Cherish Yesterday, Dream Tomorrow, Live Today

Today, I get to live the life of a “stay at home mom.” I’m sitting at a Honda service center that I’ve never been to in my life. I drove roughly 30 minutes to get here on a long stretch of a two-lane road that went up and down and curved around corn fields and farms. I have never considered myself a country girl – but that’s exactly what I am now. I’m in a bigger town than the one I currently live in and I’m excited because there is a Target and a Hobby Lobby here. I guess if I’m going to drive more than 30 minutes to get anywhere, I’d like to make it worth the drive by stopping somewhere to buy something :).  I’m not complaining – the drive here was serene. I didn’t have kids in the backseat asking for a show to appear on their tv screen or an unpredictable baby to hush and shhh. I took my time, sipping coffee and enjoyed the view.

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I’ve essentially been up since 5 am after Liam’s second cry of the night. I return to my bed at 5:20am and at 5:45am, Stephen’s alarm rings to wake him up. He’s working a 24 hour shift today and while I know he dreads it, I’m pretty sure I dread it even more. But nothing changes this morning – except that I get to have the day off. So I roll out of bed after he leaves and I start my day. At precisely 7:30am, Liam cries and it’s time to wake up the older boys for school. I get them breakfast and on the bus. I take Liam to daycare and head out to start my day. After this, I’ll go grocery shopping and after lunch I’ll go volunteer at the kids’ elementary school which I would love to do more often but seldom get to because of work. This is the type of day that I’ve always wanted to live and even though it will be short lived, I’m going to enjoy it and I’m going to make the best of it.

These days, there’s not much change day in and day out. I look forward to the weekend just so I don’t have to think about work. Then I ponder about all the things that would be nice to do, but I’m not motivated to leave the comfort of my little home as it is too far to drive anywhere to do anything – even to enjoy walking through a Target even if I don’t have anything I need to buy. Wow…I’m so lame. I guess – but I’m happy. I have a craft room that I love where I can escape to make ridiculously expensive cards (when you think about how much money it takes to start a stamping collection) that I hardly have meaningful events to send out for. They are very satisfying. They make me happy. They provide peace and gratification.

The title of today’s post comes from a wall decal here. I think it’s very appropriate. While driving down the town-lane road that drove me hear today, I dreamed of the future. A farm house with a wrap-around porch on a piece of land that’s not in a subdivision with rules and dues. I appreciate the past and cherish the moments of love and joy I’ve experienced. I’m dreaming of a future we still can’t really envision because we still don’t know what next year will bring. Stephen still needs to get into a residency program and thinking about moving again makes us both sick – but we’ll get through it again if we have to. Today though…I’m going to live. I’m going to live the life of a stay at home mom for ONE day.

School is “Nothing”

Evan started Kindergarten today. Every day for the past week, he’s asked “how many days left until we start school?” Stephen had I contemplated all summer about whether or not he is ready. Ultimately, putting him in school wouldn’t hurt him. There’s a chance that if he doesn’t do well, they may hold him back for another year, but that wouldn’t hurt him or us. We were concerned mainly because we feel a year would give him time to improve his speech. But his mind needs more than what’s available to him at school.

We promptly got the boys up at 7:30 this morning. They brushed their teeth and got dressed.  Their school here is amazing in that it’s a brand new building and breakfast and lunch are both provided with no cost.  I took Liam to daycare and came home just in time to take before school photos. I knew Noah would be fine, but was worried about whether or not Evan would get emotional. He acts like a toughy, but is very sensitive when it comes time to do anything new. When the bus arrived, they both trucked toward the open doors without fear. For a brief moment just before taking his first step onto the bus, Noah behind him, Evan turned around looking at Stephen and I with question and doubt. I don’t know why the bus driver would think that we were worried, but she reassured us that big brother was sitting with him. When the bus drove away, I started crying instantly. I was much stronger when Noah started kindergarten.

