Monthly Archives: August 2015

The Proud Parent Of….

SDSMTGoing off to college is a major life change. I don’t really remember being filled with fear over it…but I am sure I was.

I attended a college in my hometown my first year. There was some safety in that. I knew that I could go home and do my laundry and not have to use the machines at school. I knew how to get around town and I still had my part time job that I had in high school. Sure the idea of going from building to building was scary and the classes would be hard, but I loved the community that I felt in my “small” school.

I thought that I would be there for the next 4 years.

But at some point in my first year it was evident that I needed/wanted to switch my major and I had to change colleges to do so. I felt like a failure...I had all these plans for so long and now I was doing something different. Who could be proud of that?!

Dominic also made a change after his first year. He attended the school that Isaac is at today…it wasn’t for him and after his freshman year he changed too. That is how we met, at our new college, carrying the baggage that in our own ways we had “failed”…

Perceptions like that can cling to a person. Whether they are appropriate or not…they can shape how we think and view ourselves.

When Dominic started Law School there were these window clings that had the name of the school on them. I told him to buy one that first year…I was really proud of him….it was like a bragging right to have that on your car.

But he said he wouldn’t buy one until he graduated…he needed to believe that he could do it first, needed to prove it to himself and others. After he graduated you can bet we bought the cling.

As we dropped off Isaac this past week there was a place for parents to pick up a bunch of information, and at that table was a window cling. Proud parent of SDSM&T.

I grabbed 2 and when we got home last night I put one on my computer cover. I am a proud parent of a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Student.

Tech is a HARD school. They do their very best to weed out the students that can’t hack their programs in the first year. Isaac has some terribly hard classes, Trig, Calc and some Finite math for computer science class. I don’t even know what having classes like that would be like. Well I do…it would mean complete and utter failure for someone that isn’t math minded like myself.

He is going to have to work hard. It will not be easy, that is a guarantee. He may love it and he may decide like we did that he wants to do something else. And if he does I will be proud of that too.

I want to live my life embracing the here and now. Right now my oldest just started at one of the hardest tech schools, and yes I am proud. He doesn’t have to graduate for me to be proud…I already am.

Moving in to a dorm with strangers, leaving your family and the routine you have come to know for the past 18 years…it is all really hard changes. There were lots of kids that we saw that looked terrified. I am not kidding….they looked scared out of their mind.

As a parent we should be proud of our kids for taking these next steps.

I know that Isaac won’t do everything perfectly. There will be hard times and likely some failures. He will have tough choices to make and we will see his character develop through it all. He doesn’t have to have it all together for me to be proud of who he is. He doesn’t have to prove it to me that he can do it.

I already know he can.

Whatever career path he decides he wants to pursue, I know he will succeed. It will be something he is passionate about and he will work hard to do his best. I have already seen that in him, and I know it will continue as he gets older.

Parents these times are hard on us…especially us mama’s that are emotionally “gifted”. I will miss talking with Isaac every day in person. Miss hearing about his day…I don’t want to bombard him with text messages so I can hear all about how it is going. He will probably not tell me everything just so I don’t worry. 🙂

So I am going to be focused on praying for my son…for all the kids there at Tech. Praying that they would start to feel comfortable in their new surroundings. That they would find their classes and make new friends. I will pray that they will stand strong in their convictions and be an example to others. And I will pray that they know how proud of them we are as parents.

I will be Isaac’s biggest cheerleader. Through the good and the bad. Through the tough choices and even the wrong decisions. It is my privilege as his mother to cover him in prayer and cheer him on this new path he is on.

Proud? Absolutely, 100%…no matter what.

All the things I want to say…

Sunset IsaacI made a quick trip to Walmart this evening to pick up a few last things on my “sending Isaac to college” list. It is the eve of the eve of our adventure to college and my mama heart aches at the reality of it all.

I cried through the entire worship portion of church yesterday…something I was clearly NOT prepared for as the ugly cry was starting and I couldn’t find a kleenex to save my life. It was awesome. Something about singing about God’s amazing love for us and seeing a dear friend singing on the worship team who is leaving on her own adventure this next week…and standing next to my son, it was too much.

The tears are coming quite a bit these past few days, and I am sick on top of it so it is all around good times.

