Saturday, April 28, 2012

Unexpected Moments of Humility

So, I'm at the local grocery store today picking up a few things I forgot to put on my list after yesterday's weekly shopping trip(ugh!).  I was in the 12 items or less lane(a rare moment for me!).  I had a female cashier, a bagger, and another guy getting ready to take over the cashier position.(Let's call him the 'waiting cashier' to try to make things less confusing!)

The bagger in the lane next to mine was talking about how he was turning 21 tomorrow and having a big party.  The 'waiting cashier' made a comment about how he thought the birthday boy only looked 19.  My cashier asked the 'waiting cashier' how old she looked(she's clearly in her early 20's).  He said, " 38?"  She laughed and said, "I wish I was 38.  Then I would be done with all this."(Which I took to mean done being a cashier in a grocery store.)  'Waiting cashier' said, "Why would you want to be 38.  That's's only 2 years until 40!"

Unfortunately, I had no witty retort....It must be because I'm old!  After all,  I'm weeks away from 38.....and that's only 2 years until 40!

Don't you just love those unexpected moments of humility?!?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ode to My Husband

What a strange journey we embarked upon,
back when we were young.
It's had its hairy moments,
but also had its fun.  

There's been lots of little faces,
we've had our share of fears.
There's been a lot of laughter, 
at times there's been some tears.

There's been days with lots of smiles,
and days with whiny starts.
Lots of moments they drove us crazy,
but more days they won our hearts.

The ride so far's been crazy, 
with babies, toddlers, tweens, and teens.
I've watched you love each one of them,
You're the best dad I've ever seen.


Perfection will never touch us,
quiet moments will always be a rare treat.
But the way you care for your family,
well, that's just an amazing feat! 

Love you:)....Thanks for being such a great dad and husband!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Moment of Graditude

I was just thinking about the kindness of a family that live on the street over from us.  Peter takes walks, weather permitting, during his home therapy sessions three times a week.  I forget how it started exactly...I think Peter saw a swing set in the Ellis' backyard and bolted away from his therapist.  Mrs. Ellis spends a lot of time walking and working on her yard so she sees Peter in our yard or out walking a lot.  She invited him to play that day.  From that point on his therapist would stop to say hi with Peter whenever Mrs. Ellis was outside.  Sometimes he would play on their swing set.  In the fall Peter spent some time exploring their cool scarecrows and other Halloween decorations. 

On Halloween, Peter goes trick-or-treating.  By the time we get to the next street he usually loses interest.  When we got to the Ellis' house he hung back at the edge of the street with us while his siblings went to the door.  The Ellis' asked for Peter and came out of their house to come talk to him and give him candy.  They were genuinely excited to see him.  Their kindness was so touching.

A few weeks ago, Mrs. Ellis came out to meet Peter during one of his therapy walks.  She had seen him walking with a plastic Buzz Lightyear toy a while before.  When she was in a store she saw a stuffed Buzz Lightyear and thought of Peter.  She bought the toy for him.  His therapist told me about it when they got back.  Again, I was touched by their kindness and thoughtfulness. 

Peter is far from a "normal" 10 year old.  He doesn't know how to have a real conversation.  If we are lucky, our questions to him will evoke a one or two word answer.  Peter is just "all over the place", like a big puppy that doesn't realize his size and can't contain his excitement...definitely a bull in a china shop!  He can definitely be overwhelming(a lot)! 

We spend a lot of time apologizing for Peter..."I'm sorry he knocked down your child's sand castle and laughed about it."...."I'm sorry he rubbed your arms."...."I'm sorry he's touching your purse."

We spend a lot of time saying, "I'm sorry, he's autistic.  He doesn't understand."

