Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Not Fade Away

On this journey we call life, there are many people we meet along the way. Some are mere acquaintances, a contingency may be friends in passing, and if we are truly blessed, a select few are dear friends that we know in our heart of hearts that we can always rely on. Some people enter our lives at a certain place or time--and I firmly believe that all things happen for a reason--including meeting people and establishing friendships.

When I was in junior high I moved out of state to a brand new school. I wasn't altogether happy at the school I was at--I was grieving the death of my father and completely socially awkward and unable to find my place. Then the big move, and the opportunity arose for me to reinvent myself, or better yet, become who I wanted to be without fear of rejection--which I already experienced at my old school--I took a gamble (ever the optimist) that things could only get better. Or so I hoped.

Much to my disbelief, many of the people I met in my first year of school in my new hometown accepted for exactly who I am--eccentricities and all--and they are still my friends today. Although we all chose different paths after high school, we still have a common bond that ties us together. I often wonder what drew us to each other initially--our personalities are so very different. But after all this time, it really doesn't matter. All that matters is that these amazing women have made an astounding impact on my life, and continue to do so. As my 20th high school reunion approaches, my wonderful friends have taught me to value love, loyalty, friendship, and honesty, and it's memories of these great women and the lessons they've taught me that I hope the passage of time will not allow to fade away.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The times they are a changin'

Change seems to be the running theme this year. It ruled Obama's campaign. The Internet was abuzz with tweets from Twitter. Leno passed the torch to Conan. More than a few celebrated pop culture icons left millions of fans mourning their deaths. And an Hispanic woman was nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court. Yes, ch-ch-ch-changes were afoot.

Even our humble household was not untouched by the season of change. My status as a stay at home mom (SAHM) changed, after much soul searching, when I took a position as an account executive with a directional marketing firm. I'm thrilled with my new job, but it was a tough decision to come to, after having spent a year caring for Baby A, who recently turned 18-months-old. So many thoughts ran through my mind--am I being selfish? Will my daughter get the care she needs from a stranger? Will I succeed after being away from the business world for so long? Can I really do this?

Honestly, my fears were unfounded. Little did I know when I decided to stay at home with my baby girl, that I was choosing THE toughest job in the world. For real. I thought it would be a piece of cake. We'd sleep in, play all day, take naps, and goof off. How fun is that?! Oh, how I deluded myself! Of course, we did do all of those things, but I didn't factor in managing a home, missing the daily interaction with my peers, as well as the affirmation you receive when you work on projects for the good of an organization. I am a social being. And although I did manage to schedule some playdates during my tenure as an SAHM, it wasn't enough to fulfill my needs, nor, I found, my daughter's, for she is a social being just like her mommy.

As I'm flourishing in my new vocation, so is our girl at daycare. We receive daily reports of her daily activities, and it is a joy to read about her day. She is thriving in her environment with other children and we can see the positive change in her behavior at home. It's fun to watch her dance more and to listen to her babble and rattle off the ABC's, things she would do sparingly while it was just she & I.

So now that our lives have taken a dramatic turn, I find that these changes we've experienced have brought great opportunity for each of us. I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You say it's your birthday? It's my birthday too--Yeah!

Today is the day this 30-something mama gets a bit closer to the big 4-0. No drama here though, as I count not the number of candles on my birthday cake, but the many blessings God has graced me with. I have my health, however fleeting it may be, a loving and supportive group of friends and family that I can count on, whether I take advantage of them or not, a roof over my head, and food on my table. And the highlights of my life--my husband and daughter--who are a great source of joy and entertainment. What else could I possibly ask for?

And to anyone else out there celebrating a birthday today, I wish you peace, love, good health, and happiness, today and always.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Discovery Zone

It's been awhile since I spoke of my darling little wunderkind, Baby A. She's almost 9 months old now and keeping her mommy and daddy on their toes. She's crawling, climbing, cutting teeth (7-8 to be exact), and attempting daredevil feats of extraordinary proportions. Baby A is pulling herself up onto just about anything, and I imagine she will be walking in a matter of time.

