It Never Ends

Near the beginning of this clip from the movie Parenthood, Frank Buckman talks about a time when he and his wife thought their son had polio and the feelings that experience evoked.

Soon I will be celebrating the birthday of my youngest child, my baby, Andrew. He will turn 22 years old. When Andrew was nearly two months old, his doctor was concerned that he might have a narrowed aorta which would be considered a critical congenital heart defect. I will never forget that feeling- I already loved this little guy so much and he might be suffering or at risk for a lifetime of health problems. Oh, my heart. Yes, I understand what Frank meant.

What I felt for Andy all those years ago was just the tiniest fraction of how much I love him (and his siblings) today. I know there are people who do not have more than one or two children because they love them so much, they can’t imagine being able to love more. But love isn’t given to you in a limited quantity to dole out to everyone in your life and when it’s gone, it’s gone. Loving one person doesn’t take any love away from someone else you love. And I’m here to tell you that if you think you have an enormous amount of love for that one child, you don’t have three times that for three kids. It just grows and grows to such an incredible size. And that growing takes place as they grow. That overwhelming feeling of love you might feel for that little guy when he’s two months old is going to expand and fill your life in a way you never thought possible.

It won’t be easy. Their problems will grow with them and sometimes you will have to “be there” but let them handle it on their own and sometimes they will let you help them. No, it won’t be easy but it will definitely be worth it.

And as I tend to do around my children’s birthdays, I’m feeling very nostalgic and very blessed. Oh, and Andrew ended up being the healthiest of all my children- so there you go. Just another reason to be happy.

But a word to those who haven’t reached this realization yet, to quote Frank Buckham- “IT NEVER ENDS!” (And that’s a good thing, right? Right?)

Have a great day!

-Kat

 

 

 

I wish I could freeze time or go back in time and watch my kids grow up all over again because it is just going by too fast.” – Robert Rodriguez

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#AtoZChallenge U is for Unconditional

U

“Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children.” -Rosaleen Dickson

There they were- my three when they were brand new. And below, there they are now- all grown up. I want the same things for them now as I did when they were born- that they are happy, healthy, and loved.

bw kids

Take care-

-Kat

You can read the rest of my A to Z posts- HERE.

 

#AtoZChallenge L is for Lennon, Love & Life

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For today’s (okay, I admit I’m behind and this is actually Friday’s) post, I’m letting John Lennon’s words speak for themselves.

lennon atoz

You can read the rest of my A to Z posts- HERE.

Have a great day!

-Kat

#AtoZChallenge J is for Joy

J

“Joy is what happens to us when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things really are.” – Marianne Williamson

I don’t talk about my mother here on my blog. There is only one reason-  she is part of an elite group- the people I don’t discuss here. I can tell you that she is still alive. She lives nearby me. She is still part of my life. And she loves me with a fierceness that is not easily expressed but never doubted. She is a strong person who is quite private. What most people might not realize is that she is a fighter, with determination that could rival the toughest in town. She cares very deeply, but rarely lets those emotions bubble to the surface. Although I know she loves us all, we take it on faith, not expecting her to say those words out loud. beej gg

And it is because of all this that I have absolutely savored the time I get to spend with my mom when Beej, my little grandson is around. More than once my mother has expressed how much of joy he brings to her life. It fills my heart with joy to watch great-grandson and great-grandmother together. It brings back memories of the days when my firstborn, Michael, was young and all of the special times we spent with my mom then.

I know that this time is fleeting and I love being a part of the happiness Beej brings to her life.

You can read the rest of my A to Z posts- HERE.

TTFN

-Kat

Embrace Life

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” -John Lennon

It seems too simple, doesn’t it? I can see you shaking your head. Yeah, Kat, right, all you need is love, love is what makes the world go ’round and all that fun stuff. Maybe loving yourself and acting from a place of self-acceptance won’t solve all the big world problems but think about how many of those problems are most likely the result of people acting out of fear or self-loathing or some other negative place. Too often we are afraid of looking too closely at ourselves.

