Tag Archives: faith

The Bigger than the Book Journey

9 Jun

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post, partly because of a book launch and partly because of a crisis of faith; not the capital F type of Faith because as low as I’ve been in my life, that one seems to stay intact. Rather it is the little F of faith that has been shaken – faith in humanity and the goodness of others. For those who follow the blog or my Better Living Daily Facebook page, you know about the book launch last month. I am very proud of Everyday Heroes of Motherhood. For those who haven’t read it, it is a series of letters to those who have been a great influence on my own motherhood journey. It isn’t scientific or filled with facts and figures. It is a work of the heart to encourage mothers of every kind, including those who have not given birth, to understand that people do watch and appreciate moms who do their best, regardless of their circumstances. It was a labor of love to write the book. It was a series of huge leaps out of my comfort zone to bring the book to market, and it has been an incredible life experience to see the best and worst in others as they have reacted to the book itself.

Most of the response has been incredibly positive. I’ve been contacted by people I wrote letters to in the past who remember what I wrote and how it helped them in a difficult time. It’s nice to know that the letters fulfilled their intended purposes. Most of the women I included in the book were shocked to think I wanted to include them because they were doing what they do, not to be noticed, but just to mother the best they can, and that was what I found inspiring. Each letter is truly about how my life changed because of these people, and I can only hope that they will inspire others as much as they have inspired me. One person even told me that she is inspired to write a book about her unique mothering situation because of my book. I know what her situation is, and I am sure that she will be able to help so many people by writing her book, and that brings me to today’s blog.

Not all of the feedback has been positive. Some of it has been through innuendo and not so nice comments and some of them have hurt. I’ve hashed them over with my husband, who reminds me that none of the people who have been critical have actually written a book, much less published one. I’ve talked things over with a close friend who reminds me that if they criticize me and/or the book, they miss the point of the book entirely. And I’ve turned the most hurtful comments over to the Divine, who in subtle ways reminds me that those comments are much more about the person who espouses them than it ever is about me. The only reason for me to put any stock in them is if I agree with them, which in most cases, I don’t, but if I do, I can thank the person for showing me where I need to grow.

You see, I’m well aware that this is not the next great American novel. I never set out for it to be. I am aware that it is not some great scholarly work filled with charts and studies. I wasn’t reaching for that either. What this book attempts to be is a way to encourage moms in every life situation. I’ve been a mom for over two decades, and I dedicated my life to being the best mom I can. I’ve read books and listened to programs and taken classes along the way. I’ve spent my life improving myself to improve my parenting, and although I’m far from perfect, I have given my very best to my husband and children as I know so many others have. The amazing part of life is that my best mothering is so very different from what others’ best mothering looks like. It’s why I have loved writing the book and why I love working with moms who are struggling because I know we can always get better, whatever that means to each of us.

Yesterday, I was reminded of one of the greatest lessons I’ve ever learned; that life is a choice. I read a challenge years ago to replace the phrases “have to”, “need to”, “ought to”, “should” or anything like that with “choose to” or “could choose to”. Imagine choosing to clean, do laundry, change the baby’s diaper, pay bills, go to work, or any other number of things we normally complain about. It was one of the most eye opening life exercises I’ve ever gone through. It changed my life because I realized nearly everything is a choice. We might not like the choices we are faced with, but everything is a choice. This morning I woke up to dog barf and dog poop in my house. Our dog is old, and she is sick. She has an inflamed gall bladder, but the removal of the gall bladder is costly and there are no guarantees that it will help her, and even if it does help her, there is no guarantee that is the only problem. She is twelve years old and coming to the end of her life. Truly, I have been cleaning up dog barf for most mornings during the past four months; thank goodness for piddle pads. Most days she hits the pad when she gets sick. We’re not so lucky with the poop, but luckily we have hardwood floors, so I’m not scrubbing carpets, and it is not a daily occurrence. I could leave the mess for one of my boys to clean. I could complain about it, which I do from time to time, but most days I choose to clean it up and just go on with life, knowing that the dog’s time to leave us is coming soon and being upset with her doesn’t help anyone.

