Saturday, March 28, 2015

A New Season (Part 1 - because seasons change)

These past seven months have been BIG for me.

Seven short months ago I dropped my kids off at school for their first day of 8th and 9th grade.  That morning, and those uncontrollable tears, was a turning point for me.  I realized at that moment that things were about to change - an old season was ending and new season was approaching.      

“For everything there is a season, and at time for every activity under heaven.” 
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

The circle of life is very peculiar and beautiful at the same time.

I spent my 20s single and carefree and (mostly) living in the San Francisco Bay Area.  I never imagined that I would ever get married or be a mom, but I was content with that.  As life goes, I fell in love with a man from home  - so moved back to Ohio at age 29, got married at age 30, had my first child at age 31, and had my second child at age 32. My role of a wife ended in 2006 which made my role as a mom intensify because, as single moms will often tell you, that’s all I had to focus on.  After my divorce, and incarcerating myself in our home for way too long, I realized that my life needed balance and that I needed things in my life outside of my children, so I went back to graduate school, developed new friendships as a “single again” woman, dated (ugh!), and developed new interests (running, riding my bike, tinkering around the house, discovering new places, etc.).  I learned to do “me things” as time and money would allow – not a lot, but enough to find balance outside of my children.  Life has been very good and I have managed this ebb and flow of kids/no kids with our shared parenting schedule over the last nine years very well. 

Then seven months ago on the first day of school - it hit me.  I never expected it. I never saw this coming.

I am finishing an old season and will start a new season.

(Here come the tears again.)

This is very hard for me.

My son will be leaving in about 3 years and my daughter in about 4 years.

I’m going to be alone again like I was in California. Single and carefree. 

What in the world am I going to do? It’s exciting and scary all at the same time – and sad in many ways because I’m alone.

Single moms – how do we do this?  We have no shoulder to cry on.  The house will be too quiet.

Some days I’m excited about my new season, and some days I cannot stop crying about it.

I have this really cool virtual career where all I need is my phone and internet service to work, so I can live anywhere and keep this job.  I can sell my house and move anywhere I want to live. I can do anything I want to do - whenever I want to do it.

I tell my kids that I’m going to keep working, but sell the house and buy a RV and live in their driveways.  I’ll be the hippie mom who rolls out of the RV every so often squinting in the daylight, then I’ll go in their houses and eat all of their food and go back in my RV.  (If they have wine, I’ll drink that too!)  

It’s OK. The Bible tells me so…

“And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor,
for these are gifts from God.” ~ Ecclesiastes 3:13

My new season is coming sooner than I expected.  Ready or not – here it comes!

I am sure that God has something very cool planned for my new season and I know with all of my heart that it will be fantastic, but for now – I’m going to enjoy THIS season while it lasts because it’s awesome! One day at a time...

Can we just freeze time?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Confessions from a former fat kid – Part 2 (because I knew there would be more)

Flashback to the 1980s... to set the mood.

This is my book bag from high school.  I loved this book bag and carried it proudly while sporting my Guess jeans and feathered hair (and Swatch watch and blue mascara and everything else that was awesomely 80s).

Now, welcome to 2015.

My son is a high school wrestler and had a tournament last night at my old high school.  I was excited to not only watch him, but to also go and sit in the gymnasium of my alma mater, walk the halls, and reflect on sweet memories of my high school years when I was my son’s age (he is a Freshman).  My high school years truly hold some of my dearest memories; my friends from high school are among my best friends today, and my big brother (one year older than me) is still my hero. Those were some very good years! 

To get in the spirit of the occasion last night, I carried my old book bag and feathered my hair (oh yes I did). I was going to wear my old Guess jeans (I still have them and can still get into them) but decided against it. The zippers on jeans "back then" were a lot longer than they are these days so the waistband nearly touches my boobies which is uncomfortable.  Also, the back pockets on jeans "back then" were not sized nor placed in flattering spots.  What was the deal with those tiny back pockets placed so high anyways? Mercy.

Not to be a buzzkill, but you know one is coming. Right!?!

As I sat on the bleachers last night taking in the old sights and smells, I looked over at the doorway of the girl’s locker room and my tummy suddenly had a wave of nausea recalling my freshman and sophomore years’ gym class.  You see, I was the fat kid so gym class was a horrifying experience. My mom handmade my shorts for gym class because I was chunky and had a hard time finding clothes that fit - even in the “plus section."  (She handmade my jeans too – complete with the fancy stitching on the back pockets to look like Calvin Klein jeans which I could not fit into either.) Changing clothes in front of the other girls in the locker room was devastating for me.  Participating in gym class was even more devastating because I was so uncoordinated and everything jiggled when I moved.  (As a side note – my gym teacher was a dead ringer for Beulah the Ballbreaker from Porky’s.  No joke.)  You get the picture.

I tipped the scales at 200 pounds my sophomore year of high school and I was only about five feet tall - complete with braces and all.

Oh yes I was.

As I sat there last night looking at the door to the girl’s locker room, and that wave of nausea took me back 32-33 years, I suddenly felt a sense of peace because I’m not at that place emotionally anymore. 

These days I will change my clothes in front of other women at the gym and I can buy my shorts off the rack.  I’m certainly not a swimsuit model, but I’m OK.  And I was OK back then too – I just didn't see it.  "OK" is not in the size of clothes you wear – "OK" is in your heart. I did not have a size issue as much as I had a heart issue.  My 14-15 year old self was not capable nor mature enough to understand that, but she  understands it now.  I am not fully recovered emotionally from being the fat kid, but for the most part – I’m OK.  I’m still working on getting in better shape and losing a few extra pounds, but I think it will be a lifelong journey and I’m not sure if anybody every fully “gets there.”  I still wish my belly were flatter and my rear-end were tighter, but for the most part – I’m OK.    
"Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be."
— Rick Warren
Fast forward 2015.

I’m about fifty pounds lighter, five inches taller, and a billion times more at peace with myself.

I’m not where I want to be, but I am a LOT further than I used to be.

Growing up is TOTALLY AWESOME!!!