Saturday, August 10, 2013


I'm sitting here on my back porch waiting for my daughter to come home.  She has been in Guatemala for the summer and I haven't seen her for 12 weeks.

I remember the first night I had her at home, fell asleep in my bed, and when I woke up, Jim had her wrapped like a taco in her little blanket on his chest in bed.  I was so moved by how he was holding her...comforting her and I knew we were never going to be the same.  And we were not and still are not!  We were connected back then, committed to raising a good person and that was that.  We knew we would love her, but we didn't understand the depth of that love, that soul jarring, soul changing love that is indescribable.

Then they grow up.  The decide they want to do things that you would rather they did not do.  From swimming, to band to a nose piercing...and you figure out the best way to deal with stuff.  I always wonder if I did okay...if I said too much (of course) or if I should have let them just figure it out without my opinion.

I remember when she was looking at college, I so wanted her to be close...to go to CSU or CU so I could visit and I would be able to know what was going on.  She picked CU and I was so happy...an hour and one half away if I jumped in the car.  But summers were different...she worked at a camp three hours away and I saw her once.  That wasn't in the bargain.  I missed her terribly and wished she just got a job closer.  The saving grace was I still had the two boys at home to fuss over and love too much.

Then this summer...the choices were Africa, where she applied for an internship but did not get it or Guatemala.  I was trying my hardest to be a big girl and be supportive but I really wanted her close...so I could see her...hang with her every so often.  Then she picked Guatemala and I knew I needed to support her.  Whenever she would ask my what I thought, I would tell her it was her call, that she needed to go out and experience things...and what I didn't say is, "what about your mother!"

So she did it and she is coming home and I am sure she is a different person.  When you live with nothing, serving others for nothing in return...how does that not change you?  

I thought about her today when I went to see a patient that is not going to be with us too much longer.  After the crisis was averted and the patient was settled down, I told the family it was time to "love him up."  The wife and the daughter sat down next to him and started to tell him things, taking turns...

The wife told him what a wonderful husband he was and how it was okay for him to go...how they were going to miss him but he didn't need to stay for them.  Then the daughter reached up and kissed him on the cheek and whispered things in his ear.  In his less than responsive state, he turned to her, opened his eyes wide and smiled. She continued on through a veil of tears talking about how much she appreciated him and how lucky she was to have him as her father.  The daughter is young, not even out of her twenties, and it is obvious that they adored each other.  

I walked into the kitchen to give them some privacy and gather myself.   The grandmother was pouring coffee and offered me a cup to which I accepted...then she said,  "I lost my husband 10 years ago and this brings so much back.  Life is so hard, actually, it is always hard and when you have a time when something is good, you have to remember that and let it sustain you through the rest of it".  I agreed with her...sipped my coffee and thought about what she said.

I see death...I do death...on a daily basis.  I help folks die and I help folks love their dying ones out here.  I love my job, I love being with people when they need comfort, strength and sometimes to truth even when hearing it is devastating.  

It is a connection...a bond between hearts, souls and what's in between.  I thought more about what that grandma said.  Life is so hard and sometimes I make it harder by wasting time with things that I have no control over...like where my kid goes to college and if she experiences life different than I think she should...or, God forbid...she has a nose piercing!

The best thing about my job is I become humbled every single day...every single home I walk into and every single person that thinks different that I do.  Humbled like I was today.

 I am so excited to see my kid but she mentioned next summer, in passing, and I already reacted with a bit of a negative comment.

Then I lived through this morning and realized that we all must do what makes our heart sing, what we feel called to do or what we have the gifts to do...and if that is living in a South American country serving folks...well I guess I will have to get a credit card for air miles, huh?

I am sure her plane is on the ground in Denver and in about an hour, I will have my arms wrapped around her trying to remember that grandma's words, "Life is always hard, and when you have a time that something is good, you have to remember that and let it sustain you through the rest of it".  Then I will wrap them tighter until she asks me to stop....and I won't.

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The last post from the vagabond...

My Queen arrives home to my house a week from today.  She is done "bumming around" Guatemala and will be headed back to her senior year in college.  She has been writing a blog weekly or so about her thoughts as she served in a third world country.  This is the last in the series and I am so mixed about her coming home. Not because I don't want to see her but because it seems like even though she worked so hard...she was served by the people.  The laughter and love that she got from her little "family" in Guatemala is a memory that will sustain her in the hard times of life.  I know she is a different girl now than when she left and I am so proud of her...