I’ve tried to use this same lesson with the few negative moments with my book journey. I could choose to grouse and be upset and feel horrible about myself, which I have done on occasion. I am human after all. But the pity party is usually a short one because writing the two books that I have published has been an incredible journey of personal growth that I wouldn’t trade for anything. It is fueling the next two books and perhaps a course that will help others as well, and this time I get to work with some of my favorite people in the world to make it happen. At one point in this process I told one of my mentors that I was so far out of my comfort zone that I couldn’t even see it anymore. Her response? Good, that’s where growth happens, and I have certainly done some of that. It hasn’t been easy because putting your words out there for a writer is like displaying a piece of your soul. I’ve done it twice now and the process was still difficult the second time. I faced so many of my personal demons, not about the content because I knew the stories were amazing, but about my ability to tell them in a way that would touch others as much as they touched me. I feel that with every blog post on some level as well because I want this process to be helpful for everyone who reads the blog or what’s the point? So, I hope this blog post has helped you in some way. This journey has certainly helped me define who I want to be and how I want to be in this world, and I am grateful that it has helped me be a more caring, loving and encouraging person. It is a wonderful way to live, and I am blessed to be on the journey with all who choose to come along. I am hoping to be more present with the blog now that the big push is over, but regardless, I wish you all a joy filled and peaceful journey each day. I also hope that each of you will find a dream that you are willing to pursue, one that stretches you and helps you become a better person because all those I know who have pursued a dream, especially those who have achieved those dreams, are the most supportive people of others dreams that I have ever met. I believe we need more of that in the world, and I am finding more and more people who agree with me on that, which restores my faith in humanity. Dream big, and if you need a cheerleader, coach or friend who will believe in you, you can find me here, on my Better Living Daily Facebook page or connect with me on LinkedIn as Karen Bemmes. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

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Letting Go of Expectations

4 May

13139360_1215188035166506_7683767955186777276_n[1]If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know how I love a good spiritual kick in the pants. Today I got it over and over, and I finally surrender to the message. The first thing I read this morning was a beautiful blog post by my friend Shalagh who talked about things being personal, until we took ourselves out of the equation. Kick number one and you can read her post by clicking here: http://shalavee.com/its-all-personal-until-it-isnt/. Then I read a blog post about how we distract ourselves and talk ourselves out of dreams, but there was a bigger message for me. I got a huge aha moment when I realized I was putting enormous amounts of pressure on myself to re-coup all of the money that I invested into learning how to launch this book and create my upcoming course in a single day. I’ve used that money over the course of a couple of months, and as I told one of my coaches, I am so far out of my comfort zone that I can’t even see it anymore. I realized this morning that I need to take a breath and let the Divine do its thing while I do mine, and it was this post that helped me get there: http://bemorewithless.com/dream/ . It’s time for me to grow and be willing to talk about the information I am sharing. It’s not about me. It’s about the information. In this case, it’s about moms and mothering and honoring those who do it well, including the ones you might never think of. Kick number two and it came with a bonus kick that the Divine’s timing is perfect, even if mine isn’t. Duh!

So the next few days, I will be dropping by and/or stopping to thank several people in my life. I am hoping to take a few pictures and share their stories but even if I don’t, I want them to feel appreciated. These are women who may or may not mother their own children, but they mother others. I’ll be at our local Children’s hospital today to thank the check in staff, some I’ve known for over 15 years, and to thank some of the nurses and clerical staff. Each has played a role in helping my son stay healthy and that’s why I wrote Everyday Heroes of Motherhood, why I am creating the course Mom Mastery and am co-hosting #LoveLetterstoMoms day on Friday. Today I’ll get a jump on it, but I hope you’ll find someone or maybe even several women to thank for all they do over the next few days, especially those who may not be recognized otherwise. Post it on social media and let’s start an avalanche of appreciation. Also, because of these two posts I’m asking you to jump on Amazon on Friday and purchase Everyday Heroes of Motherhood and hopefully you’ll be even more inspired when you finish reading it. Thanks as always for taking the time to read what I share. Thank you for being you and have a great day.

