Monthly Archives: October 2012

Choices, Ripples, Grace, Joy

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“Each choice we make causes a ripple effect in our lives. When things happen to us, it is the reaction we choose that can create the difference between the sorrows of our past and the joy in our future.”
– Chelle Thompson, Editor of Inspiration Line.

This is my quote for the day/week/millennium.

We can make choices to blame ourselves when our kids run away, and fall into self-blame about choices we made 2 weeks or 2 years or 10 years ago. Or we can do our best to love our child and ourselves through the turmoil so that we are open to new ideas, new approaches. My friend Susan is working through her daughter running away this morning; obviously our hearts go out to her and her whole family. I haven’t experienced a run-away, but I just hope she is able to love herself enough to let the grace happen on the other side, whether that other side of the horror is today, next week, or in 10 years.

We can choose to blame ourselves when our home is robbed- “Why didn’t I double check the doors and windows?! I am such a knucklehead! Why do I sleep at night?!”. Or, we can model to our family what it is like to be calm in the face of invasion. My friend Mark lived through this last week- at 2 am scary-looking losers entered his home while everyone was asleep. No one was hurt (or even knew about it until they went to look for their wallets and phones). His reaction not to blame himself for being a “Bad Protector” helped his family minimize the trauma. We don’t know what grace waits for them on the other side.

This is not on the level of runaways or home robbery, but I happen to be one to spend money when I am feeling low self-esteem. I inflict my own trauma. Towels helped me through infertility issues. I had lots and lots of plush colorful towels by the time I got pregnant. Cars helped me separate from my parents’ manipulations. And now it is fall, and I obsess about boots making me feel worthwhile in my office (the black Liz Claiborne suede zip-ups would help me have more clients, right?). I need to stop and love myself enough to let the grace in rather than spend the money that is already ear-marked for the mortgage.

You know the grace on the other side, they are creative miracles just in time: unexpected closeness in a relationship, tangible connection with our higher power, material blessings for someone truly in need, kindness from a stranger, reprieve granted on a stressor, the phone call we didn’t know we were waiting for…

Don’t be a victim, don’t let your past experiences be your bitch and make you make a mess of something that God intends for grace and mercy.

What will our ripple(s) be today? Will we role model calm to our kids when it hits the fan? Decorate our house with the Halloween goodies wehave rather than buy more? Make banana bread rather than feel grumpy and tired about the weather? Workout? Go to a yoga class? Congratulate someone on a job well done rather than point out the miss-steps? Decide to balance our checkbook rather than live in mystery?

Each and every choice has a ripple effect. Be courageous. Make some ripples today.

Update on the Tortoise Lovepath

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For those of you who have not been with me for the last year, I will do a re-cap:
June 2011– Girl realizes she works with a Cute Guy when he makes (unnecessary and silly)conversation on Facebook and in office with her. She sees definite potential (he is smart, has a job, is a good Dad, has similar background and… he likes to ski)
July– Girl encourages Cute Guy to see what his reactions would be (she smiles a lot, stops to talk in the hallway, laughs at his jokes)
August– Cute Guy pursues friendship with Girl (flirts at group gatherings, encouraging her to try the hot-hot tomatillo salsa…)
SeptemberGirl sees potential, and encourages super-slowly, shares hiking and wine (no kissing or hugging, but suggests get-togethers and responds to playful texts)
October– Cute Guy (CG) and Girl continue to hang out as friends, and definite chemistry increases (beer induces kissing)
November– Girl realizes she really likes CG, more develops super-slowly (longer dates, more kissing, lots of alone-time and romance for sure, still no dancing between the sheets tho)
December– Girl and CG ski together, shop together, eat together, LOTS of chemistry, then bomb drops (he is seeing someone else) Girl tells CG no more dates 2 days before Christmas. Tough holiday.

