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Call Me…Please! Call Me…Maybe?

Daily Prompt:  Call Me Maybe:  Describe your relationship with your phone. Is it your lifeline, a buzzing nuisance, or something in between?

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I sit and stare at it willing it to ring.  Come on phone ring…ring…ring!  Then like magic the I hear the beautiful voice of Alicia Keys singing “This Girl Is On Fire.”  (Okay so my choice in ring tones is a little off but it is supposed to be inspiring)  Quickly I pick up the phone and with bated breath I wait to hear the voice on the other end. 

Is this the decision maker of the house?”

I’m quickly deflated and before spewing my disappointment and frustration on the poor sole just trying to make a living, I hang up the phone.

My phone and I have developed a love/hate relationship as of late.  You see being a forty-five year old woman who hasn’t held a real job in almost 18 years, waiting to hear from the millions of job applications she has sent out, can wreak havoc on your relationship with your phone.

So you see I am trying to stay positive, surrounding myself with the words of Alicia Keys…”This Girl is On Fire”, but I am nearing desperation and may soon use the words of Carle Rae Jepsen… “Call Me Maybe. 

Here is to all my fellow stay at home moms trying to find their way back into the work force.  Keep your head up, your spirit high and your phone close by because one of these days it’s just gotta ring and until then… create your own destiny!

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Toot Your Own Horn

Daily Prompt:  Toot your own horn.  Most of us are excellent at self-depreciating, and not so good at the opposite.  Tell us your favorite thing about yourself.

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Wow this is a tough one.  Is it my inability to see what is good or is it the apprehension of “tooting my horn that holds me back?”

Okay I am going to give myself one minute to write as many positive things about myself as I can.

1..2..3..go:

  1. kind
  2. good mother
  3. smart
  4. creative
  5. good friend
  6. efficient

stop!

Okay not such a good effort but at least something to start with.  Out of these six traits which is my favorite?  I would have to say my creativity.  Most of my positive traits have to do with how I am with others and translate into how I make others feel.  Don’t get me wrong being a kind, good mother and friend makes me feel good too, but my creativity is just for me.  When I sit down with a paintbrush I am pleasing no-one but myself.  I don’t care if the end product is pleasing to anyone else.  Sometimes I don’t even like it myself but I have enjoyed the process of creating.  When I create a piece of jewelry I am proud of myself and feel good about myself and again I am not trying to please anyone but myself.

Hmmm maybe I better revisit my opinion about the modern art at the MOMA.  Maybe these artists where feeling similar to me when they created their art.  I still contend that it needed an R rating but who am I to judge what someone else wants to create.  Then again I have never claimed to be an artist and I would not ever expect to hang my work in a gallery.

This was a fun exercise you should try it.  Take one minute to write down as many positive attributes about yourself as you can and then decide which is your favorite and why.  I’d love it if you would share it with me but if you prefer to keep it private I get it.  After all it isn’t easy to “toot our own horn.”

The Sky Is The Limit

Daily Prompt 32 flavors: Vanilla, chocolate or something else entirely?

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Why limit yourself, if there are 32 flavors why not try them all?  This being said by the person who has moved eight times between two countries and three states.  Naturally I like to explore new things.

How do I know what my favorite flavor is if I haven’t tried them all and what about combining them? Maybe it comes from my love of permutations and combinations in math but once I’ve tried each flavor once I need to see how they are in combination with each other.  It makes my choices almost limitless.

Some may find this approach overwhelming, but me, I find it exciting.  Sure some tastings are not as satisfying as others but every now and then you come up with that perfect flavor and the failures make it that much sweeter.

Maybe instead of life being like a box of chocolates it is more like an ice cream parlor.  Step outside your comfort zone next time and maybe you find your new favorite!

 

The House of Mirrors

Today’s daily prompt: 1984; you are locked in a room with your greatest fear.  Describe what is in the room with you.

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I reach for the door, slowly turn the handle only to find that it won’t turn.  Anxiously I try again twisting back and forth but it is locked.  Quickly I turn  to find another way out but find myself trapped in a room with my greatest fear.

