Tag Archives: Christian

The Hardest Years

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I have been saying this mantra over and over, every time my teenage boy/man exasperates me:

“These are the most difficult years of his life”. He is 15.75 years old, and it is the most selfish, most exasperating frustrating years. He is a freshman in high school, the bottom of the totem pole, the pimples are too many, the girls are too few, AND the teachers are “mean”.

“These are the most difficult years of his life”. Finally today, my friend Julie came up with the most awesome response to that: “Yeah, and they will make sure to make them the most difficult years of your life too!” Hahahahahahahaha. I fell out of my chair laughing. It is so true! I got sore nipples breastfeeding, it hurt sooo much. And potty training was the shits (pun intended)- I got so sick of cleaning up accidents, getting poop under my fingernails, and finding pee-smelly clothes hidden in clean clothes. Starting kindergarten, and well, every first day of school I cry and cry (still) over my babies growing up and my need to let them go. But this stage, this sarcastic, I-hate-you-and-you-never-do-anything-for-me-ever-can-I-have-some-money-I-love-you” stage is the most difficult so far. And I have awesome kids!!!

You might think I am complaining about my kids, I am actually complaining about me. This is a difficult stage, and these are hard years. I need a walrus coat, and courage and strength and fearlessness. I ask for it every morning, and usually it shows up.

My friend Liz suggests we shut the door to their rooms if they are too messy, because “that is not the hill we are going to die on”. That off-the-cuff remark is still re-playing, helping me to choose just which hill would I die on? Leaving dirty dishes on the living room floor? C’s in math and english? Eye rolling? Muttering as he walks away? Sneaking beers? Smoking pot? Sexting? Everyone chooses. Everyone chooses their own boundaries with teens, and sometimes the eye rolling is just as bad to me as sexting would be.

The point of this post is to let you know that you aren’t alone on this rollercoaster of raising teenagers as a single parent. It feels like a FunHouse, but it ain’t fun!! There will be hard days, and there may not be many easy days between them. Luckily there are endearing moments, such as when my son says “I love you Mom” before he walks out the door to ride his bike to school, and when she gives me a sweet smile and tilts her head sideways from across the track field (when she sees I brought food, water and her favorite warm sweatpants to the track meet). So I won’t strangle them tonight after all.

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Napping

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I had some surgery last week, and it was serious enough that I stayed in the hospital one night. I am ok, it was planned, and no more surgery is expected. But I have been told it could take 6 weeks to recover… 6 weeks?!?! When my doctor initially told me that, I burst out crying. That was 2 months ago, and I am still struggling with the concept of being restful for weeks at a time. I told my boss I would be back at work after 2 weeks- probably not realistic, but it was the only way I could tell him I wouldn’t be there for 2 weeks…

I have been told to “rest as much as possible, and don’t do too much too soon”. Hmmmm- but what if “doing as much as possible as soon as possible” is the way I have survived as a single parent for the last 9 years? This space in my life is definitely a brain twister. How can I be my productive self if I am laying around on the couch?!? Is this me? Will I get swallowed up and lose myself in my pillows and blankets for these weeks?

I am hoping that at the least, I get a little perspective on my life during these 2-3 weeks of time off of work (probably the only 2-3 weeks I have spent off of work since I graduated from high school a hundred years ago). And of course, at the most, I would like to 1)get all of my pictures arranged and organized in my computer (my music too), 2) get the last 10 boxes unpacked from our move in November, 3) get my and my kids’ closets organized, 4) have devised the miracle budget combination that allows me to save and yet live abundantly, 5) blog meaningfully on a regular basis, 6) write some hand written notes that are overdue, and 7) do research on parenting teenagers and significantly improve my parenting. That is the first 7 items of my 21 item To Do List. (I figured I could complete one a day)

The problem is, I keep having to sit down because I get tired after being awake for 2 hours. But yet I really hate napping… I am having anxiety dreams every time I fall asleep, that is part of the lack of allure of naps… I am actually anxious and nervous about this time off. What if I become a couch slug and NEVER get back to my prior life of athletic health and productivity? What if I cannot convince myself after all of this that my job is meaningful? What if I really like working part time and cannot go back to full time? What if I cannot finish all 21 To Do items?

You know the answers to all of these questions: This time off IS going to change my outlook on life and my job, and the point is to come up with some changes in me, not necessarily my house and its organization or lack there of. And all I can do is turn over this time, ask for help from God and my friends, and do the best today, this hour, taking care of my body and mind and wait to see the miracles that occur.

