Letting Go Of My Katie

Why would anyone say they “let go” of their own daughter? The truth of the matter is it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I absolutely love my daughter, Katie, with all my heart. So why did I let her go? I let my daughter, Katie, go because I love her enough to know she is not in a good place in her life right now, and she hasn’t been for a very, very, long time. Katie needs professional help but she refuses to recognize that she needs help and even when help was offered to her, she refused it stating there’s nothing wrong with her. It’s almost like she’s afraid to admit she has let her life spin out of control because then she would actually have to do something about it.

Being the adopted mother of both Katie, and Shantel, I have had the unique opportunity to see first hand the differences in the way they both have processed and perceived the fact that they are adopted. I never kept the fact that Katie or Shantel are adopted a secret from them. I believe doing so sets your child up for devastation when they eventually find out, and I honestly believe there will come a day when they will find out. Then, they will have reason to believe they can’t trust you to tell them the truth, and they may begin to think being adopted is something shameful if it has to be kept a “family secret”.

I have also had the unique opportunity to see how Katie and Shantel have handled the differences in the circumstances surrounding their adoptions. While Katie always knew she was adopted, we never knew who her biological mother was other than her name. As Katie grew up I always told her if she ever wanted to try to find her biological mother, I would help her because I am confident in who I am and her knowing her biological mother wasn’t going to take away from her being my real daughter. I’m the one who raised her, loved her, and was always there for her as she grew up. Growing up, Katie never expressed any interest what so ever in finding her biological mother. Each time I would mention finding her biological mother, Katie would say “why would I want to find her, she never wanted me”. I tried over and over to explain to Katie that she wasn’t being fair with those comments because we didn’t really know why her biological mother gave her up. But, still Katie said she never wanted to look for her so I “let it go”.

Shantel, on the other hand, always knew Katie was her biological mother, and Shantel always wanted a relationship with Katie. Growing up, Shantel craved time with Katie, and would wait tirelessly for Katie to call or come by to visit. When Katie did see Shantel, Shantel would do everything in her power to try to get Katie’s undivided attention, but Katie didn’t seem to have that same desire to spend time with Shantel. I have my own belief as to why Katie not so much rejected Shantel, but she had more of a take it or leave it attitude about Shantel. I believe Katie was so filled with guilt about not settling down to raise Shantel, and being a real mother to her, that when she would witness me mothering Shantel, Katie saw that as her failure and she couldn’t accept that and deal with it. Over and over I asked Katie to go to family counseling with Shantel and I so we could all learn how to manage our unique mother/daughter relationship situation, but again, Katie saw that as a sign of failure and rejected the offers.

As Shantel was growing into the beautiful, young woman she is today, she had lots of questions about why Katie wasn’t more present in our lives. Finally, Shantel asked for a meeting with Katie and I. She wanted to talk to Katie about why she left her, and why she doesn’t seem to want to maintain a consistent relationship with Shantel or our family. Shantel asked me to call and ask Katie if she would meet with us to talk so perhaps Shantel could get some of her questions answered. When I called Katie to set up a time, she had a lot of reasons why she couldn’t come and wanted to know what the “meeting” was going to be about. I told her Shantel had questions about why she gave her up etc.  Katie told me “I didn’t want to give her up, you talked me into it”. I was absolutely shocked and told Katie she knew that was a lie and I wasn’t going to let her use me as her excuse for why she gave up her daughter. I reminded her of what really happened and how she asked my husband, Bill and I to take Shantel because she said she just couldn’t do it any more. I also reminded her that she signed away her parental rights without duress and as easily as she signed for her driver’s licence. Katie hung up and we didn’t hear from her for several months.

Then, one day Katie called and said she was willing to meet with Shantel and I. We set the time and date and Katie actually showed up. We sat at the dining room table and Shantel asked me to open the discussion with why Katie left her and why she doesn’t want to be part of our family. Katie started crying, said she wasn’t going to talk about the past, got up and said she needed to leave and walked out without saying good-bye, kiss my ass, or anything!

