Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Left Foot Forward, Then Right...

Almost exactly three years ago, we found ourselves facing a monumental change in our lives. 
The kids were growing like weeds and Matt and I had decided that we were going to take Matt's name out of any rings or hats at work that would put him in the running to relocate. The kids were reaching ages where there were going to be a bunch of 'lasts' and not very many 'firsts' and we wanted to be as settled and available for those as we could. 
To help solidify that decision, we used up a bunch of our savings and took the family to Disneyland- all nine of us. It was an amazing trip and taking it felt like some sort of celebration that we were a family. 
Disneyland will do that to a person.
While we were there, Matt got a call from work. I headed to the park with the kids, he stayed behind to take the call that he was told was important.
That was the call that said he was being transferred to NYC. Fate had it's own plan for our lives and it wasn't going to let our decisions stand in the way of that.
We talked about it, we prayed about it and we put the for sale sign on our house and moved East. 
And it was the right decision, I cannot imagine my life without the experiences and friends I have made in New Jersey. We love it, we're staying put.
The hardest- by leaps and bounds hardest- thing I had to do was that some of our kids would not be moving with us full time. I don't wish to make light of how painful that was, accepting that things were not what we wanted, but that we could either fight reality or accept it and make the best of things. One of our children was an adult, who did not want to come. Three of our children had another home and solid life in Utah, and the court battle and trauma it would put them through was not the right path to take. 
There were so many nights I lied on my bed, curled up and sobbing. So many times before we moved that I wanted to take each of my children and just hold them like I did when they were small. (FYI teenagers hate that idea and won't hesitate to let you know.)
I bit my lip and just put one foot in front of the other.I kept moving, I tried not to run back. I reminded myself that chasing the past is a waste of life and distance and time do not mean the end of relationships. 
I could not, however, say goodbye to any of my kids.
 I gave too-tight, too- long hugs. 
I said "I love you" too many times
I stood by the side of the room, with tears in my eyes watching them as they joked and squabbled and did what big kids do and I did not take pictures with my camera, but I took a snapshot of every moment and treasured it up in my heart.
Everything was okay. It was really hard. I love being a mother, even when I hate it, but we are still a very close family and it all turned out to be okay. 

I know that this next season of separation from one of my children will be okay, too. 
Zane reports to the MTC in a few hours, and we've spent the past day in Utah, trying to get everything purchased and ready for the next two years. 
It will be okay.

But this morning, as I lie in my hotel bed next to a snoring Romy, who is not at all a baby anymore, and I look across the side table at my sleeping Zane, oh....ouch. 
My heart seizes up.
I want to wrap my arms around him and hold him so tight that time stands still. 
If I did that though, it would hurt him- it would make him feel responsible for my emotions and he has enough of his own to deal with right now.  
I will move forward, I will take my left foot and place it in front of my right foot, then out the right before the left, over and over again. 
I will bite my lip and when he isn't looking, my eyes will go wide and swell with tears that I will wipe away before he sees.
 He will look at me and see anticipation, hope and so much motherly pride. 

But right now, as he is sleeping I will shed a few more quiet tears and just enjoy being able to hear the deep breathing sounds of my sleeping child. 

And when he comes to me for one more hug and looks to me with nervousness and excitement as we stand on the curb of the MTC, I will tell him again that I love him, that he is amazing, that it will be wonderful and he will be okay. I will stand on tip toes and tousle his hair and maybe he will let me kiss him on the cheek.

I will not say goodbye. 

This is hard.
This is very, very hard. 

Be a good boy, Zane and I will see you soon.

Monday, February 9, 2015

So Far in February

The month when you remember that you hate Winter.
We didn't have much- possibly any- snow in December, I felt rather gypped. 
When it started to snow in January, I was glad. 
The falling snow cleanses everything, it re-sets my soul and the new year begins for me, with a blanket of perfect, white snow covering up all of the unfinished yard projects and dead grass of the year before. 

January snow is a beginning.
February snow is death.
March snow is purgatory, that thing beyond death, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

(Dear Everything, 
Love, February)

The dog is losing his mind.
I cannot take him on the long walks we enjoyed in the summer and fall. It's too cold for my joints and oh yeah, I slipped and about broke myself the last time I tried. He refuses to walk on the treadmill with me, although he doesn't mind peeing on it when given the chance.
Actually, he's kind of peeing on everything right now.

