Cherish the Moments

As I approach nearly a half-century of life on this earth, it should be noted that I have spent 25 of those years as a mom, and over 21 years on my own, in the adventitious life of single motherhood. I started this blog roughly three years ago and admittedly have not written as much as I intended or would have liked. All I can say about that is, I’m working on it! ๐Ÿ˜‰ย  I started writing it because I was at a very pivotal time in my life as I was sending yet another child off to college, (the third in four years) and I was overwhelmed by the concept of having only one child at home… a nearly empty nest.

Today, I sit here still recovering from my very busy weekend, which included two, excuse me THREE college graduations; all on the same day! Truly epic moments in two of my three oldest children’s lives. I am somehow managing on adrenaline, caffeine, and the pride I feel for their accomplishments. I think back to months ago when we realized that my two oldest children would be graduating on the same day, at two different universities, three hours apart… I couldn’t imagine how I would make that sort of choice, which direction to travel, who might I be letting down. As their graduations grew closer, in these last couple months, I knew I had to make some sort of a choice; it was so unfair, but as I have tried to teach my children, life isn’t always fair and I did have to choose.

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Three years ago, a year ahead of schedule, my oldest daughter was graduating from college, receiving her Bachelors in Psychology. However, she was out of state, and I was unable to attend due to back problems I was having at the time and I was unable to make the trip because I could not travel. It broke my heart, and hers as well.ย  I believe it was that quiet heartbreak that perhaps led me to make the choice that I did to attend my daughters graduation. The thing that also made this decision bearable, is that I knew I could send his sisters to help celebrate my son on his own special day.

It had been crazy week at work and I was more than a little exhausted come Thursday afternoon, when it was time to get ready to make the two hour trip to my daughter’s apartment so that I could be there for her ceremony Friday morning. I’ll be honest, at one moment I almost changed my mind… my momma heart was breaking because I could not attend both and I was trying to find a way to do everything and be in both places at one time. It had been suggested to me that I could attend my son’s graduation and then the reception my daughter and son-in-law were having later that evening. It sounded all good and fine–but I knew my daughter would be heartbroken again, and I knew I couldn’t do that. I texted and talked to my son a few times and he was in good spirits, excited that his sisters were coming and that he would see me later in the day when he joined us for my son-in-laws ceremony in the afternoon. Then we could all celebrate together Friday night as a family.

The real craziness began when I had texted my daughter letting her know when I planned to leave so she could know when to expect me. Instead of texting me back she actually called, wanting to know if I could please come earlier. I told her how tired I was and that I hadn’t even started getting ready, but she was really persistent and I agreed to leave much earlier than planned. I was tired and a little frustrated when I climbed into my car for the two hour drive, yet, somewhere in the first ten minutes or so this sense of peace came over me (an answer to earlier prayer) and I was happy and looking forward to arriving and having a late dinner with my daughter and her husband.

I stopped for Starbucks and gas and continued down the interstate, singing along with My Bridge as I drove along. Every song just continued to lift my spirits and fill my once conflicted heart with peace and joy. As I entered Omaha, I was actually glad she had encouraged me to come early. It was just starting to get dark and I have terrible night blindness. I listened to my GPS as it told me which direction to go as she had asked me to meet her at a friends house. I was a bit unhappy at this, as I really wasn’t much in the mood to meet anyone and just wanted to eat and go to bed. As I arrive in what was a very nice neighborhood, I was perplexed, I couldn’t see her car, nor read the house numbers, so I was having trouble ensuring I was in the right place. Then I see her, she was waving her arms, so I stop. She tells me to park in the driveway and I do, happy to be able to get out and stretch my legs.

What happened next was one of the most exciting moments of my life as a mom. My daughter preceded to tell me that the home we were standing in front of was not her friends, but instead her own… they had bought a house!! It took a few seconds for it to sink in, but then I was so excited to see the entire house and really enjoy the moment!

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She then gave me a tour of their beautiful new home and I just couldn’t believe that one of my children had been able to reach a milestone in their life that I have yet to meet myself. My daughter and her husband are homeowners! I am still so in awe and just so very proud of their hard work and determination that has allowed them to keep reaching for the stars and achieving their dreams.

Now for graduation!!

What a day it was! Her husband, David, made us an early breakfast as we had to arrive at the event center an hour before the ceremony began. Thank goodness for technology, as we were able to text and Snap Chat with her leading up to moments before the ceremony began. This same technology also allowed me to stay in touch with her sisters as they were celebrating with their brother as he prepared for his own ceremony.

 

It is also with this wonderful technology that I was able to watch the live stream of my son’s graduation ceremony, 165 miles in the opposite direction. It worked perfectly, shortly after Carrie’s name was called and she received her diploma, her brother received his and I got to see them both! โค It was about this time that we left for lunch and Guy and his youngest sister got in his car to make the three hour drive to join us for my son-in-law’s ceremony.ย  They arrived just in time and we were able to watch as David received his diploma as well. Shortly after his name was called Carrie and I, along with her siblings, headed back to their new house to finish preparing for the reception and awaited the arrival of family and friends. Kayleigh was able to make it after returning to work for part of the afternoon and I was able to meet some of Carrie’s friends and co-workers.ย  I was even able to talk the graduates into putting on their caps and gowns for a group picture… making my momma heart smile.