The next day I sent Katie a text message letting her know we love her and if she ever changed her mind, Shantel and I would be here and we would be willing to try again but we do need to talk about the past so we can all move forward into a positive future. I also told her she owed Shantel at least the chance to ask the hard questions that apparently Katie doesn’t want to hear or answer.  That was several months ago and we have never heard from Katie again. So, I started the process of “letting go” of my Katie. I love her, wish her well, pray for her daily, but I refuse to let her hurt Shantel or our family again, even if that means letting her go!

Next: Taking Time For ME!

Delivering Stephen’s Eulogy

With all the friction between my brother, Stephen, and I, and the very fact that we hadn’t been involved in each other’s lives for over two years, I was the last person in the whole world I thought would ever be asked to not only attend his funeral, but to deliver his eulogy! Life is truly strange and wonderful isn’t it?

In my last post, I mentioned I had made the decision to “just let go” of Stephen. However, Stephen isn’t the only person or thing I have “let go” of in my life. I really had to work hard to learn not only when to “let go” but also how to “let go”. I want to share with you what has worked for me in my life.

Growing up as the only girl, with a very domineering mother, in a very strict Catholic, yet very dysfunctional family, I learned to “stuff” my feelings which resulted in me ending up 100 lbs overweight by the time I was 21 years old. I tried every diet known to man ,or woman, and would lose some weight then gain it right back and then some. Finally, I decided I needed to make losing weight my number one top priority. I joined weight watcher’s and learned how to prepare and eat healthy meals. I learned how to put myself first and came to understand that wasn’t being selfish. I learned I couldn’t take care of others until I learned how to take care of myself. Once I really started to believe all I the positive things I was learning, the weight started to just melt away. I lost 117 lbs in eleven months and kept it off for over 30 years. Good for me right? RIGHT!!! I am PROUD of that, and I tell myself that everyday, several times a day,  out loud in front of a mirror! At first it felt strange, but that is literally what it took for me to learn how to mother, and nurture myself, so I didn’t have to “stuff” my feelings anymore. I learned that I can tell myself all the things I need to hear, or the things I wish my mother, father, brothers, daughter, friends etc… would tell me.  I tell myself everyday in front of the mirror how beautiful I am, what a great person I am, and how very much I am loved. This daily ritual allows me to face the world with confidence, peace, joy, laughter, and above all, love, because I don’t need to depend on anyone to make me feel any of those things. Some may think that is being prideful, or boastful, but I believe it is loving myself so I am freed to move about in the world and love others.

That said, how does one go about “letting go” of negative relationships? For me, it is as simple as making the decision to do so. We all make decisions everyday, all day long. We decide what to wear, what we will eat, where we will go, who we will see, etc. When I find myself in a negative relationship, I make the decision that I will do all I can to mend the relationship first, because I am not advocating just giving up on people, or relationships, but when everything in my power has been done to mend fences and the relationship is still negative, I make the decision to “let it go”. Then, every time I think of the person or situation I need to “let go” of, I simply replace any negative thoughts I have about the person or situation with positive thoughts perhaps about when things were better between the person and I or the particular situation was happier. I remind myself that I can still love the person, or experience/situation, but I simply can no longer have them in my life. I wish the person well in my heart, and continue to pray for them daily, so I know my heart is free of any anger, resentment, or bitterness, and soon, I find myself remembering only the good things about the person or situation and the negativity just simply fades away. It’s just that simple for me and it always works for me.

So, when Stephen’s wife called me to ask if I would deliver Stephen’s eulogy at his funeral, I was shocked and surprised, but I knew I could do it because I have no bitterness, resentment or anger towards Stephen what so ever, because I forgave him and “let it all go”. I also believe with my whole heart, that death doesn’t have to change or end a relationship. It simply moves it to a different level if you continue to hold that relationship deep in your heart. The reason I was able to deliver Stephen’s eulogy was because I know our relationship isn’t over, it just moved to a much higher level. I know Stephen knew what was left unsaid, and if he didn’t know it then, he knows it now, so I could joyfully and honestly say with no regrets, Rest In Peace Stephen, Rest In Peace!

