Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On being selfish

Is it ever ok to be selfish? 

I have spent my entire adult life thinking about everyone else. It's what I wanted and its who I am. I got married when I was 18. Shortly after our two year anniversary I learned I was expecting our first child. I quit my job when he was born, to stay home with him. Seventeen months after he was born my second child was born. Two years after that our third was born and finally four years later our fourth child was born. 

I made sacrifices. We both made sacrifices. I tried so hard to take on all the stress and responsibility. I raised the babies, taking them to the doctor, school conferences, dance practise, ball practised...etc...  I cooked, cleaned, ran a state licensed daycare and paid all the bills. If I thought my husband was stressed due to working a lot I had the kids help me clean more, cook his favorite dessert or whatever we could to make things better for him. I didnt get my nails done, waited until I absolutely had to to get a hair cut and you can forget buying clothes. I worked from home so I wore sweats that were stained and a mess. I didnt mind so much. I always wanted kids and I was blessed with them and I tried so hard to enjoy them all everyday. 

Its been difficult to watch them grow up and leave the nest. The first one was the worst so far. partly because he was the first and partly because he was leaving to become a Marine that we knew would go to war. About two years ago I decided that it was time for me to make changes. 

I was unhappy with a lot of things and I decided that I really needed to learn to take care of myself. I needed to do a few things for myself and I started with working on weight loss and getting in shape. That has been a good little while in the making and Im still working on it. As i started losing weight I HAD to buy myself some clothes. I have found a new addiction, and a love for a little fashion which is something I havent had the opportunity for before. I feel better about myself but I know there are so many other things I need to work on for me. 

I think when this happens people around you dont know what to do or how to act. They think you are being selfish because you are finally taking care of yourself by losing a lot of weight, looking better with new clothes, nails and hair. They think you are selfish because you are finally taking care of you by going to school or seeking other opportunities that might be needed. 

Am I selfish? Am i selfish because I need to sit down and decompress by blogging or checking our Instagram when i get home? Am I selfish for finally doing things for myself for once? Am I selfish for finally speaking up on how I feel about things and not putting myself on the back burner?

Can the mother of adult children,  and a middle age lady be selfish? 

Lately I find myself in situations I never imagined Id be in at this stage of my life. Its difficult but I know Im not the only one. Life is hard but Im taking a deep breath and pulling on my big girl panties and moving on.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

He is a Veteran

My little boy was born after 22 1/2 hours of labor on Mothers Day. He wasn't breathing when he was finally delivered after 3 hours of pushing and the help of vacuum extraction. The cord had been wrapped tightly around his shoulders. The cord had to be cut away from his shoulders and he was rushed away. He finally cried and there was a sigh of relief in the room. The cord was cut a second time  by his daddy and I was finally able to hold him for the first time.  

Once we were home, I didn't want to put him down. I would stare at him all day. Sometimes I would change his clothes and look at him in different outfits. He was perfect and he was mine. He was ours. 

I was never away from him for more than a week until he graduated from high school. Two weeks later he left for Marine Recruit Training and I cried. I cried hysterically. I felt as if someone had died. It took weeks before I could talk about him without crying. I wrote him every day for 13 weeks while he was in training. One year later, I watched him deploy to Afghanistan. 

My baby boy, who loved Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney, left to fight in a war. He was an infantryman. He was in the middle of a mean and dangerous war.  He deployed twice to Afghanistan to fight. The second time was worse than the first. It was in a time when our President had said he had brought our men home and when I or my daughters mentioned that our Marine was fighting in Afghanistan people would look at us and say, " He cant be, Obama brought our men home" It was infuriating! My son lost friends over there, he saw his fellow Marines injured and dying, he fought for his own life and for those around him. He had some very close calls and Americans thought all our men were home. 

I sent my baby boy off to war. Ive never been the same. It permanently damaged me inwardly. I am proud of him for doing his part. I am thankful my son made it home but he was also permanently changed. He is not the same person he used to be but he is my son. I am proud of him. He is a veteran. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

I am one of "those"

I have become one of "those" people. 

I work two jobs now. My full time job in the public school system in an Autism Classroom and 
two evenings a week I work with an Autistic teenager in his home. There is about two hours between jobs, so Ive started stopping by Starbucks and enjoying the aroma, the music and the coffee, and of course the free Wifi! 

Today I sit going back and forth from phone, to laptop in between sips of my Peppermint Mocha (a favorite of mine, next to Hazelnut coffees)  Neither are good for me and my weight loss. I had lost 84.5 pounds but when I weighed this morning as I do the 1st of every month, I had gained 2 pounds. Ive slacked on my working out for several reasons. 1) a very sick daughter 2) a very sick "me" 3) a little depression from various things going on in my life these days. 

One thing I know, is that weight loss makes you healthier, sometimes happier, and boosts your confidence but it does not fix all the mess on the inside. We all go through childhood traumas, teenage drama and situations with your own children as they grow and become their own person. In the midst of all that, we often have a jumbled up mess we need to deal with. (especially if you keep things bottled up inside like me) 

HEAVY SIGH ...... 

A few weeks ago I started a daily post on Facebook and Instagram #82daysofhappy 
in which I post something each day NO MATTER WHAT that makes me happy or that I am thankful for. Why 82 days? Well, that's how many days there were until the last day of the year. 
Ive done well with posting every day even though I have been dealing with several things which left me not so happy. It encourages me to look for something good in each day. I have tried to steer away from negative posts but I found myself posting something yesterday that seemed to catch some people's attention. I truly felt that 45 years of struggles were sitting on my chest all at once. 
I am considered middle aged now and I never thought Id go through things I am going through at this age and its hard sometimes. Last evening I received a phone call from a family member who was showing concern about my post. We went on to talk about other things and today when I was thinking about that, I realized I was shown several more things to be thankful for. 

I am thankful for family. They are usually there no matter what. Even when we live close and don't have the time to see each other, they are there when the rubber meets the road. When you really need them, they are there. Even when you cannot tell them everything that's going on in your life, you know they are there. 

Secondly, I realized there are so many things we all take for granted. 
My cousin went on a mission trip about 1.5 years ago to the Philippines. While there, he fell in love with a cute Filipino woman and he hasn't returned yet! They were married and have been doing so much paperwork to get her to the states to visit. In the mean time, my cousin is learning a while new way of life. They have no washing machines or dryers. They wash clothes in the river or go to a hand pump well  to gain access to water to wash their clothes. They climb trees for fruit to eat. They have no air conditioning in the midst of hot hot summers and when he was very sick with a severe ear infection he could not call the doctor and get an appointment that day. Its hard for us in the United States to remember that people live this way, but they do. 

In the midst of trouble and heartbreak I am thankful for family and for modern conveniences like washing machines and running water. 

Today, I am one of those people who sit in Starbucks and write about how thankful I am to have modern conveniences because just sitting here in Starbucks is a luxury.