Come on over :)

Hello to you…

If I were a more tech savvy girl, I would not have to up and move.  I know there once was a way to keep the blog but change the name but, being the old fashioned and stubborn girl I am ….it eluded me.

So, I am going to stay on wordpress but am blogging under “Wisdom from the Sisterhood”.  Some of you have already come to visit…thank you.  I love the community we have here, I love what I learn from you all and I love the sharing that we do.  So don’t be a stranger, come on over.  And, you know, if I could serve up some cupcakes to you…I sure would.  I will put up recipes though :).

Hope to see you sooooon!

j

Ending The Silence

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Yes, you’re quite right.  She’s been quiet.  Terribly quiet.  Scary quiet.  The kind of quiet that comes when silence is all you can manage.

Life happens that way sometimes.  Change, death, crisis, and chaos will all do that to a person.  If one or two crisis or changes happen, you can recover and sometimes the recovery is easy.  You just shake it off, grow your backbone and move on.  But, when the craziness strikes heavily and all at once, well, stunned is perhaps the only place it’s going to take you and no amount of backbone is going to help you suck it up and move on.   Life can leave you stunned and silent and when it happens like that, time is the only healer.  That is where I have been for the last five months.  Trying so hard just to swim up out of the silence.

Stunned, quiet and reeling from everything that came much too soon and in rapid fire.  It took all of five months to catch my breath and make some changes of my own.  It was five months ago this week that one of my oldest and dearest friend from childhood died quite unexpectedly.  When you talk about something taking your breath away, Mary was just that.  Healthy and happy on April 3rd and dead on the 19th.  Shocking, stunning…all those kind of words applied immediately. ( Just a side note and not to share too many of her personal details but I do want to pass a long to anyone reading this that it was lung and breathing related and, as you meander your way into these next winter months, do not mess with pneumonia.  Please, don’t.  She was healthy, she was vivacious but when the “worst case scenario” drops into your lap, there is just not a lot you can do.  Pneumonia is a tough opponent.  So, be careful out there and if you find yourself on the bad end of pneumonia or anything breathing related….PLEASE….go to the doctor.)

Anyway, as I said, shocked and stunned were my first response for a lot of reasons.  I had known her since first grade and, being from a small town, friends become like family.  There weren’t that many of us so you can’t just drop someone and move to another friend.  People in small towns become like second nature to you and when you lose them, it’s like losing a witness to your life.  There were things ONLY Mary knew.  With her gone, it was as though it no longer happened.  She was witness to the greatest laugh I ever had.  Decades later, when we’d see each other, we still talked about it, laughed about it.  She’d still bring up the time when I was six and I got ALL my hair cut off into a “pixie” cut WAY back in the day.  She would tell me how much I told her I loved the hair cut and I can’t even remember it.  She was my witness and with her gone, it’s like part of my childhood died with her.

Losing Mary was tough and it got tougher when, as parents, I realized the son she left behind was just about the same age as my daughter.  When I saw the pain and anger in him, I thought of my girl and how lost she’d be too.  I realized, as single moms, we both shared an extra set of fears that other parents may not since we played the role of mom and dad full time by ourselves.

Losing friends is not easy.  She was healthy, she was a professional, she was tough and I understood, for the first time, that youth would not guarantee longevity.  Life happens, with your permission and even without.  Life happens and sometimes it’s not at all fair.  And, as I dug in my heels and cried through my tantrum and asked God why… it did not change anything.  All it did was make my head hurt.  Finally, after three months and a memorial service, my angry fog began to clear and a new word emerged from the anger that defined the loss of Mary with more appropriate emotion.  It defined who she was.  And, as the anger cleared, I was finally able to understand it and to feel it.

Gift.

And then another word emerged….Blessing.

I never ever thought I would see gift or blessing as a description for Mary’s passing.  Angry, mad, confused and heart hurt were all better descriptions until I looked across my life and into the faces of my children and realized Mary was a reality check for me.  I can see so much more clearly since her passing.  Yes, I pouted for a few months and God and I were on the outs during those same months but, in looking at the big picture, even I finally get that there are no guarantees… except to appreciate the gifts you are given.  No one ever said everyone gets to kick up their heels until they are eighty.  No one ever said that we will all find Mr. Amazing.  No one ever said all children will be perfect.  No one ever said life will be fair and just and pretty.

Life will be life.

