The greatest gifts in my life have come in the form of breast cancer, foreclosure, my drug and sex addicted father, who passed away when I was ten years old, my ex-husband, my children, Jake and Jonah, and their sister, Sydnee, who died two days shy of her due date.
One might ask how losing a father at a young age, getting divorced, losing a child or having cancer could possibly be considered gifts. There is no doubt that these were very challenging times in my life, but once the dust settled, and maybe even during some of the later experiences, I was able to see the gift in each and every experience in my life.
Within each of our not-so-normal lives, we are faced with challenges along the way, nobody is exempt. These challenges show up for us to help us grow. Each and every one of those experiences leaves us with a “gift”. The catch is, we don’t actually get the gift until we are aware it’s there for us. Imagine a beautifully wrapped present hiding way up high in the closet, but you don’t know it exists. It only becomes exciting when you know it’s there and you have the chance to tear it open. The good news is it’s never too late to find them, we just need to open our minds to another way of seeing things.
My hope is that through this series of dysfunctional, crazy, funny, challenging and sometimes embarrassing glances into my life, you will learn to spot the silver linings in your life, unveiling these precious gems that have the power to bring you freedom and peace of mind.
I’m going to tell you some very personal details about my life and you will likely have thoughts of judgment, maybe anger at some point, but don’t stress out, just breathe. I forgive you. Xo
A Mama’s Gotta take a Breath…
Becoming a mom is unquestionably the best decision I’ve ever made. I know, with certainty, that I was meant to be a mom. In fact, sometimes my teenagers still tease me, asking me if I want to put sunscreen on them and bubble wrap around them before they leave the house. I may be a little overprotective, but I love the “cubs”, as I call them, more than I could ever imagine loving anybody, so sometimes I overdo it. Having said all that, parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever committed to doing.
When you’re thinking about having kids nobody tells you just exactly what’s involved, and even if they did you wouldn’t listen. Before you have kids, you think “that looks easy, why don’t they just make that screaming kid be quiet. I would never let my child get away with that.” It isn’t until you’re in the thick of it, and you’ve survived night after night with just two hours of sleep, and somehow you are still madly in love with that little punk who caused all those sleepless nights, that you know you were meant to be a parent.
There’s no question parenting is challenging. Today, for example, I planned to write, and I had a video conference call scheduled. My whole day was planned out and I was motivated! And then, it dawned on me that it was a half day at school and the kids would be home at 12:00. So I rescheduled my conference call to an earlier time. And then, my son decided he wasn’t feeling well and wanted to stay home from school. So he stayed home and promised to stay in his room during my conference call. The conference call came in 45 minutes early, and my son came out of his room in his underwear, and the person on the other end of the video asked about the kid in his underwear. He went to the kitchen to make something to eat and the noise made it hard to concentrate for both me and the person on the other end of the call that I had been waiting for all week. He eventually went back into his bedroom, and my other son rang the buzzer, he was home from school! Shortly after, my nephew came over. Let’s just say, it wasn’t the quiet, productive day I had envisioned.
So what’s a girl to do when things don’t go exactly as planned; breathe, of course. While all of this was going on, I have to admit, I did more yelling then breathing. But the kids went out for a little while and it gave me time to meditate. By the time they got home I was sane again and we had a nice peaceful night. Had I not taken the time to breathe, I may have still been frustrated when they got home, and the night may have gone a very differently, but I don’t like to waste precious time being angry with the people I love.
I was reminded today that if I had taken the time to ‘just breathe’ while all of this was going on, I would have had a second to remember that everything happens exactly as it’s supposed to. My perspective would have shifted right away, and my meeting would have gone better because I would have been more present.
Kids are our best teachers; they are our mirrors, showing us exactly what we need to see in ourselves. By being noisy, my kids showed me that I am paying too much attention to the noise in my head. By being disruptive, they were showing me that I have been procrastinating and letting things get in the way of the plans I have for myself. By getting in my space, they showed me that I have to tighten up my boundaries.
Of course, my kids weren’t innocent in all of this, but ultimately everything that comes into our lives is ours even if it appears that somebody else is causing it. We can either choose to learn from it or we can be the victim of it. The good news is we have a choice, and I still adore the cubs, even though sometimes they make me crazy.