Sunday, August 31, 2008

Loving Snuggles

She snuggled next to me, so warm and cuddly, and looked up intently into my eyes. Her gaze melted my heart that first morning of motherhood for me over 20 years ago, as it still does today when she looks at me with love in her eyes. That was our first official "snuggle" in bed together, which became part of our everyday routine for years to come. We used to snuggle when she'd get out of bed before the day began when she was little, and we'd plan our day together as she held on to her blanket and placed her head on my chest. Throughout the day, she'd ask several times just to snuggle, as she loved the feeling of closeness to me, as I did to her. In the evening, when she would be sleepy and relaxed from her warm bath, we would snuggle yet again in my bed, and I would read her stories of princesses or Jesus or Choco or blueberries on a hill or Anne of Green Gables or Laura from Little House on the Prairie. Those times together are forever etched in my soul, as they are precious and irreplaceable moments of love between a mother and a daughter.

She climbed into bed with me on Friday morning, the day before her "independence day" when she moved into her new apartment and out of her family home forever. We snuggled. I stroked her hair and her skin as I used to do, and she lay there contentedly with a soft smile on her face. I wondered to myself where the years had gone - where had all those days gone when I thought I would have her here with me for such a long time yet to come - and here we are, the day had arrived where she was leaving. The pain gripped my heart and tears started to flow - and I tried to explain it away to her as a "silly mom thing", as I truly am excited for her to get out on her own. It's just that I'm sad that she's leaving behind her childhood, she's leaving behind her daily presence in my life, she leaving behind the daily hugs that are so imbedded in our routine. As we snuggled, I asked her if she remembered all of those times when we used to cuddle like that - all the books we read, all the talks we had. She remembered. I hope those memories will be something she will come to treasure in the years to come. And perhaps, someday, with a little girl of her own, she will start her own traditions of morning and evening and during-the-day snuggles, so that she can experience the powerful love a mother has for her child. A love that can't be broken by miles apart, or hurtful words, or behaviors which are causing harm to self and others, or a slip in faith. A love that will provide safety and security in those times of trial and tumult and anger and doubt. A love that will remain steady even when being thrown back in contempt or when being questioned as to its' motives. A love that is never-ending, that will follow her wherever she goes, that will last an eternity.

Dear daughter of mine, I wish you joy and peace and happiness in your new journey. This part of raising you is done now, but I will always be your mom, just in a different capacity. I still want to be close and share an occassional snuggle and a frequent hug, but we are now embarking onto a new phase of our relationship. It should be fun and interesting as we grow closer together as friends now. I may slip up sometimes and get out my mothering personna. But be honest, you will always want me to be your mom, no matter what. Just as I always want to be "my kids' mom". I love you, babe. I'm a phone call away. I miss you incredibly all ready. You've taking a big piece of my heart with you - so protect it within your own heart and keep it there forever so that I can always live on within you. I'm proud of you, sweetie. I know we've had our rough times lately, but don't ever doubt the depth of my love for you. You are my precious princess.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Change in Weather; Changes at Home

I'm noticing some early signs of autumn. The leaves are getting tinges of yellow and orange on them, the crickets are slowing down their nightly song, and the nights are considerably cooler than the daytime hours. School has already started here (Wednesday was DQ's first day back), and it's a shock to see the school buses out in full swing. The summer has certainly snuck by me without much of a warning. In fact, it didn't even feel like I had a summer! But, I do love autumn, so while I'm sad to see summer fade away, I look forward to the colors and smells and activities of the fall.

I can't believe DQ is a senior this year! What mixed emotions that conjures up. She is just so ready to get out and tackle the world, and she feels held back by having to go through her senior year. She has great plans for herself in college and thereafter - her goals and focus on what she wants to do with her life amaze me. She is going to get her Bachelor's in English (creative writing focus) and while she's teaching high school, she wants to pursue her Masters and Doctorate in creative writing with focus on linguistics and Renassaince History. She wants to be published by the age of 25 - and at the rate she is going, I have no doubts that she will make it! Her back condition is getting better, slowly but surely, but now she has injured her ankle so we are off again to yet another specialist. That is not very good news, considering band season has just started. . . We found out she needs extensive dental work done - just at the same time as all of her dental benefits have been exhausted. We will be getting Senior Pictures taken soon, plus she needs to take drivers ed after band season is done, and we will begin the process of applying for scholarships. This shall be a busy year!