I found myself in the baby aisle tonight, oddly enough buying pull ups for one who will be in our home for 14 more years and a new towel for the one we are preparing to leave us.

It didn’t seem so long ago that I found myself making late night runs to Walmart to buy a new paci because Isaac’s was lost once again…how is it possible that the time has gone so fast?

As I was leaving the store I was feeling a bit verklempt and I walked out to see the most beautiful sunset before me.

Oddly enough I make many trips at this time of night and for a brief moment I get to experience God’s full splendor in creation itself.

The clouds were tipped in pink and the sky was a brilliant orange, contrasted to the dark clouds that were behind me…a storm that had recently passed through.

Oh how I marvel in the beauty after the storm.

The sky represents a promise to me. A promise that God is always with us….and He CAN make something beautiful out of even our darkest storms. I just have to trust that. Oh may I always remember Lord.

As a mother I honestly want to protect my oldest from any storm.

I want him to learn from my mistakes so he doesn’t have to make any of his own. I pray that his journey would be easier than mine….but if it were, would he experience the majesty that is the sunset after the storm?

In my darkest moments I haven’t always believed that I would see daylight again. And at times I believed that God couldn’t redeem my past.

But He has and He will…

So as I prepare to close this chapter of parenting and enter a new one with Isaac I wanted to share a few things here.

I am an introvert through and through, and while I am a woman with ALL THE FEELINGS, I don’t always express them well. Especially out loud and in person. Thankfully God knew this about me and gifted me with an ability to more comfortably share the cries of my heart behind the safety of a computer screen.

So first Isaac let me say how much I love you.

I know I don’t and haven’t said it enough in person and I am sorry for that. I hope that you know and always know that I love you. You have always been a gift to me. I thank God that he allowed me the blessing of being your mom. How did I ever get to be so lucky?!

And Isaac we are so incredibly proud of you.

Not only are you an amazing brother but you are a hard worker. Someone that can be trusted, dependable and funny. You bring laughter to our home and your presence will be missed by the entire family.

You are smart and talented.

You can take apart just about anything and make it new again. You aren’t afraid to try something new, to push your thinking outside of the box…it is no wonder you are pursuing engineering.

I am so excited to see where God will take you.

I know this transition won’t be easy for you, but I know you will be ok. You have a resilience in your bones and as difficult as it was to move before you started high school..I believe it has prepared you even better for this next phase of your life.

There will be trials. Life won’t always turn out like you hoped or imagined.

My prayer during these times would be that you would hold onto your faith, trust God with the big and the small things….He is with you and will be with you every step of the way. Even in those times you may feel abandoned…He IS there. Trust me on this one…it is a lesson I have learned time and time again.

The last 18+ years have been an honor. 

While this change makes me sad it also makes me so excited for you. There are bigger and better things in front of you. Chase those dreams you have, do the scary stuff, take risks (acceptable, legal ones) 😉 and don’t let fear tell you that you can’t do something.

You are well prepared for this moment Isaac, I am confident in that. We all stumble, face failures and struggle with feelings of doubt…but always remember that you are right where God wants and needs you. Be that light to others, and make a difference.

And while I joke that you are never coming home again I hope that you want to visit us soon. There will always be a place for you here, even if your brothers take over your room next week! 🙂 You were the best thing that happened to your dad and I almost 19 years ago and we are cheering you on as you start college.

Oh and a couple other “administrative” items before I let you go…please text me once a week so I know you are still alive! Know that I will always be here for you. I may force myself not to check up on you but it isn’t because I don’t want to know how you are…I don’t want to be that annoying mom. 🙂 Do your laundry before you run out of shirts and pants. Trust me everyone will appreciate that one. And just go and do your best. We don’t expect perfection…clearly we aren’t capable of it ourselves…just work hard like you always have and you will succeed.

Thank you Isaac for being such a gift. I love you.

Mom

Photo Credit: vj_flicks

Walking in Forgiveness

Path to forgivenessOh friends how I miss this space at times.

I miss writing here, miss sharing my heart…my summer has been filled with fun and not-so-fun moments, and with preparations to send our oldest to college in 15 days, seriously where has the time gone?!

I am not sure that my heart is ready for the change.

And isn’t that the way with so many things? Life, reality, comes at us and we have to deal with it regardless if we are prepared or not.

And as a girl who doesn’t like change, or things out of her control…well this can be a bit of a tough road to go down!

