Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Parenting Adult Kids


Several days ago (January 7, 2021, to be exact), I made this fun graphic and posted it to my socials with the caption:

Y’all. It’s real.

#halfemptynest #adultchildren #mamaprobs

And, because the internet never fails me, I got a lot of support and a few not as friendly answers.

Many of my peer mamas (and papas), empathized, sympathized, laughed, groaned, gif'd, or meme'd.  Just as I would expect.  But a couple basically said "they are grown.  Quit parenting.  You don't have to parent them anymore."  Supported by examples of their own tactics with adult children (mind you we are all talking 22 or under here - they are BABY adults!).  This gave me pause and made me think.  Over the last 10 days, both my baby birds, separately (trips overlapped by 2 days) have gone on extensive trips with families I know nothing about (college friends - one flew, one drove), done things they have never done before, and allowed other people to pay their way in some fashion.  I almost feel like I have to say "Sorry, this is weird to me."

But I AM NOT SORRY!  I am their MAMA!  And my nest is 1/2 the nest it used to be.  And it is WEIRD!  And that's OK, too.  You don't have to agree with me.  Or empathize, but why try to make me feel bad in response to this new time in my life?  A time that has left me unsettled and questioning?  I am trying to learn my new role.  I am trying to appreciate the tiny humans that I have molded into thriving, full-sized members of the greater society.

Anyway - this was the response I penned (and the main reason I started this blog today -- to share my heart on this matter):

So it is apparent to me that some of us may define parenting differently. I supposed what I mean is more on the mentoring side. I’m still their mom. They still need to hear my voice, feel my hugs, experience the highs and lows and be able to come to me for a soft landing. That kind of parenting. I have set them up for success. Loaded their tool boxes with all the things I had at 18/19 and all the things I wished I’d had. We have taught them well. Given them roots to hold and wings to fly. But I will always ALWAYS be their mom.

It’s weird for me to hear them make plans and handle arrangements and take care of their business without me having to do it. Signs I did a good job. But it’s still weird to me. They tell me what they’re doing instead of asking. They want advice, but they may not take it. They do things I don’t necessarily agree with. Those parts of parenting. I still need to (get to, want to) be there for those parts!!!

All that to say - I love being a mom to my amazing adults.  But, it is disconcerting at times.  And I still have 2 more at home.  Hopefully, the lessons I am learning in this season with 1/2 an empty nest (it is hard releasing 2 at once, even if one of them didn't live with me full time) will serve me well when I have a FULL empty nest in about a decade.  In the meantime, I will keep on parenting!

Friday, January 1, 2021

The Thrill of HOPE (One Word 2021)


A look back on 2020: Well, THAT escalated quickly!

Global Pandemic will do that to you!  2020 was rough.  In a lot of ways.  Too many ways.  But while there was loss, and missing out, and pain, there was also growth, resilience, and closeness.  As I sat down to write about my One Word for 2021, I reviewed last year's word, breathe,  and reflected on how it impacted my year.  This is the closing paragraph of the blog from last year

A new chapter, a new year, a new DECADE!  So much will be changing in my life over the next 12-24 months.  And while I cannot wait, I also know my anxiety will be high.  I am working hard this year to stay in front of it.  Medication, prayer, and just breathing.

Man!  Talk about prophetic!  Changed my meds early in the year - for the better.  Endless prayer for so many situations over the past 12 months!  And, because of the lockdowns, closures, remote schedules, and distance learning, I was able to breathe.  I didn't always recognize it in the moment, but it was there.  I was reminded over and over I was not in control.  GOD is in control.  It was my job to pray, listen (One Word 2019), and just breathe. 

The year 2021, for so many, is a year of HOPE.  Hope for a vaccination so we can get back to a more normal routine.  HOPE for families to recover financially from the stress this pandemic has caused.  HOPE for growth and development from the lessons learned over this tumultuous year.  HOPE for peace from all the divisiveness in our world.  HOPE for a break from the stress and strife.  I know where to find that hope - IN JESUS!

This year's word came to me over the Christmas season.  I have always loved the song "O Holy Night."  The line "A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices" spoke to me every time I heard that song this past month.  The THRILL!  A sudden feeling of excitement and pleasure.  We all want that for 2021!  And HOPE!  A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  This year is ripe with expectation and desire. "For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn."  2021 is a new,  and glorious morn!  There is HOPE!  We can fall on our knees, and love one another! We can live in His law of love and Gospel of Peace.  

Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  He knows!  He knows we are weary, broken, and looking for more.  REST in him.  LEAN IN to the hope he has for us.  Hebrews 10:23 says "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful."  This is your call, too!  Profess your hope; God is always faithful.  He will continue to strengthen you while you are in a place of waiting.  Isaiah 40:31 tells us "those who hope in the Lod will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

So, in 2021, I will stand in my faith.  I will HOPE for my future, my family's future, and the future of our local community, our state, and our nation.  I will take action when guided by the Holy Spirit, and I will pray for discernment in all my decisions.  I will continue to listen to God's whispers, and I will also breathe through the tough moments.  

"As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more." Psalm 71:14

Welcome to 2021.  I hope you have a GREAT year, and you can renew your strength from the lessons 2020 forced us to learn. Sing sweet hymns of joy and Praise His Holy Name!  There is a THRILL of HOPE!

