Now 53

Today is June 9th ….. My birthday and I am now 53 years old.    Time keeps marching by.   This year I am in Sarasota Florida with my husband and 22 year old daughter,  We bought a condo here with my brother and friend.   It is nice to get away, but you all know I like home best.

I went back and read the post when I turned 51 and all the gratitude I had for life.  Today I am still grateful, but life seems so much more complicated, out of control and in need of a makeover.

We are getting through this COVID 19 pandemic.   The lock downs are letting up and stores are opening, but people are still afraid and wearing mask while keeping distance.  Only so many allowed in restaurants and stores.  A lot of people are still out work and it is difficult to find a job. Most people are just over the whole thing.  But all are unsure of what will happen next and what our new normal will be.

Then comes the Black Lives Matters protests over the killing of a black man by a white police office.   I get the disgust, uproar and the protests, but I hate to see all the rioting and other people killed because of it.   Yes we need change and equality.   I get that, but destroying property and causing trouble is not to me the answer, but then again what do I know about being black … nothing.   All I know is that the rioting is scary and that we need a new normal of acceptance of all people.

The other thing that is going on is that one of my younger daughter’s friends passed away … the reason they are thinking is getting hit with tear gas at one of the above said protest.   We are still waiting for confirmation of the exact cause of death.  Rumors are flying around, people are harassing the family and social media is going crazy.  Definitely a hard time for the family and friends of this young woman and also this mother.

So this year on my birthday I am struggling to make sense out of life, struggling to stay sober and struggling to stay sane.    I just wonder what this world is coming to.    Sometimes I even struggle with what to pray for and about right now while things are in such upheaval.

I do look back and realize how privileged my life has been despite all the issues I have faced.   I had everything I needed during the COVID lockdown,  I am not in a city where violence and rioting is going on and my children are alive and healthy.    I can get the health care I need and the addiction treatment I need.  I have a loving stable family and many friends both in and out of recovery.     We have the means to survive.

So on this day, June 9, 2020 I am 53 years old.    The world is in chaos, but I can still find the gratitude I need to keep on Keeping on!!!

The Overdose

Some people can drink alcohol and others can not.    Those who have crossed that invisible line will never be able to drink like a normal person.   We have an allergy.   A disease of the mind, body and soul.    The obsession that only an addict / alcoholic knows.  We were once spiritually empty and now we are full.   Recovery is a beautiful thing.

I have a dear friend in my 12 step program who lost his son this week to an overdose.  He lost his daughter 10 years ago to a motorcycle accident.    Sometimes life just doesn’t seem fair.  Why do some of us make it to recovery while others do not?  There are so many people out in the world who do not know how great a sober and clean life can be.

My friend is not the first one I know to loose a child in this program.   A few I know have lost children to this disease and another to murder.   Brothers, Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Friends have all been lost,.  Despite these heartbreaks losing a child has to be the toughest (though I can not be the judge of that).    Amazingly, these friends of mine have been able to remain sober and lean on the fellowship, their higher power and the 12 steps to see them through.    I have the upmost respect and awe for those who can remain sober and steady in the face of tragedy.     I don’t know if I would have as much grace, I can only pray that I would.

We feel the pain of the death of another addict / alcoholic.    We know the struggle, the pull, the obsession.   We think of ourselves and but for the grace of God it could have been us, it could have been me.

We went over Step one and powerlessness at the meeting today.    The deceased young mans best family friend was there (along with my friend, the Dad)   She realizes now how close death can actually be if she does not get clean.  It was heart wrenching.    We or I must never forget how close death actually was and can be if I choose to go back to pills and alcohol.    We, the alcoholic / addict are powerless over  people, places and things.   We must change everything in order to survive.

I am at a place in my life where I can be around alcohol and people who drink moderately.   When friends and family get drunk and silly and stupid, well that is where my tolerance ends.   I know for me what I can and can not handle with others and the drinking …. its all about the people, place and things.   Some we can handle others we can not.

