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My Own Awakening…

Conflict is hard. Internal conflict is harder. I have had conflicting feelings over issues at my work place for 2 -1/2 years now.  So many mixed emotions.  I talk it out with my closest family members but have never discussed it with folks at work because I just never felt there was room for that.  To involve others in my personal emotions about a co-worker just never seemed fair.

This week I had an awakening. A moment of clarity that is helping me move further away from conflict.  I had a substitute fill in for my position while I filled the role of my supervisor, as she was recently out for two days.  I saw glimpses of my old-self in the young girl who filled my role.  She jumped in, she had creative ideas, she saw wonderment in what was old news to me now.  It made me sad, it made me realize how far I have stepped away from what’s good in me and how often I hold back what I would have once offered. I have identified these things in myself before through this conflict. I have held anger and frustration about this for a long time. Blaming my supervisor for having conditioned me to be this way, feeling like a lesser version of myself while at work. Not ever feeling valued by her, not having her notice when I am creative, having her be so controlling that my ideas are not accepted anyhow…the list goes on and on for why I am not me in my job anymore.  I have held on to these things and they are heavy.  A constant feeling of her not even deserving me to be at my best. What I know to be true is this is clearly toxic to myself and I have known for quite sometime that I’ve GOT TO GET OVER IT! That is the inner conflict. Not feeling understood. We have attempted to discuss things and neither one of us understands the other. I am a communicator and she is not.

She said some hurtful things to me when we attempted to discuss our issues 2- 1/2 years ago. Things that I was stunned to hear. They replay in my mind over and over since they were said. We have worked together 10 years now. She was always what seemed to be an understanding individual, easy going, nice person.  When I took the position I started as part time and it was then offered as a full time position. She was my cheerleader through my decision making process, I was re-entering the workforce after having been a stay-at-home mom for a long time. Going back to work full time was a frightful feeling, not knowing how it would feel to not be 100% at either place, but she eased my mind with thoughts of being able to take time when I needed it for my family. I accepted the position and my family began to adjust at home. What could not have been predicted at that time is what happened in the years to follow.  In my writing of Questioning Everything II, I talk about the hard times my family has gone through in recent years. I was supported at work through all of these medical issues and took the time I needed for my family. I was acutely aware of how my absence from work must be affecting others, but my family had to come first and I would convince myself of this daily to stay focused at home and release the guilt.

What happened 2 -1/2 years ago was that my supervisor began to use body language and silent treatments to what seemed to me at the time an attempt to send some kind of message. Her lack of communication was something that always worried me and I would share with my family at home that I wondered if she could really be okay with all of the time I had needed, but she always greeted me at the door with a smile and was always extremely understanding.  Well, I feel other people’s energy very easily and the message she was trying to send was making me feel very uncomfortable at work. When the day approached that we would be going our separate ways for summer vacation I approached her and asked if we could discuss what was happening between us.  I addressed some of the issues I thought we may be having. What was an attempt to communicate became a very cloudy, confusing time.  We got nowhere. She said hurtful things that I never knew she felt and I was stunned by them.  I had wondered so many times if she really was okay with me and all the things I had to deal with at home. Always wondering if she felt she needed more from me at work. Because I had gone over these things in my mind and ‘felt her out’ emotionally through it all ~ she never once stated to me that it was a problem ~ So, I would always revert back to her always supporting me as a mom first when I was considering the job.  I was not exceeding my allotted time for my job description at work, I was within my contract. So, I felt she really was understanding and didn’t have a problem with how much time I needed to be away from work.

