Friday, September 6, 2013

41 Going on 41: Growing Older Gracefully--if I Want To

In less than one month I will be 42.

Getting older doesn’t feel like I thought it would. As a teen I couldn’t wait to turn 21. It seemed everything worth doing started at 21; so I started earlier.  My 20’s and 30’s didn’t swirl down the drain or flash by in a blur of color, lights and names. I had some fun times back then and I have some awesome people in my life to show it. But even if I could go back in time, I wouldn't: I couldn't keep up with the younger me. I don't want to.

The women in my life age gracefully. I expected to and I haven’t been disappointed.
Unlike what TV, magazines, radio and other outlets would have me believe: getting older is amazing. I wouldn’t exchange this point in my life for any other; I don’t need an elixir, a pill, a cream: I love getting older and all it means to me.

So what does getting older mean to me?

There are things in my past that will stay there.  

There are events or people in my past that will remain in my future only as lessons learned: and that’s okay.

I will not take people for granted: I will cherish my family and friends.

I will not hesitate as long to say goodbye: if something isn’t working despite trying to “make it” I will recognize it may not be the right something or someone for me and I will let it go.

I will be more open, more loving and more forgiving: while this may seem to contradict with the previous point, it doesn’t; I can forgive you without being with you.

I’m more likely to choose how I spend my time and less likely to waste it where it is not bearing fruit: I am more likely to waste less time or words where they will not yield results.
I will have conversations I want to have and will continue minimizing those I don’t want to have.

I am more willing to ask for help: struggling alone is no longer a tool I use to measure my strength or character.

I can’t fix someone if they don’t realize they’re broken: I can’t fix someone else—I can only work on myself.

I’m not my ex-husband’s PR person: it’s not my job to make him look good to my children. If he wants to look good to them he needs to do right by them.

No excuses: I don’t make excuses for myself and I won’t make them for other people.

No more apologizing for things that are outside of my control; I realize that there are things outside of my control.

I will listen.

I will laugh.

I will take time for myself.

I will endeavor to love and appreciate myself more each day; that means valuing my body, my space, my time.

I’m fortunate to be able to choose how I grow older and how I feel about growing older.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An Open Letter to Absentee Parents

Dear Absentee Parent,

There seems to be a myth that the person who is raising the children should be the person who pays for the children; an idea that if you aren’t there to watch them grow, you don’t share the responsibility. I’d like to unburden you of that lie.

As parents around the globe get ready for the first day of school, I’d like to remind you, your child still has to eat.

Your child does not stop growing the moment you walk out the door. On the contrary, children continue to grow: that means they need new sneakers, shoes, clothes, socks, underclothes; and they probably need them more often than the person who cares for your children tells you they do.

Each day, you eat.

Likewise, your child would like to eat each day. Not only would your child like to eat daily, your child needs to eat several times a day and would like healthy snacks in between meals.
You may not know this: eating is an expensive habit.  It costs money to feed your family, even if you aren’t there; your kids have to eat.

Other reminders: books, paper, crayons, erasers, pens, and other school supplies are not “wish list” items; your child needs these supplies to engage in school.

Buy them.

Instead of asking if the person who cares for your children needs anything; know that they do. Your kids need something every day regardless of whether you are there to see them want or need it. Whether or not you believe they need something does not change the reality that besides love, attention, understanding, nurturing, guidance, opportunities, and all of the other things your children need, they also need tangible items with price tags.

You aren’t getting away with something by not supporting your children. You aren’t punishing the person who left or cheated or hurt you; you aren’t righting a wrong or setting things straight.

You are hurting your children.


If no one else tells you this, I’d like to be the one to remind you to take care of your kids; they need you. Don’t ask if they need something: they do. Send them a gift card, cash, store credit: it’s your responsibility.

You may not have “spare change” and no one is asking you for it.

 It costs real money to raise real people. If you can’t contribute financially, contact the person who is taking care of your children and see what you can do—because there is something you can do; a way you can help; a burden you can carry.

Be a parent.



Sunday, September 1, 2013

When Your Kids Read Your Blog

She sits wrapped in a blanket with her feet propped up on another chair as she cradles her laptop and reads my blog.

“I stalk your blog” She tells me.  

In my mind she is snacking on popcorn as highlights of my life scroll across her view cinematically.  In reality, it is far less dramatic.

I write because I don’t know how not to and I publish my thoughts because, well, what good is good writing if you keep it to yourself? But there may come a point when my children read something I didn’t intend them to find, what then?

My daughter is 18. She’s passed the age of my feeling I would have to pay for her therapy if she reads something that sends her into shock. But I’m not passed the age of writing about what—or who—is on my mind. Will reading about the dissolution of my marriage tell her anything she doesn't know? Will reading my unadulterated, edited thoughts about my divorce be a surprise?

Now that she is ready for me to date, is she ready to read about my dating?

I could journal my thoughts and encrypt them on withered pages of a nonexistent diary but I’ve never been any good at that.

So I will continue to blog what I know—me—and my experiences growing, learning and loving being who I am; but while I do it I will remind myself that my daughter is reading this and this will remind her that I love her unconditionally and I’m not paying for any therapy.

Backstory: Reflections on this Month's Theme for Stories at the Storey

Meeting deadlines is as soothing to me as a creamy cup of flavoured coffee. Checking a project off of my mental to-do list settles me. ...