Next: Letting Go Of My Katie!

Fleeting Forgiveness

About two years after my brother, Stephen’s, daughter, Justice, passed away, I was home cleaning my house when the doorbell rang. I wasn’t expecting anyone but when I opened the door I was really shocked to see Stephen standing there. He just looked at me and said “I have hugs and kisses for free if you want them”. I was so surprised by him being there that it took me a minute or two to wrap my mind around the fact that he was really there. I opened the door and invited him in. We hugged, and he kissed me on the cheek and asked if he could come in and visit. I showed him to the family room and asked him if he wanted something to drink. He said he had a coke and sat on the sofa. I sat in my rocking chair and we had an awkward moment not knowing what to say next as I was still trying to understand what brought him to see me.

Finally, Stephen said he hoped we could put our differences aside and move forward. I said I was willing to do that if we could do so without any more fighting. He agreed then he asked me how I had been and asked about my husband, Bill, and our daughter, Shantel. I said we were all fine and asked how he has been. He looked at me and said “well, I’ve been busy burying Justice, and trying to put my life back together after that. Then, he asked me why I sent a card to him when Justice died instead of coming to see him? I looked at him and asked “why did you really come here today?” He flew into a rage, again, and said “I can leave.” I said “yes, you can because I didn’t ask you to come here in the first place”. We both  got up and started toward the door. At the door I said to him “you seem to always need someone to be angry at so I’ll just be that person for you, and now you can go and be happy with the other people in your life”. Stephen left and that was the extent of our fleeting moment of forgiveness. The entire “visit” lasted all of fifteen minutes. However, a few days later, my mom told me Stephen visited her and told her he tried to come and make-up with me but I wouldn’t have him and threw him out of my house. Again, it amazes me how two people can be in the same room talking, and come away with two very different versions of what was said or done. It simply amazes me…

For the next six months, my mother hounded me every time I visited her to go see Stephen or to at least call him and “make-up” with him. She kept telling me dad wouldn’t want me to be fighting with my brothers. I finally had to tell mom “dad isn’t here, and even if he was it wouldn’t change anything as far as my relationship with Stephen.”  I told her over and over I had nothing to “make-up” for because I had done nothing wrong. I tried over and over to explain to my mom that I do love her, just as I loved dad, but I’m just not like them in respect to how I manage my life. I told her I don’t share the same thoughts as they say they believe when it comes to what I will accept in my life “for the sake of the family”. I told mom that I refuse to be made to feel guilty for putting boundaries around myself and insisting those boundaries are respected. I told her I had forgiven Stephen, but forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be a door matt for other’s to walk on just because they are family. I said forgiveness, for me, is letting go of the anger, and not holding any resentment or bitterness in my heart towards the person. I told her forgiveness, for me, was for me. Then I told mom “with all due respect, I think we need to just not talk about Stephen anymore”.

As has been my experience with my mother, she couldn’t simply respect my request to let well enough alone with respects to me and Stephen. I am sure she hounded him about making-up with me too. Then, about a month after telling mom I didn’t want to talk about Stephen anymore, Stephen called me out of the blue one day using mom’s cell phone at the Care Center. My phone rang showing mom’s number on the caller Id. I answered it thinking it would be mom, but it was Stephen. He said “Cindy, it’s Stephen”.  I said “yes”. He said “I just called to tell you I love you.” I said “OK.” He said I just wanted you to know that and hung up. That was the last time I ever spoke to Stephen. He died unexpectedly a few months later.

