Friday, January 1, 2010

don't put all your eggs in one basket...

it's the second day of the new year and we have plans to celebrate christmas with the family.  this is another alternate plan.  originally, we had plans to get together in mid december.  we even offered to take jane and jim, my husband's parents.   we thought it would be nice to travel the distance together and have some extra time with them.  they may be retired but they have busier schedules than we do. there was a blizzard that prevented the whole family from making it from a variety of states.

  we had big decisions to make regarding the planning of that party....our grace, the freshman, had recovered from her mono and had plans to go to a high school homecoming dance that night.  it would be a three hour drive out to horse country in new jersey, we would have to leave a bit early to get home for the big dance.  we had planned and replanned to adjust our lives so that the dance would not be missed.  after all of the planning, more planning and revising and coordinating, we had figured it out so our family would stay in tact and still let the dancing begin. 

things happen and schedules change and plans change....everyday.  on the friday before our december gathering, with all of the planning and decisions and teeange drama, i recieved a text from was grace.  her text was to let me know that the homecoming dance was cancelled
it had been postponed already.... from october because the swine flu had closed nearby schools.  grace was relieved at that news because that cancellation made her life easier....we were all planning to go to boston for the weekend....she didn't have to struggle with the choices.

the october dance was rescheduled to december and re-rescheduled to mid january. the downside is that the mid january homecoming dance appears to be only one weekend away from the winter formal.  these are all really just dances with fancy names.  in this day in age, it's really just an opportunity for girls to live life in the fancy  lane....not quite the red carpet, but everyone wants their moment to shine.

today is january 2nd, 2010.  today is our rescheduled date for our family christmas celebration, a date worked out when the blizzard began on december 18th of 2009.  we had planned to share our christmas gifts with everyone horse country, in new jersey.....with our sister and brother in law.  they are a busy working couple with alot of scheduling involved in their lives.  they work really hard to keep the family together and love to host family gatherings since they are in an almost central location.  when the party is at their house, they go all out and prepare a feast and they don't even cook!

the phone rang last night.  my husband hung up and said, "we're bringing a salad tomorrow."  oh?  "to  jane and jim's"  huh? guessed it.  the trip to new jersey, driving jane and jim, was cancelled.  everyone in new jersey was sick....sick with lots of wonderful food in the fridge.  which meant that we would not be driving jane and jim because we would be going to jane and jims....for our re-rescheduled christmas.  and that's unfortunate for our new jersey family, being sick and not even wanting to see food.

half of the family would not be able to make the trip.....too far.  we are only an hour's kind of ...a relief.  and by the way, my husband is taking our daughter and a friend to a local concert.  so it's kinda nice to know we don't have that teenage time pressure!

there is a bit of a glitch in all of the planning and replanning.  once we knew we would be surprising the kids for christmas, with the news of our ski trip with friends, we knew that jane had one very significant present.  grace had asked for new ski goggles for christmas.  instead of receiving them in mid december, she would not see her grandparents until january.  christmas eve eve, my husband drove down to jane and jim's to rescue the ski have at our house on christmas morning.

the other family that will be there already sent their gifts....we opened them on christmas morning.  t.j. has his grandparents to thank for christmas continuing through new years. grace has everything opened. the new jersey relatives have still not received our gifts...the kids are happy to have something to look forward.  ....we have lots more to give....if the plans get re-re-re scheduled for new jersey......and the relatives in virginia......

the gifts for virginia relatives and new jersey have been wrapped for months.  they won't be there.  jane and jim's gifts are mostly all wrapped.  we still have gifts lined up in the dining room.....all dressed up and no place to go....we have some gifts waiting to be wrapped.

with so much organizing for months, i'm not sure who has what and what goes with who.  i hope if all works out.  wrapping isn't all that it's cracked up to be anyway.  thank goodness that they make pretty colorful, christmas bags and tissue paper. even when i am organized, i can't be organized.

 i wonder if the homecoming dance and the winter whirlwind (my new name for it), will really happen in january.  oh, and that's grace's birthday month.  that always adds to the scheduling excitement.

we will finally have our christmas with family.

this is a great day for our kids to be reminded of the lesson......tis better to give than to receive. i think they have already learned that life is a little give and take.......they have learned to go with the flow...don't put all your eggs in one basket.....


letting go and trusting

happy new year.  we are only a couple of hours into the new year and i'm exhausted......our grace, 14, is out at a friends, for a new years party and sleepover. i asked all of the good parenting questions,  basic questions, like ....are her parents going to be home?, who else is invited?, what time? and after we talk to her mom, i'm sure you can go.   i trust my sweet girl.....i trust her good friends....i trust the mom and dad at the home she'll be staying.  there will be boys and there will be supervision.

