This summer I decided to host a weekly Bible Study/Book Club in my home. My thought was that I could engage some of my friends in thoughtful conversation and hopefully help our marriages along the way. I thought it would be a good way to share and give back to people who have shared and given me so much. WOW! I am learning so very much from this group of women. I have been given another wonderful gift in the midst of this experience.
We all struggle. We all laugh/cry about the same things. Our lives are not perfect. The “PERFECT” protective shell that is so prevalent in our society is just that…a shell…it protects our hearts….it holds our happiness and our sadness and it sometimes seems impenetrable to the outside world.
The one thing that seems the biggest lesson, is that we are all trying to do our best. Sometimes that isn’t enough….sometimes we have an ugly cry, sometimes we yell, sometimes it is tempered by wine and song, sometimes it is cut loose crazy for a day and sometimes it is just permission to be unflinchingly honest in our feelings.
The stages of our lives are so intertwined. We have kids aging from toddler to adult. We have husbands….hardworking husbands that are our partners for life. Some are entrepreneurs and some are retired. We have dreams and hopes that sometimes seem to be snuffed out~ but really they are being protected for a time that is only in God’s perfect timing…..
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
We are one. This bond that has been forged this summer will not be broken. We’ve talked about the “people in our corner” ….these women are in my corner and I am blessed to have them there. I thank God every day for their friendship.
Closing with a favorite verse…..I hope that each of you have wonderful counselors in your lives.
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
“Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” Proverbs 11:14
When I left my job to become a SAHM……I thought that there was no way I would be able to stay at home full time and NOT do something that resembled work…..you know..the paycheck kind of work….so Donald offered me “busy work” at our office. I came in to the office a couple times a week, did my busy work and went home….and it went that way for probably a year and a half…then we had Chloe. As the demands on my home time grew….the reasoning for going in to the office shrunk….it was about 8 months after Chloe was born that I just stopped going in to the office. The running joke in our house is that Daddy fired me….and that has been how it’s been since that time…until last week.
Caleb and Chloe was up to their usual banter in the back seat as we were on our way home from Cory’s tennis tournament. Chloe said “Mommy why did Daddy fire you again??” Caleb said ” yeah, Mommy you were fired!!! hahahaha!!!” I said “kids I promise I was not fired…..I chose to stay at home with you….I quit working with Daddy to stay with you at home and do things with you.”
This intrigued Chloe….she said “like what things Mommy?” I said “Well, like taking you to gymnastics, taking you to tennis, taking you to school, coming to your school, coming to your parties, teaching Sunday School……” Chloe said….”OH MOMMY so you quit your job to teach my Sunday School???!!!!” I said “YES HONEY I DID….” She looked at me with her pretty little blue eyes and smiled and said “I’M GLAD YOU QUIT YOUR JOB TO TEACH MY SUNDAY SCHOOL MOMMY!!”
I am glad too Chloe!
Sometimes I get wound up about the little irritants in life….and lately those have been caused in the car line at school or Caleb’s tardy issues…..; but I cannot think of another thing that I would rather do than drop off and pick up my children. When I see them run in to school to start their day….or come out of school ending their day…..a smile beams across my face and my heart is happy. I am happy to have the opportunity to drop them off. I am blessed to be there to pick them up in the afternoons, I am blessed to be able to take Chloe with me to my Wednesday morning Bible Study. I am blessed to be able to plan a play date at a moments notice……all of those things that I missed out on with Brad and Cory, I am getting a chance to do with my youngest “fall crop”.
So if you are my Facebook friend and I am on a rant about someone in the car line….just know it’s a momentary thing……my days are by and large blessed beyond measure……I cannot think of anything I would rather do than teach Sunday School to Chloe’s class :)
There has been a LOT going on lately with the Cox Tribe. Many positives.
Caleb is adjusting to kindergarten very well! He continually cracks me up when he comes home exclaiming the latest “bad boy transgression” (meaning the boy in his class that is B-A-D)…..this boy gets “on red” daily…..Caleb does not understand WHY this boy cannot follow the rules. FYI for those of you that do not know what “on red” means….there are 5 steps to red…..green (everyone starts on green for the day), then as you do not follow rules the colors progress in this order…..blue, yellow, orange…RED. This particular bad boy likes to bite people and poke them in the eye. I can sympathize with bad boy’s mom…..Cory routinely stayed on RED in Kindergarten, although he was not a biter, he just did not follow class rules.
