we appreciated about each other and to be more patient with the grief of loss we recognized.

And what about my questions and frustrations with Christianity? I am convinced that it was a very necessary part of my own personal growth. I believe if I had not been dealing with so many other things I might have glossed over this discomfort and pain and missed the very things that would bring me comfort and strengthen my faith at the end of that year.

God is good even when life is bad and He has a plan.  Always easier to see in retrospect, we must learn to focus our eyes on the Father rather than on the events and people around us. We must first have faith that He can do all things, and then we must believe that he will do what is best for us.

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Are You a Mom or a Club Sandwich?

Motherhood can cause either dread or anticipation and sometimes both at once. It is all-consuming, for sure. Your brain knows this truth but I’ll say it anyway, being a mom doesn’t end when your children turn eighteen.

 

My children are between the ages of 21 and 36 as I write this and I am still the one flying to see them, helping with college expenses, and sometimes feeding them when the paycheck doesn’t stretch far enough.  My grandchildren are between the ages of 1 and 14 now but live in another state and my own parents are still alive but not able to travel so I’m still flying and checking in there also.

Sandwich Generation

I am now part of the “Sandwich Generation” and more specifically, a Club Sandwich. But even if we’ve felt the pinch of living between the slices and are just bone weary, it is warming, in a way, to know you are dedicated to your family in all it’s forms.


What’s the Sandwich Generation?
The Sandwich Generation is people (usually in their 30s or 40s) who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.
Traditional: those sandwiched between aging parents who need care and/or help and their own children.
Club Sandwich: those in their 50s or 60s sandwiched between aging parents, adult children and grandchildren, or those in their 30s and 40s, with young children, aging parents and grandparents.
Open Faced: anyone else involved in elder care.
–Wikipedia.com

We are all parents, at some stage of life, who teeter-totter through life. We want to be patient but also can’t wait to see our children grow up to become amazing adult contributors to society. We wistfully dream of where we want to go and what we want to do when we are not as necessary to everyone’s world so we can concentrate on our own.

So, as we barely have enough time to catch our breath between babies and the day our parents become the focus of our worry, we reach out.  We take care of our families willingly and lovingly because we care so much but we become tired, discouraged and sometimes depressed. But we feel you! You are welcome here!!! We can all come here for support. Other moms; sisters of substance and full of experiences.

Whether you are a young mom or are part of the Sandwich Generation I hope you will find many ways to engage, find friends, learn new things that apply to all moms, and generally feel at home in your corner of the world. Thank you for spending time here!

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