Learning Acceptance

I think I have been taking a sabbatical from writing. It hadn’t been my intent but it seems it just occurred.

I think I felt blocked in a way. I have had a lot of writing ideas so that wasn’t it. I had personal things that I needed to process and until I processed them -maybe not fully but processed them enough – I felt like maybe my writing would not feel authentic.

I was upset over something very personal that I could only touch on vaguely in my writing. So much wanted to come out and that stuff was better for a private journal than a blog.

I have had to decide where my line is in what I share on my blog. Just because I’m upset with someone doesn’t mean I need to air that in my writing. Sometimes it is ok. This time it wasn’t.

So I had to come to some acceptance with that family issue and I have had to try to come to acceptance with some other things that seemed to be causing me stress.

One such issue is my ongoing pain. I am sooooo much better. I am so very blessed. But there is still pain. I can’t seem to use my right arm ( which is my dominate arm) fully or for very long without some pain. I also get flares. It happens when I “overdo” in some way. The problem is I never know exactly what will trigger it. I am learning though but I still get surprised. A lot.

Ice packs have become dear friends. I have been known to walk through the grocery or hardware store sporting an ice bag of some sort under my arm. Ice really is my savior.

I have had to reach an acceptance with this pain. If I had to live like this I certainly could. Would it be ideal? No. Sometimes it’s really sucky. But I’m improved. I’m out living life.  I’ve lowered my nerve pain meds a lot. Hoping to lose some of the weight I’ve gained. Which is another area of acceptance I’ve had to reach. I can’t hate myself bc I don’t look the way I want. I am trying to embrace that I may never look like I really want again.

My body has been through hell. Three surgeries in one year and the last -fat grafting-was supposed to be liposuction on my abdomen that would make me look better and sadly I hate the outcome but the fat had to come from somewhere

So I’m trying to accept this. I’m into being in shape and being skinny. It’s how I grew up. Skinny was good. And sadly I was a chubby kid and That fact was reinforced often by schoolmates and Neighbor Kids. I have spent years battling my minds critical view of my body.

So for me it’s a mental exercise in trying to accept myself as I am now. I’m 54 and I’ve had many surgeries and cancer and I’m menopausal. I can work hard as I’m able (I limited in my activities bc of my nerve damaged right side) but I’m likely not going to look the way I want to ever again. I might but it may not happen and I want to be able to accept that. I don’t want to feel embarrassed for my husband to see my nude body. But I am. He thinks I’m beautiful. I have a hard time seeing what he sees. But I’m lucky that’s what he sees

I really am a work in progress on this acceptance thing. But I’ve come to realize that acceptance doesn’t mean giving up. It means that in this moment in time I accept that this is where I am.

I accept I still have pain but I won’t quit trying to find improvements. I just began laser therapy. It might help.

I do have gratitude for how far I’ve come and I’m thankful I found this brilliant nerve surgeon who wanted to help me as best he could.

I am accepting that my body isn’t what I want to to be. But really if that’s a worry in my life I’m pretty blessed seeing where I was two years ago.

As far as my family issue. I’ve had to forgive and I have had to give much of this to God. I can’t control someone else’s journey and I accept that. And I accept that where i am now – on the edge of this persons life – that I can’t do anything but let them know they are loved. That’s what I can do.

I think maybe I’m in a growing phase. Learning that I can’t be in control all the time.

My two sons just graduated high school. I have been waiting for this day! I feel like we’ve finished the first of a set of hurdles. It’s been a ride. But they begin college in the fall and now it’s up to them. They have all the tools to succeed.

Then going away is bittersweet for me. My role as Mom will change. It already has. Though I’m still buying the things on the “what to bring” list the College provides. It has to get done by someone and they seem oblivious to the fact that College is six weeks away. I, however, am ever aware. But soon I have to let go. I have to say “you need to try to figure this out  “ and let them muddl through.

