Where’s the photograph?

Photo credit : Pinterest

I am probably the worst when it comes to taking photographs! And I don’t just mean selfies. I mean in general. It’s pretty much an ‘every time’ thing : I see something, and a few minutes after that particular thing/moment has passed, something in my brain says, ”You should have taken a photo!”

It was my daughter’s birthday last week, and on the Saturday that has just passed, she had a small get together with nine friends (at another friends house) – a ‘party’ on a budget, and so I worked hard! Ha ha!
(I can confirm that my lungs still work well – I managed to blow up 17 balloons without incident! ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Knowing how dreadful I am with picture taking, I asked my daughter to take photo’s of ‘the party’ for me! And then I got busy decorating, and setting the table.

The following morning, I was very excited when she came to me, cellphone in hand, to show me all the pictures she had taken.
But alas, there was not a single one of all my hard work! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
I did not let my disappointment show, and smiled and laughed as she enthusiastically shared all the pictures of her friends. When she was finished, I casually commented, ”Why no pictures of the food and decor; all the stuff I did?”

She smiled, and replied,

”Because, Mom, isn’t it better to see the amount of happiness and fun what you did produced? You know I appreciate everything you did – look how much everyone else appreciated it too!”

That made me want to cry!

Because I really had tried, on a very limited budget, and had been so worried that it would be a flop – so many had already had rather elaborate parties that I could never have ‘matched’… but maybe I did ๐Ÿ˜‰
Because… despite everything that was lacking… the evidence was in every photograph of how much fun these teenagers had actually had! (Even though all my balloons, and prettily folded serviettes, and homemade foods etc. were nowhere in sight!)

It was yet another great reminder of ‘the little things that count and make big things happen’… like all those smiling faces and laughter as a result of a bunch of ‘little efforts’ in various ways!

Photo credit : shotkit.com

I sincerely doubt that I will ever really improve when it comes to ‘taking photographs’…
Maybe I am more the ‘maker’ of the photographs ๐Ÿ˜›

Here’s wishing you all plenty of happiness and love, and heartwarming tears ๐Ÿ˜› , for the moments you create that bring joy into the lives of others ๐Ÿ˜‰
(Even if you forget to take a picture ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

battling choices

”You really need to speak to her about her dishes. And punish her. Or she will just keep doing it.”
”I know. I’ll talk to her on Friday.”
”But that’s four days away!!!”
”I know. But I need to not only choose my battles with her, I need to also carefully choose my timing as well.”
”Hmmm. Okay.”

My teenage daughter’s bedroom is a war zone on its own, quite regularly. Apparently her cupboards and drawers are just for show ๐Ÿ˜› and half my kitchen is regularly invited to live in there!
I refuse to play pickup though, and so it’s a regular battle in my house.
I know it’s not a battle that I fight alone – it happens in other houses too. I do find some comfort in that ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the last few years, I have managed to apply the ‘choose my battles’ statement a little better in general.

For some reason, I have found myself regularly stopping and thinking : how important is this really in the ‘grand scheme of things’?
I’ve come to appreciate that my time on this earth is indeed limited : tomorrow is not promised, today – this moment – is all I have.
Is this (whatever it is) worth the time that arguing about it will take; is it worth the energy I will expend?

This past year, I have thrown more questions into the mix.
Will this person even be receptive if I bring it up? Or is this going to be a win/lose battle – exactly how important is this? and..

Is this really the right time?

Now please don’t get me wrong – all of the above cannot be applied to every battle we face. And sometimes we get dragged into battles that we hadn’t even considered; never even knew were brewing!

We can’t control everything – and we definitely can’t control other people’s behaviours, actions, words – but we CAN control ourselves!

Referring back to my introduction – a conversation that regularly happens with my son. Ha ha!
Any time I mention the ‘teenage bedroom disaster’, I get plenty of opinions from the people I am talking to. We all have the right to an opinion. We do not have the right to force it on another, and treat them like they are less if they don’t agree with us.
There should also be some respect for the fact that what works for me, might not work for you, and vice versa.

We should also always at least TRY to understand the bigger picture, even when it’s unclear.

In the case of the bedroom (enter Miss Sherlock, sans the hat and pipe ๐Ÿ˜› ), here’s what I know : when she has a free weekend, or school holidays, her room is tidy. She even wipes down her shelves, repacks her cupboards and vacuums her carpet! Kitchenware is returned to the kitchen shortly after it has been used.
I am slightly unclear about her bigger picture, because if she just ‘maintained’ every day, her room wouldn’t get so bad that it would require a full day’s work.
BUT….

