Unexpected “Emotional Dump”

Do you ever have moments where someone contacts you out of the blue- a text, an email a phone call…and before you know it you are thinking I didn’t know how badly I needed to talk to someone. You don’t realize how badly you are in need of an “emotional dump” and an encouraging word until after it’s over.

This happened yesterday to me. One of my best friends who was my roommate before Husband and I got married texted me out of the blue to say “Tomorrow is Friday!” It was a random text. And all of a sudden before I knew it words were pouring out of me over texts, I couldn’t keep up with my thoughts and I just let everything I was thinking out. Then I caught myself thinking I bet she thinks I am crazy or is wishing she had never texted me in the first place. But she responded and she kept responding. She was encouraging, she was saying all the right things, she was giving me a text message pep talk with exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. I later said it was so strange she just happened to message because I was en route to a happy hour and was in my post work exhausted state of mind…but the timing was perfect. She said, “I don’t know why I just felt like I needed to message you; I couldn’t think of anything to say so I just said something silly.”

I need to remember these moments. I think they happen to me more than I realize. They happen when I am worried about Mom, overwhelmed by life, stressed by my own life…they just happen. The thing is they don’t come in the form of a giant lightning bolt of wisdom, instead they come in very simple forms like a blog post comment or a silly text message from a friend. It’s a reminder of the power of friends. It’s also a reminder of the power of this blog. All of your comments and notes are not lost on me and I do believe each of you holds a purpose in my life bigger than you realize in why you come here and comment. I hope today I can be the cheerleader in a tough moment for you and all of my friends the way so many people are for me. Cheers to helping each other make it through the messy parts of life!

Have you ever had a moment where someone contacts you out of the blue but in hindsight you realize how much you needed to talk to someone? Do you like the phrase “emotional dump?” I just invented it yesterday. What are your plans for the weekend? Sister K and I are heading to another college football game tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

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Friendship on Friday

Friends can be like family. But the difference is they can come and go. Some will stay with you for a lifetime and some will stay with you for a season. Leaving a mark on our heart no matter how long their stay.

I look at Mom and Dad and their friends. They have friends from all periods of life. Before kids, after kids, parents of our friends, work friends, church friends, the list goes on. What I think is interesting though is I believe certain people are brought in and out of our lives depending on when we need them. Sometimes I think people are placed in our lives before we even know the strong presence they will serve at a later time…and sadly when their presence is no longer beneficial, it can also be time to move on.

I am only 28 but I already have had many experiences like this with my own friends. Coming in and out. Certain ones having a stronger presence than others at certain times. Almost like they silently take turns. Like life is a play and they are being directed in and out of different acts of my life. But as I have dealt with some big challenges with Mom’s MS, I have also learned which friends I can depend on and which ones I can call. Sister K has learned the same lesson. You can’t predict how your friends will react when you are in a crisis until you are actually in a crisis. It is surprising in good ways and bad ways.

When Mom was in the hospital in May, Sister K and I sent an email to all of our close friends asking them to send Mom cards. We didn’t really know what to expect but we knew they would cheer her up. The end result was inspiring. Mom received stacks of cards- funny, uplifting, light-hearted, even musical. And with each card a message of inspiration. A message to let her know they were there for her because she was important to Sister K and me; since they were our friends that meant Mom was important to them too. Mom has a special relationship with our friends as well as us. She is like a second Mom to many of the friends in our lives. When things get tough, it is nice knowing that in addition to Sister K and me she has an entire network out there of second children waiting to send their love and support to her too.

I am off to visit one of my college best friends this weekend so I guess you could say I have friendship and nostalgia on my mind. What are you up to this weekend? Do you have friends from different periods of life? Have you ever been amazed at the support you receive from friends or surprised when they didn’t meet your expectations? Have a wonderful weekend!

Seeking Approval.

“Hell hath no fury like a mother scorned.”

This pretty much describes Mom and her role of defending Sister K and me in life. My happy go lucky, unassuming mother remained that way, until you messed with her child. Then she became a lion.

7th Grade was a tough year for me. I switched schools in middle school and had to deal with making new friends at a new school at a time when no one wanted to be my friend. I am not going to relive the experience here but will say it was awful. 17 years later it’s still difficult for me to think about. At the same time it showed me a different side of Mom. I had never seen her so upset and defensive of something I was going through. I learned very quickly you do not mess with Mom’s daughters.