When my life resembles a roller coaster ride that I prefer not to be on, I try to break it all down into the simplest ideas. I was not raised to be a positive person so looking on the bright side and pushing away the darkness is something I had to learn and practice. I found that by sorting out my feelings, behaviors, opinions and thoughts helped me to see things more clearly. Some of these I could change, others I had to leave behind, and the persistent few I just accepted as part of who I am. I found that when I took the time to really look at myself and where my motivation was coming from, the pieces began to fall into place and I felt better equipped to face the challenges in my life. I also felt a lightness inside me that I don’t remember ever having before.

I realized that I’m not a finished product and probably never will be. My children may be grown ups (or so they think….in my eyes they will always be my babies) and I might not be considered so young anymore (although to a 90 year old, I’m sure I appear quite youthful!) but it’s never to late to learn new things, whether they are about the world and others around you- or yourself!

Being a mom and a person who likes to help others, I found that by looking inward and examining what was going inside me, I was able to offer more to others. What might seem like selfish behavior actually helped me to give those that I love the best that I can be.

This mindset might not solve any of the issues I face but it definitely helps.

path to peace

As I was looking for quotes for the Blogging A to Z Challenge, which begins at the end of the week, I came across these words of John Lennon. Being a big John fan, I was surprised that I hadn’t seen them before, not that I know every single thing he said, right?? I wanted to use the quote as part of the challenge, but was having trouble fitting it in so I when I saw the Daily Post: Elixir today, I knew that this quote fit the bill. 

Have a great day!

-Kat

Happy Valentine’s Eve

With Valentine’s Day breathing down our necks, I thought I would take a moment to share a few quotes from some of my favorite movie scenes. Being such a romantic deep down inside, it was hard to decide which ones made the cut.

Ethel: You’re my knight in shining armor. Don’t you forget it. You’re going to get back up on that horse, and I’m going be right behind you, holding on tight, and away we’re going to go, go, go.
Norman: I don’t like horses.

On Golden Pond

Rose: Do you love him, Loretta?
Loretta Castorini: Aw, ma, I love him awful.
Rose: Oh, God, that’s too bad.

Moonstruck 

“And then the dreams break into a million tiny pieces. The dream dies. Which leaves you with a choice: you can settle for reality, or you can go off, like a fool, and dream another dream.”

Rachel in Heartburn

Leia: I love you.

Han: I know.

The Empire Strikes Back

“So I had planned to marry Peter, but I married Jack instead. I guess my father was right. Life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned. But Jack, Jack gave me the best gift, a stamp in my passport. He took me to Florence for our honeymoon. I guess you can say he gave me the world. Peter once asked me when it was that I fell in love with Jack, and I told him, it was while you were sleeping.”

Lucy in While You Were Sleeping

This list could go on and on. There are so many great scenes and romantic quotes. What about you? Do you have a favorite that tugs at your heart strings?

-Kat

When Your Kid Comes Out…

“Nothing is permanent.

Everything is subject to change.

Being is always becoming.”

-Buddha

I’m not an expert in raising LGBTQ kids. Mine was 18 when they came out and while that might be the legal age for some things, it doesn’t mean they were an adult by any means. Since we were about to embark on a second puberty, they were far from grown up. But having experienced the last five plus years, I’ve found a few things to hold true.

  • Your child comes first. Love them. Accept them. Support them.
  • A name is just a name- no matter how attached you might think you are to the one you gave them, you will be surprised at how quickly you adapt to a new name when you just accept it.
  • Let go of what society and you consider gender norms. Open your mind to new possibilities.
  • If your child holds on to parts of their previous gender or ASAB (or whatever you prefer to call it), it does not mean that they don’t identify as the other gender. Trans boys can like make up. Trans girls can like football.
  • And holding onto those things doesn’t mean they are unsure or changing their minds. They might just like those things. Or they might be comfortable with those things, especially if they are coming out at a later age.
  • Don’t expect them to know instinctively how to be a boy or girl. Sometimes it takes time to know who you are and what feels right.
  • People might act strange. They might act accepting until they actually see your child as their true self. They might resist it. They might fade away quietly. They might disguise their discomfort behind other issues. They might not know how they feel.
  • Fight for your child.
  • Be flexible. (4 years after the child I thought was my daughter came out as my son, I was buying a dress for the Winter Ball.)
  • This is a journey. Although some kids will come out, transition and live happily ever after, some need more time.
  • Advocate for the LGBTQ community. You don’t have to be the loudest or flashiest one out there but by showing support, it’s sending a clear message to your child. It’s one thing to support your child because they are your child but by advocating it tells your child that your truly support who they are because you believe in not only them, but every person’s right to be their truest self.
  • Nothing is permanent. And if your child should say, “Hey, know what? This doesn’t feel right”- well, so what? No one was hurt and your child can move on in their journey to face new challenges.
  • And because it is so important it bears repeating- love, accept, support.