Creative Declarations and Adventures

10 Mar

To listen along, click here: http://tobtr.com/s/8431725

I have shared before that there are two questions that are directing my life right now. Those questions are about what I want out of life and who I want to be. What I want includes writing, traveling, improving our home, paying off said home, being an awesome wife and mother, assisting our children with graduating from college debt free, helping those in need, particularly mothers and changing the world for the better in every way I can. It all sounds so lofty and wonderful and while there is so much going on that is sending my life in that direction, it amazes me how sometimes the simplest things can throw me off. In my case, it was dog barf this week. I will be using the term barf because most of the other terms make my stomach churn. I struggle with barf of all kinds, but dog barf really messes with me, and I was almost undone earlier this week because we bathed our dog on Sunday afternoon and she barfed in her crate Sunday night and sat in it. It smelled up our entire house. Blech! We cleaned it up and cleaned her up but the smell stuck around. It seemed like no matter what we did the smell just wouldn’t go away. We wiped the dog down with wet cloths. We brushed her thoroughly. We even gave her a second bath, and tonight she’ll have her third because nothing else is working. Entirely too much of my week has been taken up with trying to make my dog smell better, but it is kind of a metaphor for my life right now too.

Recently, I declared what I want in a big way. The coach who created the creativity bootcamp challenged us to declare huge, but to beware because once the genie was out of the bottle, amazing things were going to happen. She was right. I sit here exhausted as I write this blog post because I’ve committed to writing it for the radio show this week. The intentions to do everything right and well are there, but things keep showing up and changing the process. Sometimes they stink and sometimes they are blessings, but there is an exhaustion factor that keeps growing and even my normal amount of sleep isn’t quite enough. There are two kinds of exhaustion in my mind; the kind that results from soul sucking endeavors and the kind that stretch you so far, you think you might break, but you know deep down inside you’re really becoming a better version of yourself. I am currently experiencing the latter. I declared in boot camp that I want to publish multiple books this year. What I didn’t make public is that I know there are marketing strategies beyond publishing, especially in nonfiction, that lead to income generation. That part that has always tripped me up. I believe in the words that I am inspired to write. I believe the information I share will help others. I have this problem with making money from it, and I’m finding that other creatives do too. Most of us create because it’s part of who we are, and we struggle to understand the best way to put a price on what we do. As a writer I have much less in supplies than painters, but we put in the same hours. We can both mass produce our work through publishers and prints, but what is that initial investment worth? That is such a tricky question, so often we satisfy ourselves with an occasional kudo or book sale and wonder if we will ever see the success others have seen, hopefully before we pass from this Earth. Then occasionally something wonderful happens. In our bootcamp, one of the writer/poets got incredibly inspired and began entering her work into several contests, and she was chosen among many to have one of her poems featured in an upcoming publication. In addition, she was asked to attend an event and read her poem in person in Ireland in just a few weeks, and she’s going. To me, that is like winning the writing lottery, and it is inspiring me to keep going and keep working. I think several of the others in our group feel the same way. We are inspired to write more, to paint more, to create more and to put ourselves out in the world through our creations like never before. Like our fearless leader shared, though, the magic of the declaration began to bring one opportunity after another, and it can be overwhelming. My inbox is overflowing with them. They’re popping up on my Facebook feed. I’m reading about them in articles. Some are beyond me creatively and fiscally, but most are exactly what I need to move forward. There are free seminars and those are so easy to say yes to. Then there are the opportunities that ask you to take a leap of faith and invest in yourself, your learning and allow yourself to be blessed afterward. I have more than one of those opportunities right now and it is like standing on the edge of a cliff because I don’t know if I’m going to fly or fall to the rocks below.