Daily Bread

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God gives us our Daily Bread. I was bummed yesterday and pulled out all the stops, cried, wailed, journaled, blogged, all that. And now, that river has passed and I am counting all the ways that God has given me my Daily Bread, and has had my back. Yes, I know… you were right after all. Go ahead and gloat.

Life is full of sadness and disappointments. Nobody ever said life would be easy, if you are a Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, or an atheist, or whatever, life will hit us all (really really hard) every now and then. It is not for the faint of heart. So we get hit, we feel it, we talk about it, we learn the lesson, and we get back up.

I am celebrating all the love in the world today that is available when we look for it:

-I got to hold a 2-month old little baby named Annie today.
-My daughter put a bouquet of flowers and a note on the bathroom mirror last night for me to see first thing.
-I got to hug an older lady friend today and tell her I had been looking forward to that hug.
-Two women I snowboarded with on Sunday posted fun photos of us on facebook and called me a “Badass Boarder” (they are -10-15 years younger than me, and I got to show them the fun powder and give them a few tips…haha).
-My son gave me a huge hug this morning and looked me in the eye (he had to look down, cuz he is taller than me now) when he said “You are awesome, thanks Mom, I love you”.
-A friend gave me a piece of chocolate cake and a red rose this morning.

I got a heartfelt apology from Goober yesterday. I have stopped playing the victim, and remember that I am strong, courageous, and I held my boundary. I am learning and growing and I did really good work, breaking up with him. I needed it and maybe he did too, that is not for me to decide. I am celebrating the fact that I broke out of my old habit of taking the crumbs of love and am now celebrating with the entire cake.

God does have our back, and is giving us our daily bread of love. I just don’t always notice it in the moment. I hope your Valentine’s Day is awesome and you feel all the love surrounding you!

My Favorite Way to Feel Better

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I wrote last week aobut my favorite things to feel better. I forgot this very important one…

I had an awesome blessing this morning. It really got me out of a potential funk about this weekend’s lack of romantic social plans: I was asked to do someone a favor- it was something that was really needed, and they couldn’t do it themselves. They were very brave to call and ask for it. A man I hardly know, who is recently divorced (he doesn’t know anything about me, and we usually only communicate by emails) called me to ask if his daughter could have a ride to school He lives near us, and I have given her carpools for cross country meets becaue he lost his car (and who knows what else) in his recent divorce. His sweet daughter is in 6th grade, and it was about 20 degrees and dark this morning at 7:15 when she needed a ride. I almost didn’t answer the phone when I saw it was him- I was rushing to work, having already dropped my kids off early, and had a bad morning harping on them about their chores and rooms. I was feeling badly about myself, as a mom and as a woman due to the lack of CG asking me out on a date. I had prayed about the lack of a date with CG, asked for some wisdom, and to do God’s will. I also point blank asked God to arrange a date… day before yesterday. Nothing happened.

Until this morning. I got to help someone get his daughter to school in the cold, to help him make life for his daugher as normal and stress free as possible (although I am not doing a great job of that with my own kids, I am glad I could help him). I got to remember what it was like to worry about how to get the kids to school. Six years ago, I was divorced, broke, unemployed, in a terrible relationship, and bankruptcy and foreclosures were in the works. I was in a mess and had a really hard time getting my kids to school myself. Today, I have had the same job for 5 years, my kids are making good choices and get to school every day, I bought a car in February, and I am in the process of buying a home for us in November.

I realized with that ride to school for her that I am blessed and don’t need more than I have right now. Yes, I want a companion, but God might have different plans for me this weekend.

(Also- maybe I am supposed to do something to help myself feel better, rather than look for a man’s interest in me to validate me. Just maybe!)

The Options and Choices of Allowance

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What would it be like if we allowed everyone in our life to care and love us the way that THEY want to?

What would it be like if we didn’t insist that there were certain “rules” and “obligations” that a friend needs to follow, or it just isn’t real?

I have some friends whom I only talk to every 6 or 9 months. I have one friend with a 2-text maximum. I am hanging out with a man who has never asked me to dinner. Do they really care about me?

I don’t hand make my children’s Halloween costumes or their lunches. Do I love them less than moms who do those things? No, of course not.

Do my friends who don’t reciprocate the dinner at my house deserve to be shunned?

Ahhh! There is that word- “deserve”. If we follow the relationship rules, do we deserve love and friendship? If we study hard in school, do we deserve an A? Do we deserve to be first string if we go to all of the practices?

