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Great Expectations Part 2 - (Waving goodbye to your 1st born off to college, turning around and he's back in the house? WTH?)

               Picture this. I am standing on top of a large crate, megaphone in hand, clearing my throat. “Listen to me, I know what I am talking about!” Got it? Good.  Let me start off with the fact that no mother can love their son more than I do. The expectations of the first born are always extremely high. You want the best for your child and you are thrilled with every accomplishment along the way.  This is no different. I can honestly say, Patrick (oldest son) and I had the best time going to colleges to see if any would be of interest to him to attend. Of course, they all (or most) make it sound so great, who wouldn't want to go there. Quite  a few things happened Patrick’s senior year of high school which lead him to a wonderful school about 100 miles away from our home. I loved the idea that it was only an hour and fifty minute drive. Far enough away to be away, but closest enough to come home if necessary.

          The time leading up to Patrick going away to school was a not a great memory. There was a ton of tension and I’m sure anxiety on all parts of the family. I truly believe that it made it less “sorrowful” as when we were dropping him off, it felt like it was the right time to do so. Please don’t get me wrong, my heart ached to be dropping off “my baby” at college. Patrick on the other hand seemed to be handling it better (so I thought.)  We were saying goodbye in his dorm room, and it hurt to hold back the tears as Patrick kept saying “don’t cry in front of my roommates!” All we said back was “have fun and do good at school.” We got to the car and I remember looking into Patrick’s living room window and thinking, he can’t see me cry - so I was just smiling back,  screaming at my husband to pull out of the parking space so I can start crying. Which I did, for the  hour and fifty minute drive home. Poor Bill.            

        That first semester, we would call and Patrick seemed to be happy. Everything seemed to going well, but, as a parent/mother you know your child. I could sense something was going on.  I immediately turned to my friends who had college kids. My friends were my support, rock and sounding board. They would tell me things that I was not happy hearing. They would say, “maybe being away is not good for Patrick, maybe he has too many freedoms that are hard for him to handle.“ I then choose to not take their advise because that’s not going to happen to my kid. How many times have you said that? You want the best college experience for your child, and you send them off with the hope that they will go, soar and be involved in school so what horrible things could go wrong. Well, things happen.

        After the year was over, we all sat down and realized that it wasn’t as glorious as WE wanted it to be for Patrick. He had made the decision to come home. It was a decision that at first, I felt that I had failed him somehow. What did I do wrong. I had friends who told me they were envious of having my son come home, yet I felt different. It is very difficult having your college son come home and reintroduce him back into the home. He will always be your son but for a year, the house was down to four. Rooms got changed around.  It was a total adjustment. The first rule we said is that our home is not a dorm. That went over well….. Second, there are rules in the house, that too, didn’t go over well. I kept going back to what my friends were saying to me months (years) back and asking myself, why didn’t I just listen to them. The pain or confusion would have been easier! Why did I let my pride stand out first instead of understanding arms to reach out to my son? I kept looking at the negative in the situation instead of the positive which was, he made the mature decision to come home, continue college, get a job and help out in the house.

             OK, now I get it. I just wish I got it long time ago. It’s OK to be disappointed, have your pity party, but get over it! Don’t let it consume you as it did me. I’m proud of my son and knowing that we’re going to go through this again next year with my other son - somehow I feel a bit more prepared.  Ton o’ blessings to ya until next time.

    Patrick and I at his high school graduation. Of course, I'm crying.


Great expectations equals WTH (What The Heck) outcomes.

                 True story.  Our expectations at the time of the birth of our second son was  God has blessed us with two healthy boys and we were done. I was working as a water aerobic instructor at the time and life was going along swimmingly (no pun intended.) I noticed I gained four pounds and I was going to work out my class so that we all lose those four pounds.  What I didn't know was that I was nine weeks pregnant! It was a shock as it was difficult to conceive our second son with months of disappointing results until I did finally became pregnant, so this was a big surprise.  In private I questioned God - why. Why now and why did I have to go through what I went through to get our second son. Looking back, I don’t think I handled the situation well and vowed to learn from it. 

                 I  had gone to doctors and it was the day of the sonogram. My husband (Bill) did NOT want to know the sex of the baby and me being the control freak absolutely wanted to know. That visit, the doctor said she was sorry but the way the baby was laying, she could not tell. I had gone to several visits where the doctor had given me sonograms and one day, she said (and I quote) “I am 98 %  sure you are going to have another boy.” To be honest, the legs were not “spread eagle” where it would have been obvious but I’m not a doctor so I believed her. I felt bad for Bill as he kept saying he wanted a little girl and I was saying to myself, “sorry but it’s little “Joseph Anthony.”

