Summer is Finally Here

It’s funny how life changes. When we were kids growing up, we got so excited about summer. No more homework. No more early mornings. No more class everyday. We could usually just hang out with our friends, go to the pool, maybe the lake if we were lucky, and every few years we got to see the beach. Yeah, summers as a kid were amazing.

Enter parenthood…

Now, I look forward to summer break because we won’t have homework; no more early mornings; we can have play-dates with friends; we get to go to the pool; maybe we can have a lake day if we’re lucky; and maybe we’ll get to see the beach one of these years.

So, wait, what has really changed?

Well, for starters I have to keep these 3 tiny humans alive all summer. That’s definitely new! But also I get to watch the magical times of summer through the lens of a parent. Yes, the days pass by quicker for me than they do for the kids (whose hours and minutes drag along at a snail’s pace during the summertime – I do remember that), but I get to be part of new adventures in my kid’s lives. I get to partake in endless hours of board games, water fights, zoo trips, and maybe even a cool museum or two.

So, why am I sharing this?

Because I wouldn’t be able to do any of this with my kids had I not stopped drinking. Sure, I could still go to the pool, the zoo, the lake, the beach, or wherever the destination may be, but how can I be responsible for these little people when I can’t even responsibly take care of myself?

These trips would probably still be fun as I chased down chardonnay after chardonnay, but then who drives us home responsibly? Who takes us to the urgent care when someone falls at the pool? Who is able to care for my babies when they are solely in my care daily this summer?

Me…this sober mama right here will take pride in being able to do all of the mundane and sometimes boring things I’ll be doing this summer. I’ll do them with pride. I’ll do them with perspective. I will gladly play monopoly so many times my head will explode! Because I get to…

Just Show Up

Half of the daily battle, or the “daily grind,” is just showing up. If you wake up and don’t hit the snooze button today, you’re ahead of the curve! If you got up and went to work, school, took care of your family, or simply did something productive, you are already heading in the right direction.

This idea may frustrate some people who have high expectations and are usually highly-motivated individuals ([hand raised] ME!), but the truth is as long as we keep putting one foot in front of the other each day, then we are still making progress.

“But what about determination? What about goals? What about being the absolute best?”  Yes, these are questions that slip into my subconscious all of the time. But there are some things that can only be measured when we look in the mirror.

Let me give you an example: Are you being the best parent you can be? Well, it’s unfair to compare to someone else’s parenting because their situation is probably different than yours. However, we can take a look at how we have parented in the past and see if we have made any improvements. Are we spending quality time with the kids? Are we there for them when they need us? Or are we not even showing up?

You may think you’re just treading water, but I promise you if you’re showing up to do the job, to parent the kids, and to be the spouse you want to be, you’re already winning the battle. The people that don’t show up, well, those people aren’t even giving themselves a chance at living their own life.

How Do You Heal a Broken Heart?

This is one of those questions that will never have a clear cut answer. Your broken heart may be a completely different experience than mine. Yours may involve a significant other, while mine may involve a bratty teenager who said mean things. Your broken heart may consist of fighting and bickering, while mine was a slow death by a thousand cuts from someone continuously ignoring me.

There are endless possibilities on how to have your heart broken, but how do you put it back to together? How do you heal a broken heart? How can you make yourself whole again?

I believe the first step is to believe that you deserve to be happy again. Period…the end. No magical formulas to the equation. No tricks behind a curtain. No “fake it ’til you make it” when it comes to healing. You simply have to believe that you deserve to be happy.

Everything may not fall directly into place once you decide your worth in this world, but it definitely gets easier to arrange the pieces of your heart into new shapes. Maybe we aren’t meant to put the pieces back exactly how they used to be. Maybe we are meant to mold, stretch, shrink, knead, weave, and to create new pieces from the old ones that were shattered.

I’m not a therapist and I don’t claim to be an expert in the psychology of the human mind, but I know that when I feel that I deserve to be happy, life seems easier. Things figure themselves out. People are nicer to me (probably because I’m nicer to them). Not all of the odds are stacked against me.

If you’re suffering from a broken heart today, I hope you can find a way to fit your pieces (old and new) back together again.