I can see HOPE in 2021

Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Wrap Up


It's the evening of December 31, 2020.  I sit at my desk in my "home office" on my "work" computer, surrounded by work paraphernalia, and just having read the public school notice for the plan for the class for our students next week.  Sleet is hitting the skylight in the master bathroom, reminding me there is always renewal.  I choose the "Top Hits 2020" playlist from Spotify to accompany this writing session.  I know I am not alone in being beyond ready to put 2020 to bed.  Back in March, the switch was flipped (Also, A Tik Tok trend in 2020), and we are still far from normal.  Covid-19.  Corona Virus.  The 'Rona!  We have been invaded.  A global pandemic.  And it is relentless!  I never even wrote the girls' high school graduation posts.  Nothing has been "right" since then.  And I have been anxiously approaching this writing for days.  Weeks, really.  I want 2021 to get here.  To be more.  To be BETTER!  But to get there, let's look back at 2020...

Toilet paper shortage (twice), more hand sanitizer than I can keep track of, scouring store shelves for Lysol.  Working from home.  Working on a hybrid schedule.  Adjusting the schedule dozens of times due to close contact quarantines and exposure scares.  One employee quit, hired another to only find out she was pregnant 2 days after she accepted the job - has to work from home.  Closing the campus.  Reopening the campus.  Everyone remote but my team.  My public school kids in distance learning.  Then fighting for them to be in class 5 days a week.  Settling for an AB schedule.  Which only happened 2 weeks, before we were in "red" and back to all distance learning.  Boys got about 10 days of in-person learning from March 2020 through today.  Sent my adorable baby girls to be college freshmen and live in the dorms.  In-person classes, online classes, and hybrid classes.  Testing, attendance, technology issues.  Joining a sorority and having an in-person, adjusted, and socially distant initiation.  Stay at Home Dad transitions to a part-time job.  Online grocery orders, curbside to-go food, and picking up school lunches daily.  SO. Much. Toilet. Paper!  Bills are higher due to the electricity consumption of 4 people being home all the time.  Making banana bread.  And InstantPot Cheesecakes.  Adding an air fryer to that mix.  White Claw, Corona Seltzer, Rolling Rock, Smirnoff Ice, and everything else that lives in the garage refrigerator.  MASKS!  Fabric and reusable, disposable, adult, women, and kid sizes.  Holiday prints.  Solid colors.  No more earrings.  Added Apple Watches to our wardrobes. COVID TEST COUNT: Emma - 5; Lara - 5; Jake - 3; Britt - 4 (Betsey and Finn - 0).  ALL of the above were negative.  SO MANY FRIENDS lost family members.  Jake makes the basketball team; they have played 2 games - and we think one of those games exposed the team to the virus as MANY tested positive the next week including 3 of the 4 players in our carpool.  Rocket League, Fortnite, Minecraft, Call of Duty, Xbox, Switch, TikTok, and iPhones are the boys' constant companions.  Emma has a serious boyfriend.  Lara has floormates, diamond sisters, and the rest of her sisters.  Britt and I have each other.

THANKFUL for the extra time we have had together.  Even when we are bored.  So bored, that we adopted 2 miniature dachshund puppies.  Ama Beck was my Mother's Day present that we brought home in June.  Jasper Arch was an early Christmas present that we brought home on Thanksgiving weekend.  They are funny, adorable, stubborn, and great companions.  Love having my girls in college, but close enough to come home.  Grateful the dorms are still open so we can all stay safer and limit exposure.  Grateful that 2021 promises vaccines - Britt is Phase 2, all the kids and I are phase 3.  We should be vaccinated by Spring we hope!  SO WE CAN ALL GET BACK TO SCHOOL IN PERSON!  Emma and Lara - Freshmen in College, Jake 8th grade, Finn 3rd grade.  I will graduate with my Master's in May 2021.

So - the big things:

Brought Ama Beck home - June 14, 2020

Emma moved into the Oklahoma State University Dorms for Engineering Summer Bridge - Saturday, July 18, 2020

Emma (socially distanced) Graduated from Mulhall-Orland High Shcool - Saturday, July 18, 2020

Lara (outside, in Pioneer Stadium, SO MANY RULES!) Graduated from Stillwater High School - Friday, July 24, 2020

Lara moved into the Oklahoma State University Dorms for Sorority Recruitment - Saturday, August 8, 2020

Lara - Bid Day 2020 - Alpha Delta Pi (Honey I'm Home) - Saturday, August 15, 2020

Lara and Emma's first day of college - Monday, August 17, 2020

Jake's first day of 8th grade - Thursday, August 20, 2020

Finn's first day of 3rd grade - Thursday, August 20, 2020

Pioneer Booster Club Presidents - Britt and Betsey - disjointed PlayDay - Final Day Saturday, Sept 5, 2020

Finn turned 9 - Monday, October 5, 2020

Betsey cut off her quarantine hair - Friday, October 16, 2020

Family Decorated for Christmas - Saturday, October 17, 2020

(because, WHY NOT?)

Jake was Chicken Little for Halloween - Saturday, October 31, 2020

Finn was Spiderman for Halloween - Saturday, October 31, 2020

Jake played some AAU basketball in the fall when Covid allowed

Cousin Kayleigh was here from Texas for Thanksgiving - November 22-26, 2020

Brought Jasper Arch home - Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Britt got a new Job - December 8, 2020

Jake geared up for his first school basketball game - Thursday, December 10, 2020

Family at the 2nd (last) basketball game - Friday, December 11, 2020

Confirmed Jake is definitely taller than all of us at 6'3" and 13 years old - Friday, December 25, 2020

I made Christmas cards this year, but we never got them ordered or mailed out.  So, here's what that was supposed to be like:

And now, it is time to go cuddle with my men, watch a socially distanced ball drop, and welcome 2021!  Here's to the hope the future brings!

(And, Current pictures of my DOGS:)