Those Wonderful 14-19 Teenage Years

“Kids these days…..”  How many times have you heard that phrase?  I heard it from my own parents.  And I chuckle to myself when I think of it because I can’t imagine what my parents would have done with kids today at the ripe old age of 14 – 19.  Well, actually, I can imagine.  But, mom and dad, seriously, you can’t believe these kids today.

Speaking about my own children, of course, my children should send me a lavish Thank You card.  Because they’re still on this planet.  Alive and breathing.  Seriously.  Now having raised 5 children, 1 that was of that age in the 90’s, 1 that was of that age in the early 2000’s, 1 in the late 2000’s, and 2 that are in the throes of it right now, you would think that I would have learned a thing or two.  But, I really didn’t.  Although now, I do just point to another room and yell, “Get out!” which will send the youngest scurrying.  Sometimes.  You see, each of my 5 have their own unique, distinctive, and particular set of characteristics that set each other apart from the other.  They are the same, yet very different.  And, I must say, my children were never ones to get in trouble, school or other wise.  Were, for the most part, obedient and received good grades in home school and public school.  But, man, those teenage years were still brutal.

Even my oldest celebrated her teenage years by tying for the telephone because the dial-up computer was in use.  I’m pretty sure I pried her off the computer with a crowbar a time or two.  Child #2 was my side-kick.  My “always there when I need you,” until he discovered the female population.  He then turned into an unrecognizable being that, to this day, is a mystery to me.  Child #3 perfected what I call the, “eye-roll-ass-flip” move that, to this day, can set me off on a moment’s notice.  Child #4, introvert extraordinaire, hasn’t acted out as the others have – other than dying her hair blue and telling me daily how she wants a lip ring.  And then there’s Child #5.  She’s a combination of dynamite, sarcasm, and attitude that goes on for days.  And she has been the one to break me.  Because there is nothing that brings her back to square.  Well, except one thing.  And I REALLY HATE practicing it but I have found that it’s the only thing that works.  I won’t talk to her.  When she walks in the room, I walk out.  When she walks up to me, I walk away.  When she runs after me, I duck her, go in my room, lock the door.   Because she stresses me out just that much.  When she gets started, I just can’t handle it.

I love my children and wouldn’t change a thing with any of them.  They are creations sent from God and I am proud to call myself their mother.  Even with the frustration.  Even with the heartache.  Even with the tears.  Because I knew that, eventually, they would come around (that usually hits in the 20-25 year old range) and, even if they didn’t, as long as they were happy, I could not ask for anything more.  Their happiness means the world to me.  And, hey, they survived the 14-19 year old era.  That accomplishment deserves some happiness =D.

 

 

 

You Give Being Catholic a Bad Name

As I sat last night, listening to the drone of promises and incorrect facts during the RNC, something became very apparent to me.  I am suffering from sensory overload.  Too much information, too many statistics, too much rhetoric, just too much, too much.  Couple that with my every day life which is on full tilt and the end result is a woman who could, potentially, implode at any given moment or simply slump into a heap of uncontrollable sobbing – neither of which seems like a plausible solution.  So what do I do with all of these issues floating around inside my head like fish in an aquarium?  I have come to some semblance of a solution.  Let me address one issue at a time, lest I bore you into sweet slumber.

I, simply by virtue of who I am, absorb everything around me.  Everyone’s problems become my problem.  Everyone’s happiness becomes my happiness.  Everyone’s worry becomes my worry.  You get the idea.   And while I can’t change my DNA, I can make simple – and severe – behavior modifications which will enhance my life immeasurably.  My new credo will be, “one and done.”  I will address anything that bothers me and, when either there is resolution or I can go no further in trying to find resolution, I will let it go.  Yes, Let It Go, Elsa.  A purging of sorts so that the problem does not drag me down.  Because my brain enjoys nothing more than re-hashing old problems, old issues, unresolved problems.  I’m installing the sound of a flushing toilet inside my head and when that sound resonates, everything leaves with it.  Hello, Ty-D-Bowl Man.  Goodbye, useless stressing and worrying.