Strangely enough, a few months prior to Stephen’s death, one of my dear friends of many, many, years, who knew my family, and all about my relationship with Stephen, told me one day I better be sure I could handle my feelings about not having Stephen in my life if something were to happen to him. I told her I was absolutely at peace with my decision because Stephen and I couldn’t be together without fighting, and I choose to not have that kind of negative energy in my life. I told her I loved Stephen with all my heart and always would, but sometimes love just isn’t enough to create a peaceful relationship. If we could all love our problems away don’t you think we all would? I belive sometimes you have to make a choice to just let go and that is what I did with Stephen. I just let go.

Next: Delivering Stephen’s Eulogy

Taking Sides

I don’t know why, after all the years of dysfunctionality within my family unit as I was growing up, but even as an adult, it still amazed me how many differences of opinions there would be within our family, and extended family, as we all married and went our separate ways. I personally believe that when there are problems within a family, especially when dealing with emotionally charged issues such as divorce, sickness, aging parents and even death etc. In-laws should offer their opinions if they are asked, but keep their opinions to themselves if they aren’t asked. I think making decisions on how aging parents should be cared for should be made within the immediate family unit between immediate siblings. All others should let the siblings work out any differences among themselves. Offer support to your spouse or significant other if they need it but don’t get involved in telling the other immediate family siblings how you think things should or shouldn’t be done. It has been my experience that doing so will only have disastrous results.

For example: Stephen and I were locked in a bitter argument about mom’s care.  As far as I was concerned the disagreement was between me and Stephen and should have stayed that way. However, Stephen’s wife jumped in the middle of it and made the situation much worse than it had to be. And, to make matters even worse, instead of discussing her opposition with me, face to face, she fired off an email to me that attacked not only my character, but my christian faith as well. What makes people think they have the right to do that? How could anything positive possibly come out of that? She sent so many emails of that nature that I finally blocked them from being able to send us emails at all. Even if Stephen and I were to have had a meeting of the minds and move past our differences it would have been very difficult to move past the things his wife said.

Several months went by and Stephen and I never spoke at all. If we ran into each other at the Care Center while visiting mom, one of us would leave to avoid getting into further arguments. Then, I made arrangements with my brother, Danny, to look in on mom for four days because I had a trip planed to New York City to visit a dear friend. Danny is also listed on the power of attorney for mom so I knew if anything happened he could take care of things while I was gone. New York City was just what I needed to help me forget about all the turmoil going on back home. However, when I returned, I found out tragedy had struck but it had nothing to do with mom. Stephen’s nine-year old daughter, Justice, had died.

Now, what was already a very explosive and difficult situation between Stephen and I was about to get even worse. I loved Justice, and felt horrible about her passing. However, I’m not, and never will be, one to be hypocritical about my believes. Some find my believes offensive and unchristian like saying I’m not able to forgive. I disagree. No one knows my heart but me and God. The fact of the matter was that Stephen and I weren’t in each other’s lives because of our differences, and we hurt each other too much when we were together. I forgave Stephen in my heart, but I had to make a decision to love him from a distance. And, when that happens, life still goes on. Babies are born, people get married and people die. That’s the type of family events you miss when you can’t get along.

When Justice died, my mother insisted I go see Stephen saying in times like that you need to put your differences aside and be together as family. I disagree. I sent a card that was returned to sender unopened, but I wasn’t about to show up on my brother’s doorstep, or anyone for that matter, if we haven’t been in each other’s life. I don’t believe in calling a “cease-fire” when a tragedy happens then go right back to fighting as soon as things settle down again. I watched my father’s family do that all my life. Brother’s and sisters wouldn’t speak for years, then, when someone dies, they all gather around crying and hugging etc. and then immediately go back to not speaking again as soon as the funeral is over. I choose not to live my life like that. I take family, and all relationships very seriously. I want people in my life because they love me and want to be part of my life. But if the relationship I have with you isn’t based on mutual love and respect, I believe ether party has the right to choose to end the relationship regardless if it that relationship is with your mother, father, sister, brother, child or friend. If you are in my life you are and if you aren’t you aren’t. If that’s wrong I guess I will find out on my judgement day.

