Saturday, July 26, 2014

The road to Texas is paved with beer, bbq and gas station burritos

I didn’t sleep well last night and I’m up way too early, so I thought I should do something more productive than reading random posts on Facebook and write a blog post.

They tried to act like they wouldn't
 miss each other at camp drop off
My little girl is finally on her way home and she’s flying for the first time—yes, flying on a plane, 30,000 feet in the air-- without her Mama. She’s 13, so I guess it’s time to let her spread her wings a little more but I’ll be glad when she’s on the ground and back in our home.

It’s been a crazy summer this year, full of the usual drama and even fuller of new experiences that make me rethink almost everything I thought was true about myself.

Some good, some bad, but all those experience have made us all grow as a family, in a good way.

Being away from the children for almost four weeks was almost too much for me to handle as a mother.   It was hard hearing those little voices on the other side of the phone and hearing the words, “I miss you” and “I want to come home” and having to just say “I love you” and not jump in the car to go see them.

There were times when I didn’t think I would ever catch my breath or stop feeling so sad. But they are back with me now and I guess we all have grown in our ways from that experience.

Once the kids got home, we all packed up and drove to Texas—and yes “all” includes my dear hubby who is happy to stay parked in Savannah.

Robby has never been to Texas with me before and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when I gave him front row tickets to a part of my life that he has never seen.  But in true Robby fashion, he embraced the adventure and kept me laughing the entire trip.

Had to introduce Robby to Tractor Supply.
Something happens to me every time I get to Texas. No matter how long I’ve been gone, I seem to slide into this rhythm and relax a little. I get to really relax—my mom does all the shopping, cooking and cleaning and my dad takes the children and keeps them occupied with some of the weirdest babysitting techniques known to man.

My brothers make their way down to Dublin and it’s just like old times. We’re laughing, drinking beer, eating around the table, and telling stories that make my side hurt from laughing.  My kids idolize all of my siblings and can’t get enough of stories from our childhood.

Even though Texas holds some not so good memories, it also holds some of the best memories of my life. 

There are times when I think about moving back—what it would be like to be around my friends and my family instead of the new friends and family I’ve made here in Georgia.

If I’ve learned anything these past years, it’s that I know better than to say “it’s never gonna happen.”

The reason for the trip to Texas was to get Veronica a checkup at the hospital in Dallas with her foot surgeon. When you have something as rare as Arthrogryposis, you find things go better when you have a special doctor for each part of your body affected by the disease.

So, she has a knee guy, a shoe guy and a hand/arm guy. Unfortunately, two of those guys are in Dallas, but it’s worth the trip to get the job fixed right the first time.

Then after four fun filled days in my hometown of Dublin, we returned to the hospital and  dropped off my princess so she could ride a bus to go to summer camp with her other Arthrogryposis buddies at Camp Freedom in the Texas Hill Country for the week.
Love Uncle David and Uncle Luke

She has gone to that camp since she was 6 and she knew almost every kid going—I can’t wait to hear all her stories when she gets back.

And since she’s set for another foot surgery this fall, I have a feeling some of those friendly faces with show up at the hospital to see how she’s doing.

Life is weird. You never know who is going to walk into your life one day and become one of those people that you can’t believe you never met.

I look back one these past several years and wonder how I got to where I am today. I never would have thought I would have the job I have—I said I would never work at a newspaper again.

I never thought I would stay here in Savannah for so long or bring Robby home to Dublin for a visit—I said I would never get married again.

I never thought I would be sitting at home waiting for my little girl to get off a plane by herself and walk herself and her bags to her gate on her own—the doctors told me she would never walk on her own when she was a baby.

My "little" brother Luke
I guess the point is that we never know what tomorrow will bring. It’s easy to say “that will never be me.” But we all learn that it can so easily be you in the blink of an eye.

It takes mere seconds to meet someone that will change your life. It takes just a few more to make friendships and memories to last a lifetime.