I was such a fool to think that being a stay-at-home mom would be easy. The joke is on me. I spend most of my time these days running after her, as she no longer relies on me as the main source of entertainment. Baby Girl has the whole world to explore. Or at least for now, the entire household. Every nook and cranny must be thoroughly explored, no matter how boring or mundane. Looking at it from her point of view, i.e., from the ground up, there must be a lot of interesting things to discover. Just thinking about how happy she is rambling round the house, unearthing one treasure after another, fills me with joy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Give Peace a Chance

"Imagine all the people, living life in peace." -- John Lennon

In my search for inner peace, I've realized that I have a lot of work to do. It's hard to focus on what area of my life needs more tending to. It's tough--making a conscious effort daily to recognize those characteristics that need changing to find the peace that I crave.

I recently joined a Bible Study that is providing me the tools to create peace in my life and that of my family's. The author of the book we're reading listed a number of activities to do in the effort to create a purposeful, peaceful home. So here they are. (From Finding Your Purpose as a Mom, by Donna Otto with Anne Christian Buchanan, Copyright 2004, Harvest House Publishers.)

And may you and yours live your lives in peace.

  • Make peace at home a priority.
  • Practice trust and gratitude.
  • Live with a thankful heart.
  • Cultivate a quiet heart--give yourself the peace you need.
  • Cultivate a gentle spirit.
  • Learn to speak softly.
  • Know your family.
  • Cultivate a spirit of "we."
  • Provide peaceful places for those you love.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Making Peace with the Past

"What Will It Take To Achieve World Peace?"

That was the question. My high school senior English teacher gave the class an essay assignment straight out of Newsweek magazine regarding the aforementioned question, jokingly commenting that if anyone in class won the contest he/she would receive an "A" for the year.

Writing always came easy for me, but it wasn't my life's dream. I wasn't a stellar poet and hadn't (yet) written the great American novel, but I got by. So I wrote the essay, throwing in my most idealistic and imaginative ideas, then continued with the rest of my days in a typical John Hughes-ish high school (this was the late '80s, people).

And lo and behold I won the contest. For real. Didn't believe it myself, it took some arm-pinching and cold-water on the face splashing for the realization to sink in. Me, the rebel without a cause, won a national essay contest. Needless to say, I got an "A" in English that year.

The prize was super cool: An all-expense paid trip to attend the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden. I even appeared on Pertzborn's People, for those of you from the StL who remember that show.

That was my 15 minutes of fame. And for the longest time, well, nearly 20 years now, it's been the albatross hanging round my neck. In that moment that I made a fantastic achievement, I lost my sense of self. Hence my last post regarding finding purpose in my life. There has been a huge hole in my heart and since high school I've been trying to fill it, but didn't know how.

This time I'm taking away from work, oddly, is helping me find myself again. Spending time with my beautiful daughter, making a home for my family, joining a Bible study. All of these things I'm doing to make an effort to achieve peace in my life--and to finally make peace with the past.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Still Haven't Found What I'm Lookin For

"It is in changing that you find purpose."

I don't know who wrote the above quote, but it's brilliant.

My life has been a rattlin' and hummin' along since quitting my job to stay home with Baby A. I'm healthy for once in my life, spending quality time with Baby Girl, our family is indulging in the StL's cultural offerings, and I'm lovin' every minute of it. Change of scenery, of pace, of focus, has been good.

So why the long face?

I feel like I'm lacking something. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's a hole in my heart that has been difficult to fill. But it finally occurred to me what's missing: a sense of purpose.

When I was working my role wasn't always easily defined, but I knew my place, so to speak. Being a stay at home mom brings a different set of challenges that are less easily defined. Yes, I am a mother. And a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, etc. These roles are all very important to me, but is there more for me out there?

Sadly I feel completely alone in my search. I've found people just don't talk about these things. Why is that? We can talk about everything else, but why not talk about what truly matters to us? Let's be real people. And maybe then we will find what we're looking for.