Epiphany of a Larger Magnitude

Funny how a bad day of negative feelings can make you think, make you find peace with past hurts.

It’s been one of those days. The kind where you’re not feeling like yourself and the more you think the deeper you sink. It started with my husband losing his charging cable to his phone. That set me off on the wrong foot because I like to hear from him on his breaks. It’s not that he HAS to text me every day, but he does and I’ve become accustomed to it. The day went on with more negative thoughts that I alone created in my head. This is something I do and I know I do it pretty much every year around this time. Seasonal depression perhaps?

I knew I had to go to town and pay some bills and collect the mail so of course that didn’t help my state of mind one bit. I tried to cheer myself up by talking to one of my cousins for a bit on Facebook and the minute I commented on some decor she was crafting for her wedding my sister had to comment, so I would see it. She is manipulative like that. I had her blocked, but she must have gotten a new account or I unblocked her by accident. She is a sorry excuse for a human being and a total waste of air. She almost gave me some comedy relief until I started thinking about it. She said she was excited for our cousins wedding and hers. Crazy bitch didn’t even attend her own daughters wedding, but she thinks she’s going to a distant cousin’s? Secondly, she is already married so yeah, how does she think she’s going to have a wedding to her new boyfriend who is also already married? Hilarious!!

Anyway, that did get me to thinking about what a whack job she is, my sister. Alcoholic for sure and the probability of her being on drugs is, I’d say, better than 50/50. Our dad is sick and his doctor said he had 3-6 months to live back in March, 10 months ago. Apparently he calls sister nut job on a regular basis. He calls me when he feels like he has to, like when I had surgery. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m totally OK with that except for the fact that she thinks she’s special and brags about it. After leaving the post office today where they crammed my granddaughters book club books into my box, AGAIN, and I had to have them retrieved by the clerk, I was in an even worse mood.

That’s when the epiphany hit me like a ton of pellets. My dad is like his own dad, my grandfather. I loved my grandpa and still miss him to this day, he passed away when I was 12 years old. I used to go stay with him on weekends and clean his house for him and do his laundry and some light cooking. The Best time of my life back then because he lived on the golf course right next to the horse stables where I learned to ride. Funny though, my cousin (not the one mentioned above) come to stay sometimes too, not nearly as often as I did, but she did. Grandpa always seemed to like her more, and she wasn’t even the one doing his household chores and making sure he had clean laundry and no moldy food in the fridge.

As I got older, I realized that he didn’t love her any more than he loved me, he didn’t know how to spread his affections evenly, and he thought she needed “more” than I did because my parents were still together and I wasn’t left to fend for myself as much. What he didn’t know was that I needed him every bit as much as she did even though I didn’t show it. My home life wasn’t all peaches and cream and roses and wine. Not even close.

I don’t resent him for treating me with less concern and empathy, not at all. I see why he was like he was and my dad is the no different. He thinks my sister needs “more” than I do because I have a husband who loves me and three kids who I can count on who like to spend time with me and call often. He too, doesn’t know how to read between the lines and treat his children with the same courtesy and respect. Grandpa had no daughters, so dad had no sisters to learn how to relate to girls, I guess, and that’s OK because I can see through their misgivings and understand that it’s not me, it’s them.

Does it hurt? Sure it does. Why? They both are/were intelligent men who should have figured it out at some point but didn’t. To be honest, my mother is the same. She did special things for my sister who was pregnant at the same time I was. She bought her maternity clothes gave her special attention, like manicures and pedicures because she was pregnant and single. Sure I had a husband and two children but that didn’t mean I had extra money for frivolous extras and I needed my mothers attention every bit as much as my sister did.

I know I should feel bad for my parents, missing out on a lot of time getting to know me but I don’t. I don’t even harbor negative feelings toward them after all they’ve done and said at my expense. I am grateful to them in a way. They taught me how not to treat my children. How to raise them to be close-knit and loving toward one another, not feeling like they were rivals for attention or anything else. I think I did a good job based on how my kids act and treat others, and also, they have told me how much they appreciate me being their mom. I have a hard time picking out Mother’s Day cards for my own mother. It’s a sad thing to have to admit.

