Not Much Independence Yet

It’s July 6th. I made it. We made it.

We didn’t just skin by, either. We nailed it. Like on Pinterest.

I get more upset as each milestone hits for me and Kade. It’s funny, you raise a child and each thing they accomplish is celebrated. First laugh, first step, first days of school, graduation, girlfriends, jobs, new cars, new apartments…..

Then for me….

I’m marking dreaded days off of the calendar and white knuckling through days that are meant to be celebrated, not met with apprehension.

I spend most of my prayer time on my mind. Soothing it, asking God to lift my eyes. I have a battlefield going on all the time right now.

This weekend I won. We won.

The Fourth of July was Kade and Kyler ‘s holiday. Each year they reverted back to 11 and 14 year olds, acting like crazy idiots. Their firework’s display grew larger and more dangerous and more hilarious each year. It is a favorite holiday for our family.

This year we did it completely different. I actually didn’t want to do that. I wanted to keep it just the same, holding onto that tradition. I wanted it how it was when Kade was here. However, Kyler just didn’t want to, knowing it would be too hard for him.

He and Katelyn planned the biggest brouhaha at their house. She made a kitchen full of bbq and all the fixins for Sunday and Monday. He took care of all of the fireworks and movies. And the kids, of course, they make everything better.

All I had to do was show up. Which ended up being so nice! I always go all out for the Fourth, get too worn out and too hot (that’s a bad thing for MS people, I did that one year and quit walking) and I end up in bed for a week. I love it! I don’t care to do it! I ENJOY doing it! But it’s too much now. I hate that. Kade forced the handing off of the baton. Even though I held on to it, digging my feet into the dirt. I finally let go, and let God.

We played. We ate. We laughed. We told stories. We stayed up too late and got up too early. For two entire days, I stayed at Kyler’s house with my kids and grandkids and we had the absolute best time.

Kyler rented an eighteen foot water slide. A company delivered it, set it up and got it all ready to go. Easy peasy. Karter went down that slide 8329 times. Kensley went down four. 😂😂 She flew down the slide, spread eagle with a look of horror on her face that any scream queen would envy, but no noise was coming out of her mouth. She’d been scared into hushing up. Kyler, of course, went to the extreme, sometimes launching completely off the slide, air born until he slammed into the pool of water at the end of the ride. I didn’t get on it, I took videos and pictures. Even so, I was soaking wet. Kennedy trudged up and down the slippery steps, over and over, she couldn’t ignore Karter’s pleas to ‘please go again, Aunt Kennedy!’. Eventually Katelyn filled what seemed like a hundred water balloons. Kyler, in typical fashion, grabbed a dozen or so, stepped back and started pulverizing everyone. It was like he was channeling Sammy Sosa. He smoked Katelyn in the back of the head and the shoulder and then smashed one against Kennedy as she tried to peg him first. Kensley mostly picked them up and busted them on the ground, with the exception of the one she zinged at me. It hit me square in the chest and soaked me. Man, I was just supposed to be the photographer 🙄😂. Belle and Ethan got the worst of it as they arrived and came around the end of the house. Kyler, Katelyn and Karter hid behind an outbuilding as they strolled across the yard. They waylaid both of them. I think Karter got the biggest kick out of pelting Ethan with one right after the other. Luckily he’s a rotten shot and Ethan only got hit twice.

The weekend was relaxing and the most fun.

It was the beginning of a new tradition, I’m hoping. A change. I have a hard time with change, but God pushed me through this one and I came out on the other side a joyful, wet mess.

We are all learning to navigate this different life we have now. We talked a lot yesterday and what it would have been like if Kade had been there. He and Kyler would have caused hysteria and cussing because they would have pushed all limits like they always do. It was nice, it was easy. It was an easy thing to think about because everything else was so good.

I hate when people say, “A new normal”. New is usually good and there is zero normal about our lives now. But whatever I decide to term this second half of my life, we all made a success of it this holiday weekend.

I caught myself getting ready to write, ‘God just keeps showing up for me’. I had the first three words typed out then it hit me how absurd that statement is. God has never NOT showed up for me.

I’m the one who doesn’t show up.

Head in the sand.

Negative Nancy.

I’m learning how to let God embrace me. Comfort me. Allow me to feel cleansed and whole. How to grieve and let him cradle me through.

Out of this thing I continue to call a horror show, I have been able to learn to wrap my arms around my Father’s neck and let Him carry me. I’m trying desperately to help my children learn this too.

Good from bad. I just kept hanging on to that. It’s my mantra in life now. Look for the good in the bad.

I hope your holiday was as nice as ours. We are so blessed. We continue to bolster each other up and we are learning to play different roles now, as they have changed. We have to pick up the pieces that were dropped when Kade left and learn how to fit them back together, each one of us garnering one of his roles and adopting it as our own. We all have an extra sense of responsibility to comfort one another.

Please continue to pray for our family. We need your constant intercession.