Those Major Events Sure Do Change Us

Do you have any significant events that have changed your life? I mean, of course you do.  You may have your graduation day. The day you moved out of your parents home. The day you welcomed your first child into this world and officially became a parent. Maybe the day you purchased your first home. You may still have lots of these wonderful things still ahead of you in life.

But then there are those major events that aren’t so pleasant to talk about. Maybe that wreck you had as a teenager when you were drinking and driving. What about that time you were caught up in an argument with a friend and things have never been the same since? Maybe consider that time you said something really hurtful to someone after you had been drinking, but then the next day regret was the only word that came to mind.

Yes, we all make mistakes. We are all human and there will be times when we must suffer the consequences from our actions.

But I just keep thinking about how all of these events shape us into who we are. Sure I’ve done some pretty stupid stuff in my life (who hasn’t?), but if I don’t learn from those mistakes that’s when we have an even bigger problem.

What if we continued to do the immature, stupid things of our youth well into our middle-age adult years? Do you really want to be the dad sneaking a flask into the 4-year old’s birthday party just to “get through it?” Do you want to be the mom who has a minivan full of teenagers when she drunkenly swerves off the road into oncoming traffic?

I know these examples are “dramatic,” they are meant to be. These things happen all of the time, all over the place. I just hope and pray that you decide today not to be one of those people.

Everyone Has a Mother…

When it comes to certain times of the year when we’re told to buy something for someone just for existing, I’m usually pretty hesitant to participate. My husband and I don’t go crazy and break the bank for Valentine’s Day because we feel our birthdays and anniversaries are more special. I’m sorry, but you won’t be receiving any special gifts from me on any holiday fabricated by greeting card companies.

However on Mother’s Day, I feel a gesture of appreciation is owed to all of the mamas out there. As a mom myself, I understand the day-to-day grind parents go through. (I actually understand my own mother better now that I have children of my own.) I believe we should show our gratitude to the women (maybe even aunts, grandmothers, etc.) that help us become the people we are today.

I’m not talking about going out and buying fancy gifts or taking her to an expensive meal. I’m simply saying that a hug and a “Thank You” can go a long way with the women in our lives.

Have a safe and happy Mother’s Day weekend and I hope you are able to connect with the special women in your life.

Appreciation and Gratitude – Are They the Same?

We all know what the words appreciation & gratitude mean, but are they the same thing? I say, who cares! You need them both in your life and you need them regularly!

For example, I am highly appreciative of getting to see lots of our family and friends this weekend for a birthday party. I don’t get to see some of these family members but a few times a year so time with them is precious.

Also, I’m grateful that so many people we cherish and love were able to be in one place at one time. I’m happy that we have so many people in our lives that love and care about our family.

To me, appreciation and gratitude are one in the same. It’s not necessarily that the words mean the exact same thing, but that they are both needed in order to enjoy our lives more.

What do you appreciate about your life today? What can you be grateful for in this season of life?

 

 

 

That’s the Day That the Lights When Out in Our House

Okay, how many Reba McEntire fans do we have out there? (Okay, if you’re not a Reba fan, you may not understand the blog title reference.) But I digress.

Yesterday, we had a really bad storm roll through our neck of the woods. We ended up without power in our house for almost 2 hours. During that time, I realized HOW MUCH I depend on our electricity…for everything!! The kids and I were in the dark, under the bunk bed “fort,” and playing with our flashlights. It made me realize that I haven’t been taking enough time to simply play with the kids.

Sure, I spend a lot of time with them. I take them to school, pick them up, feed them dinner, give them baths, and put them to bed, but some of the in-between time is spent with them either zoning out on the couch watching TV or mom being busy in the kitchen making dinner.

I realized I need to take the time to appreciate these opportunities and times when we can just play. They can be kids and I can be mom. Nothing else to do. Throw away the To-Do list and simply exist with your kids. (I’m telling myself this over and over again as I type.)

But why do we have to have something as significant as a power outage to make us realize this? I’m not sure, but I’m not taking this opportunity for granted. So spend some time today with the people you love…just because! 🙂