When I approached her that afternoon I asked if everything was okay, that I had been feeling like she was different towards me and was there something we needed to talk about? I knew I would be walking out that June and wanted to clearly know what it would feel like to walk back in in September. The comments she made that day have stuck with me ever since. Things like – “It just seems like you don’t care”… When I asked if we could move forward together she said “I’m not sure we can continue on together”. She said so many other things that were confusing to me.  I was stunned at her comments.  When I approached her, I thought we had a couple things to discuss to move forward but she clearly had allowed things to fester so long that she wasn’t sure we could continue together in the fall…?  I was deeply hurt.  She proceeded to tell me that she didn’t know if what she was feeling was her own personal feelings or having to do with me and work. She would use the summer to ponder these things and we would talk again in the fall. I said okay and went on my way.  I walked out of that office with instant resentment, here I was trying to be proactive in asking hard questions so we could progress in the fall stronger than we were in the spring.  Mind you I am her assistant, she is the supervisor, my leader…  Why was I approaching her when there’s a problem?

When we returned in the fall we had a whole staff Welcome Meeting with our principal.  He discussed stress and how we need to not bring it into the classroom.  I heard him, and was feeling good about having asked the hard questions in the spring to alleviate some of the negative feelings in our space. I was anxiously anticipating my supervisor and I sitting down soon to talk about what we had pondered over the summer.  She had experienced a divorce last year and I was pretty positive that she would realize that she had been bringing much of her own personal negative feelings into our workplace.  I felt positive that what we had to deal with between us was surely smaller than it seemed when I left in the spring. I felt this way because I thought we were a good team, I am confident in my work, I work hard and I love my job.

What happened next absolutely flabbergasted me. The welcome meeting ended and we all went back to our respective classrooms. She did not return right away.  I went about my work and when she returned she told me that in light of the message our principal had given us she had gone to him to discuss our situation.  I was floored! She went to our principal, my boss?? She reported that when we were to speak this time we would have a mediator that was assigned to us. Do you know that when we sat down in that meeting, she pulled out a notebook and had a list of all the things I went to her with for concerns in the spring??  I was so set a back, I was so hurt.  I was flooded with emotions.  To this day I am embarrassed that I cried during the meeting.  At one point, she sat back pointed at me in my frustration and said to our mediator “See, this, I don’t know what to do with this.”  I am a very passionate person, I am sensitive, I wear my heart on my sleeve.  She said things like “If we are going to talk about feelings, then… I feel like you have taken advantage of my kindness.”  Again, flabbergasted.  I was actually able to respond to that (at other times I was simply speechless) and I told her that I have never taken advantage of anything! I knew in that moment she didn’t know me at all and that we had some severe miscommunication happening.  I’m honestly not sure where we got with our discussion that day.  I know where it got me… it got me to a place of not trusting.  I thought I knew her, I thought she knew me, I actually thought we were friends. I learned to proceed by keeping my guard up and not share personal things with her. I have spent the last two years looking internally and wishing I could figure out a way to understand why this happened this way. All the while, not being free to be me in my workplace.

I spent the whole first year fuming at all the inconsistencies in the things she had stated.   When I had asked her the day with the mediator why she hadn’t pointed any of these “problems” out, why she hadn’t asked me to stay later on a day when I came late due to a meeting for our foster daughter, why she hadn’t dealt with these things when they were happening?  Her answer was that there isn’t enough time in our busy day to discuss these things. In the fall of my first year back I was hyper-sensitive to all of the things she called me on.  Noticing things I had never bothered to pay attention to before. Other people who are late to work (her – everyday!) Noticing that there is time for her to have ‘coffee chat’ everyday for 15 minutes or more with colleagues in her office, time to bring in a student teacher and utilize all of the curriculum and projects we created together and claim them as your own.  Time became a main focus for me, as she had called me on taking too much.  We agreed with the mediator that day that I would log my extra time to be earned time for personal time.  What I felt I knew then and find great satisfaction in proving everyday is that I earn a great deal of extra time with the extra hours (beyond my contracted hours) I put into my job.  I am contracted from 8:15am to 2:40pm, so I was told clearly that any time I put in extra it is earned time.  This was agreed upon in our meeting with the mediator.  Since I’ve been writing time down I currently have 6 hours of earned time still available, with another book fair coming in the spring.  We have 2 Book Fairs every year. Up until 2 years ago we used to do evening events as well as come in and set up on the weekends, this time was never documented in the past. We would do special events and I would happily stay late, work them in the evenings, this year without coming in on weekends and without any evening events I earned 9 hours of extra time during our fall book fair alone.  I was never asked in the past to keep track of the time, it felt as though we just had an understanding. I now know how important keeping track is.  I was hurt that she felt I would take advantage of this, I was always happy to do whatever she asked me to.