Her ‘regular’ schedule is ‘busy’. She leaves for school at 6:30am. Comes home just before 3pm. Leaves home again at about 5pm, to go to the dance studio. Returns from there at about 8pm. Climbs into bed exhausted at 9:30pm.
In her awake time, Monday to Thursday, she has only three and a half hours at home, as ‘free time’.
But is it free time? She has homework, assignments, tests to study for. Which often spills into her weekends. She needs to eat, and shower.
Do I really need to fight with her about her bedroom now? Where is she at time-wise? How much school work does she have this week? What does next week look like? Will she need to work over the weekend?
Is her messy bedroom more important than the other areas of her life that she is committed to and diligent in? Is this really worth arguing about now, destroying our peace, distracting her from the things she really needs to do?

And in this case, my conclusion is always : it can wait.
You might disagree – you might even be right! Ha ha!

For me, this has actually become a very easy battle – and neither of us end up too wounded! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I suspect it will continue to be a regular one, but she’ll move out… one day ๐Ÿ˜‰ (And I will probably miss arguing with her about her bedroom!)

When I explained my ‘it can wait’ attitude to my son, as I have outlined above, his response was, ”I didn’t really think about it like that. It makes sense. But she doesn’t make sense because it really doesn’t need to get like this. I do sort of understand better now though. I suppose if that was my schedule, I’d end up being the same way.”

Choosing our battles goes so much deeper than just ‘avoiding conflict and protecting our peace’.

I have found that taking all things into consideration can also be quite taxing on my energy, and time : is this really the right time; am I able to just offer thoughts and opinions, or am I going to be forceful – am I open to discussion; how important is this; am I even trying to understand the bigger picture; and (depending on the situation) can I see a win-win result… if not, am I prepared to lose/concede to save the relationship – or is it that important to me that I am willing to lose the person, instead of the battle?

Whew! Just typing those questions was tiring!
In my personal experience though, if I manage to pause long enough to take it all into consideration, most times there is very little bloodshed ๐Ÿ˜‰

(Once again, depending on the battle, and the other party – I can only be responsible for me.)

I’ve said a lot in this blog post, ha ha!

One more thing before I go though….

A very special friend has been teaching me this past year (possibly without even knowing it) the value of this :
โ€˜โ€™We interpret things from where we are. One person, using their window to the world will see it/you as this, and another will view it/you completely differently.โ€™โ€™

And I find myself wondering if that is actually the key to unlocking every door in my mind and my heart!

Because this post has been about ME – my personal experiences and MY window to MY world.
MY world tells me that true power lies in sitting back, thoughtfully considering, and then trying to apply logic as well, and practising restraint!

Somebody else’s window will see me as ‘avoiding conflict’, and in the example I have given about my daughter, ‘bad parenting’.

I am going to repeat my friend’s statement…
โ€™’We interpret things from where we are. One person, using their window to the world will see it/you as this, and another will view it/you completely differently.โ€™โ€™
… because another door it has unlocked has brought me a little bit more inner peace.
Being accused of being a bad parent, even for silly things that I know are not true reflections of my parenting skills, used to really upset me. Because it would bring back unpleasant things from the past.
By making the choice to ‘learn’ the statement above, I am finding it a lot easier to accept that that is their view, and quite possibly has nothing to do with me!

And so this is a very helpful tool when I go to battle too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a great week, everyone! Here’s to making good choices ๐Ÿ˜‰
Meg โค


Paying attention to good stuff

3am. A little dog panting and jumping on me. ”I need to go, Mom!”
I stumbled around in the semi darkness, finding my glasses on the floor (how did they get there?), reached for the keys to open up, and dropped them… twice.
All the while, little Miss was running in circles… ”Hurry up, Mom, hurry up!”
Thankfully, she was quick. And my brain was just foggy enough still to not want coffee! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I slept another hour and a bit, and woke to my 5am alarm.
Yes, I groaned. ๐Ÿ˜›
Sipping on my second cup of coffee, my mind started waking up properly, and as it always does, it produced a blog post.
(This is the part where I admit to the following : I write blog posts in my head a lot! They’re usually pretty good, ha ha! Then I find that peaceful gap where I can sit and type one out, and they’re all gone! Disappeared! Bermuda Triangle stuff! Mysterious, indeed!)

6am found me sitting at the computer, determined to type the ‘brilliant’ post in my head, but first I needed to catch up on a few blogs.