For my friend, I am really sad.   His son had been to meetings at out club.   My friend tried tirelessly to save his son from those demons.  In the end though he had to save himself …. both my friend and his son.

No Cap, No Gown

This is the week we were supposed to be in Chicago for my youngest daughter’s college graduation.   We had an awesome week planned with graduation celebrations and a roof top party with family and friends.  As we all know the world has changed and life has been canceled or I should say put on hold due to the coronavirus.

I am sad for the class of 2020 missing all the pomp and circumstance of the graduation season.   I am also sad that the next chapter is also put on hold as it is hard to find a job right now and the economy is crap.   All the plans and hopes that Kirsten and her roommates had to stay in Chicago to work and live are not panning out at this time.  Most likely they will all have to go home to figure out the next step.

Loyola University Chicago, The Institute of Environmental Sustainability had a virtual graduation ceremony last night.  There was no Cap and no Gown, but it was nice to have some closure for the past 4 years.   It was a different kind of graduation.   The school is scheduling an in person ceremony for all graduates in Chicago for early August, but it still will not be the same.

Kirsten has had a wonderful 4 years in Chicago at Loyola.   She has grown into lovely, compassionate, outgoing, world traveler who is very driven.  She was once a homebody, but no more.   I am really proud of my girl and all the things she has done.   She has worked super hard and graduated Magna Cum Laude.    She wants to change the world and I think she just might.

Though the world is in chaos at the moment, there is a new young crop of college graduates who are ready, willing and able to take the world by storm.  Though there may be no Cap or Gown at this time, it does not take away the achievements of this class.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

25 Years Old

Today my oldest daughter turns 25 years old.   How could that sometimes sweet, sometimes sassy little girl be all grown up and 25 …. and how can I already be 52?
She has always been independent and a little stubborn, well ok a lot stubborn.

My first baby, born May 3, 1995.    She was a about a week over due and had to be induced.    We went to the hospital at 6:30 AM and 12 hours later we had a little human who was totally dependent on my husband and I.    I will never forget the doctor handing my new baby girl to my husband and then my husband showing her off to my parents ….. hello I am the Mom and I need to see my baby!  She had to be forced out and was born with a little cone head, but she was still perfect (her head shape is now fine) and it was love at first sight.

My little girl has grown up to be a caring, hardworking, loving, independent, world traveler.    I could not be more proud of her.   She may not have found that perfect career yet, but she is still a very loyal and hard worker and I know she will land on her feet and find her passion.

She is finding her way in the world.    My girl and her boyfriend of several years are picking up and moving from our home state of Ohio to Dallas TX next month.   I am really excited for them to experience this and grow in their independence and as a couple.    If I am being honest, I selfishly like them closer to home, but it is not my life or my journey.

My wish for my children is that they are happy, caring, productive members of society and that they never forget where they come from.  I just want them to be good people and they are.

This child made me a Mom 25 years ago.   It hasn’t always been perfect, but I wouldn’t change a thing.   I have a fantastic relationship with both of my adult daughters.  I am grateful for my girls, my husband and the life we have made.

 

Easter 2020

Today is Easter and 2020 is unlike any other year.    No big family dinner, church services are online only, and for the Easter Bunny it was slim pickings.    All around the world people are trying to make the best of the situation with stay at home orders.  Even though there is some fear,  I have seen people coming together and it is a comfort.    Seeing the empty streets of big cities on TV is eerie.  Life right now is just weird.

It is my. hope that when we get through this, things won’t necessarily go back to normal, but a new normal …. a better normal, a kinder, loving and more gentler normal.

I am missing my older daughter, Allie.   She is working in a daycare for healthcare providers and she can’t come home.   We did get Kirsten home from Chicago and I am happy about that, but I would love to have my little family all under one roof as we navigate this quarantine and the deadly Coronavirus.

So for today, I will try to remain in gratitude.   Gratitude for my Higher Power, gratitude that I have what I need and Gratitude that all of my family and friends are safe in their own homes.

