#1: I have survived!
I find that when you struggle with an upcoming event for a while, (and allow yourself to wrestle with the emotions and not just "stuff" them away), when the day finally arrives it's not nearly as bad as you're afraid it will be. After struggling all summer with one of my older sons heading to another state for grad school, Jay and I spent a tear free day dropping him off at his rented room which will be his "home away from home" for a while. I think I was just resigned that this change was happening and I was ready to stop thinking about it, get it over with, and get used to a new normal.
Jon drove his car with his fiance, Marisa, on the way up, so Jay and I had a couple hours just to talk and spend time together sans kids. (As most parents of large families know...you gotta make a "date" out of whatever time you can get!)
After lunch, a quick walk around the center of town, and helping carry in all of Jon's stuff and unpacking, we left without any tears, sobbing, or any embarrassing "emotional mom" moments.
#2: Back to Routine
School started for most of the rest of my kids this week. On Tuesday, Peter started back in his special needs high school program(which I LOVE), Luke is in 3rd Grade and Kate is in 1st Grade. A massive heat wave also started on Tuesday. Luke and Kate's school made Wednesday a half day and Ellie's first day of sophomore year ended up being a half day as well. Everyone came home with smiles this week, so at least we are off to a good start!
|Peter walked up to ask and said, "Who's on my shirt?" and then he made the silliest Grumpy face EVER!|
Sarah and I cracked up! Thankfully, he did it again so I could catch it!
|This is Peter's real disposition. :)|
#3: Five Down, One to Go
The only one left is Sarah. She starts senior year of college on Wednesday.(bc of so many high school AP credits, she is graduating 2 years early!!) We got to go out to lunch together yesterday for a little 1:1 mother/daughter time. I totally forgot to snap a pic with is so unlike me! Trying to get into a new routine has left me a little tired and discombobulated so I will blame it on that!
We had a great lunch and Sarah is excited to start a new year. She's taking 6 classes and will have to start filling out grad school applications before long. I'm.so.not.ready to take this road again so soon, so I'm just going to ignore it until at least March or April. (Sounds like a good plan to me!)
#4: Grown-up kids
It's so strange having two grown up children who are done with college. Mike(child #1) has been with his current job over a year and is still living in an apartment about 5 minutes from home. Over the last several months, the time he spends here has decreased significantly. We mostly see him on Fridays and Sundays with a very occasional weekday appearance at dinner time.
This is (child #2) Andrew's first September since he was 4 when he hasn't been in school. He isn't sad about it at all! He is enjoying his new job and is still planning on moving in with a friend about 15 minutes away from home at some point this month. The packing process is S.L.O.W. Ellie is chomping at the bit to get her own room and is anxiously awaiting his departure.
#5: Regaining Peace
Even with all the new routines this week, I've done pretty well most days. The only tough day was Tuesday. It's always hard when my youngest two start that next grade level. With Kate in 1st grade this year, she is well on her way to becoming one of the "big kids" and that's a little hard to swallow. Monday night I stayed up way too late...I think it was a little internal rebellion to keep Tuesday from coming as long as possible, which totally backfired because it just made me really tired on Tuesday! After working in the morning, I was feeling all over the place emotionally.(A little "emotional ADHD "if you will. My thoughts and emotions felt like that Pong game I played as a kid when the ball breaks through the lower layers and bounces around spasmodically without me doing anything! I know, I'm aging myself...) Anyway, I was so tired and a little sad and a little hangry, but I made a good decision to stop at adoration for 10 minutes on the way home. I read a little from 33 Days to Merciful Love by Fr Gaitley. (For me..it's more like 33 weeks to Merciful Love. I love this book but have been inconsistent in reading it and going through it VERY slowly. I'm getting so much out of it but I'm a little afraid to actually make the consecration.(which is a whole other blog post for another time!)
In adoration, I read about St. Therese being on retreat and feeling nothing but aridity and abandonment. Her faith in God never wavered, and she considered it all blessing that "Jesus was sleeping in my little boat" and was "taking advantage of the repose I offer Him". In Therese's words, "instead of being troubled about it this only gives me extreme pleasure". Reading this made me think of my emotions as that storm the apostles were dealing with in the Gospel when Jesus sleeps in the boat. And I realized I was caught up in the panic of the emotional storm. What I realize I needed was to rest with Jesus until the storm passed and He helped me to see all the new directions life is heading in this Fall. In my imagination, I pictured myself resting with Him. 10 minutes after arriving at adoration with my emotions in a whirlwind, Jesus totally quelled the storm within me. I can't recommend adoration enough! Even a quick visit does wonders!
#6: The Next Best Step
After a highly emotional summer, I'm looking forward to a Fall that is filled with discerning some future goals and plans as our family grows and changes and enters into a new chapter of engagement(s?), weddings and beyond!
The first few years of my 40's has been very challenging...I've spent the last 25 years having and raising babies and as my role is changing I'm having a hard time figuring out where I fit and what God's plan is for me. Being patient is not my biggest strength, but I've certainly had lots of practice waiting on God and trying out paths that seem to be the way to go but end up being not quite right.(#gradschool) Even though I would still like a better view of the "big picture", I'm getting better at focusing on and being more content whatever baby step God seems to be putting in front of me.
#7: Fall Focus
I'm hoping to spend the Fall focusing on some topics that have caught my attention in the last few months. We are focusing more on budgeting and trying to save money for things that we would like to do. With a ton of kids, a one income household, and the high cost of Catholic high school education, we have spent lots of years just getting by. After struggling with lots of anxiety over the past year, I've tried to get a firmer grip on finances. Feeling more financially secure will be a good thing. Now that I'm working part time it's a little easier. But I still want to figure out how to do better so that we can afford to save for things like family vacation time together. I really need things to look forward to and plan...and I can't do that if we don't have the money for it. So that's one area that I have committed quite a bit of time reading up on and watching podcasts from people who have lots of tips to share. It's slow going but most days I feel optimistically hopeful.
I'm also focusing on clutter. I've been reading and listening to people talking about minimalism. While I have absolutely no desire to live in a tiny house...I get anxious and claustrophobic just thinking about it!!... I want to be more focused on getting rid of the clutter that makes me crazy. There's so much stuff we don't use and spend so much energy "organizing" and cleaning. I just want to simplify and stop any material gluttony we have going on.
Money and clutter...interesting topics that go together as we creep up to the holiday season. It's making me rethink a lot of things and I'm hoping to tweak my shopping this year. I'm trying to make my new areas of focus and my love of shopping and making my family feel special all come together in a really positive way. More on that in the days ahead, I'm sure!
Enjoy the long weekend!