On Being a Mom (of adult children)

I’ve heard moms ask, on different occasions, “When do you get to stop worrying (about your kids)?”

The truth is — you don’t. You signed up for a lifetime commitment when you became a mom.

The worrying changes, how you handle it becomes tricky.

You can hold your toddler back from running into traffic. You can tell your preteen that you don’t like their choice of friends and you can take away privileges. You can put them in timeout when they’re young and ground them when they’re older. That’s how you teach them safe from unsafe and right from wrong.

And then they turn eighteen. Maybe they think they’re ready to be adults. Maybe they’re smart enough to realize that they need your wisdom. Then they start the process of becoming adults. But they’re still your kid, right? Yesterday they were seventeen and today they’re eighteen. That’s the only change you see. You hope that the lessons that you taught them stay with them. You know there are no guarantees.

But the process begins then. Your child faces some of the same struggles that you, as a mom, face, only from a different perspective. They have to start making some important decisions on their own and you have to let them. They begin to make mistakes and you can’t step in and fix them. Sometimes they make choices that  you don’t agree with, but you have to step back and let them travel their own journey to adulthood.

And gradually they become adults, real adults with real careers and real adult obligations and they handle it all. And you wonder when it happened. I mean, weren’t you just kissing boo boos and reading Little House books to them?

Guess what… They will always be your children. You won’t always like their choices, but if you’re wise you will keep your opinion to yourself unless asked. You’ll sometimes wish they traveled their journey down a different path, but if you’re wise you won’t let them know unless they ask. You’ll always wish you could fix their mistakes, but you can’t. You will always want them to have the most perfect smooth life, but you just can’t. And sometimes that’s the hardest part of being a mom of an adult child.

And you will always always worry.

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Monday Musings – Jan. 13, 2014

As begins any new year (in my teen thru adult life), I tend to reevaluate the past year and what I have done with my life thus far. Then I decide that THIS is the year that I will become who I was meant to be. I’m not sure why I always think that who I am now is not who I’m meant to be, but I suspect it has to do with not being totally satisfied with myself and my accomplishments. Don’t get me wrong! I’m very happy and feel quite blessed with the life that I have. It’s just that I know there’s always room for improvement.

I always thought that my life should be full. Full of work of some sort, of hobbies and volunteering. And I still do…to a point.

I’ve been thinking a lot about exactly what I want to do with my time here on earth. I certainly don’t feel old and hope that I have many more years left, but there are no guarantees. I’ve always wanted to make a difference and I still do, but in a different way. In a more simple way. In my own way.

Maybe it has to do with losing a good friend at such a  young age nearly a year ago. Maybe it’s the passing of others who I’ve known that were gone before (what we thought was) their time. Maybe it’s seeing friends that have had to prioritize what they’re doing in their lives because of illnesses, causing them to have to give things up that have meant so much to them, having to devote their energy simply to living.

If I were to die tomorrow or become ill, what would I NOT want to leave undone?

Yep, sometimes I overthink things.

My life has changed in the past few months. I have added responsibilities that I really never thought I’d have. When I celebrated my birthday this past November, I started thinking about how I want to be remembered. And it isn’t exactly what I always thought it would be.

I did a lot of soul searching and made some decisions. I felt that it was time to reorganize my life. To that end, I’ve given up a couple of  (what I thought were) my dreams and have said good-bye to some projects that at one time were very dear to me. And I stepped down from a position that I truly loved.

In some ways, I’m sure it sounds selfish to say that I want to do my own things for a while, but that’s not really what it’s all about. I haven’t given everything up, so it isn’t going to be all about me. I am a wife and mother (no matter how old my kids are), sometimes (and hopefully one day – forever) a grandmother. Jim and I still have our business to run and the obligations that we are involved with that are related to our industry. I am committed to those obligations as long as Jim is to his. That goes hand in hand. As long as my daughter is a foster parent (and even after she adopts), I will be babysitting at least part time. Who knows, maybe other grandchildren will come along too. And I do want to have some time to do my own things! I want to read, write, and do some research projects. I want to cross stitch and work on some other crafting projects. And I hope that, through some of those things, I will be making a difference. Just in a different way.

