Reflecting on this past Year.

     Christmas is right around the corner, followed by New Year’s.  It’s this time that I find myself reflecting on this year and thinking of what I want to change for the next one.  There have been so many changes this year, I’ve accomplished more than I thought I would and less than I planned.

     I made my annual pilgrimage to Texas to spend time with my adult children, my granddaughter only to discover that I had more family there than I knew.  I jumped out of an airplane with my daughter and tried sushi for the first time, as well as sake.  I like the sake more than the sushi and like the skydiving way more than the sushi.  I’m pretty sure that I shouldn’t have done both on the same day however.

     I found my worth and value as a human being in Texas.  Given that I seem to be a perpetual patient I didn’t think I had any anymore, but I found out otherwise.  I learned that I still have something of value to offer beyond being sick, and I also learned that how I feel about myself relates to how I’m doing physically.  For the first time while I was in Texas I didn’t have to go to the hospital.

     I also made another trip, this one to New York.  It was my second time there and I learned that I could still travel and have a good time with my family.  I also met Kelsey Grammar and Betty White, that was a hoot.  I also learned not to take my shoes off on the plane because there was no way I was going to get them back on.  I also learned that if I leave my left overs in the hotel room while walking Times Square with Sarah, my husband was going to eat it all, including my cheese cake.

     I don’t know how many times I was in ICU this year, I lost count.  It feels like it might be less than last year and I’m hoping more than next year.

     I lost my best friend this year and I miss her every day.  I also found closure in helping another friend, no daughter find closure in a horrific part of her life and now she is able to put it behind her and move forward.

     I’ve found some friends in the blogosphere and made old friends new again.  I’ve also gotten my sister and her crazy girlfriend out of my house, and if that was the only thing I accomplished, believe me it would be enough.

     What can I say about my husband?  We’ve been together 17 years now and it seems that our love just grows deeper.  He’s sweeter and kinder than ever and I love him.  As my caretaker he has more patience than I give him credit for.

Little Things

     I think I’m getting my mojo back.  I’m inspired to write more and more.  Time does heal along with knowing that Michelle is in a better place.  I do believe that. 

     My husband just brought me a cup of coffee.  Rudy knows I usually write in the mornings after he leaves for work.  I don’t know how he knew I was getting ready to write now.  It’s something I usually do for him in the mornings to help him get up for work and now he’s brought me a cup of deliciousness that I didn’t even know I needed until it was in my hands.  A small thing, I know but that’s what love is to me.

     We’re going to have the next five days together, celebrating family and the gifts that God has given us and that’s no small thing.  I’m feeling better this week than last and I don’t feel like a trip to the hospital is imminent, and that’s no small thing.  My heart feels full of love and gratitude for the many gifts I’ve been given including the gift of more life to live and believe me, that’s no small thing either.

     We’re living in uncertain times these days, isn’t there a quote that says “May you live in interesting times?”  We certainly are and through it all I can’t help but feel we’re going to be ok come what may.  Challenges ahead, for certain but I have faith in my Lord, and in my small corner of the world.

     I’m seeing the surgeon on the 13th.  This one scares me, but I’m praying for peace of mind, comfort, and the wisdom of the surgeon, that should cover me.

     My daughter Heather is graduating from nursing college soon, with her second bachelors degree.  I’m so proud of her.  Tommy is back in college and working  along with Joey.  Sarah is also in college and working.  Little Rudy is taking a tech class and working really hard to support his family.  I don’t take credit for the success of our children instead I’m humbly grateful for it.

What am I Worth

      Since I’ve come home from Texas I’ve tried to think about how I was going to write this post.  Every year I come home with lessons learned about myself. 

    As someone with multiple chronic illnesses, it can be tempting to succumb to the notion that you no longer have anything to offer to anyone anymore.  It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself, yet I’m constantly reminded there are so many worse off than I am, and ultimately how lucky I am.  

     My adult children in Texas have friends that have embraced me and welcomed me as part of their family and make me feel so loved.  One in particular lives with my son, another roommate, and her mother who is living with stage 4 colon cancer.  This is a women caring for her mother and doing it with grace and dignity beyond her 24 years, and her mother is a remarkable woman I’m lucky to have met.

