My Proudest Moment

Today I “celebrated” my 50th birthday. I was greeted at work with my favorite drink, a grande latte with two splenda’s and no foam and a blueberry scone (the danger of those carbs!!) along with a very thoughtful birthday card signed by everyone in our clinic. And as the day went on, I had sweet text messages and my Facebook family made their wishes known. One of our directors bought me lunch and another made it point to call even though he wasn’t near by for the day. As the day went on, I opened the mail to find beautiful cards from my dad and my aunt then ended my day at my favorite place to eat, The Woodshed, in Fort Worth near TCU with an amazing young couple that I’m helping coordinate their wedding in May. Over dinner, Jenny asked me what my proudest moment had been in the last ten years and I had to stop and think for a few minutes about all the events that have taken place during that time.

Once I had collected my thoughts, I began to explain. I was newly divorced when I had just turned 40, ten years ago. In the past ten years I’ve had to “survive” with three teenage boys and make sure they didn’t end up messed up because of what I had to go through with their dad. I also had to rediscover myself even though I didn’t have a clue who I was other than Max, CJ and John David’s mother because I had been a stay at home mom for 17 years. It took a lot of sacrifice on many different levels and all I could think about was my boys and how a divorce would affect them spiritually, psychologically and emotionally. Myself, a product of divorce, all too well knows how it affects your self esteem and how you view relationships and the thought of marriage.

Going back to that question of my proudest moment…I answered that there were three moments; when each of the boys graduated college. Growing up we had instilled in the boys that a college degree was not an option. One day they each of them would be husbands and fathers and in order for them to provide for their families, they needed to have a degree to do that. You see, I couldn’t pay for their college because if I paid for one to go to college, then I would have to pay for all three. I simply couldn’t do it. I was struggling to pay the electric bill every month. So what it boiled down to was that each of them would have to pay for their own college, even if it meant working and getting loans and those loans are easier to pay back with a degree than without one. Another thing I had in the back of my mind was if they were going to mess around and waste time, then it would be their own money they waste and not mine. Call a hard lesson, but yes, a life lesson.  John David received his degree in 2015 from Oklahoma State in Marketing and Business Administration. CJ received his degree in Spanish and a certificate in Business from University of Texas in 2014. Max graduated from University of Texas at Arlington, summa cum laude, in Biology and Chemistry and is now about to begin his third year of dental school at Texas A&M College of Dentistry. Screen Shot 2017-03-31 at 10.28.22 PM

As I explained to Zach and Jenny tonight at dinner, a few months ago, my middle son CJ gave me one of the biggest compliments I’ve ever received. He encouraged me to blog  (even thoughI can barely write a sentence) about raising three teenage boys and the struggles that this single mother has had to overcome. He said the way I parent is an inspiration to him and that it will be to others as well. CJ went on to explain that I have three boys that all are grounded in Christ, have college degrees,  never been in real trouble with the law, all have good jobs and beautiful young ladies that fully support them and all of this is something I need to be encouraging others that it can be done.

So as I say good-bye to the first 50 years of my life, I’m so sweetly reminded that those years were not in vain but that really hard times and really hard lessons produced some really good kids. If you know me, you know that these three boys are the world to me and I couldn’t be prouder of who they are…especially on the inside. I appreciate my family and friends for the encouragement over the past ten years. Each of you are a special part of my life that has brought each of my boys to where they are today. I’m forever grateful.

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Love is a Choice

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 11.35.49 PM.pngHave you ever wondered what your children will take from their upbringing and implement it into their own lives, especially when  they lived through a divorce? I’ve prayed for so many years that each of my children will find and marry someone that is grounded in Christ and equally yoked. Last month my middle son, CJ married Brooke, a beautiful young lady. He is the first of my boys to make that commitment. I’ve always said that your children are a gift from God to you. Children are a result of a marriage but they are not the marriage itself. God allows you to choose your spouse. He allows you to make that decision. It’s a choice who with whom to spend the rest of your life.
I’m glad CJ chose my new DIL Brooke. I’ve never had a daughter of my own but she is the first. Brooke is not my “daughter in law” because it conveys legalism to me.  I choose to call her my “daughter in love” because I love her as my own with no rules, strings or restrictions. Tonight I watched a video from CJ and Brooke’s wedding. It was sweet, fun and reminded me of that beautiful day. As I watched it, someone asked CJ a question that brought a tear to my eye. He told his future kids that he loved them even though he didn’t even know them but he went on to tell his future children that “[I’m] in love with your mom, very, very much”. What an incredible thing to hear from your child. He knows the value of being in love and loving the mother of his children. Think about what my grandchildren will inherit, a father that values their mother. I’m so proud to know my son knows the impact of his choices for his wife and their little ones in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

