Archive | September, 2013

Anger, Fear and Grace

17 Sep

I’m afraid. This morning I was angry. I was angry that my 16-year-old wasn’t doing as well as in school as I knew he could. I was angry that my 13-year-old neglected to turn in two assignments and lost his cell phone. I was angry because it felt like I always have to be on top of everything that goes on in my house or things begin to slide. I was angry because I’ve written a book on parenthood that I really think will help people, and yet I’m questioning my own ability to parent.

So when my youngest child got on the bus this morning I started to walk like I do every day, and I started to talk to the Divine Universe. I talked to St. Anthony, and asked him to help us find my son’s phone. I asked the Angels, Guardian and otherwise, to watch over my children and husband like I do every day. I prayed for my children’s schools to be safe, and I prayed to understand why I was so angry and why I felt like such a failure as a parent because of it. I spewed out every angry thought, every hateful word and every ugly feeling that was in my heart. If anyone had heard what I said they probably would’ve thought I was the meanest nastiest woman on the earth. I finished my walk and sat down to meditate like I do every day. I was still pretty angry and used my breathing exercises to help me to start calm down.

As the angry chatter in my mind started to slow down, something much bigger than the anger bubbled up. You see, a coworker and friend of my husband lost his 19-year-old son this week in a car accident that the police suspect involved drugs or alcohol and also involved drag racing. That young man used to play soccer against my 19-year-old son, and I know how very proud his father was of him. I never knew him and only saw him when he played against my son, but this morning I realized just how deeply his death affected me. This could have been my son who made one bad choice that cost him his life. This could be either one of my boys who will someday be 19 years old who could make a bad choice that could cost them their lives. It could be one of my nieces or nephews or one of the friends of my children, and I realized that all of this anger that I’m feeling is really fear, really really deep fear.

It starts with the fear that my children could make a bad choice that could cost them their lives, but it also is a fear that I haven’t done a good enough job as a parent to teach them how to walk away from those bad choices. It makes me realize how lucky I was as a teenager and how many situations I was in that could’ve gone much worse than they did. It makes me realize that in the grand scheme of things a bombed quiz, a forgotten homework and a lost cell phone don’t mean very much in and of themselves, but it also makes me realize that a nonchalant attitude about those things can also lead to a nonchalant attitude about other, more important things. It’s confusing and frightening, and it feels like I’ve come to one of the most important moments of my parenting career.

Like most parents, each of my children is a piece of my heart and soul that walks around outside my body. I love them more than I ever thought I could love another human being, and I wish for them to have a better life than mine in every area; spiritual, emotional, financial and physical. My greatest purpose in life is to be the best wife and mother I can be so that someday each of my boys can be the best husband, father and human being that they can be. Some days that purpose brings me the greatest joy and exhilaration I can imagine. Some days, like today, that purpose is overshadowed by the fear of events completely out of my control. Some days, like today, I question everything I think I know about parenting and whether I’m doing it right. I wonder if I’m the only one who feels so out of control and so helpless and afraid. I’m sure that I’m not, but in those most desperate moments, it feels very lonely indeed.

So today when my kids get home from school, they’ll be reading this post so that they understand under all the anger they saw last night and this morning that there was really fear. We’ll be talking about choices, good and bad, and what can happen as a result. We’ll be praying for a family that we know is heartbroken over the passing of one of their sweet boys, and we will be inspired from their loss to love more and to be better on every level. From their tragedy, I promise to be a more present and positive parent. I promise to be more courageous, more authentic and more loving. I promise to finish what I started with my children and my book and to encourage parents whenever possible. It’s the least and the most I can do, and if you’re someone who is a believer in God, the Divine or whatever you call the force greater than ourselves, please send up a prayer, white light and good vibes to all those who struggle with parenting the future of our world. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

My Plot Twisting Day

13 Sep

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players” is a line from the Shakespeare play As You Like It. Today, I feel like a character whose entire script is full of plot twists. I was looking forward to a quiet day at home to be productive. I had no intentions of leaving my home, and only wanted to do a bit of catch-up housework since I was gone yesterday from 10 in the morning until nine at night. Obviously, the Divine had other plans.