I have found personal gain in the things I’m working through, learning to pat myself on the back for a job well done and finding ways to help others in my building and continue to always be kind and helpful.  I feel changed ~ I struggle with the decision to move to another space in the building.  When I went to my principal in the first year after this happened, requesting a move, he asked me to stay and said he needed me in the space I am in, I respected that and continue to work hard in that position for him, for our school…not for her.  I love my position, I love what I do.

You must be asking…Where is this clarity? Where is the moment that helped with easing this conflict?  The clarity is my acknowledgment that she has a certain perspective and I need to try and respect that.  Not for her, but for me!

I have asked myself the question over and over again if there was any truth to the things she was saying that day?  Was I arriving to work on time?  Was I using a lot of extra time?  What I realize now that I wouldn’t allow myself to take into account before through the hurt was that all of those things had truth to them.  I am seeing through the hurt now and able to realize that from where she was standing (her perspective) all of these things had truth to them.  Am I still hurt? Yes.  Did I feel she was singling me out? Yes. Did I feel like she should understand more? Yes.  But were they true? Yes.

What I realize is from her perspective she has no idea what it felt like to be me in those days and years.  She couldn’t possibly know what it felt like to be my husband’s caregiver and stay strong and present for my three children through all of it.  The love and concern I felt for him and the determination to help him feel better and get better ~ to overcome our family set backs… She won’t ever know what it was like to be the foster mother to a teenage girl who lied and manipulated on a daily basis. What it felt like to fight for my family’s well being while trying to be this young girl’s cheerleader and guide her when she didn’t want to be guided.  She could not understand the turmoil inside myself for having to make choices about where my loyalty stood when things were hard at home and at work, and I chose to put most of my energy into my home.  She didn’t respect or notice that through that turmoil and with the guilt I was making my own self sick.  I had ocular migraines from stress that kept me from work,  I had gall bladder surgery, I had neck issues… the stress was hindering me.  I know now that she was getting the least of me. The clarity is that I now know I could not have changed that.

I didn’t know then the tole it was taking on her. I see it now, I get it, I feel bad, I have apologized, I have thanked her for her patience time and time again. But now… Now I am back!  I show up everyday on time or early, I work very hard. I am healthy again and my family and my home is strong.  We did not lose ourselves through the struggle and I do not believe that I deserve to be held on probation for all that we’ve been through.  But can I change that part?  No I cannot!  So I continue to work hard,  I become more and more creative as the fog lifts from the stress I was under.  I even move further away from the anxiety that had built of what’s next for our family?  Everyday!  I am empathetic enough to know that that had to be my supervisor’s feelings too… I get it, I’m sorry.  I never wanted any of what happened to happen, but it did. I am willing to look deep and find understanding.  I am strong and confident ~ I know who I am.  I know where my attention is needed to get a mission accomplished ~I am able to give that to my job again! I am letting go of the guilt and the anger.  I am proud of myself.

communication, expectations, family, life, marriage, respect, responsibility, trust, Uncategorized

Marriage ~ working together

This morning I am reflecting on my life;  I am reflecting on how I have gotten to today.  When I take time to stop and reflect ~ I am truly grateful.  I often speak in my posts of my time and my relationship with my children, but the truth is my marriage, my husband, is the root to our beautiful family. It takes work to be grateful, it takes work to have a good marriage… I am blessed that I have a partner beside me willing to work.