Crossing over to the dark side

This week marks a landmark. I turn 5-0. That’s right…half of one hundred, half a century and the 50 yard line.  I probably won’t live to be 100, so more than half of my life has been lived. That puts a lot in perspective.

In the first 10 years of my life, I learned to walk, talk, formulate sentences (although I still struggle), learned my ABC’s, numbers and colors. All this was a foundation that my parents gave me and I thank them for a happy childhood. One of my favorite memories was one Christmas morning the first gift I opened was a present with crayons, scissors, blank paper and coloring books. That’s all I needed because I didn’t open another gift for hours I think. I just colored under the tree. That was me. Content to be creative.

Then years 11-20. Brutal. No getting around it. This is where I struggled with my identity. My sister Suzanne was 180º opposite from me in almost every way and I didn’t understand why. She was blonde, blue eyes and not a shy bone in her body. Then my parents went through a divorce. As a young girl you think it’s only happening to you, but in reality it’s not. I graduated high school and after that I really didn’t have a plan, although both of my parents had college degrees.

Aww…the roaring twenties. These years were non stop. Most people were going to college or starting careers, but not me. I was getting married and having babies. Three little boys in two and a half years. Three was the magic number. Three car seats. Three diaper changes. Three naps. Three sets of shoes. Three beds. Three pillows. Three backpacks. Three toothbrushes. Three doctor appointments. The number “3” will ever be a engrained in my inner soul because it was the magic number. Life was fun but quite the blur.

Here comes the dirty thirty. Finally all the boys were in school and sports at the same time. No I didn’t cry when my youngest son John David went to Kindergarten. It was finally time for me. But I didn’t even know me any more. All of “me” was invested in Moe, Larry and Curly. I had to rediscover myself but didn’t have a clue who I was and that took a toll on my marriage and family. To be real honest, I didn’t think I would ever see 40. In my mind that’s when life just stopped. Boy was I wrong.

Fabulous forties? Looking back I would call it self discovery and survival but fabulous in it’s own rite. I learned I am stronger than I thought I was. As a single parent of three teenage boys, times were not always in the win column. It was important to me to not allow my boys to go through some of the psychological yuck that I went through when I lived through my parents divorce. And this is where I had to suck it up and make sure my kids don’t end up like me. Praise the Lord that each of them have college degrees and great jobs. All of them have beautiful women that support them. And most importantly they all have personal relationships with Jesus Christ in which their faith stands strong.

So this week I will be barreling over the hump,  moving over to the dark side or into the last half of my life. I’m not sure what the future holds but I am sure about one thing. If it’s going to be anything like the first fifty, I will embrace every minute of it because those first fifty made me who I am today, grateful and blessed. cropped-family.jpg

National Single Parent Day

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Did you know March 21st was National Single Parent Day? I found out at the last minute and it put a lump in my throat. Single parents get overlooked so many times because they seem to be doing everything just to keep it together for their family. As a single mother of three boys I can relate but I want to encourage you with my story. Personally, I struggle with self worth, trying to make ends meet and all in all just keeping my sanity. 

My boys are now almost 24, 25 and 26 and I think about each of them growing into adulthood. It seems so long ago but time has a way of running fast. When I see how my boys have matured spiritually, grown intellectually and emotionally, it puts it all in perspective. Most of the time they are the ones that encourage me…just with a good attitude, quick phone call or just holding me accountable (as they often do).

Take time to appreciate yourself for everything that you do for your family. Your kids may not tell you “thank you” today, but one day your child will say “I appreciate where I am today because of the way you raised me”. May God bless each of you.

#nationalsingleparentday