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Don’t get me wrong…I worry about them both. But I know Noah will adjust just fine – he’s resilient and tasks on everything with grace (as long as he thinks he’s done it well enough by his standards). I think I was having a hard time because today is the first day that I’ve been alone in 2 years. Up to now, the kids have always been in the house and my breaks and lunches were mostly devoted to feeding them or changing diapers. I have empty nest syndrome but at the time, I’m elated to not have those responsibilities anymore. So when that bus drove away – it was a cry of a new start for all of us. They’re gone.
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With my freedom, I was able to prepare soup for lunch – a soup I love and crave all the time that my mom used to make. It makes me think of my mom…all the ways in which I love her, questionably so. Most of the time, I love her because she is my mom – not because she has done much nurturing to me. There are definitely gestures which mean the world to me – sending me home with extra food or saving mango for the kids which she knows they love. The flip-side is, I can’t seem to comprehend her decision making and why she thinks gambling and blowing away all our hard earned money would make her happy. She’s abandoned my youngest sister, Myloan, to fill her need to feel she has a voice – which only speaks to selfishness. In doing so, she’s abandoning two young children who need their grandma – not someone with an addiction. There are no words sometimes for the confusion I feel…and I remember why moving has been the best thing for us.
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The bus came 45 mins late today. 10 minutes on the first day of school would be normal I think – but 45 mins is a bit outrageous. Good thing I was in no hurry to be anywhere. The boys got off the bus holding their book bags with one hand slugging their way to the driveway. How was school? “Good…fine…ok.” What did you learn at school, Evan? “Nothing….” Well…that’s that. I’m hoping he’ll learn a little more than nothing over the next year.

When One Door Closes…Another Opens

I’ve thought off and on about updating this blog…but I guess I’ve lacked motivation because so few actually know that it exists. I’ll do my best to catch my loyal readers out there up to date! :)

As soon as we knew where we were moving, Stephen and I prepared the next step.  We called a realtor, looked for homes near Chillicothe, and started packing. I can’t even begin to describe the chaos that started to unfold in just a few weeks.

By the end of March, we were prepping our house for a total revamp to get it on the market. By April 6th, our house was officially on the market. We did an entire week of deep cleaning, taking down most personal items that hung on the walls and touched up paint on the walls. Within two weeks, we had 14 house visits. I worked through the entire process and tried to keep the house clean while Stephen finished his last rotation. At the end of two weeks, we were told that a young family had fallen in love with our home and wanted to buy it. It was great news! But…? They haven’t sold their house and don’t even have it on the market yet. So they made a contingency offer on April 18th and we dealt back and forth. The next night, they decided to stop negotiating. So we were back at square one. After much thought and a long weekend, Stephen and I agreed to extend another final offer. It was a little less than we wanted, but much more reasonable than what they wanted to pay for our house. We knew that we wanted someone who loved our house above all else and these people showed the most interest and that was important to us. 

After accepting this contingency offer, all the house visits stopped. During this time, we had found a nice neighborhood in Circleville, a small town between Stephen’s work in Chillicothe and Columbus. Yes, we chose a house we had never seen before. And yes, we were taking a risk. We were going through a really chaotic, exciting and maddening time in our lives. We had people who were excited for us yet sad to see us go, we had family who acted like they could care less, people who raised their eyebrows and questioned us and we had people who begged for so much last minute time from us that it drove us to the brink of insanity. The lack of support and help we received through this difficult time further reassured us that moving was the BEST thing for us. Our families worked, yes…but evenings are free and there are always weekends. Not once was help of any form offered. We left messages on Facebook providing dates of when our moving truck would be there and only our closest family and friends came to our aid. I shouldn’t be surprised, right? But I was. I was hurt and angry at the same time. What the hell is wrong with our families? Is it that easy to play dumb like you didn’t know? Or are you so selfish that you didn’t give a crap enough to remember? Stephen and I are not without fault in this situation – we are not good about asking for help and we are not pushy enough to send constant reminders to beg for help. We were left disappointed with more work than we anticipated. 

