Archive | August 2014

To My Beautiful Daughter

Today, my youngest left for college and I wasn’t there to see her off. As I’ve talked about in other posts, I recently moved from Chicago to Arizona. My daughter and I had planned to move together, and she would attend college out here. At the last minute, she decided she would attend her first year in Illinois and then move out here after the school year. As sad as I was about that decision, I completely supported her in it, and only want her to be happy with her choices.

With a new job and the financial strain of having just moved across country, I was unable to manage a trip back to Illinois to see her off to school. I have been devastated about this, and it has caused me to feel a tremendous amount of guilt. What kind of a mother can’t find a way to be there for her daughter at such an exciting and life-changing time in her life?

Although Megan had her father with her for her move, I still feel as though she needed her mom. Here I am in Arizona, with a job I love and a life I love… but I missed out on one of the most important events in my daughter’s life. I told my daughter that I would probably only be able to swing one trip back this fall… so it would have to be either move in day or parent weekend. She said she would prefer that I come for parent weekend. But ugh… the damn guilt is eating me alive.

So proud I am of her. What a beautiful, generous, intelligent, and savvy young woman she has become! She is growing up and making adult choices for herself, and I see her as being smart way beyond her years. When I shared my feelings of guilt at not being there, a good friend offered some terrific advice. These were the words she said to me, which offered tremendous comfort:

“Remember, Patti. Your daughter is capable and brave, and it is an honor for you to witness the new ways she is expanding her life that are fully in line with the natural order of things. You may not be there with her today, but you can find new and meaningful ways to show her love and support.”

WOW!

So to my beautiful daughter, I say:

Megan, I love you more than I can ever fully express through words, but of course, I will try! ­čÖé You are the light of my life. You inspire me with your passion for life, your love of others, and your compassion for the students you’ve worked with over the last four years. What an amazing special education teacher I know you will be. Lives will be forever changed for the better because of you… trust me on this. You have a sense of self-respect that is admirable. You make me (and everyone you meet) laugh uncontrollably… especially when your chin quivers and your eyes tear up while your gut aches from laughing.

You love and respect your big brother, and I know that the two of you will always have each other’s backs… long after your father and I are gone… I take a great deal of comfort in that. I have not always been the best mother, but you loved and supported me through both the good and the bad times. I have gradually witnessed you grow from the sweet little chubby cheeked child, into a tall, beautiful young woman who carries herself with amazing grace. I love that you have my eyes… they are identical to mine and I love that we share that trait.

And so it begins, my sweet girl. May your college experience be filled with wonderful adventures, many lifelong friends, and a world experience that you will treasure for the rest of your life. Enjoy every single moment! I will be with you, in your heart and always right here, every step of the way.

I love you forever, I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be. (Robert Munsch)

Love, Mommeg

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Mother’s Love For Her Son

michael1

 

My silly little boy was such a delight. He made me laugh constantly. Sadly, he had a condition that caused him to faint suddenly with no warning. It started when he was in kindergarten… probably around the same time as this photo was taken. It frightened us, but the doctors told us that he checked out fine, and was just one of those kids that faints from time to time. Young and inexperienced as we were as parents, we accepted this diagnosis.

The fainting went on for years. When he was in sixth grade, we had moved to a new area and had a new physician. He had another fainting spell, so we took him in. The doctor immediately suggested we see a pediatric cardiologist that day. After a number of various tests, Michael was given a stress test. On the treadmill, he went into v-tach (ventricular tachicardia). He was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome… a condition in which the heart goes into a dangerous rhythm. The result is either losing consciousness or full cardiac arrest. We had been lucky up to that point to say the very least.

Michael had to have an internal cardiac defibrillator (ICD) put in, and overnight, had to quit all sports, which he loved. It was devastating to him. The day of his surgery, we were terrified. He had been sent to Children’s Memorial in Chicago to ensure he had the best electrocardiologists. I stayed overnight in his room the night before surgery, and we watched Napoleon Dynamite. He was so oblivious to the magnitude of his condition, which was truly a blessing. His father and I, and most of our family members, waited for news during the procedure. Every time someone walked through those doors, we all nearly jumped out of our seats. Finally, a nurse came in and said, “The implant went well. Now the doctors will stop his heart to make sure the device shocks his heart back.”

At that moment, my own heart stopped. My thoughts were all over the place. “They were stopping my baby’s heart!” I broke down, and for the first time since our divorce, my ex took me in his arms and we held each other. The surgery went well, and our boy was just fine. I walked into the recovery room to the sound of his quiet voice crying, “Mommy”. He hadn’t called me mommy since he was a very little boy and I melted.

Today, my boy is 21 years old. He is the most kind-hearted, genuine, funny, and intelligent young men I have ever known… okay, so maybe I’m a bit biased, but it is all TRUE! ┬áHe had surgery last week to replace the ICD device with a newer model, and he is in excellent health. He may be an adult, but he will always be my little boy. I was just as nervous with this surgery as I was the first time around. Things never change, and most certainly, neither does a mother’s love. He is the light of my life, and I am forever grateful for the doctors who discovered his condition and saved his life. I count my blessings every day.

michael

~ Patti Crowley

Having Never Been Understood

I was that kid in school who followed the rules, never got in trouble, obeyed authority, but rebelled deep down inside. I was so fearful of not being understood, so I went along with what was expected of me and never challenged anyone. I have seen the following quote from John Lennon before, and I remember thinking, “Yes, I know EXACTLY what you mean Mr. Lennon!!”

happiness

Even a few of my closest friends question the way I live my life. Oh they don’t necessarily tell me how they feel, but trust me, I can feel it in the questions they ask, the comments they make. It has occurred to me that I will never be able to please everyone, so I stopped trying quite some time ago.

One of my closest childhood friends, someone who knows every sordid detail of my life, called me back after I left her a message a few weeks ago. We had not connected since I made this move across country to Arizona. We talked about all of the usual things… how are the kids, how is work, etc… Then she started asking me the tough questions. Do I regret making this move, even though my daughter decided to wait a year to come out after her first year of college? Do I feel bad that I wasn’t there for my daughter while she shops for all of her dorm furnishings? Do I feel that the timing was right? ┬áThe judgment was evident in her voice.

If I am completely honest, I have made a few major life changes over the years, always with the intention of bettering the life of my children and my own. I walk to the beat of a different drummer… My goal has always been happiness. I never followed the traditional path… the one that might be viewed as socially acceptable. This friend of mine has been married to her high school sweetheart for many years. She was the PTA mom. She works as a nurse. She has never really understood what it is like to be a single parent, juggling a career and being the sole household provider. She cannot understand what my life has been like, and that is okay.

So when I tell her I just want to be happy, it must sound like a cop out. But that is all I want to be, and I am. ┬áMy life doesn’t fit in the traditional mold of what looks like happiness to others. But to me, it is exactly that.

I make no excuses for my life. To explain how I feel sometimes falls on deaf ears. Happiness is all I ever wanted. The road to this point may not have been a perfect straight line, but it was a road that I have been thrilled to travel, and am excited at where it will still lead.

~ Patti Crowley