Out of everything I have experienced as a parent, this one has been the wildest ride. I know it might not be over, or it might be….and that’s just part of what it is. I’ve learned so much about myself and my family and my life. And I never thought that I would be where I am right now, which is in a much better place than I was 5-7 years ago.

TTFN!

-Kat

 

On Friendship

Friend and love.

These words have taken on a meaning that, in my eyes, has diminished their importance. Everyone is a friend. We love everyone. The words just glide effortlessly through our lips as easily as “hello” or “how are you?” I don’t use those words so lightly. 

I admit to having different levels of friends. Some might be more casual. Some closer. Some might fluctuate. And before you start thinking that I have some elaborate system of classifying my friends, you can stop right there. (I don’t have that much free time on my hands!) 

I am extremely blessed to have a small group of very close friends- my best friends. It’s strange for me to have more than one friend that is that close. For my entire life, I had one best friend and quite frankly, had no need for anyone else. It was a flawed practice. It isn’t fair to put that much on one single person. And if I’m being honest here, I’m not the easiest person to be a best friend to. (just sayin’…)

Somehow, somewhere along the way, I found myself to have these three awesome people in my life. When I think of them, I’m reminded of a scene from the tv show, Roseanne. You don’t really need to be familiar with the show to understand the scene. Darlene’s baby is being taken off all support and has little chance of survival. Darlene and her baby are surrounded by her mother, sister, aunt and grandmother as each gives baby Harris words of hope and encouragement. The part I’m referencing comes at about 35 seconds in when Darlene’s Aunt Jackie shares a story from her childhood.

“If you feel like you’re, like you’re starting to fall away, then you’re not..because we’re gonna pull you back inside.” -Jackie

These three people are the ones how have pulled me back inside time and again when I’ve been in desperate need. They have been solid and true throughout more than just what I’ve gone through with Kris. That might actually be the least of it and you can bet that no one is more surprised than me to admit that. They have stood by me throughout relative drama, numerous family health issues, and currently some pretty big ones with a loved one battling a major illness and another struggling with a mental health illness (both hitting very close to home).

When you have friends like that, you don’t use that word lightly. Not many people want to even be around someone who’s going through so much crap layered one on top of the next.

They are amazing examples of friendship.

They remind me-

  • to be patient when the other is struggling with something, no matter how big or small
  • to listen and hear.
  • to ask questions for the purpose of helping.
  • to check in…. often.
  • to offer to help out, whether it’s errands, listening, whatever – and do it often and over and over again, even if I’m sure I’ll be turned down.
  • to give them a reason to smile.
  • to let them know how much they mean to me.
  • to let them know they are never alone.
  • to give them a gentle or not-so-gentle kick in the butt, when needed.
  • to never judge.
  • to celebrate their joys and successes.
  • to trust them.
  • to encourage them when they need a little push.
  • to be open with them..
  • to be honest
  • to let them know that I will always have their back.
  • to be kind, when one is being a major pain. (I would be the pain.)
  • that life is short and making time for friends is important.
  • to laugh, cry, vent, tease, love, hug, humor, and be with them.
  • to pull them back inside when they are starting to fall away.

What I absolutely love about these friendships is that they didn’t explode into full bloom over night. One happened slow and steady, building as time passed. One was quiet and constant and just there all along. And the last took me by surprise by appearing at a time when I needed it most. These friendships help me to value all of the new friendships I have made through this blog.

My hope is that I offer something to all of you, my new friends (who are at various levels of friendship in my fictitious friend system- and it most definitely does not exist!). I can say with certainty that my interaction with all of you, whether it is daily, intermittent, through comments, likes, texts, e-mails, messages, phone calls, is priceless to me. And I openly admit that looking at my list above, so many of you have hit the mark along the way. I’m not surprised. Bloggers are awesome people!

