Happy 22 Malcolm!

Malcolm turned the big 22 on Friday...he's getting all grown up!

I just wanted to acknowledge that it's been a while since I've written. To say the least, I have gotten away from the blog for quite some time. I was overwhelmed with self imposed challenges, and didn't have the emotional energy to put myself out there. Specifically, I picked up where I left off, career wise, when I adopted the kids many years ago, and doing so had consequences. I'm learning how to find the balance between being Gretchan and being Mychael and Malcolm's Mom. I read something one time in which Moms were asked to describe the emotions that they often experienced as Mothers. One word was consistently repeated by all the women--Guilt. Mom's overwhelmingly feel guilty when they focus on anything other than their children. We feel guilty about everything. When our children suffer, we feel as though we somehow inadvertently caused it. When they fail, we wonder what we should have done differently. When they hurt, we hurt. It's hard to find that balance.

For most of us, parenting means that you are ready to sacrifice just about everything (including your sanity) for the sake of your kids. Parenting is the hardest job in the entire world. You don't get a minute off, and this notion that once your kids become adults, you're off the hook is delusional at best. People warned me about the intensity of this whole parent thing, but I didn't listen. I was naive. And thank God for that. And by the way, are these sentiments enough to prove that I'm worthy of being perceived as a real Mother? Are these emotions genuine enough that people might actually refer to my children as my real kids? Am I legitimate now? Nah, but whatever. You can't have it all.

Regardless, we hit a few speed bumps over the last year. Yet, we pulled through...are pulling through just like we always do. And in the end, I have no doubt that we'll say that we're better people for having been forced down the alternate path yet again. But whatever, I'm not sure if I'd even recognize the regular route anyway. My normal is the alternate route. Sure, sometimes you dream of taking the easy route--to just for once have the opportunity for things to just work out the first time you try, and for everyone to just do their part. Yet, for may of us, it's not who we are.

When you get through the stress and start to see light at the end of the tunnel, you once again convince yourself that you didn't want it to be easy anyway. Soldiers like us can't survive when it's too easy. We get soft and weak. It's survival of the fittest and we are the survivors. Darwin says that the strongest are those that prevail in the face of the most adversity. So, bring it.


From Mom To You

The other day my oldest son Mychael said, "Why haven't you been writing on the blog?" I was really surprised that he had been following it. Frankly, the lack of enthusiasm he demonstrated when I originally told both Mychael and Malcolm about it led me to think that this blog was the least of their concerns. Yet, apparently I was wrong, so if you are reading this, Skippy, I'm writing this entry just for you.

I know you didn't ask me to say this, and I am not overanalyzing! I was just thinking, and I have a couple things I want to make sure that you know. In fact, I know you know it, but I just want to say it out loud in case you ever forget. I know it's been a little different over the past year due to the fact that we're in different places. However, despite the fact that I moved and after ten years, I have taken some time to focus on my career, you should know that the sun continues to rise and set on our little family. There are a few things in this world that you can always count on, and this family is one of them. It's hard making that emotional transition from being at home to being on your own. We worry that people will forget about us when we're gone. We worry that somehow things will change and not be the way they were before. We worry that leaving somehow means the end, instead of the beginning.

Yet, even though I know you know this, I just want to say that moving forward doesn't mean that we leave our family behind. Instead, we go out and face the world knowing that our family always has our back. Our family is always in the background cheering for each other. Whenever we feel nervous or scared, we can just turn around and know we'll still be there. Even if every person and everything we encounter in our new path is rotten, we will be able to cope with it because we always have each other. A family is still a family even when they are not together. We are still a family when one person lives on one coast and the other lives on another. The bond of a family is never broken.

So, in your new adventures...in my new adventures, and in the new adventures of all Team Thompson, we find comfort knowing some things never change. No matter where we are, we know that I'm still clearing my throat while being obsessive about something; you, Jay and Shawn are still being sensitive about most everything; Malcolm is still trying to escape in order to hang out with friends; Mamaw is still trying to hold everyone and everything together; Paul is still relaxing on the perimeter and trying to stay awake; Maudie Moo is still laying down in the middle of it; Esther Sue is still hiding; Alysia is still trying to make it all fit in a neat box; Grandma T. is still perfectly wonderful; Joe is still talking about how its all a conspiracy; Grandpa is still trying to avoid conflict and Grandma Jill is still...well, you know, Grandma Jill.

So, we should not worry that leaving means things will change. In fact, it's September, and we know what that means: Purdue Football. So, here's to another season of watching our faithful Boilers blow the lead in the final minutes of the game. And yet, we still love them, right? Because at least we always know what to expect and that has to count for something.

Love you little pumpkin head,


Purdue Boilermakers...

Two sensitive guys...

Team Thompson's newest Boilers...