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It is finally…over.  Two of the hardest, back to back terms I have ever experienced. 

A’s in every single class.

Even my grammar class!  I couldn’t believe it!  Although, I kind of suspect the professor was giving them out for effort.  I thought I was going to be good to get out of that one with a C!  But the last test was graded today and I had a 97% final grade.  Wooh…time for a break.  I get 3 weeks now.  Then I start again.  Two literature classes this time – something called “Dramatic Literature” (whatever that is – maybe plays?) and World Literature.  My favorite professor, the one who told me that she was quite certain I could make it in college based on my email to her telling her I didn’t think I could do this when I about fainted looking at my first syllabus is teaching one of them.  And then I’ll have her again for another class that starts in March.

I received an email about graduation exercises the other day.  But I think it was just sent to me because I’m a senior.  I really believe I have to wait to walk until May of ’19 since I won’t be done with classes until the end of August.  I’d just as soon wait, anyway, since David graduates this May.  And, a friend of mine wants me to help plan her wedding – and she’s thinking this May.  I’m really hoping she changes her mind on the month.

Well, shoot - I just checked my email and my advisor is telling me that, no, I DO graduate this May.  How am I supposed to do that?  Do they not give me my actual diploma until I officially finish in August?  David graduates on the 19th and this is on the 26th, so it IS possible to do it, but I don't know.  I've just always had it in my head that I wouldn't be walking until May '19.

I have decided on a graduation present for myself.  Paul and I always said we were going to get a Hoosier cabinet someday for the kitchen and when he remodeled he even did so with that end desire in mind, creating a place for it.  Right now I have a smaller cabinet in that spot.  After he died it occurred to me that I could probably go ahead and get a Hoosier now, but the thought just made me too sad because that was something we were always going to get together.  But I am thinking that I would be ok with that now.  And as a reward for several years of really, really hard work – I think I can justify it.  It may take awhile to find just the one I want, though.  I’ve started casually looking now.

Hunting weekend was this past weekend.  It was kind of a bust.  There wasn’t any snow and the temperatures were close to the 50s – not really ideal.  Will shot 5, but lost 4 (they ran away, wounded, and he couldn’t track them).  But I still had house guests.  I was just thankful I could have them.  We have had a couple of different viruses moving through our house the last two weeks.  I’ve even been fighting a weird, sinus-y thing.  I’m not sick, but I can tell I’m not 100%, either.  But, by the time the guests came, everybody was healthy.  Nathanael, Janie, and Sean came Thursday evening and stayed until Sunday evening.  Will was also supposed to come Thursday night but he and Arien were at her sister’s wedding rehearsal and it went very late, so Will ended up staying at his apartment that night, instead. 

Friday night was the wedding so the guys went straight from the fields to the church.  I didn’t smell anything rank, so maybe they all were able to wash up in there somewhere. 

The wedding was absolutely beautiful.  Our church really decorates quite a bit at Christmas and the bride took full advantage of that.  Our trees are all done in red and gold.  So she then had white tulle-wrapped tables on stage with many, many candles in glass pillars.  And then down the aisle she had white Christmas lights wrapped in white tulle.  So pretty.  They each only had one attendant, which is probably the smallest party I’ve ever seen.  The reception was simply chocolate fountains with all kinds of treats to dip into them.  Of course, the bad thing about having small children is that they tend to fling the chocolate all around when eating and I ended up with chocolate on my brand new cardigan (it did wash out).

And weddings…they’re still hard.  After all this time.  Even when it’s for people I like. I was glad to go home.

So then everybody traipsed back to my house for the night – Nathanael, Janie, and Sean, Will and Arien, Jonathan, and Seth (David’s friend).  We made room for them all.  It was fun.  Arien got herself up at 4am both Sat. and Sun. to cook breakfast for the hunters. 

Saturday night I still had a full house and then  Sean got sick – vomited non-stop for several hours.  But by the next morning, he was all sunny smiles again.  Maybe he ate something that didn’t sit quite right. Babies do that sometimes. So, the next day, Sunday, Janie just stayed at my house instead of going to church and to her in-laws, as planned.  Well, Sunday morning, I was standing out in the foyer, taking attendance, and Arien texted me telling me she was down in the bathroom, sick.  Will told me earlier today she still wasn’t feeling too great and he’s got something going on now, too.