Marriage is defined as ‘a union of two elements’… A union is ‘the action or fact of joining or being joined’.  When my husband and I joined each other in this life we became teammates, partners, allies, and honestly… best friends.  You certainly don’t know this is the case right away!  You begin by living together, trusting each other, ironing out differences, listening…  If you really listen you learn about one another and learn from one another!  In every decision we make in life we must put effort into it to make it work… marriage follows this rule threefold!!

What I find interesting in this life is that each simple moment leads to things you could have never imagined.  My husband and I have been married 23 years and 6 months!  Could I have ever imagined us being here? No. Did I know then that each struggle, each decision, each triumph together and literally each moment (good or bad) would lead us to the strength in togetherness we feel today? No.  We have built the life we live today.  By being true to ourselves and true to each other we strengthen our bond minute to minute.  When I hear others complain about their husband or wife I have a hard time understanding it. If you have agreed to be married… to be partners & teammates to one another… I believe you better find the good in what another is attempting to do and learn to share it, learn to tell them and others what is good about what they are contributing.  We can all find fault, we can all blame others, but being teammates means you rely on each others strengths to ‘join together in a cooperative effort’.  Venting what you dislike about your partner , your teammate, to others will always weaken your bond. Work hard to tell others what’s *great* about your partner, and most importantly when you identify the good in them… work hard to tell THEM what is great about them!! This will strengthen your bond!!

My husband is exceptional.  He is reliable, he is willing,  he is committed, he is flexible, he is consistently respectful and supportive.  Now, does he occasionally veer away from these many attributes? Of course! Do I? Of course!  Do we need to focus on the times we veer away from being our best? No.  Always focus on the good, be grateful for the times we are able to accomplish our best intentions… realize that each other is trying!  Learning to respect the good in one another is your key to happiness… bring each other up not down!  Of course there will be times when things are off balance and you can’t find the good if there isn’t any to be found… but when you chose to have this person as your partner, your teammate in this life, there was good… if you find the courage and work hard to voice what you love about them and show gratitude for what is good when it is good ~ then when things are off balance you have leverage to speak about it. Respect comes from built trust… if you have put honest gratitude into your partners emotional bank, if you have allowed them to see and believe their worth and excellence to you over time, it is easier to talk about and deal with the tough stuff.  I’ve said it in parenting… but I believe it to also be true in marriage… All we expect is respect!

My husband is my best friend. We laugh together and  we cry together. This isn’t something that comes magically, there isn’t a soul mate out there that is just the right one that you skip out into the flower-filled field with and run into the sunset… but there is a partner willing to work along side of you and be your forever teammate.  They will sacrifice self for you and they will tell you when you’ve done well and they’ll tell you when you’ve done bad.  They will love you for you.  The hard work you put in is so worth the time, so worth the struggle… if you take care of every moment, be your best and demand the best from them… you will lead yourself to a place you never knew existed.  23 years ago I was young, I was learning…I met this man and we fell in love,  we have built a successful life, a life to be proud of.  Through all the changes and transitions we remain modest and grateful for one another.  We have built true love… it didn’t just come to us… we continue to work at it… side by side… we are stronger together than we are apart!  I wish true love to be created by all.

adult children, anxiety, clarity, family, identity, life, marriage, peace, purpose, raising kids, school, Uncategorized, writing

Ready to write…

It’s been a while. A while since I’ve been moved to write again. I have been doing a good job at looking inward and searching for a better understanding of me in the past few months.

I have been disconnected from FaceBook since May (9 months) and it feels refreshing. I do not do much social media at all. I am a new member of LinkedIn and I am enjoying it,  seeing other people’s professional accomplishments and other’s rooting them on for it, now that’s refreshing! We did away with cable and only use our Amazon FireStick for our TV, this has helped not have the news in our face.  I have a routine of doing a morning check of the news on my phone before work from sources that I have hand selected and of whom I trust.  This has been helpful in my daily life.  I was just feeling bombarded (literally!) by too much information.  I needed to set boundries and set limits for myself,  I find the steps I’ve taken have been helpful.