During the day while Stephen was away, I continued to work, take care of the boys over my breaks, answer emails, chose interior options for the inventory home we had decided to purchase. At night, Stephen and I cleaned and packed into late hours of the night often times forgetting dinner until one of the kids told us they were hungry. As our things moved from their places in our house into boxes, it was more and more difficult to find stability. We ate out and brought home dinner a lot. Noah and Evan are as carefree as ever, but Liam grew increasingly difficult. It made life so miserable and he became more and more clingy. 

Meanwhile, our contract was about to expire because the Focklers had not sold their house yet. We started becoming frantic thinking that we had wasted 30 days when our house could’ve been active and possibly sold to someone else already. But of course as it would happen, the day after our contract expired, the Focklers receive offers on their house. So we extend our contract for another week hoping that would be all to seal the deal. At this very time, Stephen is graduating from Medical school – this should be the most exciting, monumental time of our (or at least HIS!) life (lives), but we’re so frantic about everything that we just things to be over with. We cancelled his graduation party and Evan’s 5th birthday parties because really….why were we trying to throw this party ourselves in a house that we were taking down??? HINT – families…step up your game!!!! NOOOO – of course not. “Why did you cancel your party?” “Are you going to have a get-together for Evan’s birthday before you move?” ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? Get our head out of your own butt and rethink your selfish questions! 

My sister Gwen, who adores Evan as her own, was the only one who put any thought into taking over the responsibilities of throwing him a Golden Birthday he’d never forget. We were even crazy enough to agree to watch my 3 nephews (while their parents went on a shopping trip to Chicago for the weekend) just so they could be there for Evan’s birthday party. Yes, you heard right. We took on 3 kids, the week before we moved so they can attend a party some of our family was missing for a shopping trip to Chicago. That’s just how some of my family works, ya’ll!

For those few weeks, I caught glimpses of what having a sister truly meant…or what I wish relationships among my siblings and I could be like all the time. It made me appreciate her, but it also hurt me because it was maybe too much all at once and came a little too late. She gave me a final pedicure and we had a dinner out together. She even surprised me with a massage – something I never expected or imagined I would get…because I’ve never (NEVER) felt loved in this way by her EVER (or maybe for as long as I can remember). It left me vulnerable and weak – because I had craved this for so long and this was how we were going to leave things. I’m glad that they were happy and grateful memories. Oh trust me….there were a few moments of crazy in there as well (a few tears and lots of yelling).

That same week, everyone went back to their lives while we worked tirelessly with a few family and friends to load all our belongings onto a 28 foot truck. With everyday, it became more and more evident that our lives were about to change. The few people who helped us will never be forgotten. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for their hard work. We know we couldn’t have done it alone. 

We spent a few nights sleeping on the floor in the living room in our empty house. At first with the mattresses until they were put on the truck, then on the floor in our sleeping bags. Every night, Stephen and I sighed another breath of relief, counting our blessings for the people who helped and yes…we even cursed those who didn’t. During those final days, we made lots of effort to have last minute get-togethers with friends and family, wanted and unwanted. We found time to help Bethany and Daniel move into their first home together and even more time to help them paint and mount their television. We wanted to…because Bethany and Daniel were the closest family we had that never let us down. There are never pretentious offers from them or ulterior motives.While they had their house to put together, they managed to set aside two evenings to help us move. THAT is family. THAT is love and respect. I honestly thought it was going to be the hardest to say bye to them – but the last time we saw them was our last night there and I think we were all too exhausted to let the pain surface. Oddly, the only time I allowed myself to become weepy was when a long time friend, my car salesman of all people, stopped by to say goodbye. It just goes to show – you can meet the most amazing people in the most unexpected places. James and I have been friends for at least 8 years and he’s been to more of my kids’ birthday parties than my own brother. 

