Beatitudes of my life

Being grateful for everything in my life…. no matter what…

It’s only been days… April 27, 2017

Filed under: Blessings,Family,Grief,Life Balance,Uncategorized — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:50 pm
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It’s only been a matter of days in which my world tilted on its’ axis… a mere 134 days.  I still have my step-mom (thank God)… I still have my other half/my sister and my wonderful collection of brothers… but my parents are gone.  It feels both like forever and yesterday.  I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I ever knew, but I’m more vulnerable than I expected.  The dichotomy of grieving while continuing to live is not lost on me… but it can be exhausting.  

The numbers of days is daunting when listed out:

  •  48 days between Mimi’s death and Daddy’s death (12/15/16 & 2/1/17)
  • 23 days between Mimi’s death and her funeral (12/15/16 & 1/7/17)
  • 25 days between Mimi’s funeral and Daddy’s death (1/7/17 & 2/1/17)
  • 15 days between Mimi’s funeral and the last time we saw Daddy (1/7/17 & 1/22/17)
  • 10 days between when we saw Daddy and when he died (1/22/17 & 2/1/17)
  • 10 days between Daddy’s death and his funeral (2/1/17 & 2/11/17)
  • 134 days since Mimi died (to 4/28/17)

I just got back from a cousins weekend at the beach.  It was perfect and raw and wonderful and heart-wrenching.  There were bittersweet moments when I could envision how much my mom would have been so happy.  There were moments that I know would have driven her crazy because getting onto the beach would have truly been a physical ordeal.  I also know that I felt the presence of the three Mimi’s (sisters Jody, Jean, and Gwenn) in so many ways throughout the weekend that it was worth everything to be present.  

I’m reading a lot lately about grief and how others travel this journey.  The kind messages, comments, and shared information mean so much… to know that others are willing to take a moment to simply say “I’m sorry” can be humbling and touching.  Thank you for caring… and for reaching out to me in whatever way works.

I’ve learned to surround myself with good people and am more grateful for every positive experience than ever before.  Seeing the impact that each of my parents had on their individual worlds has given me insight into the kind of impact that I want to make in my own world.  I intend to be more deliberate about those things on which I spend my time.  I want to do things that either bring me joy or allow me to give joy to others.  

If the life and death of each of my parents teaches me anything, it’s that I need to choose how and where I spend my life.  My God, my husband, my children, and my family… these are my beatitudes… these are my blessings… these are where I will spend my days.

 May you find ways to fill your own days with joy….

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Grief… after the first month… January 15, 2017

Filed under: Blessings,Family,Uncategorized — beatitudesofmylife @ 8:27 pm
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It’s been a month… a month since my mom died… a month since I lost my anchor, my forever-cheerleader, my personal historian, the person who knew me in ways that I never had to question.  It’s been a month and yet I still struggle each day with random tears and waves of sadness that come out of nowhere.  It’s been a month that sometimes feels like ages and sometimes feels like minutes… it’s been one helluva month.

mumjune2015

When your parent dies, no one tells you how you’re supposed to move on with your life.  No one tells you that a can of black-eyed peas can rock you back on your heels and make you cry like a baby.  No one tells you that you’re going to reach for the phone more times than you ever expected, only to remember that there’s no one on the other end of that line.  No one tells you that doing the “busy-ness” of death might  actually help hold back those waves of grief until you’ve had a little time to acclimate to this new stage of your life…  your life without your mother.

People tell you so many things when your mom dies.  “I know just how you feel”…. “It will get better with time”… “This pain you’re feeling will eventually turn into a dull ache”… “You’ll get through it”… “I’m so sorry, sweetie”… so many loving, kind, well-meaning phrases that don’t necessarily take the pain away, but make the pain a little easier to bear because it’s being shared.