TP will be moving into her new apartment in a week. We have spent the last several weeks finding good "deals" on furnishings for it. She just got a new puppy, a cocker spaniel, to keep her company as she doesn't really like to be alone at night. The puppy is adorable, and I am certain she will take very good care of him. She has switched majors from nursing to accounting, and along with that change comes a new college - she will be starting at Ohio State on September 25th. I am certain it was a difficult decision for her to make, but it is better for her to find out now that nursing is not for her, rather than finding out a few months before she graduates that she doesn't want to be a nurse! I think she will really excel in accounting! She has always been very good at math, she's very detailed oriented and organized, and she loves working with numbers, and it is a versatile career with many different jobs from which to choose. Once she gets back into the swing of things, I think she will enjoy OSU. I graduated from there, although I am still a tried and true Michigan fan! We are very proud of her decision to return to school and finish her education, and we truly understand and respect how difficult and painful of a decision it was for her to make. In the meantime, she is working at an office part-time, waitressing part-time, and helping me out with my paperwork and billing for my business part-time. She is such a good worker, and I will be giving her more work as time goes on, once I finish up getting my office in order. It's also fun to watch her as she faces starting out on her own - to be truly independent and yet close enough to home that if she needs us for anything, we can be there for her in two seconds flat. This independence will open many doors for her, and it will be exciting to see her take charge of her own life and build up some self-confidence as she makes good decisions and responsible choices, and start to create her life as a young and independent woman. She will do fine, but I shall miss her like crazy. However, while I'm a little sad to see her go, I am also so very happy for her to be able to fulfill her wish of getting out on her own. She will do great, I'm positive!

I continue to pray for both of my daughters as they face the transitions in their lives. This stage of life is always so difficult for young women as they face decisions and choices which will impact the rest of their lives. I pray that they ask God for help in making their decisions, and that they follow HIS will and not their own, and that they surround themselves with good, Christian friends who will uphold our values and beliefs and encourage them to stay strong in our faith. It's a tough world out there, with many false promises, and with negative attitudes about faith, about having a good plan for your life with God in the center of those plans, about getting a good education and the value of hard work; about the importance of remaining true to your values and beliefs and staying close to your family. There are so many pulls in so many different directions, and it's easy to fall under the influence of the promise of an easier way of doing things, or of not having to listen to God's truths and follow them. I pray that my girls will uphold God's teachings and our morals, despite what popular culture tells them. At times, I feel like I am fighting a losing battle. But I persist in prayer, in encouragment, and in love for my daughters.

So, there are many changes going on here. And I decided to write more frequently once TP moves out. I have picked up another writing gig for a local parenting newsletter, along with my usual column at CWO. So, some good things are happening around here. And I thank God and praise Him for getting us through this summer, and for the sacred blessing of being my kid's mom.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Forty Years Ago Today

Forty years ago today, my beautiful mother died. She was 56, I was 14. I have missed so much without her in my life. She wasn't there when I got married, had kids, or just needed advice or a shoulder to cry on. I envy people who still have their moms in their lives, and I can't understand when people treat their moms with disrespect and irritation. I can't wait for the day when we meet again, this time in His presence. I love you, Mom. Wish you were still here. . .

Saturday, August 02, 2008

I'm Back

We've already begun the process of getting ready to go back to school, which starts on August 20th for DQ and September 24th for TP.

DQ started band practice this week, and with her "bad" back, it's been a challenge. She has completed her physical therapy, with some mild improvement, but she's still in a lot of pain. Her appointment with her specialist is the 19th, so hopefully additional treatment(s) will be discussed. She may need a brace to help her spine. And, we will also find out if she will be cleared so that she can obtain her driver's license. Now, that will be a welcome skill for her to have! She still talks about Interlochen with such excitement and fondness, and plans are being made to send her there again next summer. It would be great if we could send her there for the whole school year, but their tuition is higher than even most private colleges, so it's just not feasible for us to do so.

TP is looking for a job, and preparing for her new apartment, which she will move into on August 30th. Our screened in porch is full of used furniture which we've been purchasing (dresser, entertainment center, kitchen table and chairs, etc) - so, unfortunately, we haven't beeen able to eat outside this summer - but hey, it's worth it. She was accepted as Ohio State University on Monday, and she has switched her major from nursing to accounting. What a change, huh? She's always been good at math, and she enjoys working with numbers. She did a lot of thinking about nursing, and just decided that it wasn't what she wanted to be. It was a good thing that she found that out at the end of her sophomore year, and not during her senior year of college!!!

So, I've been busy with my girls, plus our additional "babies" - the little Bichon puppies. I've been devoting a lot of my time to deepening my relationship with the Lord, and developing a stronger prayer life. I'll talk more about that at my other blog - I'll post an entry there sometime this weekend.

I am looking forward to blogging once again. This blog might be a little different than it was in the past - I may change the focus to how to "let go" as our children grow older, as that process can be difficult, challenging, and yet exciting at the same time. There is such a need for support among those of us in the stage of our lives - for I find myself to be a bit bewildered and sad while going through this process. Are there many readers out there who can identify with me?!

Take care, God bless, and it's good to be back!!!