Next: Fleeting Forgiveness!

A Bad Situation Gets Worse

For the first few weeks, as mom was settling into her new home at the Care Center, I spent everyday with her. Dad had always been the “social butterfly” of the family, and it was difficult for mom to make friends on her own. She wouldn’t even go to the dinning room for her meals. She insisted on eating in her room saying she didn’t want everyone looking at her eating because her hand shakes so much due to her Parkinson’s. Every morning, after I took Shantel to school, and stopped by our Adoration Chapel at our church, I would go and try to help mom ease into her new environment. I would push her around the facility in her wheelchair and take her to the activity room. I tried to get her interested in participating in arts and crafts offered at the center but she would say “that is just dumb stuff and I don’t want to do it.” Bingo was offered twice a day but the only way she would play was if I sat with her and played as well. I hate playing games, but I did it with the hopes that soon mom would feel comfortable enough to play with the other residents and not need me sitting with her. I would try to help her engage in conversations with the other residents thinking mom would warm up and make friends with someone but the more I tried the more mom seemed to get agitated with my efforts. She told me those people didn’t want me bothering them and I should just stop trying to make friends with them. Finally, after months and months of this same routine, I told mom if she didn’t want to try to make friends and start participating in some of the group activities, I wasn’t going to waste my time coming up everyday and she could just sit in her room and be a lonely old woman having a pity party for herself. I realize that may seem harsh, but sometimes it is necessary to put up and enforce boundaries with loved ones or they will suck the life right out of you and bring you down to their level of misery with them. I love my mother, but I know her well, and know if I let her that is exactly what she would have done with me. I have come to believe that some caregivers tend to give into their loved ones demands because they feel sorry for them and/or the condition they are in. Now, please don’t misunderstand me here, I would never mistreat my mother, or anyone in my care, but there is a big difference in being firm on your boundaries and mistreating anyone. Have you ever found yourself in a situation like that and if so what are your thoughts on this?

It took a while, but mom finally decided she would start participating in bingo. When I arrived for one of my visits, she was beaming with pride to tell me that she not only played bingo the day before, but she actually won three games! I told her how proud I was of her and we had a nice visit that morning. And, guess what? When it came time for bingo that day, mom actually asked me to take her to the activity room so she could get a good space at the bingo table. When we got there she turned to me and said “you can go now, I’ll be fine”. This may not seem like much, but for my mom, it was a huge change in the right direction. We were finally making progress!

As time passed, my brother, Stephen, continued to fester in his discontentment over mom living at the Care Center. On one of my visits with mom, I asked her if she would like to come home for a few hours for a visit and go out to lunch. She told me I needed to call Stephen and ask him about it. I asked her what Stephen had to do with her coming to my house for a visit or her going out to lunch with me? She told me Stephen had come to visit her and told her that dad wouldn’t want her to trust anyone but Stephen, and she needed to make sure Stephen knew everything that was going on with her. I didn’t say anything to mom, as I didn’t want to upset her, but when I left the Care Center that morning, before I even left the parking lot, I called Stephen to ask him if he told mom not to trust anyone but him etc… He exploded again, and started calling me every nasty thing he could come up with. He said I had no right to question him about anything and said “you know you might have power of attorney over mom, but you don’t have any power over me.” I told him he better never tell mom she couldn’t trust anyone but him and reminded him he wasn’t the one going to see about mom everyday, that would be me. Then I told him if he continued to cause problems I would have the Care Center stop him from coming to see mom at all. He continued with his filthy language and I told him my own husband doesn’t use the kind of language with me and I certainly wasn’t going to tolerate it from him. I told him I was ending the conversation and hung up the phone.