I know that I’m not alone in my grief because so many others have been where I am at this moment.  It doesn’t make things “better”, but it does make things a little more bearable.  It also helps that I have a crew of people who have my back.  My husband, sister, cousins, friends, neighbors, co-workers… I can feel their support, love, prayers, and know that, because of them, I can push through to do whatever is needed.  I can make the phone calls, organize the paperwork, weed through all the items, and make the decisions that come with the death of someone you love.  I can continue to take those steps.

Two steps forward, one step back… or is it one step forward, two steps back… either way, grief seems to be a daily tango of sorts… and it truly is a daily tango.  I can feel strong and ready to face any obstacle that may come my way, but let one kind, loving person do the “sympathetic head tilt” and I’m a quivering mess of tears.

Adulting is rough and I never seem to be prepared for that wave of grief that crashes over me when I least expect it.  My cousin told me that, when our grandfather died, his youngest daughter (her mom/my Aunt Jody) had complained that she had just wanted life to stop for awhile… to allow her to concentrate on her grief and not deal with the day-to-day.  The more I reflect on that thought, the more I understand and can commiserate.  I have a “Happy Yellow Lab” personality and while people, for the most part, have been understanding, it can still feel daunting at times to put on that happy smile and focus on the positive.

So while I learn to adjust to this new world in which my mom is no longer here, prayers for strength really are the best thing anyone can offer.  I’m doing ok, but that changes day-to-day and sometimes minute-to-minute.   It’s been a month…

Here’s to making it through the first month… and giving thanks to everyone for their prayers for the ones to come.

I miss you, Mum.

 

Mum’s Funeral January 9, 2017

Filed under: Blessings,Family — beatitudesofmylife @ 9:22 am
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I finally slept on Sunday night.  It’s been a long time coming, but I am finally beginning to feel human again.fullsizerender-2-1
The funeral service is over… and I really believe she would have loved it. People from every stage and segment of her life came to pay tribute and share their stories with us and with one another. I was so very glad to know that they felt that the service was a fitting tribute to our mom… it was heart wrenching and achingly difficult to create, but I am so glad that I pushed for each piece.

The private internment was first. Neither my sister nor I wanted to speak, so we asked Jennifer+ to conduct the service. She then poured part of mum’s ashes fullsizerenderinto the ground and scooped a bit of the dirt onto her ashes. She turned, handing the scoop off and Jessica, Tucker, Eric, then Me, Michael, Drew, Evan and Gabbie each in turn took that silver scoop and laid some dirt over her ashes before letting Pastor Jennifer finish. It was hard, but it was simple and lovely. Deb had selected a sweet spot off to the back side of one of the high benches and it seemed perfect. We then needed to go back into the church to collect ourselves before the service… thank God there was a back route into the chapel so we could avoid other people at that moment.

When it came to the mechanics of the service, my sister Jessica didn’t want to have much input, other than having Amazing Grace at the beginning and Silent Night at the end. I wasn’t a fan of doing Amazing Grace but if Jess found comfort in that piece, it was worth having it done. We both remembered Silent Night as mum’s favorite because it had been Mimi Bream’s favorite, so that was a fitting end. The rest was left to me.

The service started out with an introduction by Pastor (the Rev Dr.) Jeff Gibelius, who pronounced Mum’s middle name incorrectly… and with so many Bream family members present, I couldn’t let that slide. Gently but firmly, I corrected our family pronunciation and let him know that this was the *correct* way to pronounce her name… with a long A sound instead of the long E in Bream. While some chuckled, I could feel Mum smiling at my correction and that felt good.

We then moved to the three verses that I chose. I didn’t know Evan wasn’t feeling well and he hadn’t realized that I wanted him to speak (forgot to text him when he got back from London), but I’m so glad that he did. I was also grateful to know that he told his Aunt Laurie later that he was glad I pushed for him to speak. He had a horrible cold and felt lousy, but he did a beautiful job on the Psalm. Kudos to him for handling this with such skill and ease. I only wish now that I had asked both Evan and Bob to introduce themselves to the congregation so that people knew who they were when they read.