At 7:13 AM, I know because I looked at the clock, my 13-year-old son informed me that the medicine he is required to carry on the bus in case of emergency was missing. He was sure that he left it in his brothers car and we needed to go get it. I knew that we had just about enough time to drive to my other son’s high school, retrieve the meds and get him to school on time. We quickly gathered everything up and got ready to leave. Just as we got to the car, I remembered exactly where the meds were sitting last night. I moved the single grocery bag that was sitting on the floor of my car and there were the meds. That should’ve been the end of the story, but it wasn’t. We both headed back into the house from our detached garage only to find out that our back door was locked and I didn’t have the key. We checked the front door. It was locked too. It was at that moment that I lost my inner peace and seriously wanted to open up a can of whoop a$$ on my son. I was frustrated that I was locked out. I was irritated that my son hadn’t taken a moment to move that one bag to find his meds, and I was aggravated that we were scrambling for what seemed like the millionth time to keep him organized. I really wanted to unload on him, but something stopped me. I don’t know how to explain it exactly, but I’ll give it my best shot.

I am amazed sometimes at how much you can think about in a single moment. At the same time I was frustrated, irritated and aggravated this morning I realized something very important. Yesterday, my son, who has ADHD, was picked up at the bus, was taken to his music lesson, was taken grocery shopping, was taken to meet his brother at his brother’s high school to have a makeshift dinner or what we call a car picnic and then had to transfer all of his belongings to his brothers car so that I could attend open house at the high school. He came home and was responsible for doing his homework and taking care of himself for the next couple of hours. I got home around nine o’clock, the time he usually gets ready for bed. This morning in that angry frustrated moment, I was blessed with that clear moment of thought. At that point I also realized that just forgetting his meds was so minor compared to everything else that could’ve gone wrong. I also realized that because I’d been out of the house for nearly 11 hours that my routines were a bit out of whack as well. At that point, being locked out of our home was almost comical, and fortunately for me the keychain had a key to the front door, and we were able to get in. We talked about creating a specific staging area for him so that he can have a place, other than my living room couch, to keep all of his important items for school.

Lately, especially with the start of school, I’ve heard so many moms blaming their children, their spouses and their schedules for the chaos in their lives. In the most loving way, I am begging everyone to stop blaming anyone or anything for the circumstances in their lives. Especially if you live in the United States of America, you control your own destiny more than any other human being controls your destiny. Is it a perfect place to live? No, but it still is enough of a beacon of freedom that some people are willing to risk their lives to sneak into our country illegally to try to make a better life for themselves. If, however, you are a citizen of this great nation, it’s time to take responsibility for your own life and realize that it is your choices that determine where you are in life not anyone else’s. I know there are 1 million excuses or more as to why people blame others for their failures, but here’s the bottom line: everything you do is a choice. I believe that perhaps the greatest miracle on this Earth is that when you change how you think about things your life changes immediately. I know this because I’ve lived it.

One of the things I find most humorous is that some people think that because I’m a happy person that I have no problems or challenges. I have plenty of them but I choose to use them as a reason to get better instead of an excuse not to. I honestly could go on and on about my past and what I’ve learned and maybe someday I will in a book instead of a blog post, but for right now the point I’m hoping everyone will see is that your life is a choice. I truly defy you to think of anything that you do that isn’t a choice, and remarkably, if you don’t like your results, you can change your life by changing your choices. If your house is a wreck quit blaming your parents for not teaching you how to do clean. Stop blaming your husband and your children for the mess. Find a system that you can live with and start putting it into practice in your home. Choose to be the loving heart of your home instead of the sarcastic and blaming shrew. If you don’t have enough money, go to the library and check out one of the thousands of books that are written to help you with your finances. Stop blaming your spouse, your kids and your employer for lack of money. The only reason anyone is underpaid is because they’re willing to be. If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have time” understand that most of the things on your calendar are your choice. You may not want to take anything off of that calendar, but you could if you chose to. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. In my mind it’s very simple, every time you’re tempted to say the words “I have to” replace them with “I choose to”. Just doing that one simple thing can shift your focus and force you to really think about the life you want to live.

So this morning I actually got to see the fruit of many years of labor in the area of choosing. A formerly angry woman chose to hold her temper. A woman who used to yell whenever she got frustrated chose to control her tone of voice. A mom who couldn’t understand why her children did these things to her realized that they didn’t. The results of that was watching my son get on the bus with a smile on his face as I walked away with a smile on mine, and even though the rest of the day has been plot twist after plot twist, I’ve been able to smile through it all because of a simple choice made not today, but many years ago when I wanted to be a better wife, mother and human being. If you’ve already made a choice to be better, I applaud and salute you. If you’re ready to start today or have started to choose better recently, I will be your biggest cheerleader. If you still want to be in the place of blaming others for your circumstances, I’ll love you from afar and be here when you’re ready to choose differently. Thanks for being you and have a great day.

%d bloggers like this: