Everyone Has Something…

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(This post was originally posted in 2016)

As a society, we’ve become masters at “labeling.” We know all our disabilities, all our flaws. We’ve given them names and can diagnose them earlier and earlier. But I’m not so sure that’s always a good thing. Sure, early diagnosis can help, even save, a large amount of people. But sometimes giving it a label predestines a person to limit themselves, to limit their life in ways that they may have pushed through had they not been labeled. Because here’s the thing: Everyone has something. Everyone!

Next time you’re in a crowd, even a small crowd, look around. Statistically speaking, EVERY SINGLE PERSON in that crowd has something in their life that they find challenging. A limitation. Sometimes they wear their challenge on the outside and it’s easy to spot. But more often than that, it’s hidden. It’s under their clothes, it’s under their skin, it’s in their brain. And it’s unique to each person.

Even the people that appear to have it all together, they too have something bubbling just under the surface. No one is immune.

One of the most valuable lessons we can give to our peers is to learn to push through challenges. No matter what life has dealt you, you can use that experience to build or to tear down. And everyone has something.

I think our beauty comes from those “flaws,” from those experiences, and from those challenges.

I think it’s our job, as parents, as teachers, as mentors, to help our children and those around us, with our flaws and our challenges, but don’t stop there. It’s our RESPONSIBILITY to show them how we push through our challenges and don’t let them limit us. To show them that even though we have a disease, disorder, or disability, it doesn’t have us.

People watch our every move, our every reaction, especially our children. They look to us for examples of how to handle the stuff that makes up life, both the good and the bad. A parent with a challenge has to shine through their disability, and show their children that it’s not something to stop them from doing what they want in life.

Even when we think our challenge is too big to get over, we can still show our kids what it means to HOPE. But hope isn’t necessarily proactive. Being hopeful can change your state of mind. The lesson is in how we ACT on that hope.

Think about some of our most inspiring people. Why do they inspire us? Usually it’s because they’ve achieved something IN SPITE OF or even BECAUSE OF a limitation. They’ve overcome and made things better for themselves or for those around them.

Everyone HAS something, but not everyone will DO something. How are you going to use your limitation to inspire those around you?

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My Kids Think I’m an Idiot

Originally posted 11/17/2015

My kids think I’m an idiot…maybe I’ll keep it that way.

I don’t mean in an intellectual way, but in a social way. When I first realized my kids thought of me that way, my feelings were hurt, and admittedly, depending on the day, I still feel a little tinge of hurt when  my daughter says “You don’t understand how things are now days” or “things are different now than when you were my age.” Wow…have I really hit THAT age?

And she’s right…things were different 30 years ago. But not as different as SHE thinks they were. We just got into trouble in different ways “back then.” True, we didn’t have the internet that put the world at our fingertips like they do now. Our trouble wasn’t usually on a global scale.

But trouble always managed to find us, just like it will find her.

There are moments of “Mom cool-ness,” like when we’re shopping in Hot Topic and I know the band playing in the background (Bauhaus) and she catches me singing along, to which I’m met with a look of shock and, “YOU know THIS?” I just smile, and nod. Like I said…she thinks I’m an idiot, like I never had a life before I was a mom.

So if they think I’m an idiot when it comes to not knowing what they’re doing when I’m not around, maybe letting them think that way is not such a bad idea after all.

The bottom line is this: what she DOESN’T think I know, I don’t mind keeping from her. But what I DO know will save her a whole lot of grief some day. She just doesn’t always need to know that I know…ya know?

When your children want to know the gory details…

(Original Post July 2015)

 

So I found myself caught between a rock and a hard place (sorry for the cliché) the other night.

My daughter wanted to know if I was a rebel when I was younger.

Maybe it was the deer in the headlights expression that gave it away, but she knew immediately that I was not always the straight-laced, button-down, Christian woman that I am today.

Don’t get me wrong, I was always the one who everyone’s parents trusted, including my own. And for good reason.  For the most part, I stayed out of trouble, rarely broke the rules (I was usually too scared) or at least was smart enough not to get caught. But my daughter wanted the dirt, the gory details.

At first I told her that if she could guess something that I had done, that I would fess up. She couldn’t really come up with anything, to my relief, but she was relentless.

So what’s a parent to do? Make up something? No, that’s not my style. I’m too honest for that. I mean, really…honesty has always been my enemy.

This was a dilemma. If I told her a rebellious story she may use it against me further down the line. You know, throw my words back at me…”But YOU did it!” That would be bad. Or she could go the other way…”Just because YOU never did it doesn’t mean that I can’t do it!”

There really was no way to get out of the messy situation. It was a teachable moment…for both of us. So I thought of something forgivable, and told her a brief story from my rebellious youth. It was entertaining and not something she could really duplicate, so I was safe there. No one in the story got hurt. I told her how I learned a lesson and why it wasn’t a good idea to begin with.

Discernment…that’s what I learned. I learned that it isn’t so bad to tell my kids the gory details of my past mistakes, as long as I keep them in my past, and as long as my kids can learn a lesson from them. I think I’ll be ready for the next time one of them asks about my history, and I’ll keep the gore to a minimum. I’d like to keep my straight-laced, button-down reputation intact.

