not a fan of these changes

Nov 9, 2015

Some changes, like rearranging furniture, I love. Some changes, not so much. In the past year, we have gone through a lot of changes and I am still struggling to find a new normal.

A year ago, on November 6th, my best friend, Jessica, moved. Jessica is hilarious and super-talented and beautiful and a million other things that people out in internet-land love her for, but to me, she is simply my friend who I can share my deepest spiritual thoughts with, feel completely at home with, and laugh so hard I pee my pants nearly every time I am with her. We first connected because we were both home birthing, breastfeeding, LDS mamas in the same ward. We found we had similar parenting ideas and even though I am a mega extrovert and she is an introvert, we hit it off famously and have been bestest buddies for many years. We understand the deepest parts of each other that we are sometimes not willing to share with the world at large and have been through a lot together. I adore her. Absolutely adore her and ache so much for her physical presence back in my life. Neither of us is a good long, distance friend who stays in touch with lengthy or frequent phone calls or even frequent emails. We have had a few visits, but they have been quick and not nearly as soul-filling as we have wanted them to be. Life is complicated by the fact that both of us have POTS and have a hard time doing all the work of daily life much less adding in traveling and driving and packing and all that jazz. Our midnight sewing/computer/Thai/Gator Bites nights are a thing of the past. My running over to take care of her mid-POTS episode and vice versa doesn’t happen anymore. Having each other as part of our day-to-day lives just isn’t in the cards right now. And even though I have accepted it and support her choices, I don’t like it one little bit.

Then my other dear friend, Jennifer, moved in June. Really moved. Clear across the country moved. Not 3.5 hours away like Jessica where there is the chance to see her every few months, but something like 30 or 40 hours away. She moved to be near her family, which is a totally wonderful and understandable reason to move…but I miss her terribly. Jen has been my dear friend ever since Fisher was a wee baby. We first became friends when I begged her to teach me to play the cello. Then her girls took gymnastics from me. Then she asked me to be her doula. Then I prayed her to our little town because I wanted so badly to spend the rest of my life with her and her delightful family. Jennifer’s leaving has left a gaping hole in my life and I miss her so much, I can’t even talk about it without bursting into tears.

The four of us, Kat, Jennifer, Jessica, and I were supposed to (in my dream world where everything goes my way) grow old together. We were supposed to laugh and cry and serve and love each other for the next 60 years till we all die around 100. We were supposed to help each other with our children’s weddings and put on huge service projects and go out to eat at Red Robin every month for the rest of our lives. We have this amazing friendship that is simply incomprehensible until you have experienced it and I never, ever thought it would change. Yes, we are still dear friends and yes, we still talk and email and laugh, but it is just not the same as being piled on the same bed together eating Pad Thai at midnight while filling each other with love and laughter.

And I haven’t mourned it. Not really. I have tried super hard to be supportive of their moving and been so focused on getting Blythe out on her mission and getting through the summer and starting our homeschool this fall that I haven’t allowed myself to truly bawl my eyes soul out over the whole thing. I think it is just starting to really hit home that this is real. Now it has been a year since Jessica left and my heart hurts ever so much. I miss them. I miss us. I miss the entity that we were and the force for good we were in each other’s lives and in the world. I miss watching Jen and Jesse (her awesome dh) play in the symphony and I miss Jen conducting our homeschool orchestra. I miss sewing parties and watching our children play together and the Pink and Red party. I miss our late nights and our doctor’s appointments where they held my hands and gave me strength and courage, and our shopping trips (for mundane things like groceries) and our joy. I miss our joy most of all.

Kat and I are still here and love each other dearly, but I think we both agree that this whole thing is really hard.

The same day Jessica moved, I got a phone call from another dear friend, Kari. She said she needed some help, that she was moving and terribly ill and could I come help right away. I dried my eyes and went straight to her house where we got right to work getting her better with my herbs and oils and Richard’s energy work. She pulled out of town the next day and my heart broke a little bit more. Kari and I are nearly psychological/personality identical twins. Even though we didn’t spend gobs of time together, we *got* each other. We could call one another at any time day or night and we would be there for each other. She was my spontaneous, adventure loving friend who I could call at the last minute and she would drop everything to help my plans come to life. At one of our Make It For Maggie events, she made Maggie a look-alike doll – her heart is huge. I mentored her children and love each one of them dearly. We still connect on Facebook, but Facebook is no substitute for real life adventures with a dear friend.

