Monday, September 29, 2014

My New Driver

Hays passed his driver's test with flying colors!  The drive check person (from the DMV--what is her title actually?) said that he was one of the best she has ever had!  I agree.  He really is a great driver.  I had none of those "on my goodness" feelings of fear mixed with anxiety when he drove away or when he drove Maggie to school the next day.  He's great!  I did, however, have some weird mommy feelings about my boy growing up and my entire world driving away in that FJ.  I'm just such a proud mommy!!!
I'm loving what a good brother he is being. . .and good son.  He is communicating well.  He is being thoughtful.  He is asking to help out.  He is willingly taking his siblings places.  I am so very proud of him and so very thankful for him.  For 16 years I thought my boy getting his license would be so freaky and it is just so normal.  I love him so much and he is turning into such an amazing young man and I love it--I love him!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

One Year Ago

Today marks one year since my Gran'ma died.  I don't miss her any less.  In fact, I think I miss her more today than I did a year ago.  It has been hard not having her--hard for many reasons.  Not a day goes by when I don't think, "I need to call Gran'ma. . ." about something.  Often I just want to chat or share something small with her.  But this year has been full of many big things, too, that I know she would love--taking the kids to Rwanda and Hays turning 16 are two biggies.

It amazes me how much her absence is noticed by me with regards to all of my other relationships.  I feel like she left a gigantic hole in my heart--a hole that is gaping because I feel like I have to stay on my toes with all of the relationships I have left on this earth.  I feel like there are tiny insecurities I have in each of my significant relationships and I never realized that fully until my Gran'ma was gone.  It is amazing what a difference it makes to go from being one person's favorite to having to be on my toes all of the time.  It has been exhausting on so many levels.  The great thing is that recently I have been able to communicate that with Andy and he has been helping me heal so that I don't feel so off balance.  I'm not even sure if all of that makes sense.

This picture is my lock screen on my phone.  It is so significant to me.  I almost dared God to let me down before she died.  I was in such a weird place with Him and I told him that I wanted to be alone with my Gran'ma holding her hand when she died.  It was kind of a dare because I knew that it couldn't happen.  I lived 18 hours away and my parents were always with her--if they weren't, someone was.  But God knew my heart and He heard my cry and He showed me that He hears me when I ask.  It was revolutionary for me (nearly).  It floored me that He allowed me to be in the room alone with my Gran'ma holding her hand when she died.  I felt so cared for in that moment.  And this picture has been a great reminder for me throughout the year that I am cared for.

I miss her.  It isn't getting better.  I know on many levels it will get better--I know that my pain will subside and I know that I will learn how to have confidence and security in my other relationships.  I know that I am just in a growing and learning place and that I won't be off balance for ever.  But for now, as I grow and learn, I miss my Gran'ma.  I miss knowing that I was a favorite (I do realize as I am writing this that I shared that thought with a few other people and that is fine--it was just nice having that belief).  She was my person and I will never be able to put into words all that she was to me and how completely she loved me. . . and I'm a little bit glad that I can't. . .it is just mine.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sweet 16

Is 16 sweet when you're a boy?  I'm not really sure if I've ever heard someone say that when referring to a boy turning 16.  Oh well.  My boy is sweet and he is 16--TODAY!

I've been mental blogging about this birthday for weeks (is that pathetic?) and now that I am blogging about it, I don't even know what to say.

How is my boy16 already?  How is that even possible?  How have I been in love with this boy--this boy who completely changed my live, this boy who made me a mom--for 16 years?  How was it 16 years ago that I was on the couch holding this adorable bundle crying because someday he would go to college?  Wasn't that last week?  It is so crazy that that nightmare of him going to college is closer than that day 16 years ago.  OH MY!

He is a great kid!  I am so proud of him!  He is thoughtful--he knows what I am thinking and feeling even when I try and blow it off.  He knows me.  He is a fantastic kid--young man, I guess.  He is considerate and sympathetic and funny and brilliant and diligent and focused.  He's amazing!

I really want to go on and on and on about how great he is.  Why can't I put it into words?  Why can't I explain this man to the world--I can write about anything and I am struggling with words about my son.  What is my problem?