First.  This issue with my former parish.  This is a prime example of something that I need to just let it go.  It was what it was, it is what it is, it will be what it will be.  It’s that simple.  You see, for those who are not aware, there is a wolf in sheep’s clothing leading the parish of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton in the form of a Pastor.  A cut throat priest who will do what he needs to do in order to make his black soul shine in the eyes of the Diocese of Wilmington.  Which doesn’t take much because said Diocese cut Fr. Roger DiBuo from their own cloth.  Specifically, the priest took a hatchet and a blow torch to the Religious Education Program and with no warning or reason, and just burned it to the ground.  He fired “middle management” in order to make room for a new program that was, “his.”   The program had no form, no structure, nothing tangible that could be reviewed but it was all “mapped out” in his mind.   Laughable because the man never had a thought about the parents or children who were the benefactors of the former program, other than the occasional “high-five” to the children returning to class from Community Prayer.  You know, the man in the gathering area who was in his shorts.  His tee shirt.  Sans Collar.  Wearing sneakers.  Yes, the guy who could be mistaken for the gardener.  That’s the one.  But in this lesson, I learned something valuable.  That not only do the parishioners not care (except for those directly involved in the RE Program, i.e., the directors who were slaughtered and the catechists who were left stranded, teacher’s manual in hand, without a clue as to what or how or where to teach the following year)  because the people like their heads in the sand.  People don’t want to know.  They don’t care.  Just keep your eyes forward, don’t waver from the path, following the man who is smiling, and all will be well.  But I was made differently.  I was made to question.  To want an explanation.  To not accept “what will be, will be” like some lemming who’s ready to go over the cliff because the other lemmings have done the same.  So, I wrote the Diocese of Wilmington.  The Bishop and two Vicars. They were received as I had been notified by the office staff.  Their response?  Nothing.  Not a word.  Nada.  Why?  Because the parish runs in the black and that’s all that matters.  Oh, ok, got it.  So, the christian values spewed forth on Sunday mornings from the pulpit, like venom from a poisonous snake, the “Be the face of Christ,” the “follow the 10 Commandments, always do the right thing, and the What Would Jesus Do?” doctrine only applies to those who take those things to heart.  Oh, wow.

So, I leave my story of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton right here.  Will I pursue the Diocese of Wilmington more?  No.  Could I pursue it?  Sure.  I contemplated writing to the Archbishop of Baltimore to lodge my complaint.  But, why?  Call the Diocese and request a meeting.  Why?  So I can be frustrated even more because I know the outcome already?  These jokers don’t care.  It comes down to whether or not Roger is making money for the parish.  Period.  If he is, then screw you the parishioner because that boy ain’t going nowhere!   I lived.  I learned.  You see, I am a practicing cradle Catholic. My children were raised Catholic.  I have one last child needing to make one last sacrament and that will happen next year at another church.  And then I shall blend into the walls like so many others.  I go to mass.  I leave.  Don’t ask me anything.  Don’t ask me to do anything.  Because I know in my heart, just as sure as I type this, that if Christ himself turned over tables in the Temple because the people were using His Father’s house as a casino instead of a place of worship, I can only imagine what He thinks of the people down here, running His Father’s house like bullies on self-serving play yard or corporate business.  No.  I want no part of that.  I will not participate in that shameful behavior.  For my sanity.  My peace of mind.    Because this is step #1 in just letting it go.

 

 

I Can’t Stress it Enough

Stress.   An everyday occurrence that no one can avoid.   Some of us experience very limited stress.   Some of us experience a moderate amount ofstress.   And then there are some of us whose stress levels should be recognized by The Academy of Medicine.   The trick is,  however,  is find ways for us to handle this stress in appropriate,  healthy ways that does not portend to the detriment of those around us.   Simply put,  physical violence is simply prohibited.   #damnthatstoobad.

I have worked in high stress jobs.   I’ve worked in hands-on medical care with four physicians underfoot at any given time.   I’ve worked in a professional capacity,  juggling the schedules,  coverage,  on call,  vacation,  sick time,  urgent care,  conferences, and symposiums for 32 physicians at two facilities.   Not to mention overseeing Radiology,  Pharmacy,  and Phlebotomy,  too.  Just a little stressful.