  • Psalm 121 (read by Evan Althouse – Mum’s second of three grandsons and my younger son):

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

  •  2 Timothy 4: 6-8 (read by Bob Wilkins – Jennie’s husband and Mum’s nephew-in-law): *Note: the service bulletin actually cited verses 4-8 but I asked Bob to only read 6-8, which he kindly agreed to do.

For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 

  • John 14:1-6, 27 (read by Pastor Jeff of 2nd Pres) *Note: the church likes to also read verses 25 and 26, but I requested that only verse 27 be read to end this passage.

1-6: Let not your heart be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: If it were not so, I would have told you.I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, ad the life; no man comes unto the Father, but by me. 27: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

We sang “In the Garden”… a Robin Hood favorite and one that I just love. How could I not include this wonderful hymn?  Remembered harmonies floated around me and I could feel the support of Robin Hood…. Miss Duncan, Miss Ruland, and all the CRH girls who had a hand in raising me…. helping me to be strong at such a difficult time.

The choir sang “We are the Lord’s”, which sounded so pretty. I personally wish there had been more harmony, but some of that could have been driven by the emotional nature of the service and the voice parts available… either way, Chris made a lovely choice and I’m sure my mother would have been pleased and so grateful to have them sing.

We then came to the “Remembrances” segment of the service.

  • My cousin, Jennie Wilkins, went first and absolutely owned her moment. She was eloquent, charming, engaging, funny, and so incredibly sweet in sharing all the different sides of her Auntie Gwenn… I couldn’t have done this and I am humbled and honored that she was the one of us who *could*. Adding in a SOCK reference was great and if she could have just been able to end with a “mic drop”, that would have brought down the house (and made her some $$ on the side)!
  • Second to share was my cousin, Wendy Bream Stoner, who read a message from Uncle Jack Bream. Listening to Uncle Jack’s words gave me such comfort and I am so blessed that he was able to share his thoughts of Mum, even though he was so far away. It meant the world to hear his voice through his daughter.
  • Bob Foster came next, a man who knew mum both through Real Estate and through the Carlisle Area Sertoma club, sharing his two stories. His vivid tales, first of my mom dressing him up as a woman and then of her great works through being Realtor of the Year and later Sertoman of the Year, truly added a wonderful dimension to the breadth and depth of my mother as a true Christian. I was so grateful to both Bob and Doug Gale for their participation.
  • To end the rememberances, I asked my husband, Michael, to read an excerpt from an Elizabeth Doris Fries poem that Mum and I had first heard at Uncle Johnny Beegle’s funeral in October. Mum loved it and we felt it was especially appropriate for today:

When tomorrow starts without me, and I am not here to see,

If the sun should rise and find your eyes all filled with tears for me,

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you,

And each time you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too.

But when tomorrow starts without me, please try to understand,

That Jesus came and called my name and took me by the hand.

He said my place is ready in heaven far above,

And that I have to leave behind all those I dearly love.

But when I walked through Heaven’s gate and felt so much at home,

As God looked down and smiled at me from his great golden throne.

He said “This is eternity, and all I’ve promised you, 

Today your life on earth is past but here it starts anew.

I promise no tomorrow but today will always last,

And since each day’s the same here, there’s no longing for the past.”

So when tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we’re far apart,

For every time you think of me, I’m right here in your heart.

Much of Mum’s love of music was wrapped up in both her church choir and her participation in Sweet Adeline’s. We were so incredibly touched that they were able to participate in the day’s service by singing their version of “Mary, Did You Know”. I’m sure that Mum was so very grateful to each one who took their time to be with us that morning… I even felt that I could hear her voice from time to time, which made this piece even more special than I could have possibly put into the words “thank you”. I hope the Adelines who attended know just how much their singing touched my heart…

Mum’s pastor, Rev. Jennifer McKenna, then offered her words of hope to the congregation. She shared a bit of mum’s history, some personal memories and reminded us all that the glory of Jesus’ resurrection and that God’s Peace, where Mum now resides, is our ultimate focus. I know that I’ll get there eventually, but it was the human contact and individual memories that helped carry me through this difficult day.

