Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I Can Totally Handle a Challenge! (Please Don't Give Me any More)

If nothing else, read the story at the very end. It will make your day a little better. :)

My Mom moved away from my home town (where she had been living without any family, since my Dad passed away almost 8 months ago). She moved to my neighborhood. She is tending the kids overnight tonight while Ryan and I go out for his birthday. My kids can get off at a little earlier bus stop any day after school and go to her house for milk and cookies (which she keeps on hand even though she doesn’t eat sugar). When she and I go shopping together, an hour can disappear like a minute… it’s almost creepy. I’m realizing how many traits, that I kind of like about me, that I got from her.

There have only been two major things to adjust to.
When Mom lived in Ferron there were large portions of the day when I could push away the idea that my Dad wasn’t there with her anymore. I could go about my busy routine, and almost pretend that things were normal everywhere else in the world. With her here, there isn’t a minute when I don’t have to open my eyes to the realization that Dad is someone we miss now. It’s okay though. It seems like there’s a fine line between going on with life, and forgetting people. I think I’m closer to the good balance between the two now.
My Dad’s last words and gestures were a repeated request that we take care of Mom. Really. Like… even cooler and more heroic than you see in the movies. He was a selfless man, and so many other things. Ryan says, “I can’t talk about your Dad to people who didn’t know him. It’s too frustrating that they could never understand how amazing he was.”
The adjustment comes in knowing what I can do and should do to help Mom. I see Dad asking us to take care of Mom in my mind every day. I don’t want to disappoint him. Mom is still my Mom though, and ends up helping me more than I feel that I’m helping her. We have almost a daily, good spirited argument about who should pay for things or who owes whom dinner. “You helped me paint… yeah, but you watched the kids… You’ve been having me over too often for dinner… Mom, I cook for an army and you eat like a bird…” etc. Many a cashier has had to witness these debates.

Mom in front of the live orchestra, her favorite part about the play we went to. We sat on the front row! It was so much fun!

Adjustments are happening, and as always I stand back amazed at how much we can handle. I’d still never choose a challenge, but when a challenge finds me it seems I can manage it. So maybe the next giant challenge I face- Oh please, I’ll still whine like it’s the end of the world, and be no more confident in my ability to handle it than I was with the last one. I will handle it though… I bet. None of them have killed me yet, and I’m only partially insane.

Mom's house before:

Mom's house now. She insisted on having my brothers cut down the "straggly" pine tree on the right, and she pruned the heck out of all of the bushes. You cannot slow that woman down. Looks pretty great, right?
This is her living room before:

Mom likes bright and neutral and warm. So she had to paint over the blue. (I have nothing against blue. My living room is blue, but I like it that Mom is in a place where she can do what she likes with her house.) It's hard to see the color in this picture, but it's actually tan and looks sophisticated and classic and yes... warm.
The men from our church that helped her move in were scratching their heads at all of the manly possessions belonging to this woman who lives alone. They really wondered when they unpacked her blow torch. We all get an occasional chuckle at the ways Dad is still here with us... in our hearts and in Mom's garage. :)

This is Mom's kitchen before. I haven't taken after shots of it yet, but her decorating is looking great!

This is her dining room before. We all agree that her best addition to it is the flat screen TV she has hanging on this wall now. :)

This is Mom the day she moved in. She has committed to be positive about this change and she has made a conscious effort. She is brave. So brave to start a new life instead of hiding her head in the sand. She is a great example to her kids and grand kids.

She has all of the little stresses and challenges that life brings. Here a grumpy co-worker, there a pushy salesman. She also has grief. The other day she went to the cemetery, knelt at Dad's graveside and cried. She was there for her parent's 60th wedding anniversary, something she and Dad will never get to celebrate. She was sobbing and pulling up a few small weeds from around the headstone when a little boy about 10 years old rode by on his bike. He asked, "Is there anything I can do to help you?" That really impacted Mom. It really did help her. I think she feels that people are angels on this earth, the hands of God, here to help each other. To that boy's parents I want to say, "You must be doing something right." To the little boy I want to say, "I have a 10 year old daughter... and I'd like you to marry her." ;)


Teresa Morgan said...

Sweet Amie. I am sitting here with wet eyes hoping I can be someone's Angel here on earth. I think it is easier than we think sometimes.

Michelle said...

Oh wow! It hurts my heart to read stuff like that and than makes me so happy to hear about that little boy. Changes are so hard. I don't do well with them so I think your mom is very brave also. She is a great example not only to her family but to us all!! Love the house!!

Tara Mc said...

Beautifully said! It's so great to see you getting to have your mom close, doing fun stuff and being friends. I'm so proud of her. Keep sharing her story, it makes me try harder to be better.
She's also pretty lucky to have a daughter like you :)

Megan Bongiovi said...

Oh Amie no wonder you're so great your mom seems so awesome. I'm totally bawling my eyes out right now from this post.

Jana said...

That made me cry.. I am so glad she is close to you!

The Tame Lion said...


Jullie said...

Your writing is beautiful. You can express in words feelings that I sometimes have but can't put words to. I think you have a gift. Thank you for sharing it.

Kris and Linda said...


I love this post of Sandra. She is an amazing, stong woman. I love her. One of the best qualities is her ability to listen to the spirit and then go with faith forward. I admire that so much. Thanks for posting about her.