The girls are outside packing our old fifth wheel camper for a weekend at the lake to celebrate Addie’s birthday. At one time in my life that old camper was the center of our family togetherness. As I was sitting in the chair in the camper, I was going over the mental list of what you need for a weekend at the lake. Erin opened one of the cubbies and began to laugh. She pulled out some Dora the Explorer little girls underpants, Lizzie McGuire undies, a few pairs of shorts and the little girl swimming suits! They had been nicely tucked away by a five or six year old little girl who kept her “lake” clothes in “her cubbie”! Immediately I was drawn back in time when life seemed much better; the time when my kids were little, 12, 8 and 3, and we were all together. We would take summer trips to Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore, Colorado, North Dakota, anywhere we could manage to drag that along. At the time, there were things in our lives that would tend to cloud and sometimes even cover up the good things in my life. I remember struggling to be happy during a trip to Yellowstone where Mike insisted that we go even when we couldn’t afford it. He would tell me that if we waited until we had money we would never go! I worried the entire trip away while my kids were laughing, playing and exploring around me. I was there but I wasn’t engaged. I find that when I try to recall things that happened back then, I struggle and I regret that I was so busy trying to live and get through this life that I was unable to take it all in. That being said, it is no surprise to anyone who reads my stuff that I have struggled with depression most of my life. I have never really been able to control it, but sometimes I can manage it. It’s funny, I honestly thought depression was like the flu. You got it, you went to the doctor, you treat it and it goes away. It’s a hard reality to accept that depression never goes away, seldom is cured, and becomes a shadow to live with the rest of my life. There are triggers that make it much worse and temporary things that make it better, but the highs are never as high as what I imagine or perceive other people to have. I have recently been swamped by things in this life that are completely out of my control and only God is big enough to take this on!! I have gone back on my Wellbutrin since last weeks blog because (I am not ashamed to admit) I can’t manage without some chemical help. I have no shame in admitting it, but it feels rather intimidating to put it in print! I guess when I profess to be an open book, I am! Ask me anything!! Today, however, I think that Erin opening that cubbie was God’s way of saying, “remember the details, here you go, take it all in”. I remembered details and laughter and tears, that flood me like a dam bursting that sometimes overtakes me when I think about all of my blessings.
I have a lot of guilt attached to parenting my young children. I could never relax, or slow down, or take the time to really hear them. I was always moving on to do something else. Now I know that I should have sat on the floor longer when I was asked to play tractors. I should played babies longer when my little girls were pushing the baby stroller. I could have stopped. I could have done it. The world wasn’t going to spin off its axis if I didn’t run do that load of laundry, or vacuum, or cook dinner. Worse yet, I was always pushing them to hurry up. Oh if I could go back in time the list of things I would correct would be too long to fit in a lifetime. I allowed pressures of a job, family, pleasing others, trying to keep the peace and still be a wife, run much of my life. I was so caught up trying to do it all and please everyone else, I missed out on time that I can not get back. Today that is still the case. For anyone self employed, or anyone just trying to live, well I guess that’s everyone, the worries never end. It’s harder and harder every single day. But I think that most parents feel that way. The other thing I would do differently is make the punishment fit the crime. I tended to use big consequences for small offenses. I feel that was the worst. Some things my kids remember, and I have asked for forgiveness for my ignorance, some things they don’t recall. I am glad I have the kids I do since they are pretty chill about most things!! I suppose that is what this grandma gig is about. I am getting a life “do-over” and I won’t mess this one up!
It is strange to watch my grown kids start making their memories in the camper and to live their own lives. I am thankful that we still have it in the shed for them to use and enjoy. It’s weird, almost like it gets put back in the shed to preserve the sacred ghosts of my past. Put away to save the echos of laughter and tears so that I am reminded to take it all in. It’s also a chance to connect with my kids on a totally different level. Getting old isn’t so bad when it comes to that, but the rest isn’t for sissies!!
soak it in, live, love,