November 30, 2010

Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall

There are more mirrors in my life than I have paid much attention to.

Then unavoidably, one day, I turn a corner and there one is,
With me gazing into it and another image reflecting back.

Have you ever come across one of those?

Oh, for me, it might be the image of a friend, a sibling, a neighbor, my mother,  a coworker, one of my children,  a parent of someone else's child, my ex guys, someone at church, or someone else's child.
Someone other than me-or who I thought I was or hoped I was.

Who knew my life was a mirrored fun house?
Or is it a reflective nightmarish maze I get stuck in?

It can and has been both.

When my son was visiting I saw my self-reflection of the both sides of parenting that I did.
I saw misunderstanding, impatience and ignorance,
And I saw that I don't know how I did all the positive that I did with such a tumultuous life.
My son is such a conscientious and loving father.
So in that respect, I have been a much harsher judge of myself than is justified.
The image wasn't that bad after all.

I sometimes see the wavy mirror,
Where I have vacillated between decisions with little consistency.
Which of course has caused chaos in my life.

Or I might see the mirror that distorts what reality is.
Making me look bigger or smaller than I am.

Sometimes that image has been humorous and sometimes it is deceptive.
Sometimes I can just alter my position without altering myself and the image appears to  change.  
(There are a lot of those mirrors in Denial.)

The distorted-reality-mirrors also have the negative images of me that others have conjured up.

In another, I see unrecognizable beauty when I am caught off guard, not recognizing the loving countenance.

I also see age, creeping slowly fast approaching, initiating me into a maturing woman and a grandma.

I see in some cases, that yes, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all."
And that it is not always a bad thing. 
Like teaching myself to use the computer.
My mother has modeled that you are not too old to learn a new skill.
She learned e-bay in her 70's!
(Sorry to reveal your age mom-it might get you a discount or a free scooter-chair trial?)

The good thing is that like a carnival experience, 
the mirrors don't have to be permanent.
(Well, maybe aging is a continuum...)
Did I mention how I love and can laugh a long time by myself at some mirrors?

I can also feel my way out of the mirrored rooms in my life if needed.
And for those individual ones by the wayside,
I can just walk away from them.

I addition, these reflections, although sometimes uncomfortable,
have been beneficial.
They have helped me resolve to change the images I do not like viewing,
and commend myself for the images that were only a distortion of mind,
not reality.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall,
I like who I am becoming after all!

"Did you ever wonder if the person in the puddle is real, and you're just a reflection of him?" 
~Calvin and Hobbes


November 24, 2010

A Thanksgiving Past

"We can always find something to be thankful for, and there may be reasons why we ought to be thankful for even those dispensations which appear dark and frowning".  ~Albert Barnes

Sometimes time makes me forget.

Many years ago I had the worst Thanksgiving of my life.

I was newly divorced and my children were taken by their father, out of town, to visit his family.

My youngest son did not want to go without me and was hiding behind the clean clothes hanging in the laundry room screaming as his dad pulled him out to take him.

I cannot explain the difficulty or pain that we were all feeling (including his four siblings) on different levels that day.  (It was over a dozen years ago and yet still brings tears to my eyes as I type the words.)

When they arrived at their destination he called me and asked, "When are you coming?"
(That was before cell phones and I didn't get one until years after they came out anyway).

I just had to reassure him with an artificial, positive voice,  through a silent, crying heart, with tears running down my cheeks, that I would see them as soon as they got back and remind him how much I loved him.

I then hung up the phone, climbed into bed, didn't shower or even get out of my pajamas (although it was mid-day), and cried and cried and cried.
And probably screamed too.

I stayed that way for a couple of days with no shortage of heartache or tears.

I wanted to know the answer to Freddy Fender's questioning song, "How do you mend a broken heart?"

Somehow it came.

Slowly at first I'm sure.

It started with the realization that I would have missed having a Thanksgiving dinner.

Although I was in a major dysfunctional state to put it mildly, and declined every request from loving people to join them for dinner, thinking that food was the last thing I felt like, I would soon come to find that I was wrong.

Loving people brought food to me even though I had said not to.  (This is making me teary-eyed also.)
They just dropped it off as I was an emotional eye-sore in the condition I was in.

I could not tell you all who did, but I can tell you it made a difference in how I felt about Thanksgiving from there on out.

I honestly can't say that the food was great because I don't remember whether it was or not, and maybe it didn't even taste good with my numb heart taste buds.
What I can tell you is that I felt loved and hugged by a plate(s) of food.

Something I so desperately needed during that time.
(A side note:  if you know of someone in a similar situation-drop a plate by.  Don't expect a visit, unless invited, but the gesture is unexplainable and long lasting.)

