Naming Names…

friendsBefore my family and friends panic thinking I’m writing about them, let me just say most of you can calm down.  While I may be writing about you, there is only one person that I’m going to name today.  The person I’m naming is a long time friend, warm, caring, soft spoken, just beautiful inside and out.  If that description doesn’t fit, you can relax, but if it does and your name is Denise; buckle up, put on your listening ears and hear me loud and clear.

I hope all of you have had the privilege of having a “Denise” in your life at some point.  I was a single mom, not many months out of an abusive marriage when I met my Denise.  I had just given birth to my second child and found myself living in yet another new place.  This, not so quaint new community was called Silver Meadows.  I soon learned that it was better known as Silver Ghettos.  It was certainly misnamed.  There were a lot more copper pennies than silver to be found here.  I was surrounded by loud neighbors, criminal activity, police sirens and more abuse happening within the walls of those who lived around me than what I had ever known.

I did discover that my new ghetto had a silver lining though.  Her name was Denise.  I lived in a third floor apartment and she lived friends3on the bottom floor.  We both had little boys the same age.  They quickly became buddies and played together while we had our morning, afternoon and evening coffee or shared a meal.  Thankfully, she loved babies and she would rock my baby girl, giving me a little break from the stress of an often crying, colicky baby.  I didn’t have a car back then, well not one that you could drive.  It did take up a parking space, but that’s about the only thing it could do.  Denise would take me grocery shopping or to doctor appointments for the kids when I needed.  Needless to say, Denise and I spent a lot of time together.

Over time both of our situations changed.  Denise and I both found ourselves moving to new places and into new relationships.   I moved out of state and remarried but that didn’t last long.  After a short blip in the screen of life, I was back in my home state and on my own once again with my two kids.  Denise had married, as well, but she was still there for me.  I worked a lot of hours, but always found myself at her house on my day off.  She had a daughter by now, so both of my kids had a friend at her house.  Denise was my rock.  We would talk about everything.  She kept me sane and grounded with her wise words of advice.  She was the friend who had my back.  I don’t know what I would have done friends5without her.  Her husband was also gracious about me hanging around for a whole day at a time.   He was a stylist, so he cut my hair when I needed and he did my car repairs or showed me how to do my own, which saved me a lot of money.  He taught me how to do tune ups and even how to work on my brakes.  It was empowering for me as a single mom to know that there were things I could do myself.  I needed that.

Denise and I lost contact for many years, but thanks to facebook we’ve been able to reconnect.  A lot of life passed under our feet during that time and many of those years weren’t kind to my friend, yet I’ve seen her be strong and rise above the hard stuff.  She’s still a rock, and I want her to know that.  She is still that light that was shining for me on the dark paths I walked back then and I never want her to forget that.  She still supports me, encourages me and I know she still has my back.

This morning as I was journaling, I was remembering Denise, as well as several other friends like her who have been there for me friends4during tough times.  I’m so grateful for relationships like the one we share.  You know what I mean.  Who is your “Denise”?  It’s fitting during this Thanksgiving season to celebrate those who have stood by us, supported and encouraged us through thick and thin, therefore I proclaim this day to be “Thank your Denise Day”, so get out there and just do it!  Thank you to Denise and all of my other friends who support and encourage me.  You make my world a happier place to be!  ❤

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Happy Birthday “R”!

balloon treeI’m breaking away from the “super proud mom” theme of the past few days, but I can’t quite let go of it completely.  I’m just going to mix it up a little bit, because I’m not done being super proud.   Today’s post will from the perspective of a “super proud wife”.  This won’t become a series though, because the last I checked, I only have one husband to brag on and he deserves to be bragged on!  We’ll stay with the letter theme and name him “R”.  It’s his birthday today, so this post is perfect timing.

I’ve already told you how we met in “My Knight in Shining Armor Story”.  After two previously, really screwed up marriages, I finally got one right.  Some of us just need a bigger learning curve.

“R” met me as a single mom with two kids already.   Having the courage to take on an instant family makes him “point worthy” right off the bat.  The night of our first date was as the Christmas season was approaching and my kids and I were decorating the tree when the doorbell rang.  “R” got to put the angel on the top of the tree before we left for dinner, which has been a tradition ever since.  My kids seemed to be really comfortable around him, too, and he was good with them, so that raised his score.  Yes, after twoscoreboard to many screwed up relationships, I was definitely keeping score.

