As a career professional, volunteer, mom, wife, and friend, I focus on the positive aspects of life, even when the road is rough getting there. Life is funny. How you treat others, how you handle situations, and how you live each day is your responsibility ... so are the outcomes.
There are many things in life you cannot change. You cannot change, who your parents are, where you were born, or the truth as to why your parents' marriage may not have lasted. It is unfortunate for some children, a parent or the parents are more worried about their bitterness, anger, and what people may think. They place the children in the middle. The verbal fights in front of their children, the badmouthing of each other to their children, all in hopes of winning a battle where only the children suffer. I am absolutely amazed at the lies told and the games parents will play with their children's heads. For what? Some parents will never see or admit they are doing anything wrong, meanwhile, the children are torn emotionally and mentally between their parents, and eventually are forced to pick sides. In picking sides, they loose a parent, a friend, and a love, which cannot be replaced.
She was dating a guy with kids and had no children of her own. As their relationship started to grow, she thought he may be the one. There was a lot to take into consideration. Did she want an already made family? Was she ready to be a "mom"? Would they ever have children of their own together? How would his kids react? What kind of drama would the ex-wife create? Would her family accept the kids? She had much to think about and needed to figure out what type of "mom" she was going to be, if they were ever to get married.
As she laid in bed that evening listening to the crickets chirp through the open patio door, the warm summer breeze brought her back to a childhood memory, which sparked an unexpected thought process. She was up on the patio enjoying a summer afternoon with her Grandparents. They were the type of people, who loved children, especially their grandchildren. Her Grandpa was jovial and wise. Her Grandma had the "permagrin," in other words; it was rare you would see her without a smile on her face or laughter in her heart. The smell in the air that night was much like that afternoon. She wondered why she was brought back to that particular day, when she spent many Sundays in the summer the same way with them. Maybe it was her way of thinking about the loved ones in her life, who made a lasting impression upon her, and who she wanted to model her parenting after.
She started to make a mental list of how she wanted to be and also thought about the things, which upset her about her stepparents growing up. One thing she valued was honesty. She vowed she would never lie to the kids, even if the truth were not what they wanted to hear. Her Grandfather always told her the truth, which gave her the utmost respect for him. She hated the yelling growing up and the feeling at times her side was never heard. She promised herself she would listen to the kids whenever they wanted to talk, and she would allow them to state their case, so they would feel and believe she truly cared. Her step mom used to call her mom and scream at her on the phone. She remembered how much it hurt her to hear the nasty name-calling and see the tears her mother would shed, even though she tried to hide them. Civil communication, no matter how difficult it may be, was necessary for the kids to hear. She hoped the kid's mom would agree to curb her lies and badmouthing of their dad for the sake of their mental stability.
There comes a time when you need to cut the apron strings with the kids, let them fall down & guide them through getting up, and have them take responsibility for their actions. I recently had a discussion with a Stepmom, who was wronged not only by her Stepdaughter, but also by the mother of the child, who helped her with the devilish act. The Stepmom and Stepdaughter had a special relationship, which the mom was jealous and envious of. They talked open and honestly. She could always tell when her Stepdaughter was not telling the whole story or was bothered by something by her voice tone on the phone or the expression on her face. They'd hang out and go "shopping" (most of the time window shopping.) They had common interests and family histories. The Stepmom was always encouraging her Stepdaughter to use her intelligence along with her God given talents to be successful and to never settle for less than she deserved.
As the Stepdaughter got older, she said their "open and honest" relationship started to get tainted from outside influences and the fact the Stepmother did not approve of some things she was doing with her life. The ironic part was the Stepdaughter would always call her (not her Dad or Mom) when she was in need of help for whatever reason. She and her husband found out the daughter was in a serious, one car accident due to her drinking and driving. She was okay, but the car was a mangled mess of junk. After seeing the pictures, the Stepmom could only think she had a guardian angel by her side.
Okay, so it's my birthday today. Each birthday, I reflect on the year past - accomplishments, family gained, family lost, answered & unanswered prayers, quality time with family and friends, but most of all, how I have been to myself and others. If tomorrow never came, what lasting impression would I leave behind? Did I hold true to my beliefs, morals, and values. Did I speak to and treat others as I would want to be treated? What positive improvements can I make each day to help myself accomplish my goals and dreams, while helping others achieve theirs in the process?
Over the past year, I have also come to understand, no matter what you do or say, people in your life will seperate from you. Schedules get to busy. People's lives change and move in different directions. For those, who do drift away for their own reasons, especially family, their safety and well-being is prayed for each day in hopes one day they will find their way back to me.