The following is not what I was going to blog about!

If we can start our day with a giggle or a smile, a little bit of happiness, it changes things. Well, it does for me anyway. It’s a small thing, a small difference, but it somehow makes something in me a little bit stronger – as if it equips me for whatever might come my way.
Yes, admittedly, when really bad stuff happens, I may falter. But for the most part is helps.

Wic from Letters to Pogue always seems to speak to me in one way or another – soul food and thoughts to ponder! Inspiration and encouragement more often than not! A worthy blog to visit if you have not already done so ๐Ÿ˜‰

This morning I was catching up, and it was his Monday Musing for today that made me giggle. (Not to detract from serious thoughts in there – there was definitely food for thought – I’ll be contemplating after this ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Please do go and read it : I think what I am saying is that the things that often make life rich and bring a smile to our faces are the โ€˜littleโ€™ things.

In the meantime, here’s the ‘little memory’ that made me giggle :

For some odd reason, when I was younger, the Tooth Fairy never visited my house. My teeth were whisked off to a magical place, with a shiny coin to replace them, by the Tooth Mouse.
There were discussions about this amongst my little peers, with the boys being of the opinion that it was simply because I wasn’t dainty enough for the fairy – conversations that took place in whatever tree we were climbing at the time ๐Ÿ˜› (My mother eventually stopped sending me to pre-school in pretty dresses ๐Ÿ˜› The strange thing was that I liked being girly, and dresses made me feel like a princess, but I simply couldn’t resist climbing the tree! Ha ha!)

When I had a loose tooth, the money I could get did not attract me in the least – I tried hard to hide that loose tooth! Because if my cousins found out (the three girls), they were delighted! My aunt would double check that it was loose enough, and then one of them would sit on my chest, one would hold my arms, and the third my legs. And they’d wiggle it right out of my mouth for me! (looking back, this was definitely a better alternative to tying string to my tooth and a doorknob and slamming the door, ha ha ha!) They’d send me home, tooth in hand, delighted at the thought that soon I’d have a shiny coin!

One day while I was munching on some Crackerbread, alone in our large kitchen (oh! How I miss having a big kitchen!), I caught a glimpse of the Tooth Mouse!
Unable to contain my excitement, I ran out to the garage to tell my dad! He smiled, but I remember some concern too.
We made our way to the kitchen, to find my mother there, putting the kettle on for some tea. I was delighted to share my news with her, and somewhat confused when she shrieked and ran off to her bedroom! (Dad refused to set mouse traps – it would be too traumatising for me.)

But I suspect the Tooth Mouse had seen and heard it all, because none of us ever saw him again!
I did still get a shiny new coin when my next tooth got retrieved though ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

I hope your week is FULL of little reminders of happy memories from the past! Have a great one, everyone! โค


Fabulous Fun

Things have just been way too serious since this pandemic started! The stress of it all is affecting everyone, even those who will tell you that it’s not.
It IS possible to be ‘okay’ – have an inner peace and joy – but still feel the stress. No one is entirely immune.

But as with everything else in life, our attitudes play a big role in how okay we stay despite the circumstances.

I don’t know if you have ever experienced it, but I’ll share this anyway….
I had four days in a row (my son has just reminded me that they weren’t quite in a row, but spanned 7 days instead… it probably just felt like in a row ๐Ÿ˜› ) where something went wrong on each day : my car needs repairs again, my microwave decided it was retiring, my vacuum cleaner finally gave up, and my daughter’s school bag decided to be like my bank account – broke ๐Ÿ˜›
Each day, I did a great job of dealing with these things. I took them in my stride, didn’t get too upset, had a great attitude towards them.

Last night they hit me all at once. It was like this sudden hard downpour that came out of nowhere, and I just felt so darn sorry for myself! Ha ha! It was short lived, and probably mostly from frustration and exhaustion because yesterday was a busy day, but it happened.

And I went with it. I had my ‘good cry’, and then blew my nose and washed my face. I grabbed myself a ‘comfort snack’ from the kitchen and climbed into bed. I forced myself to dwell on all I have to be grateful for – to not allow my brain to ‘go there’/ think about the minor ‘disasters’.

When my teenage daughter came through to put her phone on charge because it was time for her to go to bed, and sighed out loud, ”I’m so glad it’s Friday tomorrow”, I smiled.
In my head, I told myself this : ”You are going to make it not only a fabulous Friday, but a fun one too. No matter what, you have to laugh, silly girl!”

I’ve been up and about for three hours, and so far so good ๐Ÿ˜› (And I’ve even left the house! ๐Ÿ˜› )

So I thought I’d share two bits of Friday fun with you ๐Ÿ˜‰

This was my Facebook post – not intended to offend anyone, but I think it’s pretty darn funny… (no idea who to credit for the image, as it was in my memories as a re-share from five years ago)

And then I saw another image on Facebook (again, no idea who to credit) that I will be sharing with my kids (and you) because….
Sometimes my children will ask me to do something for them – something they are quite capable of doing for themselves – and I’ll be busy with something else and usually tell them, ”I’m not your maid or your servant. I’m busy.” It’s never said in a malicious way though – my tone is always a little bit like ‘feigning shock’. The response is usually said in a teasing tone, ”Awww, but you’re my mom. It’s your job. The best job in the world, right?”
Most times, they end up doing it themselves because they know their request was ridiculous (Mommy, please bring me glass of water; Mommy, please pass me my phone, I’m too lazy to get up; Moooooom…. please come here….. now that you’re here can you please pass me xyz).
Sometimes I humour them, because it really isn’t inconvenient, and they do little things for me as well, that I am perfectly capable of doing for myself too! ๐Ÿ˜‰
So I saw this image this morning, and it is SO applicable to one of the things that go with ‘my job’:

I’m off to see what other fabulous and fun things I can find to do on this Friday! And who else I can share it with! Because being kind to others and brightening their day has a very positive effect on us too!

Let’s get out there and be the light ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy Friday, and weekend, everyone! โค

Sometimes give them a Voluntary WHY

I have made so many mistakes along the way as a mother that there are days I really stop and wonder how it is that I actually have really good kids. Of course, on those days, it’s usually because I am comparing them to someone else’s kids – the ones who are NOT as ‘good’ as mine ๐Ÿ˜›
And yet, at the same time, I also know that there is NO comparison – my children are individuals in their own right. And in the same way that I lack perfection as a woman, and a mother, they also have areas that need improving. Such is life!

There are also the days where I find myself shaking my head, and wondering, where did I go wrong?
And no one else’s children feature on those days! It’s all about mine! ๐Ÿ˜›
Yesterday was one of those days.

For those of you who don’t know, I need to clarify : they are my children because I gave birth to them and love them unconditionally – but they are no longer ‘children’. My son will be 23 in two months time (he still lives with us, having completed his university degree at the end of last year). My daughter will be 16 next month! (Oh gosh! My baby girl!!!!)
My son is in that stage of life where he seems to have forgotten how ‘argumentative and silly’ he was as a teen – often asking me, ‘Was I like that?’ and then apologising profusely when I confirm that he was indeed! It always makes me smile. These are usually occasions where my daughter is NOT smiling though, because he has just told her how silly she is being, and that she’s ‘not always right’ etc.
Being an adult has also changed my son’s views somewhat, and I have found that in some areas he has suddenly matured – it still shocks me! ๐Ÿ˜› Which means that there is also the need for damage control when he assumes the ‘male adult/father figure’ role in the house – it’s usually done in way of protection of me though… things like : ”Don’t be cheeky to Mommy”, ”Your room is a mess, and those dishes need to come to the sink”, ‘Mommy just cleaned the kitchen, come and wipe your mess off the counter”, ”I don’t think you should be watching that, you’d better check with Mom”, ”You may not watch ‘insert You Tuber’s name here’ latest video – it’s really not for you”!
Teenage girls do not take kindly to authoritative big brothers – I know… because it’s how I grew up! Which unfortunately puts me in a rather difficult position – I appreciate and value my son’s input, but completely identify and feel sympathy for my daughter! I so remember what it was like!