To have people care about Peter...especially people that aren't his family and don't have to care about Peter...that's just so encouraging to me.  It makes me feel like we have someone else, like our family members and close friends, who are on our team.  Thank-you for supporting us.  Thank-you for accepting him for who he is and where he's at in his developmental journey.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

O Snappy Day

Tuesdays are a hectic day for me because I work for my parents salon in the morning.  I woke up this morning after an awful dream.  (In the dream I felt insecure and inferior and because of my feelings I got into a car accident and Luke got hurt:(...definitely not a happy dream.)  I felt stressed about doing everything that needed to be done before I had to leave.  I also felt frustrated because I didn't get to exercise yesterday and wouldn't be able to today either.  

I felt all the negative feelings starting to bubble up and threaten to take over the day and it wasn't even 7am yet.  I was already starting to be a little snappy with Jay, who managed to wake himself up early to get a workout in.  I didn't want to be cranky, but I was definitely feeling frustrated.

Kate wanted to nurse so I sat down at the computer to check my emails.  I received the following from Catholic Digest:

Today's Quiet Moment

Tuesday, April 24

Do not give yourself over to sorrow,
and do not distress yourself deliberately.
A joyful heart is life itself,
and rejoicing lengthens one’s life span.
Indulge yourself and take comfort,
and remove sorrow far from you,
for sorrow has destroyed many,
and no advantage ever comes from it.…
Those who are cheerful and merry at table
will benefit from their food.
Sirach 30:21-23, 25

I definitely felt it was a direct message for me today.  Part of me wanted to hold onto the chip on my makes me feel that my anger is validated. Plus, it's easier to just feel angry instead of looking at why I feel angry...feeling inferior and unhappy with my body image are definitely feelings I would rather avoid.  However, not being snappy to my family and not taking out my negative feelings on them won out(at least at that moment...unfortunately that's not always the case).  The morning went back on track and my emotions were a little calmer.

Why does being calm and loving and positive often feel like such a difficult task?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Resisting Change

This morning, I was thinking about something Mike used to do when he was very young.  When he was around two, Mike and I would lay down on his bed at night and read a few stories together.  Just before we would get to the end of a book, he would grab it and shut it and get another book in a panicky way.  Mike did this because he didn't want story time to end and bedtime to start.  No matter how much I tried to explain to him that I would finish one book AND still read more, he just didn't understand.  So he always got stressed as we ran out of pages and he always missed out on the ending.

This memory popped into my head when I was trying to resolve some of my own feelings.  We spent a couple of hours yesterday discussing and researching places to go this summer on a family vacation.  It can sometimes be challenging to find an environment that will be fun for everyone when you have ages that span from 4 months to 19 years!

I'm having a hard time living in the moment to plan and then enjoy this special time together.  I feel like I'm already grieving that it's over.  It's just so silly really.  I guess these times happen so infrequently I feel like there's so much pressure to get it right because our family dynamics are changing so quickly with the boys turning into men before our eyes!  Having this special time together will be a gift to build memories...and, I know from experience, that no matter how much we plan nothing can ever be truly perfect.  In reality, sometimes those imperfect times ending up being some of the best and funniest memories.

I guess my real problem is that I don't want anything to change.  It looks like the kids would really like to go back to Hershey Park.  Most of them don't even remember the first time we went 9 years ago.  Mike was 10, Andrew 8, Jon 7, Sarah 4, Peter 2, and Ellie was only 4 months old!  That was 2 months before Peter was diagnosed with Autism.  What I mostly remember about that trip was that Michael got car sick 1 hour into the car drive and threw up all over himself, the flume ride Jay took the older kids on and had them yell "Polish power" at the top of the drop because they were all a little freaked out(that won't be a problem this time!), the free ride that showed how Hershey makes chocolate(the kids loved the free sample at the end), and the great chocolate milk shakes!