January 2012
– Girl is super sad, tells CG she only dates one guy at a time and won’t be playing any more. Too late for friendship. She dates other guys, changes hair, buys new clothes. Bu-bye CG. CG comes back, says he wants what she wants (Exclusive Partnership). Dating resumes. Still on the down low at work. Meet kids, ski weekends, etc. Feels pretty good.
February– Cute Guy acts like a goober, a very ugly guy, and spends Valentines Day weekend with old GF. Girl stops talking to CG, won’t acknowledge him, and avoids him completely. Returns all books, shared items, deletes all voice mails, phone number, texts, etc. Doesn’t return phone calls or texts. Moves on with life. Tough holiday.
Late February- CG explains himself in a 3 hour phone call. Girl explains herself. Lots of long phone calls (also with girlfriend Liz and friend Mark, trying to decipher what kind of a boy-brain pulls that shit and if he is worth any trouble)
March– Girl decides to give Cute Guy another chance. Reads him a list of her intentions for her life and looks him in the eye this time, giving him time to respond and taking time to digest his responses. Cute Guy steps up.
April– Girls gets surgery, Cute Guy steps up again and stays with her and her kids for 5 days cooking, cleaning, schlepping.
May– Cute Guy steps up again and plans to take her to meet family on vacation. Feels GREAT.
June– Girl takes family vacation with Cute Guy and his son. He steps up again bigger introducing her to lots of family. She encoruages him, introduces him to her family.
July– Girl runs half marathon, CG steps up again (begins his tradition of driving her to race starts and meeting her at finish line).
August- CG steps up on ladders and helps Girl with home projects.
September- Girl says she cannot imagine falling in love with a man who smokes cigarettes, CG quits smoking within 5 days. Girl encourages CG big time.

October- So here we are, and I adore this man. He adores me. We share a lot, and have mutual goals and aspirations. But even better, we allow each other’s integrity and individuality to shine through the relationship. I respect his time with his son, his work aspirations, and his train set. He respects my running, my work, and most importantly my motherhood drive. We are still finding out about each other. He has a blog that I have never seen, says it is about cooking? (he won’t see this one for a long long time!). We love to ski together, work out together, encourage each other to pursue our independent passions (i.e. he doesn’t have to run. I don’t have to do trains, meteorology, woodworking or compost until I am good and ready.) I was intensely jealous of other gf’s relationships going swiftly to love and 24-hour dates after 3 weeks, but kept my slow and steady tortoise pace. I waited 6 months to sleep with this man, and it was more than worth the wait. We are committed exclusive partners to each other. We have plans to make things official after our kids are more settled in their lives (out of high school).

He may have come in to my life to help me learn and express just how important the “Exclusive Partnership” is to me. I held my ground, yet forgave him when he messed up because he came back truly communicating that he was ready.

Now, I have loved this man for a long time, but I have not told him… So the tortoise lives on!

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Tick Tock

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Tick tock. The clock is winding down. This morinng, I am pushing off frustrated, depressed, frantic thoughts as the sands seem to run out way too quickly. I attended my 25th college reunion last weekend, and was astounded at how old we have all become. My gray hairs are needing re-touches more often (I am not quitting on them, please believe me! There was one woman there who let her hair go, and I mistook her for my mother). My kids are getting taller and more independent by the day. My parents are losing their steadfast nature to confusion. My siblings are still abroad, and we don’t spend holidays together.

My life is ruled by the clock- I bill my 36 hours a week to clients, and get to spend 4-6 hours a week “unbillable”- cleaning up files, emails, desk, client relationships, etc. I need to get home in time for making dinner, for doing that one laundry load a day, for cleaning and de-cluttering the constant sea of gunk that coats my home’s surfaces. And then, I must get to bed in time to avoid that 10 pm cranky woman who emerges, no, she erupts from the stack of bills, the laundry loads, the hairy bathroom sink with nothing good or positive to say to anyone, least of all, her teenagers.

And I hate that time is ticking by. I hate that my parents live too far away to know if they really are safe still driving to dinner and to shop across town. I hate that my siblings all have full lives that don’t really include me or my kids. I hate that I have to pay bills that shouldn’t be mine, but are. And the only way to pay them is to keep tick-tocking on the work clock at a job that I would like to leave. I hate that my kids are getting older and bigger, and I am so busy on my little work clock, my laundry clock, my cooking clock, my sleeping clock that I am sometimes too tired to have the conversation, the trip, the joke, the fun with them that we all need.

