Thanksgiving 2020: One to Remember

Yesterday started with utter excitement to welcome home my college Freshman. Day’s long preparations for a small Thanksgiving celebrated at our home. Thoughts of what it would be like at the end of the day to hug my son who I haven’t seen in almost 3 months. It was a big deal. 18 years with no more than a week separating us maybe once a year and then almost 3 months elapsed! It was surreal.

I have never been more grateful.

A successful 8+ hour surgery for my Godfather kicked off the week. He has a long road ahead of him. But his mindset and positive outlook have amazed me throughout his illness. And he is being rewarded with fast healing. The nurse said she hadn’t seen anyone be moved out of ICU as quickly as he for a surgery of its kind. Hopefully a speedy return to his home and family is imminent.

I have never been more grateful.

You may have heard the saying, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. When I have the ability to move my body and get my heart rate up, I relish it. I took a yoga class recently and the instructor guided us to lay on the mat at the end of class and “melt” into the mat after a successful practice. To be honest it made my eyes leak a little. I was diagnosed with a musculoskeletal condition almost 25 years ago that has made things a little challenging for me to say the least. At the end of the Summer osteoarthritis was added to the list. I spend a fair amount of time mitigating discomfort and don’t move near as fast as I used to. But everytime I look forward to Yoga, cycling or a brisk walk like the one I was able to enjoy with a friend yesterday I am reminded that for Today, I get to move. It means everything to me. Keep passing the Tylenol!

I have never been more grateful.

A career I love and the opportunity to help others, to encourage and lift up other women, many of whom have never experienced the kind of support, encouragement and recognition our organization provides is so gratifying. And the impact that these women have had on me personally and professionally is simply priceless.

I have never been more grateful.

Today we will celebrate under our roof, all my birds in the nest (plus one more bird!) with my family and my parents. This pandemic, this alternate reality we all find ourselves living through has greatly altered what this holiday typically looks like for almost everyone. But it’s given me the opportunity to create something in our home that typically we don’t have the opportunity to do. And scale back. And slow down. And take the time to reflect on how far we’ve come. And appreciate with so much more perspective that Today is what we have. Today is a miracle.

And I have never been more grateful.

Are you in the midst of experiencing some challenges in your life or are you finding yourself on a new path? Have you been inspired to move towards some growth for yourself? Request my new Jumpstart to Clarity resource here: https://mailchi.mp/bbd8dfc41edd/jumpstart-to-clarity

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Words

Have you ever had a compliment immediately bubble to the surface only to be dismissed as irrelevant or taking too much time to share? Happens to me a fair amount. I will be out and about – could be the grocery store, at church, in the gym or walking outside – and I see something I find beautiful or sweet and I just internally smile and keep walking.

Now more than ever we are craving connection and purpose. If we are not here to give away our gifts and help others in need and make this path we are all walking just a little bit easier, then what are we here for?

The other night my Dad’s football team he has rooted for his entire life was a headliner for Monday night football. It just happened to be a jackpot night for all of us as I actually had a decent family meal planned and with the exception of my college Freshman (see https://titanimom.com/2020/04/16/senior-year-a-cliffhanger/,) we were all going to be home to enjoy it together. We invited my Dad over to sit by the fire and watch the first half. (Now mind you, this demonstrates what a great bond my husband and his Father-in law have and props go to my husband as my Dad’s team is half of the oldest rivalry in football and from my husband’s perspective he roots for the OTHER guy!)

So dinner was almost ready and my Father knocks on the back door only to be greeted by my youngest daughter. She gives him the sweetest hug at her full stature which is somewhere with her nose in his midsection. She exclaims “Dzia Dzia (JAH-jah, the americanized Polish version for Grandpa) you always smell so good!”

The look on my Dad’s face was just one of pure love, appreciation – mixed with surprise – for the utterly sweet declaration. It was precious.

It took less than 5 seconds. And I know it was impactful beyond my words here.

Because of the two players in this story, and a similarity with my own experience almost 30 years ago, it reminded me of my Grandfather (also with a different endearing term, Pappy) when I was a High School senior.

