Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Growing Family

On January 19, 2015, our family grew by one when Jacob moved in with us. The circumstances surrounding that move don't matter...what matters is that before that date, he had already moved into my heart, and then on that date, he physically moved into what would soon become "his room" and "his house".

In March 2015, we started the process to legally make me his mom and him my son even though in our minds it was already "legal enough". But the insurance company and other legal kinds of folks said we needed that official piece of paper. You know...the paper that you pay a lot of money to have a lawyer ask a judge to sign....proving what you already know to be true. 

Finally, on September 23, 2015, after a LOT OF HOOPS (and not the good kind that you sink the shot into) and seemingly endless legal requirements, the judge signed and I officially became his and he officially became mine.

What many people may not realize is that Jacob has a brother. In fact, he has a fraternal twin brother. His name is Esau.

Esau has always been a part of our lives and has always been welcome in our home, but again, the circumstances surrounding why Jacob came to live with us in January 2015 and Esau did not do not matter. What matters is that on May 13, 2016, we loaded up Esau's stuff and brought him home with us.

The why does not matter. What matters is that Jacob and Esau are back under the same roof, safe and happy, and able to focus on what they are supposed to be focused on at this point in their lives...... which is being 16-year-old high school students.  

So for the last month of school I was driving to both high schools in Bryan because the boys did not attend the same school last year. Once we knew that Esau's move to our home was going to be a long-term thing, we started the discussions about what will happen in August when school starts.

Our family has made a lot of sacrifices and made a lot of difficult decisions during the last 18 months, but each time the sacrifice and the decision were made with the future in mind... and each time, I feel like we have made the right choices. So after days and days and days of discussions about what to do for August (and yes, I made one of my infamous pro-con lists that Jacob has learned to live with), we decided that because Esau had just been through such an upheaval shrouded in lots of chaos and instability, Jacob would be the one to switch schools. This was so tough. The teachers at Bryan High School have been AMAZING in getting Jacob on the right academic path to start his high school career. They cared about him. They invested in him. And they taught him about what it means to have teachers who really give a darn about WHO a kid is and WHAT he needs as an individual. I could have not have asked for a better freshman year.  

But I also know that Rudder High School has some incredible teachers. I have been very fortunate to work with them as a team, so I know intimately how much they genuinely care about the students that walk their halls each day. I also know that campus cares about Esau. I have seen it firsthand, so now I have to trust that they will take care of both Jacob AND Esau for the next three years. 

Bryan High put Jacob on the right path and now Rudder will have to pick up the baton and run with it.... with me running right there alongside them. 

Because our family has grown again.

We now have 2 boys.
And life is good. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Expectations or Hope?

Since Christmas break began, I have taken a yoga class every day that Yoga Pod has been open. It has been so enjoyable to take a class in the middle of the day instead of always having to find the time to get back to the Pod after a full day of work and getting dinner on the table at a semi-healthy time. I do love ending my day with yoga, but wow.... I have LOVED nestling my practice into my mid-morning or my mid-afternoon time...

Most yoga instructors will ask you to set an intention for your practice before you begin each class. Setting an intention really helps you to actually focus during those 60-75 minutes, rather than having to argue with yourself about what things you will or won't think about during each pose. I try to faithfully do this each class; sometimes I am more successful than others. But this last week, on Dec. 24, I finally found the real POWER in this simple focusing activity.

Mia, our instructor, started our class with acknowledging how frenetic the coming hours were going to be for us. No matter what our role was in our family's Christmas Eve & Christmas Day activities, the days had the potential to be crazy and perhaps even draining. She asked us to all set the same intention that morning-- to consider whether we were entering the holiday with EXPECTATIONS or with HOPE. I am sure that her challenge was, to most, just a typical focus task, but because of the way I am wired, it really resonated with me. 

Because I EXPECT a LOT.

I set high expectations for myself, for my family, for those I work with, and even for the way I think things are supposed to go. I set expectations for my schedule, for my day, and for each event of which I am a part. 
And needless to say, I am often the point that I actually experience PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS of discomfort when my expectations are not met.

Mia challenged us to NOT enter Christmas 2015 with expectations, but instead with HOPE. She reminded us that many of our expectations will most likely meet disappointment, but hope...well, hope never disappoints.

As the mom/wife/host/professional who overplans and overschedules and overexpects, I took her words to the point that I found tears running down my face several times during those 60 minutes in class. It was as if the tears represented the relief I was feeling about potentially NOT being disappointed on Dec. 24 and 25 when my expectations might not be met. 


I thanked Mia at the end of class for her challenge, and then I headed home to begin the Christmas Eve preparations.

Most things went just as I had planned...a few did not. 
I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of our Christmas this year.
I did not worry about details or minutiae. 
I did not fret about clocks or deadlines. 
I was simply PRESENT for my family and it was absolutely amazing....
No stress.
No worries.
Just joy.

I am so appreciative of what yoga has done for my life. 
It is not just strengthening me physically. 
                             I believe that it truly is transforming me.                                    

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Reflections

As I sit here with my morning coffee in the quiet pre-Macy's Parade hours, I am pausing to reflect on the real meaning of today. Yes, we are thankful all 365 days of the year for many different things and for many different reasons, but there is something magical and extra special about THIS day. It definitely comes with its own TO DO list based on where you live and the role you play in your family, but even in the midst of the very long and labor-intensive Thanksgiving Dinner Preparation list, I still hold to the belief that today is shrouded in some kind of wonderful "magic". 

Even just looking at my own list for this morning, I feel the magic...
  • The turkey is in the oven, slathered with SYM infused butter. 
  • The table is set using our "good" Rosendal dishes from Denmark.
  • The cornbread is crumbled and waiting to be assembled into traditional cornbread dressing (because stuffing is for pillows). 
  • The eggs are boiling, which is the first step to getting them deviled. 
  • All the sides are just waiting to be assembled at exactly the right time and with exactly the right ingredients.
  • The list is made with precisely scheduled times of when I will take what from the oven and when I will put what in.
  • And each member of the family is tucked away in their beds, not really knowing what all goes into making this meal all come together at exactly 1:00pm. (And I would not have it any other way!)
These things may not be magical for you, but they are reminders to me of the investment that I WILLINGLY make in my family every single day. Some days I do better than others and some days, I just want to ask for a do-over, but MOST nights I can put my head on the pillow, knowing that everything I did was for them. I want what I do in my life to make their lives a little richer, a little fuller, and yes, even a little easier. 

I play many different roles on a daily basis-- from wife to mom to MoMo to mother-in-law (still figuring that one out with my SPURS-loving SIL) to daughter to sister. Each role is so important and so defining of my inner character. But regardless of which role my crew sees me in most often, I hope and pray that they would attest to the fact that within that role I GIVE. I don't want to be remembered for anything other than that-- I want them to know that I exist to GIVE to them. Sometimes the giving is tangible --just like today's meal-- but most days it's invisible. Sometimes what I think I am giving and what they are receiving (or wanting to receive) are not always the same, so we wake up the next day and try a little harder. Sometimes that giving comes as simple encouragement. Sometimes it has the face of accountability. Sometimes it comes in a bleacher or in a text message or in a plate of leftovers. And sometimes it is just a presence. Being quiet and not saying a word--just being. And while that one is the hardest for this advice-giving/world-problem-fixing mom, that one just might be the most important type of all.

So honestly, my hope today on this special Thanksgiving Day 2015 is for Mads, Jess, Jacob, Corrie, Jeff, Dad, and Jennifer to know that I want to give of myself to them and for them every single day.