It seems like an eternity since I sat here, in this place, writing about my life. A year ago, I was working on recertifying for National Board for Professional Teaching Standards and was knee deep in the aftermath of birthdays, a cruise, a communion, state testing and finishing up that damn box to send away. But I had no idea how many things would change in next 12 months.
My unmarried, childless uncle had a MAJOR health crisis that landed him in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation facilities for the better part of three months. My sister and I, with five kids in tow, had to clean up his mess. It took us from May through December to get everything straightened out: from housing to finances, legal aspects to just general " you're going to be okay, okay?" stuff. A summer from hell would be a very pale description of what those months entailed. In the midst of all these changes, I had no words for this space. That was the hardest part of the change, and the one I found the most difficult to swallow.
In the fall, my already frail mother was diagnosed with an incredible rare form of stomach cancer. Her successful surgery had major complications that landed her (and us) into ICU for a week. The drain of this next challenge, and the physical changes my mother would now be faced with in her recovery made it impossible to sit in front of the computer and write. Six words was all I could manage, some days with incredible difficulty. Again, I would look at my blog, which had once been this source of incredible pride, as something I had abandoned because of life. And if I wrote of these changes, they would be really real. And even though I was living through them, I was not really ready to accept them.
The good news: everyone is okay now. We've experienced some hiccups, but nothing more hair-raising than that.
The real news: Something in me finally clicked and made ME change. Not in some wild, crazy, I am going to run away and join a circus kind of change. But for someone like me, who changes at a turtle's pace, this is BIG.
I've decided that getting older is fine. It's better than the alternative. And I want to be one badass old lady and give my kids years of endless memories. I want to get even and spoil the hell out of my grandchildren. I want to get those kids riled up, sugared up and indignant that their parents don't let them get away with shit, and when it hits the fan, I want to climb into my two-seater convertible and drive off into the sunset, waving and blowing kisses to my angels, planning my next visit.
I've decided to welcome the teeniest of wrinkles that now embrace the outer corners of my eyes when I smile or laugh too hard. I will not find the grays that now spot more areas of my scalp. I will thank the Lord above that I have never had to endure chemotherapy and hair loss at a young age like some of my friends. I have earned every line, wrinkle and gray hair. They are medals of honor. The chest heading south is another story, but hey, that's why we have underwire, padded bras, no?
I am TRYING so VERY HARD to change my mothering. By saying yes more when I can. By living in the moment more. By realizing that this is it. My oldest is on the cusp of adolescence. My baby is starting kindergarten. THESE are the best times. Right now.
I am learning to be who I was meant to be, who I want to be. Not a preconceived notion that I must act this way or another because I am a mother, a wife, a teacher. I am authentic. I should act as such.
The hardest changes are those affecting my children. Each one of them is changing, morphing into these incredible people that can be alternately incredibly sweet or defying difficult. Their physical changes as they mature are hard to witness as a mother who loved the tiny baby stage. Their emotional growth is difficult to keep up with, as I alternate between goddess and devil's mistress. Growing up is hard. For kids. For parents. But oh, what a ride!
The biggest lesson I've learned this year is that change comes, whether you are ready or not. It sometimes helps not to be so dead set against it. It also helps immensely if you have people around you that love you and are willing to assist you. It is extremely important to value the ones you love (and generally make you seven kinds of ape-shit crazy) when you have no crisis at hand, so you are ready for the crisis when it comes. And people, it ALWAYS comes. Trust me.