Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Interruptions and Lack of Control

I tend to like to be in control.

I know for those of you who know me, the above statement is a surprise for you to hear.... or maybe not. When there is a problem, I get a little razzled for a bit, then step back and figure out a solution. And this has worked quite well for me, most of the time. But what do you do when a quick fix is not possible? What do you do when what you envisioned gets turned upside down? When your plans for life don't go the way you thought they would go?

This could happen if you suddenly lose your job, your spouse asks for a divorce, you have an unexpected pregnancy (whether you're young and not married, or your getting ready for your youngest to enter high school or college), or your child dies. What do you do?

One thing I found myself doing, after Austin died, was to try to control everything else around me. I wanted to drive my kids everywhere, instead of carpooling, to make sure they got to where they were going on time. If what I had planned was interrupted it threw me off kilter a little, sometimes a lot. If I felt I was 'losing' control I would feel panic. If my schedule got too full and I felt I couldn't keep all the plates spinning, I'd put one down, knowing it would put me over the edge if I didn't. I didn't like interruptions.

Prior to Austin's death, I loved doing things spur of the moment. A little bit of spontaneity invigorated me, got my juices flowing. After Austin's death, not so much. I liked being in control, having all my ducks in a row.

Over the past year, I found myself withdrawing from social events. Events that in the past I would be the first one to say I would be there. I seemed to have lost energy. I seemed to lack the motivation to be involved. I rarely invited someone to get together for lunch, coffee, a drink, or whatever 'excuse' I could think of. This was completely out of character for me, but it was me for a year. I wasn't sure why. I just knew I needed to.

This is another thing I have learned since Austin's accident. I have learned to listen to myself, to my physical and mental reactions. To know when something would be too much and know it was ok to say 'no'. Again, I wasn't always sure why I had those feelings, I just knew I needed to listen to them.

This past Sunday I was sitting in church and the pastor was talking about 'interruptions' in our lives and how sometimes we needed to not react, but to slow down and wait for an answer. And there was my answer. This past year I had needed to slow down. I had needed to put all of my priorities in check, to truly reflect on what is important, what requires my passion and attention, and what I need to let go of and not worry about.

Over the past week or two, I have found my 'old' self returning. I have found myself wanting to and looking forward to entertaining, getting together with others, enjoying friends (old and new). The only difference is I have even more of a peace then I ever have. I have a contentment, knowing that quiet moments are good for me, are important for me, are rejuvenating. Interruptions are ok, maybe not desired, but ok. I don't need to solve them immediately. They prepare me for times of enjoying others, of valuing the friendships I have, of healing my soul.

If you find yourself upside down, with your plans being interrupted, slow down. Give yourself permission to wait, knowing that things will work out, maybe not how you originally planned, but they will work out - one way or the other.

I usually don't share sermons on this blog, but wanted to provide the link for anyone that wanted to listen to the "Interruption" sermon I spoke of above. It is the one from December 8th (Chris Mitchell) "Divine Interruptions - Joseph" http://www.newenglandchapel.org/sunday-services/sermons.html

(I plan on writing another blog on my 'attitude' this past year - which wasn't a good one, I'm ashamed to admit.")

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I Want a Can of Soda!

What a great long Thanksgiving week-end we had last week! It was filled with seeing family and friends, and of course full of more Austin memories. Here's a sampling...

Can of Soda

Whenever I'm traveling along I-90 heading to Western New York, and then back again to Massachusetts, there's an exit we pass that reminds me "I want a can of soda".

Canastota.... When Austin was around 4 years old, my brother, Austin, and I were driving home to Western New York, from visiting my grandma in Glens Falls. As we approached the Canastota exit I commented to my brother that I was going to get off at the Canastota exit for gas. (This is when gas was much more expensive on the thruway than at regular gas stations.) Suddenly, a little voice from the back seat said, "I want a 'can of soda' too!"

I have never read that sign the same way again.

Christmas Tree Drive-Thru

A couple years prior to moving to Massachusetts, my youngest son's first-grade teacher's family ran a Christmas tree farm, where you could cut your own tree. This was perfect, as one of our family traditions is cutting a Christmas tree every year. We decided to check it out. Each year we alternate who's turn it is to pick out the tree. This particular year it happened to be Austin's.

We pulled up to the farm, got our instructions, and headed out to find the perfect tree. Only this tree hunt was a little different than in the past. We could actually drive our car down the paths and look out the window until we spotted "our" tree. Perfect! It was raining outside, now I didn't have to get wet.

We called it shopping via drive-thru for your tree. As we drove slowly down the lanes we saw a couple looking at "their" tree, getting ready to cut it down. Austin and I joked that we should run out of the car, grab the tree, and say, "This is the perfect tree. Let's cut it down." Of course, we were only kidding, but now every time we go tree hunting I can't help chuckling when I see other tree-shoppers finding "their" tree.

Every year we are back in NY for Thanksgiving we head to the tree farm and find the perfect Christmas tree, with a little extra Austin memories filling our Thanksgiving week-end.

Pizza Time

After loading our tree this year onto the top of our car, the boys announced they were starving. (So what else is new.) I suggested we head over to our favorite pizza place, Hometown Pizza. The boys, in unison, quickly said "Yes! Can we get wings too?!?" More Austin time.... Austin loved Hometown, it was like his second home, his best friend's family owns it, and Austin's apartment was kiddy-corner across the street from it.

After a great four days being with family, making more memories, we headed home. As we drove down the thruway, with our tree tied to the top of the car, I told my husband, "I want a can of soda."