Everyone has their own opinions on these, but I think the answer is No, of course not. We might earn something, but we don’t deserve it. Single parents don’t deserve to be poor and lonely. Gay people don’t deserve to get AIDS.

Life is just right out there. No deserving necessary. So step out of the self-sabotage and fill up your plate with love, caring, money, friendship, sex, new brown leather boots, a fat checking account, or whatever you have been denying yourself because you didn’t think you deserved it.

If I step up to the plate and ALLOW others to care about me in the ways they feel comfortable, then I am closer to getting rid of the expectations (and the Control Bitch goes underground too). And you know how awesome it is when we let go of expectations? Oh yeah- THEN IT IS ALL A GIFT! Woo Hoo. Party time with all the blessings we get when we step out of the rules, regulations, obligations, and expectations.

Raindrops, Copper Kettles, and Mittens Won’t Work

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I really liked the Sound of Music movie. I watched it 29 times as a 6th grader, memorized the songs, idolized Greta, and wanted to marry someone just like Mr. Von Trapp.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens…
You know the song-
…These are a few of my favorite things. When I’m feeling sad, I only remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so bad!

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Ha! I was running the other day, grumpy, tired, on the verge of catching a cold, thinking that I should make a list of some of My Favorite Things, because I need a little more fire power than a pair of mittens Julie!

So here goes:
1. A pedicure with Sandy, my friend who is a single mom of 4 and a great laugher

2. A trip to the library where I can get a stack of free books, immediately, and nobody asks for my credit card

3. A bag of potato chips at work to eat loudly in my cubicle at 9 am

4. An appointment to get my hair done- just the appointment helps me feel better because soon my hair will look better

5. Plan a road trip with my kids somewhere that I have been meaning to take them (just plan it, don’t have to take it yet)

6. Eat chocolate chip cookies and milk in front of the TV for hours watching something mindless, alone or with my kids

7. Have a long phone conversation with Liz, my sometimes single mom (her husband works overseas a lot) who has known my kids since conception and has the same set of issues with her daughters. She will pray for me, and let’s me know I am not as crazy as I feel. She also puts into words what I cannot (i.e. the “Jackhammer Approach” our kids take to get something from us- “Can I mom? You said I could. Why can’t I? Can I please? Why not?” etc times 12. I also go for walks with Delia, and she never fails to say “Oh yes, that must be so hard…” and my bristles and prickles and thorns all subside and I can breath again.

8. I would say drink tequila, but actually, that throws me backwards, as I really don’t like to feel hungover. I am a wimp.

9. Have a conversation with my daughter about her service plan of stopping the world’s slave trade by writing a play about it and performing it at her school’s Talent Show (she is completely out of my league, and I have no idea where she gets her inspiration, but she inspires me to get off of my pity pot)

10. Write a blog entry about anything or nothing at all

11. Read my faith-based books on my bedside and actually get on my knees and asking God for some help. Ideally I would do this one first, THEN eat chocolate chip cookies for hours, get a pedicure with Sandy or talk to Liz, and FINALLY write a blog to you about it all so that you get the happily ever after ending.

I am lucky. Over the last year, I have realized that I have many more friends than I imagined possible. I can’t even name off all of you! Friends are the best medicine. Thanks so much for being there : )

I Am Only 5′ 3″, But I Am Not Small

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And I am not living small, and I don’t want you to live small.My friend D pointed something very courageous out to me the other day: When we spend time with people who minimize us, or treat us poorly, or kill our dreams of living big, we will work subconsciously to live down to their expectations of us if we love/respect them, or even spend time with them (or have been married ot them, ahem…).

Isn’t that crazy?

Think about it- we will actually let them determine what we can accomplish. If parents tell us we don’t need a house, shouldn’t buy one, and really cannot afford the risk, we will believe them. If the friend pokes our belly and asks about the weight we gained this summer, we will feel shamed. If the brother blows us off for Thanksgiving, we will wonder if we deserve to be around family for the holidays, or to celebrate the holidays with all the gusto available. When people are gossiping about you, behind your back or in front of you, as if you don’t count- how does that make you feel? Think about it. Where is someone treating you small?

We really need to block that relationship and what we let it send to us if it makes us feel small, otherwise we will never live up to our potential.

Live large.
That is what God wants, and that is what the world needs from us. Believe in you, your capabilities, and what you can accomplish, no matter what the circumstances are today. You are the only one of you, you are your only. This is it. Be the light.
“You’ve only got one tiny moment in time for life, to shine- shine. Burn away the darkness. I will be light”