Moving In and Letting Go



Today we're traveling to this campus to drop our freshman daughter off at college. Our van is stuffed full of everything we could think of to create a home away from home for this precious girl that has shared our home for the past 18 years. She'll now sleep and eat and actually live here. She'll meet new friends and experience things we'll only hear about, if we're lucky enough to have her share them with us. It's the way it's supposed to be. Everyone tells you your children will leave and make their own way, and many a teenage day you wish it would hurry up and get here...but then it comes and all of a sudden it hurts to breathe.

But there's also excitement because let's face it, there's a great big world waiting out there. I mean walking those paths and getting to learn new things and meet so many people seems pretty enticing. And decorating a dorm room sounds fun! We've been collecting things and planning and I'm anxious to get there and see what we can do to erase the institutional look from her four walls. It's the part after the decorating that I'm dreading. I'm dreading good-bye.

A few months ago, I wrote about the joy and pain I felt leading up to high school graduation in You Might See Me Crying. The only thing I'd change in that post to reflect how I feel about college move in day is the title because today you will see me crying...and laughing and reminiscing. The irony of this process is that we're sad to see her go, but we'd be even sadder to see her stay. She's ready to be independent and we look forward to seeing what and who she becomes these next four years.

This is going to be a process...letting go and learning how to parent in a different way. If you've experienced this with your kids, or remember some helpful things your parents did, I'd love to hear about it in the comments. The first one is always the guinea pig, so I'm sure my daughter would appreciate any advice you have to give, too!



Skating Dreams

Reliving your childhood through your children is one of those special privileges of being a parent.

The year was 1980 and I was in second grade. The Winter Olympics were on and I was enthralled with figure skating. I remember my mom letting me stay up late to watch all I could. The skaters were so beautiful and talented and I was sure that I could do it if only I had the chance. I didn't have access to an ice rink, but I did have a linoleum kitchen floor and a pair of socks. I could make myself spin, do figure eights, twirls, and jumps. In my mind, the crowd went wild as I finished with a triple axel.


Isn't the imagination of a child a wonderous thing? Yesterday, I watched my daughter in her own skating dream. The van was pulled out of the garage and the bikes were all pushed to the side. The dirty cement floor became glossy hardwood and her father's size 10 roller skates became her magical slippers. They were stuffed with extra gloves she had found and she used hockey sticks to steady herself at first, but they gave her the power of transportation. She played music on her iPod and twirled around the floor for an hour. I'm sure the crowd was cheering as tricks were played out in her mind.



History repeats itself in big and small ways. What do you see in your children that reminds you of you?


*This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

Motivational Monday #104

Welcome to the Motivational Monday Link Party! Last week we had 171 link-ups and I can't wait to read about what you've been up to this week. 

In case you're new here, each Monday we focus on inspirational posts, healthy recipes, crafts, and home decorating/organizing tips. Each category has its own link to make it easier for readers to find fabulous posts. Motivational Monday links with five other co-hosts, too. That way each post gets more exposure.

Below you'll find all the social media information for the hosts, so you can connect with us!

Follow the Motivation Monday Hosts

Barb of A Life in Balance

Mitzi of Written Reality

Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

Katie of Mom Favorites

Marie of Normal Everyday Life

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs


motivation-monday-linky-party-104-1 motivation-monday-linky-party-104-2

Features

Barb - A Life in Balance

1. How to Freeze Green Peppers | NEPA Mom 2. 12 Ways to Add Some Adventure to Your Marriage | Calm Sexy Healthy

Lauryn- A Vintage Mom

3. 100 Lunch Box Notes and Jokes | Coconut Head Survival Guide 4. Food Swap What Is It and How Does it Work| The Homesteading Hippy

Mitzi- Written Reality

5. Strawberry Peach Popsicles | Home.Made.Interest 6. Simple Felt Needle Case| Sum of Their Stories

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs

7. Chicken Pineapple Kabobs – Recipe for your Grill | Frugal Coupon Living 8. Homestead Inspiration | Letters from Sunnybrook

Katie- Mom Favorites

9. Why I Eat More Arugula | Homestead Mania 10. Watermelon Salsa | Daily Leisure

Marie - Normal Everyday Life

11. Fresh and Easy Avocado Corn Salsa Recipe | Little House Living 12. Mom, Your Wrinkles Matter, They Tell Your Story | The Giles Frontier

Looking Back

Preparing to send my oldest off to college next week has made me very introspective. I can't help thinking back over our family life. This week these pictures from ten years ago came to mind.