This is just one of those moments when I wish you could go back into the past and tell yourself to enjoy those everyday, chaotic moments of having young children.  To tell yourself to spend a little more time snuggling and hugging and interacting with those little people.  Sometimes those sleepless nights and seemingly endless diaper changes and toddler energy felt like they would never end.  Even though these moments haven't ended for us yet, we did take a multiple year hiatus from it.  I can honestly say that, at least most days, I am in no hurry for Luke's pudgy little body to turn into a long, lanky one or for Kate to lose her gummy, toothless grin.  It's even given me patience through most nights of multiple waking because of Luke's lousy sleep patterns and almost 3 years of constant nursing.  I know that even the tough days (and nights) won't last forever....I have 6 visual reminders of that every day!

I just need to keep working on being able to accept all these changes and find a sense of peace about it!  Looks like it's time to read some self-help psychology books and spend more time in prayer!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The College Search

Yesterday Andrew and I went to UMass Dartmouth for an open house.  I can't believe he will be a senior next year!

Andrew is a good sport.  Jay was busy with a committment for Ellie's softball team so I had to bring Kate with us.  What a surprise...Kate was the only baby there.  I have to say....she was extremely well behaved and well received(who doesn't love a pudgy baby with a gummy grin!)  What an interesting sight we made with an almost college student and an infant!

I really wasn't sure how Andrew would like the college.  The buildings are all made of gray stone and not very pretty to look at.  But Andrew didn't mind the buildings and liked the way the buildings were set up in a circle.  He felt it was less confusing and easy to figure out where everything was.

Andrew had been talking about teaching history, though he wasn't really sure.  Our friend, Tony, mentioned to Jay the other day that computer science was a great field with a lot of growth potential.  At the open house today, after a general introduction, you got to sit in a classroom with a professor from each of the majors they offer.  Andrew chose to go to the computer engineering presentation.  He wasn't really sure what it was.  The professor did a good job explaining the field.  There was also a senior that presented a short presentation of the project he did....voice control for people with disabilities to control their phone, lights, tv,etc.  He was trying to make a less expensive version of the technology on the market.  It was very interesting.  Andrew really liked it.  Since he is really good at math, maybe he has found his niche!?!

As hard as it is to see my children growing up, it is so neat to see them searching and finding their path in life.  It's exciting to see them taking charge of the direction they want to go in.(I'm grateful that so far they have made good choices and I continue to pray that they will stay on the path God intends for them...especially the more stubborn ones!)

After UMass, I drove to the Taunton Mall so Andrew could meet up with his "friend."  I'm pretty sure that dealing with college doesn't hold a candle to having to adjust to girlfriends...and God help Jay when we have to deal with boyfriends!  I actually feel bad for the boys that our daughters will someday bring home! 

But that's a post for another day:)...........

Friday, April 20, 2012

Embarrasing Moments

We have made it to Friday of April vacation week!  I have to say this has been one of the better vacation weeks we have had in a while.  Usually by the Friday of a vacation week I am extremely burned out and exhausted.  It can be very overwhelming having Peter home, our 11 y.o. with autism, and having to be "on" every moment of the day and night(especially when the nights don't go so well and I end up very sleep deprived on top of it all!)

Having the nice weather was definitely helpful.  It makes a big difference when the sun is shining and you can open the windows to let the fresh air in.  Don't get me wasn't a week of pure bliss and angels singing!  I'm just grateful that it didn't suck every last drop of emotional energy out of my being!

I am so grateful to be in a good place that I would like to share a funny story to hopefully give you a good laugh!  God knows we all need to laugh more. 

My top three most embarrassing moments:

#3  We were at Disney and had just gotten off the tram in the parking lot to go back to the car.  Sarah was 18 months old and I had her in an umbrella stroller.  I was trying too hard to make sure all the boys, (who were 4 1/2, 5 1/2, and 7 1/2), were safe and I wasn't paying attention in front of me.  I hadn't buckled Sarah in and she had slid out of the carriage so I was half running her over but she wasn't saying a word.  Everyone in the tram was yelling, "You're running over the baby!"  Definitely not the gold star day of motherhood!