The thing is that I’ve sort of been here before when I published my first book, and I wasn’t ready. I shied away from so much. I don’t know how much more ready I am now, but I do have more of one thing and that is faith. I’ve seen so many times in the past couple of years how the Divine has opened the way when I thought there wasn’t one or led me away from situations that were not healthy and led me directly to situations that helped me develop a clear vision of what I’m on this Earth to do and who I’m supposed to be. I am so grateful for the vision and for those moments that have challenged that vision because they helped me to know what is right for me. I love helping people create a better life. I love helping people figure out what to do to improve their lives on a daily basis. I love laughing and having fun and look for both in every day. I am still first and foremost committed to my family. Most of what I do is worked around them and for now, that works for me. My husband has assured me that he can hold down the fort if I need to step away for anything, and I believe he will, but I’m happiest with my family, and I will take every opportunity to spend time with them before they leave the nest.

Lately, not one day has looked like I intended it to look, but they’ve all turned out just fine. Even the dog barf is merely an annoyance. My family is happy and healthy. I find many blessings in each day and know the challenges are there to help me see the blessings. I feel more aligned with my Divine plan than ever and it feels so good. I’ve signed up for some training that will stretch me even further, but I’m also finding that as I move toward the life I feel I should be living, life is falling into place. Yes, I have doubts and fears that pop up, but faith is winning out and it seems that when faith wins out, the results are always better. Faith doesn’t mean that things always work out, but faith has me asking what I can learn from every situation rather than asking why something is happening to me. Faith is seeing how time seems to expand when you’re doing what the Divine has inspired you to do, and every day seems to be exactly what you need it to be even when it isn’t what you intended it to be. That might sound a bit crazy, but it seems to be the life I’m leading right now and I’m having more fun with it than I ever imagined. I encourage everyone to ask themselves who they are supposed to be and let the Divine lead them to their next best place. It won’t look like mine, but I’m betting it will look just like it’s supposed to for them, and trust me, the journey is a hoot. So, I’m off to keep trying to figure out this adventure we call life knowing every time I think I have it figured out, the game changes just a bit. It’s kind of like playing Twister. You never get to stay in one place very long, but the moving around can be filled with challenge and giggles galore and it is completely worth the risk of making the declarations in the first place. Wishing you a fun filled adventure full of amazing declarations until we meet again. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

The Thanksgiving Eve Blues

26 Nov

The Thanksgiving Eve Blues.

The Thanksgiving Eve Blues

26 Nov

I am struggling on this Thanksgiving Eve and rather than take to the air waves as I have been for the past several months, I felt that sharing my thoughts in print was a better way to proceed today. I have a thousand reasons why I’m struggling. My daily routines have been pretty non-existent since we got back from a five day trip to Florida to watch our children in marching band perform at Disney World. My children are each having their own struggles that always tug at a mother’s heart. We are having some financial struggles. I didn’t finish the book I had hoped to finish to help with those financial struggles and to help a friend in the process. I’ve had lots of meetings and errands that have kept me from doing what I “should” be doing. I could go on and keep sliding down, but sliding down into the pit of despair is a crappy place to be, and it’s a place I do my best to stay away from as much as possible.

So what’s a struggling soul to do? I learned a long time ago that it’s not anyone else’s job to make me happy. Yes, I love it when my kids clean their room when I ask them. It does happen occasionally. Yes, I feel a momentary lift when I finish the laundry, everyone puts their clean clothes away and for at least a few hours, there is nothing in the laundry basket. Yes, I smile when I get the kitchen table cleared of all of papers that seem to be magically drawn there and remind me of all of the things I’ve neglected to follow through on because I’ve been able to talk with my family members about how to process each piece. I love when my children are compliant, when my husband helps with the dishes and when I wake up to a home I am proud to welcome people into, but that is not happiness.