Somehow, we make it through every conflict without too much damage. And I am grateful for that. And most days, I am in awe as to how we all still live together like we do!
What completely boggles my mind is their love for each other – although no one had better ever ask them to use ‘the L word’ when it comes to their sibling! ๐Ÿ˜›
My jaw ‘drops to the floor’… every day! Because every day there will be some minor infraction from one or the other that causes raised voices and conflict between them. The result is always the same – my daughter will stomp off to her room, muttering under her breath, and I will hear my son exclaiming out loud in the lounge area, ”So freaking dumb”!
And here’s the jaw drop part : within a couple of hours, one of them will approach the other one. Not to apologise though. The approach will be because they have a YouTuber that they both are fond of, and something will have happened, and there is suddenly this need to share.
(Sharing with me is usually a lengthy process, because they first have to remind me why I know the person – what they have told me or shown me in the past etc. ๐Ÿ˜› )
And the sharing is often mutual agreement, and some laughter, and it’s like there was no conflict in our house at all prior to ‘this moment’ that they are having. This also always makes me smile.
And every couple of months, there will be a Friday or Saturday night where I find them both in the lounge area, watching movies that they have both seen far too many times from years ago. And my daughter will always say, ”We’re having a sibling bonding night. Don’t get too excited – we still don’t like each other.” To which my son will always have a comedic response, and my daughter will throw a piece of popcorn at him…. and my smile becomes a chuckle as I retreat and allow them to have time ‘alone’. Because I really do feel that, when all jokes are put aside, these occasional evenings matter and are important for the two of them. (Some days there will actually be the threat of murder – I need them to have these moments to hopefully help prevent follow through ๐Ÿ˜› )

And now that you have some history about my ‘imperfect children’…. here’s why yesterday had me asking ‘WHERE DID I GO WRONG?’

We all know what ‘positive affirmations’ are, right? They’re pretty much positiveย statements that can help you to challenge and overcome self-sabotaging and negative thoughts. They’re to help you create a positive mental attitude to empower you.
About three years ago, I decided I wanted to help my kids a little more than I already was just by being their mom ๐Ÿ˜› , and so I started regularly seeking out, and printing out, selected positive quotes and affirmative statements for them. They each have about ten printed pages – my son’s is a collage on his bedroom cupboard, which he sees when he wakes up in the morning; my daughter chose for hers to be behind her bedroom door so that every time she opens and closes it, she sees them.

Yesterday, I was in the kitchen, and my son was in the lounge (it’s open plan), and my daughter came through and announced, ”We all need to start doing positive affirmations every day.”
I don’t know who had the more ‘horrified and shocked’ expression on their face – me, or my son.
He was the first to reply though.
”What do you think Mommy has been doing by sticking up new pages for us every now and then?”
My daughter shrugged her shoulders and replied, ”I thought it was just stuff she wanted us to have.”

And my first reaction (in my head) was, ”How on earth can she think that? Where did I go wrong? How did I fail at this?” And it hit me! I DID GO WRONG! This WAS on me!

The intentions behind what I had done were pretty fantastic, I think ๐Ÿ˜› – I had created a ‘visual board’ of positivity for them in an effort to empower and inspire them. When I invaded their space with the first page, I had told them to be sure to read it every day. But I had forgotten to fully explain. To give them a WHY.
A lengthy conversation followed and it was beneficial to us all, in many ways. What surprised me was a statement my daughter made when my son commented that she should have asked why I wanted them to read it every day, because clearly she didn’t understand. She replied, quite confidently, ”I didn’t ask because Mommy usually tells us, in great detail, what we need to know.” And she rolled her eyes. ๐Ÿ˜›

We all know the infamous ‘Because I said so’. I use it sometimes with my kids, when the situation calls for it and they dare to ask why ๐Ÿ˜› (Stop worrying about whether there are vegetables in it, and just eat it! ๐Ÿ˜› )
But I remember what that answer was like too.
Eventually, I stopped asking why – and I actually missed out. Because I think I could have learned even more, and saved myself some troubles, if I had just asked the right people ‘why’ growing up.
But I also think that as adults, and as parents, there are times where we should not wait for the why to be asked – perhaps if we would just voluntarily speak out small doses of the wisdom we have, perhaps then our children won’t experience feeling ‘as lost’ as they sometimes do.

I think that like with most things in life, it’s about balance.
We all want our kids to have enquiring minds and look for the answers to the ‘why’s’ and not be afraid to ask – but at the same time, we want them to be informed and equipped enough that in some areas they do not need to ask because the why has already been voluntarily explained ahead of time.

And the parenthood lesson I was forced to learn? I need to stop telling my kids so much in detail, so that they are forced to ask WHY more often ๐Ÿ˜›
Off to think a little more about how to balance this particular scale ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mother’s Day

Today is Mother’s Day. The UK celebrates it on a different day, and I often miss that one – and so, today, I will wish my stepmother, even though it’s ‘not applicable’ in their country for today. She became ‘Mum’ the year I turned eighteen. And unlike some horror stories with stepparents, she truly has been an absolute treasure in my life. I am very grateful for Mum, and her unconditional love. It hasn’t always been easy, but it definitely has been worth it.

