What *my Body replies*:

……….what can I say…PLZ think better of yourself and me!!!

I was always a morning person, someone who went to bed no later than midnight, in fact midnight felt as if I had been up all night. Of course that changed when my hubby and I had infants and small children, that was something expected, necessary as a parent: Feedings, sick kiddies, nightmares; I was sure there was a *time limit* — HA!

As our children grew they were becoming who they thought they were called to be, and of course their perspective is very different from what they are truly called to be: Teen years are such a different time for both parents and children, and our first teen’s years were very hard.

While now our eldest has grown and become such a more mature person, as a teen it seemed to me that if I wasn’t *up* to make sure things were going well, well…something very bad would happen.

I spent many hours talking of my struggles with my therapist and spiritual director.  They would always ask if my staying up was *really* helping.  Looking back only very rarely did it help prevent anything; mostly it became a contest of who could *out* stay the other.  What did I need to discern?

What was I trying to do?  I was trying to be the guardian/protector.  What I was really trying to do was control the events.  I remember my mother staying awake night after nights watching my father breathe.  My father was a very stubborn Irishman who drank, didn’t care for himself and really held the family hostage with his actions.  I was trying to do what my mother thought she was doing: Help the family remain stable, make sure she was on patrol, but she would be so tired the next day it was impossible for her to be present.

What all this did was set up situations for failure.  I would become angry at my Hubby for being so nonchalant as to go to bed while our world was crumbling around us!    He knew that to cure the situation there had to be positive pro-action, not reaction and reaction was what my staying up all night was.  It truly did nothing, nothing but create in me a spirit of fear, of control, or anger, and loss of health.

I no longer cared what happened to my body, health, what was the point!   I crawled deeper into a dark place.    My treatment of myself was reflected in how our family was.   My hubby and I had to work on getting me to a place of strength because it was truly needed so that together we could do what needed to be done to bring our eldest out of his darkness.  It was ten long years, tearful years, but also years where we learned and grew as a married couple and as individual people.

Those years were a gift because as each child went through their own dark night of the soul that the pre-teen and teen years can be; my hubby and I had the tools and insight to deal with each situation with compassion, knowledge and pro-action.

Now it time, for me to care for myself; something I should have never stopped doing — live and learn my sister moms, live and learn.

Is a spiritual director working helping moms find God in the everyday. She has been a spiritual director since 1998: worked as a Director of Religious Education for Holy Cross Parish(2000-2005), was Director of Project Rachel, a healing ministry for Post Abortive women(1999-2000). Patty worked a social worker for Catholic Social Services (1988 - 1995) Then studied for spiritual direction at the Dominican Center of Religious Studies, DeWitt Michigan

She is married 20 years and has four children

She has a BS/BA in social work from Aquinas College, CSD Certified Spiritual Director

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