I took my boyfriend and Senior Prom date over to my Grandparent’s house to show off our finery and stop in for a visit. When I moved in to give him a kiss and a hug, he said “You sure smell pretty Jenny.” (If you knew me before 1991 you called me Jenny.)

To this date almost 30 years later I will never forget what he said to me. Pappy was sick with cancer and ended up succumbing to the disease about a month after this visit. To my recollection, I think this was one of the last things he ever said to me.

We don’t know about tomorrow. We have today and the words we can choose now. Make a choice to share the best of them and have this kind of everlasting impact when it really matters.

Are you in the midst of experiencing some challenges in your life or are you finding yourself on a new path? Have you been inspired to move towards some growth for yourself? Request my new Jumpstart to Clarity resource here https://mailchi.mp/bbd8dfc41edd/jumpstart-to-clarity

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

11.11.11

I am not versed in numerology. But this seems like a pretty auspicious date, wouldn’t you say? This is the day I found out our family of 4 was going to be expanding to welcome one more. That little lady is going to be eight years old already tomorrow. And I am reflecting on the circumstances that surrounded this stunning news.

My two older children were eight and ten years old at the time she was born. I was inches from heading into a new decade. Things were kind of on auto pilot and we were in a groove.

I now laugh at how anxious I was to go back and do it all over again. I remember lamenting to my husband “I don’t want to be friends with the 27 year olds!” I am one of the older Moms. I have a recent high school graduate and an incoming Junior who just got her driver’s license. My husband will be Medicare-eligible by the time she graduates from High School…and I’ll be nipping at his heels. But how many times in the last nine years have I heard “She will keep you young!”? Too many to count.

Her arrival expanded my heart, opened my world wider, humbled me and allowed me to become more mindful and more of who I was meant to be.

There is a path you are on and you get comfortable there. In my experience, comfortable is never a place I can nor desire to stay very long. And the arrival of my youngest put me so far out of my comfort zone and yet so comfortably in a space I needed to be in.

Time slowed. For the first time I felt like I knew what the word wisdom meant. And the four of us could not remember what life had been like before she came along. And we didn’t want to.

Too soon for my comprehension our family will be forever changing as we launch our son to his next adventure of college. All too soon thereafter our daughter will be following suit. And then there will be three. She will help us hang on to the identity that we have lived and breathed as parents for so many years. And help us to stay connected to her youthfulness and spunk. Life sure got more interesting eight years ago. And I am forever grateful for the curve in the road she brought.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Mother’s Day 2020

Recently a comment jumped out at me on social media about this time our world is in. It stated something to the effect of “not everything has to be transformative. Just survival is good enough”.

This has stuck with me for weeks. I guess it depends on how you look at your own life and what we are here for. This experience has produced much isolation, suffering, depression and sadness no doubt. I am ever mindful of this and grateful for my blessings.

Have I taken time to eat badly, gain weight, binge watch, be down and confused by it all? Yes.

But I guess at the end of the day, I am here to be transformed. No matter the circumstance. Whether it be hindsight 20/20 or an in-the-moment club over the head of insight…I am here to improve my capacity for learning, wisdom and experience. And it’s my responsilbility to share it with others and to serve in my best capacity. Yes, I want to survive, but I crave being able to THRIVE.

I am a Mother. And this new and strange journey with all of my children these last 7 weeks has been one of great reflection, observation and inspiration. We have done our best to thrive together.

A drive-by birthday celebration for my Father.

New places to complete homework (in an unseasonably warm, early Spring day)

Mixed in with creativity and fresh air.

The Moms are doing the home schooling, communicating with teachers, coordinating the virtual play dates, exercising, online shopping, working from home, working outside of the home, sanitizing, cleaning, coordinating different kinds of celebrations, keeping it together and being hopeful, modeling strength and positivity. This is transforming me the most.

I want my kids to be able to thrive. They are missing out on a lot of traditional things we take for granted. And some very important rites of passage. But I would much rather try to help them with focusing on the positive and working through ways to overcome and adapt than just using every day as a means to “wait it out” until whatever new normal we will return to.