I knew it was going to be that way from there on out, so I decided to accept and change my mind about how I was going to deal with it.
(Remember, I had a whole year until the next time and it never did quit hurting completely.)

First, was in counting my blessings.
My children would always be with me on Christmas so Thanksgiving was an easier sacrifice.

Second, I didn't have to clean, cook, spend money or 'play nice' for any people I was uncomfortable with.

Third, I wanted to find a way to "be there" with them so I devised a plan.
I am infamous in my family for my dinner rolls, so every year following, I would make some and send them with them.
It was a pretty magical experience as I felt a tremendous amount of love while making something I had done numerous times before. 
Knowing where they were going and what they represented changed directions of a "simple act".

(This year I sent some unbeknownst to my son who will not be home with family for the first Thanksgiving in his life.)

Fourth, I had a chance to work uninterrupted on a project and usually completed it.

Fifth, I had a lot to be thankful for and good friends were one of those things.
I had some good friends who invited me over with other "strays"as I called us, even though complete families went also.
So for the next decade I went to their house, taking my rolls of course, learning that family are people who love and accept you even though you have never met them before and may never see them again.
(I am a little a lot embarrassed to admit that when their father quit taking them, it took some adjusting on my part to do a "family" dinner again.)

Sixth, is that love has no boundaries and transcends all.  No matter where my family was and is my love is the same.

Seventh, that healing is possible.  I am a living testimony of that.  Someone, who at one point had no desire to live.

And finally, that Thanksgiving should be given every day as I am blessed with God's tender mercies EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.  ~Edward Sandford Martin
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."  ~Melody Beattie

Let Me Tell You How It Is

I was announcing the sneak-peek, classroom arrival of my granddaughter to one of the students in my class.

She stopped sewing her felt gingerbread man, paused, looked at me, and said, "You're a  grandma?"

"You can't be a grandma, you don't have lots of wrinkles and gray hair with curls."

Another pause after staring at me a minute, "Well o. k. you are almost a half grandma because I do see some wrinkles." 

This is the time to be thankful, this is a time to be thankful, this is a time.......

November 22, 2010

Visitors Of The Third Kind

I have visitors.

In my book, the 'third kind' is defined by:

Generations-Myself, my son, and his daughter,
A three year old,

And singlehood, motherhood and grandmahood.
(Grandmahood makes me unrecognizable to my own children?!)

Happy Thanksgiving if I don't get back this way!


November 17, 2010

Time Out!! You Mean, For Me?

I taught another parenting class tonight.

The topic was hidden.

The Education Board made up the flier and I appreciate it.
(Because remember, the computer and I are still getting acquainted?) 

It was titled "How to Make the Holiday Season Wonderful"
(When I read it I wanted to go until I realized that it was my class)
That was followed with a description and under that the topic,
"Highlighting the Importance of Taking Time Out for Yourself."

It just really made me think.

If the title was, "Stopping Sibling Rivalry"
Or "How to Get Your Children to do What You Want",
Or "Getting Your Child's Education Paid For",
It would have been packed!

But taking time for yourself?

Aah, we say things like,
"It sounds like a great idea and class but who has the time and energy?
And it would only serve me anyway,

Some things I learned through necessity of being a single parent:

*If you don't take care of yourself no one else can.

*Know yourself.  Know the season you're in.  Know when to say no.
Know what you can and can't do.  (Don't lie to yourself.)

*We cannot give what we do not have.  You are the emotional source.
If you are depleted where will it come from?

*Are we all output and no input?

*Maybe he/she needs shoes more than you need a haircut,
but he/she needs you and your patience and love more than shoes.
That ability to give comes from us also meeting our needs.

*When we take care of ourselves, we teach our children that we are important,
that we matter.  Isn't that what we want them to believe about themselves?

* As they mature, they will most likely follow our examples and either discount themselves,
Or find someone who will discount their own needs for our child's sake.

*An outlet is not a luxury, it is a necessity.

*When we model respecting our own limitations it teaches our children to do the same.
Something that comes in real handy when they are teenagers and young adults.

*Do not take for granted all that you do.

*Learn who you are.  It makes us 'real' to our children who then have permission to be who they are.

Ask yourself: 
What do you like to do for yourself?
What is fun for you?
What are your needs?
Do you have any hobbies apart from your family?-
Things you like to do for pure pleasure and enjoyment?
And what would you enjoy doing if you didn't have anyone else's needs to consider?

Know that all these things are spoken of in humble moderation-but you all know that- too much sacrifice is your problem.

There is SO much more, but I hope you get the gist of it. 