Believe me, I am well aware that what I’ve done is a drop in the bucket compared to the service that many many others that I know have given of themselves. I used to think that I couldn’t just be an observer, that I had to be a participant. But I also feel that after more than 25 years of chairing, leading, serving and working both behind the scenes and at the forefront, I deserve to step back. For now.

And so I have.

As soon as WordPress fixes their glitch, I will add the photo that I’m trying to put right here.


Monday Musings – Jan. 6, 2014

Feels weird writing 2014…

So how many are snowed in? We got quite a bit of snow yesterday and through the night, but it had stopped by the time I woke up this morning. We live on a main road and the county road commission stayed on top of things so our road is clear even though you will be driving on ice and packed snow. Those plow and salt truck drivers worked (and are continuing to)  hard. Knowing that the temps would be dropping drastically after the snowstorm which makes salt ineffective, they tried to keep up with the things so our roads would be driveable. So kudos to the road commission!

Jim was out plowing here at our place for two hours. We don’t just have a driveway, we have a circle driveway and another driveway on our property next door. We have a huge yard for our business that needs to be cleared. He has to be able to get the work trucks out. And if he doesn’t clear it away now, it’ll freeze hard and the job will be that much more difficult. Might as well do the job right the first time. Plus, he plowed part of our neighbor’s (our rental) driveway. He came in for a nice hot bowl of oatmeal before he headed over to our son’s house to plow his driveway so at least Jon won’t have to worry about that when he gets home from work tonight. After all this, Jim will do any service calls that need doing. Business is slow, though, so that’s a good time to spend some time in the shop doing the many needed repairs.

I thought about going out and taking pictures before he started plowing, but honestly…it’s cold out there and I’m not that dedicated a photographer. If I have to go out later, maybe I’ll take some.

First day of school back from Christmas break was cancelled all over our area and beyond. Some of the schools are even cancelled tomorrow because of the back roads and cold that is predicted. Not my daughter’s district though. We’ll see. I was ready to get back into the swing of things. I’ve missed our little guy, but I’m sure he’s not complaining about the extra day home!

I’ve done a lot of thinking the past few days. This is what happens when I don’t have a three-year-old here to occupy me. I’ll save those thoughts for another day.

And…here ya go! I stood up and took a picture from my office window. It’s not very good (through the window and screen) and not very flattering. But that there is part of our backyard. And the little red house? That’s where my three chickens, who are feeling their age, are all cozy with their heat lamp and heated waterer, plenty of food and lots of bedding. They don’t like to venture out far, if at all, this winter.

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Duke here.

Thought I’d do a little reflecting on the past year.

Lots of changes here in the past few months. There’s a little boy that comes here almost every day. And Sosha too.

It kind of throws the flow of my day all wonky. Sometimes it’s fun though. When the weather was nice my mom and the little boy would be outside playing and taking nature hikes in the woods. I liked that. Now the little boy gets on and off a school bus most days. Sosha and I try to make sure we’re right there watching and making sure it all goes well. We’d like to take a ride on that bus, but our buried fence doesn’t let us go out that far in the driveway.

I got a really cool big rawhide bone for Christmas. I worked hard and it took me just over a week to chew it all gone. I especially like to work on it in the living room while my mom and dad were watching tv. And my mom says that it made me gassy.

We didn’t get to spend enough time in the last year at my favorite place up north. I hope to change that this year.

It’s been so cold and snowy lately that I spend a lot more time in the house. I used to enjoy the cold air and snow, but I’m not as young as I used to be.

What’s my hope for the new year?

Simple. More treats. More petting. And some blue ball playing when we can find the blue ball.

My mom took this very unflattering picture of me. This is NOT how I usually nap…

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Yep. I’m back. I’m not making any promises, but I do want to come back.