Sixteen years ago he was put into my arms and I was immediately in love.  I guess I had been falling in love with the idea of him for nine months (maybe nine months and 20-something years), but I was head over heels in love as soon as I saw him.  I loved him so much that I just cried all the time (yes, that was the hormones, but it was so real--I was so overwhelmed with how much I loved him).  And that really hasn't gone away.  I don't cry as much, but I am still so overwhelmed by my boy.

Hays, thanks for being my first love at first sight.  Thanks for being responsible.  Thanks for thinking of others before yourself (usually).  Thanks for being aware of my feelings even (especially) when others are not.  Thanks for being self-motivated so that I don't have to nag.  Thanks for being a great brother (normally).  Thanks for being trustworthy.  Thanks for putting up with me when I'm annoying and prodding and weird and inappropriate.  Thanks for making me laugh!

Happy Birthday, Buddy!  I love you more than you can ever imagine.  You're my boy and I could not be more thankful for you!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Throw Back to Missouri

When I was playing catch up on my blog yesterday, I realized that I hadn't even posted about my trip back to Missouri.  I kind of think I didn't blog about it because it was very emotional for me being back for the first time since my Gran'ma died.
I got to spend time in my Gran'ma's home.  This may seem weird to many--it is where I stay when I go home, so that's why I was there.  It was so peaceful.  I loved begin there.  That wasn't the hard part.  I loved being at home in her home.  I loved being in my "safe" place and I realized during this visit what a safe place her home truly was for me.

Picking up my kids from camp was so great!  A month is a long time!
Cousins and third cousins!
 We had to say good-bye to Chaco.  That was a sad day.  He went to a much better place (truly he did, we didn't kill him and just tell the kids that).  He is on a bunch of land in Oklahoma where he is king of 100 goats and pigs.
And my dad made the cross country drive with us again this year.  It was fun to have him in Durango.  The kids loved the time they got to spend with him!
We got to spend the day with the Carpenter family.  They are wonderful!  Krickett (who is one of my new friends I'm so thankful for now) and her hubby wrote "The Vow" and it is their book (based on their real life) that inspired the movie.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Playing Catch Up

Oh my goodness!  What a whirlwind these past few weeks have been!  School starting (have I mentioned four different schools this year?), and activities (tap, football, volleyball and golf), family reunion in Phoenix, Gap Year Class of 2015 in town, games, tournaments, practices, cooking, cleaning, working, fun. . . . WHIRLWIND!

Braner family reunion in Phoenix was fun--it was HOT.  Never go to Phoenix over Labor Day if you can help it.  But it was fun being with family for a couple of uninterrupted days!  The kids loved it!  And my cousin, Chelsea, and her kids crashed our party one morning and we loved that, too!
Football season has started and it is hysterical.  The coaches and the parents are hysterically annoying for sure.  You would think that the NFL scouts were at every game and every practice.  RIDICULOUS!  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Dax was not really cut out for football, but Tiki was.  Wow!  He is a warrior at heart and he loves to hit and he thinks and follows the ball.  He really could be great!  Today he had several fantastic tackles!
Gabby being their only cheerleader!
Dax's teacher from last year (who is becoming one of my favorite friends here in Durango) came to watch the boys play last week!
Hays has been on the "Devo" golf team for two years, but last week he got to play with the team in two tournaments.  The one the camera made it to was a deluge.  It was raining so hard and it was so cold.  For sure not the PGA weather one sees on TV!!!

 Maggie has been playing volleyball again.  She loves it, but this year has been all about character building from not making the A team to girl drama to a pretty bad high ankle sprain.  I'm so proud of what an amazing 13 year old she is.  Wow!
The Gap Year Class of 2015 came to our house for dinner a couple of times while they were in Durango for their orientation weeks.  So fun to have so many kids with us.  This is going to be a life changing year for them!
 Andy has been taking the kids golfing with him in the afternoons when he waits for Hays to finish with practice.  He says that taking Tiki and Gabby is like playing "Whack a Mole" but they have fun together!
Baylor and his toys.
Andy pitching in and unbraiding Gabby's hair!  I could get used to that!!!