 Summarizing Chieko N. Okazaki,
Only you know your circumstances, your energy level, the needs of your children, and the emotional demands of your obligations.  Be wise during intensive seasons of you life.
Don't compare yourself to others-nearly always this will make you despondent.
Don't accept somebody else's interpretation of how you should be spending your time.  Make the best decision you can and evaluate it to see how it works.

November 14, 2010

The Blog Crumb Trail

I am still relatively new to the technology world.

My children would probably say that I just know blogging.
Which is some extent (as that is even limited.)
As for other tech stuff.... 

I don't know how to play Wii,
I don't know how to use an ATM card,
And my phone still has a cord.  
(Well not the one that I put in my purse, but that one is very old.
It's latest and only feature is taking  blurry pictures.  I think it's memory can hold up to three max.)

So even though I "know" blogging, I don't.

I get lost.

Like Hansel and Gretal my blog crumbs are gone when I try to return.

Has that ever happened to you?!

I have been sitting at the computer for so long without getting up I would have a beard if I were a man,
(I guess my armpit hair is growing instead),
And I have come across some very interesting and amazing sites during that time.
The problem is, I don't know how I got to them.

Therefore, I am unable to return.

Small, shiny, 'bookmark' white stones don't work for me either.

So, I may end up at the cake and candy house.
(Which on many days wouldn't seem like such a bad idea as sugar and I are the best of friends),
Except for the cannibalistic witch who resides there.

It's true, she does end up charred (like my knight)
Which is all fine and dandy, but I am still left wandering in the forest of blogs.

So, more learning for me it is.


"It is questionable if all the mechanical inventions yet made have lightened the day's toil of any human being."  ~John Stuart Mill  

November 10, 2010

Graduating From The Couch

I just graduated from Spill-Your-Guts-On-The-Couch.

I have also referred to it as therapy or butt kicking  or an emotional wringer.

Sounds sort of abusive when I put it that way doesn't it?
It wasn't.
It was healing.

My listener-of-verbal-projectile finished her internship and is moving on to a permanent job working with children.

Instead of retraining a new set of ears, I decided to not get my Masters in TAM (talking about myself) and to stop formal schooling for now.
(I am going to be home schooled.)

Our last meeting felt like I had crammed for my final exam and I had a 50 minute essay-from-the-mouth session of all that I have learned.
( I know it is her job, but the poor woman.)

It actually felt good. (To me.)
Real good.
To summarize my lessons.

I can see the progress that I have made.
I can feel the progress!

The greatest change has been in what I think and say to myself.
That changes everything.

Oh, I know I am far from done.
Just because I "graduated" doesn't mean I will not continue to learn.
(There will always be another couch!)

I have been blessed by having  opportunities to learn from my various trials.
Through those experiences I have a better understanding of many others' hearts.

I started this blog to share the lessons life serves me.
And how I have consumed them.
They are food to my soul.
Per chance one of my recipes will fill your soul.
(How did I go from the couch to the kitchen?)

"The most useful piece of learning for the uses of life is to unlearn what is untrue."  ~Antisthenes

November 8, 2010

Not To Worry But......

I planned poorly forgot to post a blog before I went out of town this past week.

I was in California for a national conference for the education of young children.
(Or some lengthy title that makes it sound official.)

I no longer have children at home so I was sure all would be well while I was out of town.

You know what this is leading to don't you?
You are right!

I don't think our plane had landed more than an hour or so.
Then I get this text message from my oldest son:
"Not to worry u but I got hit under the eye with a line drive and am waiting 2 get stitches at the hospital."

It was almost 10:00 p.m.
He had been playing  softball with his team from work.

He sent me a picture of his eye, but remember my Ludditeness.
I do not know how to get it from my phone to the computer.
So you will have to envision it (or not.)

He luckily did not break any bones and there was no damage to his eye.
(I am trying to count our blessings.)
But he did get some deep stitches and 7 on top of that.

My children combined have had stitches approximately 30 times, we have had broken bones, microscopic surgery for a severed artery, nerve and 5 tendons in a wrist, had a diving accident with a brain bleed.... and other stuff.  (I was starting to regress into traumatic- memory-mode so I stopped.)

My point was that in all those times, this has been the first time ever I was not around when something happened.

Granted my son is a young man.
Sometimes firsts for me just take time to adjust to.

I did thank him for the before and after pictures.
I told him it helped me feel like I was there.

He was kind about it, but pretty much said, 
"I'm a big boy now mom."
What he said instead was,
"At least I still got the force out at 3rd."

I felt so much better after that!?

"Every day may not be good, but there's something good in every day."  ~Author Unknown

           My son added this to the computer for me.  Gross I know. 

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