Fun times.  And no deer to show for it.  Will even bought himself a brand new deep freezer to hold all the meat we were going to butcher this year.  Oh well – some seasons are like that.  I think he is planning to do a little bit of muzzle loader season, though, so he may get something then. 


David had surgery three or four weeks ago on his nose.  That went fine.  We saw the ENT on a Tuesday and he said David needed to have the nose reset asap, before it set on its own and would have to be re - broken.  He wanted to do it two days later.  Well, the MCO David has through Medicaid was set to expire two days later.  They were pulling out of the Medicaid system (what a nightmare that has been).  The nurse told me there was “no way” they’d give approval for surgery this close to the pull out date.  So, I kind of figured David might end up having to have his nose re-broken and a later surgery date.  But the next morning we had approval and David had the surgery less than 24 hours later after that. 

It all went fine.  I thought it was kind of cute how David clung to my hand when they inserted the IV (twice – the nurse couldn’t get it the first time).  He was kind of miserable for the next few days, but he recovered.  Now he has a nice straight nose again. 

Now, maybe we can get his senior pictures done…before he gets his wisdom teeth out.
 I had some reporters from Channel 5 show up at my house a couple of weeks ago.  I was in the basement folding laundry when the kids told me that someone was at the door for me.  I assumed it was a resident, wanting to pay their water bill or something.  So I came up and it’s a tv reporter and a camera guy!  They started talking and it was so cold and windy that night that I suggested they just come in the house.  My house was not super neat, though.  Sam had the flu and was half naked on the couch.  Oh, well.  They were there because a man with a Swan address had just been arrested after he used a cattle prod on his kids for discipline.  I had read that on Facebook  the day before – kind of a knuckleheaded move on his part.  I tried to explain to the reporters, though, that this man does not live in the city of Swan – he’s out in the countryside. Furthermore, I don't know him or the facts of the case, so I didn't feel comfortable addressing the situation directly on camera.  Well, they still wanted a statement from me.  Must have been a slow news night.  So, they stood me in front of the Christmas tree while the girls are bouncing up and down beside me (“We’re going to be on tv!  We’re going to be on tv!”), shone a bright camera light in my eyes,  and asked me questions like, “Did I think this was an appropriate use of a cattle prod?” and “How would you feel if something did that to your kids?”  Give me a break…

I ended up being the lead story that night.  Well, not me, but me talking about the lead story.  They used something I said about how sometimes discipline does require a certain amount of creativity, but parents should always be mindful about realizing where creativity ends and abuse starts.  And then they quoted me saying that I would hope nobody would do that to my own kids (duh – what kind of question was that?).  They spelled my name right on the evening news, even though they described me, “a mother of  three.”  That’s the second time I’ve been ambushed and interviewed by that news station in the last decade.  There might be a reason that they are at the bottom of the rating polls as far as tv news broadcasts go.
 Bella bit me last week – first time ever.  We have this tomcat we’ve been feeding since summer.  He’s really gotten to be annoying and big now (like the size of a dog) but I would feel bad if I started refusing to feed him after we’ve been doing it for so long.   Maybe he’ll get run over or something, which will solve my problem.  He stands outside the mud room doors (glass) and yowls until we feed him.  He also attempts to shoot into the mudroom any time the doors are opened.  One day he came in and jumped on top of Bella which frightened her to death.  One of the kids got him off her and back outside, but apparently, she was traumatized.  Now, she goes out in the mudroom and if he is on the other side of the door, she sits right where he is, stares at him and growls.  Well, the other day I went to take him some food.  I knew he wasn’t going to bother her if he knew I had the food.  So I go to open the door, food in hand, and Bella refuses to move.  Her body was like a cement block.  Then, she reaches over and nips at my foot.  I go to open the door again and this time she chomps down on my foot.  I finally realized that she either was scared for herself or thought she was protecting the rest of us.  So, now I only feed the tomcat when Bella is not in the mudroom.
 Tomorrow morning I go see the podiatrist about my bunions.  They are getting to the point I have to do something.  Man – am I old or what, when bunions become a topic of conversation?  But, when your feet hurt – they hurt.  I also have an appointment at the Kia dealership to get a new ignition something or other put in my van.  My mechanic said it’s a key issue.  Kia says it is not a key issue, but an ignition thingy issue.  I just hope it’s not expensive.  I’ve had trouble ever since I bought the van with a “sticky” ignition.  There are times the key simply will not turn over and it has always felt like I have to use a certain amount of pressure to get it to turn over at all.  I always meant to take it to the dealership, but never got around to it.  So, last week I was sitting in the UPS store parking lot when the key absolutely refused to budge.  I didn’t know what to do, if I needed to call AAA or just wait and see if it would start later.  Finally, I thought to pray and what I said was, “If you just let this turn over I’ll drive straight to the dealership!”  And wouldn’t you know it – the key turned over immediately.  So – guess where I went next?!
A week and a half ago was the Single Parent Provision Christmas dinner.  And guess who was one of the speakers?  Ahem…