We had six week old twins, a 21 month old, and a six and eight year old. It was THE most overwhelming summer of my life. I didn't need to go to any amusement parks because I was on an emotional roller coaster 24/7. Riding high on new baby love and gratitude one minute and plunging into despair at all of the added responsibility the next. Picture the famous Charles Dickens' quote, It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, come to life. I've had a standoffish relationship with summer ever since. :)

When you have five kids you don't go out of the house without being noticed. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said, "You've sure got your hands full", I'd be very rich! You also get asked a lot of questions. Questions that I wasn't prepared for and ones that created a lot of doubt in my mind. How are you ever going to go on a family vacation? How will you ever be able to meet everyone's needs? How will you ever get any time for yourself? And the big question, How are you ever going to pay for college? I can remember crying to my husband over these questions thinking we must have been insane to have ever thought we could raise five children.

I often write in a prayer journal, but I don't often read past entries. It's kind of like hearing yourself on an answering machine. Cringe worthy. I do keep them though because it's encouraging to me to see how God has answered prayers over the years. This week I was looking back over entries from that summer and I saw that I had poured all those questions and fears out to God.

And guess what...

We have gone on family vacations. We have had time for ourselves. The kids' needs have been met. And this week, when I paid the bill for my daughter's first semester of college, I again remembered those prayers and all the prayers I've prayed over the last ten years. He has answered them in unexpected ways and in ways that couldn't have been my doing.

I don't know what our family picture will look like in another ten years. I don't have the answers to the questions that will come into my life over that time, but I know the One who does. 

How about you? Are there situations or circumstances in your past that leave you amazed at how things worked out?


*This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!

What A Feeling!

I absolutely LOVE the first day of school. But according to my Facebook feed, that is not a popular stance to take. It seems that most mothers are bemoaning the end of summer and dreading their children being in school all day. Am I the only one so happy they could twirl and sing down the school hallway?

We had a nice, fun-filled, long (did I mention plenty long?) summer break and I'm ready to move into fall. Plus I love new beginnings. I'm a sucker for them. New babies, new jobs, new homes, new school year...they all hold unlimited potential. It's a fresh start!

My two oldest in kindergarten and second grade in 2003.

At the beginning of the school year everything is new, the supplies, the teacher, the classmates, the sneakers. The possibility for a great year, the best year ever, is right at your fingertips. No one's overslept yet and is in a bad mood rushing out the door. No one has shed any tears over homework or school projects. Everyone is giving their absolute best selves and I find it exhilarating.

I felt ready to leap with joy as we walked back into the school last Friday. On the way, my girls asked why I wasn't doing my usual songs. It's become a joke over the years that I'll sing silly, happy songs on the first day of school and they'll torture me with predictions of snow days from the beginning of December to the end of February. So I started singing the Hallelujah chorus in the van at the top of my lungs. Holding my notes out so long, the girls said I should be in the choir! If I could have danced my way down the hallway, I would have totally done it.

Three youngest in fourth and fifth grade 2013.

Would you believe that my two boys actually said they wanted school to start? The younger one had finally had his fill of fun and was bored. The older was looking forward to a break from his summer job and relaxing in class! I'm not sure if that bodes well for his junior year or not!

I look forward to the school year, not only for my kids, but also for myself. Am I allowed to say that? Am I allowed to relish the thought of quieter days and time to pursue my interests? I enjoy getting back into a routine and working on some of the things I put on hold over the summer.

So if you're a happy mom on the first day of school, let me know. Make me feel less alone in my joy!

*Also, being sad on the first day of kindergarten or the last days of elementary and high school doesn't disqualify you. There's no escaping the tears on those days!

The twins first day of kindergarten in 2009. I do admit to shedding some tears!



*This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!