I don’t know why God felt that 2015 needed to be the year of all the lessons. I mean really, one good one would have been plenty for this girl…but it has been chock full of learning and growing.

Most days I probably grumble more than I should.

Many days I focus on the pain of the stretching and not the beauty of new growth.

But every once and awhile I get it…it is a light bulb moment and change happens, and that is what I want to share with you today.

I have vaguely shared that for many years Dominic and I struggled in our marriage. I haven’t shared lots of details, but married life didn’t start out easy.

We jumped right in as young adults into a big world of expectations and we both got burned in the process.

On our wedding day, as my dad gave me away, he told us both to never, never, never give up.

It made me cry and I thought that it was beautiful.

And then I got angry at Dominic for something and wanted to run.

I am not sure where that all comes from really…I need some good therapy to figure it all out. But when things get hard and uncomfortable – I want out!

Very early on I established a pattern in our marriage. It was a damaging and awful path to be on and I walked in it for years. Divorce was a swear word and I used it with a vengeance.

Make me angry, I threaten you with everything that should be secure….family, home, our relationship. It didn’t matter if I really meant it or not. I got mad and opened my mouth and out spewed unmatched ugliness.

Can I just pause and say here that this is NOT where I thought I was headed with this post when I started writing it…that being said I am going to keep walking this out as I feel God is maybe giving me the words for someone who needs to hear them.

In my Hello Mornings study we have been reading through James and yikes can I say that it is a tough one to read when there are so many things that I can personally relate to.

So to lay it all out there…me mad = many people hurt by my actions/words.

I used my words as a weapon time and time again. And Dominic received the worst of it.

And I always felt justified. The conversation in my head always went something like this…

“Well if he wouldn’t have done/said xyz…then I wouldn’t have gotten angry.”

So in my mind it was never my fault. (I see the error in my thinking now, but this has been a struggle for YEARS and it caused so much hurt.)

I became an expert at the silent treatment. Even when forgiveness was asked, and I “granted” it (even though I should have been doing the asking) I would drag out my punishment for days being silent and cold.

Sounds like a wonderful, inviting home doesn’t it?!

We went around and around in this cycle for way too long.

Yes several years ago there was some significant restoration and healing…but bad behaviors are hard to break, especially for someone like me. And walking in true forgiveness wasn’t something that I had mastered.

I forgave with conditions.

I never let go, never took full responsibility for my part….I have been walking in chains and so desperately want freedom.

A few weeks ago Dominic and I had a really great conversation. It was one of those unplanned, deep talks that led to a frank discussion about forgiveness.

Dominic used himself as an example saying things like “at times I do this and say I forgive you, but I don’t really and I hold a grudge….” Everything that he said was something that I should and could say as well. We both do it and it isn’t healthy.

And then he said “We have got to say we forgive one another and then walk forward like we actually do.”

No more I forgive you but….

I forgive you but I am going to remain guarded and distant.

I forgive you but I am going to remember this for next time.

I forgive you but only after I have punished you for a time first.

We have walked that path for longer than we ever should have.

And so that night we committed to walking a new path.

A path of true forgiveness.

It has been a little silly around our house as a result.

Arguing and hurt feelings happen. We are flawed human beings…so now we say “I forgive you” immediately.

Forgiveness is flying around like crazy. I will admit it has become a bit of a joke (sometimes he forgives me for forgiving him), but we are practicing it every day. 🙂

There will be a time where one of us hurts the other. It is inevitable. And as a woman with all.the.feelings., well Dominic just has to look at me sideways on the wrong day and I could get all twisted up.

But if it happens, I will choose to walk in forgiveness.

I will say it and then act like I mean it.

I will not hold a grudge.

I will not threaten our marriage.

I will not give the silent treatment.

He deserves better than that and so do I!

We have a choice to walk in freedom on the path of forgiveness. (<====Click to Tweet)

There is a lightness in my step as a result.

I still have LOTS of issues that I need to deal with, my anger first and foremost at the front…but I have confidence that there will be freedom there as well.

As my dear friend Marlene told me “God has given me the key to freedom…I just need to choose to walk in that freedom.”

So I am marching ahead. Want to join me?!

Joining the beautiful writers over at Jennifer’s place #TellHisStory

Photo Credit: agnivohneb

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