I didn’t realize when I dropped my daughter off at college in August that the loft bed she was so excited about would be like Mt Everest when she ran a high fever from the flu. I didn’t realize how difficult the hilly 1/2 mile hike to her car would be in order to get herself to Urgent care and when I woke up yesterday I had no idea I would be quietly milking every second of this hotel room so I could let her get some restful sleep. When she called at ten o ‘clock last night to tell me her fever had gone up to 104 and she was too sick to climb out of bed for medicine, my husband and I didn’t think twice. We grabbed a small bag, threw some stuff together, stopped at Walgreens for Gatorade and medicine and started our 3.5 hour journey toward her school. To my amazement, her sweet RA was waiting kindly at the door at 1:30 in the morning to take me up to her room. Here we are a few hours later and I am sitting in this dark room listening to her breathe and grateful she is finally getting some sleep. We never know from day to day what each moment will bring but one thing is for sure, when you’re a mom, you are always ready and waiting to report to duty because that’s just what parents do.
Next year, if you too will be dropping your college student off for the first time, this is your heads up. Stock up on medicine and be ready to answer the call. It will come, most likely in the middle of the night and you will be ready just like we were to do whatever it takes to make sure your almost all grown up kid is okay.
I have been blessed beyond belief and am fortunate enough to have just wrapped up my 46th Christmas. Each year that goes rushing by puts one thing in perspective more than everything else. The greatest gift we could ever be given is time. As each year comes to a close, I force myself to answer the same, simple question. How did you spend the time you were given this year? Last year my answer felt like a physical blow to the place that hurts the most. I spent an entire year wrapped up in a situation that brought nothing but pain, anxiety and severe depression. I had lost myself and I vowed to find my way back to the light inside of me. It had grown dim but I knew it was still there buried beneath the baggage I continued to carry. Put it down Kim and leave it behind. Stop carrying the things that cause you pain. That is what I told myself. I realized that there would be times I felt uncomfortable because I would have no control over a situation I didn’t want to be in so I had to learn to be happy in spite of whatever was going on. I have come a long way but I still have so far to go.
As I look back at this Christmas, I have a clear picture that comes to mind that warms my heart beyond belief. I picture my father sitting in his chair and my mother opposite him on the couch. I am beyond grateful for the gifts they have given me and now more than ever I cherish the one thing they have given to all of us even when they didn’t have another single thing to give…their time. Whether they suffer from broken bones, their own ailments and disease, they are always there to give more than they have, do more than they can and make time in a world where time is surely squandered a little more each passing day. I feel blessed to carry this gratitude into the new year and that I have been given the greatest gift of all, two amazing parents who have taught me that time can be wasted or used in a way that can be so precious. This year I vow to cherish each moment I am given and to use that time to focus on my blessings. I am committed to remembering that each year, each one of us is guaranteed a little less time. Sometimes we forget. We only see what we allow ourselves to look for and this year I hope to look for all that is good. Happy New Year and God bless!
Late last night I got a phone call from my daughter. She was upset about something that happened at school. I was reminded of how many times my own first instinct was to grab the phone and call my own mom or sister in times I was feeling frustrated or troubled. We all need a tribe. We need to know there is someone on the other end of the phone line waiting to pick up in our time of need.
Today, be the calm in someone’s storm and the sane in someone’s crazy. Be there for the people who need you and trust that when the time comes, someone will be there for you too. Be an an anchor. Be a rock. Be a soft place to fall. Be the difference.
I have a feeling that last night was a hint of what is coming. I haven’t had a sleepless night in quite a while but last night seemed to go on forever. This is the second night in a row where I was awakened by nightmares that sent me into complete panic.
On Monday, we drove four hours to take my daughter to college orientation. I guess that’s where the reality of her leaving really took hold. I walked around this intimidating campus choking back pain as I realized this would be her new home. No more checking her bedroom at night to make sure she was safe and sound. No more rides to Dairy Queen or meeting her for lunch in the middle of the day. The world as I knew it was about to come crashing down around me and like it or not, I was not given a choice or time to adjust.