Enter my next door neighbor, Karen. Stephen has adopted a name for her…Care Bear. We had lived in that house 4 years and she has always been the most thoughtful, loving person we knew. Knowing we were going to leave, I kept diving in where I could to spend time with her. We exchanged food, recipes, inspiration and our love for gardening. She introduced me to card making/stamping and I was instantly hooked. I spent so much of my free time obsessing over my small and hopefully growing collection. Stephen and I even spent and entire week building a shelf to hold stamp pads, markers and ink refills – one for me, and one for her. We presented this gift to her on Mother’s Day. She cried and I was overwhelmed with love for her. And I weep now as I type because I miss her so much, it hurts. Our last weekend there, she came over with food and left her door open for us to have breakfast while she attended church – nothing our families would think of doing for us. She cried each time she said goodbye, telling us it would be her last because she couldn’t bare another. But I told her…she had to see us again the morning we left. We left plants we couldn’t fit in the car with us with her and promised we’d be back for them and ever since we’ve moved, she has been the only person who has really kept in touch on a consistent basis. We haven’t gone more than a few days without a text. She has this dream that one day, we’ll own a piece of land together and be neighbors again and to be quite honest…I’d rather live next to her than anyone else on earth! I simply love her to pieces!

As if our lives could not be anymore hectic…we have to stop at the pediatrician’s office for Evan’s 5 year old shots on our way out of STATE! Yes…that happened. But he was a trooper and the kids did well in the car. We stopped in St. Louis for lunch and got back on the road again. With each state border we crossed, we were looking forward to a new life away from all the crazy. ALL of it – mostly our families (hehe).  

We spent four days homeless at the DoubleTree hotel in northern Columbus. Such a beautiful area. People here are SO friendly. The morning after we arrived, I had to attend a board meeting to get my Ohio Pharmacist license – so Stephen took the boys to visit COSI – the Columbus children’s museum. They liked it so much, we got a membership and came back the next day. I can’t even recall now what else we did with our time, but it seemed like forever ago and I remembered it lasting too long with a cranky, clingy baby. 

We visit the house for the very first time TWO days before we move in. Was it what we expected? Well…we didn’t really know what to expect. Up till then – we had only chosen the house based on the floor plan and a sketch. We were updated once during the framing process with photos. We chose all the house colors/options via email. There wasn’t much else to do. At first glance, the kitchen is small and the master closet is tiny (the only walk-in closet in the house if you can even call it a walk-in). But we’re determined to make it work because there’s not much choice at this point int he matter. We had one week to settle down and Stephen and I both had to begin our jobs. My oldest nephew, Tai, brought two friends in one of our cars to help us unload the truck and made a trip of their visit. We are so grateful for their help – we really couldn’t have done it without them here – in a place where we knew no one. 

I was fortunate to be able to able to relocate with my same job…but I also knew I couldn’t continue to work with Liam in the house. His world had changed so much in the past few months and he didn’t know where to find comfort but with me and it made life so difficult for me. We arranged for him to start daycare – but it wouldn’t start until he turned 18 months old, which was last Wednesday. It was hard for us both, but he’s been doing great despite the normal separation tears and I’ve been so much more focused with work not having to worry about him. 

We’ve been here 6.5 weeks and it feels like it’s been months. We’ve settled in for the most part keeping the minimal on the walls in case we need to move again in 10 months. Every weekend that Stephen is not working, we’ve driven into the city and have kept ourselves busy with projects. We’ve rearranged the kitchen lighting, installed all the appliances ourselves (which is a fiasco itself!), installed storm doors and a water softener. I say “we” but I can’t accomplish anything without Stephen’s strength and perseverance. I’m merely his support. Our next project this weekend is adding backsplash in the kitchen and we are working on getting a patio for the backyard. Phew…then I’m sure we’ll be done!

Stephen has one more ER shift. I’m so glad because I don’t like these odd hours and I know he doesn’t either. When he didn’t match into Anesthesia earlier this spring, he had high hopes of getting into the ER residency at the hospital he is at now. After 2 weeks, it was pretty clear to him that it wasn’t the lifestyle he wants. So much of his decisions about it had to do with us – not wanting to make our lives rocky again possibly with another move and how much time he’d be able to be home with us. I love him for it – but I don’t want him to regret a career that will also affect us in the long run. So the decision now is to go for Anesthesia again. We hope that everything will work out the way want this time and that he’ll get accepted into a program in Columbus so we won’t have to move again. 

