That time I made a deal with God

So, here’s the thing: many, many years ago, probably soon after my daughter was born, I made a deal with God. I don’t really recall what my end of the deal was, to be honest, but I remember what I begged for. In repeated prayers, I asked to live long enough to be there for my children to grow up. I probably offered something crazy like my life, as in, “If you let me live long enough to see my children grow up, you can take me then.”

A desperate mother makes desperate pleas.

As my baby has turned 18, officially grown up by America’s legal standards (quote from her: “Now I can legally buy cigarettes and lottery tickets, and I can vote!” We’re all funny here.), I have found the source of some of my emotional stress as of late. No, I don’t fear I will suddenly drop dead and be collected into the heavens, debt-collection time, but rather it is done. They are all grown and healthy and have solid foundations to keep moving forward. IF something happened to me, they would be OK.

I know, I know…they would have been fine anyway. They have each other and a father who loves them and a million other people who would step in. But I’m MOM, and as much as I have needed a mom my whole life, the idea that my children might lose me has haunted me in ways I can’t quite explain. And suddenly, the weight is lifted a little. Sometimes you just don’t realize what you’re carrying around until you set it down.

Once upon a time, I just knew I wouldn’t live to see 30. That’s not the best outlook to have on life. I set goals that needed to be met before then, so I didn’t NOT live, you see, but I also didn’t fully live. I know this. Perhaps that is why it felt like I truly came alive when we moved to Colorado. Our move here was a choice we made, not one that was made for us. And we blossomed when we arrived.

Oh sure, some things (many things) stayed the same, but many things did not. Whereas I lived once in front of my computer, hiding away behind words, I began to step out. I have friends now, a new family, a world that is different than anything I’ve ever lived. And as I look back, I realize that it was in my 30th year that we moved here. At that time, I may have subconsciously stopped waiting to die, and in the same way, I realized last night that I have been hoping to live until at least the baby’s 18th birthday.

I can’t explain it, not really. Maybe the past etched something deep into my soul that has lied to me about what living is, or what I should want. But what I know is that I am grateful that I’m still here, that I have watched three children grow up to be adults, and I have witnessed one wedding and one grandchild enter this world. I have a long and flirty marriage, beautiful friends who make up a new family, a business that is building, and opportunities to pursue my education. I lack for nothing, not really (though I miss our far-flung family members). But maybe one of the best things I can think of as I set down the weight of the worry I’ve carried for so long is this: I never needed to make a deal with God. And I don’t need to now. What is will be, and that has to be enough. I can’t carry it, but it was never mine to carry anyway.

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Choppy Thoughts

Life in ProgressTwo friends and I recently formed a writing group. It’s small and perfect and full of everything I need to keep pushing my way through my book. We meet weekly for coffee and to talk about our current writing goals. It’s always nice to have a little accountability that lives outside the computer world.

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Three weeks into this new school semester and I think I’m finally finding a little balance.* I think… It’s an interesting thing, a life schedule that changes every several months. Even as much as I try to keep everything the same (same day for classes, same days for work, same days for sessions), the subjects change, the seasons change, and so it’s a constant ebb and flow.

*Just for fun, it’s now 5 weeks in. I almost edited this part out but it made me laugh that I mentioned balance. And now it’s two weeks later.

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Sometimes friends ask me where my latest post is for Middle Places. In case you missed it, I stopped writing for MP in August in order to free up more time for other ventures. (Apparently that has mostly amounted to school work and book work, no blogging here.) My last post can be found here — or all of them here. But Middle Places just came out with an ebook of our favorite posts, and you can see it here!

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My baby will be 18 in a few days. I can’t even…

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Yes, yes I AM still walking 1,000 miles. I’m 612.36 miles in. I really thought I’d add more miles during the summer months, but I guess things slowed down in that department as other parts of my life got busier. But I AM walking and I WILL reach 1,000 miles! May I walk for you?

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Several weeks ago, I posted on Facebook —

I’m all in.
Just putting that out into the world.
#writing #photography #art

With the guidance of coach extraordinaire Toni McLellan, I’m pushing on to making this so. Today was my last day as a waitress. Forever? I don’t know. I only know what right now holds, and that is a push in writing, photography, and my continued education — I live a life in progress. I’m just enjoying the journey right now.

           

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This is the one about my grandson

ethan1Like writing about my eldest son’s wedding, I knew writing about my younger son’s son – my grandson – would take a bit of time. You see, my brain is still trying to wrap itself around the idea of being a grandmother. Not because I feel old, but rather because it’s simply one of the most surreal feelings I’ve ever experienced. Right up there with becoming a mom for the first, second, and third time. And getting married. You spend a lot of time after these events wondering if this beautifulness is real.

It is.

The moment I saw my son’s tears as he stood over his own new son, I knew it was real. But I couldn’t quite grasp the reality of it, this new phase, this wondrous miracle of a little person, changing so many lives on that spring evening. On a Sunday, a day of rest, his mother labored and gifted us all with this little man, a much-loved bit of heaven with an impressive head of hair.

He is smiling and cooing and laughing now, and the time is already flying by. It goes faster when your days aren’t spent as the caregiver, when you are more looking on versus hands on. It’s a different role, and I am still adjusting. As I lean more into the changing role of motherhood, it is the role of grandmother that baffles me now.

Still, the role might feel surreal, but the FEELINGS themselves are just overwhelming at times. It isn’t the same as parenting, as birthing your own child, and it isn’t less than or more than. You just kind of look at your own child and shake your head…because weren’t you just a tiny baby yourself? And now you’re a man with your own tiny baby (or chunky monkey, as the case may be with our little man!), and HOW DID THIS EVEN HAPPEN?

Sometimes I hold my grandson while he sleeps and I just stare at his face with his chubby cheeks and long eyelashes. I can’t help but find myself flipping through memories of his father. Almost 20 years have flown by and we are not who we were then, yet we are the same. He is still this beautiful, soulful baby boy of mine, and I am still this mother who wants to hold on forever. And yet, as always, I will have to pull myself away and release.

I hug my grandson’s parents before I go, but it’s the little man I kiss a dozen times over. I know once I walk out the door, he will change yet again. In the hours and days that pass, when I see him again, he’ll be bigger, doing something new, and time will keep ticking. I try to hold my eyes wide open when I’m with him because I already made the mistake of blinking with his father, and look what happened there.

But time keeps marching, and I keep kissing that sweet baby face and those chunky little feet, and they get a little bigger each time, and so does my heart, even though I never could have imagined any one little person could have made it grow so much more. As I sit at my desk, hours after a visit, I can still smell him, his special baby smell, and so I breathe it in, savoring the warmth of love as it floods my system. Yes, this is all surreal, and it’s my life, and I am so blessed and excited to experience every piece of it.

grandson
grandson
grandson

MORE PICTURES HERE — AND MORE PICTURES SOON!

*Pictures that include me were taken by Tanya Mello

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Sharon Wren - Oh, he’s so sweet!! That hair!

Throwback Thursday: Sixteen years ago today » Angela Giles Klocke » Southern Colorado Freelance Writer and Photographer - […] 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 […]