Everywhere I look I see nothing but my reflection.  A room filled with mirrors with no way to escape and forced to look at myself from every angle.  To the left I see the slight bulge that used to be a waistline, to the right I see the lines etching themselves into my face, straight ahead is my anxiety over what I cannot control, and behind me is my self-doubt about who I am.  In a futile attempt to escape the images I look up.  As scary as my reflections may be what I am faced with now makes my heart stop.  Above me is a clock.  The sole reminder that time keeps moving forward and I can not stop it or slow it down.  I drop my head and once again I am faced with my reflection.

Quickly I close my eyes and count to ten hoping that when I open them again it will all be gone.  In the background I can hear that insistent ticking of the clock., tic-toc-tic-toc.  Slowly I open my eyes, the mirrors are still there.  I look to the right there it is that same bulge, but wait is it not the reminder of the three wonderful children I have.  I glance to the right and take a closer look at the lines on my face are they not the etchings from a life of smiling and squinting to see things more clearly.  Straight ahead, is that anxiety or excitement?  Gathering all of my courage I know I still have to look behind me into the mirror of self-doubt.  I turn and look, there it is just as clearly as before.  The fear I have been feeling has left me and in its place is nothing but anger.  How dare I doubt myself, if it was anyone else I would banish them from my life.  I raise my fist and unleash the anger upon the reflection of my doubt.  The mirror shatters and lays in pieces at my feet in it’s place an open door lays before me.

I suppose life is merely a matter of perspective and we only have a limited time to make of it what we want.

It Just Wasn’t In The Cards

“Sandra you have a call on line one.”
“Hello this is Sandra can I help you?”
“Hi Sandra it’s Dr. Elliot’s  calling.  I have reviewed all of yours and your husband’s test results and I’m sorry to inform you but you do not qualify for the fertility programs.  It would be my suggestion that you and your husband consider adoption because it just does not appear that you will ever be able to conceive and carry a child on your own.”

I didn’t say a word, didn’t ask any questions and didn’t say good-bye.  I gently placed the receiver back into the cradle and walked away.  It felt like time had come to a stop, there was no movement, there was no noise, there was only me in darkness and silence.

That feeling of helplessness, the dull sick feeling when you realize that you are no longer the one at the reins, overtook me.  All my life I had dreamed of being a mother.  It was all there in my ten-year plan; Finnish college, get a job, get married, buy a house, start a family. A simple plan laid out in black and white.  I wasn’t asking for anything major like trying to become the CEO of a large corporation or a super model, I just wanted to be a mother and have a family.  Now I was having to ask for a miracle.  My body had betrayed me and in a way that I had no control.  You can exercise to stay fit, diet to lose weight, meditate to reduce stress but there is nothing you can do to produce if your body does not want to carry a baby.

I was no longer in the driver’s seat just a passenger who had forgotten to put on her seat belt when the car came to an expected stop, slamming my head into the windshield and being rendered unconscious.  There was a blackness, a total nothingness followed by that slow awakening.  Awakening into a state of confusion asking myself who am I, where am I?  I looked around to see if there was anything I recognized but only saw pieces of an old life with shattered dreams.

It is at these points in our lives when all control is removed from us and we are brought to our knees with helplessness that we have the greatest choice in who we will become.  Will I be a victim of my circumstance, bitter and resentful for what I can not have, or will I rise above the circumstances and grow from my experiences.  Will I stand alone in the darkness or will I reach out for help.  Someone once told me that God never gives you more than you can handle.  I told them they were wrong, God gives you more than you can handle so will reach out to him for help.  In my moment of helplessness I had a choice, I could curl up and feel sorry for myself or I could get back to my feet, wipe away the tears and the dirt, and start again.

Life is like a poker game, you are dealt a hand and you have to play it.  Sometimes it is best to throw your hand in and start again, sometimes you can bluff your way through with the cards you are given and sometimes you will be dealt a royal flush.  So having kids wasn’t in the cards for me. I had to reexamine the cards I was given and decide how I would play them.  I still had a terrific husband, an amazing job and faith.  Those three were enough to keep me in the game.

We are never truly helpless because we always have control over the decisions we make with the cards we are dealt.

(p.s.  I got my miracle and have had three beautiful children.  Apparently that faith card is the ace in the hole)

 

It Was the Best of Times, It was the Worst of Times

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. It was a time when I wanted to throw my hands up and declare that I couldn’t do it any longer, it was a time when I feared that it would all come to an end too quickly.

