Embrace the Stampede

I am having a bit of a frustrating day. They are silly reasons but I think the root of them lie in expectations and plans. Two themes in my life that when messed with cause big issues for me. I also realize the things I am upset about today stem from tiny changes to plans and expectations compared to some much bigger issues with plans and expectations I deal with everyday…cue Mom’s MS.

Let’s see if you can follow this: Originally I was going to host my bible study over for a cookie exchange last night. I had to change this because I had a work holiday party come up. Then I rescheduled it for tonight. All was well until a get-together I was supposed to go to last week got rescheduled for tonight. So I moved the cookie exchange to Thursday night….but literally at this point I am still not sure anyone can come. Now my get-together that got rescheduled for tonight has been canceled again…

So here I sit. My plans have gotten changed in all directions. My expectations for my evening and my week have gotten trampled on and I am struggling with how to react.

I mean the bottom line is there is nothing I can do. I have to just roll with it. It kind of reminds me in a far fetched comparison to how I feel about Mom having MS right now. I had all these plans and expectations and because of MS my plans and expectations have gotten trampled on….and I am still figuring out how to react.

It’s just one of those things I guess. But the question remains of how I can better handle these little stampedes life likes to throw at me from time to time. Mom’s MS has provided a permanent stampede everyday but on top of that I have these little ones that like to pop up every once in awhile. I guess I just need to embrace the stampede. Embrace my new plans that will involve spending the evening with Husband and our cat visitor. Spend some time doing laundry and getting caught up on things before the holidays. Spend some time on me. I will embrace the stampede.

Do you ever get frustrated when your plans change– big or small? How do you handle unexpected last minute changes? Have you ever thrown a party you legitimately thought no one may come to? If it happens stay tuned for what may be a Bah Humbug post come Friday!

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The Importance of Good MOMents

It’s a big day so it deserves a big post- Sister K officially has a boyfriend! I realize some of you may think this is funny or not that eventful but in my silly family of girls, things like this are a big deal. It’s also a big deal because I actually like this guy….as opposed to Sister K’s other “ghosts of boyfriends past” who I was not the biggest fan. Husband told me last night that he thinks it’s funny guys worry about meeting the Dad because in my family they should really be more worried about meeting me. Probably not my greatest quality…ha.

But today at lunch Sister K called me and we three-way called Mom. As I walked around on my lunch break we were listening to Sister K’s story, full of excitement, telling us about her new boyfriend, how much she likes him- lots of gushing and lots of happiness. I sat down on a bench and was listening to both of them in my ear, my best friends…and I listened as we all tried to take turns chiming in and catching up. I looked out at a tree and felt the crispness of the winter day and for a moment I wanted to freeze time. I wanted to freeze it because this moment- this is my life. It was a moment where we weren’t discussing MS. Mom’s MS hadn’t affected her mood. She was joyful and happy- allowing herself to be absorbed and wrapped up in her youngest daughter’s story. I could feel the love we have for each other while I sat on that phone. I realized that is what makes us so strong and our bond so unbreakable in the really tough moments. It’s these moments of pure bliss that build us up so we are able to fight hard in the tough moments. And as I have been trying hard to do lately, I paused for a moment and allowed myself to embrace and cherish this moment. It was a good one.

Have you ever thought about the importance of the good moments in life to form the bonds that help us get through the tough ones? When was the last time you wanted to freeze time? Does your family make a big deal about silly things? What do you think of the phrase “MOMents”?

Lost in Memories

I have mentioned before, I am a cat person and a dog person- all rolled into one.

Husband only grew up with dogs because his Mom is allergic to cats. Therefore he doesn’t know if he is allergic. This has placed a nice little wedge in any plans of ours for a pet. We could get a dog, but until we live in a house we just don’t think we have the time to devote to it. Recently though someone in his grad program mentioned she was looking for someone to “cat sit” while she was studying abroad for the next few months and we  offered. We have our own motives too because it is a true test of whether Husband is or is not allergic to cats.