My husband and I are navigating the empty nest very well. We survived holiday break; getting first semester grades, adjusted social lives and the return of higher grocery bills. They have both now returned to the University, happy and ready for a successful second semester. We have settled into being just the two of us again and have adjusted to not hearing from them very often. It feels good to know they are out there navigating this big world without having to rely on us for much. They are doing great! Our oldest son is still very happy in his new career and is thriving in the business world. I guess it’s feeling more and more like I can breath.

Speaking of breathing… I began to meditate. This is something I’ve often thought about but have never practiced.  I am using the Calm App on my phone and it has been wonderful. I highly suggest it. It has helped to create space in my mind, I feel I am more at ease and have more clarity these days. First of all, I’ve never been able to let myself shut out the world. I literally put in my headphones and it is just me in my space for 20 minutes a day (10 min of meditation and 10 min of stretching).  I don’t know where or what anyone else is doing, it’s about me! This is an entirely new concept for me and it feels amazing! I feel as though I am on my way to taking better care of myself. I’ve done an awful lot of caring for others, but myself, not so much.

Which leads me to my husband having his surgery.  He had his second hip replacement  surgery in October. He is still doing all of his physical therapy and working hard at being back 100%… but can I just tell you, he is OUT OF PAIN!  The transformation is unbelievable! He is happier, he is stronger, he is more confident!  I am better because he is better.  I worried about him so much, he was always in pain. That is gone and we now take walks together, he wants to do things with me again… we are literally living a new life! I have to admit for almost the entirety of our marriage my husband has been in pain.  He has had 6 surgeries in a 10 year period and prior to his first hip surgery 10 years ago he suffered with the pain of his arthritis for a very long time.  He is a very young man for having been through all of this. He is only 53 and I am 46.  We have our sights set on our future now, he is healthy, happy and pain free.  I have been a caregiver to my children, my husband and anyone else who needed help for what feels like my entire life.  I am entering into the ME ZONE.  I am exercising, meditating, saying “no” when asked to join committees and boards.  I am feeling refreshed for the first time in a very long time. It feels simply wonderful!

There is something else that is different also. I need you to understand my husband is Superman.  He has worked to provide for us throughout all of his pain, he does not complain, he works a full day and then works around the house and maintains anything needing to be done… he is my hero.  Well, that being said, he is also my children’s hero. The disturbance and upheaval of our family from him being laid up over the years has taken a toll on myself and my children.  I have had anxiety since I was a child, but with the life we have experienced over the last 10-12 years it has flared up in new ways. The uncertainty of his surgeries, his recovery, his being out of work, the finances, his physical therapy, our car accident when he couldn’t be with us… the list goes on. This has taken a toll on my mind and my body.  I have been the one to care for him, I cared for the kids, I worked to keep his spirits up when he felt down about being laid up and not able to be the partner I needed. I was everyone’s cheerleader. I worked during this time also, trying to find the balance between my work and my home, this proving not to be an easy task.   Well, it seems we are on the other side of it now. He is feeling strong in body and mind, He knows what he needs to do to stay healthy and works hard at it everyday.  But in the meantime our two youngest children are battling with anxiety. They are both in college now and their doctor has told me that the trauma to the family through all of these unsettling times and not being sure of the outcome for their father being in and out of hospitals so often has played a big role in the people they are today.  They are fearful of the unknown, the “fight or flight” response is very real for them. Navigating college life and balancing their lives has been a bit of a struggle, but what I know from experience struggle brings strength and I have great faith in their ability to overcome these feelings of being out of control of their lives.  This is an unsettling time of not being able to see your future clearly and it is uneasy.  I do feel a lot of guilt due to my not being what they needed through out our family’s hardships. I wish it could have been different but what I know now is that I could not have controlled what happened to us.  We got through the difficulty and have persevered. They are seeing the end result of where the struggle has brought my husband and I and I know they will be ok.