Easter this year is definitely one that we will remember.

As they say, We will get through this together ….. One day at a time

 

My Corona

With the whole world in an uproar with the coronavirus – everyone is trying to find their new normal while staying home in quarantine and/or social distancing.   It hasn’t been easy for anyone and everyone has had to sacrifice something.

I think this is a good lesson in common human decency.  Some people have it and many don’t.   Who are those people who are hoarding all the goods, being rude to store employees doing their best and selfishly going about life possibly spreading the virus?  I can’t say I have totally stayed home.   I have gone to the grocery, AA meetings, restaurants for carry-out and of course I have been out to get my daily chai tea latte from the local coffee shop.    I don’t think those activities are too hateful and we are being mindful of others and ourselves while doing these activities.

My girls both are at a pivotal time in their lives.   Both are in limbo.   Graduation is postponed until August.   Jobs will be hard to find and moving may be impossible.  We are all having to sacrifice, this is just how it is affecting my family.   It is a small inconvenience when you look at the rest of the world and what people are going through.   We are lucky that we have what we need and that we have the means to help our children through this should they need it, for that I am truly grateful.

I know it is going to get worse before it gets better.   We all have to be prepared and be willing to hunker down at home as much as possible.

AA has been a challenge.   Our club is still currently open.  I am sure it is only a matter of time before we are mandated to close.   Recovery fellowship and meetings are so important to the recovering addict / alcoholic.   It is amazing how this recovery community from across the country and the world have come together putting meetings online in different forms.      We have set up virtual meetings at our club.   I think we finally have it set up and ready to go.   Some people are still going to meetings in person while others are opting for the virtual type.   I feel it is a personal decision.   I somehow got “elected” to put together the virtual meetings for our club.   With the help of a couple others, we did it!   It was a lot of trial and error.  But I am proud that I figured it out as I am the least technical person I know.   I think I am ready to go to virtual meetings, but being one of the point people for the virtual, I also feel I have an obligation to be at the meetings in person to “broadcast” via my computer to those at home.  The state has asked that no more than 10 people gather, our meetings have had more lately.   We have a board meeting tomorrow and I believe we are going to need to set some parameters to limit numbers of people in the meetings in the midst of this virus outbreak.   We too need to be careful of not spreading the coronavirus among us and to others.

Our family restaurant and manufacturing business is still open – we are mainly delivery and carry-out so we are allowed to still operate.   I pray for the wellbeing of our employees and am grateful that our doors are still open and that we can provide jobs to many.   As a company we are doing what we need to to keep everyone safe.

These are very scary and uncertain times for everyone across the world.   I mostly anxious about the economy and what is going to happen.    My mental state has been surprising better, but the anxiety is real.

All we can currently do is take one day at a time and practice love and tolerance … and Pray!

One Last Winter Break

Winter break is in full swing for my college senior.    Mom here, is having mixed emotions.    This will be the last time she will be home for any length of time.   After graduation, her and her roommates are planning to stay in Chicago.   Chicago is a 5 + hour drive, not hateful, but not very close to home.    My oldest, is talking about moving from Columbus, Ohio (a 1.5 hour drive from home) to Dallas TX.    She has a couple part time jobs in Columbus, but has not settled in with her career.    I am proud of my independent girls, but I also love it when they are home.

I will have Kirsten home for a little less than 4 weeks and Allie for 4 days.    I will cherish the full house.  I don’t know when we will all be home under the same roof again.    The empty nest is getting emptier.   It is real world time for my girls.   I am not sure what that is going to look like.   2020 will be an interesting year, but exciting.   There are so many unknowns that we will get to watch unfold for our children.

It is definitely a bag of mixed emotions that I am trying not to dwell on.   I will live in the moment and enjoy the Christmas / winter break season with my husband and my girls as well as extended family.   This may be the last year for all our family traditions.   I can not project what the future will bring so I will not worry or stress about it until next year.

