Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Eve of..

40! Are you sick to death of reading about my impending birthday?! I know my husband, and I am sure many of my friends are! I can't help it, I have always loved my birthday. A day that truly you are able to make all about you, what fun! Tomorrow will be a regular day, filled with work and getting ready for our trip to FLORIDA on Thursday. I am so excited to escape this life here for awhile. Work has been heavy and life as we know, it even heavier. I can not wait to just "Be" somewhere that's not here! The sun, pool and beach certainly won't be hard to take either! Time to be with my husband and my kids. I am determined to just take each day as it comes and make fantastic, forever memories with the kids. They are so excited about their first flights and their first "real trip". This trip comes at a perfect time really, the day after such a milestone birthday.  Having time to renew my weary soul. Having moments of sweetness with my kids and my husband who has tolerated this crazy soul for 20 of my 40 years! A couple of nights ago after a tearful conversation I looked at him and said, "So how come you stick it out with me, Simpson?" He just smiled at me with that wise grin I have come to fiercely depend on. I think, in that moment,  I realized his love is the greatest gift this 40 year old could have ever received. Here's hoping to a magical time for us as we head out! See you when I am 40! And I hereby promise to never mention my birthday again...this year:)!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Caroline update

Not so long ago I wrote about the struggles our Caroline was having with self esteem. It has been eight months and I am happy to report Caroline is doing so much better. I think there are several things that have contributed towards her improvement. First of all, she began counseling and I think allowing her time to a time to vent her frustrations and process all her little mind was burdened with was huge. She loved Miss Laura, her therapist, and we almost immediately saw improvements. Secondly, Caroline began playing Kingdom soccer this Fall and she has become quite the little soccer player. Caroline's feisty spirit makes her a tough competitor. She has enjoyed getting to know the girls on her team and is one of the top scorers (can a mom brag a bit?!) Finally, Caroline has been blessed with the most amazing second grade teacher. Mrs. Barlow has poured self esteem and goodness into my sweet girl in so many ways. She appreciates Caroline's enthusiasm for school and genuinely enjoys being with Caroline. Words can never adequately express how grateful we are for the influence Mrs. Barlow has been in Caroline's life. Caroline continues to be strong willed and have a love/hate relationship with her sister which often causes angst in our house. We are continuously trying to teach the girls to effectively communicate and love each other.. Each day we all make mistakes and what I have tried to do is offer grace to the kids when they mess up because Lord knows this mom messes up all the time.
I have thought a lot about my own self-esteem issues the past few months. I know without a doubt that my insecurities about myself and lack of self-esteem have led me to some dark places. I want Caroline to embrace all that she is. I am hoping that if I can teach her to manage the parts of her personality that can cause her to struggle socially and emotionally that she will be a successful person. She certainly has the drive to accomplish anything she sets her mind to. I am so thankful that Caroline is happier and healthier today than she was in the Fall. Here's hoping we can continue to help shape our little spit fire's spirit and not break it!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

29 years

Jeff's dad has been gone 29 years today. I always gingerly talk about this topic with my husband who is a man of few but worthy words. Although I never knew Jeff's dad, I know he was an amazing father and husband. I know this from pictures and stories and the man my husband is. Sometimes when I think about the fact that he only had a father figure for eleven years, I am amazed. Jeff  is so patient and kind and loving with our kids. Parenting in many ways is effortless for Jeff. I wish it was so for me but I am beyond thankful that the father of my children is better at this than me. Sometimes you think life will be this way or that and well, it is so very different.
Jeff's dad taught him how to to love, how to parent, how to be a man in many ways. Although he only had eleven years with his son, he taught him well. Am I sad that my children will never know Papa Roger? Without a doubt. I know he would have added so much to their lives. But, I also know that life goes on. Jeff's mom is married to a wonderful man. Jeff and his clan would likely never have stayed in the Kalamazoo area if his father lived and it is likely I never would have met this man who has blessed me beyond measure. I have no doubt that Roger Simpson's spirit certainly lives on in his children and grandchildren. I think he would have enjoyed watching Matthew play hockey, negotiating any number of things with Caroline, dealing with our spunky Ellie. When I think of Jeff's dad, I imagine an older and wiser Jeff. I am sad that I never had the opportunity to meet this man that has greatly influenced my life. God rest you Papa Simpson!

Friday, March 06, 2015

40 /choices

Anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows I am turning 40 in a few weeks. I don't dread 40 and I don't think I dread growing older. There are good things that come with age like wisdom and discernment. I have only worked in palliative care social work for about a month now but the wisdom I have already gleamed from this position is beyond measure. I know this about life forty years in, life is all about the choices we make. From what you eat and drink to what you think and how you act. What kind of friend you are, what decisions you make as a mom, the love you show your spouse, how you interact with your co-workers, how you treat your patients when it isn't easy. All of these cumulative choices will one day leave a legacy. Death will come to all of us. One thing I know for certain is that you are never guaranteed a tomorrow. When my life is all said and done what will people say about me? Will they say that I did my best? Will my children remember a kind and loving mother? Will my husband remember a wife that loved and cherished him? Will patients and families I worked with remember me as helpful and empathetic? Will my friends remember me as someone who was there for them in all circumstances? Honestly, I can say, nope. Don't get me wrong, I have some redeeming qualities but I have so many things I can work on. If I died tomorrow I am afraid my kids would remember a mom that is quick to anger. My husband may say that I tend to makethe problems in our life one sided. I have already had so many discussions with patients that are facing the end of their life that have so many regrets. I do not want this to be my reality. I want to live a full life that added value to those who've known me. Sure, you aren't going to please everyone but overall I would like to know at the end of it all that I left the world a better place. Is this post a bit morose? In a word..yes. I blame palliative care, turning 40, the movie "The Judge" and some wine. I plan on making forty fabulous and full of righting the regrets I have from the first 40 years.. Happy Weekend!