My second musical (and CRH) request was to sing “The Old Rugged Cross”. Although the church’s version didn’t include it, my cousins and I added a traditional (for us) line during each chorus, which made me smile and meant even more than a simple hymn ever could. My cousin leaned up and said that the music all sounded like angels, especially with the family positioned between the choir and the Adelines… a heavenly chorus to wash over us and cover us in love and music.

Following the traditional Prayer of Thanksgiving and The Lord’s Prayer, we sang “Silent Night” and followed it with Jack Larson’s “Peace Carol”. I wish we could have sung the two as a duet, as we used to do when Jack was at Second Pres, but I was glad to hear that piece, nonetheless. It brought my childhood and adulthood into a lovely harmony and allowed me to reconcile them to one another.

Our family was ushered into the rotunda after the service’s final blessing and I was given an incredible gift… the gift of thanking and showing my appreciation to all those who took their time to honor my mom by attending the service that day. I know there are some who weren’t able to wait in line or had other obligations… I know there were some who had to leave quickly because of developing weather fronts… but I hope that the following message reaches each person who took the time to attend her service or has spent a moment at ANY time, praying for our peace and comfort, but especially as we paid homage to our grief in such a public way.

You ALL made my mother’s life better… You made her feel needed and wanted and loved… You allowed her to participate in your life in a way that touched her heart and gave credence to the Godly woman she always strived to emulate. She knew that she had people in her life that had her back and she felt the love that we all crave. YOU did that for my mother and I will forever be grateful for every single person who impacted the life of Gwenn Bream Drum. She was loved, she was happy, and she is now no longer in pain. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the incredibly beautiful Service of Witness to the Resurrection on January 7, 2017. 

May God bless you all…

There is a Magic Something, camp so dear

That fills my heart with gladness all the year

Every girl who’s been here, has that Something in her

It is the Spirit of Camp Robin Hood.

In memory of Gwenn “Tookie” Bream

Green Team Captain 1951, KIG

 

The “Santa Plan” December 5, 2016

Filed under: Christmas,Family,Holidays — beatitudesofmylife @ 10:10 am
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I have always been firmly entrenched in the “Santa is real” camp.  I love the mystery and the excitement that comes with believing in Santa and love sharing that with others.  I feel that the best way to continue that belief, as we get older, is to strive to become more Santa-like in our approach to the holiday season in general and to our fellow man in particular.  That being said, the question of how to create that “Santa is real” feeling in our kids can be a daunting task.  Here’s how we chose to represent Santa in our family.

santa2016

When my boys were young, I found it increasingly difficult to figure out how I was going to adequately respond to their analytical questions as they got older.  M is a fact-and-numbers kind of guy while I am more of a touchy-feely person, so I needed to come up with a plan that worked for both of us.  We also lived far from family who wanted to give things to our boys, so I needed to make sure those gifts were properly thanked and appreciated.  On our first Christmas as parents, I realized just how difficult this could become, given that we used money from relatives to purchase items that our boys wanted to find “from Santa” under the tree.  Why did someone else get credit for the gifts that my child/ren would receive?!?  Enter our “Santa Plan”.

At our house, Santa only leaves one present.  That Santa present is usually the big/bulky gift that’s hard to wrap… and sometimes darn near impossible… cozy-coupe3remember this “must-have” gift?  This was the “Santa gift” for D  when he was 5 years old and we got a similar one for E when he was old enough.  We lived in military housing (and a third floor apartment) at that time, so these cars ended up being indoor toys.  As the boys got older, the Santa gift adjusted and became something that both boys could use and enjoy, but it was always something big.  We explained it to them by saying that we’d “told” Santa that we’d rather have him focus on giving gifts to those kids who needed him more so we asked him to just bring one present and leave it unwrapped.

