Solomon Office Solutions (S.O.S.)

Solomon Office Solutions (S.O.S.)
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

She's Growing Up...

I remember when she looked so tiny up there on that big stage.  She was so proud of herself as she sang in the Christmas program at school.  As soon as she walked out, she strained to see where her dad & I were sitting, ensuring that her biggest fans were ready and waiting for her performance.  We were.  She saw us and immediately beamed with excitement as she waved profusely.  She was so focused on us that she nearly bumped into the person in front of her as they stopped in position to start the big show.  I remember thinking of how beautiful she looked and how very proud I was of my baby girl.  She was beautiful, she was mine, and she was growing up.

I remember her graduation from Kindergarten to her first "real" grade, grade one.  She had followed the line of graduates onto the stage and, once in her place, stopped to survey the audience, hoping to make eye contact with us.  We were both so excited when she saw me and waved.  I waved back, knowing that she would relax now that she knew where I was and that she held my utmost attention.  She also needed to be sure that the video camera was rolling and that I didn't miss a shot.  I had no intention of missing a single thing.  She looked so small to me, however, her pride and excitement seemed to make her 5 feet tall.  She wore a black construction paper graduation cap complete with tassel and held in her 5 year old hand the diploma that she was so very proud to have earned.  She was beautiful ,she was mine, and she was growing up.

Through the years, I attended every school function in which she was participating.  I took picture upon picture and beamed with pride as my daughter graced the platform.  Whether her role was large or small, I could always be sure that, once on stage, she would scan the audience until she found me and give me that smile that said "I love you, Mom, and I'm so glad that you're here to see me."

When elementary school graduation eventually came, I watched her go up to receive her awards and her diploma.  Each time, camera in hand, I would be sure not to miss a thing.  I knew that she'd be looking for me.  I knew that we would make eye contact and she'd know that I loved her and was so very proud of her.  She'd know that she was beautiful, she was mine, and she was growing up.

Tonight I attended her high school Spring Finale.  I saw her walk out with her vocal ensemble, her long, black gown fitting beautifully and her hair tied up off her shoulders.  The braces would be off any day now and she no longer looked like my little girl but like a young woman.  Although our seats were at the other side of the auditorium, I was still able to make eye contact with her and thrilled when I saw her give me a wonderful, warm smile.  As always, I was filled with pride and looked forward to hearing her performance.

After her choir sang their songs, I saw her look over at me again with her broad smile and the "I'm so happy that you're here" look on her face.  It was then that I realized that her stare was not exactly in my direction but was aimed 5 seats down to where a young man that she now called her boyfriend was sitting.  He was the one she glanced at.  He was the one she was so happy to see.  He was the one who she wanted to be proud of her.  Him.

This was the first time ever that I felt an apron string break.  A pang of hurt hit my heart and deep within me all I wanted to do was hold her in my arms and remind her that she was beautiful, she was mine, and that she could simply not grow up.

I turned to look at the focus of her attention and I saw the caring in his eyes and the pride in his stature and I realized that, for now, I would share her with him.  The reality that I couldn't keep her all to myself, sadly implanting itself in my heart.  I didn't realize that I wasn't as ready as I had thought I was to share her with anyone but her father.  This young man of hers was a nice boy, a good boy and I knew that I could make room for him in my heart, as she had made room for him in hers.  It would be more difficult than I had ever imagined, however, not to be the one she looked for first; not to be the one whose approval and pride she seeked first; not to be... her world.

Certainly, I know that no one will ever truly take the place of her mother in her life.  There's a connection, a bond between the two of us that, I believe, will not only be there forever but will also grow and mature as we do.  I do, however, have to resign myself to the fact that, no matter how painful, the apron strings will continue to give way as she gets older and more mature.  I can only pray that the Lord will give me the strength to let go with grace, the wisdom to let go at the right time, and the faith to know that God is working out the plan that He has for her life.

As time goes on and she continues to change and mature, I will continue to cheer her on, to beam with pride, and to remember that she is beautiful, she is mine, and she is growing up.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Houston...We Have a Problem...or do we?

Do you ever feel like you're in auto-pilot? Like the first engine on your twin engine plane has died and the second one is sputtering like it has been fighting nicotine addiction for the last 25 years?!

Do you ever feel like you're so busy that one more dental appointment or soccer game will turn your brain to cranial soup? The kind where you know what ingredients went in but, at some point, everything got blended together?

Do you remember when, as a child, we'd respond to an unwanted comment from a classmate with "excuse me for living...stop the world & let me off"? Do you now wish that you actually COULD stop the world and get off for a month or so? Preferrably on an oxygen-based tropical planet with warm ocean breezes, palm trees, bottomless pina coladas & room service that would actually heed the "Do Not Disturb" sign?

Do you ever wish that you could sell everything and move to the middle of nowhere? Somewhere remote but warm where you could build a little home, live off the land, homeschool the children and live like the Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie(except without the Olsens or James & Cassandra...they always bugged me.)

