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Family Archives - Kiki Reflects

Kiki Reflects

one woman's struggle to answer her calling

Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

My New Life

Man, does my life look different nowadays.

A year and a half ago, I married my husband.  I instantly became stepmother to my now 12-year-old stepson.  In February 2016, I gave birth to my son.  I’ve been on maternity leave since.  Next month, I’ll be leaving the Navy (and transitioning into the Reserves).  So, I went from being a naval officer to a stay-at-home mom in a couple of years’ time.

A friend asked me how I like staying home with the baby.  To which I replied, “Sometimes I feel like I’m going out of my mind, but I’m really glad I won’t miss any milestones.”  (I love my son dearly, but he doesn’t talk.)  My new life feels strange sometimes.  Some days it feels like I’ll be going back to work soon, and other days I just don’t know what to do next.  Play with the baby?  Clean the house?  Meet a friend for lunch?  Write in my blog?  I’ve never had this much say (or lack of structure) in my own time before.  And it feels weird.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s exactly what I wanted.  But that doesn’t make it any less of an adjustment.  When people ask me what I do, I still say, “I’m in the Navy” (which is technically true until the end of next month).  Which leads to a discussion about going back to work.

I’m not sure exactly why I want others to know I’m a naval officer.  Maybe it’s because I’m proud of my accomplishment.  Or because it took some time and effort to become one.  Or because I dedicated 12 years of my life to being one.  And it seems as though I’m dismissing that effort just in how I answer one question.

I can’t seem to stay, “I stay home with my son” as my first (and only) answer.  Being a mother is much harder, and more rewarding, than my career in the Navy has been.  There is also no set hours, time off, breaks, or holidays.  I should be proud of “just” being a stay at home mom.  Yet I feel the need to elaborate.

Maybe as I settle into this new role, I’ll answer the question of “What do you do?” a bit better. Until then, maybe I’ll learn not to care so much about what other people think.

Family Memory – Dad Teaches Me About Faith

One of my main reasons for wanting to blog was so I could preserve precious family memories.  Here’s my favorite memory about my Dad.  He passed away in 2009 from cancer, so these moments hold extra special meaning for me.

I was around ten years old and annoyingly inquisitive.  I constantly asked questions of everything going on around me.

It was probably summertime, because my dad and I were up late watching a movie, while my mom and sister were upstairs asleep. We were the night owls of the family.  Dad used to love historical movies, as well as movies about biblical scenes. We were probably watching the latter.

Dad was sitting in his old easy chair with it all the way leaned back – one of his favorite spots in the house.  He told me it was time for bed. As going to sleep was one of my least favorite things to do, I begrudgingly walked over to give him a hug and kiss good night.

When I stood next to him, I asked him a question–quite possibly in a ploy to stall my going upstairs to bed. I said, “Dad… how do you know there is a God…you know, that he exists?” I shifted akwardly and looked down at my hands.  Dad looked at me earnestly for a moment.  For a split second, I thought he might be mad at me.  Then he said:

“You know how Moses led his people away from the Egyptians?”  I nodded yes.  He continued, “well, the Bible says he parted the Red Sea and that’s how he escaped.

“Now, some scientists and historians have studied the area and offered other explanations for Moses’ escape. Some of them believe the tide was low as Moses and his people crossed the Red Sea, and so when the Egyptians tried to cross, they didn’t make it because the tide came in and washed them away.

“Others believe that Moses and his people were traveling on foot, whereas the Egyptians chasing them were mostly on chariots – you know, they were traveling on wheels. Those people believe that Moses and his followers were able to walk or swim to the other side of the Red Sea, whereas the Egyptians’ wheels got stuck in the mud.”

My brow furrowed and I looked away for a second, trying to grasp what Dad was telling me.  This was not what I was expecting at all.  Normally Dad had some scientific explanation for why things were the way they were.  Usually, he would answer my questions and everything would make sense again.  But this didn’t make sense at all.  Why would he tell me of other ways to believe? How does this prove there is a God?  At my weekly Catholic school class, the instructors never gave other explanations or points of view for biblical events. Not only that, but both of Dad’s alternative explanations for Moses’ escape seemed perfectly reasonable to me. In my perplexity, I looked back at Dad and stammered, “Um… okay… so what… do you think happened…?”

Dad replied, “I believe the Bible. I choose to believe that Moses parted the Red Sea.  And believing in God is the same way.  I choose to believe in God.  I choose to believe that He exists.”