#2  We were at a pond with all the kids before Luke was born.  Peter, who was 8 at the time, has an obsession with skin.  He is especially obsessed with heavy people with exposed skin.  On this particular day there was an extremely obese man floating in the water.  We knew Peter saw him.  We were being extremely diligent to keep him away.  Peter was like a heat seeking missile, however, and the one minute Jay turned away from him when I was getting lunch ready, Peter rushed over to the poor man.  Before we could stop him, Peter rubbed his arm and squeezed his rather boob.  The poor man started freaking out and flailing in the water.  No amount of apology or explanation of Peter's disorder on our part made any difference.  He was completely flabbergasted and we were mortified.

#1  We were at Mass one Sunday when Peter was around 7.  He was always a wiggly kid.  But this particular Sunday, right during the Consecration, Peter bolted from next to Jay in the pew.  Before we even realized what was happening he ran right up onto the altar, and grabbed our Pastor's vestments.  God bless Father Dan who didn't even get distracted.  Jay grabbed Peter and brought him into the cry room.  I was so shocked I started laughing and couldn't stop.  Then I started laughing and crying and couldn't stop.  Eventually I was just crying.  Mike was sitting next to me and was looking at me like I was a crazy person!  I managed to pull myself together in order to walk to Communion.  After Mass, we waited until the entire church had just about cleared out because we were so embarrassed.  One of the women who, at the time I didn't know very well but is now a close friend, came over and gave me a hug and told me to have a good day.  One of Jon's friend's grandmother was sitting a few pews behind us and called out to me after church.  She said to me, with tears in her eyes, "He knew Who he was running to!"  Tears filled my eyes and all I could do was nod.  God used a very embarrassing situation to touch at least one person.  Since then, we have always sat in a side pew with Peter closest to the wall....that's definitely a situation we would rather not repeat!

The joys of parenting...especially with a child with special needs!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

No Place Like Home

I give a lot of credit to moms who also have a job outside of the house.  Honestly, I don't know how they do it.  I work one morning a week for my parents at their salon that specializes in hair loss solutions.  It takes so much energy to get out of the house on those mornings!  Our regular morning routine is challenging enough, nevermind adding in having to get myself ready(with make-up and "real" clothes!) and have Kate and Luke ready with a packed diaper bag.  It feels like so much work!  I'm already tired just trying to get out of the house!

My job is not difficult.  When I'm in the salon I do reception work....I also help with some of the billing one night a week but I do that at my parent's house.  By the time I get the kids after work and get home I am SO exhausted.  By the time I nurse the baby and make a quick sandwich for myself it's almost time for the kids to get home from school....and I still have to do the laundry and the kitchen clean up!

I'm pretty sure it's one of those situations where God doesn't give you the grace for something you don't need to do.  If I was in the position where I had to work more, I'm sure I would fall into a routine that would work.  I am VERY grateful that I don't have to work much outside our house....I have a hard enough time running our home as it is!  I already feel like I don't stop(unless I'm nursing Kate but that's still "doing" something and I'm usually working on something else with my free hand at the same time!). 

I appreciate the benefits of staying home with my kids.  I'm glad to be able to nurse my babies on demand, spend the day with my toddlers and be home when my older kids come off the bus to hear about their day.  I'm glad that I have the time to cook dinner for my family....and my husband appreciates that dinner is ready when he steps through the door(well....dinner's ready most of the time!). 

While I do enjoy the occasional time away from my kids......for me, there is "no place like home."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

More Living in the Moment

This is one of those moments that are just the best....when you wish they could just stay little and innocent forever.  Luke loves his baby sister.  He gets down in front of her and says in a squeaky little voice, "Hi!  Hi, honey!"  Their Grandma tried to hold Kate in church this morning and Luke started crying saying, "Nooo, that's my baby sister!"  He definitely loves her..sometimes a little too much.  If you look closely at her pretty little face in the picture she doesn't look as if she's completely sure about the situation.

