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Why Being A Grandmother is THE BOMB!!

Ok…I’ll admit it – when I first found out my daughter was pregnant with my oldest grandson, I was less than thrilled.  She was young, unmarried and really not ready to be a parent as far as I was concerned.  I was still busy parenting her siblings who were 16, 10 and 6 at the time.  And damn it, I was too young to be a grandmother.

I grumbled, pouted, worried (a lot),  bought some new (fashionable – non “mom”) jeans, went out dancing, tried to act “young”  but in the end, no matter what I did, I was about to become someones Nana.

I was there, holding my daughters leg when her son, my grandson, was born. And from that very moment on, I was smitten.  It is an experience unlike any other and truly can’t be explained – it must be experienced first hand.

That tiny little boy stole my heart and still has it (along with his younger siblings and cousin).  I’ve been blessed to witness each baby’s birth.

He and his sister and baby brother (in the picture) came to visit me today.  The two big ones ran into my office smiling at me with their arms out.

THAT my friends is what its about.  That is how I am greeted each and every time I see them.  My 18 month old granddaughter calls her Nana on her play phone;  my 6 year old grandson begs to come to my house and complains to his mother if he hasn’t seen me in a few days.  When he does see me, he hugs me and kisses me on the cheek – it is the sweetest thing!  Yesterday I met my other daughter and my 3 month old granddaughter at Walmart. Guess who saw me and smiled?  Yep.  I rock! 😉

Being a Nana is simply one of the greatest gifts in my life.

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The Soulmate Search

 

How do you know if someone is your soulmate or if you even have a soulmate?  Do you need your soulmate actively in your life or do they just pass through, teaching you a few things along the way?  Can your soulmate be your spouse, friend, parent, sibling or child?

Most importantly, where do I find the answers to these nagging questions??

Let’s start with this:  What is a soulmate?

SOULMATE:  noun – a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.

I think each persons definition of “soulmate” is different and unique to their situation.  I believe I have had several different soulmates so far in my life.

The idea of finding your soulmate has been completely romanticized though.  While I believe you do have certain people who you click with, I don’t believe there is just one person for each of us.  I’m not talking about marriage or intimate relationships.

What I believe is that different people mesh with you in different ways throughout different phases of your life.  My close friends each bring a different kind of peace to my life. One is the quintesential mom, one is the “therapist” (partly because that’s her profession), one is the realist, one I can have intellectual conversations with and one I can be my goofiest self with and a couple of them are all those things combined.

One particular soulmate was my last boyfriend.  We brought out the absolute best and the absolute worst in each other.  He both touched my soul and pushed my buttons.

Elizabeth Gilbert author of Eat, Pray Love defines a soulmate this way:

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master…

Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat Pray Love

If you haven’t read Eat Pray Love, you really, really should.  It’s an absolutely fabulous book about Elizabeth’s journey to find herself.  Sometimes we need to hear someone elses story before we can find the strength to look for our own.

I believe this was my ex-boyfriends purpose in my life.  The shake you up, tear apart your ego and break your heart open stuff.  I did become desperate and out of control and it became necessary for me to begin to transform my life.   But let me tell you, its scary.  Particularly the part where he left.  But I AM transforming!

So is there another romantic soulmate out there for me?  Gosh, I hope so.  But this time, I could do without the crappy part of it.

I do know that I have been blessed with MANY other non-romantic soulmates.  People who have walked into my life and created sunshine.  I am so very thankful for each of them.

Here’s to the soulmate search!  May it ever be ongoing and may you collect many!

Peace & love!

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Our Fostering and Adoption Journey

 

 

As an adoptive parent of two children who were in foster care, I can tell you there is no greater joy.  The boys we adopted – who were 2 and 6 when we adopted them – have been two of the biggest blessings of my life.

Unfortunately, not all adoptions turn out well.  There are many horror stories out there and trust me, I was worried.