The homemade cards today, my favorite french toast and sweet smiles and hugs is showing me we are transforming together and thriving.

Happy Mother’s Day to all who mother. Next year at this time we will have come so far.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Senior Year…a cliffhanger

The big hair and bangs. The scrunchies. Vanilla Ice, Ice Baby and Pretty Woman. Some pop culture things I remember from my Senior year.

The parties, Senior skip day, spring break, prom and graduation – for some even working your first jobs…all rights of passage for Seniors.

Since the “safer at home” order I had an intuition this day would come. And even though I have been preparing for it, the news hit me quite a bit harder than I had anticipated today.

School is closed for the remainder of this year.

Senior year for my son and his classmates has become like the show you watched that didn’t get picked up for another season…what happened?! They left me hanging! No closure. It just faded to black…

The kids my son grew up with were born during the time of 9/11. In their Senior year the unforseen and unprecedented global health crisis that is unfolding every day places the cap on the end of their youth. It is like a surreal dream. I know there are SO many sacrificing so much. I keep snapping my thoughts back to this reality and the repeated realization that one person’s problem with this situation pales in comparison with another and we are ALL not alone.

However, today – THIS day – it sinks in hard and I can’t brush it aside. I am going to be sad for my first-born. The things that will not be. The graduation somehow orchestrated or ?? For all the Moms and Dads of the Class of 2020, this pity party is for you and your seniors today. Want an invite?

Tomorrow will be time for the forward-looking hope that something wonderful is on the other side of this unexplainable loss. History is being written for the books right now and generations to come. THIS generation is on the brink of a new way of life, new issues to face and new ways in which to manage them.

I do wonder what my son’s reflections will be on this when he is decades out of high school like his Mom. What lessons learned now will drive where he and his classmates go in the future?

There is some grief I don’t want to overlook or deny. But it’s also my responsibility to make sure that I honor it and let it pass. That is what I would want my son to do so he doesn’t waste a minute being anything less than excited and hopeful for what awaits him around the next corner. The sun will rise (presumably!) tomorrow and we will look forward to the pilot episode of the next chapter. I know in my heart it’s going to be a good one. We may even binge watch.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

New Habits

Got on the scale this morning and to my shock the number was something higher than I had seen in about 20 years (minus an impending birth of one of my three kids) OUCH! I mean seriously, I was stunned. It takes about 21 days to build a habit. And well, here we are… I am building habits, people!

I am in the habit of looking for Easter chocolates at lunch, dinner and beyond. I am in the habit of binge watching my favorite show every night with one of my ultimate snacking weaknesses, pretzel pieces – cheddar please – and a glass of red wine nearby. I am in the habit of deciding it’s a better idea to stay up til midnight (watching said shows) and pull the covers over my head far too many cold mornings than I should rather than taking a brisk walk before home schooling my second grader begins.

“The new normal”, a common phrase right now. This is my new normal. And I am raising the white flag right now. I need to make some changes!

Some of the habits I do not want to change:

  • resurrecting Harry Potter and reading it aloud as my little discovers it
  • baking with my sophomore and cooking dinners with my senior
  • walks alone where I can breathe and think and pray
  • phone calls to my parents and siblings replacing endless streams of texts in between all the busy
  • more family dinners together
  • board games
  • time to journal and write
  • mailing more letters
  • living for today

In my heart I know there is no going back. Just like our worlds were forever altered in some capacity after 911, this global emergency will leave a long-lasting mark. The bell can’t be unrung. But out of all this new habits have formed that I know will leave long-lasting marks that I want to be left.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Hope Isn’t Canceled

This thought ocurred to me one morning this week: As we Christians are heading into an unprecedented Holy Week in modern times and being told that this week “it’s going to get bad”, I am reminded that over 2,000 years ago the events of that week were unimaginable. The fear, hatred, unrest, anxiety, grief, pain and sorrow were at an all time high in Jesus’ corner of the world.

What good could possibly come from that kind of suffering, loneliness and isolation? I trust, dear reader, that you can fill in the blanks.