As I have learned in my 12 step program, I will stay in the now, be present, take it one day at a time and have gratitude.

And the Point Is …..?

Does anyone ever really think ….. What is the point?

I often ponder why I was put on this earth and what I am supposed to accomplish.   It is a heavy question and a burden.

I know I am supposed to be a good person of faith, love and compassion.   But is there more?    Was I put on this earth to suffer with my disease of Ulcerative Colitis, addiction, depression and anxiety so I could help and be of service to others?   Surely I didn’t go through those things for no reason …. the outcome of those issues is that I am a stronger more compassionate understanding individual.  Maybe it is all to help me grow into the person that I am supposed to be.   I don’t know.

For awhile I thought my purpose was to be a Mom and it was, but my children are grown and on their own now.   Yes, I am still their Mother, but in a different capacity.

Maybe there is no point after all and it is just life and then we die.

But I have to believe there has to be a purpose to this journey here on earth or there wouldn’t be a point to be here and to participate in this life.

I often pray to know God’s will for me and the only thing that I know for sure is that He wants me to be Sober and of Service …. maybe that is the point and the only point and I  have to let that be enough, but is it enough?

 

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is always now kind of bitter sweet.    As I am scrolling thru Facebook I see all these happy faces of friends with their Fathers.   I am grateful for my Daddy who was taken away from us too soon, 9 years ago at age 65.    I had a wonderful Father who taught me so much about about living, loving, God and family.   I was truly blessed with the Father that I had and I treasure the memories I have.

I also have a wonderful husband who is the Father of my children.   I couldn’t ask for a better guy.   He has some of the great qualities my own Father had and they were close.

I know my Dad in heaven is proud of us and our family.   I just miss him so much.   I have the sense that he is around in a spiritual way, but I do wish he was still on earth to impart his wisdom on us all and to see his children and grandchildren thrive as well as our family business.    I wish he was alive to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

So I may be a little jealous of all the Father’s Day photos I see on Facebook.   But I would not trade or change the Father I had for anything.    I love you Daddy!

Mother’s Day

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Its a good day to recognize those women who have mothered us and helped us grow.  Our Mother’s, Mentors and Friends.   I love my Mother so much, she is an awesome Mom.  Sometimes I wish I could be more like her … spur of the moment, love of travel and of all things and very adventurous.  She is a free spirit (and sometimes these traits drive me crazy).   I on the other hand am more careful, conservative, a planner and a homebody …. more like my Dad I would say.   My mom and I have a wonderful relationship, she is my biggest supporter.    I don’t think though she understands my addiction issues and recovery very much and we rarely talk about it, but she is proud of me for getting sober and for the Mother that I am.

I love being a Mom.   I am grateful to be the Mother of 2 wonderful young women.   My girls have really turned out to be good people and I couldn’t be prouder of them.   They are both on their way to becoming self sufficient adults.    I feel like I have done my job in raising them.  I miss having them around, but I have had to let them leave the nest and fly.   It is different being a Mother to adult children.   I sometimes miss those days when my kids were younger.  I still worry about them, even though they are adults.  I worry about that addiction gene, I pray they don’t have it.    They like to have fun and drink, but don’t seem obsessive about it or to have that addictive personality …. yet.   My girls seem well grounded and mostly responsible.   I am grateful that my girls have a close relationship with my Mom (in fact my oldest daughter, Allie, is just like my Mom) and had a close relationship with my Grandma, their Great Grandma, who passes away only 4 years ago.   We all live(d) in the same area and got to enjoy each other as family.

Life keeps going.   I am so happy my girls were home to celebrate the Mother’s Day weekend with me and spend some time with my Mom.   I do miss my Grandma, but she is definitely here always in spirit.

I am honored to have so many wonderful (older) women in my life who may not be my Mother, but who have helped shape and mold the person I am today.   This is especially true of the women I know and love in recovery.    I am a very lucky Girl, Daughter and Mother.