Luke on the other hand is calm and in charge.  His personality completely fills up and bursts out of his pudgy, two and a half year old body!  He is so smart...and so stubborn.  He is definitely entrenched in the "terrific twos".  His sweet, squeaky voice can quickly change into a whiny, stubborn shout quicker than I can figure out what he's upset about.  "I do myself" is his favorite phrase....and we hear it multiple times a day!

Right now I have a sleeping, snuggly 3 month old in my lap.  I could have put her down and typed with two hands but I didn't want to.  It's one of those times when you just want to soak in the moment and will it to never end(even though you know it will).  Right now is one of those rare moments when you realize that the only things that matter are the two little faces in the picture(and the 6 other not so little faces that live in this house!).  The sleepless nights and the dirty diapers and the cranky toddlers and the cranky teenagers.....none of that really matters.  The love for each of these little ones(and not so little ones) is the only thing that is important.  I am thankful for the grace to be able to feel that tonight.....I hope I can still remember it by the end of this school vacation week!


Thursday, April 12, 2012


I went to see Jon's volleyball game yesterday afternoon.  It was an away game at my old high school.  I can't believe that it will be 20 years since we graduated in June!  When I was a teenager I remember thinking how far away turning thirty was!  Now I'm not all that far away from being "not thirty", and it feels like that will be here way too fast!

Time goes by so fast that, when I do pause for a moment to take a breath and look around, it takes a moment to realize how much I have changed and my family has changed.  Kind of like when you are tired or really distracted when you are driving to a familiar place and when you arrive you don't really remember driving there at all. 

Sometimes(usually) I have this idea in my head that I have to have a certain amount of chores done before I can do something for me.  Let's call it Cinderella-itis.  (You know how she was told she could only go to the ball if she got her chores done and had something appropriate to wear!?!)  For me, it's usually having the laundry cleaned and folded and having the kitchen cleaned up and the general clutter neatened.  Rarely, are all these things taken care of.  So I never really feel completely at ease doing things like exercising, reading a magazine, or vegging out in front of the TV(watching HGTV, which just makes me want to do more projects!).

I don't think men have that same problem.  Maybe it's their inability to multitask.  When they are concentrating on one task they don't have the other undone tasks dancing around in their head!  As a multitasking mom, when I'm walking through the house on the way to the laundry room I'm making mental lists in my head of what needs to be washed and put away in each room.  When I'm sitting down nursing the baby I'm scanning the room already making a mental list of what I'm going to do when she's done.  (When I walk in my bedroom, I just shake my head and shut the door!  That's a half day project all in itself!)

I don't know how working moms do it!  I have the utmost respect.  I can barely keep this house afloat being home almost full time(except Tuesday mornings when I work for my parents' business..Of course, we do have 2.5 times the people in a "normal household").  I know the biggest challenge right now is having an infant that is very needy for much of the day and a toddler that needs a lot of attention.  I know from experience that the laundry and dishes will always be there but Kate's sweet, gummy smiles and Luke squeaky little voice will only last a short time.  But add in the rides for the older kids, and the nursing, listening to stories about their school day, and the nursing, making dinner and the nursing, etc. really leaves little time for even the "regular" chores.  It's hard not to be frustrated about that sometimes.  It's discouraging when you feel like you cannot climb your way out of the clutter around you! (The kids do help a lot, but sometimes rooms just need a "mom clean".)

But today's a new day!  I can only try my best and accept where I, and my ability to clean, are at.  Hopefully, I can get to more of the clutter today.  I did manage to catch up on folding the clean laundry this morning.  Now to tackle the 3 dirty loads waiting to be washed, put away the clean laundry, take care of last night's dishes(Jay was out and Kate was really crabby last night!).....right after I nurse the baby...and shut my bedroom door!    

Sunday, April 8, 2012


I love the feelings that Easter brings....the hope and celebration after the penances of Lent and the Triduum.  Easter morning started early at our house.  Most of the kids were up at 5am...even earlier than usual.  It amazes me how excited the older kids still get at the thought of an egg hunt and Easter basket surprises.  I'm glad they're still young at heart no matter how big their bodies are getting!

