I Found Hope in Two Little Girls

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We expect so much out of life and the people around us. Today, be the unexpected. Be the smile, the kind voice, the helping hand that reaches out when no-one else does. Be kindness, offer motivation and be the reason someone feels a tiny sparkle of hope. You can change the world one small act of kindness at a time.

Before I pick my son up from school, I walk at the local YMCA. The track is located above the basketball courts where the after school program takes place. There are kids yelling and running and bouncing. To be honest, after coming directly from yoga, the noise and the movement really gets on my nerves. A week ago I walked into the restroom where two little girls insisted I go first. They were chatty and smiled at me through missing teeth. I smiled back half heartedly. Yesterday, they met me there again. They told me they watch for me so they can come and say hello. This time, I knelt down and I looked them both in the eyes. I am very happy to see you both today I said through a warm, inviting smile. See you tomorrow then?

It takes one person to warm your heart. One person to show a kindness you didn’t notice before. Look for the blessings. They are there waiting for you to notice. Those little girls made an enormous difference. I am so grateful for them.

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How Did I Get It So Wrong?

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If you like my warm, fuzzy inspirational posts, do yourself a favor and stop reading here. For those of you brave enough to read on, I would like to share with you how I would raise my kids differently if I could do it all over. At least what I would teach them anyway. 

I grew up in a little bubble where life was perfect and everyone was wonderful. Seriously, looking back, I know now that I was so naive. I respected and trusted every adult. I expected the best from everyone. I had a great run of my childhood years. It wasn’t until I became a parent myself that I learned some of the most painful and surprising lessons of all. If I could write my younger self a letter I would tell her, a long with my two children this.

Life is unfair. Every single day you will witness something that just doesn’t seem right. People will not speak out. Don’t expect them too. They are weak and scared and care more about how they appear to everyone else than to ever stand against something that is wrong. Never take anyone at their word because it is actions that speak and never the words. Expect the absolute worst from everyone so you are never disappointed when that is what they hand you. No one and I repeat no one will ever have your back. You may think they will, but when it comes down to your back or theirs, they will choose their own every single time. Trust no one. Expect people will let you down and if they don’t, be grateful. Be your own best friend, your own best advocate and always be your own self. The crowd is overrated. Don’t get lost somewhere in the middle of it. You will suffocate, never find your way out. Know too that there is good in this world. There are good acts and good people and a handful of honest ones. You won’t know which is which until it’s far too late. Trust your instincts and rely on the only person who will never let you down, YOU.

I had a rough day. The amount of people who do harm gets to me sometimes, especially when it comes to my kids. When I place them in the hands of someone who could make or break their self esteem and more importantly, their spirit,they seem to destroy them every single time. 

Everything you do affects everyone else. Every word. Every action. Your good mood or bad mood. We are all connected. We have to stop being so damn selfish and heartless. Be better than the crowd. The world needs you to. I need you to.

The Beauty of In Between

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I can’t really remember the last time I didn’t have kids. It feels like I’ve been a mom most of my life even though that is far from the truth. Somewhere along with giving birth, I gave up who I used to be. I played into the lie that I had to act a certain way and live a certain lifestyle because there were little people watching. I was so focused on them that I lost being myself. Slowly, I am starting to remember. Tonight I am going to see Def Leppard for the first time. As I listen to their music today, I am sixteen again, sitting around a bonfire with all my friends. I am happy and smiling and free from the responsibility that weighs me down as the years of my life go flying by. I am that carefree teen again, on top of the world, living in eack moment as it spontaneously arrives. Music was and still is such a big part of my life. It helps me identify with my my own feelings and speaks to my heart in a way that nothing else can. Music holds the key to so many memories and the more I listen, the more they come rushing back. I forgot some of them, at least for awhile. I thought I had to give up that part of myself to be the person I am today. That is so untrue. So today, and again tonight when I am standing in that hot arena listening to one of my favorite groups from my teenage years, I will reunite with that part of me I left behind and for at least that moment in time, we will become one. 

Don’t sacrifice who you are. Don’t be who you think the world expects you to be. You can be a wife, a mom and still rock out. You can be the person you are today and the person you were all those years ago. That is your true self, when you remember what ignites the passion of who you were and who you are and when you finally reach a point to stand in between. The view is beautiful from there and so complete. I hope you will join me and reunite with who you really are, free of fear from what anyone else thinks.

Where Does Fulfillment Come From?