Funny how a bad day of negative feelings can make you think, make you find peace with past hurts. In the end, this day turned positive for me with one single epiphany that extended beyond one small thought, to a bigger picture. A reminder of how to live my life, how to treat others and how to accept past deficits in my life in a positive way.

~ Jane

Procrastination…

Merry Christmas Eve to all and to me a refreshing nap!!

It’s 2:08 pm on December 24, Christmas Eve. I have nothing Christmas related to do, yet I have a hundred other tasks that need tended to. My husband gets off work today, at 3:00, so he’ll be home around 4:00. I wanted to have a the house cleaned when he got here, as I’ve been away for almost 3 weeks, and he knows how to make a mess. Sure, he does laundry. Washer, dryer, toss on to recliner until no more room is available, then start on filling the couch. He’ll do dishes too, as needed.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all. Cleaning up after one of my trips is a given that I am fully aware of at this point. It used to bother me, but not anymore. It’s the price I pay for taking vacations and trips. I’d make that trade any day! I’m not feeling it today, so I am procrastinating. My brain knows what needs to be done but my body is resisting with it’s every fiber.

God help me get some motivation mustered up, please. I’m feeling as lazy as the cat who is curled up in a ball at my side as I sit here wondering if I even have enough spirit in me to go to the bathroom. It’s bad. I should take a nap and hope I wake up with more ambition. Yeah, that’s what I should do, why not? We’re not getting company this year, and we’re not going anywhere either, so I can do what I want; right?

Merry Christmas Eve to all, and to me a refreshing nap!!

~ Jane

Is “perfect” even a thing?

The first thing is, you need to start from day one with consistency and conviction. No means no…

I have always said this and I truly believe it, or I use to. “The perfect parent” and “the perfect child” do not exist. I mean, who gets to decide what defines “perfect”? The dictionary definition of “perfect” states: having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be. Or, when used as a verb: make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible. In essence, perfect is in the eye of the beholder.

I know we have three great kids “perfect”, if you will. They all finished high school and went on to finish college. They all are responsible, well-adjusted, functioning members of society who are respected by their friends and co-workers. The values and morals we instilled in them are clear in their character, world views and over all demeanor. Kindness and respect toward one another without jealousy or rivalry and great senses of humor, all three of them!

Both my husband and myself feel bleed with the family we received. Sometimes I wondered how we got so lucky. I would hear other parents talking about how unruly their kids were and how they couldn’t wait until they graduated and got out of the house. Those parents who hated vacations and summer breaks because they might have to deal with their kids for longer periods of time. Not us, we couldn’t wait to spend time with our kids! Camping, fishing, hiking, hunting, vacations to the coast or sitting around the dining room table talking about anything and everything. I’m guilty of allowing “hooky days” because I missed them when they were away.

The word “perfect” can have a different meaning to different individuals, I suppose. As far as kids go and as far as parents go. I do believe some key factors, or ingredients, for solid, decent children and families are necessary. Let’s talk about that for a minute. The first thing is, you need to start from day one with consistency and conviction. No means no, and you don’t go to the other parent looking for a different end result. You must remember that each child is an individual with different learning styles and needs but at the same time treat each child as equals, thus preventing unnecessary conflict and animosity. Listening and communication amongst all family members is probably a number one must. Showing love and support for each other and protecting each other from negative elements is a good start to creating sibling friendships that will last a lifetime.

It saddens me to see families in chaos, fighting all the time with no coherent communication. Parents who don’t want to allow their kids to be individual self thinkers and express themselves. We as humans are not clones, we all have our own thoughts and views of situations and events. That doesn’t automatically mean they are wrong because they are different from our own. Let them talk while you listen to actually hear. You will be pleasantly surprised at the depth of understanding and knowledge your children have acquired that you might not have realized. Raise them up to be independent self thinkers but let them know you are there for them under any circumstances without passing judgment or ridicule.