Noah and Evan are starting at a brand new school in a few weeks (they’ve consolidated the schools here and a new school was built) and I will not know what to do with myself-being in an empty house while working for the first time in 3 years. But it’s going to be nice not having to change diapers, preparing meals or cleaning up after them anymore!

Our lives have been very low-key here. We’re anticipating a bump soon since people are already asking us when we’re coming back and demanding our time and others who have planned to visit without even asking if it’s ok and just assuming that it is. And in honor of my friend, Jessica Phan, who is getting married soon – in preparation for her wedding next May, I’ll be wearing her mandatory 7 inch pumps daily during my lunch breaks to “break” them in. I will plan to wear my dress and hair the way she wants and address her invitations to perfection!

During my free time, I’ve made lots of cards and have mailed out a few (mostly to Care Bear)…but I need to do more soon because it’s been an entire week since I’ve created something! I’ve baked a few things not worth mentioning but I think it’s because I haven’t been motivated enough – I don’t have many people to share my goodies with here. My new neighbor, Jean, across the street is a nice single Korean lady who I’ve been sharing everything with, thinks she’s going to gain 10 lbs before Christmas. Jean’s great, but every time I share something with her, I think of Karen and miss her all over again. I think every time I say or type her name, I feel a little pang in my heart. Then I feel guilty that I’m not thinking of my mom in the same way – who I also miss as well but could never express it outwardly the way I do with Karen. Then there are other mothers who I would love to outwardly express my distaste for. LOL. I’ll leave it at that.

Good night!

Some light at the end of the tunnel

The DO match seemed so long ago. But it wasn’t that long ago. It was on February 7th. We waited for good news and got none so Stephen scrambled/called around and was offered a few Family Medicine positions which we didn’t accept. Ultimately, he thought his chances of getting into an anesthesia program would be better if he waited for the MD match in March.  So we dropped our worries for the present time and waited.

The MD match was March 17th. You either match or you don’t. We knew Stephen wouldn’t match since he didn’t apply or rank any of the programs, but he wanted to participate in the post-match scramble aka SOAP (Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program) to get a position. Not exactly an easy process since everything is done through an application process and NO phone calls are allowed to any of the programs. It’s just a week of waiting and desperation.

Match status’ are posted at 11am CST. If you don’t match, at 12pm, you get to apply for 35 positions which are currently open (a list is provided). Between then and the first offer period on Wednesday, you are sitting at the edge of your seat hoping and praying that a program is interested in you and calls you to interview you. Nothing. We read threads on other students in the same position and you can read the disappointment, anger and desperation in everyone’s words. The first offers come on Wednesday at 11am. Nothing. At 1:30pm, the list of open positions is updated and applicants are able to apply to 10 additional programs. The second round of offers come 2pm. Nothing. The sinking feeling that he may not get something sets in, but of course, there is also clinging hope that great things might happen the last day of the SOAP. Three rounds of offers happy Thursday: at 8am, 11am, and 2pm. NOTHING, NOTHING, and NOTHING. as soon as we know at 2 that no offers were extended, Stephen makes a list of programs that he wants to contact. We are not allowed to make any calls until the SOAP process is over at 4pm.  I finish my work shift at 3:30pm and prepare to help Stephen make phone calls.

Once the phone calls begin, many programs are only allowing messages. I got through to one program in Florida and Stephen was able to do a phone interview. That was the first and only contact we had all week. Imagine us getting excited. EXCITED – about one phone interview and I can’t stop talking about Ken – who I passed the phone to Stephen to talk to for this interview. Friday morning, Stephen wakes up and continues to make unsuccessful phone calls and hopes that Ken will call. Match results are posted and Stephen gets to read about what most of his classmates have matched to. Meanwhile, we’re still hoping that a program out there is interested in him and that he’ll hear good news instead of “We’re sorry, all our positions are filled.” On Friday evening, Stephen gets an offer from Bluefield, West Virginia. At first, we are super excited. Then we map the program. It’s in the middle of nowhere and not close to any big cities. I look at homes on Zillow and there is nothing. I cry. I open birthday gifts from Stephen and the boys…and I cry. Stephen cries.

