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Did I Mention that it's Mother's Day?

May 7, 2016

The day before Mother’s Day…I got home and after feeding the Littles faced a disaster of a kitchen. I started in on it and then thought, “Wait a minute…” I had 5 kids who were all off in front of their tablets and on the computer and so forth. So I hauled them all in and made them help me. Then, I had the audacity to ask Lizzie and Sam to carry the laundry downstairs (only because it didn’t get done yesterday because as soon as they got home from school I took them to a fun event at church!) and Lizzie immediately collapsed on the floor, completely upset that I would dare ask her to work on a Saturday. Yeah…she’s taking a nap right now. She’s not real happy with me about that one, either.

This morning was my talk. I don’t think I had mentioned it on my blog before, but a few weeks ago I was asked to speak at my church’s ladies brunch on the subject of encouragement. It ended up being about a 15 min. talk and it seemed to go all right. I wasn’t terribly nervous, although I would have been a lot more comfortable if I had not been the one up there talking! I even had to wear the belt mike, which is something I’ve never done in my life. I had a number of ladies tell me afterward how much they appreciated my words and one lady, a stranger, came up to me with tears in her eyes, telling me that her next door neighbor had died this week. He was 43 and had a heart attack on the way to work. He leaves behind a family and she was asking what she can do to reach out to the widow and kids. It was just one of those things that made me thankful for what I’ve been through – it’s a “good” in all the bad. 

As I was leaving one of the church ladies was expressing her enjoyment of my talk and let it drop that she's begun praying for a new husband for me.  Huh!  I didn't know people besides me were doing that.  And just this week I'd finally decided that I'm going to do my best to not even let myself think about remarriage until school is done.  There's some things I need to do as a singleton yet.  But I like the idea of someone else praying for me in that regard!

I wrapped up my global warming class a week ago and came out of there with the A I expected. I was surprised this week when our professor listed the grades given (not by name). There were 14 students in the class, which surprised me because it sure didn’t seem like there were 14 people participating in the discussions each week. Of those 14, 7 earned As. Two got Cs and 5 failed the class. I would assume it’s because they didn’t turn in pieces of work needed for a passing grade. I can’t imagine taking and paying for a class and then not doing what was needed to at least get a C!

I am supposed to be starting my next class Monday but I haven’t heard a peep out of my teacher. I finally emailed my adviser Thursday morning and she contacted the professor for me, but I still haven’t heard anything! Aggravating!

Monday I drove to Newton to see my adviser. She asked me to come in because she had an official degree audit done for me. BVU accepted one more of my prior classes, so that gave me 62 credits transferring in. I’ve decided to double up some of my terms, starting this August. Now that I’m getting the hang of doing school again I think I can handle a little more work. It’s probably not a good idea to make this decision on a week when I don’t have any classes going on, though! It looks like with the schedule we mapped out Monday, I will be completely finished in Aug. 2018, only two years from this summer. If I want to participate in the graduation ceremonies (I do) I’ll have to wait until the following May, but they’ll go ahead and give me my degree once the work is finished. And, actually, the timing on this is really good. David graduates in May ’18 and I’ll lose his Social Security benefits then. But it looks like I’ll be able to start working that fall if I can get my sub license right away. I’ll only have to work enough days to make up for the loss of his money. I haven’t quite figured out what I’ll do for income in the summer months, but I guess God will show me when the time comes.

Just last weekend I was talking to a lady who is beautician by trade. She told me that thirty-five years ago she taught elementary school for a few years before deciding she’d rather do hair. But, she has started subbing in recent years and is slowly ending her beautician career (not taking on any new clients) because, as she said, “subbing is where it’s at!” She said she can easily work every day of the month if she wants to.

Last week Sam commented to me that he’s noticed that girls tend to have designs or sparkles on their back jeans pockets, unlike boys’. He said, “Why? There’s nothing special about girls’ butts!” I hope he continues to think so for a very, very long time!

Last Sunday night was special. I got to see Pastor and Marcia for the first time since they left. We decided to drive over there for church that evening. Marcia and I hugged and hugged and then we were both crying. Oh, I miss her! We’ve decided to do lunch one afternoon once the graduation is over. I need that.

A week ago Sat. was a really neat time, as well. In early April a friend had sent me a link about a “Moms morning” being put on for single mothers at an area church. They were limiting it to the first 100 moms who signed up and I managed to snag a spot. I really didn’t know what this was supposed to be, but it sounded kind of fun and I didn’t have anything else going on that day. It was amazing!

I pulled up and there was valet parking. It was pouring rain and the helpers got the kids out for me and held these huge umbrellas over us so we wouldn’t get wet walking the little ways into the church. Inside, a worker was immediately paired with me and showed me where to hang my coat and we walked and dropped the kids off at their rooms. I was handed a canvas bag full of all kinds of things (when I got home I finally pulled everything out and discovered gift cards to Caseys and Hy-vee, and Panera, a Bible, and some other things that I can’t even remember right now). They had us first meet in the auditorium and one of the radio hosts from our local Christian station gave an introduction and then the pastor of the church spoke. He shared how his own mother was made a single mom when her husband walked out on the family, so he has a real empathy for the single mother. I remember his words were quite touching as he emphasized our worth and value to not only him, but to Christ. As we left the auditorium, all the 100 or so workers were lined up in the foyer and clapped for us as we walked through. It was kind of disconcerting and a little embarrassing, almost, but I saw several moms there wiping their eyes.

