Fall Brings Changes

The holidays are approaching, fall is in the air, football is what's happening on Saturdays, and school is well into its second month. Ahhh, wonderful times! But wait, what is that? Do you smell it too? No not the aroma of fall pumpkin and cinnamon spice candles, but the stench of stress! 

We have fourteen year old fraternal twins who are complete opposites. Parenting twin boys, after an easy girl ten years older, has proven to be different to say the least. We are learning as we go. One is experiencing puberty before the other, which is bothersome for the one that is not. One is smaller than his peers, a head shorter than his brother, and is asking for growth hormones. One is ready for braces and the other is wanting them but still has baby teeth that are holding on. The twin going through puberty is doing puberty with ADD; that's another story in itself. We are working with teachers trying to figure out the best way to help my very smart, but nutty little professor remember to turn things in on time which is why his grades are suffering. At the same, time we are trying to build confidence in the one that, although excelling, feels different because he is small. It’s a frustrating process on both sides. Mama stays stressed with worry in trying to get through her third time in eighth grade. Two beautiful boys, that shared my womb at the same time, are so very different and struggling to embrace their individuality. How can I make the process less frustrating for us all? That's the question that keeps me awake at night.

I was talking to my two little men as they shared their frustrations and I remembered the twin trees in our front yard. As we stood at the front door before school, I called their attention to the trees.

“Boys, look at the trees. They are the same kind of trees. They are the same age planted at the same time. Why is one displaying its beautiful fall wardrobe ahead of the other? Is one tree inferior to the other? Do they both not have a beauty of their own? As we have watched them over the past ten years what have we learned about the twin trees?”

They both agreed that in the end, both would display their fall splendor before shedding their leaves, though one ahead of the other, in the time that was appointed. Learning to be comfortable with who you are is a life lesson that is one of the hardest for all of us. Middle School is a trying time and parenting twin teenage boys in middle school is definitely not for the faint of heart!

Working full time, living with an auto immune disease and raising a family can be an exhausting balancing act. One area usually is lacking. Parenting though the teenage years is a job within itself.Dealing with stress is a huge challenge with MS. Stress is rough on the body for all of us, both healthy and those with health issues. Stress can cause MS exacerbations. Sometimes the biggest obstacle is learning to take things one day, sometimes one moment, at a time.

“The key is this: Meet today’s problems with today’s strength. Don’t start tackling tomorrow’s problems until tomorrow. You do not have tomorrow’s strength yet. You simply have enough for today.” ~Max Lucado.

So after a stress filled week with life and all that comes with it, riding the highs and lows of parenting, Mama decided to take a day. Although my boys weren't as enthusiastic as I was at first, they were good sports. This day, I told them, was reserved for being silly, eating desert before supper, and spending the day being childish. A day to look through the eyes of an innocent child before stress and worry interrupted a beautiful care-free mind. Yes, kids are stressed by the chaos of life too. Standardized testing, being constantly compared to their peers, balancing extra-curricular activities with homework is their stress and it shouldn't be discounted.

We spent the day having care-free fun. We made caramel apples and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, carved pumpkins, and decorated for fall. We played frisbee in the yard with our energy laden puppy, June Carter Cash. Most important, we turned off the cell phones silencing unnecessary distractions. We roasted marshmallows, talked around the fire pit, played and brought the peace of the country to backyard of our house. Just as the moon peeked through the clouds that night, the hope that everything would work out came shining through.

We can only do our best as we journey through this sweet life. No one can expect anymore. We change what we can and then we settle into peaceful acceptance.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Karen

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