Sunday, June 15, 2014


Do you remember what dreams you had when you were a kid? 

I had a plethora of them, constantly changing and always quite big. I wanted to be an astronaut.  A marine biologist.  A singer.  A musician in a professional orchestra.  A music therapist.  A full-time missionary.  A scientist.  A teacher (when I was really little).  A wife and mother.

Sometimes those childhood dreams simply fade as you grow.  Others morph and change as your interests and personality shift year by year.  And others are flatly discarded when you realize that you had to be insane to think you'd ever want to spend your life that way. A few remain even into adulthood.

When I was an undergraduate student, my dreams went into a new direction.  I knew 100% that God was gently nudging, then pushing, and finally shoving me into the path he wanted me to go.  After about age 7, I never really considered being a teacher.  I didn't think I had the skills or the confidence; I was terrified to have to stand up to talk in front of 10 people whom I knew and trusted.  I certainly didn't want to teach whole classes of people.  But God was completely and totally clear.

And so my dreams morphed to align with God's will.  I set my goals on graduate school - a Master's degree, a Ph.D. - so that I could teach full time and be obedient to God.  And so I did.  I went to Ohio and spent two years to get my master's degree in history.  Then I moved to Tucson to work on my doctorate.  It was ridiculously hard work, but after four years I finally took and passed my oral and written doctoral exams and was officially a doctoral candidate.  All that was left was the dissertation.

But then my mom got sick.  I tried to keep going with my dissertation research, but those two months that I spent in Spain almost killed me.  My priorities were crystal clear.  I couldn't stay halfway across the globe while my mom was dying. And so I went home. 

That decision probably destroyed any chance I had at finishing my PhD.  I took care of mom, returned to school, and watched that particular dream bleed out.  I met my husband, got offered a job, got more grant rejection letters than I could count, and so I moved on. I taught for a year, got married, and moved in with my husband.  For the past three years, I've taught online courses for a distant university and, for the past year, have worked at my church's elementary school & preschool.

My dreams have sort of ... disappeared. 

Between the multiple jobs, the health issues, the worry about my husband's well-being and his misery with his job, and the grief of losing Mom, I don't really know that I have dreams anymore.

I have lots of dreams for my husband.  So many dreams, dreams that involve him being happy, joyful, spiritually strong, in the center of God's plan. 

But for me? When I try to dream, they fade out before ever becoming tangible. It's a lonely place to be, living day to day without a dream.  Right now, I'm just trying to get through one day at a time. But maybe the dreams will return. 

Maybe.  A girl can dream, can't she?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The hard month

May is hard.  This year, it's the firsts.

The first Mother's Day without my mom.
The first birthday without Mom to celebrate it. She would have been 63.

We also just said "until then" to my Great Aunt Louise, and her funeral is two days after Mom's birthday.

Mother's Day was a complete haze for me, as I contracted some virus at work and was sick all weekend long. I spent most of the day sleeping and trying to get excited about eating a small piece of toast. I couldn't bear to see all of the Mother's Day ads and posts.

I'm finding that it's harder to remember things. I don't remember the last real conversation Mom had with me before she died. Those last few weeks, I'd call and talk, but she really couldn't engage much. Mainly she'd listen and I'd hear her crying (Dad would put it on speakerphone).  I'm sure the last thing she said was "I love you," because I never said goodbye without saying it to her. But I'm finding it really difficult to deal with the fact that I wasn't there physically for so long. It was the right decision, but this week, I wish I could have held her hand one more time.

Things just aren't the same. She was my best friend, whom I called almost every day.  These days... I don't have that anymore.  I get more calls from my bosses than from anyone else. My brother barely says two words to me - or anyone else - and my dad is just trying to make it one day at a time back at work. I feel cut off from everything. There are other family members, sure, but no one whom I can talk to the way I could talk to Mom.

And this month, it's especially hard.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I cry easily. 

That wasn't always true.  Except when I was really hormonal. But these days, I tear up very easily.  Today, two things set me off.  The first was seeing a post about the Living Proof Ministries' Scripture Memory Team Celebration.  Last year, Mom and I were trying to memorize 24 scriptures, two per month, together.  For the first six months, we both were doing really well. But it got harder in the summer, once she went to hospice care.  After she died, I couldn't bring myself to practice my verses at all. We had planned on attending the celebration in Houston together.  It was this past weekend. Seeing the pictures made my heart wrench.

The second one makes me feel far more selfish.  But it came looking at pictures of yet another friend and their new baby.  My friends from college, especially, seem to be baby-making factories.  I have long lost track of them all.  But these days, it's so painful to look at the pictures of the families, especially of the grandparents, and knowing that it will never be true for me.  We have doubts as to whether we'll ever be able to physically have kids anyway.  But even if we do, or if we ever have the ability to adopt, any kids we have will never have their maternal grandmother in their lives.

Don't get me wrong - I am very happy for all of my friends that God is blessing their families so much. But it's very hard to combine grief for the loss of Mom with the grief that comes with infertility - well, whatever you want to call it when medical issues make the possibility of pregnancy pretty remote.

So, yeah, I cry easily these days.