I hope as you move through your days and celebrate, whether it is a holiday or everyday life, that you take time to cherish your friendships. (Mind you, I’m not saying to ignore your family, unless you really want to, that is….. you know what I mean.)

Happy Day! Stay dry, warm, cool, healthy and safe!

-Kat

A Little Teapot

My dearest friend, Ivy, collected teapots. I didn’t know this until just about a year ago when she was preparing to pack up her house to move. The move was bittersweet because she was not only leaving the house where she had raised her child, but also her childhood home and neighborhood.

It was not her choice but she was moving into a smaller place. Therefore, she had to make the heartbreaking decision of what to keep and what to give or throw away. Her house held not only her own precious items but those of her parents, who had been gone for awhile.

Ivy was hurting, sad, in a dark, lonely place and I wanted to do everything and anything I could to help her. One thing Ivy was not- was weak. She was a fighter and she was tough and she did not ask for help. She had been this way since the first time I met her 14 years ago. And remains so today even after what has to have been one of the roughest years of her life.

Packing up a lifetime of memories and making those hard decisions that were forced on her were painful to watch. I wanted to take her pain away but I knew I couldn’t. Sometimes in life, people you love have to go through really trying times and you have to let them. It was difficult to keep it all in balance- the desire to help her with the realization that this was something she was going to have to handle on her own. Like I said, Ivy is tough, so just getting her to let me help was a major challenge. I did what I could and tried to be nearby in case she needed me. I hovered so closely that I’m sure I tried her patience.

Ivy tells me that I’m very complex and private, that there are many layers to me and I’m very particular who I let close. I think everyone is like that to some degree and at this time, Ivy, who lives out loud and whose emotions I can read a mile away, closed up shop and shut herself away. I understood.

She was at a turning point in her life. The biggest yet. And she was scared, hurt, worried, tired, angry, and more emotions than I could list. But as I watched her pack up her life and give away, donate or throw out possessions, I was concerned. She reached a point where she was getting rid of everything. I’m all for new beginnings and fresh starts but I feared she was going to regret this. I knew it. I offered to let her store things in my garage, which she turned down. Everything had to go. Even if she didn’t realize what she was doing, I did. She was punishing herself. See, Ivy blamed herself for arriving to this place. What she didn’t want to understand is that none of us lives in a vacuum and she hadn’t gotten there alone. But she was and remains very hard on herself. Ivy is the most loving, caring person I know. She would literally give a person the coat off her back, no questions asked. She is always thinking of others and she’s so outgoing that she has no problem making everyone around her feel her love with her words, looks and hugs. And she beats herself up, mercilessly at times.

And that’s when I found out that she had collected teapots. She asked me if I knew anyone who wanted them. She expressed sorrow that the collection had to go. I offered to store them until she confirmed that there was no place in her new home for them but she refused. She asked if my daughter-in-law might like them and if not, she was donating the lot to Goodwill.

I wasn’t sure how important these teapots were to her. (I had never seen her drink tea once in all the years I had known her.) But I knew that I had to take those teapots. She might want them back one day, even though she insisted she did not. (And maybe she will never want them back.) While she packed up her collection, she gifted me with her most special teapot and I placed it in my kitchen, where I think of her every time I see it. I also took possession of her collection and stored it in a safe place.

And then last week I was browsing around my local thrift store and I saw teapots on a shelf.

Ivy came to mind and I felt a familiar twinge of sadness at the sight of someone else’s teapot collection sprinkled throughout the shelves. There’s always a story behind the items on these shelves and I often wonder how they came to be there.

And then I saw it. It was hidden behind the bigger, flashier teapots. It was actually a sweet little white teapot. Not at all Ivy’s type. But then again, her favorite teapot that she gave me isn’t my type so I hope when I give it to her this Christmas that she will remember that.

She can categorize it as Christmas and pull it out once a year. She can store it in the corner of a cabinet. She can donate it. Or she can spray paint it some cool color, because I’m itching to do it myself before giving it to her. (Can you tell I discovered the many wonders of spray paint and want to paint just about everything?)