During the past few months, I’ve been pulled in a few different directions and as usual my writing suffers the consequences. I’ve had so much to say, but many things that I can’t share in such a public way. I tried keeping a private journal to get those thoughts on paper, but I just don’t keep up. I’ve honestly had a hard time keeping up with many of my obligations.

And that’s something that I need to work on in the new year.

So what have I been up to?

Well, I continue to babysit my daughter’s three-year-old foster son. He goes to school for half a day now so I put  him on and get him off the bus. For real! I have to buckle him on and unbuckle him off. He will be going back to his family soon. For about four weeks, she also had a toddler baby girl. We were so very sad when she left to go stay with a family member. There’s so much I would love to share in this part of my life, but of course I can’t…

When I look back over the past year…

We lost a very good friend. It’s still hard to believe he’s gone. It seems at this age that we go to many more funerals than we do weddings.

We’ve gotten to experience grandparenthood, but have yet to have a grandchild officially join our family.

The business is still going and it’s keeping busy enough for us to pay our bills, keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. And we’ll be doing okay if it keeps on like this.

Our kids are both working and they both own their own homes. Life is sometimes a bumpy road and I’m hoping for a smoother 2014 for them both.

We (my family) are all relatively healthy.

We didn’t take any big trips this past year, but then we’re not very adventurous people.

Does my life sound boring? I guess to some it must. To us though? To us it’s just fine.

Wishes for this new year?

As always, to try to be a better me.

For my husband and kids to be happy and healthy. And for some of their wishes to come true!

For good health and happiness for my family and friends.

And the gift of life for a very special friend.

My wishes are grand yet simple. My life is simple yet happy. I hope to share more of it with you during 2014.

Happy New Year to you all.


Seize the Weekend

Jim and I seized last weekend. We took what we could get and the gettin’ was near perfect.

We left Friday afternoon and headed up to Jim’s family cabin. Just Jim, me and Duke. We had to meet a customer on the way and since it was nowhere near the expressway Jim decided to take the scenic route for most of the trip north. We arrived about 10pm and settled in for the night.

I lazily resisted the urge to get up early on Saturday and that set the stage for the rest of the day. We left the cabin three times on Saturday. We went to town for breakfast and back to pick up something to cook up for dinner, and we walked down to visit some friends who were up spending a long weekend at their cabin down the road.

In between, we sat outside on the bench swing and read with this view to gaze upon in between pages:
0928131137It was a little chilly and eventually we headed back in for a snack and I decided to curl up under the blankets and take a nap. A few minutes later I could hear snoring sounds coming from the living room and knew that Jim had fallen asleep in his favorite recliner. We both had nice little snoozes.

It had warmed up a little so we decided to take some chairs and go sit on the dock and read a bit more. This was our view:
I think it was just what we both needed. A day to unwind. A day with no plans. A day with the peace and tranquility that comes with being up north.

Although we weren’t able to spend as much time with our friends as we would have liked, we were happy to know that they were enjoying their time at their cabin. They truly needed the getaway.

Sunday morning Jim and I were cleaning the cabin and getting packed up. Northern Michigan has some great radio stations and as I was getting our things packed up Jim turned the radio and this song was playing:

I have carried that song through this week which has not been the kind of week you would want to have after enjoying such a wonderful weekend. But then again maybe the wonderful weekend has helped carry us through the not so wonderful week.

Duke… and aging.

Duke here.

My parents need help. They really do. This is a conversation I heard recently while they were watching tv before going to sleep:

Mom: I just watched this show the other day. Is this abc (meaning the tv channel)?
Dad: I don’t know
Mom (noticing the little abc icon in the corner of the screen): It is. It’s channel 7.
Dad: I think it’s channel 7.
Mom: What?
Dad: Channel 7.
Mom: I just said that.
Both: Laaaughing.

This happens often.

Duker-day...and nothing much