Recently I have had an issue with a friend. The issue actually began during my wedding planning 2 years ago and I feel like it’s finally coming to closure. What is coming to closure is the fact that we are not friends anymore and will not be friends in the future. I won’t get into it but what I will say is it’s hard. The neutral notes: Something sad happened. I acted how I thought was best and would do it again based on the situation and based on everything I was managing at the time- wedding planning, dealing with a Mom newly diagnosed with MS slowly declining, and a Grandmother dying of Alzheimer’s. She didn’t realize the stress I was under. In her eyes, my response wasn’t enough for her. It’s almost a he said/she said situation now. Bottom line though is if it’s really a friendship it’s worth fighting for, forgiving and moving on, realizing we both probably made mistakes- I don’t think she sees it that way. That’s fine. I am working towards moving on realizing it is all I can do.

The point though is through talking with a mutual friend I realized the full extent of all of this on Friday night. I was upset and kind of defeated. As I updated Mom on the phone about it she rose her voice and defended me. Defended me to thin air. No one could hear except Dad who was in the kitchen, but she defended me. I don’t know why but it was nice. Knowing that in her eyes what I did wasn’t as bad as it was being made out to be made me feel less upset. I had her approval.

I know it may seem strange that at 28 I still want Mom’s approval, but I do. It’s also interesting to me because sometimes it is tough approval to get. Sometimes it is hard to talk to Mom. Sometimes I think she isn’t connecting what is happening or what I want her response to be the way she used to. This continues to be hard. I am having to in a sense move on from my quest for approval. Find a way to know I am not always going to have her approval. First of all I am an adult and our relationship is evolving as a result of this. But then mix in MS and how my role as Mom’s daughter is also changing and that makes this difficult too. It’s something I am wrestling with. Wanting approval- not getting the response I want- dealing with it.

Do you ever want approval from the people in your life? If you have children have you ever watched yourself turn into a lion to protect your cubs? Any tough moments realizing friendships are over? My hearts go out to the USA on the anniversary of 9-11 and all those who lost their lives.  

Best Friend Uniform

I love the color purple. It is and always has been my favorite color. I remember when I got engaged one of my friend’s responded and said “time to order my purple party dress.” Yes, I had purple bridesmaid dresses. The specific color was plum. My wedding colors were plum and sage…also known as purple and green. Mom wouldn’t let me say purple and green and it reminded me of the famous scene from Steel Magnolias when Shelby says her colors are “blush and bashful” and M’Lynn responds by saying “her colors are pink and pink.”

Sister K’s favorite color actually is pink. And this has played a big role in our entire lives. Easter egg hunting- my eggs were always purple and Sister K’s were always pink. Picking out tops- Sister K would get pink and I would get purple. Birthday gift wrapping- Sister K’s was pink and mine was purple. You get the picture. And today Sister K and I have decided to embrace the silliness involved with each having a favorite color and try to wear similar outfits for certain occasions in these colors. We call it our best friend uniform. And the fact that bright colors have been so trendy has assisted us in this. Purple shorts/pink shorts, purple pants/pink pants, purple purses/pink purses. It is silly but it is fun for us.

It also brings a little bit of laughter to some otherwise tense situations. We may be struggling to get Mom in and our of the car but we are wearing our purple and pink shorts which lightens the mood or takes the attention off Mom. Our “best friend uniforms.” Outfits and colors Mom associated with each of us and continues to associate with us everyday. The best part of them is it is something Mom began when we were little kids and now we enjoy embracing it to bring back a sense of being Mom’s little girls once again. It’s a mother/daughter thing at its simplest.

Do you have a favorite color? Are you ever drawn to certain colors over others? Did your parents use your favorite colors throughout your childhood? Did you ever wear matching outfits with your siblings?

100% Thankful

Yesterday marked 100 Posts. This one is officially 101. This is pretty exciting. I have come here 100 times to share my thoughts and you have come here to read my words.

This blog started as a little idea that was just sitting in the back of my mind. I kept trying to tuck it away but it kept resurfacing in weird ways. I had a long conversation with Husband about it and he thought I should try it out. Sister K was in full support and thought it may help me process everything going on with Mom.

What I didn’t expect is all of you. The people who come here everyday and read. The people who come here occasionally and read. The people who have only come once to read. Knowing people are reading my words at all means so much and I am so thankful. I hope you know that your presence is not lost on me.