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Jess and I would drive home so that we could head back east to help my son move into his new apartment. Our only cargo… the family cat (who will be 18 this July), who somewhere along the way adopted Guy as his human and their lives forever changed. He was in some of my son’s senior pictures four years ago and was noticeably sadder when Guy went away to college. They both cherished the times he was home and I knew all to well that the day would come when Gonzo would no longer live with me. He tolerated the trip quite well and was instantly thrilled when he saw his boy when we got out of the car! He wasn’t to sure about the apartment until we started moving in the boxes, many were from the basement and it was almost comical to watch him sniffing them and realizing all was well in his world. A boy and his cat reunited. โค

 

This weekend was more than eventful… it was unforgettable, and I am so glad it went exactly the way that it did. With every worry that I had before it began, I can’t imagine it not happening just as it did. Which only reminds me of what the Bible tells us in Psalm 139; that He knows us from before our beginning, He knows what we will say or do… long before we do. He has already written our story, we just need to spend time with Him, listening to His direction and following where He leads us.

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So don’t let the worries of how a moment will or won’t happen keep you from really enjoying that moment, from cherishing the memory that it will become. Live in those moments, share them with the ones you love and hold on tight to each and everyone. Because life changes too quickly and you wouldn’t want to miss it along the way.

 

Until the next moment,

 

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Not so Non-Traditional

I sit here at my computer reveling in the fact that I have just completed my first week of an online class. That’s right, I’m going back to school!

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This is something I have tossed around over the years, and even contemplated going back into Nursing, once upon a time. But with my back, being the kind of nurse I want and would need to be; was unlikely. The idea of college at my age is a bit scary, especially since I thought being 30yo and going to nursing school was kind of crazy. That was over 15 years ago and actually the median age of our particular class was mid to late 20’s. We only had a handful of young girls whom had just recently graduated from high school. In fact there were two women who were over 50. I was in awe of their commitment and determination. Now, as I am less than 24 months from that same half century mark I am feeling determined myself. I recall at that time, often hearing the term “non-traditional student” and I certainly fell into what it was understood to be. In the past week as I have worked on committing to a study routine, I have thought about that term again. I even looked it up to see what the net had to say.

Wikipedia says that Aย non-traditional student is an American term referring to a category of students at tertiary educational institutions.The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) acknowledges there is no precise definition for non-traditional student, but suggests that part-time status and age are common elements.

I also came across the following information from the following site: http://www.youcandealwithit.com. They showed that the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has identified seven characteristics that are common to nontraditional students. To be considered a nontraditional undergraduate, you:
โ€ข Do not immediately continue your education after you graduate from high school
โ€ข Attend college only part time
โ€ข Work full time (35 hours or more per week)
โ€ข Are financially independent
โ€ข Have children or dependents other than your spouse
โ€ข Are a single parent
โ€ข Have a GED, not a high school diploma
The also stated that 75% of all undergraduate students have a least one of these characteristics and are thus “nontraditional” in one way or another. Among students with three or more of these non-traditional characteristics, having a dependent is the most common at 80%.

So here I sit, quite non-traditional to say the least. But as I have thought about that term I am also reminded of something else that keeps me going on the days that I just want to throw in the towel. Everything that happens in my life, our lives; is all in His timing. With that being the case, I’m not necessarily non traditional as it just was not my time until now. I needed the life experience over a classroom, waiting until He provided the open door. This knowledge really does help propel me forward, especially after the last six months. It was during the earliest part, before the accident when I was searching for work and how difficult it was. There was just nothing available that would give me the income I needed to care for my daughter and I. At most I could maybe find something that was a little above minimum wage but may not be full time.I was most likely going to have to drive, as jobs in my small community are few and far between. Everything that was of interest to me, I was not qualified for because I didn’t have a degree. I could go back into retail, but the continuous time on my feet would not help my back as I discovered recently. I was of coarse sidetracked with the accident and caring for my daughter and then ultimately my own surgery. It was two weeks post surgery, not released for work and going stir crazy because I had limitations of what I could and could not do. Then I sat down and wrote my last blog entry, remembering how much I love writing and that as far back as I can remember, all Iย  have wanted to do is write. It’s what I originally wanted to go to college for. But 30 years ago, fear won out and I put college off, what was only supposed to be a year or two turned into 13. Today, I know my choice was merely a part of God’s plan for me. He needed me to experience the things that I have, which have helped to shape me into the person that I am today. The journey I started on by not going to college 30 years ago has given me much to write about, good and bad alike. Each of these life experiences not only shape who I am, ut will help make me the kind of student I need to be.

Which brings me to share with you what I will be studying. English, I will be earning my Bachelors of Arts in English! Just seeing the words gets me all sorts of excited about the process and what the end results will have to offer me. Its going to be a lot of hard work, but I am ready for the challenge! This first week, my first class is about becoming a Master Student. Teaching us the basics, what you need to be a good student and excel. Time management, To-do lists, Setting goals; all a part of the beginning foundation that will push us up and into success at this educational level. Reminding us collectively to set ourselves up to succeed (not fail). There was a question the reading asked us to ask ourselves, “Is this a piano?” The meaning behind this being, does it have to be perfect? Will doing your best be enough? Perfection is going to be difficult to obtain, but if you are giving your best and giving 100% of it; then that is success in itself. It also stressed the importance of surrounding yourself with people who want to see you succeed. I am so blessed here because I have a wonderful support system that stems from my kids, church family, to good friends in my community. My kids have been especially awesome as the three older kids (who are all attending college classes themselves) will text me or even send a Snap to see how things are going, asking specifically about my classes! ๐Ÿ˜€ That makes my mamma hear smile. I have had so many people that I know either text me or send me a message on Facebook telling me that they are proud of me and encouraging me in this new endeavor. It is all of that combined that will help keep me moving forward towards this new and lofty, but certainly obtainable goal. I am blessed.

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Until the next moment,

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