Life since High School

Recently through facebook I have  been re-connecting with some old classmates, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the twists and turns that got me where I am.

Summer between sophomore and junior year of high school, my parents divorced and we moved to the east coast from the mid west. Life wasn’t easy. Here’s the rundown in fast forward:

Struggled with the new social rules and language, joined the swim team, made varsity, went out for softball and blew out my knee triggering all the surgeries, worked at Wendy’s, finished high school, worked at an electronics manufacturing plant, got pregnant, had an abortion, married the guy, had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, divorced, worked, worked, worked, moved to California to be a ‘nanny’/Auntie to my beautiful nephew and niece, started a long distance relationship with Mr. Right, moved to Michigan, moved to New Hampshire, married Mr. Right, built a house, got a puppy, started taking classes to change careers, got another puppy, moved to Connecticut (hated it), adopted another young dog (bringing the total to 3 dogs at 1yr, 1 1/2 yrs, and 2 yrs old.)  Moved to Rhode Island, met my father-in-faith via the internet and was led to Jesus, found my church family, started a new career as a tech writer, fostered a child, adopted that child, waiting to hear about fostering another; this time a newborn.

There…that about covers it.  Looking back, there were defining moments: parents divorce, moving away, abortion, ectopic pregnancy, divorce, that really changed me, and one defining moment that really confirmed Me.  I’m not proud of what I did.  But I’ve been granted the forgiveness and mercy that helps me to learn and move forward and beyond those moments.

As difficult as it has been at times, God knew all along the path I would have to walk.  He wanted different things for me however I made choices that changed the path.  But never the goal.  God made sure of that.

UPDATE:

As of December 2009, we are foster parents to a first grade boy!  The newborn we were waiting for was placed elsewhere due to his medical issues.  But once again, God showed us that His plan is perfect and sent this wonderful, challenging, articulate, fun, loving little boy into our family for how ever long he needs to be here!

And that’s that!

I’m such a bad doggie mommy.  I’ve been so stressed lately…and last night, I left Jingo outside.  I took them out at about 1am, which is when I woke up on the sofa, and then went up to bed.  I counted…I saw 3 dogs curled up on beds as I tip-toed around to climb in myself.  When Rich got up at 5 to feed them and take them out, there were only 2 in the bedroom behind a closed door.  Jingo was outside in the yard, up on his hind legs peering in through the garage door window barking.

Weimaraners are not the kind of dogs that can be left alone, and not only did I leave him alone, I left him outside.  It’s getting cold at night here; Weimies don’t have a thick coat.  Weimies are nervous, anxious dogs and Jingo is one who suffers from separation anxiety, and I left him alone outside.

If you ever want to experience true forgiveness…true agape….get a dog.  When I got up this morning, after all this, Jingo greeted me with a smile (yes, he smiles by curling up is top lip and exposing all his teeth in the most endearing way) then he jumped up, wrapped his front paws around my waist and licked my chin exuberantly!  He was so happy to see me…   Then he wouldn’t leave my side.  He stuck himself to me, as if to say, “I’m yours, You are mine, and that’s that!”

Sometimes I think that we have these encounters to really illustrate to us the depth of love and forgivness we get from God.  No matter what we do, He stands by our side and says, “I’m yours, You are mine, and that’s that!”

Last Letter

My Dear Children,

The day has arrived for me to let you go.  I have not wanted this day to come for obvious reasons, but I have been waiting for it for so many years.  The sun is shining brightly this morning, and the sky is crystal clear; just the kind of day that makes the earth look happy.

This is going to be my last letter to you.  Not because I don’t want to write to you, but because in saying good bye, I need to close the door behind that keeps me in this prison and cross the bridge to a new life, one without regrets and without sorrow over you.  One that rejoices in knowing that you were, even for a few brief moments, lives that had meaning, purpose.  Lives that will not be forgotten but will be remembered with joy rather than shame, guilt and sorrow.  I want that so badly, and I’m sure that you would want it to be that way as well.

I wish that I could share with you the joys of earthly childhood; the meaning of a mommy wiping a tear, or the feeling of climbing into a welcoming lap when the world has beaten you down.  I wish that I could see your faces, and hear your voices.  But it was not meant to be in this lifetime.  I can look forward to seeing you, hearing you, holding you, knowing you in the kingdom of Heaven!  The anticipation is great, but please know that the love is greater.  The love that keeps me right where I am, giving to the little girl God has given me all the things I would give to you, but knowing that she is not you, and you are waiting for me!  In her, I will continue to see you, and through loving her, I will be loving you.  She is my purpose, and a gift from the God that loves and cares for you.

I know that letting go of you is not going to be easy.  I know that there will be tears.  But I also know that when I have really let you go to the One who created you and loves you more than I can fathom, I will be free to cross over the bridge to a better place in my own life.

Please know that this is a bitter sweet day for me, one that will not be forgotten, just as you are not forgotten.

