Monthly Archives: January 2014

Snowy downfall

If you’ve ever been stranded by snow, you know. I’m blessed enough to have been prepared with all the sundries; bread, milk, chili, soup, water, eggs, and enough bacon to build my own pig. But what I wasn’t blessed with was the calm to enjoy the calm. Learning how to simply ‘be’ in the midst of an East Tennessee ‘snowstorm’ has been a challenge for this only.

Of course, I haven’t been an only, or a lonely for that matter, because I have two growing boys to feed, to mother, to entertain. So the kitchen has become my office, and my real ‘office’ has become no more than a distant memory.

The first day, which was only half-a-day, was the first hurdle. I rounded up the few employees I had left out in the field, then set off to play super-hero mom to my boys and rescue them from their frantically crowded schools. We landed at home, full of excitement and wonderment. What were we to do with this spontaneous bit of time? I mean, there’s only so much homework, eating and tv watching a family can do, right? As an avid anti-tv watcher, I was a little taken aback by the dilemma.  We did all that though, and after staying up late singing Karaoke on the xbox, we retired to our cozy beds.

But this mom could not rest without fully planning the next day without school that sat there all hidden in the bushes like some sniper in my mind. What would we do with all this time?

I did what any mom does. I planned. I listed, prioritized, and strategized how every hour would be spent in that long day ahead. And I awakened with a mission. Structure would ensue. We had an hour of snow play, followed by an hour of ‘unplugged’ quiet productivity that would include schoolwork, reading, and practice. That was followed by the lunch hour, that was followed by the ‘active’ hour, where sitting was not an option, but anything that required movement and loud music was welcome. It was then time for art, which included painting and drawing. The day was beautifully and dutifully filled, but – and here’s the kicker – I’m exhausted.

And what have I learned from this snow-capade? That I am grateful to be a working mother. I am blessed with a life where I can send my kids off on their learning journeys, and pick them up in time to play and entertain; to focus on the loving and nurturing side of motherhood, and leave the rigidity of monotony to the experts. Those experts are, I’m sure, much more creative and pragmatic than me. And for that, I am thankful.

When all is said and done, we all say that the one thing we would like more of is time, but the irony is that the more we have of it, the more we waste of it. While today wasn’t necessarily a waste, and it was welcome in its own right, simply because of its novelty, it was a waste of possibility; the possibility of calm. I take each evening to stop and think, write, create, learn, but never to relax.

And while I’m certain that a psychologist could have a field day with that, I have come to accept that relaxation just isn’t in my cards as a single mom of two boys. The way I see it, I will have plenty of time to learn how to relax after I’m done teaching them not to. My mother taught me the same thing. But balance is beauty. If there is even 30 minutes of calm in my day to ponder where I’ve been, where I am and where I would like to ‘be’, I am a happy mom, and the least lonely only in my family of three.

Good Genesis

gen·e·sis  (jn-ss)

n. pl. gen·e·ses (-sz)