Then the weekend is here. I’ve turned 31 on this exhausting day and I don’t feel like celebrating. All I wanted for my birthday is for Stephen to find a program.

It is clear to us that anesthesia will have to be placed on hold until the following year. All plans we had made up to this point are being re-thought. I’ll keep working. We need the financial stability in case we’ll have to move again the next year. At this point, the only open positions were for Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, or Traditional Rotating Internships (this is the only route to take if he still wants to do anesthesia). The offer from Bluefield, West Virginia is extended through Monday. So we enter a new week hoping something better. We are still hoping for Ken to call us but it doesn’t seem the call will come. More disappointing news that the positions are filling up quick. Stephen has looked at many different sites saying positions are open which are not and somehow came across a site which wasn’t on a list at all. So he calls this place in Chillicothe, Ohio and gets a phone interview right away. He submits his application and while waiting, he gets another interview from a place on Long Island, New York – which is no place to raise a family.  But as of that moment – it was better than Bluefield, West Virginia. He gets off that call only to find that he’s missed a call from the program in Chillicothe. He steps out of my office to call the program director back while I try to keep Liam distracted. Liam had been following Stephen from room to room all morning cackling and making as much noise as possible. So when Stephen returns, ALAS – GOOD NEWS! A position was offered and accepted!  We’re moving to Chillicothe, Ohio! I jumped up, hugged him, held on, and I cried tears of joy. The torture finally ended and we are relieved beyond measure. We can start planning for the future. Though it’s not entrance into a 4 year program, this is the best thing we could hope for through this process. He’ll try again next year for entrance into an advanced anesthesia program as a 2nd year to complete 4 years without delay. We’re hoping that we won’t have to endure this process again next year…as we know now what a horrible experience it is.

We found out from another student that going into the MD match, only 10% of DO students will match into an MD program. Stephen had little to no chance of getting an offer. But there was no advice from his school, no support, no warning of what this process would be like. That’s education in America I guess – you suck the students’ pockets dry and let them figure stuff out for themselves. No thanks to them, we’re looking forward to moving on into the next chapter of our lives. I’m so grateful this process is over…for now.

Today, I found out that my job has laid off some pharmacists. So the next obstacle is going to be me finding out if relocation is a possibility. The plans we make keep getting modified with each day.

In 3 month’s time, we have to get our house ready to put on the market, Noah needs to finish 1st grade, Stephen graduates, we have to move and find a new place to live. I’m counting my blessings in the mist of all the trials we’ve had and will continue to have to endure. I’m grateful to have my family – my husband and 3 little boys who brighten my every day and give me hope for a better future. For now, I have a map of the Columbus, Ohio area permanently open on my computer and wonder where we’ll end up in the upcoming months.

Good Mother, Bad Mother

Is it possible to be a good mother while being a working mother? Define working mother – cause I’m pretty sure house wives are considered working mothers in my book. The problem with me is…I’m kind of both. I work full time from home – and with that, comes all the house wife duties. I’ve had an awfully long week and I’m sitting here frustrated at life and wishing things could be simpler. I feel like I have no control. I have an office door that I can’t keep closed because Liam now climbs up the stairs and bangs until he successfully sits in my lap while I try to work. And when I need to make a phone call or am on a phone shift taking incoming calls, my anxiety is at its highest as he tries to jabber while I’m talking. One of these days, I might lose my job because of it. Every time I take him down the stairs and set him down, he screams bloody murder and follows me right back up the stairs. I feel like the worst mommy ever. 

No…not every moment is like this. But it happens everyday without fail at some point during my working hours. It doesn’t matter if someone is here taking care of him while I work – simple fact is…he just wants his mommy. And while I understand that wholeheartedly, I can’t give in and give him 100% of me. I have an obligation to my job and maybe working from home doesn’t make it easy for Liam and I – but it’s my best option and I don’t want to give it up. Every day, we are getting closer to finding out where will will move. The DO match was unsuccessful and so the MD match is what we’re waiting for now. We’ll know for sure in a few weeks…then we can start planning how we’ll sell the house, where we’ll move and my biggest decision – do I still want to work? My heart says no but my head says yes.

