Throwback Thursday: Sixteen years ago today

So, I’m working on my grandson post and suddenly I remember this post from my son’s 16th birthday. And since he’s about to turn 20, well, here we are. Let’s throw it back in a a very mommy throwback way!

This is a story of a boy being born. This story has changed every year. As the boy has gotten older, the mommy has embellished the story to make the boy smile. This year is no different. This year’s story began sixteen years ago, as opposed to fifteen years ago, as it began last year:

Sixteen years ago today, I woke up in pain at 5:30 in the morning. The sun was not out and I should not have had to be awake, especially given that I was 986-thousand days pregnant. But I was. And my water had broken. Or I’d wet myself. I was hoping I’d just wet myself so I could go back to bed and sleep until a respectable hour. Alas, labor had begun. You would soon be here.

While I raced around getting ready to go to the hospital to have you, I kept having to pass this massively huge sci-fi spider. And that’s when your horrible fear of spiders began.

“I don’t have a horrible fear of spiders.”

Whatever. That’s not the point.

So we finally got to the hospital. Not rain nor sleet nor hail nor snow nor hurricane nor earthquake could keep me from meeting you.

“Ummm…what?”

Hush, I’m telling a story here.

There was that one bridge collapse on the way, and we could only slow the car to a crawl for your grandmother to jump in. We saved her life, really. And when we got there, first I had to deliver a baby for someone else, because, well, I couldn’t just pass her up in her time of need, and–

“Mom? Have you forgotten the real story?”

This IS the real story. I just never shared it with you. Didn’t want you to think I was showing off or anything.

“But…”

Were you there? No, not yet. So you don’t know. Fine, I’ll stick to only what happened while trying to give you life.

So, like, I was in horrible pain because you were HURTING ME!

“Mom…”

I was in labor and I didn’t whimper not once. I continued visiting poor sick children, wiping the foreheads of other women in labor, and instructing doctors on the proper bypass heart surgery thingy thing stuff…uh…

“Yeah.”

Hours and hours later – remember, I’m in tremendous pain all this time – it was finally time to give birth to you, to bring you into this world, to meet you and hug you and love you and name you George.

“Sigh.”

Doctors filed in with students left and right. “This here is our best patient ever. She is amazing. She is about to give birth to a beautiful child. Ahem, I mean, awesomely totally future scene kid, err, man, err… whatever. Did I mention how amazing she is?”

At one point, they totally lost your heartbeat. “Okay, we have to get this baby out!” they shouted at each other, and one by one, they circled me, waiting for my instructions.

And I said, “Let’s do this, people. This is NOT a drill.” I put on my helmet and shoulder pads and readied myself. “Blue 22! HUT!”

And you were born.

Oh how you wailed. That lip of yours, that one right there…it looked like this. (I poked my bottom lip out as far as possible.) And I knew right then, that is a beautiful full lip, destined to be pierced. I just knew it, Brian. And look at you now, all lip-pierced and whatnot.

“You sure didn’t expect me, did you?”

I didn’t know who to expect.

“I’m not like Scott at all.”

You are YOU, and I love YOU as you. I don’t care that you aren’t like Scott, no more than I care that Scott isn’t like you. All I care about is that you are YOU. And that you’re Mommy’s good little boy, of course.

“Yeah, stop it. Go back to your fantasy story.”

If this were a fantasy story, I’d have slept through the whole of labor, silly boy.

This IS a true story.*

*This is not a true story. Nor did this whole conversation take place. I have to say that because the boy, who probably never reads my blog at all except for THIS ONE TIME!!! will come here and call my a liar. In public. In front of all of you. I can’t be having all that drama. So there.

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The first of the last

Last week, as I walked down the steps of the local high school, the halls all quiet for now, I surprised myself by tearing up. I haven’t spent a lot of time in this school, not like the time spent in elementary schools, but I know it holds memories of my sons and my daughter, and now here we are, at the beginning of the end. My girl, my baby, the last one, you see, starts her first day of her last year of high school today, and it sends me edging closer and closer to that final moment of this stage of parenting.

It ends soon.

I’m supposed to be rejoicing, and in many ways I am, because I’m proud of my children and always excited about their lives (and it HAS been a big year), but I’m also balking at the idea. Rejoice? Over the end of this beautiful time in my life? Who sits inside the bubble of something wonderful and says, “This has to end!”? Not me.

Some laugh and tell me I’m being too dramatic or that I need to get over it, but sometimes I sit across the table of another mother and I know she gets it. We get choked on the words as we try to express excitement. And then we laugh because we see that we aren’t alone in this weird transitional phase, this letting go, whether it’s the first baby or the last.

On this first day of school, this first day of the last year — the last of my children in their high school years — I really am excited for the year ahead, but I know it will be brief, flying by through a flurry of color guard practices, football games, carpool* (only for a brief time, though, since driver’s license and car are right around the corner too), and flying out the door each morning. Before I know it, all who love this girl will be sitting together in a row, anticipating the end of the alphabet so we can see the baby walk across the stage, and then onward we will fly, on and on and on, going wherever this breeze of life takes her.

But for now, I listen to one of the last mornings of her getting her hair just right in the bathroom, see her lean into the mirror to apply her mascara, and breathe in echoes of the last 13 years of school mornings. It ends soon, but today I’m holding on.

Senior Year

*Truth in Advertising: I loathe carpool.

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Kelley J Leigh - Beautiful.

Stop the madness: Focus

Truth – I often thrive on busyness. I fill my planner and schedule life and work and assignments down to the minute. I create checklists on Evernote now, weekly but broken into days, so that I can fill in all the things I must do and get done and go get and mail and email and call and fetch from the grocery store. I wear many hats. Or, at least, I did…until this week.

In the last several weeks, I’ve been reanalyzing my life, my time. I’ve written in the past about my inability to do ALL THE THINGS, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. And then I find myself in a puddle of goo with a long list, paralyzed about which to do first. Every once in a while you have to just stop and look around. My big stop came as I was driving home at 2:00 in the morning from a wedding recently. With at least three hours of driving ahead of me, my full day of work was going to end up being 20 hours long. By the time I crawled into bed at almost 5 a.m., I had decided change needed to take place.

The biggest indicator that an explosion of self was imminent was that the husband and I had two days planned to “get away” to the mountains (higher, that is, since we live in the foothills of Pikes Peak), a stay-cation to celebrate our upcoming anniversary … and all I could think about was how going away for two days was going to wreck my to-do list. I was going to fall even further behind, and eventually I was going to be up at 2:00 in the morning again, only this time driving my computer through a million photos.

So, round about 3:30 in the morning, as I frustratingly tried to navigate my way through a city I was unfamiliar with because of an unexpected interstate detour, I realized the world would be ok if I stopped with the busy. No one would fire me if I took time off from my 7-day workweek.

Now, not for two seconds am I trying to convince you that I am a changed woman. I made some changes, but the whole thing is a process. Learning to say “no,” learning to say “not right now,” and learning to draw out boundaries is ongoing for me. I’ve decided to stop doing some things that I love in order to have time for other things I love, and frankly, for time to do the things that need to get done. I’ve pulled back in many ways that aren’t visible to the outside world but they’ve taken some heavy weights from my shoulders. And as my husband snoozed in the passenger seat while I drove us home from our two days away, I realized that for now, at this time, I have to put my time, energy, and focus where it belongs, regardless of how good an opportunity or project is.

Related: Revisiting the Reboot: Changes vs. The Journey

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