That means I am also losing my mind. 
He isn't allowed in most of the house now because Badger McBalls is peeing on anything that is taller than him, and if he can, humping it to death. 
I know, I need to get him fixed.
 I am setting the appointment this week. 
When he returns from his surgery, I will re-crate train him and hopefully break the cycle of marking things. 
His coat is a mess and even though we all play with him, he misses his walks and is bored out of his mind. 
Soooooo.....bored dogs are super fun:

Did I mention that February is death?

I keep having nightmares that we keep getting more dogs and I have every single room of my house gated off, because it is housing a different dog. The other dogs are all being kept away from badger, the possessive tyrant who can't be nice to any other dogs. 

Fberuary means dry skin and I don't know how I ever survived before I discovered Bliss Body Butter. 
Right now, I'm loving this scent:

You can find it at Sephora or sometimes at TJ Maxx. 
It is still expensive at TJ, but half the cost you will pay at Sephora.
Sephora is ridiculous, by the way. 
I consistently find the snottiest salespeople there, no matter where I go. 

Bliss Body Butter is  great and it doesn't leave your hands feeling like you just rubbed scented Crisco on them. 
Their scents are wonderful, not to strong. It leaves your dry skin feeling amazing and smelling slightly of citrus.

Winter brings days spent deep cleaning, sewing, and listening to audiobooks.

In January, I finished these:

I'm nearly finished with this book:

Next in the que is this audiobook:

I also read actual books, I am in the middle of this one:

 It's the same dystopian society thing that seems to be the setting of every YA book, but the story isn't bad, so far. 
I'm waiting to see who drowns first or if the author is too in love with her characters to kill any of them off.  My bet is that nobody actually dies- all very realistic when the story is about escaping the underwater city with floating bombs above.  A good author has to be willing to kill his creations, but maybe not as often as George R.R. Martin.
Anyway,I haven't thrown this book at the wall yet. 
Yes, that is how I quit reading a book I've started that stinks. I throw it in disgust and that means it is dead to me.
Look-- you're a crazy nut who vacuums lines in her carpets and only eats organic McDonald's-- my crazy is that I throw books across the wall when I'm not mad at them, just disappointed.

Romy recently discovered Survivor and has been wanting to binge watch that with me, so it's often on in the background. 

It's fun to talk strategy and speculation with her and usually if we are watching it, Zane will join us and laugh as I give him my expert tips on how he should play the game if he ever goes on the show. (He is never going to apply to be on the show.)

It's fun to have Romy wrapped up in it and becoming a bit obsessed with it.
It has been on forever, but it is still a really great show, every time. 
We're binging on  season 20 right now- Heroes vs Villains. 
(It is not being watched in order, we haven't binged through 19 seasons this winter, but possibly 3.)

Not much else is going on right now.
 We had some of the Short Hills Ward Gang over on Saturday to play games and eat dinner after our friend, Richard, was baptized. 
We've only really known him at church, but we realized he lives in Springfield and after Saturday- we have waaaaay to much in common with him to not invite him over every time we hang out. He was impressed that we attend Comic-con and wear our nerd loud and proud. We were impressed that he is a fan of the Dresden Files books and all things BBC. 
He is our kind of Geekfolk, Yo.

I am also always blown away by people who convert to the Church.
I don't know if I'm a good enough person to choose it if I hadn't been raised in the church and had a personal testimony of it's truth from early on.
 I had seasons of doubt, anger towards the church, and even darkness, but I have always known it was true and that it was the right thing for me. 
I don't know if I could make the commitments and leave behind so much of the world if this lifestyle didn't feel natural and normal to me. 
 I hope that I would, but I'm honestly glad that my testimony journey has always been with me knowing who I was and having the help of the Holy Ghost and the scriptures towards finding truth and joy.
He is making a huge change and I think that people who join the church, having not been raised in it, are just about the bravest people I know.

As you can see, our dear Rebekah is only weeks away from bringing Baby Boy Fox into the world.

(Ruth, I love you. You are adorable.)

We have been so lucky to get to be close to Kyle and Rebekah throughout a portion of their journey to start a family. There have been prayers, tears, fasts, blessings and shouts of joy. We love them so much and they are going to be wonderful parents, in spite of the fact that I'm gonna steal that baby from them every chance I get. 
Matt has already started to refer to me as Auntie Rumplestiltskin.

