Hello everyone, I'm back. I've been gone for a while and I can't really explain why. But I'll try. This year has been a pivotal year for me. I have never been one to get hung up on age. Ever. And I'm not looking for any sympathy here. At all. But fifty sort of hit me. To be real honest the hit was not all bad. In fact a ton of it was good. I will even stretch and say that the scales tip in my favor. And of course this needs a bit of explanation. So here goes.
We're all busy. That hardly even needs to be said. For my family we definitely keep a bit of a crazy calendar and there are only three of us. Ok, three pups, too, but they go with the flow. I mean I don't
have five kids going in all different directions. You know who you are my friend, and I truly admire you. Gracie had school, church and workouts. Scott volunteers at church, a homeless shelter and mentors. I work full time, volunteer at church and spend time with friends and family as much as possible. Sounds manageable, right? Hang on. Well you mix that with a shoulder injury for Gracie, a spinal surgery for my dad and a serious surgery for my sister and I became a bit bonkers.
What made me grieve was Gracie's track season was over. She had ended the last year with such excitement for this season. She had broken the former freshman discus record by 14 feet! She worked out constantly, she attended several throwing camps. She was ready not only for the athleticism, but the generous coaching and the camaraderie of her fellow teammates. Her surgery was painful and the recovery, both physically and mentally, was long.
Then there was dad. He had been having some leg issues. Cramping, shakiness, not having balance.
And it took what felt like forever to find the solution. His decline happened fairly rapidly and completely changed how he and mom live. Coffee and lunch dates were difficult. No more walks. They weren't attending church as much as they had previously. They were living in the place of the horrible unknown. Would he get better? Could someone just please figure out what is ailing him?Believe me, there were several tests and doctors working on this. The diagnosis of spinal stenosis was made and there was surgery. I won't go into all of the details of the surgery and recovery. That's not my story to tell. Suffice it to say that through some truly heart wrenching moments I was blessed to witness the unwavering love that my parents have for each other.
Amy was visiting dad in the rehab wing of the hospital and started to feel ill. Dad was the patient, but always a dad, suggested she go see a doctor. After a few blips, and let me just say this family is about done with blips, Amy had a diagnosis. Soon thereafter a full hysterectomy. All is well after a long recovery and some serious complications.
Through all of my family's health issues, I prayed. And I stayed---as often as I could. There were visits on the weekends. I tried to remain present for them as much as possible. But I live here, in Madison, and they live there, in Appleton. Not impossible, just difficult at times. I wished I could do more. I wished I lived closer.
And there was the trip to Glacier National Park that we had been planning for almost a year. It was a bit hard to get excited for our travels when worries were on my mind. I had many hours of drive time when I went to visit my family. That's a lot of time to think and make lists. On this particular drive I was somewhere between Rosendale and Neenah. I started to make a list of things I was grateful for. Not the things I was worried about. And I kid you not, an amazing wash of calm came over me. When I got to the hospital to visit dad, I was still feeling great. We visited. Mom and Amy were there, too. As I said goodbye to dad, he told me I should wait a minute. He stood for the first time I had seen, on his own, since his surgery. This was the first time in over a month that I had hugged my dad without having to bend over to hug him while he was sitting in a chair or lying in a bed. Hallelujah!
We had the best trip out to Montana. We love it there. I need to go back. Soon. And before I knew it my birthday was upon me. I opened my arms and embraced this new age. I've got this. Fifty is fine. Fifty is nifty. I feel strong. I feel silly. I feel smart. I've learned a lot. I have a lot of life to live. I've made some decisions. I'm going to try and love every minute of every day. I'm cool with imperfection. I'm going to continue to simplify. Navy blue is my new favorite color. I'm going to travel more. I'm going to be quiet. Sometimes. I'm sleeping more. I'm back to blogging and I'm going to make the word "nifty" popular again. These are my wishes and goals. Yep, fifty is nifty.