Not only did “R” inherit a prepackaged deal, he also won the rights to my bill drawer.  I must tell you that this bill drawer had its own organizational system.  I didn’t have to do anything but put the unopened bills in the drawer and they organized themselves with the oldest being on the bottom and the newest on top.  It was a system especially developed to ease my mind and cut down the financial stress of being a single mom.  Whatever was in that drawer became out of sight, therefore, out of mind.   As hard as it is to admit how horrible that system was, imagine the courage it took “R” to accept that drawer when he accepted me.  Yes, give that guy some more points, maybe a high five even!

In the early days of our fast moving courtship, my soon to be husband did everything right.  He always had the right answer, he was super intelligent and seemed to have wisdom beyond his years, he had a good job and he was incredibly talented musically.  As a matter of fact, it was a song that he wrote for me that broke down the high walls around my heart and gained him access.  The fact that he shared the song as we shared a container of ice cream may have helped a little, too.  Ice cream was a staple in my family.

Sad-love-quotes-Trust-it-takes-yearsSpeaking of high walls around my heart, previous abuse and rape meant a lot of emotional baggage was traveling with me on our new journey together.  Trust was difficult for me.  Letting someone get close and really know me was difficult.  “R” would constantly tell me he loved me, but I would just let the words roll off.  If I really believed him, it meant I was opening myself up to be hurt.  He constantly paid me compliments, I mean many times throughout the day even.  My response was always to either ignore what he said or deflect them somehow.  He would stand in front of me, look me in the eye and tell me I was beautiful.  I would look away, never saying thank you, never receiving it.  He never gave up though.  Year after year, he patiently kept doing it all right.  I don’t know how many years it took before I started to listen and believe him, but it was many.  Yeah, more points here!  Big time points!Hugs heal

Our premade family of four grew to become a family of six.  There were some wonderful years in the last 25 and some really horrible, even hellish years.  I’ve talked about some of those times in previous posts, but I’ve just shared what it was like for me, as if I was alone in it all.  “R” was there, too.  He hurt, too, but of course, no one saw that.  Those years didn’t seem to scare “R”.  He didn’t run like others surely would have done.  He stood fast and he held tight.  He remained strong and focused with an amazing ability to keep things under control.

I’m remembering the health crisis I had two years ago.  Not that I remember a lot about the days in ICU, but I do remember when I icuwould wake up occasionally and he would jump up from the spot where he kept vigil.  He would do all he could to make me comfortable or offer help in any way.  How difficult it must have been for him, not just to see his wife in that condition, but still having to carry the responsibility of his job and everything at home during that time.  He didn’t seem to miss a beat in any of it.  I vaguely remember seeing his mom walking into the room once.  I heard her ask him how he was doing.  He said, “I’m just taking care of my wife”.  He certainly has taken care of me.  He’s taken very good care of me!  And the score board numbers keep adding up.

“R” works a very demanding job that doesn’t sleep.  Even if it did sleep, since it’s an international company, it’s always 8:00 to 5:00 somewhere.  They keep him around, they’ve promoted him over the years and the pay checks keep coming in.  All the people that I know that he works with really like him, so I think he must be really good at what he does.  I can’t forget to mention that I’ve been sleeping with a college student for the past few years.  “R” takes classes, too and I’m proud to say he’s a straight A student.

cyclist_superhero_by_night_oval_decalWe’ve had lots of highlights in the past couple years, thanks to “R” getting us involved in this running thing he loves so much.  He’s my marathon man!  We’ve been doing races every couple months and most of them we’ve gotten to travel for.  It’s been so much fun!    He is also big into cycling now and he’s become a mad man clipped on pedals.  I slow him way down when we ride together, but he doesn’t mind because he says he loves when he gets to ride with me.

There is so much more I could say, but I think you get the idea.   He may not be perfect, but he’s still my Mr. album coverRight.  This past summer we were cruising on the Mediterranean.  We had many beautiful nights, but one in particular stands out in my mind.   Picture it with me.  Sitting on our balcony with good wine in hand, sailing over smooth seas, warm air, gentle breeze, full moon reflecting on the water, sound of the water lapping the sides of the ship and “R” is singing to me.  “You’re once, twice, three times a lady…”  Yep, he melted my heart.

