Remember to Breathe.

And just like that…all three of our children are grown.

Before you read any further, take a moment to close your eyes, exhale, and embrace this very moment of your life. The loves in your life, the good things, the thankfuls, the lights. Let your mind’s eye touch on each and oh yes please do allow that smile to to creep in. Breathe deep and allow each and every thing to settle on your very soul and let it remain there.

The last three weeks have flown by. I tried to stop and take it all in. I tried not to get all worked up and stressed and snippy. I think I succeeded fairly well until it was all over and then my body started shutting down and I had myself one good hissy fit that I still regret. So not only am I suffering the consequences of pushing my body too hard, I had to make amends for letting it all get to me and lashing out. Lesson learned? Probably not. It is a part of me I am still working on. It is a part of My Girl that I warn explain to Her Guy regularly. To love us is to embrace the crazy. But, we are worth it. *if you could only see my huge grin as I typed that last sentence*

The Wild Boy is officially a high school grad/college student and has the diploma, college ID and schedule to prove it. And if those weren’t enough, just check out the smile on his handsome face.

Since graduation he has attended the all night grad party and had two days of orientation at Radford and four days of reCHARGE camp. His dad drove up to Skycroft yesterday to bring him home early¬† to attend a funeral today. You see, in the midst of all the good stuff...bad stuff happens. And while we soak in the joy, we also embrace the grief. Allowing ourselves to do both…now that is what life is really about. What we, my family specifically and I am positive yours also, are trying so desperately to do.

This month we are taking a week to Just Be. To enjoy some down time with each other. To look back and reflect. To look forward and plan. Each year, it seems the look of our annual beach week changes. This year we are not going to OBX. Hard to imagine, I know, but we are venturing to new places. New traditions? Maybe. You may or may not hear from me between now and then but my plan is to do some serious writing while on the beach. We shall see if that actually comes to pass.

August is going to be a time of change for us. Will be updating on that, as well.

And, finally. This.

The Aftermath.

Sympathy post-surgical gut issues. I’m pretty sure that is what has happened to me the last two days. My Wild Boy, who apparently is wise beyond his years, pointed this out to me. He was very kind and gentle about it. “Mom, you know you haven’t been sleeping since my surgery [or before, but he doesn’t know that, since he doesn’t read NTGTG that I am aware of] so that probably has your system all messed up.” Translation: you aren’t as young as you used to be.

I think he is correct. Maybe not the way he saw it, but certainly it is the my-baby-is-having-surgery stress let down. I won’t go into all the technical mumbo-jumbo, although I could because I’ve really researched it, but after a period of stress and anxiety and lack of sleep, the human body needs to rest and recoup and for me, at least, that usually means a period of migraine and gut discomfort. And mentally, I just kind of shut down. Also, I am not as young as I used to be even though 17 years ago at the age of 35 when I had my Wild Boy, I felt positively ancient.

The difference between now and 17 years ago, or even 5 years ago, is that I recognize what is happening. I’m not losing it; I’m not psycho; I’m not dying. Seriously, all of those things would run through my head, which just sort of adds to the overall shutdown.

Yesterday my body crashed and burned and I went with it. Fighting it can be ugly for all those involved. My gut and head hurt, my body was just plain done. Thankfully, this happened just as the Wild Boy was on the major upswing and had announced, “I think I’m pretty good now, Mom.” Coincidence? Doubtful. Permission to stand down? Absolutely.

Speaking of the Wild Boy. Thank you so very much for your prayers and calls and text messages and love. He, according to the surgical RN when I spoke to her the other day, came through the surgery part wonderfully. He was off all pain meds by the end of the second day and has only taken some Tylenol and Motrin for his back and neck pain due to the funky way he had to sleep for the first couple days. He did not handle the anesthesia well, but now we know and, if he has to go under again, that will be taken into account.

It’s also helpful that everywhere I have looked on social media today, there has been something that I would read and say, “mmmhmmmm…that’s exactly what I needed.”

These days, I’ve been trying to cut myself some slack. Not an excuse to give up or even give in, but to recognize I have, as we all do, a lot of stress in my life and some days, I just need to stand down and reset. I just had to do that with our church security system this morning. Randomly, the front doors relocked. Everything was in order. The system just randomly shut down. I disconnected the door software and reset it and everything was back to working order. Which I expect to happen to me by morning.

One last thing. If you have a moment, please toss up a prayer for the Bryan/Hetley family. Today is Beth’s 52nd birthday and while I know, without a doubt, that she is partying it up big time in Heaven, her family and friends miss her desperately.

Miss you Beth!

Today is my baby’s birthday

Sweet 16. Although I suppose that description is reserved for girls turning 16.

Sixteen. I remember telling My Man we were expecting #3, 5 years after #2. I headed out the door to get into the car. I was running over to have a pregnancy test since my home test was negative in the morning but when I walked by the trash can after work, it was flashing blue positive. So after a call to the doc, who said, “come on by now cuz your old” *not really, but I was 34, and 35 is “you are officially a high-risk mommy.”* I remember the man standing in the garden weeding with a spade. He asked me where I was going and I replied, “off to see Doc R for a pregnancy test.” It was the first he had heard of it. Not so surprisingly, he had no reply. When I returned from the doc, 40 minutes later, he was still weeding with the spade. In the same row. He looked up when I bounced toward the door, “well?” he said. “Positive!” said I. I should preface by saying we had discussed actually having a discussion about #3 and, in my mind, it was then a done deal.

And it was.

The Wild Boy was an easy pregnancy. I had little of the troubles I had with the first two. I don’t think we even made a single midnight pre-term labor hospital run with him, after about 12 with My Girl. He was born one day before my 35th birthday.

Brett’s birthday brings to mind tons of memories. BFF, Beth was working on the maternity ward back in those days. And she was sooooo excited about Wild Boy’s impending birth. She had the staff there on notice that we would be coming in at anytime and we were to get The Special Treatment. Did we ever. We had the corner labor and delivery room, aka The Bowling Alley. It was huge. It looked over the helipad. When I finally got to my room, I was the only one on the wing and they put me in the room farthest away from the nursery which was on the other wing. No sense opening up an entire nursery for my little 6 pounder. They could have placed me closer to the working nursery, but I was getting The Special Treatment. The nurses were told I was a third time mommy and if I needed anything… would ask. Otherwise…I was on vaca so leave me alone. It. Was. Heaven. I know that they regretted my room location right away as The Wild Boy arrived hollering and didn’t stop hollering the entire time he was in the hospital. He was never satisfied and they were dragging him back and forth to me every two hours to eat. They said they tried everything. Believe me, so did we when we got him home. He continued hollering non-stop for the next three years. The only time he wasn’t hollering was when he was eating.

Lots of memories of that day and those first days. But I’ll spare you the rest, today. My just shy of 7 pounds chunky baby has grown into a 6’3″ Wild Boy. He was definitely Momma’s Boy; the only one I was home full-time with. He denies it with the typical teenage boy flippancy, but he is still Momma’s Boy and I pray always will be.

All of our children are compassionate and sensitive, but he is much more so. And tries to hide it with his tough guy, smart-aleck exterior. But a Momma knows.

Thankful for you, Brett. Blessed beyond measure to be your Momma, and Sarah’s, and Shawn’s.

Love y’all.