I often feel that I fall short as a ‘Mum’. And to be entirely honest, I probably do in some ways. But isn’t that just life? We never get it 100% perfect.
When it comes to being human, and being me, I am always striving to be a ‘better me than I was yesterday’. To do things differently, to be more aware of how I react, to be kinder, to be gentler etc. And all these things apply to my parenting skills too. I just keep trying. Trial and error. What works, and what doesn’t – especially with a teenage girl in the house ๐Ÿ˜›

My children and I are not a ‘normal family’. Our relationship is a different dynamic in many ways – for example, we pretty much almost never eat a meal together. This is usually due to different timetables that can’t be changed, but it is what it is.

At the end of the day, even though my children are not really children anymore, my commitment to them remains the same in a lot of ways. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they will always be open and honest with me (even when my teen daughter knows it might get her into trouble, which it sometimes does ๐Ÿ˜› ) and that neither one of them will ever have cause to pause and wonder if I love them. And for me, those are the most important things and worthy of celebration!
We certainly are not a perfect family though, and we fail each other – like would you believe that my kids have never made me a cup of coffee or tea? Shocking, I know ๐Ÿ˜›
We bicker about little things, and in all honesty, there have been times where those little things have escalated quickly and we’ve almost gone to war. But we always get through it. And although there may be slight injuries, we heal… and we continue to forge forward, together.

And I love that about us.

So here’s to Mother’s Day, and single parenthood, and our ‘not normal/traditional’ little family.

I hope you all have an exceptional day celebrating!

To end off, if you’d like a laugh, please visit this old blog post… the video is for those who suffer from overprotective dad syndrome, which is rather applicable to me since I am both parents ๐Ÿ˜‰

Belated Easter

They say that Easter is the only time it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket. Nope. Not true.
If I did that, in MY house, by the time I got to the basket there probably wouldn’t even be one left for me. ๐Ÿ˜›

This is not because my children are selfish. Or because they don’t care about their mom. (In fact, my daughter will tell me it is because she cares, and is trying to help me lose weight ๐Ÿ˜› )
It is simply because, well, they love chocolate.
And they know their mom – if it’s left lying around, it’s for us – if mom wanted it for herself, she would have hidden it ๐Ÿ˜›

Something was missing for me this Easter. By the time Sunday lunch rolled around, I felt a bit restless, trying to determine what it could be. (We celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday – the chocolate overload dished out in the morning, and a delicious roast dinner at lunchtime.)
I put the ‘missing part’ down to the fact that by the time Sunday rolled around I was utterly exhausted, after the events of the last few weeks, both emotional and physical. Pain didn’t help – I’d helped move my mothers care home and lifting boxes, carrying things etc. isn’t quite a great thing to be doing when you suffer from old back injuries.
Plus there was the fact that I had kicked my baby toe so hard, I broke it – but that just makes me laugh. I am a strange one, indeed!

It was only when my daughter came to me in the late afternoon, and made a comment, that I realised what had been missing!

Every Easter Sunday, for the past 20 years, I have woken up early in the morning, to write out clues and hide them with Easter eggs…. sending my children to hunt for their next dose of chocolate. As they have got older, I was able to have even more fun with it, because I could make the clues a bit more difficult. On Saturday afternoon, knowing how truly tired their mom was, both kids had approached me at different times, saying that they were really too old for it, and it wasn’t necessary. And so I didn’t give it another thought.

And then my daughter commented on Sunday afternoon, ”I actually missed the clues this morning – it wasn’t the same.”
And in that moment, I knew that my heart had missed doing it…. that that was the ‘missing part’ for me. Something so small, and seemingly insignificant. That actually had a great impact on all of us – because when I asked my son later if he had missed it too, he smiled and said that even though he knows he is an adult and too old for ‘his mom to be doing stuff like that’, it was weird to get all his share of the Easter eggs at once.

Things change with every year that rolls by. The pandemic brought VAST changes in just a year, that none of us saw coming. If you’re a believer, then you know that God never changes.

But I also realised something else that doesn’t change : the little things really DO make a difference! We need to keep doing them!

Here’s hoping you all had a really great Easter! โค

Men living in my house

In my house, Mr Nobody resides. Because apparently, nobody forgot to take their plate to the kitchen, and nobody missed the dustbin when they threw a paper away and it landed on the floor, and nobody spilled water on my bathroom floor…. to mention just a few ๐Ÿ˜›

But there is also a Mr Not Mine. He appears when I walk through and ask, ”Please can you bring that glass to the sink while I am doing dishes?”

”But Mom, it’s not mine!”