Life is a journey, we often don’t know what’s around the next corner.  This exact notion has brought me great anxiety on the heels of many twists and turns, but I am also learning to embrace it. And with my husband standing strong beside me and loving me more everyday… I feel unstoppable.  It feels like we’ve climbed and climbed and have finally gotten to some sort of clearing in the trees and the sun is shining.  We can see the path ahead of us… we will just stop here for a while and enjoy the view!

“I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship.” ~ Louisa May Alcott

 

 

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Being Fair in an Unfair World

It’s what I was taught, it is what I have taught my children.  Having values and principles to live by…  Treating others with fairness, being trustworthy, being honorable… all of these attributes are supposed to add up to something, there was an unspoken understanding that you would somehow be rewarded for the hard work it is to sustain such dignity.

Well, here I am… 45 years old… awakening to my purpose and questioning everything. If you’ve read my other posts you’ll see that I am in one of life’s many transitions ~ spending my free time these days in reflection.  Amidst the first weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency and seeing our world turned side ways ~ feeling divided in so many ways ~ I assess my own life.  I honestly question whether I’ve properly prepared my children for what they are entering into.  Could teaching them fairness and goodness really have been a mistake?

Our youngest son is 18, a senior in high school, and preparing for his next phase in life.  He is the captain of his basketball team, the team is doing very well this season (11-3) and they just played their most recent game last night, a tough match.  We are waking up this morning to a devastating loss, we lost to a team that is one of our rivals in the league.  We beat them in our own gym a few weeks back by 20 points and were now meeting them in “their house”. I do not want to make excuses for the loss, I simply want to point out my observations and how sad it makes me feel to reflect on it this morning.

I’ve never used tactics to get ahead.  I have never taught my children to plot and scheme against anyone or anything to win or overachieve. This is where in the world we live in today I open myself up for such hurt and I wonder if I’ve done the same to my children?  The harsh reality, which took me much too long to realize is the world isn’t fair.  We arrived at the game last night to find out they had changed the start time due to a recruiting event the school was having… our boys are then in the visiting locker room for longer than usual and there is excessive banging and screaming on the outer doors and walls… we then enter into the gym, a packed house for their event, and their coach quickly decides to forego the National Anthem… the game began and our kids were already out of rhythm and out of focus ~ they got us off our feet before the game even began.  These are tactics.  Tactics the coaches went to great lengths to scheme and work out long before the athletes went head to head on the floor.  Then there was the questionable referees, don’t get me started. These types of things I have a very hard time understanding and accepting ~ this is a basketball game ~ these are kids ~ I get winning and losing and I am very competitive ~ but competitive on a level playing field ~ I HATE the use of tactics and defrauding a situation to get ahead.  I know, I know… I am in for a world of hurt for feeling this way and thinking others are going to play by the rules… that is honestly my life story.

I grew up thinking everyone was taught like me to be fair and just… that everyone wouldn’t be able to live with themselves if they did something to hurt someone else without saying sorry ~  I know now that that is not at all the case and I am having a difficult time accepting it.  I am so mindful in my days that clearly seeing people doing these types of things to each other, or to me or to my children is extremely disheartening.  It has become a daily occurrence, on our TVs in the media, in the workplace, and now in our schools and on our playgrounds.  I am again in uncharted waters and will work to guide myself and my children through it.

“Not everyday is a good day, live anyway.  Not all you love will love you back, love anyway.  Not everyone will tell you the truth, be honest anyway.  Not all deals are fair, be fair anyway.”

 

adult children, clarity, family, identity, life, marriage, purpose, time, Uncategorized

Time

When I think of time and question if I use it wisely… I am conflicted.  Overall in my life I would say that we use our time well… we use it for creating precious moments, being together & building family memories.