My heart is heavy. I am grieving for the little girl I am desperately trying to let go of. I don’t always recognize this new face or the body that is the same size as mine. Wasnt it just yesterday that I was singing Barney songs and taking her to the park in that beat up red wagon? In my dreams, my fear is in control so I make the decision to stay awake. I wrestle with so many thoughts I cannot control. How will I stand to live in this house that will feel so empty? What will life be like without her in it everyday? My eyes are tired and the answers escape me. I need sleep but it still won’t come. One day at a time I remind myself as I crawl out of bed drained and weary. One day at a time is all I can handle. I may not be able to take on months at a time but 24 hours is something I know I can tackle.
Appreciate your life as it is today. We live in a constant state of change and we have to embrace what is right there in front of us each and everyday.
My mom forwards me some really silly things on Facebook Messenger. Sometimes I stare at the screen and ask myself, why in the world is she sending me this? The last few days she hasn’t hasn’t been feeling well and my messages have become eerily silent. Sometimes we don’t realize how much something means to us until it’s gone. Every time she starts to get symptoms again I get really scared. Her health has been a challenge the last few years and it’s never going to move back in the other direction. I know she won’t be around forever. None of us will but the thought of someday not being able to talk to her on the other end of the phone everyday fills my heart with a pain that is far too deep for words. Tonight I am reminded that life is precious. We have to love people while we are fortunate enough to have them around to love. We have to make the call to say you matter, you are so important to me. Life can change in an instant and we have to have lived and loved enough to always be prepared for the most unexpected scenarios. Reach out to someone and let them know you care. That is the greatest gift you can offer someone…your time, and attention, your affection and your appreciation for having them in your life. Put your time into the people and things that really matter. Make every minute count.
Seventeen years ago, this very day, I gave birth for the first time. The pain I experienced that early morning was nothing compared to the pain I feel as I watch my baby girl learn the hardest lessons in life. I never imagined how embedded our lives would become. I feel her pain in my deepest core and her joy makes every fiber in my body dance. There is nothing quite like being a parent. Some days are so difficult I don’t know how I will ever get through them. Other days warm my heart enough to keep it beating on even the coldest of days. So what have I learned about parenting in 17 years? I have very little control over other people. I can do my best to set an example and hope my children will follow in my footsteps but at the end of the day, I have no choice but to support them when they choose their own path. I have learned that I don’t necessarily have all the answers and sometimes my kids are actually smarter than I am. I have learned to be open to ideas that once I would have never considered. I have learned to accept there are many types of people and sometimes my children see something in someone that my eyes would never recognize without their guidance. I have learned that parenting is the hardest and most important job I could ever have and giving up my career to make sure I can do everything I can to help them transition into caring, decent human beings who will contribute to the world in the most positive way is worth more than any amount of money in the world. The funny thing is, I think I learn more from them than they could ever learn from me.
The anxiety is starting to reach a level that I am finding difficult to handle. Tomorrow I have a meeting with the Director of Special Services and a new principal and the stress of having to go over and over this with new people year after year is starting to take its toll on me. I am at my breaking point spending endless hours trying to help my son at home and being on the receiving end of backlash from the school the entire way. I actually reached out to the Office of Civil Rights and the lawyer on the end asked, why have you waited so long to file a complaint? I didn’t even have to think of an answer. The truth is, I thought all teachers cared about students. I really in my foolish heart believed that teachers would do whatever it would take to assure their students would be successful in school. Boy, I was so wrong. Even when by law they are required to provide certain accommodations, there are a few that will resist on every level. So how does the school react? They attempt to change the words in my sons 504 to protect these same teachers that refuse to meet the accommodation. Are you kidding me? Is protecting a law breaking teacher more of a priority than doing everything they can to make sure a child learns? I guess I didn’t believe anyone could be so cruel, so uncaring that even when you ask for their help, they will not give it. I am so naive when it comes to people. It is hard for me to not expect the best in them because I could never act that way myself. I am a parent and I do whatever it takes to help my son because as a mom, I know I am the one person in the world who will always have his back. I am sad and broken and trying to ignore the palpitations that keep me up at night. I will continue this fight because the support from many of you gives me the strength I need to carry on. Wish me luck tomorrow. I will give it one final shot and then I am left with only one other option. It’s time to move in a different direction.