Happiness is something different. True happiness is something that comes from inside. It isn’t attached to anyone outside of you. It isn’t the result of someone doing something. It isn’t winning the lottery, although that would be fun. True happiness is being able to see the joy of life even when life may not seem so joyful on the outside. If you are a person of faith, you may know it as being aligned with your Divine purpose or walking with God. If you are more spiritual than religious, you may see it as having your energy vibrating at a higher frequency. For me it is both those things, but it is also something more. It is understanding that being sad or struggling is a huge part of being happy. Without the sadness and the struggle, how would we even know we are happy? Without the things that make bring us down, we wouldn’t know how to get up, and what’s most amazing to me is that most of it happens in our minds and hearts rather than because of any physical situation.

Nothing that happens is good or bad unless we think it is so. Isn’t that an amazing thing? You know what? I would love it if no one ever had to suffer from cancer again, but in my life, cancer has also been a gift. I didn’t get along with my dad, but his cancer diagnosis gave us time to heal. His physical suffering allowed for our emotional and mental healing. Did I want him to get cancer? Of course not. Am I grateful for the opportunity to come to peace like we did? You bet. I don’t mourn my dad’s passing. I celebrate that we got the chance to find a loving place I don’t think we would have found without his diagnosis.

Right now in my country, there are peaceful and not so peaceful protests going on. Many people are judging others for what they are or are not doing, but discussions are popping up and things are being discussed that have not been discussed before, and while the people might be black and white, the issues are not. It is a stupid cliché to say that some of my best friends are black, but a couple of mine are. Their children grew up with mine. I am saddened that they fear for their sons’ lives in a way I don’t, but I know that our friendship helps to bridge a gap that has existed for far too long. I have become more aware because of those friendships of what causes the rifts we have and what heals them. That makes me happy in the midst of the unrest.
As we sit down tomorrow to eat more than we need to at our Thanksgiving meal, I know there are some who will be working through the holiday either by choice or because they feel they cannot make another choice; many of them in emergency services that will save lives while I have dinner. I also know that many will be fed only through the generosity of others and some will not be fed at all. I donate money and goods so that others may be fed. I have volunteered in places that help those people and will continue to do what I can to support organizations that help others help themselves. That gives me hope for a brighter future for me and for those who are in situations that are not desirable, and when I see what others contribute, it also gives me hope for all of humanity to become something better than we are now.

I watch others who have more money than I do, who are thinner than I am or who seems to have so much more than I have, and occasionally I feel like a failure as a wife, mother and human being. Yesterday was one of those days. It was a day when I question why I can’t be better. It was a day when I felt like everyone was doing it better than me. It was a day that ended badly and the remnants were still there this morning, but in my years and years of studying self-help, religious and spiritual books, audios and more, I’ve learned some great things. I’ve learned that counting your blessings isn’t always easy, but it’s always helpful. I’ve learned that no matter how annoyed I might be with a family member, I would rather have them in my life than be without them. I’ve learned that sadness, anger and even depression can be temporary if you are dedicated to feeling better even if it takes medical intervention or holistic life change to make that happen. And perhaps most important, I’ve learned that gratitude and giving thanks are my best friends when I’m down, even and especially if I would rather wallow in my victimhood, martyrdom and judgment.

So, today as I pull myself back up, I am reminded that I have three beautiful sons when others are mourning the loss of their child. I am aware that I have a husband who loves and adores me as much as I adore him when others are lonely. I know that I live in a country that is far from perfect but gives me the opportunity to be anything I aspire to be while other women live in fear in nations where it is illegal for them to even leave their homes alone. As I sit here and write, I have become even more grateful for the good and the bad because they help me to recognize each other. I realize that everyone has struggles and that I can choose to add to someone else’s struggle or be part of their solution, and when I choose to be part of the solution, I line up with the part of me that changes the world for the better, and that is what happiness is for me. Today I will do my best to choose that.