Here's the post:

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Friday, August 2, 2013

Being at peace with change...

The first Friday in August, since 2006,  one or more of my children would begin band camp.  In 2006, I dropped off the Queen at the high school at 9 am and told her I didn't want her doing this...I didn't want her to be in marching band.  I told her it would take too much time, and I didn't think it was worth it.  When I picked her up that afternoon, she was so excited that she was part of that group and off we went.  In 2010, she was in front of the band...leading them.  She marched for all four years of high school and is a senior in college and is planning on marching there this year too.

My middle son was a harder sell.  I remember my daughter talking to him on that first Friday of August in 2008 about how fun it was going to be.  He was very sceptical and told her so.  They left the house with her saying, "Okay, if you don't love it after today, I will let you quit."  Well, you guessed it...he was all in after day one.  He too, marched his whole high school career, tried out for Drum Major and is still marching in college.  He just loves the social aspect and playing his instrument.

My youngest  son, as you probably know, marched the Tuba last year and I was over the moon.  He was so impressive in  his uniform with that shiny instrument on his shoulder.  It was a great season for me...

By last season,  my husband was pulling the band trailer full of instruments to competitions and I was feeding the masses with my committee.  We, my husband and I, were all in and because I was so busy being all in...I didn't notice that my youngest son...wasn't.

He's really not a complainer and he worked hard and showed up for all that he needed to.  I was convinced in my mind that he was like his sister and brother...a real musician at heart and marching band was one way to express that.

The third week of June is the first taste of band camp for the upcoming school year.  I got a phone call from him after about day 2 of camp..."Ma, I wanna quit band and I am going right now to talk to the director."  I put him off saying he needed to come home and talk to me about it and that I didn't understand...

He came home and we sat down on the couch in the living room and he explained why.  He had valid reasons and he was interested in trying new things and taking harder classes and things like that.  Because I love band so much and watching my kids play music, I was categorically against it.  He was staying in band and that was that.  He went the next day and didn't mention it again.  I was so relieved that "he" decided he would stay...

The next day, he came to me again and said he really didn't want to do band his junior year.  He wanted to play baseball, take up golf, work on the truck with his father and do other things, I finally listened.  He wanted to be his own person and he has been trying to differentiate himself from his siblings without a fuss.  Since I can't deal well with change, I wanted him in the mold of the last two.  No changing and being himself here...

Well, today is the beginning of band camp for the school year...and guess who is still in bed.  My other two would have been leaving the house about now, so excited about marching another year.  They would have come home sun burnt and fall asleep on the couch from being on their feet, in the sun, marching and learning a lot of new info.  I would have woken them up for dinner and heard the whole day...the music, the show, the people in their section, who can march and who needs work and how the year was going to be. 

This year is going to be different though.  I will not be planning menus to feed 140, being on call all of August so I could not be on call in September and October...

It's okay though...really.  Am I going to miss the work?  Sure I will and I will miss the kids...but I also have to hand it to my son for pushing the point and letting my know who he is.  I am not an easy person to go against and I heard that time and time again when I told other parents that my boy wasn't in band this year.  "That must have been really hard for your son to tell you" they said.  "You love band and he must have really been worried about what you would think." 

I guess I was a lunatic at times.  But I was so proud of the hard work that the kids do.  And, if you ever see your kid march a show in competition, see them come off the field with a gleam in their eye and the confidence that they did the very best they could, you understand what I mean. 

Here's the thing, I got the privilege of that feeling for 7 years and it never got old.  Never...Sometimes, I would cry from the intensity of the feelings of pride for the kids...it moved me that much.

But, it's really okay and actually, it is gonna be good.  I am going to get to spend more time with my boy one on one.  I did all that volunteering so that I could spend time with my kids and rarely did I spend but a minute or two with them.  It was spent on the whole gang, and the other parents.  I have to admit, it was a very social time for me.

So today, I will let him sleep in, and make pancakes for him
when he gets up and we will talk about the plans of the day.  There are things he has to do...things to take care of, like summer homework, changing his schedule at high school to another class and figuring out fall baseball season. 

I guess what I am saying is, if he is at peace with this change then I need to be too.  But, for anyone who knows me...I have to work on it.

Life is funny isn't it?  I deal with dying folks and people who are looking at time in days or hours or even minutes and I am worrying about my son's social life or maybe I am more worried about mine...

I guess I am a lunatic, huh?

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,