I cannot seem to escape the damn tick-tock. So I meditated on it, prayed on it, and wrote on it. I decided to look for the things that most please me: time with my kids, time with my writing, running, time with my cute boyfriend, time feeling grateful, time loving and helping others, and time reading. Those are the places I really WANT to spend time. Per my friend Liz’s advice, Whenever I am doing those things, I will refuse to multi-task the time away.
As single parents, we are tasked with too much to do, too many bills, and too little time with our precious kids. We have to live more presently, more consciously, and more purposely than it seems possible. And that is ok. We can do this.


First Step is to make a list of priorities: what feeds us, what feeds our loved ones, what activities do we consider loving others as God intended us to?

Second Step is to make a plan: decide what needs changing up, set a budget for time and money, identify times for the preciousness. Don’t continue to scramble and leave it up to chance.

Third Step is to ask for help, (aka pray and tell a friend so that we are held accountable)find a sense of humor, and vow for patience with everyone again so that the treadmilled cranky lady stays out of the picture.

Welcome to the Dark Side: Stingers, Snarls and Bikes for a Single Mom of Teens

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Welcome to the Dark Side          

I think that a “Welcome to the dark side” kitchen banner should accompany a coupon for 2 year’s worth of massages and alcohol for all mothers on their daughter’s 14th birthday.  My golden-hearted sweet child of heart, love, prayers, consideration for others, and all-around awesome Christian pre-teen has turned into a blood-thirsty wasp.Image

Yes, I said that.  I don’t include pictures of her here, because she is beautiful and I am super-protective of her online.  However, there have been moments when I wondered if I would be the one to take her out before her 16th birthday.   She will be 15 in December, and I know it will get worse before it gets better…

She can sting me with the sharpest barbs…  Saturday, I asked her if she wanted help putting her Homecoming dress on, and she said “No, that is the last thing I would want or need right now”.  Ouch.  I asked if she slept well the other morning.  Her reply was “Yes, no thanks to you. You left my door open in the middle of the night”.  I didn’t touch her door and it was all I could do not to get in an argument that would have looked like a 4th grade spitathon. 

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It is taking all of my patience, prayers, and walking out of the room when she blows up at me to survive 14.5 years of age.  “This too shall pass”, “It will get better”, “She is in a tough transition”, “High school is hard”, and finally “Was I this much of a bitch to my mom?!?!” all scamper through my muddled mind like a squirrel on crack when she pops me with one.  I need to adjust to this rolling roller coaster so dang quickly!  I am told to be a pillar of comfort, hold steadfast boundaries, and be the safe secure haven my teenagers can count on.  That is hard to do when you are hyperventilating from a swarm of bees that you thought were little cupid angels until just a few months ago!

Her brother is 16.25 years old and has made great strides in maturity, accepting responsibility, having a little etiquette, a sense of vulnerability (however, he still thinks he can eat a meatball sub sandwich with his hands, while riding a bike across town), and the ability to comfort someone when they are upset.  He is surprising me… “Mom, how was your day?” actually leaves his mouth several times a week!

I do not arrange my life around my kids and their needs any more.  They do need to budget their spending money and keep track of their shoes, homework, and phones.  But lately I have started talking to each kid alone, before my bedtime (which is earlier than theirs).  I channel that sweet mom who had 4 and 5 year olds and listened to them, no matter what they were saying, without giving them direction or judgment on their lopsided opinions of the world.  That was fantastic advice from a mom of 20-somethings who are not in prison, graduated from college, and have jobs.  She seems pretty sane too, for a stressed out working mother…

I thought that when kids got bigger and able to tie their shoes, get dressed, go on dates, and get across town on their bikes to a job that they didn’t need some quiet alone time with me anymore.  It turns out that they like it quite a bit, and so do I!  I am trying to remember that she is quote possibly digressing in the most painful ways into herself and this phase is actually more painful for her than me…Image

There is hope; we will prevail in love.  And we won’t give up on them.Image