Sigh. The joys of parenthood… sometimes… ๐Ÿ˜‰

It always reminds me of this story though :

”There once was a king who decided to do a little experiment. He had a giant boulder put right in the middle of the street. He then hid near the boulder to see who, if anyone, would try to move it out of the way.

First, some wealthy merchants walked by. They walked around the boulder, complaining that the king hasnโ€™t been maintaining the roads very well.

Next, a peasant walked by, heading home with his arms full of food for his family. When he noticed the boulder, he put his groceries down and attempted to move it out of everyoneโ€™s way. It took him a while to move it,ย but he eventually succeeded.

After the peasant gathered up his groceries to carry on home, he noticed a bag lying in the middle of the road, just where the boulder once was. He opened the bag to find that it was stuffedย full of gold coins, along with a letter from the king saying that the bagโ€™s gold was a reward for the peasant to keep because he had taken the time and energy to move the boulder out of the road for the convenience of others who would be travelling the road in the future.”

There are actually two morals in this story – the first being the ‘obvious’….

Every obstacle we face offers us an opportunity to improve, thus providing us with a form of reward. If we are able to just push through, we will probably end up better off than what we were.

But the other moral is the one that my children remind me of ๐Ÿ˜›

Personal responsibility. Sometimes, we need to do the job/task, even if it’s not ours to do. If we see something, and we can do something about it? Then why not just do it, in order to help the next person (or in my case, help Mom ๐Ÿ˜› )
(And yes, this is not always applicable to every situation or circumstance in life… but it’s good to bear it in mind for the times that we could be applying it ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

And yes, I had a good giggle about these Mr’s that are living in my house, because I am supposed to be single ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s hoping your challenges are few, but your rewards are great! โค

Can you name yourself?

self love

I shared the above picture on my Facebook wall yesterday. And my heart broke.

People I truly care about and love responded with a sad ‘like’ emoji. Four of them actually commented… and basically? Their reply was, ‘never’.

For those who responded, I did what I do best, and popped off messages of encouragement to remind them that they have worth.

But guys and girls, isn’t this such a tragic epidemic? Because so many of us can identify with it. If you had asked me six months ago, I am pretty sure my response would have been ‘never’ too.

You know something? I love my kids. I really do. It helps that I have kinda great ones ๐Ÿ˜› Thing is, that sometimes they don’t act or treat me in a way that they should – they ‘act out’ or make silly choices – and I get a little mad at them. But in every disciplinary action that I take, every word that I speak, I am alwaysย really clear :

”I love you no matter what. But what you just did/said, is not very like-able. So although I love you despite it, I really don’t like it.”

Why do we struggle so much to apply that to our lives?

I didn’t get that kind of unconditional love from my own mother. No! Please don’t feel sorry for me. And please understand that I don’t mean it as a disrespectful thing for her – because when I started accepting that she loved me the wayย she knew how, based on her belief systems and from her place of pain and bitterness, it made me see things a little differently. And it’s partly because of my experiences with her that I have been able to grow, and be a different kind of mother for my children. Moving on from that though, I want to say this :

(There’s a much better, and probably well-researched, way to get this message across. And there are more blog posts to grow from it. But sadly, I am pressed for time. So you’re just gonna have to get what’s in my heart for now.)

It doesn’t matter what mistakes you have made in your life. It doesn’t matter where you come from. It doesn’t matter if you made bad choices.ย 

It doesn’t matter who DIDN’T love you. It doesn’t matter what people have said about you.ย 

And I know it’s hard to break cycles of abuse, and switch off those repetitive voices that tell you that you’re a failure, worthless, unattractive.

The toughest is when you ‘make another mistake’, or just made your third bad choice this week and it’s only Tuesday! But guess what? That actually doesn’t matter either.

Here’s the thing : when our friends come to us, broken by the things listed above, we usually say something like, ‘My friend, don’t be so hard on yourself, cut yourself some slack, all is not lost, tomorrow is a new day’….

But we keep forgetting to apply it to ourselves.

So to everyone who is taking the time to read this :

PLEASE cut yourself some slack. Yes, maybe you need to make positive changes. Yes, maybe you’re making the same mistakes. Yes, maybe your choices need some guidance.

BUT…. those are just things that we need to ‘not like’, and work on.

They do not define you. YOU CAN STILL LOVE YOU!

Because you ARE worth it!