Let me tell you this “R”.  While you’ve racked up more points than I could ever count, I’m the one who scored the most when I married you.  You’re once, twice and always my man!  I’m proud of you “R” and I love you with all of my heart!

#NaBlaPoMo

The Second “J”

baby football playerProud mom here again to introduce you to the last, but certainly not least of my offspring.  Today I’m bragging about “JD”!  “JD” was my fourth born and yes, another baby over 9 lbs. delivered by C-section.  He had the most adorable round face with the kind of plump cheeks grandmas, aunts and complete strangers just had to kiss or squeeze.  It was the same with his short chubby legs.  When people would see him, the next remark after expressing how cute he was would almost certainly be something about his future career in football.

“JD” lived the sweet life as a baby, too, getting lots of attention from his oldest siblings.  Even his sixteen month old brother would entertain him by talking to him, making faces and giving him toys or a pacifier when he’d fuss.  He was a very happy baby and almost always smiled and laughed.  It’s funny how some memories can stick in your mind.  I can still see that smiley round face and hear him giggle.  Excuse me for a second.  I just need to stay in this moment a little longer…

There was no, I mean absolutely no stopping “JD” once he learned to crawl and walk.  He was a “no fear” kid!  We lived in a big old farmhousefarm house back then, which made it hard to keep up with him.  In keeping with the football player image, he was not just built with a sturdy frame, he was strong!  He could easily move chairs around and would use whatever means was available to get whatever it was he wanted.  I have a series of pictures I took of him getting into things.  He’s in cabinets, on top of counters and tables, in the kitchen sink and there is one of him standing up on a table taking down my laundry room curtains.  Once, I even found him lying on the top of the five foot chain link fence that was supposed to keep him safe in his outdoor play area.  Of course, he’s laughing and smiling in every picture.  He made it very difficult for me to reflect that firm tone in my voice, indicating when he was doing something he wasn’t supposed to be doing.  I remember thinking often, “It’s a good thing you’re so cute!”  The “no fear” thing had its down side though.  I don’t remember how many emergency room visits we had with “JD”, but there were several.

You know how most babies and small children fall asleep when they ride in a car.  With all the activity involved in his busy day, hide and seekwhen “JD” would stop moving, no matter where he was, he’d be asleep instantly.    That old farm house had a set of stairs in the front and the back of the house, as well as big closets and cabinets throughout.  It was a great house for a game of hide and seek for our family of six.  One evening as we were playing the game, we lost “JD”.  We couldn’t find him anywhere.  All of us became concerned as we searched every nook and cranny of that house, calling for him with no response, not even the sound of his laughter.  We knew he was in there somewhere.  Finally, someone discovered him.  He found the perfect hiding place in a cabinet where linens were stored.  There he was, behind a pile of towels on the back side of a deep shelf, sound asleep.  We can laugh now, but we sure weren’t laughing at the time.  I hope I don’t get in trouble for saying this, but even as an adult, he still falls asleep when he is forced to stop moving and always falls asleep in the car.

“JD” didn’t have the same challenges that my other children faced, but that doesn’t mean that he had it easy as he got older.  I hate to say it, but “JD” probably got pushed to the back burner, so to speak.  He was the easy going, roll with the punches kind of kid who didn’t make noise or stir up trouble.  We had enough noise going on in our family that he kind of got lost in all of it.  It was like when he crawled to the back of the shelf in the cabinet and was lost during our family game; only this game wasn’t so much fun.  He certainly was there and needless to say, he certainly experienced the effects.

“JD” is very sensitive, caring and loving.  He feels emotion very deeply.  He’s much like me in the sense that he doesn’t often voice dogs smilingwhat he’s feeling, but we know something is there.  He’s a great listener, too.  He accepts people as they are and he forgives when they hurt him.  He’s the kid that will come up and hug his mom unexpectedly, for no reason.  I love that by the way, “JD”!  When you meet him you will still find him, always smiling.  His great sense of humor makes him a “life of the party” type person with a wonderful ability to make people laugh.