I didn’t realize it at the time, but Dad taught me a valuable lesson of faith.  I will always treasure this lesson.

I also value how he reasoned with me and didn’t talk down to me, even at my young age. And now, years later, I choose to believe that God exists, and Moses did indeed part the Red Sea.

Do you ever get that gnawing feeling?

…You know, the one where you want to accomplish something, but it just hasn’t happened yet?  Well, I’ve had that gnawing feeling for about five years now.  I thought maybe it would abate, but it hasn’t.  It’s still there, eating at me.

Ever since my dad passed away from cancer in 2009, I’ve wanted to write a book about him.  Yet, life always got in the way.

Dad written in sand

Photo Credit

It finally dawned on me this year, that I would have to make it happen.  I made a New Year’s resolution to start writing my book by the end of March.  That means I don’t have much time!  I need to start this week!  My plan is to start writing this weekend.  By making my goal known, I’m hoping this will kickstart my writing.

What about you, dear reader?  Is there anything you’ve wanted to do for a while now, but have been procrastinating on?  If so, leave it in a comment below, along with when and how you plan to start on it.  By making it public, I’m hoping we can accomplish our goals this year.

Family – Wesley as Wesleyman

For me, family is very important.  Therefore, I created a small section of my blog with the sole purpose of sharing memories and stories of the people I love.

Who: My wonderful nephew, Wesley

Age: 4

Date: 15 Apr 2011

My nephew, Wesley, proclaims that he has superpowers.  So, his mom asks him if he’s batman or superman.  To which he replies, “No Mommy, I am Wesleyman!”

Hilarious!  I love that kid.


Mom’s Wake-Up Call

Last Wednesday at 3am, I awoke to my cell phone ringing. I instantly felt dread in the pit of my stomach. Good news rarely arrives in a 3am phonecall. I had a feeling it would be bad news.

Unfortunately, I was right.  My sister was calling to tell me that Mom was in an ambulance on her way to the hospital.  She had been experiencing pain in her chest, left arm, and jaw.

What worried us the most, however, was that Mom said she felt scared.

Let me talk about my Mom for a second.  Three months ago, Mom retired from 48 years of nursing (she’s been a nurse since 1966!).  She retired as the Administrator of a nursing home and assisted living center (Administrator=boss lady by the way).  She’d seen it all in her career, having worked in hospitals and doctor’s offices.  She had even been a school nurse.  She’s easily seen as one of the top nurses and Administrators in her area.

So, for Mom to say she was scared and nervous about her chest pain was a big deal.

Mom has Type II diabetes, and so does her sister (my aunt). My aunt also has had multiple heart procedures in the past, including stints and bypasses. Therefore, we were all scared that Mom was having heart trouble.

Later that morning, I drove the two hours to the hospital near Mom’s house.  I was greeting by a room full of friends and family. I got there to see Mom before her scheduled cardiac catheterization.  A cardiac cath is where a catheter is inserted into an artery and threaded through blood vessels to the heart.  In this case, it was inserted into Mom’s thigh.

About 45 minutes into Mom’s procedure, the doctor came out to the waiting room to talk to me.  He said that she had no blockages in her heart.  In fact, her heart looked fine.

I exhaled an immediate sigh of relief.  Which was followed instantly by me asking, “If it wasn’t her heart, then what was it?”  The doctor answered that it could be acid reflux, stress, or even some form of arthritis that you can get in the chest.  At any rate, it wasn’t her heart, which was great news.

About an hour later, I was signing the paperwork to get Mom released from the hospital.  She had to take it easy for the next day or two: no driving, no lifting anything over ten pounds, etc. The doctor also told Mom that she needs to lose weight, and to try to get rid of her diabetes.

I stayed with my mom and aunt until yesterday.  We had several long talks while I was there.  Mom told me she saw this experience as a wake-up call.  Her second chance.  She said she wants to live a heathier lifestyle and try to lose weight.

We went food shopping and prepared healthy meals (easy steamed corn in the microwave, delicious lemony cauliflower, and an eggplant parmigiana recipe found on theglutenfreevegan.com — which they loved!).  Mom and I watched a documentary on Netflix called, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.”  Mom is now researching the best way to incorporate juicing into her diet.

Since I left, Mom has continued to eat well.  In fact, Mom told me today that she has lost six pounds in the past week; she was very excited and surprised about that!

My vision for this blog is to be a source of inspiration for people like my mom, those striving to live a healthier lifestyle.  I hope others can benefit from what I’ve learned.