One of my favorite Santa gifts was one of the last gifts the boys got from Santa (before we dropped all the pretense and simply gave our kids their gifts from us)… a 7-in-one game table.  I bought it at a Black Friday sale and M/I put it together in our bathroom a few nights before we left for PA that year.  To heighten the surprise, we sent a letter to my mom’s house “from Santa” explaining that Santa knew we were spending the holiday with family, instead of at our house, and that he wanted them to know that he had left their Santa Gift in our living room for them to have when we got back home.  M/I loaded the van and were ready to leave for PA when M said he needed to do one last task before we left and asked for my help… so we left the boys in van and quickly moved the game table from our bathroom and into the Living Room before heading out for a PA holiday.  The boys read their Santa letter on Christmas morning and were really excited to come home to see if he’d actually come to our house while we were gone.  The look on their faces when we let them race in before us was worth all the hiding we’d done… “Santa really DID come”… they were so excited!

One thing that I wish we’d incorporated into our Santa Plan was the concept of a “Santa Key”.  We have lived in a few places without chimneys (apartments or houses without a fireplace), so this idea would have worked well.  The plan is to use a special old key that you leave on the outside door to your home for Santa to use on Christmas Eve – those skeleton keys are perfect and you can spray paint them gold to make them look even more festive.  Santa enters your house, using his special Santa Key, leaves his gift(s), and then places the key on the tree for the kids to find on Christmas morning.  Since we didn’t do the traditional cookies-and-milk-left-out-for-Santa thing, this is a fun way for the kids to search for proof that Santa had indeed stopped by their house.

However you teach your children about Santa, may this coming holiday season be one of childlike wonder and wide-eyed joy at all that can be good about Santa’s presence in our lives.  Wishing you a Happy Ho-Ho-Holiday, however you celebrate!

 

Sharing Our Family’s History June 6, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Family,Life Balance,Random Thoughts — beatitudesofmylife @ 3:59 pm
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My beloved Aunt & Godmother recently moved out of her family home and has bestowed an amazing gift upon me and my cousins… she asked us to go through her home, before they clear it out to sell, and select things that we wanted to keep.  We were told to choose things that we could use… that might remind us of her or of our childhood… and take them with us.  I expected it to be really sad to walk into her home, especially after many of the larger pieces were gone before I ever got there.  Due to a FamilyHistoryscheduling conflict, I was unable to be there when my cousins were there, so my husband and I went up the following weekend.

It was a really emotional experience.  Everywhere we looked, there were family photos or pieces of artwork that my aunt had painted.  We chose the mantel clock that had once belonged to my grandmother and knew it would fit our new home’s mantel perfectly. We found a barn painting in the attic that my aunt painted long ago that will look wonderful in our dining room.  The living room mantel painting is one that my son wants for his new apartment, along with a vacuum cleaner that will last him a lifetime.  The beautiful chair we selected will have a new home in our living room as the completion of my writing desk.  Even the fish… my aunt caught it on a fishing trip to the keys and no one wanted to keep it, so I think I’ll use it as a decoration in a guest room.  Makes the idea of redecorating even more exciting when it means incorporating pieces of family history into the mix.

The short journey into my childhood was bittersweet.  When my parents divorced, I was only 10, so my view of “the truth” was severely skewed.  As much as I would love to think that one person or the other was at fault, it’s not for me to say with any degree of knowledge or certainty.  There’s enough blame to pass around for decades but  I can commiserate with both “sides” of the situation and cannot imagine the pain that was shared throughout the entire family. Nevertheless, I will always be grateful for every part of my childhood… I wouldn’t be the person I am today without it.Family Tree poem

My Godmother’s home was always special to me.  I have sweet memories of playing on the swing-set in her backyard… of family Christmas celebrations throughout the years… of meals shared around all the tables in her house… and of always finding comfort and safety within the walls of her home.   While I will miss the bricks and mortar of the building from which these items came, I will now always have pieces from various rooms throughout that special place that will evoke positive memories of days gone by. I have been blessed with a loving, caring, gregarious, and generous family… I couldn’t have asked for any better way to grow up.