i remember being a freshman in high school.  i remember alot.  i remember my behavior. i remember lots of the girls and boys i hung out with.  i remember the lessons i learned.....about friendships, trust, responsibility, staying honest and true to myself. i remember trying to do the right thing and not always doing it.  i .  remember knowing the difference between right and wrong.  i remember peer pressure and trying to act cool.  i remember some of the girls changing everything about themselves, around boys.  i remember being disappointed in friendships, i remember feeling like i was the only one in the world who wasn't perfect or model beautiful or confident.  i remember wanting a boyfriend so badly. i remember not  feeling pretty enough to have one. i remember thinking the boys liked other girls more than me .  i remember feeling like there was no one in the world that i could trust.  i remember  thinking my family was not as great as their family.
i know those are all of the same feelings that girls have today...only, girls today seem to have all of these feelings magnified.  i know this is a time where my litttle girl is going off independently, making choices everyday that will lead her down her own path.  it's her path and i can't pave it or sweep it for her. as parents, all we can do is trust her and pray that we have taught her well and showed her by example.  i want to tell her all of my mistakes and save her from the difficulties and dramas and delicate feelings.  but, that would be a disservice to her and to her character.  i love her so much, it's hard to let go......but that's all we can do is let go and trust her to know the right thing to do or learn the harsh lessons that come when poor choices are made.

our son t.j., 13 is at home with us tonight.  he is growing too. he is feeling as though we are not the parents he would like us to be. he is frustrated with us.  he is great at letting us know his feelings.  he is frustrated with his life.  he wants to be better....he wants to be the best at some things and doesn't feel that he ever will. we talk and talk.  he yells and tells us his strong feelings and emotions. it is so hard to hear our son be so hard on himself.....he doesn't see his own strengths....he doesn't know how long it takes to recognize one's own strengths.....he doesn't understand why some kids have things come so easy and others try and try and still aren't good enough.  he doesn't know that they just appear to come easy.he doesn't know that some things that come easy to one kid may be a stretch for another and  that's everyone. as a first grade teacher once said, "everyone here is best at something."  i loved's true...just hard to believe when you're 13.

his feelings are intense.  we want him to know we've had those same feelings.   he doesn't believe us....he can't imagine anyone understanding.  he is sad and frustrated and our hearts are breaking just to hear him speak.  we can't make the pain go away...we can only give him the tools to deal with the pain. we try to show him how much we care and how much we believe in him.  he wants no comforting from us......we give what we can.  he too, has to find his own way.  we can show him and steer him but, we can't do it for him.

as a mom, that's all i have ever wanted to take their pain for make it better and not have the pain hurt so much.  it makes my heart ache.  sometimes when i see our kids in pain, it makes me feel helpless.  it makes me feel as though i have failed them....that i haven't made them strong enough to withstand the pain.  then, i remember that they have their own paths to take.

as my husband and i  looked up the mountain, while skiing this week, i pointed to the tracks of the skiers and snowboarders in the snow...tracks and tracks....we watched all of the different skiers and all of their different styles, coming down the mountainside.  we noticed the way some were well prepared for the freezing cold.....we noticed others that hadn't thought out the details....we watched some who were invigorated by the challenges and the cold and others who were paralyzed with fear of the terrain and in tears because of the cold.  we noticed parents who were stressed out by their children and parents who were relaxed, and enjoying the moments.

it was by the mountain, looking at the skiiers tracks in the snow, that i realized each of us has our own path to take....going down the mountain.  we all have our own style, our own speed and our own feelings as we move through the snow.  on the coldest day, it can feel like a day at the beach for some and for others, it can feel overwhelming just to get off the lift at the top of the mountain.  some get off the lift and just zip down immediately.  others have big discussions and adjusting to take care of before they even consider the run.

i am so visual.  that mountain allowed me to see that we each have our own path to take.  some of us get bumped in the tight spots, some are just knocked over by surprise, some get bruised and jump right back up and others get banged up and need to rest or get bandaged.

i realized that no matter what paths our children take, all we can do is give them lessons and help build their confidence, stay by them  yet, give them some space.  we can protect them by clothing them properly and we can show them the way.  only then, are they free to choose their own path and do it their own way, learning as they go and falling at the tough spots.  we can cheer them on and let them know we can see their improvements and see how tough the terrain and the weather may be.....and they will feel better knowing we believe in them and trust that they know the way.......and we know they will make it down the mountain doing the best that they can,no matter how long it takes or how they do it and who they do it with. 

it's all about letting go and trusting.