Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stop Look & Listen

Today I finally made it back to church. Yet another step in Taking Back My Life. My church does studies in a series. Ironically, they've been doing "relationships" this month. And yet I've missed most of this month.

Today it was about "giving the gift of Presence." In other words - really being there with a friend when you're talking to that friend. It was a powerful message. The speaker (not our pastor - sometimes the Pastor turns the mic over to someone else for a message....) went through the bible and called out passages that highlighted times when Jesus/God "sees us." We also watched a clip from the Joy Luck Club where the mother says to the daughter, "I see you."

The message was powerful - and we even practiced talking to someone, doing active listening, and saying, "I see you."

Truly seeing someone - being in their presence - turning off your own "inner song" and hearing what they are saying - how hard is that sometimes? But today, he made it seem so easy if we just follow the three simple steps.

STOP -just stop whatever you are doing. Stop focusing inward. Just. Stop.
LOOK - face another person. Look them in the eye. SEE THEM.
LISTEN - Practice active listening, "So what I hear you saying is this...." or "It seems like when that happened you felt...."

Give another human being the Gift Of Presence - the gift of truly being in the moment.

Such a simple idea, and yet so hard to do sometimes. This week, I am practicing Giving the Gift of Presence. Because everyone needs to know that God Loves Us - just the way we are. Always.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Because You Love Me

Women report all kinds of relationships with their moms: good, bad, ugly, pretty, manipulative, condemning, happy, sad.

I am blessed. I have the best mom in the whole world. I've said this before. But on Sunday, driving home from a great weekend with friends, this song came on the radio, and there I was,
crying again, thinking about how blessed I am to have the best mom in the universe.

This song sums it all up for me. Right now I am challenging myself to be a better version of myself. And I know that my mom is there for me, cheering me on. I wish I could get home more to be with her. I'm more than a little bit jealous of my siblings who live around the corner from mom and dad. So just because - not a birthday, not mother's day or a holiday - but just because I'm blessed, here is the ultimate song that reminds me how awesome, rock solid, amazing, caring and loving my mom is. And how lucky I am to have her.

Here's one for you mom. Thanks for being there for me, always. Love you.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Today They Are Adults

Sigh today I am officially the parent of adults. But they will always be my babies.....

Happy Birthday to the Best Kids in the Universe! Love, Mom

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stop Telling Me What To Do

Lately everyone seems to want to be my boss. And it's not going over so well.

The other day I was in the grocery store, zooming around trying to fit in shopping while running late for a game and preparing for a party later. You know, the regular "being a woman" stuff. I am careful when I'm in zoom mode not to cut people off, run them over or be rude. So I was zooming around people in the produce department and some old, slow man says to me, "Just take it easy and slow down." WTF? Did I say to you, "He pokey get the frick out of the way - try caffeine you might move faster than 0.0001 mph!!"

Getting gas, not wasting time. Some old dude says, "Take it easy there, just enjoy life." WTF getting gas is an enjoyable experience? Maybe I'd like to get gas and get out on the field where I can enjoy life. Did I tell you to get the frick out of the way and go home where you can't bother people? No I just smiled at you and muttered under my breath.

"Friends" are telling me not to be "hard" on myself. People are telling me who to date, what to think, where to go. Telling me what I "should" do, how I should do it, and at what speed I should proceed. I am not asking for advice. This is all unsolicited. What is it about a single woman that invites every Tom, Dick, Harry, Joe, Pete, Steve, Mike, Jeff and Marshall to think they need to give me direction? And yes the only people telling me what to do ARE MEN.

I have stopped smiling at them and nodding and keeping to myself. I have started firing back. "NO you know what I really need? To make my own decisions. To decide what's best for me. And I really don't like doing what you're suggesting. So I'm not doing it that way thank you very much."

Yeeesh what am I, wearing a sign that says, "Boss Me Around"? I thought I exuded a certain, "Don't Mess With Me Attitude." Apparently I need to work on that a little....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Making Yourself Cry

Do you ever do really stupid things that you know are going to make you cry, but you do them anyway?

It's no secret (I hope) that I love my kids. I'm caught in this weird place where I am so happy for them that they are off at college, learning, experiencing things, loving life, but yet I miss them every single day so much it hurts. Of course I can't tell them that - when they call or text or Facebook chat or skype (I know, really, how can I miss them with all that going on?!) - I pretend all is just great with the world.

And then I hang up the phone, and do something stupid like pull out their scrapbook, or stalk their high school photos on Facebook, or listen to This Song. And I sit and cry.

I don't know why I do this to myself. I know I'm going to cry. My face is going to get blotchy. My nose will run. My eyes get red and puffy.

And yet? I can't stop myself.

Sometimes I think if I just cry and get it over with, then I'll get over it and feel better. But it never works. I just miss them more and now look as gross as I feel.

Am I a dork or what?!

That was a rhetorical question Big Bro' and needn't answer out loud.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The One About the Captain

Once upon a time I married a man who turned out not to be such a great choice for me. He didn't speak to me, didn't treat me with respect, didn't love me, didn't like me. So 20 years later I finally got up the nerve to give him the divorce he asked for ...11 years earlier.

About that same time, I met a man who clearly was not real but had to be from a Fairy Tale. He was easy going, non-judgmental, wise, caring, loving, funny, adorable, handsome, handy, smart, creative, and he liked me for me, not who he thought I could be some day.

One day I woke up after spending a couple years flying around the country to catch glimpses of this Fairy Tale Man and began to wonder if it was all really true or if perhaps it was a Fairy Tale. I realized that for most of my life and definitely all of my adult life, I have fitted myself into another person's (Man's) life and taken on his life as mine.

