Okay~ so we will get back to Part 18 in The Story of A Boy......but as I am wont to do ~I have gotten distracted and I need to get some other stuff out of my head.....so please bear with me.
It's ALL About Perspective
May 22, 2013
This thought began begging an audience on Sunday. As is usually the case~ I get sidetracked and the best of my intentions go by the wayside. My mama (gods rest her soul) used to say "the road to hell is paved with good intentions"......so here we are at Wednesday already.....and mother nature has reigned her terror down on the good folks of Oklahoma. So this blog post has changed focus ~ all the while with an acute awareness of the eye of the storm~ at least 12 times.
I have recently had the rare privilege of having a member of my born in, biological family come to visit me for a reason other than a wedding or a funeral.......AND it went very, very well. Much better than I had even allowed myself to hope for. On Sunday this woman, who as a child I wished WAS my mother, decided to return home. And it hit me like a ton of bricks how much I was going to miss her when she was gone. You know that 'you can't think about it more than 2 seconds without collapsing into a puddle of tears' feeling? Yeah. That.
Staring at myself in the mirror I realized I was *very* jealous that she was going to return home to her own daughter. I felt like a little kid~ stomping my foot whining "I don't want you to leave".
I have often mentioned that I have very few **happy** childhood memories. In fact at one point I seriously considered writing a book~ so strange and uniquely tragic was my life....or so I thought.
And then as I grew up and ventured into the big bad world at the ripe old age of 14........and I suffered quite a few more tragedies along the way... my perspective began to change. Anyone who knows anything at all about my life knows that it has not been what one would refer to as an easy life. And I think *most* folks would agree that what happened to me as a child and as a young woman was, in fact, difficult to endure and in some cases tragic.
However~ I have learned that my mother was wise beyond her years (gods rest her soul) when she would preach to us about 'no matter how bad you have it, someone has it worse...... no matter how good you have it, someone has it better'. As I have grown, loved, lost, married, welcomed children into my home, divorced, married again, attended the funerals of relatives with alarming regularity and sunk so low into a depression I literally felt like I was drowning.....I have realized the wisdom of my mother's words. And the life lessons she was talking about have been demonstrated to me over and over and over again.
Each and every single time I allow myself to think that I have cornered the market on tragedy and loss~ it has been shown to me that although it is uniquely human phenomenon it is NOT unique to ME. Although MY reality is what **I** perceive it to be~ it is also true that every other human has their own reality the way **they** perceive it to be.
So back to the visiting relative~~ many times over the course of the 11 days that she was here we found ourselves talking for hours on end. Talking and laughing. Talking and crying. Talking and happy. Talking and sad. Many times over the course of the 11 days we discussed how various members of my born in family 'have it way worse' than I do. But that comparison is a slippery slope.....and I have always tried to pride myself in my desire to NOT engage in the "Pain Olympics" with other folks.
I truly believe that reality is unique to the person who is living it. I cannot possibly ever fully know what another human being is feeling. I cannot compare *my* pain to *their* pain. Well~ let me rephrase that: I ****should not**** even try to compare my pain to theirs if the reason for the comparison is to determine "who had/has it worse". And every damn time I try to do THAT it ends very badly. Every. Single. Time.
So~ with the newest world tragedies weighing heavily on my mind~ I will attempt to share with you how I am choosing (or at least trying very, very hard to CHOOSE) an attitude of gratitude. Not for the sake of proving I have it worse (and MOST definitely NOT to rub what I have in other's faces)~ but for the sake of the knowledge that even when I have it (what I consider briefly to be) bad~ someone ELSE has it far worse.....
I can choose to see the glass as half empty or I can fill that bitch up the REST of the way with a little gratitude.
It is with that knowledge that I make the following observations:
**My wee Ginger family is by far not the richest of the people I know personally
BUT we are also by far NOT the poorest.
Here's to middle class~ which overall is WAY richer than I ever thought I'd be.
**My adult daughters and I do not have the perfectly fabulous relationship, meeting all of the ridiculous criteria I so foolishly set for years
BUT we **have** a better relationship that we did a year ago.....and even when we struggle in our relationships I never doubt for a moment their love for me.
Here's to new definitions of what a good mother/daughter relationship is...and to the hope that together we will keep learning and growing.
**I have no job
BUT I have a husband who DOES and I have unemployment coming in.
Here's to feeling grateful for all of the glorious things I have been able to do with my time since being unemployed...... like being able to volunteer at my kids school, being able to go swimming and take an afternoon nap, not being too tired after working all day~ so that when my kids want to play a game I can almost always say YES.....and a whole host of other things I could not do when I worked 50 hours a week.
**My car has been laid up in the garage for almost 6 weeks....and it has caused some pretty frustrating transportation scenarios
BUT I am so very fortunate that we are a two car family and I still have a means of transportation.
Here's to being grateful I am not walking or taking the city bus everywhere I need to go.
**My husband almost never has the same day to day priorities as I do
BUT he is hardworking, loving, an amazing father and husband AND we, his family, are always a top priority for him.
Here's to the grace and learned patience that comes with not always getting my way.
**My mother died when I was 14 and my father when I was 19. The pain of doing most of my "growing up" without the guidance of a good parental role model is very real
BUT I am very fortunate indeed to have had MANY good role models and I have never been without the love of someone.
Here's to appreciating that I had parents who despite their faults and early deaths LOVED me and to the gratitude I have for always having someone in my life who believes in me.
**For nearly10 years I experienced the very real pain of wanting a child with a man who wants one and not being able to and it hurt so badly that it almost ruined our marriage
BUT thorough the miracle and black magic of modern medicine~ we HAVE been able to have 3 beautiful and amazing children together.
Here's to focusing on and appreciating the children I have. Here's to being acutely aware that there are many women who *never* get to fulfill their dream of being a mother.
**I have experienced the very real tragedy of having a child of mine die.
BUT he taught me as much about mothering and life as any of my living children AND I HAVE living children.
Here's to surviving what some women don't.....to the profound connection I have been able to make with others who have also lost a child....and to being able to appreciate my children more than I ever could have imagined.
**I have some very real and very painful medical and emotional conditions
BUT I am fortunate to have decent healthcare and access to medications and procedures that treat and help my various conditions.
Here's to focusing on what I *can* do rather than what I *cannot*.
**The house we live in is small and we may outgrow it very soon
BUT ~ even the fact that I HAVE a house ~ with MY name on the deed is miraculous to be sure.
Here's to remembering what it was like to be homeless.....and to the profound gratitude that no matter how small the house I live in today~ it is ALWAYS filled with love.
**I have recently had the painful experience of having people I *genuinely* thought were my friends reveal themselves to be selfish assholes and users of people.
BUT I do HAVE genuine friends. I am most fortunate to have many people who truly love me and I know are there for me when I need them.
Here's to the knowledge that it can be really healthy to find out who your true friends are......to knowing that I HAVE true friends and the security that comes from knowing that when I need them~ they are there~ always.
**It has been in the high 80's where I live for almost a week now. The heat really fucks with my health and comfort.
BUT the 'severity' of the weather here is in no human way comparable to the severity and devastation of the weather in many other parts of the country RIGHT NOW.
Here's to sucking it UP and getting over myself and my "discomfort" with the very painful knowledge that so many families have lost homes, lives, children and life as they know it will never be the same.
So there you have it my friends. With a profound sense of true G*R*A*T*I*T*U*D*E I will go about this week...trying to be the best possible version of myself....making amends when I am wrong.... sending love, light and hope to those suffering so badly.
Peace to you and yours,