Chloe loves her pre-K class but misses her brother in chapel on Tuesdays. She does love the amount of independence that she has as the only Cox kid at pre-K now. She also enjoys her new status as mom’s ONLY sidekick on MWF. We make quite the team. Donald is a bit afraid of our teamwork though, because we both LOVE to shop! LOL.
Cory is excelling! Loves tennis and plays 4x a week. Is doing well in his classes. Seems to have finally learned that IF I hear about something that needs to be redone…..it is better to go ahead and re do it……than be asked about WHY he hasn’t redone it yet. This is a major milestone. He is also learning to drive. He actually asks to drive now…whereas a month ago we were debating selling his jeep because he refused to drive…
Our business is flourishing! We are in the midst of hiring new front office help and bookkeepers. This is an awesome problem to have. However, the eighteen hour days are draining on Donald and me.
I am back to teaching Sunday School and managing the crazy Cox calendar. Organizing our neighborhood to pressure the city to take action to add traffic calming solutions for our street ASAP.
With all of these blessings it is difficult for anyone to understand why I would be crashing…..but that is what happened last night. Sometimes I get overwhelmed…..I get wound up tight and basically explode into a screaming tantrum throwing sobbing total mess. That happened last night…….
The proverbial straw was that Cory did not do a decent job emptying the bathroom trash. Which sounds like I totally lost it for NO reason…..well, there was trash still in the trash can….after he emptied it….there was trash on the floor that he dropped and did not pick up…..just left there……and after 12 straight hours of instructing, asking nicely the first 4x each time I had a request for any of the children…….thas was IT. I yelled at him…. then I texted Donald and “yelled” at him…..then he came home and I told him I was beyond frustrated…..as I sobbed for over an hour……I told him about the muffin that was in our bathroom……one of the kids left it there 4 days ago…..I left it there to see “who” would take the initiative to throw it away…….no one did…..I threw it away last night. I told him that it seems like no one hears me. That I try my very best to be patient and kind and request instead of direct……..but the 4th time I have to request…….is the tipping point. Yesterday was full of tipping points…..
I told Cory when I was pregnant with Chloe that there would come a day when I would be outnumbered and tired and that the kids would win…..thinking naively of course that sweet Cory would be on my side…years down the road and that he would not succumb to the throws of adolescence…..Cory was not on my side….he was FIRMLY on the oppositions side……and
THEY BROKE ME.
They did not understand that they broke me but they BROKE me. The SUPERMOM CRASH happened.
I am still frustrated that I had a meltdown….I am still ashamed that I lost my composure in front of my children….but stuff happens……IT happened last night…it was ugly and it is finished…..so today as I took the kids to school I hugged them tighter than usual and kissed them more than normal and told them I loved them many more times than necessary……but THEY KNOW THAT ANYWAY.
I came home and went back to bed, determined that I would wake up with a better outlook and I HAVE.
Being a SAHM is not easy…….I have said it before a 1000 times. There are so many more demands for your time…..because you are a SAHM you must have NOTHING TO DO…..that is SO WRONG…..I manage 3 children schedules that include….tennis x3, gymnastics x2, extra curricular activities x3, homeroom mommy x2, chauffeur for drama class x1, play tennis, lead a Bible study, attend another, moderate a committee at church, serve on session at church, serve on another committee at church, teach Sunday school, oh and try to maintain my personal friendships and attend to my husband (that is working way too much) and home (that never seems to be clean)….. , I “hands on” raise my children, I organize sitters, I grocery shop, I clothes shop, I barter, I accept hand me downs, I search for the absolute best possible deal on anything I purchase….be it a week at a condo, a new toy, a pair of shoes……there are NO spontaneous purchases….
When I “worked” —-you know that paying job I had several years ago…..my days were filled with work and then I was a part time mommy at night….bottom line. I did not do it all… Cory and Brad did not have every opportunity that the younger kids do, but they survived and are flourishing.