Another big change has been our daughter leaving on her mission. It is truly THE BEST thing ever to be a missionary mama. I love it! I am so grateful she is serving and working and growing and doing hard things. But I miss her. And I miss being a mother of four little ones who would snuggle up on the couch with me while I read to them for hours at a time. I am not really mourning this right this minute, but I did have to go through a big grieving process of saying goodbye to those years of mothering and homeschooling these precious children. Blythe’s leaving marked the end of an era of my mothering and even though we are moving on and enjoying this next phase, my heart still longs for those days of having all four of them gathered round and discussing liberty or morality or The Lord of the Rings or a tricky math problem. It will never be the same again…and while that is a good thing, it is a huge change for our family.

The car accident in January caused some big changes in my spine and overall health. The headaches, neck pain, sacrum pain, spine instability, and muscle spasms weren’t part of my life before the accident. Now, even though I am doing much better than I was during February and March, I am realizing this level of instability will most likely be with me for the rest of my life. And there is really nothing I can do about that. My most recent MRI showed an exaggerated lordosis of the cervical spine at C3 and a reversal of the normal lordosis at C6…this basically means the vertebrae are more like a hilly road in Pennsylvania instead of the gentle slippery-slide shape they are supposed to be in.

And my body is getting worse. That is the long and short of it. My muscles are withering away because I can not do the work required to strengthen them without passing out. We are searching for answers to help my nervous system calm down, but right now, the muscles need to be strengthened so I can stop dislocating joints. Just last week I face-planted on my front cement when my pants caught on our gate. I dislocated my wrist, elbow, and shoulder when I caught myself. Now we are working to heal those injuries by having my wrist taped up and trying not to use that arm too much while it all heals. But those injuries further irritate my nervous system and the cycle continues. I keep thinking there has to be a way to be injury free long enough to allow my nervous system to calm down, but it seems every few weeks or so I have another new injury to deal with because I am not held together very well at all.

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Our youngest child is turning eight this month. Miss Annesley is growing up and soon I will have no little ones left to snuggle with. This is good…but boy, it is hard. It seems my babies are growing up and while I am so proud of the people they are becoming, I often wish I could go back and nurse them just one more time or rock them in my arms to sleep. Those baby years were precious to me at the time and they are even more precious now (probably because I am not a sleep-deprived mother of babies!) as I think back on the days of carrying my wee ones in a sling, spending hours upon hours at the park watching them toddle around and discover the wonders of the world, and snuggling up with them in my bed at night. Annesley turning eight is just another marker of the end of that era. She still comes in to my bed first thing in the morning and she still snuggles while I read to her, but she is changing and I can see those things will be coming to an end in the not so distant future.

So many changes. I haven’t figured out how to navigate these new situations. I am taking it one day at a time…and I think I am doing pretty well most of the time…but then it hits me…my friends are gone…and they might not come back…and life will never be the same again.

I have been a little tenderhearted all day. I started weeping this morning watching a Bible Video about the crucifixion and it has continued all day with little bits of tears here and there every time I think of a loved one or a precious moment. It probably means my period is starting soon…not that these feelings aren’t real, they are real and they are big. They are just heightened by dropping progesterone levels.

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  1. Mommer

    Oh shoot, this is so heart-breaking! I know all of this is piling up on you right now. And it’s not a good pile, like a pile of comfy warm blankies! It’s a pile of more pain than anyone wants to feel at one moment. I’ve watched from a distance and seen your heart break and I realize it’s doing as much damage as your falls and dislocations. Your wrist is sprained and your knee is torn, but your soul and heart are dislocated and sprained and torn too. I’m so sorry! I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and hoping I can make you some sour-cream lemon pie that will put a temporary smile on your whole being! Love you sweetheart!

  2. Valena

    Tracy, my heart hurts for you today. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. How I love you, and wish for love and peace to envelop you during this difficult time.