Thursday, May 25, 2017

Change Is Hard

We have been going through a whole series of changes over the last month. And it is hard.

Allen TY and his cute family have moved to Northern California for an internship over the summer, which will be followed by another internship in another state to finish out the year. I get it, kids move on, it's what we want them to do, and I'm happy for them and their successes and adventures - but do they have to go so far away? It's hard.

Kobe (formerly known as All-a-Boy) has graduated from high school and will be leaving for New Mexico for the summer to work at a scout camp. There is still so much to do and remember before he leaves tomorrow! But I'm letting him enjoy one last morning of sleeping in. Once he returns home at the end of the summer, he will head off to school in Idaho with Julia. That makes 4 kids that have left home. And I guess I'm happy they do that. But still, a bit of my heart leaves with them. It's hard.

Little X graduated from kindergarten, which means he will be in school full-time next year. He's my baby - so now what? I feel like I need to re-define myself. Initially, I thought I would go back to interpreting at least part-time, but there are so many politics involved in that right now that I just can't see myself pursuing it. So what do I do? Find a dream job as an assistant librarian?  Volunteer in my kids' classrooms? I'm still unsure. It's hard.

Hubba moves on to middle school next year. Tomorrow he graduates from the 6th grade. And Little O was accepted into the same accelerated studies program that Curly is in now. Which means they will both be at our neighborhood school, leaving Little X at the school we've been going to for (I think) 8 years. So I have cancelled our school choice and transferred them all back to our neighborhood school. I wasn't expecting all of the emotion that I've been experiencing over that change. I am going to miss that school so much! This could be a post in itself.

I will miss seeing Marci at the crosswalk every morning with a smile and a wave for everyone who drives by. I will miss the wave from Amy as we're crossing paths in dropping our kids off in the morning. I will miss the awesome office staff and nurse who have been so helpful to our family. I will miss the opportunity for Little X to be in the amazing Mrs. Pace's class when he's old enough. I'll miss carpooling with my neighbor, Sarah, who loves my boys and lets them know it. I'm even going to miss being in charge of the Golden Apple award for the PTA. I'll miss seeing my friends Rachel and Natalie at assemblies and activities. I'm going to miss Janett in the library and how fun she makes things there (library time is one of my kids' favorite things about that school). I'm going to miss the music classes that Mrs. Seamons made so fun for them, teaching many of my kids to play the recorder and ukulele as well as songs that are still sung in my house on repeat. Mostly, I will miss the memories being made. It's so hard.

My mom finished her last round of chemo at the end of March. What a relief! She is getting her hair back, slowly, but she is still experiencing some neuropathy in her feet and hands as a side effect. She went in for some routine bloodwork earlier this month and they noticed that her CA125 (test for tumor markers in ovarian cancer) was elevated. So she got a PET scan, which initially we got pretty hopeful news from as far as ovarian cancer goes. They tested her CA125 again, and it was continuing to rise, so the doctor got some more opinions on her PET scan and they think she has a very small nodule of cancer that has returned. Very small = good, right? Not really. Any recurrence of cancer that soon after completing chemo is an indication that the cancer could be aggressive. They still aren't positive that the "nodule" isn't actually scar tissue from surgery, so now we wait for clarification. She'll have a CT scan next month which they will compare to the PET scan and we'll see where we go from there. There are no words for how much I hate cancer and all it has taken from me. This is incredibly hard.

The one thing I have noticed the most in the face of all of this change is that it is a great reminder to me of what is most important. And despite how hard all of this is, I can see the good in all of it.

Allen and Kia are opening up a wider world of opportunities for their family's future as they travel and work in these internships.

Kobe is going to gain some great insight and experience as he lives away from home, which will prepare him in so many ways for his future.

Little X and I are both learning to be more independent as he transitions to a full day of school. And I'm sure it will give me more opportunities to explore, discover and strengthen my talents.

Going to our neighborhood school will help my kids strengthen their friendships in our neighborhood. It will be wonderful for all of my elementary aged kids to be in the same school again.

As for my mom - this has brought us together closer as a family and has given me opportunities to spend more time with her.

(But I still hate cancer. SO. MUCH.)

And all of this has helped me grow closer to God as I recognize that He is ultimately in control.
Be still, and know that I am God. —Psalm 46:10 #scripture #LDS:   

Friday, January 20, 2017

Love Changes Everything

You want to know what I've been thinking about lately? And not just thinking about, but more like poring over and maybe even borderline obsessing on? Love. And its ability to change the world. Not just in big ways, although there is that. I'm talking small, simple things that can happen in my home, and then my community, and then beyond.

Every person on this planet is going through something hard. I don't care who you are. So instead of comparing ourselves to others or lifting ourselves by putting others down, why can't we just all LOVE each other and support each other?

My children are awesome. Every single one of them. They have their struggles and challenges, and so do I. As a mother, nothing hurts me more than seeing my children hurting and pretending like they're not. It tears me apart. I can show love here at home, tell them how amazing and wonderful and smart and kind they are - but when that is not reinforced in the way they are treated by their peers, there is a point when they stop believing me. When I tell them how incredible they are, they start saying, "says my mom" or "you have to think that, you're my mom". 

When kids are little, they own their awesomeness. What happens between then and the tween years, when they start to doubt themselves and their abilities and their uniqueness? It's outside forces. People and situations that I can not control. All I can do is hope that I have infused my children with enough love and light and hope to get them through the hard times that are inevitable. I don't want their hearts to be too soft, and I don't want them to grow too hard. I want to find that balance.

Have you ever met someone who seems to always find the negative in every situation? Someone who seems to always cause division and contention? These people are hard to be around. I try the 'kill 'em with kindness' approach, but sometimes it gets to the point where it becomes too draining and I have learned when it is time to let go. It can be freeing. But then I continue to see these people around, and they continue to make me feel small. I know it is in my power to change this. But so far, I have not figured out how. I care too much about what people think. I wish I didn't, but I do.

Politics right now scare me. For many reasons, but mostly for what they are bringing out in people. So many people who I love and respect are filled with hatred and anger and fear. Instead of responding in this way, wouldn't love be a better answer? Whether or not we agree with what is going on, I can't see how our negative thoughts and actions toward those who need guidance and direction will help. But I can imagine how having a whole nation praying for someone would help them in a positive way. Love is always the right answer.

I wish that every one of my kids could understand their potential and see the goodness in themselves. I wish they could see themselves through my eyes. I wish that people who get to spend time with my kids every day could see them through my eyes. Ultimately, I wish all of us could see each other the way God sees us. With unconditional love and understanding.

I think about all of this way too much. And all I can do is continue to love, despite my brokenness and imperfection when I try.     

Here's what I can do. I can be a friend to someone who needs one. I can be a light to someone in darkness. I can show love where there is hate and anger and fear. And I can pray.