This week brings visitors and after that, I have one more week of driving Zane crazy before he reports to the MTC for his mission. 
I don't know how I'm going to feel once he walks through those doors at all, but I know it is the right thing and it is the thing he has wanted to do since he was a little boy.
 I know he is also very brave. 

February brings a lot of lousy things, but THIS February has some pretty special ones, too. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Things That Have Happened

 I have GOT to get better about posting.
I don't know what my deal has been this past year, but gone are the days when I felt like my life was even a teensy bit interesting.
I feel like most of my blog posts are mostly pictures and some version of  "So...THIS happened."

It's probably just that as the kids get older, I don't chase them around with my camera all day. Most of them are old enough to get in a car and drive away from me.
I miss that even the most ordinary of events seemed magical with my little ones, but I also like sleeping in and not wiping noses and butts anymore.

We didn't really get snow in New Jersey this year until the end of January.
When the snow did come, it brought with us the coldest weather I have ever experienced. 
We've had a number of ice storms that were bad enough to close school.
Our town is very good about clearing and salting the roads, so we haven't had as many 'ice days' as others nearby, but that doesn't change the fact that seminary is in another town (super close, but not as good with salting the roads) and Matt and Zane still need to get to the city for work.
During one of the days when nobody could get to work,  I got the great idea to go on a walk with Matt, thinking that since the sun was out the black ice must have melted.
I was mistaken.
I slipped and fell right on our sidewalk and ended up in urgent care when my skinned knee got infected. The doctor put me on an antibiotic and ordered me to stay off my leg for 5 days and diagnosed me with a bruised kneecap and a super gross ouchie.

This is the picture of my knee that will not make you throw up

It's been over 2 weeks and I still have an owie that is bad enough I have to keep neosporin on it and cover it- but it is getting better. I am stunned at how slow it has been to heal. Getting old is crap.

So THAT happened.

Romy registered for her Freshman clubs and classes- as in HIGH SCHOOL recently.
I'm not sure I can handle that.
She's growing up so fast.

Okay, maybe not THAT fast.

What else.....
Oh yeah-- THIS happened:

He reports to the MTC at the end of the month. 
I am excited and totally freaked out at the same time.
I am also so very proud of him, I know how much he has sacrificed in order to serve a mission, how important it has always been to him.
He is such a good son and he will be a great missionary.

It's been suggested to me to set up a missionary blog for him, in order to share his letters and emails home.
 I've thought about it a lot and come to a decision.
Zane is a very private person. 
He is a young man who has a very strong testimony, and he expresses it by the tremendous amounts of service he does and the way he lives his life. He is a stoic, humble young man who does not like attention. Even though he had a good enough time at his big graduation party last year, the spotlight made him uncomfortable and he and his friends from church actually ditched it for a portion of the party.
He's a person who struggles when someone says they are doing something 'for' him, when it isn't what he wants or needs.
 As he gets older, he is more set in that.
As I have thought about it, I have come to the decision not to create a mission blog for him. 
 He should choose what is shared about him, and what is kept private, to be shared only with those he specifically chose to share it with.
This is his life now, his story and he should be the one to tell it. 

Don't get me wrong- I will share plenty about his mission, but I'm not going to set up a blog and post his letters and emails. I will not keep people in the dark about his mission at all, and if he says "you can share this with everyone" I will not hesitate to do so, but I will just do it here.  I will post pictures and give an account of what he is up to, but his words belong to him, and to those he writes to. 
As a mother, there are things that happen with your kids- good things and hard things that you tell everyone. There are also things you treasure up in your heart, only to be known by child and Mother. Many of those things are not even things the child will remember, but they are the treasures we keep as Mothers and the reason our eyes well up with tears when we see our grown children in those rare, quiet and still moments.

I am proud of all of my children.
 I love them all no matter what and always will.
 I have said so many goodbyes to my children, being that we are a blended family and each on of our children have another family and home where they go, too. 

While I may have said goodbye a thousand times, this one is different.  
This one involves trusting God a lot more than normal, leaving comfort zones and packing away the personal items of one of my kids and putting them in the closet for a long time. 
This one involves having faith that he will be okay, that he will even thrive in the world. It involves putting the physical act of mothering on hold, holding back the urge to rush in and gather one of my chicks under my wing when trouble is near. God will gather him in, and at the same time, send him out to help gather the others. 
I know I can do this, but at the same time......ah,  I don't know if I can do this. 
I can do this. 
I can let my baby bird fly.
He knows how, he just doesn't know how far and how high yet.