I didn’t give “JD” the heads up about this post and he doesn’t read my blog, so I won’t get to gushy and risk embarrassing him.  I don’t think he even knows I have been writing about his siblings this week, so this will probably be a surprise to him.  I’ll send him a link though; because “JD” has to hear how incredibly proud I am of him, too!  And “JD”, I love you with all of my heart!

#NaBloPoMo

Celebrating “M”

Just have to tell you how proud I am of my kids!  I know that I’m no different than any other parent out there.  We’re all proud!   I’ve decided to voice my feelings and the next four days will be dedicated to each of my kids.  I want it to be recorded for the world to see and hear how much I love them!  Maybe this is something they need to hear in case I’ve somehow not gotten it across to them already.  Even if I have, we all need to be reminded of these things.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, “Let the Future Begin”, I’m going through a recovery group for victims of domestic violence and abuse.  Of course, we do a lot of digging around in the dirty muck of the past in this group.  It’s not a pleasant experience, to say the least, but I know the end result will be worth it all.  My past rape and abuse had a very profound effect on me, so naturally it would have an effect on my children as they were growing up.  Without going into all the details of that right now, in the next few days, I will tell you a little about how it affected my children.

birthday cakeToday, we celebrate my firstborn son who is about to have his 36th birthday.   I’ll call him “M”.  I remember when he was born and that overwhelming love that I felt for the first time in my life.  I couldn’t believe that it was possible to even feel an emotion so intensely.  I remember not really liking what I felt, as I knew how vulnerable it made me.  When you love that much, there is the risk of hurting that much and I surely didn’t want to hurt that much.

“M” was born at 9 lbs. 10 oz., by emergency C-section.  This was years ago when they put you under for a c-section, so my first memoriesbaby holding hand are a little fuzzy, but I’ll never forget when they brought him to me for the first time.  The nurse laid him close to my face so my cheek touched his cheek.  I’ll never forget how wonderful that felt.

This morning I’m envisioning him as that little, almost 2 year old boy I loved waking up to every morning.  I was a single mom at this point.  I’d wake up to see his wide eyed grin and hear his little giggle.  He had crawled out of his crib again.  There was no stopping this kid.  He rolled over from the day he was born.  When he was six months old, we lived in an upstairs apartment, so we had to have a gate to guard the steps.  One day he was crawling around and I heard a little laugh at the bottom of the steps.  It was “M”.  He’d managed to wiggle himself under the gate and crawl down the steps backwards, at six months old.  Yes, it really did happen!

“M” was hungry when he woke up.  He’d go to the refrigerator and get whatever food he was in the mood for and lay it on the pillow besideFredrick's Alligator Book me.  It might be a carton of eggs, a pack of bacon or his favorite popsicle.  I remember trying to get ready for my day and he would want to read.  His favorite book was “Fredrick’s Alligator”.  He had that book memorized and he would read it to me, daily and often.  I’ll always remember that book.

This morning I’m envisioning that sweet baby boy covered in white.  All that surrounded him was covered in white.  Gooey greasy white!  Gooey greasy white that is very difficult to get off.  To all Desitin diaper cream users, if you’re smarter than I was, you’ll keep that stuff far out of reach from your kids.

My oldest was abused by his father.  You may have heard it said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  Even though he couldn’t possibly understand what was happening to him at that time, I think what my son experienced helped to develop something good in him.  It helped to develop determination, drive and made him a fighter.

Tennis shoe riding toy

That Tennis Shoe riding toy is down in the left corner. Found it in the Sear’s Wish book from 1979.

I remember one occasion when I was at work and someone was supposed to be watching him.  “M” was four years old at the time.  His little sister was two.  He wanted something and he wanted it bad.  His motivation for wanting it was love.  He wanted to be with his “Gammy” and she had gone to church.  The church was five blocks away and meant crossing a major intersection.  He determined that he was going to get there and he was going to see his “Gammy”, no matter what.  He managed to sneak out of the house with his sister.  I don’t know if he knew she wouldn’t be able to walk that far, but his two year old sister was riding on her plastic tennis shoe riding toy.  I have no clue as to how he knew directions to get to that church, but he managed to guide his sister on her tennis shoe and cross several streets, including the major intersection.  When Gammy walked out of those church doors, there were her grandkids, a little tired, but beaming with pride and joy!  I was horrified when I found out what had happened and thought about what could have happened.  I was furious that they hadn’t been watched and protected like they should have been, but I was stunned to think about what my son had accomplished.  I asked him how he crossed the big street with all the cars.  He said, “I just put up my hand and the cars stopped”.  Wow!  It’s taken years for me to get past the thought of what could have happened that day, but talk about determination and being fearless!