But do you see how when I think of “my” time my response turned immediately to a “we” and I referred to family memories, being together and creating precious moments… Well, that is the conflicting part now that my children are grown.  They are creating there own memories now, elsewhere, without me.  I know that’s the way it is supposed to be, I know this means we’ve done a good job at parenting… but this is part of the transitioning process I am finding to be so difficult.

When I think of “my” time when my kids were young ~ my time was always dictated by their schedules.  School activities, sports practices, rides to friends houses, appointments… you name it we were doing it and all of these things were written out on a calendar ~ my life was based on their schedules ~ I didn’t have to think much about it. We were always in doing mode!  Now that they are grown, and two of them out of the house, my time is becoming my own and I have NO IDEA how to use it!  Literally… even dinner has been a struggle… even our dinner time was dictated by practices and activities.  With no instruction, no have-tos, I find myself not knowing how to manage my own time now.  Our youngest is 18 and a senior in high school, we are doing college visits and we use our time these days for senior year basketball games and keeping busy helping with all aspects of the basketball program… this has always been our normal with our kids activities.  With that on the horizon of no longer being our reality… it frightens me. I’m not sure how long it will take me to stop mourning that part of my life and begin to know how to live the next phase.

I believe my husband wishes I would figure it out. I think that even though we speak of the major differences in our lives since the kids have grown, I realize that the running the kids around, the hours in the car with them, the scheduling of activities, all those aspects were mine during his work hours… although he understands the changes, I do believe they are impacting my life differently.  I do know that I am happier when I’m busy.  I cannot sit idle too long or my energy is used to overthink things, and when my mind is racing it often can turn negative and I beat myself up for not doing anything.  I need to find ways of keeping busy and my mind hard at work.  I’m not sure what that looks like for my future.  When I think of next year, I think of our youngest son playing basketball at college and the potential for us to travel to games, I think of our oldest with his new promotion, his steady girlfriend and his life direction and the possibility of weddings and grandchildren… but again, do you see that my thoughts revolve around our children?  I can’t envision my alone time with myself or with my husband yet.  This is frightening.

As I have stated in many posts before, I am a work in progress. There are changes ahead and I can’t see my life’s direction clearly yet.  For 23 years (our oldest son’s age) I have had my daily decisions made for me…I dealt with things directly in front of me. I’ve been a mom, I’ve poured my whole soul into that one job… my role as my children’s mom is changing. Even with each day I am learning how to fit into the role of a mom with adult children, their needs are so different now…  I think I’m doing okay.  I will continue to grow as a person and learn my own likes and dislikes again… I will be patient with myself…I will learn to focus my energy on me and into my relationship with my husband.  After all, we just bought his and her bikes… spring days riding by the beach with my love… I can see it!

 

 

 

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The Beautiful Island

rsch112-exterior1-1  I know of a beautiful island.

An early morning walk on a crisp October morning shows truth.  Walking past vacant pristine homes, sitting above, beside and near the water.  The sun is rising on the water, boats shine whiter than you’ve ever seen against the deep blue of the harbor and the ocean.  The cormorants have fished for there breakfast and now rest on the dock drying their wings in the newly rising sun.  The dew from the cool morning shows each and every spider web along the shrub line of the pond, a misty fog lies just above the water.  The quiet allows each bird to sing a good morning greeting to passerby.  I am lucky enough to be who they greet.