Then came motherhood.   Of 5.  Plus a cousin.   Each coming with their own unique set of nuances,  personalities,  and medical issues that have left me with absolutely nothing left in my tank.   Nada.  Bone dry.   Blowing dust.

So how does one initiate the salvation of what once was their mainstay, their claim to fame,  their calling card,  the essence of who they were?   I can’t answer that question yet but I have taken this issue of mine to task and I resolve to remain undaunted until I am whole again and not a former shell of myself.  I know,  in my heart,  how I landed here.   A place where I said I’d never be.   But,  alas, I’m here.   And my first step towards reconciliation is to forgive myself.   For doing what I said I’d never do.   That I would never lose myself in the process of living my life.   But,  like an untended flower garden,  I gave everything I had to everyone and forgot me.   Shame, shame.   But that was then.   And this is now.  I recognize it,  I’ve forgiven me because,  had I be given the chance to go back,  I’d probably do the same thing again.   That’s what makes me,  me.  But now, it’s my turn.   My turn to fly and to make the rest, the best.

The first task:  simplify.   Everything.   Clutter makes stress.   It’s just that simple.   And,  over the past year, I’ve made a ton of trips to The Salvation Army to do of donations.   And there’s still more to take.   It’s a marathon,  not a sprint.

Second task:  organization.   And less clutter makes that easier,  too.  Again,  I’ve been doing this for about a year already and I’m down to one pile of paperwork.   Shew.  My shredder has threatened to resign and who could blame it?   It owes me nothing.

Third task:  schedule permanent “me” time.  No arguing.   No pestering.   Just quiet,  reflective time.   To easter the garden,  scrapbook,  read a book,  or write a book.   This is a tough one for me to keep to but I’m determined.

I keep track of my progress.   If you have any ideas,  I’d love to hear any and all suggestions.  After all, none of us can drink from an empty well.

As an addendum, after writing this blog and then going to bed, I woke at 3:30am with my heart racing at such a pace, I was sure I was having a heart attack.  Ok, that’s enough of a hint for me.  Yes, there is stress that we cannot avoid, that’s a given.  But watch me shed the stress that I can and will avoid.

Until next time, friends….

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Wasted Time

“I don’t wanna spend my life jaded
Waiting to wake up one day and find
That I let all these years go by
Wasted.”

Have you ever spent so much time waiting for another person to do something…anything…throw out some sort of signal, some sort of sign, of where your relationship stands or where it’s heading?  Oh, I don’t know, maybe a few words that puts some reassurance into your soul that maybe, just maybe, you’re the one that they want to spend the rest of their forever with?  Did you spend a little time waiting?  Or did you go the full monty and wait years.  And years.  And years.

Ugh.  Yes.  I was #3.

Now, don’t think is a throw down, a trash fest or a throw me under the bus story.  Nope.  Not from me.  Because I’m all about the accountability and the only thing I worry about is my own sandbox.  I am responsible for my actions, good and/or bad.  My behavior, good and/or bad.  My outcome, good and/or bad.  And, in this instance, this time that I spent blindly hanging on to any little rope that I could find, for some clue, some sort of anything, was my issue.  And while, for a long time, I mourned the ending of this one-sided love as a time that, “surely, he’ll wake up and realize that I’m the one,” was not about him at all.  It was about finding me.  And that was the best thing ever.

You see, I was, for quite a number of years,

perfect storm

A time where I had spent so many years caring for and taking care of everyone else except myself, that I was left depleted, angry, frustrated and empty.  And no one listened.  No one heard.  I was literally drowning on dry land and I blamed so many for not helping me, for not coming to my rescue to save me.  Because it was my time to learn that I had to save myself.  Of course no one came, where would the lesson be in that?  If you can’t learn that you are your own little hero, you’re own savior of sorts, your own reliable source of strength, endurance and wherewithall, then that is a shame because you’re never going to understand what this world is all about.