This fall, when thinking about the dinner, I felt an impression on my heart that sometime, someday, I would probably be speaking at one of these.  Now, I don’t really know why that thought came to me.  It’s not like I’m a public speaker.  I have only ever been asked to speak at things at my church and that’s only been a couple of times.  Regardless, that thought popped into my head and just as quickly left.  But when I received a phone call a few weeks later from the head of SPP asking me to consider speaking, I remembered.  And that’s why I was able to immediately tell her that yes, I could this.

Even though there would be over 500 moms and another 100 or so workers in the room.

Even though I get tongue tied in small groups of people.

And it went just fine.  I wasn’t the only speaker and I didn’t have to come up with a 30 min. presentation.  There were three of us sitting on stools on the stage, talking about our stories and certain “moments” on our single parenting journey. I was nervous – but it still went well.  Afterwards, a number of people came up to me and told me how much they appreciated hearing my story.  I assume they did that to the other speakers, too.

After Paul died I remember praying that God would use his death for good.  This was one of those “good” things I prayed for.

I am feeling more and more of an urge to get involved in the single parenthood community and I’m not sure where that is coming from.  Part of it scares me because someday I would like to think I’ll get married again and if I start doing something in the single parent community does that mean I am slashing my chances of remarriage because I’ll lose some of my credibility with other single moms once I get remarried?  Or, am I thinking too much?

One thing I may do once school is over is to join one of the numerous Bible studies for single moms that SPP does throughout the school year.  They meet on Wednesday nights at different churches.  I haven’t attended my own church on a Wed. night since I went back to school.  I really have no desire to start attending again once I am finished with school.  I just don’t really care for Wed. night services or the prayer time (not that I dislike prayer – I’m just not a big fan of doing it with others.  Besides, it seems like more time in spent in chit chat than anything else).  I guess I’ll find out the particulars and see if it will work.  We live out a ways and I’d have to see if it is even feasible.  I don’t know.  It’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately.

Anyway, I have time to figure it out.
 This week all I have time for is getting ready for Christmas.  Yesterday and today I wrapped up my shopping for that.  Tomorrow I have to get groceries and then Friday I’ll take the kids out so they can buy for each other.  That ought to be fun (not really).  

I was thinking of taking the kids ice skating Sunday afternoon but it sounds like the temperatures are going to be pretty frigid that day.  With all of us barely back into the land of good health again, I’m not crazy about risking that. Or broken bones.  None of us have ever ice skated before.  Maybe we’ll go look at Christmas lights instead.  I found a website that highlights areas of the metro where they are especially  nice.  And then I bought “A Christmas Story” which I haven’t seen in years, so we’ll watch that together.

It’s still hard, this doing Christmas without Paul.  But I don’t think I’m dreading it like I have in past years, either.  So, I guess that’s good.  Maybe I’m like the ice skating I just mentioned above.  You can picture the skaters that have fallen flat on their rear ends or even face.  Eventually, they manage to sort of get to their feet again, but they’re kind of bent over and wobbly for awhile.

That’s me – bent over and wobbly.

But at least I’m getting up.



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