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A question was posed on Facebook by Jennifer Pastiloff in response to someone telling her the only way to have a fulfilling life is by having children. She then asked, do you have kids? If no or if so, are you leading a fulfilling life? Do you judge women who have chosen not to?

I found this whole concept thought provoking. For me, personally, I believe life is what you make of it. Will having kids or choosing not to have them guarantee a fulfilling life? I would have to say that any sane person would honestly have to answer no. I truly believe that we base our judgement of feeling fulfilled by the wrong things. Many people are defined by their job. Others are defined by the future super stars they are mentoring and raising. For me it’s a double edge sword. What about the parent that feels she has failed? What about the person who suddenly loses his job? When we are defined by any one thing, the mere loss or gain of it can change our entire self worth.

I have kids. Do I always feel fulfilled? Heck no, and there are times I feel like I traded my life for theirs. I love them and there are moments I feel so grateful or so proud that I cannot fight the tears that magically well up in my eyes. Then there are the days I look at my kids and wonder where in the world I could have gone so wrong. When someone is hurting and my kids lack compassion, I can’t help but wonder how I contributed to something so awful. The truth is, parenting is a major lifelong commitment. If someone’s dream is not to become a parent than I respect them for not bringing a child into the world that they do not want. We are not all cut out to be parents anymore than we are not all cut out to be surgeons.

Where does fulfillment come from then? Hopefully it comes from many things. I think fulfillment is a constant state of change. Somedays we feel full and other days, our souls feel so empty, we are filled with unimaginable pain. Those days you are feeling fulfilled you should bottle up for the days that fulfillment is not so much. Take the days as they come, the good the bad, the unexpected and do the best with what you have. Tomorrow is a new day and it arrives with a new set of circumstances. Our attitude however, we can control. So choose a good one and make the most of the gifts you are given. And don’t judge. Don’t ever judge. Wear your own shoes and tread your own path, and let others do the same.

Success based on anything but internal fulfillment is bound to be empty~Dr. Martha Friedman

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what you want, but the realization of how much you already have~Unknown

There Is No Greater Love

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12 years ago I was a given a gift. I was given the opportunity to raise and love a son. Secretly, I had hoped that he would be a girl. I already had one of those, so another one would be a cinch. But a boy, what in the world would I do with him?

It didn’t take long for his playful personality and belly laugh to completely kidnap my whole heart. He was easy going and he went with the flow while his new life mostly revolved around his sisters schedule. He played so hard he would pass out for hours and would wake with a beautiful smile on his chubby little face.

I’ve always known there was something very special about him. He is different from many other boys. He will never meet the tough, macho stereotype, for it is his heart that is his biggest and best feature. He is caring and he pays attention enough to notice the little details. He tells me to have a nice day every morning when I drop him off at school. Every time he hears me upset, he is the first one to ask if I’m alright. He is tender and emotional and he feels things deeper than most. He is a lover and a fixer and never too proud to say he is sorry. He has written me beautiful words that I will cherish until the end of time. He is silly and playful and probably more immature than he needs to be. Never in a hurry to grow up and never in a hurry to get anywhere really. He takes each moment as it comes and doesn’t give more thought to anything more than he actually needs to. He knows struggle. He knows how to put in the extra work just to play on a team. He has put ridiculous amounts of hard work in to finally beat his struggles in school. He has an impressive attitude and even when things seem hopeless, he never gives up. Even when people don’t notice he exists, he tries evens harder than if they were looking. He likes to please and when someone takes a moment to point out something good, his growth in self confidence is beyond something that could ever be measured. He’s been passed over and pushed aside while he secretly waits for a little attention, he is my quiet little warrior with a great big beautiful spirit who never, ever gives up. He is playful and goofy and the sound of his laugh still warms my heart that has grown bigger and softer from having him around. One thing is for sure. He loves his mom. And you know what? There’s no doubt how much she loves him too.

Happy birthday little buddy. I can’t wait to watch you enjoy life as a 12 year old. It’s hard to believe in a short year, you too will be a teen.

Where did all the years go? It seems like yesterday he was a sweet little baby laying in my arms. This year I watched him confidently walk into middle school. My little guy with freckles and blond reddish hair. He has grown in ways that make me proud. The effort and the growth that has paved a path in front of each new accomplishment amazes me every day. He is perfect just the way he is now. I pray that life never changes the smile on his face and that it is the smile on his face and in his heart, that not only changes the world but also makes it a better place.

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