Easter morning actually went really nicely.  The kids had fun and nobody fought!  Despite Luke getting into the girls' nailpolish when no one was looking(!!!!), the morning went fairly well.(Hopefully magic eraser will get all the blue polish off the kitchen stool!  And the spot on my pants...well, what mom of young kids ever has completely clean pants for more than a few minutes anyway!)

Mass went well despite the sugar intake of the early morning.  Even Peter did better than usual knowing that there would be cake after lunch at Grandma's house.(He LOVES Grandma's cake!)  The Church was beautiful with all of the flowers and it's just such a happy feeling to be at Mass on Easter morning.   The only mishap was when Michael told Peter to sit on the pew after Mass was done while we were waiting for Luke and Jay to light a candle and Peter sat on the piece of cheesecake we had brought for Msgr!  He squished it completely flat!  Thankfully it did not escape the aluminum foil.  Msgr. had a good chuckle when we told him....and we dropped by an unmutilated piece a little later on in the morning.

The day was really nice, spent with Jay's family and then my extended family.  Jay's mom in particular always spends a lot of time and puts a lot of thought into putting together really nicely decorated and filled Easter baskets for the kids.  Nothing lavish or over the top...but just really nice. 

It's the little thoughtful touches that make holidays and family traditions special and memorable!  Having the little ones has kept up the magical focus of the holidays and helped me realize how much the older kids still enjoy it and look forward to it!  They all looked forward to coloring eggs Saturday night and going to bed a little earlier than usual so that Jay and I could put together the surprises for the next morning.  (Actually, I put the surprises together and forced Jay to wake up after falling asleep on the couch to help me!)

Seeing how much fun they had and how happy the older kids were made me glad I had put the extra effort in to think of fun, little things for their baskets instead of just giving them a gift card.  I think they felt special and it gives them a sense of strong connection to their family with these happy memories.  I truly felt thankful to God for those moments of peace and joy this morning with everyone together, snacking on a little candy and eating hard boiled eggs, just enjoying each others' company.  It was one of those "aaah" moments of Angel's singing and everything being right in the world for at least that one moment in time and soaking in the peace and love of just being together.  It was the perfect execution of living in the moment and enjoying the moment.....before the reality of normal chaos(like blue nail polish and squished cheesecake) began again!  But I guess those are special kinds of memories all their own, too!  

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Living With Autism

April is Autism Awareness Month.  In general, I am not very connected to the extended Autism Community.  At one point, when Peter was newly diagnosed, I did go to a couple of Autism support group meetings but I found it so depressing I decided not to attend anymore.  The first meeting I attended at one group ended up being focused around a woman's husband who had just left her and the other group members' experiences with this subject(which were the majority).  Way too discouraging.

Then I tried another group.  The majority of the meeting was spent listening to, and encouraging, a woman whose 3 year old son had severe aggression issues.  He was only 3 or 4 and had recently knocked out his mom's front tooth and given his 8 year old sister a black eye.  He was on several different meds already.  His mom had never tried and kind of diet changes or supplements.  I gave her the numbers of our DAN Dr. and our nutritionist.  I sobbed all the way home...for her, for her poor little son, her daughter, and out of fear that Peter would one day turn aggressive and we would not be able to handle him.

For a while I have toyed with the idea of going back to try again.  So far the meetings always tend to be at days or times that don't work for me.  Maybe one of these days it will be meant for me to attend and it will work out.  Even after about 7 years I am not in any hurry because of those first two experiences.

There are so many faces of autism.  Each child functions uniquely and has their own quirkiness and struggles.  For us, at this moment in time, life with Peter is like having a constant toddler/young preschooler in the house.  We have to constantly know where he is...though it is much better than a couple of years ago when he would constantly bolt from us when outside or frequently try to escape the house.  We cannot trust that his impulsiveness will lead him to make unsafe choices.

