I’m sitting in a quiet house — all children have taken off for their first day at school — and decided to sit down to write something today. I’ve had several ideas the past few days, so if this is disjointed — well, I guess that might have to be too bad. 🙂
One of my thoughts this morning was, “Oh gosh, Gregory would have started Kindergarten today.” Now, whether he would or wouldn’t have may been up for debate as his due date was July 27 and cutoff to enter school in Missouri is August 1. But, his cousin, Gunnar, who was born in April the year we lost him started Kindergarten homeschool, so I often track Gregory’s place in life with Gunnar.
So much would be different if Gregory would have been able to join us and live with us here on Earth. I have no doubt I would be a completely different mother to Vincent and Vincent would likely be a different boy — having someone to model to. But…maybe not. Oh well, that’s not the life we have, so it doesn’t make sense to pine too much for it, but every now and again, I get hit in the gut with questions and pondering.
My oldest had her last first day of school today. It’s weird. I’m not all that emotional about it. Maybe that’s because I’ve had so much emotion related to her in the past couple of months that I’m all “emotion-ed” out. I bought this book titled, “Letting Go” sometime mid-summer. I bought it because I thought that maybe I would have a hard time letting Sarah grow up and move on with life and I wanted to keep her in my life, keep her coming to me for conversation and advice and anything else she needed and I thought maybe that book would do that for me. But, I haven’t made it past the middle of the first chapter. I don’t know if that’s because I don’t need it or because the book isn’t going to provide what I thought it would. But what I have witnessed during the past summer is a young woman who is absolutely ready to take on everything this world will throw at her and handle it with grace and love. She had volleyball workouts most of the summer and made almost all of them. She worked her job at the movie theater (where she was promoted to a shift leader the beginning of May) and continued to thrive where that’s concerned. She attended a Nursing camp at an area nursing school which solidified her discernment that nursing is the path for her. She took a road trip to Minnesota with her two best friends (and one of their moms) and got to see her favorite performer (Harry Styles) in concert. She road-tripped with us down to Texas had a great time with her Aunt and cousins there, whom we hadn’t seen in a couple of years. We made it home in time for her to leave for Team volleyball camp with her high school varsity team — where she learned so much about herself and her team with regard to volleyball and had excellent team-building opportunities. She got back from that in time to take off to attend LEAD retreat ahead of the Steubenville conference in Springfield, MO. Then returning from Steubenville, she worked and arranged for a transfer to a different location for work. She even worked in her first trip to her Grandma’s on her own (driving about 45 min away…on the interstate!). And her growth in her faith is phenomenal! I remember when she was nervous and not as committed to participating in the young women’s group that meets every Wednesday at our parish. But now, it’s the highlight of her life and she looks forward to it and reaches out for what she can receive from it. Now, she is one of the leaders — someone for the younger women to look up to and see what proper prioritization of values can do for them.
I know I have written it many times here on my blog, but I’m simply amazed at this human being — my first born daughter — and all that she does…but mostly HOW she does it. Her disposition is beautiful, she seems to try to see and love others the way God sees and loves them — be they her siblings, her parents, her friends. Her approach to everyone is always the same and always loving, respectful, humble. I cannot put into words how much I love her and admire her and how grateful I am for her example to her siblings and to me, her mom.
Okay. So something else to write about…
My second child started high school today. At a different school (boundaries changed and now my younger four will attend a different high school than Sarah did). I’m thrilled for the things she is taking on! She has a full schedule with Honors ELA and Honors World History along with her choir and theater classes. She’s playing Tennis. She plans to do Competitive Drama (she enjoys doing Improv with a partner). All of these great things ahead for her! And yet…so much growth has happened for her in the past year, too. I’ve seen her reclaim her innocence — when I swear it was being challenged from places both earthly and spiritually. She, too, grew in faith this past summer as she attended a camp for a week that is run through the Archdiocese of KCK. She came back from that camp recharged in her faith and ready to learn more. She told me she felt as though she truly learned how to pray there. She also attended the Steubenville conference and had an amazing experience there — specifically, she was touched by Adoration. She performed in her first Community Theater production and had a great experience — albeit, many late nights in the month of July for rehearsals — but all worth it!
As she has grown, Dani has been my child to always think of the impact of things on the whole family. She often downplays any of her needs in favor of ensuring there is enough money or time for the other kids. I sometimes have to force the issue with her that she DOES need new shirts/shoes/whatever it may be and that it’s okay…we budget for these things. 🙂 But I see this even in her attentiveness to her siblings whether it be at home or at Church. She is truly present with them — rough-housing with the boys, hanging out and laughing with her sisters — I rarely find Dani with her face in her phone or distracted by something when someone is trying to talk with her. She looks up to her sister and while she absolutely does not want to do the same things (i.e., volleyball or nursing or college perhaps, for that matter) she does try to love her sister and others with the love of God. It makes me excited to see where she takes this in her new high school adventures!
Helen is in the midst of what I think is the toughest time in raising daughters. Sometime at the beginning of middle school/6th grade year through about the midway point of 8th grade, everything is a struggle — emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially. Helen’s really probably doing a great job with it all, but it’s hard for me as Mom. My experience is that this period of time is a very self-centered time for the girls and I have a hard time enduring it and continuing to parent through it. I get tired of correcting and yelling and reminding the girls. I get tired of them being mad at me when I’m just doing my job as their mother. I know it will be worth it in the end and I can’t wait to see the day when “my Helen” returns and we can talk to each other (without it feeling forced or either of us feeling ignored) and hug each other (without her “half-assing” it.
The good part is that there are little “lights” in the darkness of this time — Helen hangs out so well with her brothers, she’s actually quite close with them. And, Helen is playing volleyball — she’s grown in her skills and her perseverance over the summer, and will be playing with an excellent club and she’s also survived the first cuts at middle school. She’s signed up for choir, too, so that will be excellent. As for her anxiety, it rears its head in different ways at this point, but I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying when she’s going out of control and reminding her that she needs to remove herself from the situation, and use her tools, get her head straight and then return. sometimes that goes over well. Sometimes it doesn’t. But we’re working through it.
The boys started 4th and 2nd grades today. Dominic’s such an easy-going kid and was excited to get back to school. He was really excited that he was getting one of the male teachers this year. His goals include reading “a whole lot.” Vincent is still hard to read and completely different than all of his siblings. He “hates” school (even though I think he likes it…at least a little bit) and regularly asks to be homeschooled. I’ve asked for a referral to have him evaluated for the gifted education program through the district to see if that might help. If he doesn’t qualify, we’ll have to figure out new ways to motivate him — may have to do that anyway.
I missed the soccer signups (bad mom!) so I may be putting them back in swim lessons even though they don’t want to. Dominic said he for sure wants to play Basketball with the parish school, so maybe we’ll put Vincent in that, too. As much time as we’ll be spending at the club volleyball gym, though, maybe we should start them learning volleyball. 🙂
On top of all of that, the summer and vacationing has not been kind to me on the weight-loss front. I’ve lost some ground. But I’m planning to get back to dedication as this school year gets going. I have a great friend who is also doing Weight Watchers and we’re trying to keep each other accountable (on top of the meetings and such) so hopefully we can challenge each other and meet goals around the time our birthdays arrive (she and I have birthdays 5 days apart). I’ll update on that some other time…just know that summertime is not my favorite time to pay attention and track and all the things I know will lead me to lose weight and maintain it. I’m just gonna own it. It is what it is, but I’ll have to get back on it.
So, now I’m going to go watch my Redbox movie I got for free (thanks T-Moble Tuesdays!) and snack on popcorn…since it’s quiet around here and no one will ask me for anything!!