I am not assisting in the saving of lives in health care or public service. I do not work for the United States Postal Service or at the check-out counter of my local grocery store. I am not in a chemical manufacturing plant trying desperately to keep up with demand. Nor do I make my living running a restaurant or tavern.

My knowledge of anyone personally who has succumbed to this horrible virus is void. Though my husband just discovered yesterday that he knows someone. I am hopeful it does not hit that close to my circle, but sadly and humbly I know it may. The collective awareness of how close to home this pandemic is affecting people who daily put themselves at risk to serve others weighs heavy. And it permeates and it alters everything.

These last three weeks have been surreal and confusing and yet a blessing. The morning news just doesn’t get played as much. 7 am walks and living room Yoga have replaced that time. Home schooling my second grader and keeping tabs on the constant communication for my self-directed high school students is at a premium. Working from home is a great portion of what I do. These new guidelines have forced me to be solution-focused, creative and in service to others more than ever with my work.

Family dinners that happened but once a week, if that, are abundant. Games, art projects, books, movies, chalk drawing, baking and connection are the order of the day in my home.

The thing is, this has forced me to realize that in these uncertain times or in the “old normal” we were all used to – nothing changed. We only have the day before us. Then and now. And we are guaranteed nothing after. In the “old normal” I was planning for trips and celebrations, car pooling and tournaments, business events and doctor appointments. Under the circumstances it is day-to-day now. And I am on-board. Only having the day before me to plan and steer has been quite frankly an exercise in increased happiness. The pace has slowed, the connections have grown in my own home and I find myself in a certain space of peace.

School is canceled. Senior Prom is canceled. First Communion is canceled. Driver’s Education is canceled. A college orientation is canceled. An Easter Service celebrating in physical proximity with our community is canceled. Will there be celebrations later? Will there be a way to catch-up with some of these experiences in their entirety? I hope so. Who knows what is beyond this day?

But Hope is not canceled. From the darkness comes the light. And from the darkness came The Light. Sunday is coming.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Gut Punches and Gratefulness

How do you pull yourself out of despair? What do you do to get yourself back on track when everything feels like a struggle? This last week brought me pretty low. One bit of bad news led to another. Emotions were running high within my family. And for some reason beyond my understanding I kept replaying in my head the morning I woke two months ago and was so profoundly moved to tears when I saw this particular sunrise outside my window.

It is nowhere close to one of the painted sky, stunners anyone who follows me on social media knows I am obsessed with capturing. This one was pretty run of the mill as they go. But it wasn’t until this particular sunrise appeared outside my window that it became clear to me just why they captivate me so much. If I turned to the East, this hopeful vision greeted me. If I turned more to the West, this gray, cloud-filled sky was the view.

And that is where the profound sense of emotion came over me. A friend of my husband and I had recently been transitioned to in-home hospice care after a long and valiant battle with cancer. We live across the country and I felt helpless for want of being able to offer some daily help and assistance to my dear friend, his wife. Or be more readily available to comfort and just be there for her and her kids.

But in this sunrise it all became so clear to me. The view is so vastly different depending on your vantage point. I had the opportunity in that moment to see both perspectives. And it hurt. I felt her cloudy view and just sank into it. And I saw the hope in this beloved sunrise. And therein lies the fascination. With each sunrise and sunset I relish the wonder and beauty for sure. But the hope with which it fills me is incomparable. And comforting. And necessary.

Despite the challenges my family and I have experienced recently and the feeling that all was not right with the world and when would it be? this sunrise reminded me there is always hope. Our friend let go of fighting his battle last week. Even in her darkest hour, I know my faithful friend is grateful for the love and support of family and friends. I know she is grateful her Love is not suffering anymore.

The dark finds us. The clouds close in. But just knowing there is hope, believing there is another opportunity to see the light around another corner and so much to be grateful for even when it feels the darkest – that is what I find in the sunrise and sunset.