Well, Chloe arrived last night. It was a funny evening with her getting used to us and us getting used to her. Especially Husband just because he has never been around cats. But I called Mom to tell her about our new furry friend and I could sense some nostalgia for both of us. It made me feel like a little girl again with our own cat. It transported me back in time to our old house…growing up with Sister K, two little girls and our cat we loved to put in baby strollers, carry around the house in the oddest of positions, or even snuggle with to take naps. It’s taken me mentally back in time- a time filled with Mom and her minivan, carting us to lots of activities, volunteering at school, talking on the phone in the kitchen, all sprinkled with memories of my cat throughout. Almost as if I am appreciating childhood and memorializing the memories of it just a little bit more thanks to our new furry friend. My lesson of the day, sometimes it is nice to be nostalgic and to get lost in memories.

Do you allow yourself to get lost in old memories? Do you think it’s difficult to not be sad when you think of a time without illness in your life? Are you a cat person/dog person/neither person/both person/or alternate animal person?

“Go For It”

I survived a very rewarding but exhausting weekend filled with coats, coat distribution, and coats clean-up. I survived lots of being on my feet, waking up early, physical activity and not enough sleep. I was going to blog yesterday but I couldn’t get the site to work. I could’ve tried harder but I was tired. So I didn’t.

As you know Husband is in school working on his MBA. Throughout his program I have gotten to know some of the wives in it. Well, this being December marks the end of a semester which also means time to say good-bye for a little while. One difference though is a lot of the people in Husband’s program are studying abroad next semester. We are not but a lot of our good friends will be in Europe beginning in January. I realized this yesterday after what had been a crazy weekend and what is already shaping up to be a crazy week. December always seems to be such a busy time. So I had a bit of a dilemma yesterday- do I try to send an email making plans for a little last minute get-together today or do I just forget it. I thought about it. Something inside said yes and pushed me to do it. That something (or someone I should say) was the voice of Mom. Mom would say “go for it!” So I did. I composed the email, sent it to my friends and pressed send. And then I sat nervously, unsure if anyone would be available or be interested. As it turns out they all were except for a few who were busy. We even changed it from a dinner to a lunch. So that is where I was this afternoon. Because of my lunch break I didn’t have enough time to stay and eat but I got an iced tea, sat and visited until I needed to leave.

As I was driving away, I felt happy. I was smiling. Smiling because this all started with an email I sent out. An email I was a little nervous to send but did anyways because it’s what Mom would tell me to do. Mom who is always planning get-togethers for her own friends. A talent and art form she has taught me whether she knows it or not throughout my entire life. Something I am now pushing and encouraging her to do in spite of her MS. She turned me into the person I am- the self proclaimed planner…but unlike Sister K, I often need Mom’s push too. And in a way she needs mine. Yesterday she pushed me and today I am spending the afternoon happy and smiling because of it. Thanks, Mom. You’re getting pushed next.

Do you ever feel nervous to plan social get-togethers? Do you have a voice inside that tells you to “go for it” when you are feeling nervous? Do you require mid-day caffeine to make it through the day like I do?

Soak Up The Smile

Do you love Starbucks? I do. Even though I am not coffee obsessed, I do love a Starbucks drink. I especially love a Starbucks drink when I am feeling exhausted…like right now.

I was talking to Mom this afternoon at lunch and telling her about everything I’d been up to with volunteering for this coat drive. While I was talking to her she was engaged, listening and really taking everything in- this may not seem like a big deal to most people, but it was a big deal to me. It meant Mom was having a good day. It made me smile.

I told Sister K about it later and she was excited too. It’s not because we never have good days or good moments with Mom; however, we realize that when we do have a good conversation, where everything seems to be clicking and aligned, it is important to cherish that moment. To truly appreciate it. To not take it for granted.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned through dealing with Mom’s MS has been don’t take any moments for granted. Cherish the good ones and remember them. Allow yourself to be happy and really feel it when something positive occurs. So today when I got off the phone, I allowed myself to smile and to soak up the happiness from that smile- to smile a smile that said I may be 28, but I just had a great conversation with my Mom and she is proud of me!

Do you allow yourself to truly cherish moments of happiness? Have you ever found yourself taking good moments for granted? Do you enjoy a Starbucks “pick me up” from time to time too?