I’ve been providing for this family since Stephen and I began our relationship. I have anxiety feeling that I’ll be worthless if I don’t work and continue to provide. And there will be days when life is bliss and I’ll have nothing to do and wish I had a job. Life is so tormenting…. Liam obviously needs me – and so do the older boys. Evan is behind with his speech problems and says he doesn’t want to go to school until he’s 6 – YES – he said this. I’m so unsure of just about everything right now. Stephen is on his last rotation away from home and it makes it so much worse when he is not here. Nothing ever seems to be easy.

Excuse my rant. I must return to work. 

hopes of a simple life

Liam is turning ONE soon. Last night, we threw a birthday party for him 11 days early to join the celebration with Bethany’s (his aunt) 24th birthday. While I don’t mind doing the work organizing and preparing for these parties – like Thanksgiving and Christmas – I am so relieved once they are over. Because even though I’ve done my best to throw a good party and to make everyone else happy – I’m reminded that I’m living for them and not for me. If I was to do it for me – I don’t know what would be different – maybe I wouldn’t do anything. I don’t remember birthdays ever being significant when I grew up or before I got married. I feel like I’m as confused about birthday parties as I am about religion. On the left I have Stephen’s Caucasian “Christian” family and on the right I have my Vietnamese Buddhist family. The two lifestyles/beliefs don’t mix or merge in anyway for me. So I’m left living three lives…one for each set of families and my own little family.

This morning as Stephen left for Rolla, yet another rotation site hours away, a feeling of sinking inadequacy fell over me and I have been crying off and on all day wondering when I can have some stability in my life.

In exactly four weeks, MATCH DAY will be here. My sister’s baby, Dexter will also be expected to arrive into this world. It’s a day I have been looking forward to for the past 4 years. When Stephen and I made the decision for him to go to medical school away from home, we never thought it would be this hard. It has felt like a lifetime but it’s finally coming to an end (somewhat). I know that I can’t survive another year living apart…or living here. I need a chance to live in this world where I can be me without feeling like I haven’t done enough to make each and every person around me happy.

As expected, while I’m throwing this party for my sister in law and Liam, my family called to say they were having a get together. Anger flashes over me. Why? Because I feel bad I’m throwing a party they didn’t get invited to? Why? Because my “American” party would never be good enough for my family. My photo banners, cupcakes and appetizers would be subject to criticism and ridicule. Why else? Well…because I want to be with my family despite how they make me feel. In 2 weeks, we’ll have a party for Liam with my family so I shouldn’t feel bad – but I worry about the things they’re saying as they’re having dinner without me. I can never win this internal struggle between each of our families as long as we live here – minutes from them. These thoughts have consumed me and have made it more and more obvious that what I need most in my life is to be free from these bonds which keep me tied here. What I want most is to be able to focus on being a mother and wife above all else.

I’m looking forward to a simple life. At this point, we don’t know where we’ll be in a few months, whether or not I will still be able to work, if we’ll rent or buy…but I’m looking forward to it all because it’s a time of rapid change that will make our lives better in the end.

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Mismanaged

I’m lying awake at 4am because my mind has told me I’ve reached my sleep allowance for the night, or at least it’s reached what it’s used to. This past week has passed by painfully slow amidst the little milestones in our lives with each day.

Stephen turned 30 on Monday. I know a lot of people would say that 30 is not a big deal. But to me it is. I turned 30 in March alone postpartum and spent it with 3 little ones while Stephen was away. I don’t fret the lack of celebration, but in my heart, I do feel a little cheated that life at that moment was the way it was because of our circumstances. Stephen was able to be home with his family and I threw him a surprise birthday party which I felt was a big success with only one minor hiccup which was completely beyond our control. It’s something we get to look back on and remember forever-the good and bad. At 30, we’ve own two homes and have 3 kids. I’m established in my career while Stephen is closer to graduating from medical school. These are certainly things to be proud of.

