What I am Thankful For

pre_thanksgiving_2014_2897xWhat am I thankful for this year? Every Thanksgiving I look around the table and see the faces of many of my family. Always my children, as they all know this is the only holiday Mom cares about, so the only holiday they need to make sure they are here, or suffer the wrath . . . But that aside, I am always grateful that my husband and children are healthy and happy, that my extended family are also well and some are able to be with us each year to celebrate Thanksgiving with us, for all the wonderful things that happen during the previous year, and what is to come. But that is pretty much generalizing my sentiment every year. This year has been a bit different.

I do have to back up a little, to August of last year when we added our daughter-in-law to the family. Then this year, adding a son-in-law. Before you even think it, no grandchildren and not rushing, but we do have a new addition. Our son and daughter-in-law added Aida to the family a few weeks ago. She is a beautiful and well behaved 1-year-old puppy, and fit in with our two very well. She even joined us for Thanksgiving, and was wonderful.

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But when I look back over the last year it has been so very full! I can honestly say that I have not been wasting time. One of my biggest fears about having fibromyalgia was that I would become sedentary. But, as a person who will not allow the word ‘fear’ to affect me, I attack that.  So balancing myself out with all that I want to do, I can do it. It takes scheduling, pre-planning, and most importantly knowing when to say ‘no’. Sometimes people don’t understand when I do. But that’s ok, because I do. And in all honesty, in the end the only person I have to be ok with is me.

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Crazy Lil’ Sis

It was cool though, when I was 6 days into my Arizona trip, and had spent the whole day running around with my little sis, nieces, and oldest friend. It was early evening and we had gotten back to the house, I knew I was about to hit the wall, but I still had two more days of my visit to go. My oldest friend could see it and suggested we head back to her place (I was staying with her). At that point I could have chosen to stay and hang out all evening, but it was not a good choice because I would have been hurting the next day, and then compounded on that for the trip home. So we left. What was cool was that my little sis understood when I explained that I had ‘hit the wall’. It was ok to say ‘no’ and leave, because we still had two more days. Missing one evening was a small price to pay for two more fun-filled days, and they were.

So what am I most thankful for this year? That I do not use the word ‘ex’ in regards to my ex-husband’s family. They are my ‘first’ in-laws. I went to Arizona to spend time with them, to share their granddaughter’s wedding pictures with them in person. Tell them stories of the wedding with flourish, and not just quick emails. To give and get hugs, laugh, talk, reminisce, and share what we are all doing now. I am so very thankful to be a part of their lives, and have them in my/our life.

My life is full of so many wonderful people, my family, our Village, friends, and it continues to grow. I have grown, especially with my camera. I see more, and not just through my lens. I have grown artistically, genealogically, and spiritually, and will continue to grow. Life is a continuous adventure, and I am always up for an adventure. Just as when we first moved here in 2000 and I would pack up the kids and a map, and intentionally get lost so we could find our way home.

Smile, they do remember.

Thinking about writing lately I have been a bit stuck; where to go with everything that is in my head and heart. Sitting here, with a little writers block . . .

I had quite an illumination when I ran across something written by a single dad titled “You Just Broke Your Child. Congratulations.” He tells of seeing a small child’s spirit being ‘broken’ by a father who just didn’t have time for him. (The article is well worth the time to read)

For me, it brought back a conversation I had with my niece. Not that it was related to her, but to making changes to make things better. She and her husband are at a turning point in their lives; having to make decisions that will affect so many people. I remembered so vividly being there, and shared some of that with her. The choices you make, the regrets you may have, but looking back knowing you did the right thing. You have to know the choices you make are right for the ones closest to you, your spouse, your children, and for you.

Then I read the article “When a Cashier Reminded Me My Son Has Down Syndrome”. It is about having a child with Downs syndrome and how you don’t remember sometimes until someone reminds you.

trina2Reading this takes me back to my previous post, about my trip back to Arizona and another time in my life. I lived that life with a multi-handicapped child for 16 years. She was born at 28 weeks in 1978, when medical science was not as advanced as today. When such tiny lungs had little chance of working, let alone surviving, but she did. She fought, she grew, she loved, she smiled – for almost 16 years. Many a time I can relate to the mom in the article in forgetting, or just not knowing anything different. But also having the people saying the cruel things; just not understanding. This was our life, how we knew it to be. She was born that way, she was given to us that way, and we cherished her that way. Then she was done, she had finished what she came to do – she went back to God.