One day I woke up and wondered what it would be like just to live my life. To figure out my goals, to manage my job, to tend to my kids, to deal with my own stress and triumphs and losses, without leaning on another human being (Man) to help me cope.

Because I began to wonder what I was really made of, what really mattered to me, and what I might truly want out of my life.

And so I told the Fairy Tale Man that I needed to let him go for a little while. Maybe even forever.

At first Fairy Tale Man was not happy with me. He did not understand, because he never pushed his life on me, or made me do things I didn't want to, or judged me. He just listened. A lot. And talked to me. A lot. And shared things with me. Always.

But then, because he is the amazing Fairy Tale Man, he managed to put himself in my shoes, feel my feelings, and totally understood why I needed to be by myself for a while. or maybe forever.

Which naturally made me think I was completely losing it, losing him, losing my mind, and taking a stupid, stupid step.

But I did it anyway.

And so, as part of Taking Back My Life, I am going it alone. For at least a little while. Although Fairy Tale Man manages to keep in touch in the most caring ways. And I manage to call him. A Lot. And he always answers. Because first and foremost, He is my Friend. I hope I am fortunate enough to always have him as my Friend. Even though I do not deserve that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Heh, I THOUGHT I was taking back my life!

Well well well, didn't I go and get all ahead of myself with taking back my life?!

Dr said: Fractured ribs. No exercise for a month. WTH?! How am I supposed to lose 15 pounds?

So that made me just want a glass of wine and a large plate of cheese fries.

Instead I had sauted shrimp & garlic and a mug or 3 of peppermint tea. And a handful of vitamins (glucosamine, B, calcium, of those is bound to speed the healing process???)

So maybe I took back a little of my life....

Sigh...One Day At A Time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Taking Back My Life

For the past few years I have given the impression of being Large and In Charge. In reality I feel like I have been riding a wild roller coaster with no one at the controls.

On Sunday I enjoyed a glorious 3 hour ride through the hills of Virginia on my way to see Son play in a college Rugby Match. (insert gratuitous photo here....)

I had a lot of time to think, to watch the foliage, to count my blessings and tally up my faults. And I found the resolve to take back my life.

For months/years I have talked about fixing up/selling the house, making a career move, getting in shape, quitting bad habits, getting back on the spiritual path. But I couldn't get out of my own way or wouldn't take the resolve to dig out from kids, job, house, cleaning, relationships.

Somehow in the breeze of the fall day, I found the resolve to make the change.

Today I called the Dr. to deal with my bruised (?) rib from my game a week ago - no more letting medical issues run amok. I'm taking charge.

I packed a salad and drank water instead of diet coke. (I kicked the diet coke habit 2 months ago but was backsliding this weekend).

I put away the Margarita maker until I lose 15 pounds.

I started my day with prayers and made a plan to address my spiritual starvation. And I prayed for the strength not to let my aggravation with a certain coworker color my day any more.

I made a to-do list for work, got up early and hit the office before 8am.

I had a talk with the Boss about a game plan for work.

I made plans for next weekend with a list of home improvement items to tackle.

Day 1 and counting. One Day at a time.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Memories Amid the Rubble

Two Mismatched Earrings in the Bathroom.

Wet Towels on the Bed.

One Piece of Pumpkin bread and 1/2 a serving of Chicken Marsala.

The oily plate with crumbs from Tortilla Espanola.

Shoes in the Kitchen.

flip flops everywhere.

The playing cards out on the counter.

Trundle Bed pulled out.

Wires where the XBOX was.

Dirty Clothes you don't need before Thanksgiving.

Ooops what's that - a cell phone?

Going from room to room, picking up the pieces the two of you left behind. If I listen I can almost hear the ruckus of you and your friends, singing, dancing, teasing, telling jokes, playing games, making me laugh. This looks nothing like it did Thursday night before your arrival when freshly baked favorites awaited your arrival, everything vacuumed, cleaned and polished. (And yes, you noticed!!) Now it's Tuesday and you've both left - one in a car, one on a plane. I know you'll be back in 5 weeks, but the silence? It's deafening....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Balancing Act

The kids are in college - they are adults and yet, they are my babies.

Still trying to find that middle ground where it all balances out. I am working on it, yet I can't seem to find it. Have you found it?

For example, I went to see Daughter at school for Parents' Weekend. We had so much fun. It was great to see her in her environment - walking down the street calling out to pals, shopping and finding things for her, talking about her dorm, boys, food, parties. Parties. Listening as she shared with me in honesty what she was doing on the weekends. Trying hard to find the Balance - not condoning but not condemning. So hard to find that middle ground.

Then meeting the Boyfriend. He is sweet. He is well mannered. He is spiritual and thoughtful. He has a few (physical) characteristics I find unusual, but my Daughter accepts him. So I keep my mouth shut and find the Balance.

Son finally calls me -it has been over a week. I know something is up, but he hasn't told me. Finally he tells me - he dropped a class. A required class. I pause and swallow my instant response, "WHAT THE F* R U THINKING?" And chill out to the point where I can ask him, "Did you consult your advisors? Did you evaluate what this means for next semester? Do you have a plan to attack this subject differently next time?" Turns out he didn't ask me OR Dad before dropping - he just dropped. And he hasn't told Dad yet. Striking the balance - I am paying the bills, he must do the work. Wondering if he thinks I am condoning this? Or does he get it that this is so not cool?

Striking the balance. Letting go while still holding on.

And I still miss them so much, every day, I would give anything to have that Do Over.