As I was growing up, I couldn't even fathom the idea of me being 46. But yet...here I am! I mean...the 26 yr old me was living life as an almost married woman who just bought her first home with her hubby to be. Fixing it up in all whites and cream colors.
The 26 yr old me had dogs, not kids...and I was good with that. I knew how to take care of dogs...puppies even!
The 26 yr old in me worked out daily...running, weight lifting, crunches and more...not having to worry about my weight...only to feel good and keep my figure looking good in my wedding dress. Heck, the 26 yr old me had a 2 seat sports car that was my baby!!!
As I got a little older...the 36 year old me had learned about being selfless.
Oh how I lost myself in my selflessness! Bedrest for most of the 5 babies I had...and learn how to deal with the harsh reality of a couple miscarriages.
How we went from an all cream colored house to adding dark furniture...to cover up the stains...haahaaa
I learned how to change 2 kids diapers at one time, how to survive on 3 hours of sleep, but still have energy to take all 5 kids to the city pool to have fun.
I learned how to totally love being a mom. Not only a mom...but a stay at home mom. OK...so I sort of lost myself in that respect too...but...I wouldn't change it for the world!
I learned how to make huge dinners to feed a family of 7, I learned how to make the most of a little house and a big family. I made friends through my kids friends parents...which...was a fun, exciting time.
I learned how to go out once a month with the girls...because everyone needs that time off from daily routine to be a human and not just a robot carrying on life.
These were the best years of my life. Everyone around us was young, healthy and thriving.
Then I hit 46.
It hit like a ton of brick, to be honest. We added 3 more kids to the mix since my 36 year old self was in the limelight...and parents are in their upper 70's with some health issues.
At 46, I learned that life is a gift. But a gift on loan...ok...so, its kinda like a library book. you get this new book...read it and then...its due back. But instead of just returning it, it just disappears. Gone. You don't get it back...there is not even a renewal of the loan in which, you didn't even finish reading the book.
My 46 year old self has learned that after the first 3 miscarriages, I had to look at them as a clinical thing rather than a child/dream lost...it still hurt, but it made it easier as I had 10+ miscarriages. But in that timeframe of 36-46...I also lost a child which in turn...took a piece of me with him.
I learned to hit the lowest of lows. The depths where not many moms have gone...but only if you're not looking. When you become part of this new life of having lost a child, bereaved moms seem to be everywhere...people just don't talk about it much because of fear of bringing someone down or something...I honestly don't know. Seems to be a tough subject for most.
I learned that pregnancy is a beautiful and joyous time and those that are, should never take it for granted. I honestly miss it now that I am getting up in age where it is pretty much impossible to have an ewpsy...because that means...IM GETTING OLD.
I learned that parents cant and wont always be able to be there for you...not because they don't want to...but they cant. So with that, I also learned that a phone call a day helps...even if its just for 10 minutes...and to always say I love you.
I've learned that there is something in the universe that ties numbers to life...
Nick passed away on May 4th...
for years, I've seen this...
and I guess, it has something to do with angels.
I learned to rehab a squirrel...I recommend everyone rehab a wild animal in your lifetime...its a very rewarding (and slightly, time consuming) experience.
I learned that friendships don't always last and its ok.
I learned to forgive, say sorry, and do things I don't want to do...but in the end, feel better for doing it.
I learned that moving sucks...not only from packing and unpacking...but because of all the memories you share in a place you've started your life...your family...
I've learned that if you really, really want something...you have to really, really fight for it. Sometimes it works out...and sometimes it doesn't...but you can at least say, you tried your hardest
(example...the fight it was to get the foreclosure we really wanted)
I've also learned that just because a person has a big house, does not mean they are wealthy...just lucky and persistent and probably 50% Italian (because we are loud and crazy like that)!
I've learned that laptop computers cant be in this house because they will be broken within 6 months and that and over abundance of coffee that I started drinking in my 30's has carried into my 40's.
I learned that teenagers are never happy and will blame you for almost everything. But I have also learned that having high school aged kids is really, really fun despite being hated and told that I shouldn't have had so many kids. haahaa yeah...whatever
I've also learned that my life would be forever changed...not just from the death of a child, but from having a child who is special needs/chronically ill.
I've learned of the word "retarded".
