I am a bit behind in getting the story of our life out here. We have planned most of our anniversary trip and cannot wait. Here’s the continuation of our Life story from 1999 through 2004.
SES – Early School Years
Michael began kindergarten in the fall of 1999. He was the first class at our little Catholic school to be in the new wing. He had the sweetest teacher – Miss Laura. Michael was not a very good student – good kiddo just not focused on school. This is where I wish I had been more prepared for what would come. In the 5th grade, we would discover that Michael has ADD.
As a kindergartner, he was all over the place. He loved school but mostly for the social aspects. He had messy hand writing (this is a dead giveaway for ADD) and could not remember his work. We diligently tried to work with him on organization but to no avail. ADD still continues to run his life today.
While Michael was at school, Shaun was in home daycare. He loved it. It was fun for him. Really close to our house. I was a working Mom. Since my boys came much later in my life, I was used to working. I was blessed to be able to work 3 days per week until Shaun was 2 and then I went back full time to start a career in commercial real estate.
At Thanksgiving in 1999, we went to visit my family in Florida. The boys loved going to “Ganny and Pa Gary’s”. We had visited several times since they were born and they came to visit us. My Mom was not her normal perky self this trip. She told me she had been diagnosed with an auto immune disease call Sjogren’s. She has the primary kind – it was literally drying her mouth, eyes and skin. She felt like she was managing.
In January 2001, she got really sick with the flu or so she thought. She asked me to come down and stay with her. I went for several days. She was really weak and tired. She had a doctors appointment the week after I came home. They did several biopsies but did not find anything. For about two months they continued to look. In early March, they decided to do another biopsy. The diagnosis was non-hodgkins lymphoma. When they did the first biopsy, they did not biopsy as many lymphnods as they should have. They started Chemo within a week.
Mom had 2 treatments. She was in the hospital after the second one and I flew down to be with her. It was the lonliest time I can ever remember in my life. I stayed in the hospital room with her. I would rub lotion on her feet. I spent several nights in the stairwell near her rooming crying on the phone with David. I came home and a few weeks later they moved my Mom to hospice. The doctors said that the chemo was not working ad that he Sjogren’s was working against her too.
I went back to Florida the last weekend in May. It was the last time I would be with my mother. It was so hard to watch this incredible woman just waste away. The night she died, Gary called me on the phone. He held the phone up to my Mom so I could tell her that I loved her and that it was okay. Even though I would miss her terribly, I knew I had to let her know it was okay to let go. My Mother let go with me on the phone with her. I was devastated.
That was June 18, 2001. I was 39 and I was so angry. I spent a lot of the next 10 years wondering why God had taken my Mother and let her miss out on so much of our lives.
I understand that’s not the way God works but damn it felt that way!
Life goes on
When I came back from my Mother’s funeral, I was asked to join the retail brokerage team with the company I was working for. At first is was both salary and commission and eventually it changed to just commission. I was one of only about half a dozen women brokers in commercial real estate in Nashville at that time. It was fun and challenging but also very grinding – oh and super cut-throat.
In the Fall of 2002, my sweet baby boy, Shaun, entered the new pre-k program at our little Catholic school. At least now, the boys were both in the same place. What I loved most about this time was driving them to school. We would sing and talk. They loved it.
Building a home together
Also in 2002, we purchased the three acres where our home is today. We decided to build a house. I am happy to say that we made it through the building process. We are pretty in tune with each other, so that made it easy. We went from 2,300 square feet to abut 4,500 square feet. We moved into our new home in November 2003. We live there today and plan to stay as long as we can.
During this time, we began to see a severe decline in David’s mom. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. We would have them over for dinner at least once per week. I remember cutting and trimming her nails and making sure we had ice cream as part of dessert. It was her favorite. David’s parents had always been very loving toward me and they loved our boys. She would read to them when she was still able. She passed away in 2004 surrounded by David and his siblings.
David starts his own business
In early 2004, David left his job with the State of Tennessee to pursue owning his own business. He started his own electrical company. He had been doing side work for awhile so this was a natural progression. He still owns that company today and it is very successful.
In the next post about our life, I will talk about the “school years”. We were very busy parents with sports and activities. There are so many ups and downs. I’ll cover it all!
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