Being out in public with Peter is exhausting!  You constantly have to watch what, or who, he is touching.  He has an obsession with rubbing people's arms.  I always cringe at this time of year when it gets a little warmer and the tank tops come out.  No matter how much we talk about or read social stories about keeping hands to yourself, he will reach out and rub random people's arms.  It can be SO embarassing.  When he was little it wasn't as bad.  But now that he's older, if people don't realize he has autism, it can be tough.  Thankfully most people are understanding once we explain...but it sure doesn't feel good.

I am grateful that he speaks and can communicate, though at a very compromised level.  I'm thankful that he is potty trained.  I'm grateful that he is not physically limited.  I have (mostly) accepted that without a miracle, which we have and will continue to pray for, Peter will never be "normal" and never be able to live on his own or take care of himself.  That makes me sad.

When you have  a child with disabilities I think you are much more aware of and appreciative of the little gains in development.  The really hard part is the process of grieving the advances he will never make.  That grief always catches me by surprise and feels like a punch in the gut.  Like when I'm at Ellie's school events and seeing the kids in the class he would have been a part of...or when Luke's pretend play skills and language are skyrocketing past Peter's ability and he is only 2 1/2.  It's like, on a smaller level, feeling the devastation of his original diagnosis over and over again. 

I try really hard to be grateful that Peter continues to make gains.  All forward progress is good.  Our focus is to help Peter be as independant as possible.  I pray that someday, when we are no longer able to care for him, God will touch the hearts of at least a couple of his siblings to take on the blessings and the crosses of caring for Peter.  Peter may never truly understand how blessed he is to have been born into a large family! 


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Holy Week

Holy Week is always a challenging time for me emotionally.  It always creeps up and surprises me too.  I go through a couple days the week before it starts wondering why I feel so unsettled and ready to crawl out of my skin.  And then I realize, oh yeah, Holy Week is coming.

The subject of suffering is one that is so hard to understand and work through.  I have such a hard time handling the topic.  I don't want to suffer.  I don't want to see anyone suffering.  It makes me want to do something to solve it or run away and forget it ever happened if there is no quick fix in sight.  I am a firm believer that God walks with us in the suffering...I've experienced it.  I just wish that there didn't have to be any suffering at all.

It's so hard to experience suffering.  It's so hard to go through the stages of grief.  It's also hard to walk with someone through their suffering.  It's especially hard to just "be" with them when there's nothing you can actually do to ease their pain. 

I definitely need to spend some time working on my level of fear of "bad things" happening.  At one time in my life I lived in that magical world of ignorant bliss.  Then, our daughter was born with a genetic disorder and only lived for 16 days.  I remember feeling shocked that, despite all the technology the modern world has to offer, there were still things that did not even have a hope for a cure.

Jay and I suffered greatly during her short life and for several months after her death.  Not dealing with some of my grief left me struggling with bouts of depression for several years.  God's hand was on us in very visible ways during that time....but I still wish we didn't have to go through it.  I trust that He has brought good out of what we went through...but it's certainly something we won't completely understand until we meet Him someday.

There is no ideal life. Everyone has crosses at one time or another. I know that these crosses serve as a reminder that this world is not our final destination. Thank God that we have the hope of eternal life thanks to Jesus' suffering on the cross for us. If this life was "it" then how could you survive the death of a child or a spouse or your parents or other loved ones without falling into complete despair? I remember being at Mass after our daughter, Therese, died and feeling so incredibly grateful that Jesus had died for us so that my little girl could go to Heaven. Despite my crushing grief it was a consolation to know where she was and that she was ok.  

I wish that nothing had to change;  that we didn't have to lose our grandparents, or see our parents get older, or come to the scary realization that middle age is just around the corner(!).  I guess it's just another reason why it's so important to live fully in the present and be thankful for each moment.  Too bad time can't slow down just a little so that the present moment...and life before 40!...could last just a little longer!