Our intent initially was to foster until we found a child, preferably a baby, to adopt.  Our first placement was a twelve year old girl who I will call “A”.  Let me tell you sister, fostering a twelve year old girl is not for the faint of heart.  Fostering, in general, is not for the faint of heart.  It takes a very special person or couple to take in these children, most of them wounded and sad, and care for them like they are your own.

I think some people also have the misbelief that foster and adoptive children should be grateful to be in a “good” home.  First of all, they’re children; few are grateful for anything these days.  Second of all, 98% of them have seen, felt and experienced things that would bring you to your knees.

Our foster daughter had been abused by her step-father and discarded by her mother when the court said this young girl could no longer live with her step-father.  A’s mother had a choice to make and she chose the man over her flesh and blood.  I can’t tell you the number of hours A spent sitting on my lap, rocking and sobbing that she didn’t have a mother.  It was heart wrenching.  On top of that, there was substance abuse, physical abuse and God knows what else that she witnessed prior to coming to us.  She would make references to drugs and sex that I had never heard before.

Even though we were able to get her settled into our home, she kept acting out in school and eventually had to go to a different school district, which meant she had to be moved to a new foster home.  At the time, my daughters were 11 and 13.  They couldn’t understand why A acted out the way she did and why she had to leave.  My youngest daughter was heart broken when A left.  I was too.

So it was at that point we decided we would simply (ha.ha.ha.) adopt rather than foster-to-adopt.

After our experience with a pre-adolescent we decided we didn’t want a child any older than 10.  We were willing to accept a sibling group but no more than two children.  Sounds simple enough – HA HA.

Well, our county generally doesn’t have young children who are adoptable so we kept getting calls for older children.  We kept saying no even as guilty as we felt about it (and it really sucked saying no).  Our caseworker sent our homestudy out to other agencies across the country and we were finally matched with two boys ages 2 and 6. Keep in mind that we were into this process by about 7 months.

We drove 6 hours to meet them.  I knew the instant I saw them that they were my children.

You see, ever since giving birth to my second child, I’d felt like someone was still missing from our family.  I longed for another child.  I prayed for another child.  Almost daily………..I can’t adequately explain the empty feeling I had where this child was supposed to be.  And then, after a 6 hour drive and laying eyes on my sons, the feeling left me.  It’s never returned.

I’m not going to say its been sunshine and roses, because it has not.  Raising children, in general, is not.

The adoption process itself was long and stressful. The six year old had some behavioral issues.  The two year old spent the first week throwing up all over everything because he was so upset.  I have Never in my life been vomited on that much.

But here we are, 10 years later.  Two of the loves of my life – blessings, absolute blessings.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  it was all worth it – the wait, the stress, the vomit – all of it.

The lesson in all of this, for me, has been that the universe has a plan.  We fight it, try to manipulate it and ultimately find that it’s necessary to relinquish ourselves to it.  I’m so thankful the universe sent me these boys.

I hope the universe sends you what you’re wishing for.  Have a blessed day my soul sisters!!!

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Alzheimer’s Disease

This is my favorite picture of my Mom – she was around 14.

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She would have been 82 in February.  She’s been gone for over 4 years.

I still find myself wanting to pick up the phone to tell her something or to ask for her advice.  I still miss her just as much as I did 4 years ago.  The pain of losing someone never REALLY goes away – you just get use to them not being around.

The day she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is forever etched in my mind.

She was 76 and had started to repeat herself quite a bit.  There were a few occasions that I would be on the phone with her and she would simply go silent.

Then one day my father found her lying on the kitchen floor.  She couldn’t get up and cried out in pain when he tried to help her.  We ended up taking her to the hospital where they couldn’t find anything wrong.  This scenario repeated itself several times – her seemingly falling and then having to be transported to the hospital. The day she was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she went in on a stretcher, screaming at the male nurse that if he touched her she would call the police.

She didn’t know where she was.  That became the norm for the remainder of her life.

We ended up moving her to a nursing home because she became increadibly weak and needed around the clock care.  The day we dropped her off, I remember wanting to climb in the bed with her. It was horrible leaving her there.  I wonder if she knew it broke my heart.