                      Months went by and it was time to go to the hospital. I was in labor and my doctor had said it was OK to push. One push - out came the head. The doctor then said “She is so beautiful!” She? What? It’s only a head. Bill was so excited. I was so mad that the doctor would lead him on like that. Push number 2, shoulders out. Again with the “she is coming quickly!” At this point, I am staring back over the sheet and saying “ are you talking about?” Then I pushed a couple of times more and push number six - out the baby came. The doctor beamed as the cord was still attached and she took the baby upside down and said “it’s a girl!” Bill was flying around the room ecstatic with tears of joy and everyone was smiling and laughing but me. I calmly said “no it’s not, you better find a pee pee and find it now.” I expected “Joseph Anthony” and out came Maria Jean! Truly I was shocked (again.) Please don’t get me wrong, she was beautiful and healthy and what more could I want but, having two boys already, boys clothes, Tonka trucks, you get the picture. I was holding Maria and I said to her “I don’t have anything pink at home, no Barbie dolls or ribbons and I have no idea how to take care of a baby girl!” She just smiled back and I knew it was going to be OK. It was a learning process those first few weeks and I now know why God blessed me with her as there is no better feeling than seeing your daughter grow into a beautiful young woman, that and we love to go shopping together!  I love when people say we look alike as in the picture below which was taken three years ago!

                       This was my high school graduation picture and I had Maria hold it up to her face and I said, “I’ve got to take this picture.” I’m glad I did and I treasure it. Next blog, the expectation of your first born off to college. Boy I wish someone would have told me……….  Ton o’ blessings to you until next time!


This season is over - now what.

                When we lived in Missouri,  I was asked to become a water aerobic instructor and thought: this is what I am going to do for the rest of my life.  I loved it! I would say all the time, “I don’t know what I would do if I didn't get paid to exercise!” I met the most wonderful people and really did see them transform before my eyes. What a wonderful feeling to know you helped someone achieve their goals. When we moved to Florida, I jumped at the chance to teach water aerobics in several different locations throughout the area.  I was noticing that it wasn't as much fun as I wanted it to be. I remember one time, I was asked to do water walking at a very elite country club twice a week.  The pay was great for only a couple of hours of work. But when I got there, I was met with these stuck up women who wanted me to strap on their water-belts for them, play music they wanted to hear and have their towels ready when they were done. Being the trooper I was, I thought that this is going to be a challenge and I’m up for it! Think again. I lasted only 4 classes and told the director, “good luck with these ladies, I’m outta here.”  I was always brought up to, not give up, don’t quit and don’t rock the boat.  I remember thinking, I can make this fun again and Lord knows I tried. 

          I got to work one day and I put my toe in the water and I would swear it was like putting it in battery acid. I was so repulsed by it. I went home that day and cried. I had spoken to my sister who said that “maybe your season with teaching is over.” Her words puzzled me but when I really thought about it, she was right. I had to give myself permission to let go of teaching water aerobics and move on to the next chapter of my life. It is so scary to say out loud what you want to do in fear that someone will make fun or discourage you. Have you had that happen? Easier to not try and go on status quo? That’s sad. 

     My friend Jo asked me if I wanted to become her assistant in her real estate office. I thought that would be great until she said I had to go get my license first. No problem, I thought. After the second night of class, it was clear - I’m in this for me. Sorry Jo, I’m doing this to become a Real Estate agent. I did end up in her office as her fellow agent, not her assistant. I loved real estate in helping people buy or sell their property. Yes, people are funny, strange, rude, wonderful and most of the time - it is all that wrapped up in one. But, recently I am having the toe in the water feeling and even though I would never give up my license, I have decided to go another route and work with Jo and pursue my dream of writing. It is the scariest feeling to say it out loud but also the most exhilarating feeling to put it out there and try.  Yes - try. 

    Please, as this new year is upon us, try. Try to become the person you want to be. Try new things that you thought were unattainable. Try to get out of your box. Yes, there will be times that you fail, but isn’t it those times we learn from and move forward? Don’t listen to naysayer’s, they're to scared to try and they don’t want you to succeed. Don’t call that person who makes you feel guilty because you are trying something new, they’ll bring you down too. Go out there today, yes today and try something new. I would love to hear what you did as  I would consider it a huge miracle/blessing to me! Ton o’ blessings to you until next time!