Sunday, March 29, 2015

Learning to let go...

I just experienced my last spring break vacation with my last child.  He will finish high school in 2 short months and go to college after the summer.   The magical mystery tour of being parent to children at home will be over.  Yeah, I know they will come home but mine, for some reason, leave and do not move back.  They visit and we talk but it is very rare for them to spend more than a couple of weeks at home between gigs.

This year, another mother and I volunteered to be the cooks and "bottle washers" for the Varsity and JV baseball team  for the spring break trip. There were about 22 teenage boys. We were to feed the team, keep them hydrated and make sure they were okay.  In other words, be "Mom" while they were away from theirs.

As I was preparing for the trip, I began to realize what is about to happen.  My son will be leaving the nest in 2 months.  My days will not be based on getting home to make dinner for the family and the house will be empty if Jim is not home.  We are going to have to become a team of him and I because that is what we are going to be.  Might as well not fight it but make the best of the time left.

As we drove to Arizona, we talked and we dreamed and we counted our blessings.  We disagreed about plans and tried to figure out how it all should be.  Then, as time wore on and the miles went by, we rested into a comfortable silence.  We didn't need to talk and just looked at the passing scenery.  I began to think of how things will be when we are alone again.  It wasn't such a sad feeling as it has been in the past.  It was certainly bittersweet as I pondered where all the time has gone.  But then I began to think about all the things we got to do when they were growing up and cherished the memories.

We arrived in Arizona on Sunday night and began our "vacation".  The team arrived around dinner time and I put out 15 pounds of pulled pork that I made along with salads and desserts.  They ate it up and each one thanked me and told me it was good.  I smiled to myself and thought about how I am going to miss that.  The days turned into baseball, taping sore muscles, tending to boys that are not quite as together as they seem and listening to who they are.  They are good boys, negotiating high school and baseball, girls and themselves and who they are and who they wish to be.  They are deep and shallow, clean and dirty...growing and thinking they are all grown up.  It is an amazing transformation that kids negotiate at this time and I got to spend a week watching it. 

They played some good and not so good baseball on beautiful fields.  They played basketball and swam in the pool when they had free time.  They ate and ate and ate and I swear some of them were taller when we left than when they came.  

We did most dinners out on the patio by the grill.  The boys would go through the line and fill their plates and then sit down.  After they got settled, I played waitress...asking them if they needed anything else or brought them a drink or a napkin because they forgot.  It made me feel good.

I have spent a long time fighting change and feeling anxious about it.  But, for some reason, this time,  I am a little better.  Now, don't get me wrong...I will be sobbing when the time comes to say good bye to my boy but for now, I don't want to clutter my brain with worry.  It is coming whether I worry or not.  We have them, they grow up and they leave.  If we are lucky...it is that easy.  Sometimes it's not.

So as usual...I have unsolicited advice.  Life is long and hard and busy...but then it's not.  It slows down.  That's when, for me, the regrets come.  I shoulda stopped and played more, I shoulda held them longer and kissed them more.  I shoulda...and if I knew then what I know now, I  woulda.

This time, as this one gets ready to fly to coop, I am not going to say I shoulda.  I kiss him a lot (more than he wants me to) and I spend any time I can get looking at him and loving him.  I also kiss the other two when they show up...a lot...and I kiss and hug their friends too.  I am not going to miss a second of this time.

I believe we are supposed to love in this lifetime and it will change everything.  I saw it last week with the baseball team.  I loved them, I tended to them and I fed them well...that's how I love and it was great.  

So, life is life and every day, we have a choice on how to respond to it...

I say love...love...love!

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A tribute to a co-worker...

Day in and day out, at some time or another, I talk to someone about the end of their life.  I explain the choices, try very hard not to interject what I think and answer questions.  My husband tells me time and time again that I have a "warped' view of life because of it.  I am beginning to think he is right.

Death is such a part of my life, that I wonder how I will do when it comes to me.  I hope I will be calm, level headed and able to handle things...but hell, I'm not that now so why would I think I was going to change?

Like I have said many times before, I get a ring side seat to the worst and the best of life.  I get a gift almost every day to watch families explode apart and come together again and make things work.  Actually, most of the time, I am in awe of the folks I care for the strength they have.

It's a wonderful job but it takes a toll on a nurse.  My compadre...my buddy, the one that  helps me care for this side of town decided she was going to get another job.  She was ready to have time to do the things she loved and not work or be thinking about her work 24/7.  When she called me to tell me, I started to cry and so did she.  I am sad to lose her to another place because her patients loved her dearly and when I covered for her, the visit was all about how awesome of a nurse and a person she is.  I have to admit that I got jealous at times and told them to tell her they liked me better!  

But, I totally understand.  Being a nurse, and even moreso, being a hospice nurse, you have to be all in.  You have to put your heart and soul into the folks you care for because  if it were you...you  would want nothing less.  

That's what my friend, my co-worker, my toe nail cuttin' buddy and my happy hour girl did.  She put her heart, her soul and then some into her patients...until there was nothing left. 

Sometimes, after a particularly difficult situation, there is not enough "comfort" to make it through.  I believe that and I know that even I need to work harder and finding comfort  in other places than what I do now.  I also need to know when to say I need a break so I don't have to leave.  That, though, is easier said than done.

It's funny, as I read this, I could be talking about any nurse that I work with.  We work hard and want only the best for our patients and sometimes it consumes us.  It's easy to spot who is ready to crack and who is doing well.  

But again, it is a choice.  I don't have to do this kind of nursing if it is eating me up inside.  I can make a choice to find something else that will feed my soul.  That's what my buddy is doing.  She is not bitter and not negative...she is real and she is making good decisions for her life and her family.  I admire her so much for that.  The problem is, I am going to miss her...her heart, her smile and her awesome way of going above and beyond to care.  

So, my friend, I will miss you a lot...I will be ready to do happy hour after toe nails, and will tell every nurse that I meet what an awesome nurse I worked with in the last year.  May you paint and cook and raise chickens and love your son and husband and be present in every moment with what you love.  God knows you've made my life better by knowing you!

Take care of yourself, friend and let's get together soon.

We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,