She was in the nursing home for a total of 16 months.  For the first 12 months, I only missed two days of visiting her.  One of the days, she ended up with an intestinal blockage.  When I got there, her belly was distended and I had to argue with a nurse to get her to call the doctor, who promptly had my mother transported to the hospital.  I felt horrible.

We were fortunate that until the day she left us, she knew all of us.  Alzheimer’s left her disoriented – she never fully understood that she was in a nursing home.  She thought my father had added on to the house and brought in nurses to take care of her.  It took her strength – she eventually was too weak to get out of bed.  She saw things floating in the air, snakes coming in the windows and cats wandering around her room.  But she remembered her husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  That was the one blessing out of all of it.

Four years ago, a week before she passed away, I took my 4 children and my grandson to the nursing home to celebrate my mom’s 78th birthday.  She couldn’t get out of the bed but sat up, talked with us, had some cake and knew each one of us.  We laughed, cried and reminisced.  She seemed so alert that day.

Ten days later I received the call that the end was near and I needed to come.  I got to the nursing home and two of my sisters were already there.  They told me that my mom had been mumbling for hours and the only audible thing they could understand was my name.  When I kissed her and talked to her, she settled down.  Throughout the day other family members came to say goodbye.

She passed away peacefully several hours later, after everyone decided to head out to get some rest.  I should have known that she would wait for us to leave.  She spent her life protecting us right until the very end.

So, everyday I try to celebrate her life.  She was a gift to us all.  She loved her family beyond measure and I believe, because of that strength, never succumbed fully to the disease that took her from us.

I love and miss you Mom.

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What Makes A Man?

 

 

Recently I  came across the following article on my computer.  I must have saved it several years ago.  It resonates very deeply with me right now as I am going through some changes in my current relationship.  Although we aren’t married (THANK GOD) it still applies.

The Role of the Man in the Family

According to Dr. Phil, if men want to be successful in their marriage and family life, they have to change and broaden their definition of what it means to be successful as a man. Being a good provider, protector, leader and teacher is a privilege that comes with responsibilities that many men aren’t aware of.

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A Provider

Most men believe that being a good provider means supporting a family financially. It means much more than that. A man should also contribute to the emotional, spiritual, physical and mental well-being of his family. In order to do this, he must recognize that there are other currencies, in addition to money, that need to be provided.

A Protector
This means more than beating up the guy next door if he insults your wife. It means protecting her self-esteem and self-worth as well as your children’s. It can also mean protecting your way of life and guarding against any threats to the things that you and your family value.

A Leader

Instead of waiting for your wife to take the initiative when you are having problems, take the lead. Get in the game and create what you want in your family instead of whining about your family situation. Marriage is not a 50/50 partnership. It’s a 100/100 partnership. That means you give 100 percent. And remember, you get what you give.

A Teacher

What are you teaching those around you — especially your children — with your behavior? It’s important to provide a good example for your children, loved ones and community with both words and deeds. Set high standards and teach by doing.

Let’s point by point analyze my current relationship, shall we?

1.  A Provider ~ well…………not so much.  He actually doesn’t contribute to the household monetarily.  Our deal was for him to take care of the house and lawn, be around for the kids (who are 12 & 16) and cook, clean, etc since I work full time.

In the beginning, he did some cooking and cleaning.  Recently, its sporatic.  And he doesn’t interact with the kids in a positive way at all unless forced.

2.  A Protector ~ he succeeds at this in the sense that I know we’re safe with him at the house.  But only in that particular area.

3.  A Leader ~ he wants to be the leader.  He also wants everyone to respect him.  However, rather than earning it, he demands it.

4. A Teacher ~ he wants to also be a teacher but I’m not entirely certain I want my kids to learn what he has to share.

So here I am, at 40-something, ready to start over again.  Sigh.  But after a year and 1/2 with nothing really changing, what choice do I have?

Tell me, what would you do?