I’m just glad I got to live my teenage years BEFORE the internet.

Do you tell your kids about your gory details?

Mom Therapy

Mom Therapy

When my first born was about six months old, I went a little crazy. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I definitely had cabin fever. I felt like a shut-in, like I had lost contact with any adults other than my husband. He’s the love of my life, and my best friend, but he isn’t a woman. There’s something about “sisterhood” that women need, especially when they’re short on sleep and buried in diapers.

Come to think of it, now that my kids are teens, I STILL need that “sisterhood.” There aren’t diapers or crying fits anymore (unless you count mine – LOL), but there is a certain need for a sharing of our lives.

I call it Mom Therapy.

It comes in many forms. Years ago, when the kids were babies, it meant stealing a couple of hours (if we were lucky) at Starbucks with babies in strollers. When they got to toddler age, we took our coffee to the park and pushed the kids in swings while we chatted. Shhhh…don’t tell the kids that the park is really for you too.

And then partial day preschool and kindergarten kicked in, and it was back to Starbucks, sans strollers, for coffee and maybe a quick trip to the mall or Walmart. We never bought clothes for ourselves, mind you, it was always for the kids. But we still managed to talk about life and laugh about how ridiculous it could be at times.

Now my kids are teens, and most of my friends, like myself, have gone back to work, ruining our Mom Therapy time. Oh, how I long for those days of strollers and Starbucks.

Some Moms forego the Coffee Therapy in exchange for Gym Therapy (I assume…I’ve never been to a gym), or PTA gatherings, or Church Functions (ie Bible studies), or Book Clubs.

But however Moms get their “therapy,” we need it. It’s essential to our survival.

I’m sure Dads have their own version of Dad Therapy, but I’m not a Dad, so I wouldn’t know what they do.

To my “Mom Therapists,” you know who you are, and thank you for your time.

What do you do for your Mom Therapy? Do you have a group of “therapists” that meet regularly?

Why Moms Need a “Village”

When I had my first child, over 16 years ago, I was elated. Growing up, I never aspired to be a CEO, or a big executive (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I just wanted to be a Mom and a Wife. My dreams were coming true.

And then the hard work began.

For starters, I have a minor disability which makes me somewhat dependent on others, which I hate, by the way. But it can’t be helped. That’s where my “Village” comes in.

I knew going into parenthood, that I would need help, especially getting around town with the kids. And it became evident immediately when the doctors screwed up my C-Section (a small portion of it opened back up) which sent me to the wound center EVERY DAY for the first 10 weeks of my daughter’s life. My husband couldn’t take that much time off work, so my village took me there and waited with the newborn while my wounds were cleaned.

Because I can’t drive, I try my best to be close to schools, grocery stores, and doctors, and God has provided that for me. But there are times when stumbling blocks get thrown in the way. That’s when I need my village. Sometimes it’s made up of good friends or family and sometimes near strangers.

The truth is parenting is hard, whether you have a disability or not. There are times when you’ll be criticized, and judged, and you’ll need your village to support you even when you’re wrong.

My Village comes in all shapes and sizes.

I’ve had friends who are like surrogate parents to my children. They love them almost as much as their own. They’ve watched my kids early in our friendship when my husband had a gall stone attack (we didn’t know what it was at the time) and had to be rushed to the hospital. They’ve picked my kids up from school or watched them when I was stuck on the bus or they’ve taken them to school functions when I couldn’t get them there on my own.

Sometimes the “Village” support comes in emotional support as well. When I thought I was losing my mind as most of us Moms do from time to time, they picked me up off the floor and reminded me that “this too shall pass.”

My kids are now in their teens, and I still need my “Village.” Moms with older kids who have gone before me to advise me with high school decisions. Moms with younger kids to remind me not to take any moment for granted, because they pass quickly. Moms with kids the same age to support each other in the insanity.

My Village…I love them all and there’s never any way I could every repay their kindness. Somehow “thank you” doesn’t seem to be enough.

What about you? Have you found your village?

Parenting Teens – Unshakable Love

Parenting Teens

My oldest child is 16. Sixteen! How did that happen?!

It’s been an emotional roller coaster this last year. Lots of tears, lots of hurt feelings and misunderstandings, and lots of times when her father (who had no sisters) had no idea what he was in for.

I think we’re at a good point at the moment. I can’t say how long it will last, since emotions run high, and things seem to turn at the drop of a hat or the slam of a door.

I think parenting teens is so hard because we remember what we did as teens, and how much we didn’t tell our parents. We know what they’re probably doing when we aren’t around, or, thanks to technology, even when we’re in the next room.

I have a new slogan for my kids that I keep repeating:

“It isn’t what you do that makes me love you, it’s who you are. I will always fight for you…ALWAYS, even when we disagree.”

It’s sort of a mantra for both me and them. I want them to know there is nothing they can do to lose my love…NOTHING. There is also nothing they can do to EARN my love. I love them because they are my children. That’s it. It’s just that simple.

Let’s face it, there are going to be times when we will disappoint one another, but that disappointment will never make me turn away for them.

There will be times when we make each other really mad, maybe too mad to even speak. But they can’t shake my love.