Next: Taking Sides

Our Family Divided

When I told my brothers, Danny, and Stephen, about the decision to have mom live in a 24/7 skilled nursing Care Center, their reactions couldn’t have been more different. I explained to both of them that I wasn’t just dropping mom off at the center and forgetting about her. I told them both that I would spend every other day with mom to make sure all her needs were being met and in the event she got sick, I would be with her every day. I told them that it wasn’t that I didn’t want mom living with me but now that she wouldn’t walk anymore I didn’t have the ability to provide for all her personal care needs without help. Danny completely understood and gave his full support. He knew I had done everything I could do to take care of mom in my home for as long as I possibly could. He told me how much he appreciated me opening my home to mom and her dog, Beau. He even thanked me for giving up my income to become mom’s full-time caregiver.

Stephen, on the other hand, completely exploded!  He told me dad would be so disappointed to know mom had been put in a “nursing home” and he said he would never have done that to mom or dad. I reminded Stephen that mom gave me power of attorney and made me promise her I would be the one to make the decisions regarding her personal and medical needs. Stephen said he would take mom to live with him. I had to let him know that wasn’t what mom wanted. I reminded him of how much personal care mom really needed and told him that kind of care isn’t something mom wants one of her son’s to provide for her. Stephen then went into a rage, telling me I didn’t try hard enough to keep mom at home. He said I just gave up because I was tired of taking care of her after just three years. He went on and on about what he thought he knew until I finally told him I wasn’t asking his permission, I was simply making him aware of the decision I had made. I told him I was sorry if he didn’t agree with the decision but he could either get behind it and support it or stay away and not make this more difficult for mom, or the rest of the family, than it already was. At that point he basically told me where I could go and left. That was the beginning of the end of my relationship with my brother Stephen, but more on that in another post.

The experience I have had helping my mother take care of dad until he passed away, then bringing mom to live in my home and trying to take care of her until the time came when I could no longer provide the quality of care she needed, has taught me so much about family, and how siblings can differ so much in the way they think things should be handled when caring for elderly parents. I wouldn’t have ever thought in a million years that caring for mom would divide our family in half, and drive such a bitter wedge between my brother, Stephen, and I, but unfortunately that is exactly what happened.

The best advice I can give based on my experience is if you have aging parents, or a loved one who is sick and in need of constant care, be very careful of judgements or comments you make, especially to the primary caregiver. Because, you can never really know, or understand, what it’s like to be the person providing 24/7 care for a loved on unless you yourself have spent time in their shoes. It’s so easy to tell someone how you think things should be done, it’s another story altogether to be the one responsible for getting things done.

Next: A Bad Situation Gets Worse!

Mom Needs Long Term Care

After mom’s last stroke, she gave up on trying to rebuild her life. She refused to do any of the physical therapy exercises the doctor ordered her to do. She wouldn’t even go out for a short walk up and down our street. I kept telling mom if she didn’t keep trying to walk and keep moving one day she wouldn’t be able to move at all. I told her if she got where she couldn’t get in and out of bed or the shower, I was not equipped to lift her and our home wasn’t wheelchair friendly. However, my words just fell on deaf ears.

When I took mom for her doctor’s appointments I had to take her wheelchair because she decided she couldn’t walk from the car into the doctor’s office. It wasn’t that I minded helping mom, if in fact I felt she really needed to be helped, but I knew mom could do more than she was willing to try to do. I was very disappointed, and even angry, that she was so willing to stop trying to help herself. Mom was becoming more and more dependent on me and was perfectly happy to have me do everything for her and it didn’t seem to matter to her how difficult taking care of her might be on me. It finally got to the point where I couldn’t leave mom alone because she thought she couldn’t get around our home without someone there to help her walk.

Because of mom’s lack of mobility, she began having a lot of digestive problems coupled with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). One of her episodes landed her back in the hospital for over a week. When the doctors got her stabilized enough to be released from the hospital, I spoke to them about how I wasn’t able to care for her at home any longer do to her lack of movement. They suggested she be moved into a 24/7 long-term Care Center. I talked to mom about the long-term care decision, and to my surprise, she agreed. The doctor’s gave me several centers to visit and helped make the arrangements for her to be admitted under her medical plan for long-term care.

