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Monthly Archives: January 2013

One of the best gifts my husband said he had ever received from one of his children was given to him this past Christmas by his oldest son, Tyler. Tyler is 21 years old and in his Junior year at the local University, where he is in the Chancellor’s Honors Program. He’s always been a very bright and gifted child. He’s one of those lucky kids who didn’t have to study to make perfect grades. School has always been easy for him, unlike his younger siblings who all had to struggle in different ways to maintain good grades. There are some who think he should use his gift to become a high earning medical doctor or lawyer…but that’s not for him. He has a love for learning and a talent for helping others that most do not have. He is studying to be an English Professor.

Tyler with his dad and I at his High School Graduation nearly 3 years ago

In one of this classes recently, he had an assignment to write a true short story about someone he knows. He chose his father. Tyler gifted the story to him on Christmas, and as I watched my husband read the story, I could see that he was brought almost to tears by the words his son put to paper about him. Words that showed how much his son truly admired, loved and appreciated him. As parents, we often wonder if we had done or are doing a good job of raising our kids. We constantly question ourselves and feel we have fallen short, especially if the road has not always been smooth for them. My husband told me late that night as we were getting ready for bed, that he feels like he did something right…that while he did make mistakes (as all parents do), he now knows that he did not fail them at all. He may not have been able to provide fancy cars or expensive electronic gadgets to them…heck, we couldn’t even give each of them their own room, but he has always been there when they have needed him, even if it’s just to offer a shoulder to cry on.  He’s always supported them in every way and gave them unconditional love. And he spent time with them.

When we look back on our childhood, do we remember all the expensive toys or trips our parents gave us? Or do we remember time spent together, loving and enjoying each others company? That’s what kids want. It’s what they need…their parents to spend time with them and to show them that they are loved unconditionally. That there is nothing that they could do that would cause us to ever stop loving them, even if we don’t always agree with the things they choose to do.

My husband’s favorite saying for years is that his happy thoughts are his children. I am proud to say that this man is not only my husband, but my best friend. There are not many like him, unfortunately. He is a family man. Other than God, nothing means more to him than his family, his wife and kids in particular. He even took another man’s child to raise as his own. He’s been a wonderful step dad to my son. He loves him as his own, and that is not an easy thing to do. We have been through hell and back for our children, from custody battles fought to getting help for a mental health problem..and the list goes on. As our children age and grow into young adults, I believe they will begin to realize just how much was done for them and given up for them (with no regrets),  and they will know just how much they are loved. It may take them having their own children before they can fully appreciate everything we have done and are doing for them (I know it happened to me…I’ve apologized to my mom several times for the hell I put her through when I was a teenager). There are things I wish we had done with our kids, things I wish we could have given them when they were younger, and even a few things I would do differently if I could go back. Some lessons we learned by trial and error because as we all know….mistakes are easily made. Parenting is never easy and there is no one way to parent, but many different ways. There is no such thing as the perfect parent or the perfect child. I’m so thankful of the time spent with every one of our children and I’m thankful that they can look back and relive the many (SO MANY) good memories that we all created together.

I hope all of our children realize that their dad and I love them unconditionally. They can always count on that, no matter what. And for all of the parents out there reading this…go out and create memories with your children, good ones. Coach their little league or soccer team, take them out for ice cream, take them camping, have a family game night once a week, etc. If you have more than one child, try to spend one on one time with each of them, no matter how difficult that may be at times. You don’t even have to leave your home for that! Always let them know that you love them unconditionally. Especially when things are not always so easy. Don’t try to solve all your kids problems and smooth the way for them, even though that’s the first inclination we have. Let them experience pain and disappointment, because life is full of it. Prepare them for the real world. But most importantly…love them.

 

 

 

Sisters have a special bond that I sometimes envy (while I love my three brothers, I have always wanted a sister). Our youngest daughter has always looked up to her big sister. And even at 17 years old, Allie still loves spending time with her baby sister. I love seeing them together acting silly.

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life. ~Isadora James

As I said goodbye to the year 2012, I remembered some of the wonderful memories made and shared and the many experiences I’ve had over the past year, which include:

  • My first (but not last) big sweepstakes win that came in the form of a weekend trip to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend a UFC fight with my husband (included in this “first” are others…my first airplane trip, first trip to the west side of our country, first UFC fight that included a private VIP party with the fighters, etc)
  •  I discovered Pinterest, which has lead me to try new things (hello wreath making!)  and develop a love for cooking. It’s my new addiction. I love experimenting with food, and my family loves it too!
  • My son started high school, my step-daughter started her last year of high school and the baby of the family started middle school.
  • I won another big prize, which we plan on using later this year.
  • My Bizarre Family passed it’s one year anniversary back in September
  • Two of my articles have been featured on the well known blog and media company, Blogher

Those are just some of the special memories and experiences we’ve had in the past year. Along with the great things that happened, we had some days there were not so great. In fact, we had a really big scare last Spring and the early part of the Summer when my husband had a couple of mini-strokes. He had to make several lifestyle changes, and more still needs to be made. He still has to undergo a few other tests, and he still has to get his blood pressure under control. While his BP has come down quite a bit, it still remains high. We discovered in the Fall that he has a problem with his potassium being too low, and he was placed on potassium medication for it. This was a really big scare for us too, because his older sister died from this just a few years ago when she was 49 years old. Folks, you do not play around with your potassium! My husband is taking potassium indefinitely.

We’ve also had alot of issues with my son, which have been ongoing for several years. Last February, when he joined the Young Marine program, I saw some positive changes in him. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. In fact, each year seems to be worse than the one before it. He was diagnosed a year ago with ADHD, combined type, and a Conduct Disorder. His psychiatrist has also said that he has some symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, but he can’t be diagnosed with that until later (I pray that he does not have Bipolar Disorder on top of everything else). I’m not really ready to publicly go in depth about the issues my son has just yet. But, I do know the time is coming soon where I feel like I shouldn’t be so silent about it anymore.

2012 definitely had its ups and downs. I am really looking forward to seeing what this new year brings us. I know it is going to be a better year for us financially, as we pay off a few big bills (hello freedom! Every time we get a bill paid off, it’s another chain being broken…and two of the biggest will be broken by Summer! Now THAT is something to be excited about!). I’m hoping it will be a better year in other areas as well. Especially health-wise, for my husband, son and myself. Three years ago, my New Years Resolution was to quit smoking. It’s a resolution I have kept (along with my hubby). However, within two months of quitting, I had gained 60lbs. Over the next year, I gained an additional 25lbs. Last year, I gave a halfhearted attempt at losing the weight I had put on by going on the 17 Day Diet. The weight I lost, I gained back (heck, I didn’t stick with it long enough to get to phase three!). While I’ve not gained any weight in a long time, I’ve not lost anything either. This year, I’m serious about losing it. I want to live a healthier lifestyle. I’m going to try the 3 Day Military Diet and see how that goes. I’ve also been looking into the Harcombe Diet. I know people who have done well on both. I’m also going to start exercising at least four or five days a week. My goal is to lose at least 60lbs by June. Hey, I need to look good for the trip we are taking! Once I lose weight, it is my hope that my blood pressure will go back down to normal (this is the first year I’ve ever had high BP….kinda scary) and some of the other issues I’ve been having will disappear all together.

If I can stop smoking, which is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done (right up there with childbirth), then surely I can lose all this weight…right? What are your New Years Resolutions?

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