This is my home.  Time was my own this morning, I chose to greet the day early.  Along my walk this morning I saw a truth.  I left my coffee in the car, making a conscious decision to plan to enjoy it later in the comfort of my own home.  Nalah (my dog) and I set out on a walk, from driving in the car this morning I knew it was a delightful morning, but then to step into it… To set out along the oceans edge and feel and smell the air ~ just magnificent! The beauty of course took me over, but what I also noticed is that it was only us on that road this morning.  We shared the space with one fisherman, one gentleman, who had just finished testing his line off a borrowed dock. He crossed the quiet road to his island-worn truck and we gave a friendly-knowing nod as we passed.  Each one of the picture perfect homes I passed had a porch, on the beach that faced the water, each home was vacant. Not a soul around to see the beauty and the magnificence that I was witnessing.  Not one person was sitting on even one porch enjoying their coffee, enjoying the view… not one family member from these homes were here to see this.  WOW! It just hit me… it was bizarre, it was sad.  I pictured where they might be right now?  These million dollar properties sit vacant while they do what? Where?  Were they sitting in traffic headed to work in the city while I looked over their property?  I thought about the cormorants sitting upon their dock… thinking of the expression “free as a bird”… so fitting to see the birds sunning themselves and enjoying the view.  I thought about going back and getting my coffee and walking through the inviting arbor leading down the stone path to their dock to enjoy it.  My thoughts then turned to alarms and cameras… trespassing.  Trespassing across beach and rocks on an unused property to enjoy the beauty of nature because I have the time and they don’t!?!?   The truth is these homes are clearly summer homes, maybe even just trophy homes that get frequented only one month out of a year… But it feeds the ego to have it, to possess it.  The sprinklers had run overnight on their perfectly manicured lawns, the heating or air conditioning units were running, and there were covered cars in the garages. Wow… But not one single person there to enjoy their coffee. Mind boggling!

I am thankful I am here. I am grateful for each new day.  I live in a beautiful humble home on a splendid island and I have a happy family.  As I grow in this life ~ in age, experiences and in wisdom ~ I become acutely aware of where my joy comes from.  Often I wonder if the people who possess those homes could possibly be as humble or grounded as I am?  Do they feel intense joy over the little things like I do or has life just gotten too big that they forget to be grateful?  Does the humility and gratitude come from working hard and having to look in on these situations from the outside?  I feel blessed to have the time and the grace to absorb a morning like today.  My mind is not always as clear as it is today, but I relish in my ability to reach this point of clarity. One thing I like to say ~ I am Blessed to know I am Blessed!

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Supporting the struggle…

There is always struggle.  We all struggle with something. There are different dictionary definitions of struggle, the one I most relate to today is: To be strenuously engaged with a problem, task or undertaking; to have difficulty or make a strenuous effort doing something.  Sometimes the struggle lies within ourselves.

Since being a mom I often feel my heart beats outside of myself.  With each difficulty that has met my children, I feel their pain.  As a mom you just want to relieve that pain, take it away. I can recall attempting to ease the pain of road rash from a scooter fall, or the pain of being left out… but over time what I once thought of as difficult… it changes… it becomes something entirely different. Our children are ages 22, 19. & 17 right now.  Our oldest son has graduated college and is currently searching for a job.  Our middle child, our daughter, has successfully completed her first year of college and has decided to defer acceptance for a bit for medical reasons.  And our youngest son is a high school senior, has a steady girlfriend, and is navigating his path to his future.  I guess you could say… We are in the thick of it.

Each one has there one unique set of needs, each one deserves to have our energy and  attention for whatever it is they are going through.  A lot of what they need is cheerleading, positive feedback for a job well done.  That part I feel I do pretty good at, I’ve always been careful to try to notice what they are doing to be successful and give positive praise for it.  When difficulty rises… not so easy for me.  I guess I usually remain positive, finding the silver linings and helping them to focus on that.  This gets more difficult as our children have gotten older, the level of difficulty and the stakes are higher, much more stressful.  This is where my husband is my entire strength… He listens patiently and intently to me, he understands me completely.  I have often referred to our family as our pack… “For the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”  (Rudyard Kipling)  In other words, we’ve always known we need each other, as they’ve gotten older that is to be reminded time and time again…  You are not alone.

With the statement “you are not alone”, when one of the pack is in a current struggle, it takes the strength of each member to support another.  One pack members struggle becomes the entire pack’s struggle. There should be no animosity for the extra energy as one never knows when the pack will need to pull together for oneself.

“Be strong enough to stand alone, Be yourself enough to stand apart, But be wise enough to stand together when the time comes.”