Random thoughts, ideas and pictures of a multi-tasking, yarn-addicted Lady Lawyer

Yes... I really DO have 5 kids

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another month passes

I haven't posted in forever. Obviously, things got more than a little out of control in February -- always a shortened and heightened month. Celebrated my 45th birthday on Feb. 5th which had, frankly, been giving me fits until I figured out the source of the angst. It wasn't that I was turning 45 that had me upset -- I hadn't had age crisis issues before so the fact that I was having one stunned me. My emotional worries were being caused by my oldest daughter turning 25 and realizing that her peers will be my professional colleagues when they graduate law school this year. I know, I know... it's weird. I'm over it -- now.

Then there was Blake's death a few days later. Blake was a friend of my middle son's and an amazing young man who lived with (note that I don't say "suffered") juvenile diabetes. On the morning of February 8th, Blake didn't wake up. My son (more about him later in this post) was supposed to "go chill" with Blake later that evening and had mentioned the lack of response to text messages which was very uncharacteristic. At some point in the early evening, my home phone rang -- NO ONE uses that number; anyone who knows us knows that (a) we rarely answer it; (b) that we don't like to use that phone and maintain it solely for a landline; and (c) if you want to get in touch with one of us, we all have cell phones... call the person you want to actually talk to since nobody gives messages to anyone else. Anyway, it was Blake's mother (a good friend of mine) on the phone. She said "I want to talk to you and then to your son." She gave me the news, got cut off by an incoming call and we ended the call.

After literally choking out the news to my husband, we decided that since we didn't know when Blake's mom would be calling back or IF she would be calling back (we knew we wouldn't be doing so under the circumstances), we needed to tell our 19 year old before he got the news through mutual friends, facebook, etc. When my friend finally called back, she was angry at me for telling my son the horrible news (I think she needed to be angry at someone and I was convenient). Regardless, she spoke with my son for a little bit and he then had some friends come over who helped him deal with his own grief -- my thanks to those two young men; my son did NOT want to talk to Blake's mom, me, my husband or his older siblings about what he was feeling.

The next few days were filled with making sure Blake's mom was ok. Another friend and I arranged for our knitting group members to be notified. We scheduled who was going to bring what food and when. We made sure funeral arrangements and facebook sites to celebrate Blake's life were noticed to everyone we knew in order to help out Blake's mom. Meanwhile, I was making damn sure that my son was ok (which he resented -- don't care), trying not to let this whole thing ruin my #4's birthday, getting ready to go away on a long weekend that had been planned for eight months and generally feeling like my brain was going to explode. It's only in looking back now -- a month later -- that I even remember any of the details of that week. I went to court on February 9th, apparently looking like I had been hit by a tractor trailer because a good friend of mine was worried sick about me (I guess I should mention here that I attended court a couple days after my dad's death five years ago and no one knew anything was wrong; this young man's death damn near tipped me over the edge). Blake's funeral was scheduled for Feb. 14th -- hubby and I decided not to cancel our vacation plans; there were going to be hundreds of people to give support to his mom and stepdad and we also arranged for emotional support for our three oldest children if that was needed.

When we returned from our long weekend, I quit smoking (last one was Feb. 16th at about 10:30 p.m.). Talk about "looks like I picked the wrong month to quit sniffing glue!!!!!!" (that's an movie reference in case anyone doesn't know... I do NOT sniff glue). Two days later, I came down with my second case of strep throat in a month and it was a DOOZY. Two days after that (I was ON antibiotics after all), I had a major hearing in a post-conviction relief act case that I think I should eventually win (I won't win because defense lawyers never do, but I "should" win). The week after that, #3 went to Ft. Dix for his 2 days of enlistment testing (I know... it's coming... hold on). The week after that, my babysitter was out of town for two days. Hamster on a wheel much?????????

So.... my number 3 kid's story. My 19 year old son is brilliant; like sickly so and doesn't study. Makes his dad and I nutsy crazy. After his sophmore year in high school, we basically said "get the grades up because you CAN or forget us killing ourselves for college tuition, especially anything other than community college." I'm a mean mom and am proud of that fact. Presto Chango.... grades went through the ceiling ('cause the kid is sickly brilliant and just needed to LOOK at his homework to get to almost straight A's). There was some discussion of enlistment during high school, but I was pretty opposed since we had 2 active war zones and he was not going to be 18 when he graduated high school. I hung up on recruiters daily after he took his SATs -- politely of course. He went to Millersville University in the Fall of 2007 and did ok the first semester but not so great in the 2nd -- here we go again, we thought, underutilization of tremendous brain power. When he returned to school in Fall of 2008, he paid for it himself and we made it crystal clear that the grades needed to come WAY up because we were not going to support an adult who didn't apply himself. The grades didn't come up. When he came home for Christmas break in December, we had a long talk and he decided not to get himself in more debt and to not return to college.

During the 1st week of January, he and his dad went to meet with an Air Force recruiter (a REALLY nice guy; I've obviously met him since). The military was an option. Community college was an option. Getting a job was an option. He chose the military -- six years in the United States Air Force to be exact. Yes... I am extremely proud of him for his choice to enlist. Yes... I am thrilled that he will be able to complete his degree AND have his student loans re-paid (I'd like even more if the money his dad and I laid out was re-paid). Yes... I understand that the Air Force is not in the thick of battle. I get it all. I am also a mom and my son has made a committment to spend six years of his life potentially in harm's way. We found out yesterday that he will report for basic training on June 8th but will be leaving here on June 7th.

So as I said at the beginning of this epic novel, it has been a shortened and heightened month. As of today, I am 31 days without a cigarette (thanks to Michelle, Anya and Maria in particular on THAT achievement!). As of today, I have been back on weight watchers for 9 days and lost 6.5 pounds in my first week. Yesterday, for the first time since the knee injury last Summer, I walked 1.5 miles in the sunshine at the park (in clogs... not bright... have HUGE blisters on my feet) and it felt wonderful. My time hasn't been my own (that is such an understatement as to just be silly), but I have managed to do some knitting, some scrapbooking, have a few cups of coffee with friends and take what was an INCREDIBLE long weekend away with my wonderful husband (with another one planned in mid-June for his birthday) with no kids.

The pictures at the top are of one of the invitations that my oldest daughter and I have made for my son's enlistment party (which we THINK is going to be on the baby's 3rd birthday on May 16th) and also of the baby learning to knit... not really, but she DOES love her yarn!!!! Maybe my next post will be a vent about the Eagles off-season "decisions" or have pictures of my 2-0-0-MINE knitting projects that are done....

What have I learned in the last month? I think my priorities may be changing significantly. I think I may want to be off of the hamster's wheel and may be ready to make some pretty big decisions/adjustments to my life so as to enjoy my life more. I know I have less patience with games and people who play them as each day passes. Lent is supposed to be a period of reflection and I am using it as such whenever I get a few minutes of peace and quiet. I'm making changes in my own life that I think are positive -- it's all about the baby steps -- and I think that's what 2-0-0-mine may end up being about for me.

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