 

 

honest intentions are important

Yesterday was somewhat interesting. I got a late start to the day because I was busy with an email that was important to me. And then I had a phone call, which resulted in a couple of hours of relationship counselling for a good friend. It all worked out though, because when I was done, things fell into place for an outing with the kids. So no time lost, as such.

The relationship counselling really got me thinking.ย 

I have another good friend who has always been of the opinion that I will be single for the rest of my life because I am too honest, and there just isn’t enough mystery surrounding me to make me interesting – therefore, I am boring, and too upfront about where I stand regarding my feelings, and thus will never be a good partner for anybody. Since I have been single for a very long time, I am inclined to agree with her ๐Ÿ˜› If anyone shows any interest in me, I keep her well informed – especially if the feeling is mutual. And then when my feelings change, for whatever reason, I frustrate her by letting her know that too, which usually leads to me receiving a lecture along the lines of, “But don’t you think you could just say that you ….”

I love her dearly, and I know that at the end of the day, she truly just wants me to not ‘be alone’. That she sees me as a person with a lot of love to give, and wants me to find someone to share my life with. I am never offended by what she says – and I know that a lot of the reasons I am single are because of ME. Cliched, I know – it’s not you, it’s me – but it’s true!

The basics of the counselling yesterday are as follows : they met three years ago, and moved in together after six months. He only acknowledged them as a couple officially after they had been living together for the same amount of time. She’s almost 40, he’s late 40’s. He’s been married twice – she never has. He doesn’t have children, she has a son. They’re both very stressed work wise, and financially. Yesterday she hit him with marriage. She bought herself an engagement ring, and the pressure was on. He didn’t respond as she wanted, and I got a call. She was ready to throw it all away.

There’s a lot that needs fixing. They’ve said they’ll try. I don’t know what the new year will bring. For all their faults, they’re good together – they truly do compliment each other. So I can only hope they manage to fix the broken bits.

What got me thinking a lot was the marriage ball she threw in his court. Because when they moved in together, he told her he was never going to marry her – never going to get married again. And she told him she didn’t want to ever get married. And it’s been that way for three years – when people joke with them about engagement, she always laughs it off and says, ”Oh please, I don’t want to get married.”

So I was as surprised as I think he was. And I brought it up, of course. Her reply to me was, ”I only said it from the beginning to impress him and make him like me more. And I thought he’d change his mind. But it’s been three years, and I am tired. I don’t want to be someones girlfriend forever. I want more.”

Uh oh!

My children overheard a lot of the conversation – and yesterdays outing involved a lot of relationship discussion among us. It was interesting to anyone who may have overheard – the opinions of a 14 year old, 21 year old and 41 year old, on relationships and marriage. It was also interesting to me, as their mother, to hear what my children had to say. Especially about me ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

”Mommy might get married again one day, but I doubt it. I know she’s not looking for it, but I don’t think she’s totally against it.
Mom would make a good partner to someone, but they’d have to sleep on the floor because Toffee (dog) would be upset.
When we move out one day, Mom will love being on her own – I can picture her going out, and travelling, whenever she gets the money to.
(But my son says he’s never moving out ๐Ÿ˜› )
I can’t picture Mommy being affectionate with a man – I know she’s that type of person… but seeing her kiss someone ‘like that’ would just be weird.
Mom’s not into the way people date these days. She’s deep, and emotional. (me, deep….um okay?)”

There was a lot more. But last night, at suppertime, the conversation shifted to honesty and intentions, in general. And expectations. My son is still friends with a group of guys who’ve known each other since junior school. They’re all home from ‘varsity at the moment, and so his social life has picked up again. ๐Ÿ˜› He was filling us in on things that were happening within their group. With maturity has come change – and the dynamics of the friendships within the group have changed. He shared someone’s response to something that had happened, and I told him why it was a bad response – the intention was good, and the view was correct – but the way it was delivered was wrong.

So the point of ‘over’ sharing all of the above is this:

In an effort to impress others, we sometimes find ourselves caught up in saying things that are dishonest. As difficult as it is, your honesty will actually make the greatest impression of all.
Your intentions and expectations with regards to anything in life – your job, your relationships, your finances – need to always be clear… and in some instances (relationships in particular) it’s important that they are not just clear to you, but to others too.
Honesty – and truth – can sometimes hurt. The delivery of it matters. Hugely!

There is no one on this earth exactly like you – take a moment and realise and appreciate how amazing that actually is. You ARE valuable, to someone, even when you don’tย feel like it.

Live life on purpose / intentionally.ย 

Be honest about your expectations.

And in your honesty, always be kind.