Have you ever counted up all the DVDs and videos on your shelves, multiplied that number by an average of 90 minutes, and figured out how many hours were spent watching meaningless drivel as a means of escaping your own reality? (apart from Matthew McConaughey movies...obviously NOT drivel...)

This, my friends, is the perspective from which I write to you now. It would actually be very dismal if it weren't so laughable!

Like it or not, there are only 24 hours in each day. It just amazes me how quickly I can fill up those hours! At the end of the day, however, I often wonder what I've accomplished. If it weren't for copious amounts of tea and chocolate, how would I get through another day?

It's amazing just how much the human brain can process all at once. Sometimes, however, my brain is like our first car, a 1981 Oldsmobile Delta 88. Reliable for the most part but with a tendency to stall at the most inopportune times.

They say that, during pregnancy, a portion of a woman's brain cells literally turn off. This is to compensate for the cells that are working overtime creating a baby. Well, I've had 3 children and unfortunately, since our first was conceived 13 years ago until the last was born 7 years ago, I seem to have lost a significant portion of grey matter. Even more unfortunate is the fact that they seem to have entered some kind of black hole in the universe that was my mind. Add a hysterectomy and menopause to the mix and now not only am I terribly daft more than half of the time, I'm enduring 'tropical moments' or mild hysteria(or both) for the remainder of my waking hours.

Instead of once worrying about what shoes to wear with my new outfit, now I worry (having gotten dressed whilst making lunches, tying running shoes, signing permission slips, making ponytails and finding juice boxes) if my shoes even match each other! For goodness sake, one day I ran out the door and didn't realize until I started the van that I was still wearing my slippers!

My favourite tv entertainment used to be Friends and The Young & the Restless. Now it's The Biggest Loser & Jenny Craig commercials. Once I dreamt of being swept off my feet. Now I dream of someone sweeping the floor while I'm off my feet. I once had the pleasure of great music and theatre. Now I have the pleasure of Hannah Montana and The Suite Life of Zach & Cody.

What happened to me? When did I go from feeling like I looked hot to looking like I feel hot??? From looking put-together to looking like I forgot where I put it???

Is the answer marriage? Children? Work? Menopause? Age? What or who is to blame for this unsolicited metamorphosis??!

It appears to me now that the answer may be all of the above. When you're young, the world revolves around one person- YOU. One day you get married and you find yourself having to make room for someone elses wants and needs. Then you have children and their wants and needs seem to take priority over everything else in life as the world now revolves not around YOU anymore, but around THEM. Piece by piece you are forced to let go of a little piece of yourself. Add in an employer, a few volunteer organizations & some extended family and there you have it: the recipe for losing both yourself and your mind in short order.

If we count the many different hats that we wear on a daily basis, it's actually quite astounding that we can even get through a 24 hour period and still remember our own names! Think of them all! There's the wife hat, mother hat, daughter hat, daughter-in-law hat, sister hat, sister-in-law hat, cousin hat, friend hat, employee hat, not to mention taxi-driver hat, social convenor hat, secretary hat, disciplinarian hat, nurse hat, therapist hat, cheerleader hat...the list goes on. It's also interesting to note that, while wearing any one of these hats, we feel that we have to be the best darn hat wearer there ever was. Not being the best in each of these hats would mean personal failure and the wearing of a new hat- the guilt hat, the heaviest hat of them all.

All this considered, I've been forced to conclude the following:
  1. I may be losing my mind, however, I'm not going down without a fight(enter Ginko Biloba.)
  2. I may be losing my looks, however, I'm not going down without a fight(enter Mary Kay.)
  3. I may be losing my time, however, I'm not going down without a fight(enter Swanson Frozen Dinners and car pools.)

In all of this, it seems the only thing I'm not losing presently, is my excess weight(enter Bowflex and the Ab Cruncher.)

Finally, when all that I have lost is quantified and totalled, it doesn't even compare with all I've gained(I'm not talking about weight, either.)

I've gained a wonderful husband who, through all of my mess-ups and meltdowns, loves and supports me.

I've gained three wonderful daughters who bring me love, joy, and laughter every single day.

I've gained a family who loves me in spite of who I am at times.

I've gained friends who share with me, laugh with me and cry with me(sometimes all at once.)

I've gained knowledge of the world around me and those in it who are so less fortunate than I.

I've gained an appreciation for the little things: a warm breeze, the sun on my face, the laughter of a child, the sound of the rain on the window.

I've gained a deeper love for this planet, it's beauty and the One who created it.

Most of all, I've gained an understanding of the fact that God doesn't expect me to be perfect. He expects me to live each day to the best of my ability, leaning on His promises, resting in His care. He knows my innermost thoughts and feelings and looks at what's inside my heart and not what the outside looks like(even if my shoes don't match...) He looks beyond my faults, THANKFULLY, and sees my needs. He will never leave me nor forsake me and, when I think that I'm finally and most certainly losing my ever-loving mind...

I've learned that I can find peace both in prayer and in His Word.

Thank you, God, for allowing me to lose so little in order to gain so much.

Now I'm off to steal away a few moments on my own without wearing ANY hats(enter copious amounts of both tea & chocolate!)