As I sit down to my computer to write today, I find it a bit overwhelming to realize that more than an entire season has passed since my last entry. Although many things in our daily lives has remained the same, there have also been so many changes - it's almost hard to believe they've all happened within just one family.
Our little G-Bear is already 6 mo. old. Similar to her Auntie, she has an effervescent personality and a contagious smile. G-Bear isn't the only change Musician and this Bride have gone through these past two annual seasons. Our beautiful daughter-in-love has made the decision to temporarily leave the workforce and stay home with G-Bear full-time. Thus far, they are seeing positive effects on Musician's business. Now that they are not juggling childcare, Musician has more flexible hours for his students and contract work. Musician's Bride has taken over much of the bookwork for his business uniting them as a team in, what is now, "their" business.
There was a short period of time while Musician's Bride was weighing her full-time working mother vs. full-time wife and mother options, when they considered a complete lifestyle change that would have included moving home. Naturally, PopPop and I were "over the moon" happy at the thought they might be with us, but we did maintain emotional caution. As wonderful as it would have been for us, we know that the" kiddo's" would have a serious period of transitioning to not only small town living, but a very rural lifestyle. They have expressed strong interest in coming to Eastern Montana, but have decided to wait a few years and work on improving their homesteading skills, and explore employment options for this area. In the meantime, they will move into a slightly larger home that will allow more space for their business and provide them with a large secluded lot for gardening and raising chickens.
The last two years of high school kept our Songbird on the road and so busy I didn't think I'd miss her as much as I have since she moved to college. She calls several times per week and her school is close enough that during the past six weeks, she has been home 3 times. But it isn't the same. I don't see her sleepy eyes, tussled hair and gorgeous face each morning. I don't kiss her cheek and hug her good-bye before she rushes out the door to ... where ever. I don't hear her gay voice call out "Mom ..." every afternoon. It is weird, but I even miss hearing her yell out , "Mom! Farmer Boy is ...... Make him QUIT!" What I miss most about her is the sweet scent of heaven that she's smelled like since the moment she was born. Do you other mothers remember that sweet fresh smell of heaven your newborn babies smelled like when you first held them in your arms? Songbird is the only one of our children that still smells like that & I dearly miss that sweet scent.
So far, college seems to fit her well. Between 16 credit hours, the college rodeo circuit and working a part-time job, she is incredibly busy. But anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows that Songbird is not happy unless she is consistently progressing toward a goal.
Songbird is so excited about the progress she and her Quatro have made in college rodeo. The practice with a team and the more competitive atmosphere have been beneficial to both. Last week she had a 6.5 second practice run on goats. In completion, that wins the money. While at completion in Iowa, Quatro had a couple "PERFECT" barrel runs and his speed continues to steadily increase. Within the next few years, Songbird has her eye fixed on making it to the National College Finals Rodeo ... she might make it someday.
Farmer Boy is the only duckling left at home. He continues to participate in 4-H. Due to some "growing pains", PopPop and I had to enforce a break from rodeo and most other privileges. It has taken a while, but he has earned back all of his privileges and has started participating in some local ropings and other rodeo activities.
I must confess that I was very surprised to find that he misses Songbird. For the past several years they seemed to have a contentious relationship. Before Songbird left, Farmer Boy stated several times how happy he'd be when she moved away to college. Now that she's gone, he sometimes seems lost. I suppose in some ways, he is. Being the caboose, he came into a large family with many personalities, and lots of energy. As all his siblings have grown up and moved away, he has witnessed his world shrink. All the things he loves or doesn't like about his parents (typical for teenagers) has become magnified, and because he doesn't have a "buffer", i.e. sibling, between him and us, he seems overwhelmed at times ... and I'm sure he is.
He and I continue to struggle through home schooling and as of right now, Farmer Boy is on track to graduate when he is 19. He hopes to move that date up to 18, but he has a lot of catching up to do for that goal to be met. If you think of him, please keep Farmer Boy and his academic progress in prayer.
After skipping a semester of college, due to a mess up between the college and veterans affairs, our Middle Child has happily started another semester. Because he had to skip a semester, he is taking 18 credit hours, and will for a couple more semesters. His school is in the Houston area and was severely flooded by Hurricane Harvey. This natural disaster delayed the start of classes and has forced the same course load for the 18 credits to be crammed into a reduced time frame, resulting in a huge homework load. Couple that with a part-time job and he is a busy guy. But he is a smart boy, a hard worker and like his younger sister, will succeed.
I am saddened to report that he and Miss N are no longer seeing each other. I say I saddened because our whole family had high hopes for this relationship. Middle Child and she have been close friends since grade school, both were home schooled, raised in the same church and have strong family values. However, it appears that the years he spent in the U.S. Navy and her years in college changed both of them in ways that would make them incompatible for marriage.
When not studying or working, Middle Child spends his time with his Aunt and her family. I am so very thankful to have family near him. My sister, Mrs. A, makes sure he is well fed, has a fun and peaceful place for him to spend time and showers him with as much love as I would. That's my sister, loves my kids like her own. How many folks are that blessed?
Although I don't have a recent photo of him to share, the second child, Teacher, has also decided to return to school to obtain an advanced degree. He is currently organizing his work life, finances and the such so he can return to school soon. He continues to be active in his church community and has been writing whenever he is not working.
Earlier this year he battled a long relapse with Mono, but seems to be on the mend. Since we all miss him, we are hoping he will be able to come for a visit soon. Most of all, as a mother, I hope we can coordinate it with a visit from all the "big" kids. There is nothing I enjoy more than having ALL my children at home with me at the same time. The house may get crazy with all of them here, but it is a TERRIFIC kind of crazy.
Me? Well, I've experienced as many changes as our youngin's. Some of you may not be aware that our family has struggled with some serious issues for a very long time. After repeatedly trying, and failing, to get cooperation from others to improve some of these issues, I found these circumstances were "pounding" me into a serious depression. Because they believed my depression to be situational, and I agree, I had 3 healthcare professionals deny my request to try anti-depressants. Finally after many months, a fourth also agreed with me and the others that my depression is situational, but also recognized that my depression was becoming debilitating. Six weeks ago, I began a low dose anti-depressant and I now recognize that my depression was even worse than I initially realized. My circumstances, situation, and struggle is still very present, but with the help of medication, I am now coping with it in a more rational way. I no longer feel as if I am driving an emotional roller coaster that has zoomed off its tracks and am trying to navigate it through a category 5 hurricane without a compass or a properly working steering mechanism. I know there are many folks who disagree with anti-depression medications. I am sure they have very valid reasons. Because of a very negative reaction more than 2 decades ago while being treated for PTSD, I too had very valid reasons for avoiding them. But there have been many advances in the treatment of depression and my specific medication has turned out to be a tremendous help. I am thankful to God that I found a healthcare professional who recognized that I need some temporary help. After trying everything that I can within my own power and influence, I've come to realize that God Himself will have to intervene in our family's specific situation. I do not understand why God has "waited" or allowed this to drag on for so many years, but He has His reason(s), plan and timing. I must trust Him and His wisdom. In the meantime, I will continue to lean on Him and thank Him for the advancements in medicine that have provided me some emotional relief from the burden I've been carrying for such a long time. Now that I'm able to think on things more rationally, I can also pray for our specific situation more rationally.