This sunrise was probably nothing compared to what our friend is seeing now, wherever his soul is. But this is what greeted me yesterday. Yeah… one of the painted sky stunners.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Transitions

I’m a summer girl. The frogs and birds in the wetlands out my window sing me to sleep. Easy breezy flip flops, sun up in the 5 o’clock hour gives way to my favorite road biking rides before my household wakes up. My husband and I enjoy date nights strolling by the river walk downtown. I adore outdoor concerts and the sounds and smells of Lake Michigan.

Yet so many claim fall as their favorite and look forward to the cooler temps and the change in season. I always long to hang on to Summer. Why?

Fall colors are stunningly beautiful around here. Memories of apple and pumpkin picking field trips and hayrides with my kids hold wonderful memories. Halloween festivities and the search for that perfect costume were always a childhood delight for me. And the big event that so many Moms look forward to for the return to routine and a break from siblings getting on each other’s nerves: school starts.

Bingo.

School always pronounced the passage of time and put an exclamation point on it for me. Whether it be a favorite teacher I would no longer have, the cast party capping off an amazing drama production or the incredible sports season coming to an end. School years were season after season of concentrated, elevated emotion. And I find even as an adult that a little bit of melancholy sets in as autumn approaches. Kind of like a strange knee jerk reaction. Change is coming. The falling temps and the fleeting beauty of the colorful leaves show me a preview.

The view from my kitchen window

Last weekend before the sun rose in the 4 o’clock hour, my oldest and I set off for a road trip adventure. I hadn’t stepped foot on the campus of my alma mater in over 20 years. I thought it would be a great way to share a bit with him about my university experience, take an official tour, soak up some of the campus life and enjoy a short walk down memory lane. It was a trip I had been wanting to make for a couple years. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect since he is a high school senior and we are exploring his post-graduation options.

In his eyes he was along for an interesting ride. He has had plans of serving in the military since he was young. And he is still exploring those details and gathering more information. However, he was game for my plan and was a good sport about it. And when was the last time he and I had a weekend just the two of us?! Ummm…Unheard of.

What ensued could not have been crafted more perfectly if I scripted it. We met up with one of my former college roommates who I hadn’t seen in forever and hung out at her house catching up with her and meeting her husband. Together with my friend and her husband, we all visited one of our old college Friday night hang-outs and enjoyed a meal with her daughter who now attends the university.

Bright and early Saturday morning my son and I took an official campus tour with an admissions official, visited my Freshman residence hall, walked a significant amount of the campus and ate lunch in a residence hall restaurant.

He was enamored with it all. And I remembered once again why I loved it too. And ironically, the campus never shines so bright as in the fall. That’s how I remember it most – with all the old brick buildings and the amazing old trees and yes, a little of the melancholy of transition and change mixed in.

campus grounds

I don’t know what this next season of motherhood holds. But the excitement I felt watching my son’s eyes light up and see his wheels turning inside his head was so gratifying. The sun is setting on a huge chapter in what I have known as a mother. I am savoring each night all of my children are safely under our roof and every meal we can all look each other in the eyes.

I don’t know what, but I do know next fall at this time something will be very different. And with the spectacular autumn sunsets and the changing leaves we will work our way through the next transition.

the sunset that greeted us our first night on campus

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Make Peace

I love being a work in progress. I’ve made so much peace with that.~Mariska Hargitay

A quote I heard yesterday in an interview with the actress. YES!

Resonated with me so strongly. It is a hard-fought road to get to the place where one can say this and mean it to the core. It is a messy, painful, glorious, emotional, blessed and treasured journey to get there.

It is the very reason I have not lived in this precious space for over two years. Too immersed in raising teens, journeying through several serious health conditions with three generations of three of the most important people in my life, nurturing some intense personal development and just trying to breathe. I could not bring myself to carve out the time to create. It was a marathon for reflection, focus, faith and acceptance.

How I have missed this outlet. It’s been getting to a crescendo and then the voice in my head bent on sabotage snuck in one too many times. But this time, I have a much more forceful reply. It will not dictate where I can go or what I can do. It might be a daily reminder. It might be by the hour. But I still hold fast to dreams, to growth, to hope and to new adventures. And I will be working some of that out here once again.

Feels good.

© Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Scheidt and Titanimom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.