Our family tree may be changing, as all trees must, but I cannot imagine my own without being grateful for every branch… every leaf… every root.  Our personal history is what makes each of us special and unique.  We learn and we acclimate, we aim and we adjust. We must, as we become the adult generation, remember to tell the stories and share the memories so that the family history isn’t lost.  That the children of my children will always know just who caught that odd looking fish in my home… they’ll know that the mantel clock once belonged to their great-great grandmother… and hopefully, some day, they’ll appreciate the care and love that has been lavished upon a family to which they belong.

It’s in their blood…. they’ll understand…

 

Developing an Attitude of Gratitude May 27, 2014

Simple things… they are the things that make everything in life so much sweeter.   Recognizing these morsels of sweetness can be both difficult and rewarding, but being grateful for each one is even more important.  It’s the idea of developing an Attitude of Gratitude that can be your individual key to happiness.

Think about a time when you were given some bad news.  Maybe it had to do with a medical diagnosis you didn’t expect to hear.  Did you face it head-on or did you bury your head in the sand?  Did you work to think about all the positive things that are possible or did you dwell on what you may eventually lose?  Did you turn to God for His divine support or did you close yourself off and try to handle everything on your own?  Your reaction, and ultimately your attitude, is a choice… it’s one that you’ll make daily in both large and small ways, but understand that it is a choice.  You can choose to be happy or you can choose to be miserable.  This is where I believe that an attitude of gratitude comes into play.grateful1

It’s not easy to be grateful for everything in your life, but your life will be infinitely better if you are grateful… for everything.  I love this blog post in Psychology Today that talks about how developing a habit of gratitude can lead to happiness.  I had never read this blog posting before, but I have uses their suggested technique many times over the years.  Each time, there’s been a large event (medical diagnosis, move, etc) that has precipitated my need to focus on the positive aspects of my life… and each time, this plan has helped me turn my mental focus into something more productive.

The idea is simple… which is why it works so incredibly well.  Each night, before you lay head to pillow, take a piece of paper and write down three things for which you are grateful.  I’m not suggesting that you write a paragraph about your day and how things went… that’s not the reason for this exercise.  Your list can be as short and concise as the following:

  1. Got dressed before 10AM
  2. Ate lunch
  3. Talked/texted with my sister

Nothing exciting or overly thrilling, but these three small things help you recognize that there were some positive aspects to your day.  If I were to write a list from yesterday, it would look like this:

  1. Spent time with my cousins
  2. Spent time with my entire family (both boys included)
  3. Made a really cool dessert that M suggested and everyone loved

Nothing earth-shattering, but it reminds me that I now live in MD, so we’re close enough to be able to do this more often than we have in the past.   It’s the simple aspect of spending time with family that sweetens my day and allows me to appreciate those moments even more than I might have otherwise.

I also want to add this short vine of a llama jumping across the field. Each time I see it, it makes me laugh and that can easily be one of those things for your journal. This animal is simply hopping across the pen, but listening to the music that’s been added can make just about anyone laugh hysterically.  It’s something totally unexpected and incongruent with your expectations of this animal… and it makes you grateful for the person who thought of putting these two things together.  See?  Two of your “three things” for the day done in less than one minute…. Bam!

Don’t wait until you have “the perfect notebook” or “the perfect pen” before you start a journal of gratitude.  Your attitude and your outlook is more important than the paper upon which you will write. It’s the physical act of putting pen to paper, coupled with the mental exercise of focusing on the positive, that’s most important.  Promise yourself that you’ll commit to writing in your journal every night for a month before you reevaluate this project. Developing an attitude of gratitude is not something that happens overnight… it happens over time.

I wish you a more positive tomorrow and a brighter outlook for your future.