Remembering the following items is a good, solid base for building healthy family relationships.

1. Communication. 2. Consistency. 3. Common Sense. 4. Respect. 5. Love.

~ Jane

Open Your Heart (and mind)

Of course one person can’t change the world but if everyone does their part we might have a good start!

On this glorious Saturday morning after a trip to Freddy’s, I’m sitting here contemplating the season and all its former appeal. People mulling around in a hazy stupor trying to find the perfect last minute gift for someone they had forgotten about, or probably in most cases, getting started late. Not me. I didn’t shop at all this year, unless you count Amazon Prime shipments I conveniently had shipped to our 10 month old granddaughter and ulu’s for our kids we found on our trip to Alaska earlier this year.

Watching these frazzled people, some looking defeated, if not totally deflated I began to wonder about their stories. Which ones were single parents? Who was unemployed or under employed? Was anyone suffering from seasonal anxiety and depression? Were they going to be OK? Were their children and family going to be OK? I’m always telling myself it’s not any of my business and technically it isn’t but in a way, isn’t it? Are human compassion and kindness not a thing anymore? Are we not allowed to comfort and lift our fellow community members? How and where do you start?

The answer to the above question is, I believe, at home within your own family. If family takes care of their own in the proper manner and with proactive foresight, love, understanding and full support, perhaps the world would be a better place. That’s where our country and society have gone astray in recent decades. Parents are busy working and trying to catch a break when they can, or dead beat slackers possibly addicted to drugs and alcohol. Schools are expected to teach kids morals and values, amongst other skills that are not the responsibility of a teacher. We find ourselves in a sad situation, my friends.

Look around you, within your circle of friends and family. If you see someone struggling don’t be afraid to offer and ear or anything else you’re equipped to offer. You might be the one person that can make a positive difference in the life of a loved one. Of course one person can’t change the world but if everyone does their part we might have a good start!

~ Jane

Merry “Non-Traditional” Christmas

I will send out a “memo” so everyone knows ahead of time, where Christmas is happening, be there or be square!

Merry Christmas everyone! This year is going to be different. Kids in Idaho, kids in Washington, us, in Oregon. It’s not necessarily a bad thing though.¬†Our usual Christmas is¬†filled with decorations, a beautiful fresh cut tree that we cut ourselves, gifts, good food and the entire family. The thing I will miss most is the entire family being together. I feel blessed to have been able to spend two weeks with our son, his girlfriend and first granddaughter before Christmas. I will cherish that time for sure. We will also have dinner and movie day with our girls so it’s not like we totally gave up Christmas this year. Also, even though we all agreed no gifts, we couldn’t help ourselves and got everyone a little something and of course the granddaughter got spoiled. It’s a parental prerogative, right?

The reason I say it’s not necessarily a bad thing is because it makes a person more appreciative of the time we have spent together and more longing for more times together in the future. In other words, every one misses traditional Christmas! This will give the husband and I our first alone Christmas since before we had babies, so like in 30 years; It’s going to be strange, for sure. At first, I wasn’t on board with basically skipping Christmas but now that I’ve allowed it to sink in and digest some, I’m actually feeling pretty good about it, this one time. We spent less money and I have less stress. But, like I said… this one time.

Next year will be grand! I’m already planning it out. There will be a fresh cut tree from floor to 9 foot ceiling, lights on everything, garland, elaborately set dining table, embroidered stockings (need to order for any new family members). Christmas shower curtains and hand towels, festive bed linens in all guest rooms, Christmas Eve pajamas for everyone, grandpa reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. My famous Christmas sugar cookies, intricately decorated, honey ham with all the fixings, pies and fruit and everything yummy. Those are some things that initially pop into my head, I’m sure I will come up with so much more by next December.

I will send out a “memo” so everyone knows ahead of time, where Christmas is happening, be there or be square!

~ Jane