I do not pretend to think either way is better…..I have been on both sides of the mommy wars…. but I promise you that I work harder now than I ever did when I had a paying job…….I reap many many more rewards as well. My family is such a blessing to me……sometimes you have to crash to see that for all it is worth.
My prose are not the best but they are my best….My Uncle Raymond passed away suddenly a week ago today….My parents found him. He was 82 years old. He would have been 83 in October. He was a Navy veteran of the Korean War. He was a father, grandfather and great grandfather. He was married 3x….His second wife lost a battle with cancer….His 3rd wife was in the process of divorcing him. Recently he had moved to an apartment in Huntsville….He was loved by all of the residents….He was cherished by us…My mother’s only surviving sibling. He came to their home in March 2013 with only the clothes on his back and driving his old blue truck. Of course my parents took him in. He told my mom that he was just happy to have someone to talk to…..that no one in his home had talked to him in over a month….elder abuse is REAL and takes many forms. Neglect is a form of abuse. I pray that no person you know will have to suffer such treatment.
His children refused to help him…or plan services for him…we planned his memorial and over 50 people (many in their late 70’s) came to pay their respects, along with his nieces and nephews and our family.
So as basic as it is…here is my tribute to my Uncle Raymond…
I Didn’t Say I Love You
I didn’t say “I love you” and now he is gone…
I wonder if he waited…I wonder if it was long…
I didn’t say “I love you.” Did he curse or cry?
Did he pray to God? Did he ask “Why??”
I didn’t say “I love you” I didn’t even think.
It didn’t seem to matter, he never seemed “on the brink”
The strong and proud man that he was
may only have wanted to hear someone say “I love you” just because…
So as we age through the years…Remember that our fading memories
are soon replaced with fears…
Fears of isolation and “old”
Fears that no one will pull us back into the fold.
I didn’t say “I love you.” I needed one more chance
to see that twinkle in his eye
and watch that little jig of a dance.
He was my favorite you see..
one of the few that understood me.
Rest In Peace Uncle Raymond. YOU were loved by so many.
Until May I had never really given thought to my personal bucket list….and then my sister-in-law was diagnosed with a rare aggressive cancer. She just turned 46 last week. So her surgery ensued…then rounds of radiation and now she is in the middle of chemotherapy. So the bucket list that I never really thought about has taken on a more central focus in my life and the lives of my immediate family.
Bucket List #1
Instead of going on the big Disney vacation that we had been planning for 9 months…we bought Cory a vehicle and talked with the kids and decided that we really just want to go to the beach a few times a year instead of Disney. We spend time relating to one another….just talking to each other and eating together….cooking together, sitting together….just BEING TOGETHER. Walking on the beach….swimming…listening. After all when Donald and I are gone (although we plan to live to 100) our kids will hopefully recall these trips with fondness and continue them with their families.
BUCKET LIST #2
I play tennis….it cycles as to how much tennis I play during any given time period….It can be 5x a week or it can be 1x a week….but I PLAY…and I love it. So when my 2.5 team got a chance to go to sectionals I knew this was absolutely going to be included on my personal bucket list…..Donald was so supportive! He and the kids joined us to cheer us on. He entertained the kids at the hotel while I napped after particularly difficult matches. So SECTIONALS = CHECK! I do so hope that I get to repeat this Bucket List item in the future but IF it doesn’t happen then I can say the experience has been awesome! Oh, and Cory can attend Auburn IF he gets a scholarship! The town is fabulous!
BUCKET LIST #3
A trip to Italy, Turkey and Greece. Those may be separate trips or all at once….I am not sure yet. Donald and I will travel to these locations and experience all that those countries have to offer. The To Do list for this trip has been started and I am collecting notes from those that have already visited so that we make the most of our trip!
BUCKET LIST #4
Meet and have a relationship with ALL of our future grandchildren…..This one is the only one that I may be slightly worried about…..Caleb and Chloe hopefully will not dilly dally once they marry. (again though, WE plan to live to 100, so they should have adequate time)
My bucket list is short. My bucket list is doable. Most importantly it involves the loves of my life…..my family.
Enjoy the pix of these VIP’s!
