At the end of my life…

It’s Finish the Sentence Friday, which I’ve unfortunately neglected the last few weeks.  I apologize to my fellow FTSF-ers, but I have been reading you.  This is my favorite link up, but I’ve had trouble getting my act together.  There’s just too much to do at this time of year.  But I’m not complaining – as hectic as it gets, it’s all good stuff.  I just had to make the good stuff a priority, because when I’m old, I hope to look back at my life and know that I was a good mom.

Not a great mom – because if anything, I’m realistic – but I’d like to be more than good.  That meant yesterday, when I still had much to check off my list, I showed up at my 4th grader’s class Christmas party.  I know, such a sacrifice, but let me explain.  Fourth grade parties are not the same as preschool parties, or kindergarten.  It was a little boring, and our fourth grader seemed less than enthused to see us there (dad made an appearance as well).  We smiled and played along and fulfilled our parenting obligation with little fanfare.  It hurt a little, because the days when she would run into our arms at these events were not so long ago.  When she got home from school, she did thank us for attending.

Sometimes being a good mom means being a shrew – and I’m good at that, too.  I actually get a thrill out of it sometimes.  Last night, I got an email from an eighth grade teacher stating that if students complete the online study guide, they’d earn extra credit to be applied to their lowest grades of the semester.  I yelped with glee!!!  “Hunter, you just received an early Christmas gift!”  I ordered him to log in and get to work.  Well, Hunter wasn’t thrilled with his gift, preferring to watch some gawd-awful wrestling match instead.  As you can imagine, that didn’t go over well with me.  I let the shrew out.  Oh, I let her rip and he glared at me.  Thirty minutes later, the contrite eighth grader thanked me for making him do it.  He got an 88%.  Boo-ya!  Being a good mom sometimes means having to kick a little a**.

I also hope that at the end of my life I can say I’ve made a difference.  And not just in the lives of my children.  I hope I’ve done something that has positively affected someone’s life.  In my heart, I hope that I’m able to help someone with autism.  What can do?  I don’t know, but I do have dreams.  I would love to come up with a program that would put all our special kids to work.  I want so badly for my son to be able to go somewhere every day and work and earn a living.  I want his life to matter to more than those of us who adore him.  I want him to feel valued and accomplished – I want that for everyone who is as special as he is.

Dreams, I have so many. For me, for my husband and for my babies.  Sometimes I feel really tired and I use my age as an escape for why I can’t do something.  “It’s too late,” a voice whispers to me when I don’t feel like plugging on.  I hate that voice.  I’ll read blogs about acceptance and being present and I wonder if too often I live my life with my head in the clouds.  Perhaps I should let go of some of my aspirations.  But then I think, I don’t want to get to the end of my life and realize I gave up on my dreams, or worse, that I didn’t even try.  What kind of example would that set for my children?  It certainly wouldn’t make me a good mother and it certainly wouldn’t help me make a difference.  And this past weekend, I was lucky enough to witness a sixty-eight year old woman achieve her dream.  My brilliant and tenacious mother in law earned her Doctorate of Education degree.  Dr. Smith is a shining example that it is never too late.

I hope that I can look back at my life one day and be able to say I witnessed all my children achieve their dreams.  I hope that I’ll be there when my grandchildren are born, and when my husband celebrates his ninetieth birthday.  I hope I can look back and know we’ve found the cause of and cure for autism.  And cancer.  I hope I can say I’ve been a good and loyal friend.  I hope I’ve traveled where I wanted to go, and maintained my health and my optimism.  I hope I’ve finally learned how to make soup and gathered the courage to sing karaoke in a bar.  I hope I can say I met Kid Rock and that I published a book.  I hope I’ve found peace with the ghosts of my past.  I hope I’ve done more good than bad.  I hope I’ve had fun and maintained my sense of humor.  I hope I’ve said “no,” when I really wanted to say “no.”  The same goes for saying “yes.”  I hope I’ve been honest and true to myself.  I hope I’ve been the kind of wife my husband deserves.  I hope I’m thought of as a person with integrity.  I hope I always look for the good in people.  I hope to God I’ve learned to be more patient.  And miracles do happen, perhaps I will even look back and revel in the fact that I’ve conquered the beast of disorganization.

Most of all, I hope I will look back on my life and know that I really lived – and lived well.