A Big Fat “No Comment”

I am currently on a committee that is helping to plan a big coat drive for the city. The portion I am in charge of involved a coat drive competition between schools and business to see who could raise the most coats. This morning I got to be at a live radio remote at 5:30am where we announced the winners and presented them with banners. Needless to say I am a little tired this afternoon after waking up at 4:30am. It’s been a long day. If this post doesn’t make any sense, that is why.

I am curious if you all send out holiday cards? I have always loved Christmas cards. Ever since I was little Mom has sent them out every year with a picture of our family or Sister K and Me. As I got older I helped her design and address them. Now I have taken on the task of being the main creator of the Christmas card and Christmas letter, getting input from Mom on the picture and design and taking the reins from there. I don’t mind since I happen to love Christmas cards.

But I also think they are interesting. They are a split second, a moment in time when my family takes a picture and sends an image to say “look world, we’re doing okay.” This has become important since Mom got MS. Maybe even more so than it should be. It’s become a way my family makes a visual statement to say we are still smiling. Some people who receive Christmas cards don’t know Mom even has MS. But I think that’s also why I love them so much. It is a way we make a statement not through our actions but through a picture. Behind the smiles no one can see that Mom was struggling to walk to that moment to take this picture; no one can see we were arguing as we tried to get Mom in the car; no one is questioning how we are handling Mom’s MS; no one is watching our every move; we are just sending a stamped smile. A big fat “no comment” to all of your comments and opinions surrounding our life right now. And I enjoy that. I enjoy moments where I am able to “tell off” the world with a smile…instead of using the “words and phrases” I’d really like to use sometimes that are not so nice.

Do you send holiday cards? Do you enjoy sending/receiving them? Do you agree that sometimes it is a way to show a moment in time where your family appears to have it all together? Have you ever told someone off with a smile instead of not so nice words? Do you believe 4:30am is entirely too early to begin anything? 

I Underestimated Her

I have a little bit of a routine when it comes to calling Mom. I do it everyday at lunch as I have pointed out and talked about before. Today I called her while I was walking to run an errand. She didn’t answer the first time I tried so I figured she was just a little farther from the phone. So then I tried Dad’s phone and he didn’t answer. I’ve been trying to call Dad periodically just to check on him and see how things are going.

Mom called back and we chatted for a little bit but then I needed to get off the phone. When I got done, I noticed I had a missed call from Dad, so I called him back. We talked while I walked back to work. I have to take advantage of this time because typically he is around Mom and isn’t free to discuss everything. I never called Mom back. I told her I was going to, but I didn’t. I had just a few minutes and was debating if I should call Mom quickly but then I had this awful thought- Mom is probably not even going to remember I told her I’d call her back…or if we get on the phone we aren’t going to have anything left to talk about…so I didn’t call her back. I didn’t think much of this. Normally I might have but today I just didn’t.

Fast forward to 3:00 today, my phone rings and it’s Mom. She said “I thought you were going to call me back? I wanted to hear about your trip and the wedding this weekend.” She didn’t sound upset but just friendly and cheery. I was able to talk to her a little bit at my desk but then I had to get back to work. I also immediately felt bad because in my eyes she was having a good day/a good moment and I missed it.

It’s tough. I feel bad because I usually do have those thoughts but I ignore them. I push them away and do what I know is right. Today though I listened to those thoughts and in listening to those thoughts I pushed aside Mom. Pushed her aside like she didn’t matter and she does. I also don’t think I realize how important our daily chats are to her. Sister K has told me this as well. She said you don’t know how much Mom looks forward to those conversations. Today I ignored that thought as well. I feel like I was a little selfish and that’s not how I want to act. I don’t want Mom’s MS to interfere with my relationship with Mom and today I let it win. Lesson learned. I now know what it feels like to let those thoughts win and I don’t like it. I’ll do better next time.

*I guess I felt I needed to come here and be honest- and confess these thoughts to someone. Thanks for being that someone.*

Have you ever had moments where you don’t realize the importance of your actions? Have you ever felt bad for something as simple as not making a phone call? Do you like to talk on the phone while you walk around?