Part of me can’t wait to boot them out the door. The other part is terrified. This is another thing I have to find acceptance with. I have to let go. I don’t know if I’ll grapple with the empty nest thing, I have my mom living here so I still have a bird in the nest to care for. But I think I’ll miss them more than I am imaging now. . And I know it’s time for them to fly.

But the acceptance comes with letting them do the flying. Letting them steer their course. I know they’ll need me once in a while. (At least for $). But I have to give this one to God and let go of my need to be in charge. I will always be their biggest fan even if they don’t realize it.

I also wonder what do I want to do? If I could catch up on all the things I’m behind on what do I want to do? There’s so many things. Some not attainable now. And some doable.

Since I had cancer I’ve been on this “you gotta live now” motto. And since I’ve been feeling better and have had less pain I want to avoid putting off things for later -when I can. But I can’t do all the things on my list now bc I have responsibilities to others that are a priority. I’ve had to accept this knowing it’s ok to take things a step at a time.

But my biggest question is who do I want to be now that all my kids will be gone from home? I think this is something that I’ll have to feel out.

If anything – I have begun to accept that I don’t always have immediate answers for so much in my life. I am learning to accept that sometimes we just have to wait and see.

And there is some excitement in that for me.

Above average is the new average 


Sometimes I think I’m so smart and I know so much about so much. For years I’ve been talking up college to my kids and encouraging (can be read as pushing at times) my kids to get good grades so the can go to college. “Get good grades so you can go to college ” should  be tattooed on my forehead for as many times as I’ve said it.

And I thought my kids were doing pretty well. I mean not as good as they could be. We all know our kids are geniuses and they don’t always work to their potential -another good tattoo “work to your potential”. But I really thought BC my kids had grades above average they would have their pick of colleges. But I found out different – I had no idea -and I thought i did.

Before I go on I will preface this by saying that my kids may opt to go to a community college regardless of what their averages are. It may make sense for them for various reasons -most of the reasons being they may not be ready to live away at a four year school – oh and money. We have also explained to them that they will have to help pay for their higher education bc a full ride is not coming from mom and dad. We are unable to provide that. So we have a great deal of research to do.

Also, though I have always told my kids they should go to college and have given them many reasons why having a college degree can be a very important asset when trying to get a job, I also realize college is not for everyone. And some kids aren’t ready for college when they graduate from high school. I want my kids to follow their own path and i hope that they will get to work at something they love. I just know that it is hard to know what that might when you are a teen. My daughter does know. At least she has a plan A. But her plan A could morph into plan B later i life. I went through a number of iterations when it came to my career.  Each shift coming at just the right time.

But since we don’t know at the start of high school what the end of high school plan will be: college, gap year,learning a trade, taking time off to work, etc. we have decided that college would be the thing we work for. So we have stressed the aspect of having a good GPA- and what I have found is that a 3.0 average limits the college choices!

We may have some options but I am finding that the options are less BC my kids 3.1 and 3.2 weighted GPAs aren’t considered above average anymore -they are just average. If you look at the website collegeboards.org you can look up colleges and look at where the student measures up to their requirements for admission  – grades , test scores, eye color(ok that’s a lie ) and what I saw was a list of GPAs and next to them what percentage of freshman with that GPA range got admitted to that school and my kids GPAs were at the low end for admittance. Basically anything under 2.99 was toast. I found a few schools that accepted kids with lower GPAs but not the average GPA of 2.4 that I had.

If I had the GPAs my kids have back in my day -another tattoo “back in my day” – I would have been in heaven. As it was I was accepted into 4 colleges with my 2.4 and only 860 on my SATs.

When did 3.0 become the new average?

With college being big business masquerading as institutes of higher education (ok that’s harsh but kind of true -you can get a good education but look at the cost!) and with so may to choose from you would think that there would be more places for kids with GPAs in the 3.0 level and lower to go.