But it also takes a lot of work and patience to make those relationships really good and even more to make them last.

I guess the big thing I’ve learned this summer, is that healthy relationships are worth the time and effort in the long run. Everyone gets busy and tired, but some people are still really good at making sure they stay in touch and take the time to make relationships work.

I realized I need to work harder on maintaining my old relationships in Texas. I’ve avoided them because I get so homesick sometimes and I don’t want to admit I miss a crappy little place in the middle of nowhere that serves the best damn gas station burritos in the world.

I realize I’ve been stuck in between Texas and Georgia for a while now—both pulling me in different directions. I’ll never leave Savannah; I’ll never move back to Texas. Why say never? Why not find something in between? Why not make more of an effort to have both?

It’s easier to watch life pass by on Facebook than to make the effort to get up, get out and embrace the people and places that make you happy. It’s hard to get passed the hurt and let people love you and take care of you—it’s hard but it’s not impossible.

Starting over doesn’t mean I have to close the door on the past. Starting over means I get to pick and choose who I want to come along on my second chance at happiness. It means I get decide and I get erase the dreaded “never” with “maybe” or “yes!”

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Who wants a boring life?

Okay, so I only have five more days to go until I get my children back home with me. It's like I have a clock in  my head and I can hear the click, click, click of the seconds slowly passing by.

I got to have them for two nights for the 4th of July. I just couldn’t soak enough in. Dropping them back off at their dad’s was harder than I thought it would be and I didn't think I would ever be able to catch my breath again.
It’s been a series of trying to keep busy long enough to take my mind off things so I can breathe for a minute without feeling like I’m going to start crying again. Just breathing is hard sometimes. It's like a huge piece of me is missing and I feel panicked. 

It’s not that I just miss them—there is a lot of other emotions and thoughts going through my head that make me worry.

But, during my time with children on July 4th we had some awesome moments when I got the confirmation I needed to know that my children are going to be okay.

Jude took charge of setting up the canopy Robby bought. He helped carry heavy bags from the car without complaining too much and he gave me enough hugs to last a week. 

Veronica told me something I didn’t know could come from a teen girl’s mouth—she’s happy with herself just the way she is. She is planning to go to camp in a few weeks—it’s a camp just for children with Arthrogryposis, which is what she has.

She loves that camp because she gets to be herself while she is there. No one asks why she wears leg braces or what happened to her. They are just kids for a week getting to have a normal camp experience.

At the end of camp, there is a ceremony where the campers write their name on the camp sign and they get to make a little speech if they want. Veronica told me she already had her speech ready and she wanted me to hear it. So, while I carried her on my back to take her back to the car after fireworks, she recited her planned speech in my ear.

“People always say I have a good attitude and they don’t understand why I’m not mad about my legs, but I’m happy with being different. I like being different. I don’t want to be any other way.”

I was stunned. Most people go their entire life and never have that sense of clarity about their self-image, self-worth or self-esteem. But at 13 years old, she gets it.

It seems simple when she says it—“I’m glad I’m different. I don’t want to be like everyone else because that would be boring.”

Yes, it would be boring and sometimes I have to remind myself that while I may think I would like to have a boring life without all the drama, I know that a life worth living has to have the lows so you can truly cherish the highs.
This isn’t so much a low point for me right now—it’s just a place I had to be in order to truly treasure those little moments and hear what is going on around me. 

While it may sound creepy, I watched my children sleep the morning before I to dropped them off again. I watched their chests rise and lower with each breath and I felt comfort in their peaceful faces. I haven't had a moment like that in a long time--a moment where everything just stopped and got quiet and I took in the reality of the miracle of their lives and mine. 

And yes, I’m really mad and sad sometimes, but I  thank God for giving me those little moments of clarity to see what truly matters and to never take this crazy life  for granted. Because crazy can be good--it's not boring, and as my daughter says, who wants to be boring like everyone else?