For me...at age of 46 doesn’t mean saying the wrong thing to a person.
It doesn't mean fighting with your siblings, going into each others rooms without permission.
It doesn't mean forgetting to send out Christmas Cards.
It doesn't mean typing a grammatical error on social media.
It doesn't mean not wanting to play with your playmate at school.
It’s not something to describe yourself as when you’ve spilled your coffee, or tripped on a crack in the sidewalk, or even cut yourself on a knife or broken glass while doing dishes.
It’s not something to describe your printer, boss, parent when mad at, a phone or even a burnt out lightbulb that needs replacing.
For me, at age 46, it’s not just any word, its my son.
My handsome, quirky, happy and lovable little miracle who is - slow or limited in intellectual development and academic progress...which is what the dictionary says "retarded" means.
Ive learned (and hopefully teaching my kids) that being retarded means something different. It means not being able to fully care for yourself...yes, that includes diaper changes and wiping of the butt for an almost 9 year old. It means not understanding why you have to go to the doctor and specialists so much...or even why the other kids don't have to go at all (except for well visits).
It means not being able to explain what hurts when something hurts...and even not being able to shed a tear because you don't know if it hurts THAT bad (when it does).
It means not being able to read, color in the lines, do 2nd grade work, ride a 2-wheeler, or ever be able to live on your own.
Kenny may have cognitive issues and delays. He may never live on his own...eh...well...he most likely will never live on his own.
But my son is a smart kid. He has more self-confidence than anyone I know who’s called themselves “retarded”. He is the best judge of a person’s character than anyone else I’ve ever known.
So...my 46 yr old self has learned that a curse can be a blessing in disguise. I am allowed to have my good days and bad days. To be able to vent to family, friends and on social media if I want. That what I am experiencing is my life, my feelings, and what I make of it is up to me.
I've learned that raising a micropreemie with underlying issues is scary. I thought we were done with scary issues when we left the NICU...nope.
I've learned to deal with seizures, feeding tubes, hearing aids, breathing treatments, autistic meltdown, and hospital stays.
I'm learning sign language...that counts as learning another language...right?
I've learned that getting approved for a Make A Wish is a sad and happy thing...all mixed together like that bin of mixed bulk candy. Some are good and some...not so much. Knowing that my son is approved for a life-threatening illness dream wish is a very hard thought to handle...I don't want to bury another child...but then again...I want him to have the best life moments ever and to be as normal as possible for the time he is with us...be it long or short...like...on loan from the big library in the sky.
I've learned that I can kinda understand my son who babbles away and tries to talk with all his might.
I've learned that going to a supermarket, restaurant, school concert or anywhere else that it is inappropriate for a child to be loud and...well...have a meltdown, is next to impossible and that tag-teaming with my hubby is the only way we can keep sane!
I've learned that the feelings of guilt, anger, fright and sadness are always going to be in my heart and head...but its up to me to think positive.
I've learned that having a bigger house doesn't always mean a better life...just more work to pay bills and clean (side note...it has helped with keeping Kenny healthy ;) )
I've learned that marriage...20 years...is not always glamorous...but it's well worth it if you don't give up, keep the communication open and keep the commitment that you made to God and to each other.
I've learned that couponing...borderline...extreme couponing...is quite easy, but hard to explain to those that don't do it.
Ive learned to make really good cupcakes
I've learned to grow zuchinni...don't laugh...I could never grow them in my 20's and 30's!!!
I've learned that I love gardening (flower and vegetable), decorating, all crafts and still love painting.
I've learned that I should never have given up on my drawing ability and the want to pursue it in a higher education.
I've learned that I really do like the taste of wine and to never have more than 2 mixed drinks.
I've learned to do things on my own or at least try to...and if it doesn't work...then call for help.
I've learned that cats actually do make good pets and are not the devil like everyone says.
At 46, I've learned that I can honestly say I like all kinds of music...except for country...now...I do like the old country favorites that my parents listen to and a few crossover singers songs...but that's about it.
And finally, I've learned that in my 46 years on this earth, to try not to worry about the future because the future is never promised...that life is really too short, so enjoy every minute of it including the stressful and bad stuff....and that life is pretty good...even with all the daily struggles....it is still all pretty amazing!