So I spent my time romanticizing that everything that I didn’t have was going to come true with what I now had.  And with every brick thrown at me (not actually, of course) with the words, “He’s Just Not That Into You” written on the side that flung through the air like a feather and whacked me upside the head, leaving me with a concussion and feeling completely horrible, I brushed it away and ignored it like it never happened.  With every person who came to me and said, “You know, seriously, what are you doing?!,” I shook off the response as if the words were never spoken.  Because everyone knew that I had to learn the lesson and not the other way around.

wasted time1

So, thousands of tears, hundreds of fake smiles, wandering around in my mind and my soul like a lost child, the ultimate collapse of my complete immune system that tooks years to recover, and the help of an excellent clinician, I land here today.  With no tears, with real smiles, and a sense of self-image that I lost so long ago.  One day, I remember praying to God that he send me back to the time when I was an early teen.  I had a “take no prisoners, I can do anything,” attitude so I can find that girl and bring her back.  And He answered me.  I can’t pinpoint the day, the time, or the hour.  But He did.  And for that and so many other things, I am forever indebted.

wasted time

And I did.  I stopped wasting time.  I rebounded.  I found young Kathy.  I set goals.  I set purposes.  I set my life.  As it should be.  As it should have always been.  No exceptions.  No regrets.  Life is the most precious commodity that we have on this earth.  Nothing tangible will ever replace the time we are given to love, to laugh, to sing, to dance.  Don’t waste it.  Not one precious second.

“Oh I don’t wanna’ keep on wishing, missing
The still of the morning, the color of the night
I ain’t spending no more time
Wasted.”

carpe diem

I sure do.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Blink, You’ll Miss It

Life has a funny way of teaching us lessons and, most of the time, we don’t realize the lesson until the moments have come and gone. Lessons like, “I was just tying your shoe laces, what do you mean you’re getting married?!” Or, “You’re in 6th grade, what do you mean you’ve rented an apartment on campus at the University of Delaware?!” So it has gone with the first three children now and so to it will go with the last two who are entering high school in the fall. Such a happy, joyous time for them. Such a tumultuous, heart-wrenching time for mom.

A lifetime is spent making major decisions in your life. First, when it’s decided that you and your partner are going to have children, do you continue to work or do you stay at home. If you continue to work, there’s daycare, aftercare, in-between care, what if they’re sick, etc., etc. If you are fortunate enough to be able to stay home, all of those problems are whisked away (bonus) but something is lost. You have pretty much given up who you are, your identity and your life, to benefit and give to the life of your children. You do it willingly and, if dissatisfied along the way, you can shift from one paradigm to the other. Either way, you are consumed with their well being and care; the day-in-day-out grind that we all experience.

The problem is, nobody ever warns you about that day when it’s time for them to leave. Oh, sure, you left your nest and really never gave a second thought about what your leaving was doing to your parents. Because you’re not supposed to think about that stuff. I would be mortified if any of my children thought they couldn’t move along to the next phase of their life because it was going to have an impact on me. I’m ruining you forever, no!

But, the fact is, it does render the parents – and I dare say, specifically, the moms, to spiral into state of total confusion. How can any of this be possible? You’re not old enough! Wait! Just a few more years – a few more cuddles, a few more kisses, a few more hugs, need me just a little bit longer….

Allowing oneself to wallow in self-pity for a short period of time is fine, providing you never let your child know that is how you’re feeling. Trust me. I’m Catholic. I have experienced, first hand, the guilt that can be thrust upon you. But take heed, shake off the pity party and allow yourself time to find, discover, remember, reformulate, exactly who you are – not who you were, that person has been shelved – now, find the person that you want to become. What has the potential to be a sad, depressing time of your life can, in fact, be a time of self-discovery, of remembering who you were and what you’d like to do now, in this moment, this new moment of your life. Remembering that child that you were before life took over is imperative. The carefree, all I need to worry about is my school work, really and maybe work this part time job for some extra cash, channel that person back. Take the life lessons dealt to you specifically over the years, think about the lessons, good and bad, and incorporate them into a new, improved, re-invented and whole new wonderful self. Take as long as you need. Take your time doing this project because it’s about you. You are important. It’s time to make yourself a priority. Self-love is a great thing.

Be excited. Excited for your new adventure of a whole new life.