This is a revision of my December Days post, which just contained pictures, but I think the pictures do a great job of showing how I’ve been living the last few weeks.  Apologies to those of you who have already seen (some of) them, I’ve deleted and added since the original post.  This week’s sentence is “When I’m really old, I hope to look back on my life and know that I…”

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Please visit our FTSF hosts and read their posts!

Kristi of Finding Ninee

Vidya of Abracabadra

Kerri of Undiagnosed but okay

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A family hay ride at the Christmas tree farm.

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The twins turned 14!

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The kids trimmed the tree (and mom “adjusted” the next day).

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We celebrated the twins birthday with dinner at The Avalon and a visit to see Santa.

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I wrote/mailed some Christmas cards.

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I hosted my annual Girl’s Night In with Audrey, which was a lot of fun. 

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Grandmom graduated with her Doctoral Degree!  That’s right, we have a Dr. Smith in the family now:)!

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I’m sharing this one, just because he’s gorgeous. And because Bear managed to sit through a two hour commencement ceremony!

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A celebratory family dinner, in honor of Dr. Smith.

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A Christmas band concert.

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 Aud, flying through the air at dance.  This was “watch week,’ where the parents were allowed to sneak a peak of what happens behind closed doors.

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Playing Life with this little man is quite an experience.  He makes up the rules as he goes, and I’ve never won.

And finally, please share with me what you hope to know, when you look back on your life once you’re of a certain age?

15 thoughts on “At the end of my life…”

  1. Friend. Sweets. The words. The words matter and make it better. It’s not a variation. It’s a you-ness that isn’t seen without the words. I love your words. These?
    I hope I’ve said “no,” when I really wanted to say “no.” The same goes for saying “yes.”
    yowza. YES. those words. OMG if I can do that out of all of the things you listed? I think that if I can say no and yes when I mean them, that I can die with purpose. crap that’s hard.
    Howz come too that our posts are so similar? It does appear that we’ve shared somewhat of a brain on this one and for that? THAT. That means that we’ve made something happen in this world. That two mamas who have ASD (ish for me but enough) kids who meet each other online and then in person and then foster a friendship through words and THEN… have similar answers to a FTSF post? Yup/ that’s what I want, baby. Totes. Er, well the other stuff too of course.

    1. I love reading your comments. They make me happy. And I do marvel on how we met and connected – an how similar our posts often are. But we swear – we don’t call each other before hand:)!

  2. Loved reading this and I am so with you and so much of this, starting with “good” not “great.” There is so much wisdom in knowing the difference and not striving for some “perfect” concept.

    Yeah, I hear myself and shrew applies, too. Hey, someone has to take on the role. 😉

  3. I honestly feel as if I’ve spent the past few days/weeks with you and your family. Love the photos! You have been one busy momma. And your mother-in-law? Wow. That is so inspirational. Good for her. What an achievement.
    Your statement that you want to look back on your life and know that you really lived and lived it well is perfect. I hope the same for me too. Thank you for expressing it so perfectly.

  4. Wow! Congrats to your mom!
    I feel the same way about my age (34) which will seem SO young to me one day. And probably not that long from now.
    It’s never too late to achieve many dreams. Maybe not all, but many.
    I love that kicking a** is so important to your mothering.

  5. Sometimes being a shrew IS being a good mom – I can relate to that, Allie. I have many of the same hopes as you do. To live well – whatever “well” may mean for me at that point in my life.

    You can never have too many family photos here; I love seeing a glimpse of your family. And that look on your youngest’s face is priceless!

  6. I think that it is important to hold on to your dreams. They don’t always have to be the same dreams each day, but it is so important to have something for which you want to strive. It could be making a difference in Bear’s life (which, frankly, you’ve already done). It could be helping your other great kids grow into happy, successful, adults who have a strong sense of family. It might be maintaining a nurturing, supportive marriage. It might be something that you’ve always wanted to do personally. But to let go of our goals is to somehow lose something that is so essential to our humanity that we ache in its absence, even though we cannot name the loss.

    Happy Holidays to your family and you!

  7. First, I am sorry for completely failing at my cohosting duties this week (or technically that week).

    But I love this post. I adore how you say you will not be great because you are a realist (also let’s face it who wants to be a Stepford mom/wife?) That you are willing and able to let the shrew out at the same time you are willing to suffer through a fourth-grade holiday party…those are more torture than being a shrew I think!

    Happy, happy New Year!!!

  8. I hate those words, too. We are never too old and I will keep reminding us of that.
    I hope your holidays were great and you have found some much needed rest now that they are done. xo

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