Love, Mommy

On being 18 again

My high school class reunion was last weekend. The planning committee put together events for Friday night (a group of seats at the Boston Red Sox affiliate team the Lowell Spinners), Saturday night (the official reunion dinner), and Sunday (a family day at a large park in the city).

I didn’t go. To any of them. I couldn’t. I started at that high school as a junior. Everyone had their friends and as the new kid, they were not really interested in me. I joined the swim team and met some of my classmates, but still, I wasn’t as good as they were and I always felt like an outsider. I never really fit in anywhere. Oh I tried! I played sports, got injured and had to quit all but one. I got invited to a football game once and went. They all went drinking afterward and I didn’t go. I think that event is what set me apart from them…forever.

I was just reading one of the e-mails sent out since the reunion that was speaking to how the reunion made him feel. My classmate wrote, “I must admit that I am caught up with a feeling of nostalgia – the feeling of being 18 again, the feeling of being able to do anything.” Well they did “do anything”. There are stories, awkwardly humorous ones, about how even now, 25 years later, the cops were called to the after party. One female classmate (National Honor Society, Harvard Graduate, now business owner) commented “Here we are, 43 years old and still…” I know I wouldn’t have been invited to that party. We would have gone, had dinner, and returned home. We might have gone to the family day and heard about the party, and then I would have felt resentful that I wasn’t invited, just like I felt when we were 18 and I wasn’t invited to ‘their’ parties.

Although I would love to share in a wonderful feeling of nostalgia of being 18 again, for me that time was anything but a time I want to remember. Every family has their moments, and for my family, those years were it. I know there was an impact on my brother and sister as well. And I also know that I am not alone. Most of us endure things during those years that are difficult to remember. For me, that time lead to a series of events that are now haunting me. God is healing me, but reading through the reunion messages sprinkled with friendship and idealistic good memories I mourn the loss of those innocent years of being almost an adult, carefree and blessed with many friends. I sit, again, outside the window looking in.

I am going to walk away this time with my head held a little higher. Yes, I have made mistakes, big ones. But by the grace and mercy of God I am forgiven. I can now stand in a new ‘class’ with new friends and family and say “THIS is where I finally belong.” I have graduated again. This time I am in the Heavenly Honor Society!

Looking Back at Father’s Day

It started off with rain. The air was thick with moisture, and my joints screamed in protest. But as I sat in church and listened to the message about my heavenly Father, the noise in my body seemed to quiet and give way to the outpouring of His love.

I don’t know how it happened. One day, I was despising my father for not being there, and the next I’m sorry for all the time lost communicating with him.

I spent many years folding under the pressure of my parents divorce. I wasn’t the typical kid of divorced parents in that I never blamed myself for their parting of the ways. I never thought that if I was just good, then they would get back together. Rather, I was indifferent to it. I didn’t care one way or the other. I was invisible. At least I thought I was.

My mother was angry and hurt. So, because she spent the most time with us, I thought what she thought. I had no idea why. I was supposed to be angry and hurt because she was. I took on a persona that wasn’t me. She came to my games, she cheered me on from the sidelines and even drove me to meets when I missed the bus. She had dinner ready for me when I got home from a late practice, she encouraged me in my homework, she woke me up in time for breakfast before school. She did the laundry. She kept the house. She did all the things a mother is supposed to do and more. But she was angry and hurt at my father, and I thought I was supposed to be too. So I shut him out. Even if he had tried to contact me in those years he wouldn’t have been able to because I shut him out.

Listening to the message yesterday reminded me that my father, just like me, is human. He makes mistakes. He is NOT perfect. I expected so much more of him because I thought that he had let us down. But he didn’t. He did the best he could with the knowledge, training and background that he had. I’m not a fan of why my parents marriage broke up. But it’s not my issue. I’m the product of that marriage. Part of each of them is what makes me who I am. I look like both of them. I talk like both of them. I write like both of them. But I am not them. And they are not me. They too, are only just human, prone to mistakes and failures. Just like me.

My Heavenly Father is perfect. In Him I am made perfect. I can forgive my parents because my Father in Heaven has forgiven me. He is the one I need to look to. He is the one who will never fail me, who will never disappoint me, who will love me unconditionally. I am lucky to have had the father that I have. He is smart, witty, fun and loving. I’m sorry that I didn’t see that earlier in my life.

Meditate on this…

Isaiah 54:4
 “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
  be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
  for you will forget the shame of your youth,
  and the reproach of your widowhood
  you will remember no more.”

I read this today and the first thing that came to mind was how often I let my shame of the past inhibit my walk and my relationship with Him.  This verse reminds me that, in Him, I have nothing to be ashamed of and He will never do anything to shame, disgrace or embarrass me! 

Are there areas in your past that keep you from Him?  Let this reminder serve you too!  He is not ashamed of you!