To all who celebrate Thanksgiving in America, I wish you a safe and blessed holiday. For all those who don’t, may the rest of your week be safe and blessed as well. It is a privilege to share my thoughts with those who take the time to read them. Thanks for being you and have a great day!

The Man I Called Dad

15 Jun

The Man I Called Dad.

The Man I Called Dad

15 Jun

Father’s Day is a weird day for me. I love the day for my husband because we get to celebrate the wonderful father that he is to our boys. We get to lavish the love he deserves upon him, and he lets us, because it’s Father’s Day. Most of the time, he would rather just be a dad, never looking for praise or glory and perhaps, that’s one of the traits of a great father. I don’t really know about that because my relationship with my father was complicated and full of ups and downs.

As a small child, I adored my dad. He was happy to be a dad and I was happy being his child. We were pals, and I was most assuredly Daddy’s little girl. As I reached the teen years, though, everything changed. We didn’t see eye to eye. We disagreed on everything. It seemed as though we didn’t even speak the same language. I lost my connection to him which affected every area of my life and not in a positive way. He tried to help me with math homework, and I couldn’t grasp anything he said. He would look at my report cards and when I had all A’s and one B, he would ask what happened with the B. We would have study groups at my house before tests to have him help us, and everyone else excelled on the test the next day, except me, and I felt betrayed that he could help them and not me. It made the divide between us deeper and wider than either one of us could reach across. We tolerated each other, barely, and avoided each other as much as possible. To say our relationship was prickly would be an understatement.

Then I went off to college, and I thought things would get better. They didn’t. You see, when I entered 7th grade, my father told me that if I worked hard, he would send me to the best college he could afford and I went to work. Other than the math classes he helped me with, I did well in school and graduated in the top ten percent of my high school class. I found the school I wanted and was told I could apply. I was accepted and was thrilled to be a part of that campus, except for the weekly call home. Every week I would hear about how my family was suffering so that I could go to the school I chose. Every week I would hang up feeling guilty that my family was budgeting and sacrificing and determined to do well in school, which I did. Unfortunately, in my junior year, my father did an unforgivable thing. He bought a motor home. It was a class C motor home that cost about the same as about two years of my college costs. I no longer felt guilty. Instead, I was angry and resentful. All that time of listening to him complain about his sacrifice and then he buys a motor home? What the heck? The divide between my dad and me became a chasm I didn’t think we could ever recover from.

I finished up college and because I didn’t have a job, I had to move back home. Because I chose a major different than the one my father would have chosen for me, I endured the remarks about my choice of major and when I finally got a job three months later, it didn’t pay enough and wasn’t “worthy” of the elite education he had afforded me. Away from him I felt strong and competent. Around him, I felt small and powerless, so I did what so many others in my situation did. I married a man just like him.

Looking back, I know that marriage was doomed to fail from the start, but I also count it now as one of my greatest lessons and blessings. I know now that I married that man to learn how to deal with my father as an adult. I know now that the dynamic in that marriage helped me have the incredible marriage I have today. I know now that my first husband was a gift from God (not God’s gift, just in case he reads this) to teach me what I wanted in my most important relationship on this Earth. Although I thought I walked away from that marriage bruised and battered, I actually walked away with a wisdom I use to this day. I walked away knowing what I wanted in a marriage, and I walked away with the knowledge of how to deal with my father on an adult basis. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was priceless information that began a healing process with my dad that I never thought possible, which was a very good thing since my dad helped me get a job to help with my expenses after my divorce; a job that meant working side by side with him.

It wasn’t easy working with my dad. There were those who loved him and those who despised him at work, and whatever they felt for him came to me. He had helped dozens of people by teaching computer classes where he worked for college credit and there was a long list of people who told me they would not have made it through those classes without his help. There were others who my dad had worked with and had disagreed with that treated me with disdain because I was his daughter. Both kinds of people were difficult to interact with because the first group just reminded me of my disconnection with my dad and the second group stirred a defensiveness I usually used against my dad rather than in support of him. Fortunately, I had something to distract me from all of that, a new boyfriend who would eventually become my husband; the father of my children and the love of my life, but I digress.

