As difficult as it is, I may as well share because it will soon become obvious as I continue to write about the benchmarks and memories made by our family that David and I are now divorced. It's a painful subject as it is still rather fresh (just made final this year) and I still have not completely accepted the fact that I am no longer a wife and learning to accept the fact that I am in fact now a single mother while my children are learning to be part of now a blended family as David has gone on to remarry my former friend Kim Hibbert, now also a Westenskow who also has four beautiful children. I am realizing we do not always get to have life look exactly how we wish and I am learning that there can be moments of peace and moments of joy even when life is horribly painful.
Visiting the Redwoods July 2017 (See how fast the big boys are catching up to me in height?)
So without going too far backward to explain, I will share some of what the kids have been up to:
Preston, our oldest, is now 12 and just started middle school last week. He shared with me that his biggest fear was that he would not be able to open his locker, causing him anxiety the week before. Fortunately he seemed to have been able to resolve his fear rather quickly. Preston has grown so much, not just physically but also I have seen him grow spiritually as well. It has been difficult to know how much burden he must feel by the divorce and the many changes in our family as I have watched how he tries to protect not only his siblings, but also his parents from things he is afraid may hurt them. He has tried to put a protective arm around me and lead me away from situations he thought might be too much for for me bear emotionally and I have to gently remind him that although I appreciate his love and concern, I can handle what is. It's ok--I need to grow too. I really worry (probably as all mom's do in these situations) about how he will be affected emotionally and spiritually long term by what he has to experience. One day after a particular emotionally traumatic day for him I had him alone as I ran an errand to return something we had borrowed. He told me that he used to question his faith as a younger kid and wasn't always certain, but how as he has gone through the hardship of losing his intact family that he can feel God around him, helping him and he now knows that his Father in Heaven is real and that he will be able to come through this time stronger spiritually after all.
Preston has a very goofy side too! He loves to be wild and act like basically a lunatic to make his siblings laugh and can drive me pretty nuts with his constant poking at and teasing his younger siblings. It reminds me of how my parents used to say, "It's all fun and games until somones crying..." which is usually the case. We are working on finding balance there. ;) He still has a love and obsessions with toys and has expanded his love from Wal-Mart (being the biggest supplier of a wide range of toys in La Grande) to online shopping with Amazon. The kids got to see the shopping possibilities when I moved and allowed them to all pick out the bedding and decor for their rooms to help them feel some ownership in their new home. Since then, 'window shopping' on Amazon has become a bargaining chip for me to use on the two oldest boys as they love to look through the many possibilities of toys and electronics (and ninja weapons lol!) sometimes adding them to my cart so they can return to look at things. I realized one day they were doing this when I accidentally ordered a fidget spinner Eli had added to my cart for future drooling over. Luckily it was not only of those $30 or $40 ones!
Eli---Being Goofy and striking his Meditation Pose on a dock in Idaho
Heavenly Father must have heard my pleadings though because Eli learned to his delight that when he lived with me he was only blocks away from a couple of his good friends from school and then to our surprise his closest friend at school ended up moving literally just around the corner with his sweet family. I feel so much gratitude as Eli is now able to see some positive things in life even when he is not at the farm as he enjoys riding bikes and playing with his friends who live close by.
This last summer a friend encouraged me to try watching all the Marvel movies with my boys as a way to bond with them. My boys were surprised and excited when I told them I wanted to make it a goal to watch the more recent Marvel superhero movies in order with them. I have loved having something to share with them and enjoy the beseeching "Don't watch any movies without us!!" when they leave to spend time with David.
Dallin (Georgie!) loving the stereo I brought home from the studio--it has it's own light show!