What is it?

Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Memorial Day Remembrances

As tradition would have it, I visited cemeteries this Memorial Day weekend.
When I was a kid we would go to the cemetery where my father’s parents are buried. We would clean off the headstones, pull weeds, plant flowers, and light incense and candles. We would position a U.S. flag at the top of my grandfather’s headstone to proclaim his military service for all to see. He served in the U.S. Army in World War I even though he was an immigrant from Greece. Then we would go to a brief service in the cemetery performed by a Greek Orthodox priest. Finally the priest would come to my grandparents’ gravesite and say a few prayers (in Greek) while we listened and silently said our own prayers (my prayer was usually something like, “God, make us done with all this praying so we can go eat lunch at a restaurant.”) Then, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and my family would go to a restaurant and eat lunch. (My prayers answered.)
So this year, en route to an Open House in my hometown of Royal Oak (Michigan), we drove to the cemetery where my dad is interred. My husband, mother and I parked the car along the edge of the driveway and walked the few yards to my dad’s gravesite. Some things were reminiscent of the past and some things were very different. My husband cleaned off the headstone using his jackknife to clear dirt from the engraving. We poured water on the stone cleaning off grass cuttings. We placed a U.S. flag at the top of my dad’s headstone proclaiming his military service in the U.S. Army in World War II. We said a few silent prayers (my prayer was “God, be with my mom and comfort her as she needs right now.”)
And, after the Open House, we stopped into the cemetery where my mother-in-law is buried. Again, we cleaned the headstone, checked for weeds, and made sure the U.S. flag was waving over her gravesite to proclaim her military service in the U.S. Marines. She served during peacetime in the late 1950’s. We said a few silent prayers (my prayer, “God, help us live lives worthy of the sacrifice of the soldiers.”)
With all in order at the cemeteries, another Memorial Day has come and gone. But, my prayers for our U.S. servicemen and servicewomen continue. “God, bring them home safely.”

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer Plans

A friend asked us what camping trips we have planned for this summer. The answer: “None.”
Summer is coming. For the last 25-plus years I’ve had to plan a summer trip, usually a camping trip. But, we sold our pop-up camper last summer. Maybe that was premature. I miss the trips and summer is not even here yet.
It was the logical, practical thing to do. Selling the camper while it was still in very good condition and knowing we would not be using it with the kids moving on into their adult lives, was fine. But, I did not realize the emotional toll it would take on me. We are approaching another summer and I have no plans. I know there are hotels and such, but those accommodations are so much more expensive than the camping option. Not only do you have to pay for the room, you have to buy food at restaurants. Packing our own food was a lot less expensive.
It’s not just the money thing that prevents planning a trip. Without the kids to “expose” to new and different events and/or sights, I don’t have any motivation for figuring out where to go. The campground was a good-enough destination for the kids with a pool or lake for swimming, campfires, hikes, or even just sitting around enjoying the fresh air. No television to distract, DVD player to tempt, or computers/internet to draw our attention. However when camping there is always a table upon which to set up marathon games of Risk, fire pits to build fires in for roasting hotdogs, and quiet in which we could read or have extended conversations.
Destinations also introduced our kids to historical events, geological phenomena, cultural differences, scientific discoveries, and so many other new things. Art museums, submarine tours, natural history museums, rock formations, wildlife, zoos, river-carved ravines, local cuisine, birds, fish, deer, historical museums, historical monuments, NASA, horseback riding, canoeing, etc. Our trips provided opportunities to learn things from map reading to outdoor cooking to getting along in cramped places. Now I have to figure out what might be interesting for me to go see. It was easier to figure out new things for the kids to go see and/or do.
So that’s where I am with my summer vacation plans. No camping trip(s), no trips at all. Time to figure this out. Time to plan a trip. Where should Mike and I go? Any ideas or suggestions? I’m open to ideas.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Still Struggling for Sleep

It's hard to think of anything to write about when I've been without quality or quantity sleep in over three weeks. So this week I'm taking the week off. I hope with the help of my psychiatrist that we have the right combination of medicines to sleep tonight, and henceforth. Just like last week, I need to be willing to do whatever it takes to avoid missing things. Whether it's helping my sister with her garage sale this weekend or my daughter's high school graduation open house in four weeks, I don't want to miss anything.

So I will follow the suggestions of my doctor and pray this works out. I know I need the sleep even if I don't feel like I'm tired. Not being able to think of anything to write about is proof enough that I need sleep.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Don't Want To Miss Anything

I was always afraid I would miss something. When I was a little kid and my parents would have guests over in the evening, I’d get sent to my room to go to bed. I’d lay on the floor, with my toes in the bedroom doorway, my body laying out into the hallway. I didn’t want to miss anything that was going on. When my parents would tell me to get in my room, I’d say I was in my room, by my toes. Did I say I just did not want to miss anything?
I had a lot of trouble sleeping when I was a kid for the same reason. What if something important happened when I was asleep? I’d miss it. I would do almost anything to avoid missing out on something. I’m not sure which came first: trouble sleeping or staying awake to not miss anything. Either way, it became a pattern that I still struggle with today.
The key thing is that I know I don’t want to miss anything. Big happenings are going on around here these days. Award ceremonies, graduations, open houses, college orientations, and college registrations. I don’t want to miss any of them. The thing is if I don’t sleep, things will spiral out of control and I will end up missing things. [See “Insomnia”]
The question is am I still willing to do almost anything to avoid missing out? Sometimes I am and sometimes I’m not. Right now I need to be willing to follow the suggestions and instructions given to me by my medical team. If that means taking a prescription sleeping medicine, I guess I have to be willing to do so. There are other medicines, too, like insulin for my diabetes, I have to take to make sure I don’t miss out on the exciting happenings. It is worth it to do these small things to not miss out on the big things. And, I don’t want to miss anything.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Bragging, Kind Of

Graduations. That’s what’s going on around here. Two weeks ago, my son graduated from college. In three weeks my daughter will graduate from high school. Both have done well and I could write several paragraphs about their successes. I am very proud of them. They have grown into young adults that work up to their potential, other people enjoy having around, and that are generally very responsible.
In many areas, parenting is done. It’s adjustment time for the parents. Mike and I are going to have to change the way we view our children – our young adults. They still need us but in different ways and for different things than before. We have some adjusting to do. While they are “well-adjusted,” we have lagged behind, holding onto our images of them as children. I think it’s only natural.
For over 22 of our 26 years as a couple, children have been a part of the mix. For all those years, we have taken physical care of them, encouraged them emotionally, introduced them to a spiritual life, chauffeured them around, helped them with homework in one way or another, and done all the other big and small intangibles that are part of responsible, loving parenting. Our roles will change as their needs change. I’m just not sure yet what that will look like. And, that is a bit scary.
Of course, each stage in their development has brought new challenges, new roles, some of which we were not anticipating or prepared for. However, the stages seemed to flow into one another, and when our son passed through a stage and started another, our daughter was entering the stage he was exiting. This is different. They will both be out of the house, away from home, out of our day-to-day lives. We will not see them and know what they need – whether it’s a hug or twenty dollars. We will not talk to them everyday and hear when they are frustrated or afraid. We will not know how their classes are going. But all those things will be on our minds.
We will have to adjust to the not knowing that comes with them being out-of-sight most of the time. I see prayer as a much bigger part of our lives. It may be the only way to lessen anxiety (which is just a nice way to say lessen the worrying).