Sunday, March 30, 2014

my way?

At my stepsister's wedding reception a few years ago, the DJ asked everyone for requests from the dance floor. My then 17-year-old son quipped: "My Way." Haha … at a wedding! I love that boy.

He's always been a "my way or the highway" kind of kid. Yes, good manners, kindness, and respect have been prominently stressed in our home and all are very much a part of his character. But I love that he also owns who he is and stays pointed in that direction, give or take a couple of wrong turns that he's quickly corrected. I wish I were more that way. Most of my life decisions (as a mom, at least) have been centered around what's best for the boy and his sister — and the few times I've strayed from this ideal I've been met with devastating results ... i.e. moving all of us in with my less-than-kind boyfriend when the kids were in their adolescent years. Yeah, that didn't exactly work to anyone's advantage.

But I digress. Point is, do you ever feel that you only exist just to blow in whatever direction the wind takes you? There's a judge and jury inside me that's trying to decide if this is an acceptable way to live Kirsten's life. I am accommodating by nature, likely a coping mechanism from a somewhat dysfunctional childhood. Shouldn't I be more adamant about getting what I want instead of trying to please everyone else all of the time? Wouldn't a therapist tell me this would be healthy?

Fact is, the proverbial clock is ticking and it seems I've reached the chapter in my life's guidebook that proclaims: After the youngest child graduates high school — actually happening in a few months — Kirsten finds a nice guy, settles down, and lives happily ever after. Check the nice guy part and thank you, God. But there are so many uncertainties with my children and his children that we find ourselves putting aside our grand plans, temporarily, for their benefit. It's tough out there when you're approaching college, in college, or are a recent college graduate ... and we both believe it's our role as parents to provide them with the safety nets they need. Be that as it may, the 13-year-old rebel inside my head is screaming "that's not fair!!!" Most days I tell her to shut up and that's that, but others ... dammit if she's not the most self-righteous and convincing voice on the planet.

A good lawyer would make a solid argument that I have not regretted one sacrifice I've made for the sake of my children's wellbeing, nor will I regret further sacrifices I make for them down the road — which is totally true.

"I hate lawyers!" screams my teenage self.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


Thanks, google. I might not have known it was the first day of spring! Or maybe I would, had I stopped for two seconds to observe my own surroundings. But Google, and the fact that I arose, wide awake, at 5:00 a.m. this morning, has forced that pause. Change is in the air, for sure, but instead of embracing all that is new and wonderful, I'm frankly, freaking out. Also, my rheumatoid arthritis is flaring up. Well, damn. The part of my being that thrives on order and routine is being shaken to its core and I fear I'm not up to the task — mentally or physically — to adapt to an unforeseeable future. Hell, I'm lucky if I remember to put the trash out on trash day. Thursday, right? Shoot. Add another task to my morning to-do list.

My daughter is graduating from high school in a few short months. I am so proud of the person she's become and I have no doubt that she'll go on to do amazing things with her life. Artistic and creative things. Brilliant things. Same with my boy, who's in the middle of his college career and has decided to become a writer — an apt career choice, being that he has so much to say and a way with words that's off the charts brilliant! There I go bragging about my kids again and overusing the word brilliant. Point is, this period — in which the kids are well on their paths to becoming adults —was to be the springboard (hey, pun!) for the next chapter in my life. Finally, the answer to the question "when is it MY turn?"

But, as usual, it seems things aren't going to go exactly as planned. You'd think I'd have learned by now that real change involves 25 percent disappointment, 25 percent graceful adaptation, and 50 percent faith in an all-knowing God. Or is it 100 percent in the God thing? Yes, probably. The most wonderful examples of this, for me, come with this season. Neurotic people like me fight it, but all one has to do is look outside — one day you're a bud on a stem and the next you're a rose in full bloom.  Then comes, summer, fall, winter ... and you get to do it all over again. Brilliant!

Photo by Melissa