Life will be what you make it.  And, for me, this was the key.  Mary showed me that if your life is not what you want…change it.  If the people you have in your life are not gifts who nurture, love and add to the quality of your life, then change that too!  Don’t crowd your life with unkindness and unkind people and then complain that you aren’t smiling.  CHANGE IT.  Your life is a mix of what you allow into it so make it gorgeous, make it loving and make it YOU.  And, when those beautiful people like Mary pass from your life, soak in the amazing gift they were to you and how lucky you were to have them.  Love what you have as long as you have it and then be thankful for the gift.

I love Mary more today than I ever have.  And, thanks to my dear Mary, my life will be better because she showed me how very lucky I am and she put a very clean mirror in front of my face that clearly showed me I am NOT living the life I should be living.  I have been skating.  Wasting my hours playing on Facebook walls, enduring the unkindness of fake friends, spending time being frustrated by boy brain and chasing after relationships that are not fulfilling or healthy.  Losing Mary helped me to see that I was filling my life with whatever I found along the way .  When I took a step back I realized that a good many of the people I was clustering into my life were not good friends, not good role models for my kids and not even good people sometimes.

Thank to Mary, changes are coming.  Good changes, great changes but not one of them is an easy change.  Mary showed me that I need to grow my own backbone, set healthy standards and boundaries and fill my life with positive pieces because our lives are not meant to be mere trash receptacles set about to catch all the rubbish that abounds in life.   We are all meant for more than that.  Mary also reminded me childhood is a very short period of time and you have to drink it in, chaos and calm are equally important and have to be loved.  So I am off to start loving it all.

I have work ahead, changes to make and children to appreciate.  Next stop…deconstructing a life!

Oh so true!! :)

Oh so true!!  :)

This is not my art, I found it on Pinterest, but I love it and I am sharing it because I think it’s a good thought to remember. If anyone wants it taken down, just say the word. It’s just so lovely to share the good stuff.

Twanda Blogging Friends…

Blogging is obviously new for me.  Yep, that’s a given but I just had a quick thought to share.  And, yes, I know those who actually know me will say…”there is such thing as a quick thought that lives in you?  Really?”  Yes, yes, I know, it does not come naturally but….come on..let me try.

Today has been a rainy day and I have been inside making long cooking stuff in pots…soup and chili to be exact…and I have finally had time to read more of the blogs I am discovering and I just have to say, **you people wow me**.  As a single mom of three, I don’t get out too much.  Yes, I get to the schools, the track meets, the swim meets and even to my daughter’s choir performance last night but I don’t often get out to grown up places.  I don’t get much time for chatting up new friends or meeting people who share my interests.  WordPress has been a great avenue to “meet”some pretty amazing people.

You guys are incredible.  From young women adventuring in Paris and Greece, to single parents parenting well, to other parents of autistic children who are simply inspiring, to some pretty amazing athletes, to some genuinely gifted artists…you WOW me….you are all just so lovely and I wanted you to know that.

Thank you for gracing my day with your presence 🙂

And, for the dear friends who were already in my life before I started this venture, thank you for always being your wonderful selves.   I am blessed that you are in my life!

Okay…at least agree that this post was short FOR ME :).

Parenting: Put On Your Big Girl Panties

Okay, I have a pet peeve I’m going to share.  This last week the monster reared its ugly head again and although I try hard to be accepting and tolerant, this one is getting to me….so I am sharing with you.

Did I miss the generational memo that some knucklehead sent out that said parenting was supposed to be easy?  There seems to be this sentiment among parents today that parenting was supposed to be fun and easy and comprised of little Ken and Barbie dolls that speak on command, don’t talk back and don’t fill their diapers with the smelly stuff.  Some parents seem to be suffering under the delusion that children were supposed to be another fun night out and they seem downright resentful of the realities of parenting.  I have even started hearing a lot of grown-ups complaining that life with kids is just too tough, not what they signed up for, and a whole lot of other drivel that reeks of self indulgence.

It seems someone in my generation, or the generation shortly after, has started this rumor and there are some of my generational people and generational neighbors who have bought into this big whopper…hook line and sinker.  Lately this rumor has gained such popularity that parents are actually flocking to web sites to vent their frustrations anonymously as to how their life with children is just such a struggle.  From one parent complaining that she isn’t able to get her manicures with regularity because it interferes with her kids’ activities to another saying she just can’t stand always tending to others anymore.  One mom complained she never knew she’d lose all her free time and sometimes she opens her wine bottle and never closes it back up.  Another complaint stated that parenting is so much harder than it was in past generations?

