I watch her as she handles life, friends, school and responsibility and I think to myself, “I love the person she has become.”
As a mother, one of our many worries in life is who our children will grow up to be. Will they aspire to greatness? Will they know happiness? Will they be good people? Will they be the amazing and successful individuals we think they can be? These are normal parental questions that we all ask ourselves at one point or another. And, there are times, let’s just get this out there, that we want to simply close our eyes from the sheer exhaustion of it all and hope for the best…especially when they become adolescents!
My sister, who raised an adolescent before me, told me once, “Relax, she’s an adolescent and adolescent means to simply to be immature…you can’t expect someone in the throes of adolescense to do everything you want them to do, it’s just not going to happen.” Wise words from someone who did it before me and very good advice because I found myself in a constant state of worry that my child would not make good decisions or display some long-term effects from the stress of divorce and a strained relationship with her father. I worried that every pull away from me was a signal that something was wrong.
What I’ve learned is that parents who are engaged in their child’s life will innately know when a pull is just a sign of independence or a sign of a problem. Our children will absorb our guidance and our love even if they do not express it; they pay more attention to us than they want to admit. I’ve also learned that my child is who she is, she’s not me and that difference is something that a parent needs to consider. Our children will most definitely approach life with a different view or tackle an obstacle in a way that is completely foreign to us but that’s okay, because they are who they are and that should be celebrated.
I love who she’s become and I’m even more excited to watch who she will eventually be. I am discovering there is a fine line to walk, as a parent, learning to allow our children to be whom they want to be while at the same time guiding them towards their potential. What fun this is, what beauty unfolds everyday; it’s like watering an exotic plant and waiting to see it in full bloom.
“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.” — Norman Vincent Peale
There are times in our lives when we reach a crossroad before us and we haven’t a clue how to proceed. We are faced with a challenge, a difficult decision or a painful life dilemma and it lingers around us begging for answers. We want out of the house of fear but end up succumbing to the safety net of not having to make a difficult decision because we are afraid of the unknown, afraid of the obstacle and unsure of the path we should take. We have all been at this point; however, what separates us from the rest is how we overcome the fear and conquer the obstacle that is keeping us from reaching goals or simply moving life forward.
Fear keeps us from success because it causes deep-rooted insecurity, anxiety and low self-worth. This unfortunately leads to poor decision-making and/or ignoring the inevitable or on the flip side, ignoring the possible.
I was fortunate to be among a group of women at a professional women’s event recently where one of the speakers said something powerful that resonated deep inside, “If you must make a difficult decision, ask yourself this question, am I making this decision out of fear or out of courage?” – Dr. Deborah German. Dr. German’s point being, always make your decision out of courage, even if you fail. The courageous decision will move your life forward, allow you to unlock the door and exit the house of fear which releases you from the anxiety and insecurity blocking your success.
Many of us find ourselves facing obstacles everyday, some more difficult than others; however, as women, as mothers, as friends we have the power within to fight back, be courageous, be supportive of each other and move our lives forward; leaving behind the house of fear and opening doors to finding success and pursuing wonderful new dreams.
Thank you to the Single Dad who gets it…
Although he is not listed as the primary caregiver on the divorce papers, he never stops giving all of his heart and all of his soul to care for his children.
Thank you to the single dad who wholeheartedly participates in his child’s life. He conducts his share of the “pick up and drop off” at school, volleyball practice and Karate. He learns to boil water, make an awesome hot dog, iron school uniforms and can’t wait to play wiffle ball in the park, because it means so much to be with his kids.
A big thanks to the single dad who chooses to drive a car loaded with miles, weathered paint and worn out seats because that means there are no more car payments and it frees up extra cash to buy the airfare, hotel and rental car required to see his children as much as possible. Thank You to the single dad living miles away who decides to use his personal days and vacation time to make the recital, the school play and a baseball game or two. Thanks to the single dad who arranges a special “daddy/daughter date night”, only to spend most of it listening to his teenager talk incessantly about things he cannot really comprehend but tries desperately to understand, because he loves her. Thank you to the single dad who understands that no matter what happened between the mother of his children and himself, his children remain his priority and he chooses to take the “high road” during angry confrontations or unfair accusations, because he knows the young tender hearts of his children could never comprehend the complicated emotions of adulthood.
Thank you to the single dad for not giving up on himself, his children or the world around him, even when his heart slowly breaks as he views a little league game in the distance, wanting nothing more than to be there with his own child. Thank You to the single dad who understands how much his presence in his children’s lives contributes to their emotional stability and their happiness. And although they may not know it now, his children will someday recognize the sacrifices, the unconditional love and the support that he generously and unselfishly gave from his heart. Thank you to the single dads who have plowed through the negative stereotypes to be a force of strength, love, stability, reason, discipline and courage for their children and the children who will someday be our tomorrow.
At my house we give these awesome little “Happy’s” to each other. Not all the time, just now and then and I think it’s such a cool idea (which I cannot take credit) that I wanted to share it with all of you today. I really love this…here is how it started.
During my first job out of college I met one of my dearest friends, Susie. She was (and still is) a lovely, gracious and beautiful Southern Belle with perfect skin and hair (of course). I, on the other hand, with a lot of the SoCal girl still in my blood and a love for all things a bit left of center, flip-flops and my Jeep, didn’t exactly scream “Debutante”, but hey, I managed. Anyway, I think she was the first person to embrace my somewhat offbeat personality and I think I might have been the first to admire her complete sense of style and total togetherness. It was then, and is still today a relationship that I treasure. Not only did I learn more than I ever thought I could learn about the appropriate wardrobe for good Southern girls (like never wearing white or patent leather after labor day (which was never and is still probably not a rule in California), she taught me a little something about spreading happiness to the ones you love.
A “Happy” is a little surprise gift you give to a friend, a loved one, a spouse or a child. It’s a simple gift that says “you’re important to me”. A “Happy” doesn’t have to be expensive or a one-of-a-kind treasure, just personal; no breaking the bank on this one. One of my first “Happy’s” from Susie through the years was a necklace. It was not just any necklace because it had a little glass bird charm on the chain and she knew I LOVED birds. How thoughtful, how very cool it was to have her sunshiny self drop by my house with a “Happy” for her friend. It meant so much to me and made me feel so good that she thought of me that day and she didn’t even realize it had been a difficult week. This was the little ray of happiness that gave me a smile and made me feel like things were looking up.
I adopted this creative gift giving ritual and use it with my family. Although sometimes a “Happy” in our house is simply bringing home their favorite ice cream and movie, It’s also finding my daughter a fun set of earrings and wrapping them up in a colorful bag and placing it on her bed so she will find it after school or surprising my nieces with cool and colorful flip-flops. It’s a small gesture that delivers a big dose of wonderful.
So here’s a challenge; think about a little something special you can bring home tonight to your kids, the hubby, significant other or a fantastic neighbor and start spreading the “Happy” beginning today!