Tara's Working Mom's Journal Journal

Entry 22 - November 9, 2009
~ Savoring the Last of Autumn

This past weekend, I was outside with my oldest, Cassie, as we tidied up the garden, raked the leaves (ok, she did most of that, I'll admit, and a good job at it, too) and pruned the spindly rose bushes (alright, I took care of that one and I have the boo-boo to prove it!). It hit me, as we were enjoying the warm spell that arrived over the weekend, that, alas, Fall is definitely on its way out . . . and sadly, for me, too soon.

I used to have a sort of love/hate relationship with Fall. I loved the weather (not too hot, not too cold), jumping in the leaves, new school supplies, picking apples, Halloween, Thanksgiving . . . the whole nine yards. But of course, when I was in school, it meant the beginning of a new school year or semester and homework/classwork/tests and exams . . . not fun!

What I do love about it, now that I'm an adult and out of school (at least for now !), is all that good "stuff" that I can share with my kids including a really cool mom/daughter trip that Cassie and I took in late September. I finally got us on a hot air balloon ride !

Near lift offI had promised Cassie years ago that we would, one day, take a trip up in a balloon, and I thought, "well, no time like the present!" We had a BLAST! The picture of the two of us (and our funny and very smart captain, John) was taken just before we ascended. The overview shot is not too far from where we lifted off in rural Lancaster County. It was so peaceful and beautiful. I would attach more, but I took over a hundred photos and I'm sure Maribeth would rather I not!

So far, Cassie is doing OK with 7th grade despite some very strong resistance to homework assignments (and writing them down and keeping up with her schoolwork). The first few weeks were very tough and I had to be the "bad guy," which I hate. I hated being grounded and I hate doing it, but Cassie did come around, and her grades are better than what they were earlier on in the marking period.

She also joined the cross country team this year and did GREAT; I'm still so proud of her. The first few weeks of practice before the season started were tough and challenging for her, but she stuck with it, and each meet, her "personal best" times got better and better. Now, she can't wait to join the track team, so long as she keeps up with her studies . . . education comes first!

I know I probably sound like the typical "proud mom," but for those of you who've read my journal entries in the past, you know that Cassie and our family have had some big hurdles and challenges to deal with. They say kids are resilient, which is true to some degree, but as a mom, you want to protect your children from those whose actions are not in their best interest. And when both Cassie and Cameron are in their 20s or older, I will feel the same . . . but of course, they'll be adults then, but I'm not rushing it!

Cameron is his usual spirited, loving, full of energy self; I can't believe my little baby boy is going to be three soon! He cracks us all up with his antics and truly knows how to make life interesting! This past weekend, we went for some family pictures for the upcoming holidays -- if he wasn't getting into something or heading toward something he wasn't supposed to, he was being silly and goofy -- I'm sure half the pictures that our photographer friend, Elaine, took are of us all laughing at his crazy antics! He's also good at distracting me when I'm sad or upset about things, or when Cassie isn't around. I wouldn't change either one of my kids for the world. They're just great all around.

familyYou may be wondering about the last picture I included. It's a recent one, taken at my Aunt Sheree's house in Tennessee (my home/birth state). My aunt Mary (the second from the left on the couch) is very, very sick with her third bout of cancer, and the picture includes my dad (right next to her in the funky printed shirt) and my aunts and uncles. My aunt Sheree is in the front . . . she's the one that everyone said I looked the most like while growing up (I hope so!). She and I share the same height and eye color (but she's in much better shape than I am, I'm sure). I miss my family a lot, especially this time of year. Hopefully, we can head down south and see them soon. I've always sort of 'leaned' toward my dad's side of the family (maybe because despite their issues, they've always accepted me for me) and they're the ones I feel the most comfortable with. The only one I ever felt that way with on my (so called) mother's side of the family is my Aunt Wanda. But, I have lots of cousins whom I'm close to, and they count in the "good" category also.

Wow . . . I didn't mean to go on so long winded there . . . the reason for the picture is that my Aunt Mary may not have much time left on this earth, and that makes me very, very sad. I'm hoping and praying for a miracle for her. She's beaten this awful disease twice before, but it keeps coming back. My dad, uncles and aunts felt that this might be the last time they're all together. I did get a chance to talk with her while she was visiting and while she sounded the same, the cancer has left her very thin and frail. I will keep praying for her, and for another aunt, whose cancer was found early and at last check, she seems to be doing well.

Work is busy, but in some ways, it's a distraction from things that have been weighing very heavy on my heart. I'm still dealing with some hurtful things from a year ago, but I'm stronger than I thought I was. I have to stay strong, for myself but also for my children. I will do anything in my power, God willing, to ensure that they are loved, wanted, respected, provided for - you name it.

Sometimes, it's tough for me to stay focused and to remain faithful in God, when there are many unanswered "questions" and unresolved issues. Then, life throws you yet another curveball; my husband is dealing with some medical issues that now require him to go to a specialist. I know, deep down, that it will be OK in the end, and that he will be alright. But, I guess we all wonder, "Ok, God, I have enough to deal with now . . . can you take some of this off my back, please?" I have to remind myself that it could be a lot, lot worse . . . one of us or both of us could be without a job. Without good health insurance. Without our own home. Geez, I guess I should probably retype or erase what I just wrote . . . I don't want to come across as ungrateful, I really don't. There's just a lot of stress/pressure to deal with, and sometimes I wonder if God is listening. I have to believe that He is. After all, He blessed me with so much - two great kids, a wonderful husband, a good job, a nice home, food to eat and clothes to wear.

Maybe that's what I need to remember. I have to remind myself to "give it up" to God and not worry or fret or lose sleep about troubling things. God is in control. He's bigger than everything else, whether it's court systems, mean/bad people, all sorts of evil things.

It's time for me to be thankful, despite the chaos and craziness that is my life (at least for now!).

On that note, enjoy what's left of Fall . . . and time to look ahead to the holidays.

Take care,

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