1. The coming into being of something; the origin. See Synonyms at beginning.
2. Genesis Abbr. Gen. or Gn See Table at Bible.
The coming into being of something; the beginning. What thoughts come to mind when you hear that? What emotions ensue?
There are so many for me, none of which includes boredom or complacency. It’s fresh and exciting; new and invigorating. That’s the beginning of anything, because the beginning of anything is the first step into the unknown. When you begin a trip, you may know where you want to end up, but you have no idea what adventures you’ll encounter along the way. When life begins, a baby is born, you have an idea that there will be many sleepless nights. You can assume the baby will grow, need baths, drink milk, learn to smile & giggle, but it’s all so exciting to see this little being that is just a seed of what it will sprout into and become.
Mondays, the most dreaded day of the week for most, are even exciting. A new week is a new possibility for growth and beginnings. Even January, which is the coldest month of the year for many, is riddled with possibility at the start of a new year. Everyone makes resolutions, commits to change and improvement, and hopes for the best year ever.
This year is particularly exciting for me, probably because last year was so bad that this year almost has to be better. I truly have no doubt that it will be the best year I’ve had in a very long time. While I’m starting the year without my mom, I’m also starting without the dread of her becoming more sick or worrying that the Cancer will finally win its battle. It already did. But I have every reason to believe that my mom was the true victor, as she is now pain-free and blissfully happy.
Which brings me to the ever-so-anticipated, post-grieving epiphany.
I am happy. Almost exactly 6 months after my mom’s death, my mind has returned to its full splendor. She told me not to make any big decisions before 6 months was up. And while I heard her, and even quoted her ad nauseam, i did not listen. I made tons of mistakes, lots of bad choices, had some glitches and even some explosions as I acted and reacted to every challenge out of impulse and emotional erraticism. But…and here’s the moral….I survived it, and so did everyone around me that had to put up with my insanity.
When it comes down to it, beginnings are chances. And chances are good. In a sense, they put you back in the driver’s seat, where you’re in control, at least for a little while. If you’re lucky, you may even stay there. There will be bumps & mountains along the way, sure, but if you stay focused on the hopes that drove you in the first place – in the beginning, it’s easier to stay the course, and remain on that journey to fulfillment.
My resolution for this year is to do just that – fulfill without distraction. It’s ‘easy’ to give up hope, and cling to complacency. It’s more difficult to focus your sights on fulfillment and tread through the struggles to reach that goal. But, in the end, fulfillment brings happiness where complacency gives life to apathy and ultimately…emptiness.  So in this new year, I challenge you to ‘fill’r’up’ with consistent and persistent hope. Don’t settle. Live to dream. If you want something out of life, you first have to see it. Find the means. To every means, there is an end, and to every end, there is a beginning.

Frozen

I am tired. Tired of feeling like a hamster on a wheel. Turning my wheels was fun once, when I was a child on skates, but not so much as a grown up. Getting people to work is nonsense. My mom would always talk people into staying with our company, or coming in when they wanted to call in. Time after time, the result was that she shouldn’t have. People always have a way of doing what they want and no more. The truth is that you can’t make anyone do anything they don’t want to do. People ALWAYS have to come to their own conclusion.

This is true in work, play, relationships, family…in every aspect of life. My mom’s best friend said, time and time again, ‘People do what they want’. And this was quoted by my mom numerous times, but it never stuck. Her behavior stayed the same. She kept trying to force employees, customers…me into her own will. In truth, she could only control her own desires, not mine and not anyone else’s. 

She wanted to marry again after my dad passed away. This was a big point of contingency with her boyfriend because he had been married three times already, and had no intention of walking down that aisle again. He had to come to his own conclusion, that she was worth the risk, worth the effort, and worth the pain if it didn’t work out. In truth, it did work out, and she was the love of his life. But he had to open up. He had to allow himself to open up to her, and be emotionally vulnerable.

I have had to learn this emotionally vulnerable rule the hard way – breaking hearts along the way, and breaking down my own walls and tendencies. But I’ve had to do it my own way, which isn’t always so logical. I become emotionally frozen when I’m put on the spot, or put in that ever-so-obstinate hot seat, which should melt, but only paralyzes me. And what I’ve learned from this is that you can’t expect to be filled with love if you are closed. You can’t fill a bucket with a lid, any easier than you can drain a well that’s barren. Allowing yourself to become frozen, paralyzed, closed by the pain that you’ve been through means that you’re also not allowing happiness. And it takes lots of grief, adjustment, and work to overcome that and reach that realization that only hardship can convey.

People only do what they want to do, and they will do nothing if they are frozen with fear, petrified by experiences, or jaded by deception. If people are not honest with themselves, they cannot be honest with you. This is true in every aspect of life. I was frozen by self-protection, but self-protection, it turns out, can destroy. Frozen things can always melt because, in truth, they are vulnerable to the sun – the light that warms, melts, and breaks down the rigidness that is doubt.