They fed us a buffet breakfast and then we were off for some pampering. I got a 10 min. massage, which was heavenly, I had a facial and was sent home with all sorts of Arbonne products to try on my face there. I had a hair appointment, which I really didn’t need, since I’d just had a trim a couple of days before, so the stylist straightened my hair for me and gave me a bunch of products to try on it. We had hand massages where we were then given a gift bag with nail polishes and tools and there was a room where we could make necklaces for ourselves. And then there was boutique full of brand new and gently used clothing, shoes, and jewelry. We were given two large shopping bags and told to “fill them up!” I only found a couple things I thought I could really use, but it was such a neat idea. When I emerged from there, there was a gentleman ready to take my bag to my van. Eventually, the morning ended and I picked up the kids who had tales to tell me of all the fun that they had had. As we left, we were given chick fil A sandwiches. Our cars were brought up to the front and we were escorted, underneath an umbrella again (it was still raining) back to them. Inside, I found a checklist of all the things on my van they had checked out for me and they had inserted two air fresheners into the vent.

Unbelievable. To think that a church would care so much about people they don’t even know. I know I didn’t make the choice to be a single mom, but a lot of women in my shoes did, and it would be so easy to turn up a judgmental nose and sniff, “Well, you made your bed…” but there was never a hint of that at all.

I met someone there, too. She’s a pregnant black lady who lives in Carlisle, just 10 min. away from me. She just moved to town and was expressing some concern about the school and lack of diversity there in Carlisle. I told her I could definitely relate to that! She has a 5 year daughter so we’re going to try to get our girls together this summer.

On Monday I wrote a note to the church expressing my thankfulness. Even if they never do this again, this one time was surely enough.

Ellie’s latest…she says this whenever she doesn’t want to answer something: “I don’t know what you’re talking about” said calmly and oh-so-seriously.

I went with Ellie’s preschool class on a field trip this week. I really didn’t want to, because I’m so pressed for time and I really, really like those quiet hours of the day when I don’t have any small children around. But Ellie asked me to go, tacking on, “You haven’t been to one thing this year!” Which, technically, isn’t quite true since I did show up for parent-teacher conferences and the Christmas program. So, I sucked it up and went.

I walked into the classroom and one of the preschoolers came running up to me and asked, “What’s your name?” I replied, “Mrs. Heywood.” He gave me a dubious, kind of confused look, so Ellie stepped in and clarified, “No - her real name is ‘Sarah’!”

We went to the high schools FFA farm, which I didn’t even know was a thing until this week. But that clears up my puzzlement three years ago when, after Paul died, someone from the school showed up on my doorstep with a dead, frozen chicken and told me it was “from the school.” I was a little puzzled and wondered just where it was they were raising chickens on school grounds. But I found out this week that the school has an actual working farm, just a mile or so down the road. Years ago a wealthy family in town donated the land to the FFA dept. and they raise some livestock and some crops (maybe? Not sure about the crops). There’s a house on the property, too, that is rented out. So, anyway, that’s where we went. A group of high schoolers met us there and showed us around and the kids got to see and pet the goats and rabbits and chickens and cows.

And most importantly, Ellie can’t say I never did anything now.

Well, yesterday I took down my Cruz for President bumper stickers. I may have sniffled a little as I did so. I just don’t know what to think. I prayed so hard that he would be our next president. And now we’re poised to choose, as Jimmy Fallon said the other night, between “Uh oh and I Guess.” I guess if I knew for sure that having either Trump or Hillary elected will usher in the end times and we’re set to go to Heaven soon afterward, I’d be fine. But I’m afraid that this election (on top of the last two) is just another nail in the coffin of democracy. My grandchildren won’t even have the America that I remember.

I’ll vote for Trump, unlike a lot of others I hear talking, but like the last two elections, I’ll be heading to the polls with my nose pinched. It shouldn’t be this way.

It’s a quiet night here. Will is off with Arien. David and Sam went to see the latest Marvel movie with a bunch of church friends. The girls have been rotten so they’re in bed early. Ben is sequestered under his head phones, so I’m just putzing around the house, checking things off my list.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day (did I mention that already?). I just ran across this poem on Facebook. I like it.

Dear Single Mom,

I see you this Mother’s Day morning

I see you patiently changing diapers through the fog of 3 a.m.
I see you waking up at sunrise to make your kids breakfast
I see your dry-shampooed ponytail
I see you trying to forgive yourself for things that aren’t your fault
I see you working so hard to make perfect choices
I see you loving your children so much it fills up your whole life
I see your overwhelming gratitude that you are a mother on Mother’s Day
I see your sadness that it’s not how you thought it would look
I see your beautiful children who know they are loved every minute of every day
I see the wonderful childhood you are giving them
I see you cherishing every moment, even the hardest ones
I see the peace in your heart as you breathe in those bedtime snuggles
I see you wanting to share stories about your kids after they are asleep each night
I see your bone-tired superhuman efforts
I see your invisible daily labor
I see you trying to be everything to everyone
I see you parenting with no map
I see your laughter
I see your tears
I see your sacrifice
I see you protecting
I see you recovering
I see you healing
I see you hoping
I see you doing the best you can

Happy Mother’s Day 

 - Betsy Koehne-


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