     My oldest daughter in Texas calls me anytime she’s troubled and tells me that she always benefits from my experiences.  I’ve found my value and worth in helping and advising the many people in my life who call me mom.  There are far more than I’ve given birth to, but I consider my children none the less.  A single mother stressed to her breaking point, I was able to tell her that I’ve been there and I know how hard it is.

      There are days when I’ve felt that I’m just taking up space and not contributing as a human being to the greater good.  I’m at peace realizing that’s not the case.  It bears repeating, I still have value and worth, I can still love, and give love and make my little corner of the world a better place just by being here.

Way out of my Comfort Zone

     I still can’t believe I did it.  I won’t say I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.  There was a considerable amount of duct tape in the interior.  I believe I saw some baling wire as well, and when I watched the pilot strap on a parachute it made jumping out the most prudent choice.  I wasn’t sure if I was going to go through with it at all.

     Skydiving was without a doubt the craziest thing I’ve done.  So many people said I wouldn’t go through with it and I felt like I had something to prove.  Something to prove to myself.  I’m not just a patient and I will not be defined as one.  Every year I come back from Texas having learned more and more about myself and I’m still mulling over the lessons learned this year, will post more on that later.

A Quickie

With my daughter

     I have just returned from my annual pilgrimage to Texas, having been gone for the past 2 weeks.  What a time I had with my adult children and my many other friends and family I’ve met there over the years.

     I DID NOT go to ICU this year!  I did go skydiving with my daughter, more about that later.  I did throw up when we landed, note to Heather:  do not take your mother out for sushi after skydiving.  I blew my vacation budget on a purse but wonderful husband authorized more spending.  Will post more in the next couple of days, I’m exhausted from all the fun I had and in more pain than usual.  Totally worth it.

Just Another Ordinary Miracle Today

     You wouldn’t think it, but sometimes coming up with your post title can be the hardest part of writing.  This one just came to me and I had to jump over here before I forgot it.  It was a perfect day.  Rudy’s baby sister, her kids,mom and what was surely enough people to fill a football field.  All coming out of one tiny little mini van.

     I had a rough couple of days where I could hardly get out of bed,  my shoulders and upper back were so painful and one day I didn’t even bother, I’m ashamed to say.  I got a good night’s sleep and seemed to have broken the cycle.  Good thing because for the second week, I think in a row we were planning a barbeque with Rudy’s family and some cool friends.  Rudy’s ex-wife came by with Little Rudy, and his beautiful woman who just happens to be carrying our grandson.  We already told Little Rudy not to argue with her about anything because as long as she was pregnant we were going to be on her side.

     Rudy cooked probably 15 lbs of assorted meats.  We roasted some lovely sweet corn.  Rudy aquired a water cooler and filled it with Gatorade.  I think we’re the only ones in the neighborhood serving Gatorade on tap.  I wonder how much it would cost to fill with a good quality vodka.  I did more than usual, but I really didn’t have to do too much.  Plastic cups. paper plates, burgers, chips, and everybody brings stuff.  Kids going back and forth in the lake and somehow I find 5 teenage girls dying their hair pink and purple in the bathroom.  It was worth every grain of sand tracked through the house.

     We ended up in front of the fire in the front yard telling stories and laughing until our faces hurt.  Our best friend came back from Georgia and surprised us in the front yard.  I told all the kids to put all things food related into the house, and yes I had to tell them twice.  I needn’t have bothered I think there might have been a piece of gristle left.

     Lisa and Rudy’s mom went home with her crew and it was just Rudy, me and Kevin in the front yard and Kevin mentioned that we hadn’t done this in a long time, I think the last time was a couple of years ago when our dog, Ziggy a half rat half jack, bitchy terrier came home with a neighbor’s chicken in her mouth.  This, when I had just that day gotten in an argument with said neighbor, assuring him that my dog would never steal his chickens.  I’m reminded of something a good friend used to say.  “It just doesn’t get any better than this.”  I can still faintly taste the sweet sweet summer strawberries on my lips as I’m writing this.  He was right.  Best. Day. Ever.