“M” has had to fight many battles through life since that time.  I’m proud of my son and that drive and determination that will continue to keep him going after what he wants.  I can’t wait to see him take hold of his dreams.  I’m proud to know that deep love he holds in his heart will continue to be his motivation as he takes care of his family and helps to raise his girls.   I’m proud of you “M” and I love you with all of my heart!

#NaBloPoMo

My Grown Up Christmas Gift

HopeIt’s with utmost respect and honor that I bring you today’s blog post.  I want to share one of the most valuable and precious Christmas gifts I have ever received.   It’s a poem written by one of my own.  My son gave me permission to share this with you today.  It wasn’t his intention to share this normally, very private, thing with the world, but it’s such a beautiful thing that, how can the world not get to experience it.  The back story to this, are years of addiction, many rehab programs, and several seasons of recovery followed by relapse.  Not that the journey is over, but this time feels different.  There is new life and hope that hasn’t been felt before.  I’m proud of my son and the positive steps that he is taking toward his new and wonderful future.  Together, we share this private moment in time today, not to exploit a man’s suffering, but to bring hope to other moms, dads, brothers, sisters and family members of addicts.  My son’s heart is much the same as mine, to help and love others.  Here is our gift to you.  May this season of hope live on in the New Year.  Merry Christmas!

 

For the Family

How can I even begin to express

About this time last year I was undoubtedly distraught, surely lost,

Senseless direction, heading nowhere, the trail had long since gone cold

Solid ground so ever elusive

The fear of death was becoming reality

I had abandoned all hope and lying to myself and everyone else in the process

Sick of pain and sobbing in a drunken stupor, I knew I couldn’t deny the truth

I was robbing myself of a life rich with meaning and warm hearted affairs

So I did what all good gangsters do and I called my parents, E.T. phone home

An answer, always an answer, as close as man can come, to divine love

They listened, always listened; I knew I had to get back to the desert

The place I once believed to be my problem, these people, these mountains, these

plastic possessions

Technology, pornography, dystrophy, all around me

But what I’m getting at ain’t so easily said, but seen out of your own two see’ers  instead

I got lost

The stupid story of the prodigal son haunts me like a rake does a garden gnome

And every time I was welcomed back, grace with a warm blanket of unconditional love

I am warm in my family’s arms

Fingers not so stiff and bleeding

I am charged with intense emotional uplift in the arms of my blood

Not so lethargic and glum, the fog lifts a little and I can finally breathe some

I am delighted to be born into such a solid rock of a household

Homesick and uprooted I am shaky and alone

I am blessed with a family who could never see me how I see myself

Distasteful, wasteful, hell in a bucket

The true meaning of the holidays is this

Family

I hope I’ve expressed in some way what I’m so desperately trying to say

I have the best family

From it stem the strongest roots

And I am so grateful and so floored to have made it back

If I’d had the choice to choose, I would have sold myself short

I am a man among angels

You see right through me

Thank you

 

What About the Parents???

I hope you aren’t expecting a light hearted, carefree, easy going or humorous post today, because that’s not what I’m feeling.  I am not even sure of the direction that this will take, but I’ve had some thoughts stirring that needed to come out on paper, so here we go.

I am a parent.  It’s one of the roles that many often dream about even when they are very young.  I was one of those dreamers.  I remember at a very young age pretending to be a mommy to my baby dolls.  I couldn’t wait to go to Kmart to spend my allowance on things for my fake babies.  I was so good at parenting as a five year old.  It was so easy!  I just knew that I would grow up to be the best mommy in the whole wide world.  Three kids, two boys and a girl to be specific, a husband, house and a van, that was my big dream!  What I ended up with was four kids, three boys and a girl to be specific, three husbands (not all at the same time), a few houses over the years and several cars, which included the van.  But what happened to the most important part of the dream, being the best mommy in the whole wide world?  Well, it just wasn’t as easy as I imagined it would be.