I don’t want to get started on the cost of higher education – but have you looked at it? It is so ridiculous!  I know we should have started a college fund years ago- and we had every intent of doing so. But with the cost of about six years of private school for all 3 kids we never got around to it then add in the bad financial years we have just encountered along with a serious illness tossed in – it never happened and the kids are in the middle of high school. So here we are- and I cannot get over the cost of school. Nor can i get over the amount of planning that goes into the preparation for college. There are the grades and the service hours and clubs and test scores. There is the college choosing process that requires attending college fairs and college tours. There is the application process, the financial aid/scholarship process, sorting out what school can be afforded after the acceptances and aid money comes in. Its a job!

Hard to believe in some countries higher education is free. Some here would argue that it comes with higher taxes and likely true but I am not going to lie- I would love to see free education or very reduced education costs in the US. I would rather not have my child strapped with debt at the end of the college years. Some states have incredibly inexpensive schools but the costs still add up when you add in tuition and fees, room and board.

I have friends who have multiple kids in college and that will be us in a few short years when my boys graduate high school we may have 3 in college all at once. I don’t know how people do it.

The other day my mother sent me an article about Germany opening their free universities up to US students. I asked my kids if they would be interested in going to school in Germany.

“No” was the unified answer. Really? No wandering spirit I guess!

But I might not have to worry about any of this because my kids might not have the grades to get into a 4 year college bc even though I thought they had pretty solid GPAs. Maybe this phenomenon has occurred BC today many more kids are going to college than they were  back in my day (see tattoo). So perhaps this has created so much competition that schools can choose the kids with the higher GPAs BC there are so many applicants to choose from. It’s kind of scary.

My kids have an advantage in that they are Asian. So that is a box we can check on the application that may be a benefit to them – I hate pulling the race card but we know that colleges have quotas they need to meet and they do ask it on the applications. Also there are scholarships for minority students and adopted students – which my kids are. If you look there are scholarship opportunities for almost everything under the sun. You just have to search them out- and as I noted above that is a lot of work!

When I told my son Luke that he needs to work harder to get his GPA up so he had more choices of colleges to apply to – he looked uncomfortable-

“What?” I asked him.

“It’s just so stressful” -Luke doesn’t like stressful. He likes Xbox.

“Welcome to life ” I said.

But later I thought about my days in high school and I remembered little about worrying about grades. I was on the “let me slide by without trying -and let me go to parties and meet boys plan in high school “(not a tattoo).  I had stress but not like kids do now. And I got into college and had a great time in high school (despite the drama) and I had a great time in college and I graduated and got a job and grew in my career and was able to support myself just fine.

Why does it have to be so stressful for my kid?   At this point at age 15 1/2 he isn’t sure if he really wants to go away to college (see above) so why push it when community college could suit him well and he can transfer to a 4 year school for his last 2 years.? I don’t want it to be uber stressful for him or my other kids. High school is supposed to be fun. Right? We are rushing our kids into adulthood but when they get there some stagnate and are slow to mature – maybe BC they never got a chance to just enjoy their time in high school and college BC the pressure to always be looking ahead and planning ahead was so great.

I’ve digressed I know -but I am so shocked that the B average of today isn’t the B average of my youth. And I wonder can my kids make the grades they need to go to a four year school if that’s what they want to do? Did I find out this information in time?

And does it really matter if they don’t make the cut? What will the outcome be? Maybe they will go to a community college and then a 4 year or maybe after a couple years they will opt to work -my daughter  will leave high school with a cosmetology license. She can have a career right out of high school.  Thank God for the tech center in our county public school system and those opportunities they provide.

What I want for my kids is that they can support themselves and a family when the time comes- that doesn’t have to mean a college degree but we all know that is now the norm- a BS or BA almost expected of our kids.  I hope that if their dream is to attend college they will get to do that. If they choose another path thats also great.  What really matters most to me is that they have as much love, joy, and happiness as possible on this crazy ride we call life. Because its a ride and a half.

(And I will always think 3.2 GPA is pretty darn good.)