My dad and I survived working together. We even found some common ground to work together peacefully. I got married and soon after got pregnant and something changed. My dad softened or maybe I softened. It was far from perfect, but the joy my father showed about being a grandpa was something I had never seen from him before, and when my oldest child was born, my father was so enthralled by his new grandson that he made a point of seeing him every single day for the first thirty days of his life, and he usually brought something to butter up his daughter as well. Some days it was lunch. Some days it was a treat. Some days it was a gift for his grandson, but even when he didn’t bring anything tangible, he always brought more love and excitement than I had ever seen before. Within months, he and my mom had even started building a home near us, and the love he showed my son softened my heart toward him.

The most unfortunate part of this story is not the lost years between me and my dad. It isn’t the misunderstandings we had. The most unfortunate part of this story is that it ended earlier than any of us thought it would. In August of 1996, I found out I was pregnant with my second child. We were thrilled and so was my father, but we almost simultaneously found out my dad had kidney cancer. He had surgery to remove one of his kidneys and six months and six days later he was gone. It was a whirlwind of treatment and morning sickness and beat the clock. My baby was due March 21st and my father entered Hospice just after Valentine’s Day. We visited as much as we could because my 3 year old thought the sun rose and set on my father, and my father felt the same way about my son. We knew their time was limited and we wanted them to have as much time together as possible because despite my differences with my dad, he was a kind and loving “pa” to my son and through them I saw a relationship I hadn’t had with my dad for decades. Knowing their time was limited also made each moment watching them together both painful and precious, and for the first time in my life I realized that cancer could be a gift. It gave us time to say and do the things many wished they had done and said when they lost someone suddenly. It was a chance to make things right, and to heal old wounds and watching my dad and my son helped me to do that. Then my second child was born.

Sometimes the Divine gives us a gift we didn’t even know we needed. For me, one of those gifts was my second son. His birth was textbook and easier than I could have asked for. He came into this world in three pushes, knew how to nurse and started sleeping through the night at 3 weeks old. He only cried when he was hungry and didn’t mind a bit that his first trip from the hospital to home included a detour to the Hospice where my dad was staying. We named our baby after his two grandpas, both of whom would pass the year he was born. We named him to honor them and he helped me to heal my relationship with my father even more. Before he died, my father realized the bond I had with my children and how important it was. He held my children as much as he could when we visited, at least for the few days we had left because at 7pm on March 31st, we got the call that my dad had passed. We went to say our last good byes and as much as we had mentally prepared for it, the emotions still got the best of us that night.

Now that many years have passed, I am grateful that I got to see the best of my father before he left this Earth. We did have a complicated relationship because he was a complicated man. He had personal demons and struggles that are too personal and inappropriate to go into here. The greatest gift of his passing was my knowing he was free of all of those things, and it’s why I choose to celebrate the best of his life and be happy for him. I also choose to be happy for me that I got to see the best of him in the way he loved my children and that we got to heal our wounds and let go with love. When I came into this world my father held me and sang to me. As he prepared to leave this world, I held his hand and sang to him. I remember the good and the bad. I believe I have become a better parent because of it. He wasn’t the greatest dad in the world and I wasn’t the greatest daughter, but we muddled through, we made peace and we ended our relationship on this Earth in love. It’s the best I could hope for and it’s enough for me. So Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there, but Happy Father’s Day to the dads who aren’t great and even those who aren’t even good at it. There’s always hope that things can be better and if you need it and you get the chance, I hope you heal whatever you need to heal with your father, dad or daddy, or if you are the parent, I hope you take the time to reach out to your children because even if you’ve messed up, your kids want to know you love them and care about them. It may not be easy, but it could be the beginning of the best years of your life. As always, thanks for being you and have a great day.

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