Surviving early and unexpected widowhood, single parenting, adoption, special needs parenthood...I cover it all as I muse on the unexpected twists and daily minutia of my life. It's also a place where I can publicly echo the words of the psalmist in Psalm 40:2, "He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock and established my goings."
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should avoid growing long nails: nurses, pianists, gardeners…masseuses…
Indeed. I finally got in today and had a massage.
My lower back has been especially tight lately and I’m still fighting
the sciatic pain I’ve been dealing with for the past 15 months. I had a good masseuse today, but she had
nails! And there were several times
those nails got me. I had to take Advil
when I got home. Well, that really
wasn’t so much for all the nail nicks.
That was more just because she persisted in kneading into my sore spots,
of which I have plenty. As I was laying
there getting pummeled it occurred to me that this is what needs to happen in
the grief process. Rather than arch back
and try to avoid the pain, you have to “lean into” it. If you don’t get those painful spots worked
out then they just get bigger.
And the reason
grief is on my mind right now is because this has been a very difficult week
for the Pville community. Two moms died
within 48 hours of each other late last week. Both each
had two children in the schools, both unexpected deaths. The community is just reeling. When your
entire school system is comprised of only 600-700 students, it’s tight. I didn’t know the one mom. I recognize her last name, but I didn’t know
her family at all. She was 44 and I’ve
been told she was killed by a stroke. That hits home.
And then the
other one…I knew. Everybody knew
Kim. She grew up in Pville and used to
coach the high school girls’ softball team.
She was the vice president of the bank in town. Her husband is the business manager at the
school and several relatives teach there.
One son is a high school freshman.
The other is in Sam’s class. They came to Ben’s graduation party a
couple of years ago. She broke her
ankle or foot a couple of weeks ago and had to have surgery. Last Friday she died of a pulmonary embolism. She was my age. Sam and I went to her visitation Wednesday
night. The line stretched out the
funeral home, down the driveway and down the sidewalk. We waited for an hour and a half to get in the
building. I finally reached her husband and
he pulled me into a big hug and whispered to me, “Now, I know. Now I know.” Or something along those lines. He was talking into my deaf ear. Maybe he was saying, "You're standing on my toe." Anyway, yeah…it’s a sad and hard club you join once you do.
I was so proud of
Sam. This classmate of his has been a
bit of a problem, off and on, for the past couple of years. This year the bullying reached a point where
I had to contact the elementary principal.
His parents must have come down hard on him because Sam says he hasn’t
had a bit of problem with the classmate since.
That’s a relief to me, but now that he is dealing with grief I wonder if
some of the old behaviors will flare again.
And then what do I do? Best to not borrow trouble, I guess. Anyway, I told Sam what had happened and his
mind immediately begin flying with what he could do for his classmate. He was devastated for this boy. He finally opted to write him a letter. When he sat down to do it he asked me for
some verses of comfort references and then he laboriously printed them out in
his letter. He just encouraged this
classmate that things won’t always be this hard. It could have been so easy for Sam to feel a
sense of satisfaction that finally, the shoe was on the other foot, and now bad
things were happening to this kid who has, historically, not been all that nice
to him. But there was none of that.
life is so hard.
Sara and the
girls came down yesterday afternoon. We
hung around here for a little bit and then went out to Jordan Creek like we
always do when they are here. All was
fine – we had a nice time. It was
lightly raining when we drove out to the mall and it was still raining when we
left around 8:30. But as we drove it
began to hail! It was so bad that I
finally pulled over under an underpass. Then,
it seemed to let up, but hello – the interstate was now pretty icy. I had never put that together before that
hail will make the roads slippery. And then
it started to sleet! So, the short story
is that Sara and the girls ended up spending the night and went home this
morning. It was actually snowing some
when we woke up but now it’s just a light rain.
When I got home
Will was in my living room watching basketball with Jonathan and Sam. Then, when David got home from work all the
guys went over to Will’s house with Ben’s Playstation and I guess stayed up
until 1 this morning playing Madden football on Will’s 60”. Guy time.
kind of a crazy day. I did my shopping
that day, including clothes shopping for Lizzie for summer (which seems like a
long, long time away from now). I was in
line checking out at Walmart when Ben called me from work. He told me that he had hurt his chin and it
wouldn’t stop bleeding. And then he hung
up. I wasn’t sure what that was all
about, but figured it if it was important he'd call back. He did.
I asked him to give the phone to a co-worker. She ended up using her phone to text me a
picture of his chin to see what I thought.
He had stumbled and cracked his chin on a shopping cart handle. I told her we’d probably better have it
looked it. So, there I was, about 50
min. away from Knoxville where Ben was.
I finally had David go down to Knoxville, pick up Ben from work, and
take him to the ER located in Knoxville.
Then, I drove straight to the hospital after finishing checking out and
met up with them, had David take the
bags that had ice cream in them home.
Fortunately, David’s friend, Seth, had been at our house all day, hanging
out, so he watched Sam and Ellie for me so David could run Ben to the ER. Anyway – they ended up just gluing Ben’s chin
shut. It looks like he has a bit of a
soul patch there now. That was also the
night of the visitation Sam and I went to.
It was a very long, very tiring day.
I ordered my
graduation present the other day – from me to me. Other than my bed, it’s the most expensive piece
of furniture I’m going to own. But I
love it, love it, love it. I can’t wait
for it be built and arrive.
It’s an Amish
made Hoosier cabinet. I have always
wanted a hoosier cabinet and when Paul re-did our kitchen he did so, making a
specific place for the cabinet we were going to get someday. After he died it occurred to me that I could
just go buy one now, but I no longer had the heart. Last fall I began to reconsider and began to
think that maybe I could muster up the desire now. So, I began to look around in recent months,
but I haven’t been able to find exactly what I want. A few weeks ago it occurred to me that I
should check Craig’s List again. If I
were to find something local I had some time that day that I could go
look. I wonder if God was nudging me –
but maybe it was just my own desire. I
don’t know. I did actually find one on
Craig’s List, but it wasn’t local so I wasn’t going to be able to look at it
that day. But I pulled out the tape
measure and I realized that the spot where I intended to put the cabinet was
not going to work with most Hoosiers.
They have tops that extend out close to 3 feet. That would make the entrance into the kitchen
tight. Hmmm…So, anyway, I began to do
some research on-line and found this company that sends their orders to Amish
shops around the country. They had a
hoosier design that just happened to be $100 cheaper that day, plus they were
offering free shipping, which is a $200 value.
The sales rep I talked to said that “never happens!” Maybe, maybe not. I researched the company and they seem pretty
solid. In the end, I ordered it unpainted
and unvarnished. That would have been another
$1200 to get the cabinet just like it looked in the picture. So, I will do that myself. I’ve been doing some research on “antique-y”
paints and I’ve found something called “milk paint” that is sold, pre-mixed on
Amazon and I’m going to try that. I
think I’m also going to replace the wooden knobs with reproduction glass ones.
It is supposed to
take 2-3 months for the cabinet to arrive.
I have a feeling it will arrive that week before David’s graduation
party and then I’m going to want to get it all painted that week before everyone
comes out for his party! But I won’t. It will be my summer project.
So, anyway – I’m
excited! I remind myself that things are always temporal and it’s not
wise to get too attached. One fire or
tornado will demolish this expensive cabinet to rubble. But even recognizing that still doesn’t seem
to damper my enthusiasm for my present.
Now I have to
make sure I actually graduate! Five more
I am finally in
my Creative Writing class that I have been looking forward to for over a
year. And much to my disappointment…we’re
going to have write poetry. Blech. I
actually used to write poetry as a teenager, but it was always free verse and I’m
afraid I’m going to be asked in this class to follow specific formats. But this week we had to come up with a flash
fiction piece and that was kind of fun.
Will got my new
ceiling up in the living room this week – more planking to match the dining
room. So today I am staining it. My overhead light has not been hung back up
yet and the sky is so gray today that it is kind of hard to see what I am
doing, even in the middle of the day!
David went to the Timothy retreat up at camp.
This is a retreat for young men who are open to/exploring the
possibility of future ministry. Only 14
young men in the entire state registered for this thing, which surprised
me. David did not want to go. He felt like he should, but he kept coming up
with these excuses as to why he didn’t think he was going to be able to make
it. That is so unlike him. That morning he told me he thought he was
coming down with a cold and should probably stay home. I just gave him “the look.” He went.
And he said later he knew it was Satan trying to keep him home. Our church always has camp attendees share
testimonies of what they learned when they came home. David stood up in front of the church and was
really honest. He told the congregation
that he’s been sensing for some time that God has something ministry-wise
planned for him. Last summer he definitely
felt like he was experiencing some sort of “call” on his life while at Senior
High camp. But, he said, he has no idea
of what this is going to look like yet.
And that’s just
it. I cannot see him making it through a
four year college with his learning issues.