I have to be totally honest. At one time I did not believe in marriage. I did not believe that anyone could literally be there for me and me there for them for the long haul. Even the day I got married as much as I did love Donald, and as much as I was committed to the idea of marriage I was still unsure of the actual idea that it could last forever. I was married before and even though I loved my first husband it was never “in the cards” for us. So after 3 years….Donald and I took the plunge. Partly because we wanted to have a child together and partly because well frankly we had postponed our marriage several times…it was now or never and WE both felt that way.
Our marriage has been full of ups and downs, many learning curves, many hours of marriage counselling, days of non stop bickering but we ALWAYS LOVED EACH OTHER. So after 18 years of “marriage” I feel that I can say we have learned a thing or two. I have learned many more things….about myself, and about Donald, and the man he is.
I do not know what I did to gain God’s favor. But I have felt his grace and peace surround me at the most surreal moments of my life. To be blessed with a man that took my child and me into his bachelor life without hesitation. He stepped in immediately as a father figure and has never wavered and for this I am eternally thankful, and I know Brad feels the same. Donald has never shown a difference between Brad and his own biological children. We are a family and we are strong in our commitment to being a family. We will go to any morally and ethical length to protect them. They are our legacy.
As Brad has grown and married the love of his life we have come to love her as our own too. Anna is one of us. She is our child and our children’s sister. As we watch their marriage mature we are in awe of the commitment that they share. There is no better feeling in the world than to see your child truly happy, truly loved by and loving someone unconditionally. Their story is just beginning –they have their entire lives ahead of them.
Back to Donald. As much as I feel I know him after 22 years….he continues to surprise me. He is a complex guarded man. You would not know this unless you REALLY KNOW HIM…..he appears to go with the flow, yet things do hurt him…he won’t breath a word of it….VERY few times has he opened up and totally let me see that side of him. He loves him children and me beyond measure. His children are his world. I am his world. He tells us all of the time. He sits down and talks to the kids, he plays with the kids, he wrestles (even at my insistence that he not) with the kids. He is present in their lives. That in itself is the best gift he could give them. But he continues to give. He believes that we should raise our children in church. I agree wholeheartedly! One of our proudest days in our lives was seeing Cory confirmed in our Church, another was Brad’s White Coat Ceremony. He dotes on me. We take advantage of opportunities like birthdays etc to get away for one on one time-to reconnect–to renew!
We go to the same place with our children for vacation 2x a year. Some people do not understand it….they think it has to be boring after a while……we have been going for 6 years to the exact same place….it is NOT boring. We are making memories. We are enjoying our children, watching them, playing with them, walking the same familiar beach with them……taking the same family photos year after year. These are cherished times for us all. It is what we do. The continuity of year after year, time after time, is comforting to Donald. He wants his children to know that comfort. He wants them to know that security. We work to make that happen, although, we do not consider that work at all.
As I look back on our official 18 years and even further back to when we first met 22 years ago. I see a man that has evolved but never changed at the core. He is still as giving, tolerant, loving and full of life at 48 as he was at 26. He is still guarded but lets me see the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. He is steady and strong. He is kind and ethical.
We have been blessed with 3 children of our own. Our business is growing every day. Our lives are full of activity and lots of free taxi service all over NWA. Our house is messy and the laundry is never ending. My Mom and Daddy continually say “slow down”…….does anyone know how to slow down with a teenager in the house and two under 6 years old? Comments are appreciated! LOL! We live in a constant state of GO! I know that will all change sooner than I hope. Caleb starts Kindergarten in the fall, Chloe the following year…..Cory will be a freshman in high school. It seems like a blur…….just yesterday that we brought Cory home to Overcrest….just yesterday that we brought the babies home….and now they are growing so quickly. They are forming personalities and becoming their own people. Cory is learning to drive…….we are planning ACT testing……Brad is an M3. Anna started nursing school………In another 18 years there will just be Donald and me. What on earth will we do with all of our free time??!!!
The “plan” says we will be dividing time between here and Alabama. The “plan” says that will be Donald’s first or second year of retirement. Along the way we see grandchildren in our future! Marriages, graduations and the dreams of our children coming true as they pursue their happiness. Chloe’s dress fund has been started~ i am only 1/2 serious about that. So bring the “BUSY GO GO!!” This is that time in our lives…..we embrace it and pray that we are here to live out the “plan” with God’s assurance and blessing.