My big thought today is, “What about the parents?”   Many very disturbing events have made the news recently.  I don’t think that you can find a corner anywhere in the world, that news of the shootings in Tucson, Colorado and Wisconsin hasn’t touched.  Of course, we think about the victims first, then the actual shooters themselves and then the parents.  I can’t help but try to imagine myself in the parent’s shoes on these occasions.  How devastating it would be for a parent!  To find out that one of your own children, that once innocent baby that you held in your arms, had committed such a horrendous, senseless act.   It’s simply unimaginable!  My heart is broken, not only for the parents of the victims, but the parents of the shooters, as well.

I’m thinking of the mom who posted on Facebook this morning.  Today is her daughter’s birthday and it was a year ago today that she hugged her daughter for the last time before she went to prison on drug charges.  How my heart hurts for her and her daughter.

I’m thinking of the single mom who lost her child to a drug overdose and my heart hurts.  I’m thinking of the parents who lost their bipolar child to suicide.  Many had passed judgment on these parents for their children’s behavior during the short years of their lives.

I’m thinking of the struggles between children and parents that I’ve witnessed in an office complex where I once worked.  The children were often very loud and aggressive and those working in the complex were put off by the behavior and registered complaints with the complex management.  Insensitive signs were even hung in the common restrooms by someone who thought the kid situation needed to be addressed.  Did the person who hung the signs not know that these children were visiting the complex for therapy because they were autistic?  Yes, my heart hurts for these parents too, and their children.  So many scenarios we could talk about, all heartbreaking.

Many are quick to jump on the parents and point fingers.  Certainly the parents have done something wrong in their parenting that caused their child’s behavior, or addiction or suicide.  Is that fair?  Why are we so quick to place ourselves in the role of judge and jury and pass sentence on parents?  It happens all of the time.  Who hasn’t been in a grocery store or a restaurant and seen someone’s child act in a ridiculous, unbecoming way and we’ve thought or maybe even said, “They need to do something with their child”, or “If I were those parents, I would (fill in the blank)”.

Granted, parents do make mistakes and I am not saying that all parents are innocent and haven’t had a role in how a child turned out.  I’m not talking about parents who are abusive or are alcoholics, addicts, criminals or horrible examples here.   I’m talking about parents who do all they can to raise their children in the best way they know how.  None of us have our parenting skills 100% perfected.  We all have flaws of some kind.  Go ahead and admit it mom and dad.  You’ll feel better.  That perfect super parent cape is a heavy weight that will keep you from flying anywhere, so take it off!  Easier said than done, right!  Expectations are high for parents and as a result, we often carry a huge amount of guilt.

It’s easy for those who have not had children or who have had perfect children to make flippant comments about or even to other parents.  Yes, I am speaking from experience here.  Before I had my perfect kids, I knew exactly how to be a perfect parent and I’m sure I passed judgment on someone along the way.  But now I know the flip side.   I can still remember comments regarding my parenting that were made to me over the years that were so insensitive and hurtful.  You see, I didn’t have the perfect kids that you did.  How would you judge me if I told you that I had raised an addict, an alcoholic, a criminal, a child with mental illness or all of the above?  Certainly, you would wonder about my child’s upbringing.  You might even want to dissect my parenting ability or debate about parenting styles.  You might even consider unfriending me on Facebook.  Was my child’s behavior my fault???

Of course, I know that I’m exposing my own feelings of guilt here.  Every parent who hasn’t had perfect kids feels guilt, sometimes massive amounts of guilt.  I’ve worked on resolving my own guilt issues and I’m not here to debate what was or wasn’t my fault.  I’m addressing two groups of people here.

To group number one, the group that still has not had children or that never will, and the parents of perfection; to you I say, give us imperfect parents a break!  Ease up a little.  Have some sensitivity and compassion.  If you haven’t walked in another parent’s shoes, please don’t be so quick to throw stones.  There is no “Super Parent” cape, so if you think you’ve been wearing one, you’ve just been running around naked or sporting some really ugly spandex.

To the group of parents who have known the heartbreak of your children not growing up and following the beautiful dreams that you’ve envisioned for them; to you I say you’re not alone.  It’s not all your fault.  It’s time to let go of the guilt and if you can’t do that, then get help.  You deserve that for yourself.  And for any mistakes you did make, there is forgiveness here.  You deserve to be free to fly!