I hope she will accept this teapot for what it symbolizes. I hope she realizes how much I love her. How proud I am of her. How much I am in awe of her. I hope she knows that I wish her happiness and joy for the rest of her life and that I hope to be part of it-that I’ve hurt every step of the way along side her but there were times when she had to go it alone. I want her to know that even if it hurts, it’s okay to keep things from the past. Less is not always more. Sometimes that item represents something so much more.

She once said that if she decided to start collecting teapots again that she would start fresh. I don’t know if that is something she will ever do or if the teapots represent a part of her past, a part of who she no longer is.

I do know that life goes on and one day we will look at that teapot (or just talk about it) and remember this time when we were SO in this moment of our lives that we thought this is what it was going to be and we will realize that we had no clue. Just like we didn’t have a clue when we met all those years ago when our kids were so young.

I will do anything for Ivy and her child, and I know she will return the favor. I’m not pretty sure nor do I feel a false sense of security. We have been to hell and back together and I KNOW that we will always be friends.

ivys-teapot

I hope she likes it!

Dear Children of Mine

You are at an age when you can be considered an adult. I remember those ages- 20-25. I remember feeling more like an impostor than anything else. I was working full-time, paying my own bills and on the verge of giving birth to my first child. All of those things could have qualified me for adult status. And yet they just didn’t. I was actually pregnant with my third child and 30 years old before I started feeling like a real grown up and not someone who was playing the part.

It’s not easy being in your 20’s. Especially when you are living with your parents, even temporarily (Michael) or seasonally (Andrew) or intermittently (Kris). You’ve all been out on your own and living your lives as independently as most of you can at this point. Then you come home and it’s like you never left.

It’s only natural for you to feel more like a child than an adult. And it’s only natural for you to blame me for it. That’s what children do. And that’s the sign that you aren’t quite an adult yet.

See, having 3 kids in 5 years meant that every time one of you was at a *certain* phase or age, we would pause……..and then the next one would enter said phase. Potty training. ABC’s. Tying your shoes. Riding a bike.

Your dad and I were new to parenting when we started this journey. I had some experience and what appeared to be some natural ability when it came to mothering. Dad was a newbie from start to finish but he is a quick learner so it was all good.

It wasn’t easy. You all had very distinct temperaments and personalities and required different handling. It was a balancing act to keep everything on an even keel while a few of you were rocking the boat. I lost my temper. A LOT. I feel really bad about the amount of yelling I did. It wasn’t fair to you and in recent years I’ve made a concentrated effort to reach out to you and talk about things, instead of reverting back to old, bad habits. Opening up is not easy for me. I’m a very private person, even with those I love.

I want you to know that I did the best that I could. I love you guys so much. I have always wanted the best for you and for you to be the best you can be. I love you as you are- imperfections and all- because in my eyes you will always be perfect. If I can only get through to you on one level- I would want it to be that I hope you know how much I love you.

Being your mother and raising you was the absolute greatest joy in my life. When asked what I’m most proud of- it’s you. It’s always you.

As you know from experience, that love comes at a price. I have always been fiercely protective of you. I will fight to the death for you. And when someone hurts you, I get crazy scary. My anger (which really can be terrifying, let’s be honest) comes from a place of such deep caring that it physically hurts me to see you in pain. I try to keep that in check, especially as you all are getting older. I truly feel that you are never too old to want your mom. And you are never too old to desperately wish someone would fight like that for you. Like it or not- I will always be that person to you.

As you have reached your 20’s, I’ve tried to back off and give you space to grow up. One day you will look at your own children and realize that it is easier said than done. When you fall these days, the cuts are much deeper and the stakes are much higher. Please know that I feel every scrape as if its my own. Your happiness means the world to me.

I am proud of the people you have become. You are loving, gentle, caring people. You are the best.

And as I come back around to the part where I tell you that I realize that living under my roof again makes you feel like a kid again….. well, in some ways you still are. The immature behavior that sparks up confirms it. I firmly believe that you are not completely an adult until you can act like one in the presence of your parents. 

Having said that, let me tell you that you are so very close. One or two of you might be closer than the other to taking that leap but you are all closer than you think. I’m watching it happen right before my eyes- my babies blossoming into adults and it’s amazing.

I am blessed to have you in my life. You bring me endless joy and happiness.

And I hope someday when you look back at your childhood, you can look past any tears or bruises and remember the love and the laughter and the joy we shared.

Love, Mom