 

My two greatest blessings April 28, 2014

Filed under: Blessings,Family,Lacrosse,Life Balance,Parenting,Sports — beatitudesofmylife @ 10:48 am

Ten years ago, I never would have imagined the scenes that have been playing out over the past two years.  My boys were 12 and 14 years old and they hardly interacted… at least not voluntarily… it was as if they had nothing in common.  D was in the band and becoming more involved every week, school was “boring”, and he seemed  happier playing video games than going outside to play with ‘the three dimensional people’.  E was starting to play lacrosse (after four years of Association football) and totally rocking the sport, loved being challenged with anything academic, and would bring home friends at the drop of a hat.  They were friendly with each other, but I don’t know that either would have said that they’d go out of their way to spend more time together.  They loved sports and had that in common, but didn’t seem to enjoy one another very much… and they certainly didn’t look for opportunities where they’d spend more time together.  While they didn’t fight, they also didn’t seem to be “friends”… which was our original hope when they were young.

Something started to change when they were both in High School.  D went to our “home” high school, immersed himself in “all things band” (marching, concert, orchestra, pep, stage, and jazz bands), challenged himself academically when absolutely necessary, and did what he needed to do to get into college.  E chose to challenge himself immediately by selecting one of the more difficult (imho) HS opportunities (he chose the Math/Science HS in our county), he tried out for (and MADE) a select lacrosse travel program, and pushed himself academically so he’d be able to have his pick when it came to colleges.  Still… they had their love of sports in common, which proved to be the bond that has drawn them ever closer.

D saw how much lacrosse meant to E… and E saw how much band meant to D.  I’m no psychology major, but I believe that they both started to recognize the same drive in one another… the passion that made their activities so special to them.  While they might have blown off things in the past, they were starting to join us to support one another… it was a great thing to see.

I’m not saying that they became one another’s biggest supporters overnight, but I do believe that they have each learned valuable lessons from the choices made by the other.

When D went away to college, he chose to be a Varsity Athlete (in lacrosse) and then was selected to be a Resident Advisor for three of his four undergrad years.  He dealt with a horrendous coaching situation with more grace than I could possibly muster.  He selected a major that ended up being a mistake but followed through, got his degree, and is now working toward a Masters in Athletic Training.  He’s been assigned to some amazing programs within his Masters program and will be working at USNA this coming fall… to say we are proud of him would be an understatement.  He is creating a life in which he can work and be happy, which is the one thing for which every parent prays.  He’s becoming a man upon whom others rely… he’s becoming his father… which is such a blessing to see.

When E went away to college, he chose a school (6-hours away) that wanted him for his lacrosse skills as well as his academic abilities.  He was initially happy to be one of the “smarter” guys on campus, but he quickly realized that he needed to change his educational direction if he was going to ultimately be successful.  He transferred to a school closer to home and started working on creating that work/life balance by focusing on his academic career while creating his own athletic challenges.  He worked to get accepted into a demanding program and then worked harder to stand out in a sea of qualified applicants to accept an offer for a job after college.  E’s happily taken on roles within his athletic life that have given him consistently greater responsibilities and allowed him to recognize how he wants to live after graduation.  He too, is becoming a man upon others rely… just like his older brother… and just like his father.  How could I feel anything other than blessed?20140428-114800.jpg

My darling husband would argue that *we* are each other’s greatest blessings but, after M, I really must insist that my two greatest blessings are my boys, D and E. Before you delete this post and chalk my message as a simple brag on what a great job M/I did as parents, let me say that I am definitely *not* bragging… I am absolutely astounded at the incredible men we have raised and wanted to share that with you on this post.  They haven’t been “brainwashed” into being each other’s biggest supporters, but they’ve become that on their own.  This past weekend, D drove a round-trip of five+ hours to see his brother play in a two-hour lacrosse game… because it was important to be there to support E.  I can only imagine how E will return the favor when he has graduated from college and has a car of his own.

I started this blog as a way to give credence to the many blessings of my life. I recognize that not everything in my life is seen by others as a blessing, but looking at the young adults pictured here, I cannot help but be reminded of every single reason I have for all the good in the world.

 

 

 
tawnyajean.wordpress.com/

☕42 Momma of 5 🍍Cali 🍕Eat My Emotions 🦄Unicorn 🤓Nerd Introvert 👻shakomomma 💎Health Coach

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