And Take The Rest As It Happens

Make the best use of what is in your power, and take the rest as it happens.
~ Epictetus

No one ever told me how emotionally devastating it is to send your child off to college.  I’ve watched it portrayed on television, in movies and I’ve watched my sister struggle through the emotional circus but I just never expected it to feel like this.   There is this quiet understated connection and bond between a mother and her only child.  I’ve never expressed this to anyone except my husband but I knew when I had my daughter those 18 years ago, she would be my one and only.   We would navigate life together.  And we did.

I love our relationship.  It’s honest, sometimes complicated, and sometimes tumultuous but mostly its loving, full of trust, respect and mutual admiration.   Most who know me will tell you I was a strict momma.  I’d like to think I was a fun mom as well but I have to admit, I had rules.  I believe in guidelines, boundaries, cultivating self-respect, self-motivation and self-confidence.   I was criticized at times for those rules and guidelines but in the end it paid off and I’m sending a confident, motivated, kind young woman into the world.   She will make her own way, create her own success, make her own mistakes but I know she has the inner strength to make it on her own and I will be there when she needs a hug and little support.

I can’t keep her at home for forever but there are days I wish I could.  I will miss how she fills every space she enters with light and warmth (except in the morning because she’s not a morning person).  I will miss her sassy personality, her smile, her laughter but I won’t miss her dirty room.

We are blessed, the two of us, because what seemed like a road we were destined to travel alone became a road traveled with a family.   We’re blended and we’re awesome…two big sisters, one little brother and a very cool step-dad.  God gave Aubrey and I each other and life gave us a whole family.

So, despite the fact that I am not ready to let my little girl go, she’s ready and as we face this new road together, I’m grateful for all we have been given and all that will come.

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Strained Potential

My Running Partner, Wrigley

I went for a run a few weeks ago, I love to run, and after training for and running in a recent half-marathon, was feeling p-r-e-t-t-y good about my 40 something self.   I started running when I was 14 and although I went through periods where I didn’t run at all, I always came back to it.  Running is a gift to myself.  I feel strong, I feel empowered, I feel beautiful and I feel in control and that makes me happy.

I started on my run with my favorite tunes in my ear, a little Lenny K, a little Uninvited, a little Pitbull and I’m rocking’ the miles away.  I began to feel the burn in my thighs, the heat on my shoulders and the hot wind in my face.  Yes, I’m killing those miles in my big, baggy running shorts, my old gray tank and my lucky Chicago Cubs ball cap.  To complete my glamorous athletic look, I have short hair so if you live in my neighborhood and see what appears to be a young boy with a red face running down the street, it’s probably me.  Nevertheless, I’m still running those miles and mentally patting myself on the back for pushing my body to this level at my age.  My head was high and my spirits even higher.

And then, out of nowhere, in about mile three, with sweat dripping like a water faucet from my forehead and the sound of a horse pulling a plow in a heat wave coming from my upper body; a beautiful 20 something girl with the grace of a Gazelle and the body of a Greek Goddess breezes by me in what resembled a lovely little booty short and sports bra ensemble.  Shit!  Really?  Now?  While I was in my non-glamour power mode?  I believe I then subconsciously lifted my shoulders high and strong, wiped the sweat off my face, took a deep breath and acted as if this was a Sunday afternoon walk.  I ran so hard and fast I thought I might faint.  Miss booty shorts was obviously running my same route so after considering my ever climbing heart rate, I conveniently took a side street detour and doubled back at a slower pace.

I ran another mile and stopped to laugh. I laughed at myself and at how ridiculous I probably looked but inside I felt great.  I’m no longer a svelte 20 something, but I am the 40 something I want to be.  It’s hard work but the benefit overflows into other parts of my life.  I think it makes me a better mother, a better wife and a better professional at my job.  I read a quote recently that in many ways sums this up…

“I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy”, Og Mandino.

Now go find something that will strain your potential ladies and don’t worry about the booty shorts.  Inside you will feel like a sexy 20 year old with the world at your fingertips.  Baggy running shorts and all.

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My Finish at the Half-Marathon!

Transitioning With Your Teen

Our relationships with our children follow a natural path of growth and transition as they grow older and frankly as we grow older…oh how I miss those days when my daughter would wake up and crawl into bed to snuggle with me. Her petite face pressed against mine and her tiny arm gently draped across me as if to say, “I love my mommy soooo much”. Well the times are a changin’ that’s for sure.

I miss those days but I completely adore the young woman she has become and though I wish for more snuggles and warm hugs, I understand her need for independence. The affection comes in very different ways now; we talk about school, friends, her future aspirations, getting ready for college, cars, boys, etc. I get long hugs (that I cherish) when things aren’t going her way and only a hug will make it better. It’s a hodge podge of emotions and topics in our house but I embrace all of it trying to pack it into the files of my mind so that I can bring them out to remember when she is off on her own.

I think it really hit me this year when Halloween came and left and we had no little ones to walk down the street in their scary array of Halloween garb and bags rustling with loads of cavity causing edibles. I admit my eyes did get a bit misty over it all but its part of the transition and although my little girl is transitioning, so am I.

I’ve decided to embrace this transition because as sad as I am at losing my little girl, I’m thrilled to be gaining a beautiful new friend; I am blessed to be the one to walk beside her and support her as she follows her dreams and becomes the woman she wants to be.

Hard-Core Happy About Life

I watched an awesome video this week of my nephew, Sebastian, who had just learned to ride a bike.  My brother posted it on Facebook which allowed our family to share in the momentous occasion.  I miss my family and I miss my little Sebas; only just six years old and passionate about absolutely everything and I’m not embellishing, this kid is hard-core happy about life! 

What struck me like a big thump on the head (and the heart) was the way in which my brother handled Sebastian’s triumphant success on his bicycle.  You see, Sebastian was doing fantastic and then, as bicycle riders in training often do, had a bit of a nasty spill and hit the ground hard.  You could hear my brother in the background saying “Doing good, doing good….oh, and there he goes, takes a spill and keeps on going!”  And then you hear my brother yell at the top of his vocal chords…”You go Sebas, good job buddy!”  And off my nephew rides, so proud of himself and clearly thrilled that Dad was standing close to cheer him on. 

What I witnessed in the video was a father so deeply engaged in his child’s life that his six-year-old was able to recover from a disappointing fall, dust himself off and regain control of his bike.  No tears, no tantrums, just a face of determination.   Little Sebastian displayed pure confidence and resilience; two qualities found in children who are taught to believe in themselves and who watch their parents’ daily example of confidence and resilience. 

The bike wasn’t going to get the best of Sebastian and you could see it on his face.  At the end of the video, he looked up with a grin that spread from ear to ear.   It was beautiful and not just because it was my completely adorable nephew, but because you could see the future in that face…hard-core happy about life and the beginnings of a really great man.  

Good job little brother.