The place may not be England or France and the time may not be 1775 but it still remains an age of competing and contradictory attitudes.  It is the age of  parenting teenagers.  When I first read Tale of Two Cities I was but a teen myself.  It is funny how those words have stuck with me for thirty years and how they came back to me in a new light as I attempt to survive my children’s teen years.

Watching your child transform from a boy to a man, from a girl to a woman, is both the best and worst time of your life.  The pride you feel in their accomplishments is overwhelming but the mistakes they make can have unbelievable consequences.  I remember the first steps my children took, that excited nervousness as they put one foot in front of the other, toddling from side to side, quickly regaining their center and finally falling onto their well padded bottom.  I stood with my hands reaching out for them with their little hand reaching back for me.  I was there ready to catch them if they should fall, protect them from injury.  Flash forward and I am watching them drive out of the driveway for the first time.  I stand at the door with my hand raised above my head waving good-bye, they are not looking to me at all but only seeing the road ahead of them.  They are on their own, I am not there to protect them any longer and if they should fall I know the consequences are much greater.  It is their right of passage, their key to freedom, their road to become their own person.

My job description for the last eighteen years has been to prepare my children for independence.  Allow my children to develop their personality, build their self-esteem, nurture their dreams and make them believe they can do anything they set their mind to.  I have done my job well.  My children are well-adjusted, independent thinkers, that want to spread their wings and fly from the nest we have shared.  My first child has left the nest, he is thriving at college and I can see his siblings watching him and counting the days until they can follow in his footsteps.  They all have big dreams of what they want to do, a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer.

So I hold my breath and continue along the path of the best of times, the worst of times, the age of great wisdom and the age of foolishness.  I will cheer them as they succeed, I will pick them up when they fall.  I will allow them to make their own mistakes, and will attempt to steer them clear of foolish mistakes.  I will hold them tight in my heart but will let go of control.  I will allow them develop their own life separate from mine.  I am the mother of three teenagers.

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Quote Me…or Not

There is a  quote that I find myself coming back to time and time again.  It isn’t a revolutionary quote, a motivational quote or anything profound, so why do I keep coming back to it?  I wish I knew because maybe then I could stop quoting it.  It is the quote most of us heard in our childhood and possibly you have been caught uttering it yourself.  Following in my mother’s footsteps my favorite quote seems to be…”Because I said so!”

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So many times I swore I would never say those words.  When I had a child I would explain to them why they should or should not do something.  I would listen, negotiate and reason with my kids.  No way was I going to be a dictator that just demanded something from my kids.

Yet here I am with three kids and a long history of repeating my mother’s favorite quote “because I said so!”

“Alex don’t sit on your brother”
“Why?”
“Because I said so!”

“Josh don’t put that up your nose”
“Why?”
“Because I said so!”

I know there are better explanation for why not to engage in these activities such as “ because you will hurt him and if you don’t understand that you will probably end up in jail someday for being a violent sociopath” or “because it won’t come out and you will look like an idiot walking around with an eraser stuck in your nose.”

Some may say it is lazy parenting, taking the easy way out.  I used to say that but too but really it’s just plain survival.  If I answered of every why question my children asked I would become stuck in a never-ending cycle of questions much like being stuck on a spinning merry-go-round holding on for dear life while trying not to lose my lunch.

Don’t eat the dog’s food”
“Why?”
“Because you will get a tummy ache.”
“Why?”
“Because the food is made for dog’s tummies not little boy’s tummies.”
“Why?”
“Because doggies need special food to make them grow up to big and strong.”
“Why?”
“Because doggies bodies are not like people’s bodies”
“Why?”
“Because that is the way God made them.”
“Why?”
“I don’t know maybe he had a bad day with a pain in the neck little kid who wouldn’t stop asking him why!”

So you see quoting my mother with “Because I said so” was actually a gentler approach to child rearing than I could have taken.

I can’t say that I am moved by this quote but I can say that it has kept me sane.  It has probably helped my children develop a much higher self-esteem.  I can’t imagine how scarred they would have been if I had actually said what I thought rather than using my go to quote of “Because I said so.”

Let’s be honest it could be much worse I could have chosen one of my mother’s other favorite lines such as “just wait until your father gets home”, or “your face will freeze that way.”  Really mom, dad never did anything when he came home and at six I thought it would be kind of cool if my face froze into one of those crazy faces I made.