This world can be a cold, dark and lonely place.  Parents need lots of support during the hard times.  When you see a parent friend having a really difficult time, don’t pull away because the situation looks to overwhelming.  When the going gets tough, instead of pointing fingers, extend a hand.   Get involved in being a part of the solution and consider it an investment in your own future, because it is.  Even if you don’t have the answers, you can still be available to stand with and for your friend.  You’ve heard it said and I do
believe that it truly does take a village to raise a child.

The Power In the Pause…

Oh, how I love the fact that the TV remote control has a pause button!  I can be in complete control of what I watch and when I want to watch it.  During a workout DVD, I especially like being able to pause when I need a drink of water or an extra minute to catch my breath.  The fact is I like to be in control with the ability to order my day as I see fit.  I can control the TV, the music, the ceiling fan, lights, even the waterfall in the pool, all with a remote control.  I hold the power to control those things, but that’s about as far as my super powers go.

Unfortunately, I have no remote control for life.  Regardless of what I would like to think, the reality is that I have no control over other people, nor many of the circumstances that happen around me.  No amount of planning, organizing, ordering, goal setting or manipulating gives me power over many of the situations I live with on a daily basis.

I’m making a tough confession here.  I’ve spent several years of my life feeling unfulfilled, like there was something more for me somewhere out there, some purpose that was just beyond my reach.  There was nothing I could do to bring it to me any faster.  I just had to wait.  Most of us don’t have the patience for waiting or being placed on hold.  I particularly hate waiting and yet I’ve been doing it for years.

Recently I was reading a facebook post and one word that the writer used really hit me.  She was talking about making a “pivot” in her life, changing direction.  She talked about the “nothing space”, the empty void that there is when you take the risk to change direction in your life.  You take that leap of faith off of the cliff, often into nothing, thin air.  You then free fall for what seems like an eternity, but is really just a matter of seconds.  She described this time as also being a “pause”.  That’s the word that hit me.  That’s where I’ve been, in the “pause”, just waiting for that great thing, my sense of purpose and fulfillment to come along.

I’m sure some are wondering why I’ve allowed myself to be in this “pause” for years.  I encountered one of those seasons that I really had no control over.  Lots of “life” happened around me during those years, much of it involving family matters that required my full attention.  It just couldn’t be all about me.  Others had to come first.  Many of those years were extremely, overwhelmingly, stressful, to say the least.  I would say, even hellish!  I felt my very being was not only broken, but crushed beyond recognition.  This isn’t the time to get into all the events that took place, but as a result of those things, my life was put on hold.  Something bigger was holding the remote and interrupted my happy program by hitting the “pause” button.  The situations demanded that my plans, my ambitions, my hopes and dreams be pushed aside for awhile.  It’s been an excruciatingly painful, long pause.

Life has quieted down a bit over the last couple years.  Not that all the wrinkles have been smoothed out, but it’s not overwhelming anymore.  You see, I’ve discovered the power in the “pause”.  Valuable treasures have been built into my very being during this pause.  I’ve grown much as a person.  I’ve gained wisdom and learned important lessons.  I’ve developed tenacious perseverance, a never give up attitude.  I’ve become stronger than ever in my faith, which that in itself gives me strength and hope that’s unshakeable.  It allows me to “rest” in my pause.  That means I can be ok with being on hold.

Unfortunately, for most of us these treasures can only come to us through the storms of life.  Storms are a powerful force.  We’ve seen the fury of a hurricane.  We’ve seen the wide path of destruction in the wake of a tornado.  You’ve also seen the victims of these events, rise up and rebuild afterward.  My life storms had the power to break me, but they also contained the power to rebuild a better and stronger me.  It was a pause in my life.  It was inconvenient, maddening and uncomfortable.  But oh, how I love it’s power.

If you are wondering where I am at now, I’m still in the pause.  I’ve recently made another pivot though; yes a leap into thin air.  I know the one who is in control of my life and I’m no longer fighting for the remote.  Those hopes and dreams are being reawakened.  That thing, that sense of purpose and fulfillment is closer than ever.  I can feel it.  There’s a giant finger over that play button and it’s going to be “game on” any second now…