During my first work break of the day yesterday (Friday), Stephen received an email from Des Peres Hospital in St. Louis where we hoped he would be accepted for residency. He was nervous to read this anxiously awaited email…not that we expected anything to begin with. Sadly, he was told that he was not ranked in the top. They said it was possible, but not probable that the would get into their program. But, he is being ranked and that he can still rank them as well. So the chance is still there, but it is not great. Disappointment has reached us many times since he began this journey. I’ve watched him struggle month after month trying to find ways to be home during his rotations and most months, he is not successful and we find more and more people who are unwilling to accommodate or try to sympathize with our situation. While it was a let down, we are glad to have received some word that will make things more realistic to plan since we can rule one place out and see a clearer picture of what the future may be like. We have 5 months until graduation and I can’t wait for this time to pass.

A coworker asked me today (or technically yesterday), if I have a problem with depression because I had mentioned a few things which made him think that my self worth seemed very low. I answered no….but it’s true that my self worth is low. Work has been very emotionally taxing as it is less about comfort and more about numbers in the big corporate world. I feel that I’ve become devalued as a vital member of a team. It’s also easier to feel that way when I don’t leave the house to see coworkers on a daily basis as my office is one door down the hallway from my bedroom. I’ve been unhappy with work but I think most people are right now from all the conversations I’ve had with coworkers.

So on top of all these thoughts, there’s Liam: our little 10 and a half month fireball who uses me as a human pacifier. I have not had a full night of uninterrupted rest in over a year and a half since I got pregnant with him. Between potty training Evan (while I was pregnant) and being pregnant and nursing him nightly, I get no more than 3 or 4 hours do sleep at a time if I’m lucky. Most nights, Liam seems to stir almost every hour and in sheer desperation to get him to settle back in and for more sleep, I’ve allowed him to use me as a pacifier. Three nights ago, we decided to put that to an end. He has consistently woken up every hour frustrated and confused as to why I’m not nurturing him in the same consistent manner I have been for the past 10 months. Sorry baby, I need my sleep and so do you. Since I’m laying here writing, I guess my thoughts include a bit of hope. I’m encouraged that it is getting better to console him with each waking. He isn’t crying or whining as long but maybe it will be a struggle again at 5am as it was the first two nights we did this. I’m looking forward to a full nights rest in the near future for all of us.

I’m mainly awake because I’m anxious. An issue with a family member came up shortly after Noah’s birthday in October and Stephen and I have tried to avoid it in our attempts to move on and block it all out. But, the time has come for us to face it and I can’t picture a beginning or an end. I don’t know how to start a conversation that encompasses so much frustration and hurt. And I don’t know how a conflict that began with our marriage can truly be resolved with another talk as we’ve already had a few in the past 10 years. This too shall pass, they say. I hope and know that statement is true….but they never tack on the dooming statement that it will return with a matter of differing perceptions and opinions or acceptance of our ever evolving lives. We do hope to be respected for how we choose to live our lives and how we choose to spend our time, but that’s so hard sometimes when the world around you imposes itself on what it thinks should happen. It’s an act of God to keep Stephen home during these rotations and an act of God to get them scheduled at all. It’s frustrating to handle the spontaneity of family functions and even the planned ones.

I need rest. Physically, mentally, spiritually. Yes….even spiritually. I know I’ve said before that I find myself in limbo about it. And here is one example why: It makes me angry when people on Facebook claim to be spiritual leaders and warriors in their faith, but they show no Christianity in their hearts to see true hurts or to reach out. They are what seems to me to be the most self righteous, most self entitled, and most disappointing people I know – especially where they think using that title would give them a thumbs up. Because truly…when I read and witness that most are attention seekers who only put themselves first (not God)….it’s a total thumbs down from me. Hypocrites don’t get any scoring points from me. I deal with enough BS in my life to see right through you….so don’t pretend to be my friend by liking the pictures of the cookies I post. Simply like my picture without being pretentious and for your honesty, I would truly be grateful. There’s my frustration with social media. That’s a tangent for you.

To all our faithful readers…pray for us and with us. I’m hoping Liam will begin sleeping through the night soon. That Christmas will pass with joyful ease. That match day will come and we will be happy with the outcome and that life will get easier.