There are so many theories out there as to what happens when you die, or even how you are born. That your spirit choses your parents, that your past lives will dictate what your future lives will be, what you will do, learn, and be. Or there is nothing . . . I don’t like to think there is ‘nothing’. Let alone the simple fact of nothingness being boring. I just think there is too much to life, to this world, to our being, for us to just end in nothing.

I stay open-minded, I read, I listen, I feel, I watch. But what it really boils down to is NOW. We don’t really know what happened before we were born, or what will happen when we die. We can prophesize all we want. Scientists can research and experiment, but it is still assumption, or their conclusion. So instead of spending all that time focusing on things that might have happened, or that might be someday, I chose to focus on now, and what I can capture from now for the future.

One of the things I confirmed talking to my cousin is that I am a mix of the personalities of my ancestors. But when I look at the studies of Nature vs. Nurture who I am doesn’t fit the mold. So, how much of me is genetic vs. the environment I grew up in? Which brings me back to the article I first read about breaking your child.  What I do know is one very important thing. When you hear your child walking into the room, SMILE. They see it, every time. They know, and they will grow from it. Take that moment, they will remember, they really will 😀

8-Days in the Sun

sue_cactus_2364xI have just returned from an 8-day trip to Arizona. This trip was to be many things on many levels, and it definitely was. I saw everyone that was on my must-see list, and went to the one place on my must-do list, but also saw some other beautiful places. I also got to eat lots of very good Mexican food, which is definitely a priority when visiting Arizona!

But this trip was not just a vacation. It was meant for me to have some long talks with important people in my life. Ask questions, find answers, give answers, and fill in missing pieces. What I came home with was a sense of wholeness, and knowledge that there are people there who I love, and who love me very much, and that is worth more than anything in the world.

But then again, putting together all the emotions, thoughts, lessons and experiences of the trip . . . where do I start?

My first stop was to spend some time with my “Big Cuz”. We hadn’t seen each other for almost 5 years, but do email and talk often. We wanted to spend some time having good heart-to-heart talks. One of the things I really wanted to do was talk about our fathers. They were brothers, but 16 years apart. They were both very much like their father, but grew up in very different environments. I wanted to know how different, or how much the same they were. What strong family traits came down through the lines from our grandfather, to our fathers, through us, and to my children. I must admit that I am a bit more puzzled about myself, but much less about others in the family.

sedona_chapel_2535xWe started out by going to see some of the things that interest me. Capturing the old, the history of the area.  As I did when I went to the SunWatch mounds here, there they have Tuzigoot and Montezuma Castle. Both had a very different feel to them, and both had much history to tell. Later we were in a place where many people go for spiritual guidance and enlightenment. I remember going to Sedona many years ago and feeling that energy. I was looking forward to going there again. But this visit didn’t give me what I had expected. It was far from that small town I visited back then; very busy with lots of people, traffic, houses etc. commercialized, taken over by tourism. Oh there is still the beauty of the desert, and the wonderful Chapel of the Holy Cross. The colors of the sun cutting across the rocks cannot really be captured by the camera lens, but I sure did try and got some wonderful shots. It was a beautiful day, and gave me a different perspective to think about.

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Change, so much change. When I later went down to Tucson where I lived as a teenager, I saw even more change. So many people; where did they all come from? More to the point, why? So much traffic, so much building, expanding out . . .

Now I sit here, so many things going through my head. The choices I made that brought me here instead of there. Looking out the window to see the first snowflakes of winter that wouldn’t be conceived of in the heat of the desert. My feet are cold, but yet there it would be a day too hot. I’m not complaining, just making an observation. Both places have pros and cons, and I miss the people, oh so very much. But I am happiest bundled up in my sweater, putting on a second pair of socks, and looking out the window at the last of the turning leaves as the wisps of snow blow around in the crisp air. Hubby is working away in the basement, the wild child has just texted me for directions, and I’m looking forward to actually getting to spend some time with the youngest now that Color Guard is over. Life is good, life is full, and the more I live it the more I learn to appreciate every minute given to me.

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