I know there are other ways to go
into ministry. There is lay ministry and
there are ministry opportunities for those without Bible college degrees. But can a missionary support a wife and family
without supporting churches? And in our
denomination you’re not going to get that kind of support without a 4 year Bible
degree. So…I don’t know. But I keep reminding myself that God
does. He has the details and the “hows” already
David will be up
at camp working again this summer. He is
also planning to be a counselor for Jr. Boys camp, which will be good because
Sam is going that week. I’ll get him
graduated here in two months and then I guess we’ll figure out the next steps,
bit by bit.
Well, tomorrow I
will be 47 years old. I like that
number. I haven’t had a number I liked since
45. I guess that was only two years ago.
48 and 49 don’t excite me, either, so I
guess all I have to look forward to is 50.
And the problem with that…is that it is 50. But I may feel differently in 3 years,
too. I think the reason I like 47 is
because of the ending consonant sounds.
They’re definite and decided – no wishy washiness. Normally, I buy myself a birthday present but
this year there is just nothing I really want right now. Well, I’m toying with the idea of getting a Roomba
vacuum – that style, not that brand. But
I haven’t decided for sure yet. Besides,
I just bought that cabinet. And I owe
Will money for the wood for my ceiling.
That’s enough! I don’t need
stuff. I could use some more time, but
that’s hard to purchase.
all I know. It will be rainy tomorrow –
that much I do know. I have only ever
had a handful of sunny birthdays. It
almost always rains – early spring in the Midwest. That’s what happens.
I’ve got one more
coat to get on a 1 foot wide swath across the ceiling and then I am done. Supper is cooking and the countdown to the
kids’ bedtimes is on. I think I’d like a
bath tonight, too. Sara’s daughter,
Emily, made me some scented, colored bath salts and I would like to relax in
that and relieve the stiffness from yesterday’s massage and today’s painting.
Life is not
bad. And neither is middle age. Am I officially in my late 40s now? I want to ask how that happened, but that answer is that I have, so far, simply avoided dying.
I’ve been a little pre-occupied for the past
couple of weeks. That’s why this blog
post will probably take about 3 hours to read.
A lot has happened in the final weeks of summer. Where to start…well, today is the kids’ first day
of a new school year. I’m tired.It’s allergy season so I wake up periodically
in the night needing to drug myself and then those drugs make me groggy when I
do have to get up.And then the first
day of school means heightened excitement in the kids and so they are up early.
And then yesterday the kids let me know that because I once, sometime in their past,
made them pancakes on the first day of a new school year, I had established a precedent
and they would be sitting at the kitchen counter, syrup in hand tomorrow morning,
thank you very much.So I was up even
earlier this morning so they could have their pancakes. Today there were a lot of parents in the school
building.But tomorrow there won’t
be.It dawned on me sometime last year
that I am one of only a hand…
Wednesday I have to leave in 20 min. to pick up the kids from
school.Ellie, with her escalating
behaviors,causes me to dread this event
every day.I’d keep her there all day and
night long, if I could.More on that
later… Lizzie has been home sick since last Sat.I took her in for a strep test on Monday –
negative.But now she’s been throwing up
since last night.It’s a weird
sickness.Some sort of virus, I
guess.I worked all last week (associate
subbing) and one day I had to leave early because Ellie was sporting a 102 temp
at school.She stayed home one day and
was just fine.Lizzie hasn’t had a temp
yet, so I don’t think hers are the same germs. Guess who is now an officially licensed substitute
teacher?And guess who has her first sub
job next Monday afternoon? This is how it happened.Well, I went back to college…😊 I’ll speed it up a bit! I was getting antsy about my license not
arriving, even though I knew it was supposed to take 6-8 weeks after
submission.So a couple of Saturday
Monday I have been 48 for a week now.I am liking this number.Four folds neatly into 8.I can’t think of another age where that will
happen again.It happened at 24.And, speaking of 24, now my oldest child is
exactly half my age.I think that
happened a little over a year ago, though, too, when he was 23 and I was 46.But the best part of being 48 is that there
is no 7 or 9 involved and that makes me very happy!I know, I know…my number obsession is weird,
especially given that I hate math as much as I do. My birthday itself was great.I had been sick the week before but was
finally feeling more human-like by my big day.I took Sam to the eye dr thatmorning and that afternoon I had to go file the city’s budget.While I was in Kville, I went ahead and
picked up Ben.Then, we all met at Olive
Garden for dinner.Wow – that was
expensive!Fortunately, I did have a
gift card which helped.And then we went
back to the house for presents and cake.I had lots and lots of emails, texts, and FB greetings – it…