Really?

Who started this rumor?  Who would be so gullible as to believe such a rumor?  Can they be serious?  Our generation has so much at their fingertips, so many advances, that this almost doesn’t warrant the justification of a response.  But…I would be so remiss if I did not point out at least the most obvious.  When you get down to the nitty gritty and admit it, our generation, unless they are trying to be green, doesn’t have to struggle with cloth diapers or even glass bottles.  And, as far as the parent’s complaint that there is so much more competition today to meet the pressure of excessive scheduling, I would say past generations probably had us beat in the backbone department and they also indulged the whims of their children less back then (and I say that as a child who was raised in those “days”).  Back in the “day”, parents also had a handle on the value of using the word “no”.

I have to say as well that from what I have heard and read, most of the complaints have come from parents who live a life with a spouse in the house and who do not have a child with a disability and have never once faced down a deadly disease taking hold of their child.  So, truly, what are you complaining about?

Let me please set the record straight, without any candy coating, and tell you the truth about parenting:

Parenting is hard.  Some days are messy and loud and mushy.  Of course it’s full time.  Of course it’s going to be both dirty and smelly and the little people you had such fun creating are going to be absolutely and decidedly uncivilized.  Multiply that by ten if you have boys but get used to it because that is their job.  The days are going to be long and the house is going to be consistently messy…no matter how many times you clean it up.  Whoever led you to believe that having children was simply a way to allow you to keep up with your trendy neighbors led you wildly astray.  These kids you are creating are little “people” and they did not ask to come into this world.  You chose them.  They are not props.  And, to be clear, I want to make sure I say this as well:  manicures, spa days, nights out, drinking binges, luxury vehicles, Bunco parties and ‘escape the kids’ vacations are not owed to you….they are OPTIONAL.

If you want to know what it’s like to face a real daily challenge in the parenting arena, just holler at me and I will hook you up with parents who face REAL struggles every day with children who have disabilities and diseases.  Not once have I heard these parents complain about their lack of manicures or show resentment for the all nighters they pull with their children.  They are some of the most stand up, knock your socks off parents I have ever met.  They truly wow me.  From the friend of mine who has already lost a spouse to cancer and is still battling cancer with their child… to another friend whose autistic child not only doesn’t sleep but also has daily meltdowns that last several hours long …to yet another friend whose child is nearing the teen years and is non verbal and not potty trained.

These are the only kind of parents who are allowed to vent.

  • Parents of children with disabilities are the parents who are allowed to vent.
  • Parents of children who have pure melt downs (these are NOT tantrums) that last four hours straight are allowed to vent.
  • Parents with children that do not sleep at night, because their brains will not settle, are allowed to vent.
  • Parents with children whose cognitive levels will never reach their actual age level are allowed to vent.
  • Parents with children who have physical disabilities are allowed to vent.
  • Single parents are allowed to vent.
  • Parents of children who struggle with any kind of disease are allowed to vent.

If you involve yourself in this level of parenting then by all means, vent, complain and scream out to the world because you truly face parenting challenges every single day.  The really quirky thing about this pet peeve of mine is that the parents who are “allowed” to vent…they really don’t.  They may seek solace and comfort in a trusted few friends who understand their challenges but I don’t know of one who would sit there and whine and complain about their children.  Not one.  They no doubt see the challenges in their life but the ones I know step right up and they find the smile and the humor, even the humanity of it all, before they let the inner diva start broadcasting.

I would ask the DIVA parents, before they vent anonymously…what is there really to complain about?  If your children are healthy, I am not sure I understand why you need to complain at all.  If your complaint is that you are no longer able to practice self indulgence or live a self centered life, then please put on your big girl panties, or your big boy chonies, and deal with it.  Suck it up if you must because parenting is hard work.  Welcome to life.  Give your children a parent and a role model who is a grown up and who can look past the manicures, the wine and the escape vacations to tend to your children without resentment or complaint.

Sure…we all have rough days….days are long and hard, some are even unbearable,  and that is part of parenting.  Vacations are great and we all need a break on occasion but those vacations are for AFTER everything else is taken care of.  When the children’s needs are met, then by all means, do some taking care of you.  And, next time, before you complain and whine or drink yourself into oblivion, take a look at your blessings.  Look around you at all you have and all you have been given and ask yourself what it is you are complaining about.

Okay…my pet peeve is complete.  Thank you for your patience J.