What I also didn’t expect was for Mom to have her first relapse mere weeks after I first started this blog. How comforting it would feel to be sitting in a hospital room recliner by myself while Mom slept knowing that I had this virtual support team out there of people I had never met. I learned the power of support over that week and the weeks that followed. 

So today’s post is for you. To say thank you to you. Thank you for stopping by and for supporting me along the way. Thanks for hanging out with me for my MSrecess everyday.

Olympic Sized Support

Can you believe the Olympics is over? I am kind of sad, thinking I am going to have some sort of Olympic withdrawal when I go home this evening and don’t have anything to watch. No more coming into work everyday asking co-workers if they saw particular events the night before, no more sitting on the couch every night cheering on the USA, no more obsessing over my favorite Olympians and following them on Twitter. It has all come to an end. In a way it is time to return to real life.

I, for one, really got into the Olympics this year, more so than I have in other years. There was something incredibly thrilling about watching the races, hearing the stories of the athletes and celebrating the victories alongside everyone I know since we were all cheering for the same team. The camaraderie. The support of a country behind you. It must be quite a rush for the Olympians.

It makes me think of myself and dealing with my own issues in my life. How important that camaraderie and support can be- whether you are on the large scale of an Olympic athlete or the small scale of a 28 year old trying to navigate the twists and turns of life. It can all come down to your performance in a particular moment. I sometimes feel the pressure of that performance in stressful moments with my family. You wait for your opportunity to say something and then you pray that when it comes you say the right thing. You pray that you are able to perform. You are also thankful for the support behind you in these instances. Even though that support team may not be present, you know they are out there. No one realizes how invaluable having a team of people rallying behind you can be until you face those big life moments- some are exciting, some are challenging, some are positive, some are negative- but the one thread they have in common is the importance of a support team in each of those instances.

How do you support your friends and family? Do you see the value of camaraderie in times of struggle as well as in times of thriving? How do you handle situations where you aren’t receiving the support you may need? Are you sad the Olympics is over? Did you enjoy cheering on Team USA every night? Did anyone else enjoy the Spice Girls performance at the Closing Ceremonies as much as I did?

A Grateful Tuesday

I have had an outpouring of support on my blog today that I have not seen before. I am so thankful. I owe a lot of that to my regular readers out there. I also owe a lot of that to Patrick at Caregivingly Yours for the wonderful post he wrote about my blog today. A blog that has become more than a blog to me. A blog that has become a safe place to share my feelings, express the tough moments and remember the importance of the fun times.

When Mom was diagnosed with MS I headed straight to google. I am from the Millenial Generation meaning all of my problems and questions are supposed to be solved via google. But for the first time I couldn’t find what I wanted. I would google my mom has ms, help my mom has ms, what do I do my mom has MS, how do I cope with my mom’s MS and I could never find what I wanted. What did I want? I wanted to find someone I could relate to. I wanted to find someone who was similar to me. Someone who was close to their family, someone who understood the impacts of this disease on a family but also someone who was dealing with it. I wanted to know how they got through it? What did they do?  Had they ever felt the way I did? In a sense I wanted a manual. Because like the phrase at the top of my blog says, “life didn’t give me a manual when it gave my Mom MS.”  I would find resources for people with MS, people who had spouses with MS but nothing from children whose parents had MS. I was frustrated. If I did find something it was an angry message board post about how much they hated this disease and the awful impact it had on their family. I could relate to those feelings but there was nothing else. No sign of hope. No message of here’s how my family is dealing with it. It made me feel even more alone than I already did.

I didn’t want to feel alone anymore. I thought surely there has to be other people out there like me. People who are close to their family and just want someone else who can relate to what they are going through. The challenges and the tough moments but without forgetting about the laughs and the fun moments. My hope when I started this blog was to find a way to positively express my feelings. To show the tough moments but to also show the fun moments. To talk about how I was feeling or how things were going honestly and openly. Deep down I thought that maybe along the way I would meet someone who could relate or understand. I hoped that my blog would find its way to other people who may feel like I do. I think it may be doing that. I am so thankful. I sit here today feeling less alone with a big heart and a big thank you.

Thank you for reading and for coming back here to read again. Thank you for believing in my words enough to read past a first paragraph. Most importantly thank you for helping me to know I am not alone. Sister K and I are not alone and there are lot of other people going through the same feelings and emotions. I wish there was a bigger word to use but there isn’t. So I’ll say it again today: Thank you.