I visited each Care Center and decided on the one I felt would best suit her needs. I packed mom’s things (again) and moved what she would need to the Care Center and had her room there all fixed up with her pictures hung (again) and her personal things set out (again) so it wouldn’t seem so hospital like when she arrived. Upon release from the hospital, mom moved into the Care Center where she lives today.  All residents at the Care Center are provided a wheelchair for them to use if they need it. When mom was given hers, she sat down in it and she has never walked again to this very day.

Next: Our Family Divided!

Little Katie Moves To Colorado

When I met Bill, he had three children. Marty, Pat and Katie. Marty is the oldest. His relationship with Bill over the years has been strained, much like my relationship with my daughter Katie. And, like I’ve had to love my daughter, Katie, from a distance because she makes choices in her life that are unacceptable to me,  Bill has had to “love” Marty from a distance as well.

Pat, Bill’s second son, is very much like Bill. He is very outgoing, loves sports, and is very much a family man. Ever since I’ve known Pat, he talked about how he was going to move to Colorado as soon as he graduated High School and that’s exactly what he did. He had a friend living there who helped him get a job and Pat has lived there ever since. Pat met and married his beautiful wife, Celina, and together they are raising three beautiful children. Twins, Aiden and Baily, and their youngest daughter, Hope. Pat and his wife, Celina, have carved out a very nice life for themselves and their family in Colorado and they are all very happy living there.

Pat and his younger sister, Katie, have always been very close. Katie was lost when Pat moved to Colorado. She vowed someday she would move there so she could be close to Pat and his family. Katie has two beautiful girls, Alex and Emma, and she wanted her girls to grow up close to their cousins, and of course, Uncle Pat and Aunt Celina. Katie would make the 12 hour drive from Phoenix to Grand Junction several times a year to visit with Pat and his family, and every time she came back home she was more and more determined to move there for good.

Katie has a great relationship with her father, Bill, her sister, Shantel, and of course she and I have a great relationship as well. I know she was torn in making her decision of whether or not she should really move her family to Colorado. To be honest, I never really thought she would move, and selfishly, I was hoping she wouldn’t. All I could think of was my dream of having a big family, where all the kids and grandkids are always around, was slowly “moving” farther and farther away. But, in my heart, I knew Katie would never be truly happy without Pat close to her.  So, when she came to tell us she gave her notice at work, and on her lease on her house, and was moving to Colorado…I put on my best motherly smile and said “I understand and if that makes you happy, it makes me happy too”.

A few days before the day of the big move, Katie brought the girls, Alex and Emma, over for dinner and to say our good-bye’s. I hate good-bye’s, but what can you do? We all promised we would stay in touch often by phone and we would all get together every other year for the holidays. For the most part we do keep in pretty close contact, but as always, life gets in the way and sometimes there are long periods where we don’t get to visit because of work schedules and/or health issues that come up. I can’t tell you how much I miss having everyone all in one place where we can just call up and say let’s get together for a B-B-Q or something. And, it’s really hard thinking that the grandkids are growing up so fast without us being there to be actively involved in their lives. But, even though it broke our hearts when Katie and the girls moved, we all know it was for the greater good for Katie and her girls, and they absolutely love Colorado!

Because we don’t get to see Pat and his family, or Katie and her family, as often as we would like, we are thrilled that they’ve all confirmed they are all coming to Phoenix to spend Christmas 2012 with us. Both families will stay in a hotel close to our new home, and we will all be able to celebrate Christmas in our new home together! What a wonderful house-warming that will be! I can’t hardly wait, and being the planner that I am…,I’ll be planning that from now till Christmas!!

Next: Mom Needs Long Term Care!

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