Missing my kids…

img_0063

My 20-something kids left this morning after two weeks of vacation. Our daughter arrived a week earlier, our son on his 21st birthday a few days before Christmas, and we’ve enjoyed a wonderful long visit. We shopped, read books, watched movies and Netflix (have you seen The Crown?!), took a two-day history tour that included Harper’s Ferry, Gettysburg, George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.  We played with the cat, shared opening presents and making meals, and really enjoyed each other’s company.

And now the house is very quiet.

When we lived in WI, we could get up to visit them at school pretty easily. We didn’t hover, but could pop up for an event (concert, shopping). And being closer, even though we didn’t see them except every few months, somehow made it easier to be absent from them.

When we lived in Florida, I knew they would come for the beach and sun and escape from the winter cold of the upper Midwest.

Now, they just feel so far away and time stretches so long between visits.

And this is the way of things. We raised our kids to know Jesus, to be strong and independent, to be able to tackle problems with heads on straight. To grow to need us less. So we did it right. And it’s hard, because they’re great people and I really like spending time with them.

So I’ll choose to focus on the fun we had together and I’ll plan for our next visit northward. Who knows when, but we’ll be visiting great people!

 

Gratitude thoughts

I’ve started something new in my journal. Instead of prayers or thoughts that are complaints, I’m ending those entries with thankfulness. And the more complaining in my writing, the more gratitude thoughts I need to record!

Some recent entries:

I’m thankful for my husband. He is an amazing man, and incredibly helpful and encouraging to me, no matter whether I’m hiking out of a waterfall valley or crawling across the floor with back pain. I adore and admire him, way more than 31 years ago when we first fell in love.

There’s a beautiful goldfinch who lands in the tree outside our living room window every morning. He is bright yellow, and sings a cheerful tune as he calls to his mate and then flies away. Gold finches are one of my favorite songbirds, especially for their haphazard flight path, chirping all the while. I didn’t have them nearby in FL, so it’s a delight to hear and see them again.

I love ice packs. And carbon-activated heat pads. And ibuprofen.

My cat Annabelle brings wonderful companionship, especially when she curls up at my feet for her morning nap.

I’m thankful for technology – for Instagram and Facebook and texting and FaceTime and cell phones.

And for family and friends around the world who use such technology to keep our relationships strong.

I’m glad for slow-paced mornings. I love my two cups of coffee, and my quiet time with Jesus. I like the devotionals on my Kindle and in my phone, and the prayer app that helps me stay focused.

I’m grateful that God is omnipresent, which means He’s with my kids even though I’m not. He comforts me when I’m missing them, and reminds me that He loves them even more than I do.

Practicing gratitude – a very good discipline, and a great way to combat negative thinking.

No sleeping in today…

I had the hardest time waking up this morning!

My husband had the opposite problem and couldn’t sleep, so he started his day earlier than typical and was out the door by 6:30am. He kisses me goodbye when he leaves, so I’m awake for that, and when he’s at his usual hour – an hour later – I often get up and begin my day just after he leaves. But no way did I want to start that early, so I rolled over and fell back asleep.

I woke just before 8am after some vivid and bizarre dreams. That’s almost always true for me when I fall back asleep after waking – weird dreams that go on and on and leave me a little befuddled when I finally become fully conscious.

I woke slowly, and had a hard time “coming to” fully. I rolled onto my back but dozed again, for a minute or so. And I did that several times – repositioned and closed my eyes. I just couldn’t stay fully awake, even though I knew I wasn’t going back to fully asleep.

Maybe it was because this was the first morning in over two weeks that there was no one else in the house. All the holiday company has gone home and the kids have gone back, too. So it’s just me and the kitty again. Maybe I didn’t want to wake to that alone-ness.

Probably because I knew I needed to run an errand before my 9:30 appointment, I got myself out of bed and moving. I would have liked to roll over and try for that fully asleep mode again, even if it meant more dreams. I would have enjoyed a little self-pity – poor lonely me so far from my kids whom I love so dearly and miss so much – but the day was already scheduled full so I needed to get up and get going. I probably scheduled today this way on purpose, to keep myself from the pity party and self-indulgent sadness.  Way to go, me.

Maybe I’ll sleep in tomorrow.

 

Day after Thanksgiving Gratitude

Thanksgiving Day 2015 was the first major holiday in 23+ years where the celebration was just me and my hubby. And it was a wonderful day.

Of course, I missed my kids and my extended family. And I am grateful beyond words for safe travels for my children as they drove to spend the day with a wonderful friend – she just took them in and added them to her holiday chaos and family and fun.  It was good to Facetime with the kiddos, but it will be better to see them in person in just a few weeks!

Yesterday morning I woke to the kitten’s antics – as always. Even when she has food, she seems to think that I only need 7 hours of sleep, so she starts our morning warm-up with nuzzles and purring and climbing on me and kneading her little claws into the back of my leg. I want to let my husband sleep in, so ok, I’m up!

I spent some quiet time with God, read through emails and blog posts and Facebook, had coffee, journaled a little. Our morning was pretty lazy – I read, blogged, knitted. We went to the pool and hung out for a bit. After having the pool area closed all summer, it’s so nice to have it open again, and to be able to relax in this place. I can’t believe this is in my neighborhood and not at some secluded spa!

lap and spa pool
lap and spa pools

I don’t write this to brag – it’s just that I love living in Florida – the warm weather and sunny skies bring me such pleasure! I get in the pool, the sun warming me, and lay back and look at fluffy clouds and palm trees in my periphery. Ahh! I feel so peaceful and content.

When we got hungry, we came back home and made a non-traditional Thanksgiving meal. Surf and Turf with Key Lime Pie for dessert – couldn’t get less typical for us.

Surf and Turf Thanksgiving 2015

    Surf and Turf Thanksgiving 2015

We’ll save the ham and sweet potatoes and green bean casserole and pumpkin and apple pies for Christmas – it will be good to share family tradition with the kids again.  Maybe they’ll let us add the key lime pie to our holiday dinner routine!

We enjoyed the rest of the day outside on the lanai (back screened patio) and watched a TV series until bedtime. Overall, a very nice day.

I thank God for family. For my husband. For my children. For friends far (most of them) and near (a few new ones). For good food. For sunny and warm skies. For my physical and mental health. For mental health help – my therapists, my psychiatrists. For writing and blogging and for blogging friends. For freedom to worship God without fear of persecution. For devotionals and journals and nice pens. For my computer. For my kitten. For beach towels and pool noodles. For my home. For life.

Connecting

going up
going up

This is the escalator in the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, MN. I took this picture when we went to visit our kids in mid-March – to see our daughter stage-manage a show at the Guthrie, to catch up with our son at the end of his Spring Break. (Many people go to FL for Spring Break, but we left FL for MN!)

It was the first time we got to connect with the kids since we had moved to our new home in Florida. At the end of the weekend, it was easy to come “home” – it snowed on the day we left!

There is only one guest escalator in the theater – it goes Up as the audience arrives, and is switched to Down when the show is over. One moving staircase, connects both ways!