Motivational Monday #103

Welcome to another Motivational Monday Link Party! Last week we had 156 link-ups and I can't wait to read about what you've been up to this week. We started school here on Friday, so I'm riding high! Look for my post tomorrow on why I'm a happy back-to-school mom. :)

In case you're new here, each Monday we focus on inspirational posts, healthy recipes, crafts, and home decorating/organizing tips. Each category has its own link to make it easier for readers to find fabulous posts. Motivational Monday links with five other co-hosts, too. That way each post gets more exposure.

Below you'll find all the social media information for the hosts, so you can connect with us!

Follow the Motivation Monday Hosts

Barb of A Life in Balance

Mitzi of Written Reality

Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

Katie of Mom Favorites

Marie of Normal Everyday Life

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs


motivation-monday-linky-party-103 motivation-monday-linky-party-103-2
   

Features

Barb - A Life in Balance

1. Why I miss being a wife | Tickles and Time Outs 2. How We Did Disney on a Dime | Latte Everyday

Mitzi - Written Reality

3. Vidalia Onion Rings | An Alli Event 4. Yellow Squash Cheddar Biscuit Recipe | Little House Living

Lauryn of The Vintage Mom

5. Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe | Cincy Shopper 6. LAUNDRY ROOM INSPIRATION | 702 Park Project

Toni of Tickles and Time Outs

7. Embrace Who Your Children Are | Satisfaction Through Christ 8. Healthy Eating for Picky Eaters | Growing Up Gabel

Katie - Mom Favorites

9. Back to School Checklist | A Girl in Paradise 10. Strawberry Ricotta Bites | Home Cooking Memories

Marie - Normal Everyday Life

11. The Girls' Room : The Big Reveal | The Little Farm Diary 12. Where's the Finish Line? | Days & Thoughts

The Apology Tour

Sometimes it feels like I've been having the same conversations forever. Getting my kids to apologize to each other is one of them. Will there come a day when any of them might actually say they're sorry and mean it?

Mom's sibling fantasy apology...maybe someday in the future? Nah, probably not!

Here's one of our real life, non-picture perfect exchanges that happened on the way to the orthodontist.

Son:  Can I get braces on the inside of my teeth?
Me:  No, you're just going to get regular braces. 
Son:  Why? Who are the other ones for then?
Me:  They're more for adults or maybe kids that are on TV and their braces can't show.
Son:  Awe...why can't I be on TV?

Of course, this is an opportunity that cannot be missed. I mean, so what if it's a conversation between just us and no one else has contributed anything before now, my daughter must pipe up from the back seat, "Maybe because you don't have talent!" in a sarcastic voice. And so it begins...

Son:  That's not fair. {Words every mother dreads.} If I said that to her, I'd get in trouble, but she says stuff like that to me and doesn't get in trouble because I don't care. {Really, do you really not care? Because it certainly sounds like you care.}

I debate ignoring this and just gripping the steering wheel tighter fantasizing about a happy family vs. giving into mother guilt and attempting to drill some civility into their heads before they leave home. Oh how much longer until school starts again????

Mom:  He's right, apologize to your brother.

Silence from the backseat.

Mom:  Tell him you're sorry.
Daughter:  Sorry.
Mom:  I can't hear that, say it the right way. 
Daughter:  I'm sorry. {This could not be said with a less sorry tone of voice.}

Okay, now I'm moving beyond annoyed into "Why in the world can she not just say she's sorry?!?" territory. Now it's not enough to just say "I'm sorry". Now I need to make a point. 

Mom:  Say I'm sorry for being rude to you, will you forgive me? {Who really talks like that, I have no idea. But it sounds humble and sincere and the girl obviously needs some humbling!}

Daughter:  I'm sorry for being rude, will you forgive me? {Again, said with the least amount of sincerity possible.}

Now son is silent.

Mom:  What do you say to your sister now?  {Seriously, do I have to carry the whole conversation by myself?!?}
Son:  Okay...then not so secretly looks back at her and mouths "no."
Daughter:  I'm not sorry, either.

I give up, turn up the radio louder and pretend I didn't see it. Because what else is a mom supposed to do? And I know this scenario will repeat itself, probably in about five minutes! :)

How about you? What do you find yourself saying over and over?


*This post may be linked to one of the great link-up parties I follow and list on my blog. Check them out!