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Do unto Others

I have had a heavy heart this week…but to be honest, it’s probably been going on for a while.  Like, my whole life…

I see a lot of things going on in the world, both local and worldwide that just makes me sad.  I don’t think anyone can doubt that this worlds gone mad in recent years and I feel like it’s not going to get any better.

When I started raising kids, my world opened up.  Any parent will tell you the same.  It’s not about “YOU” anymore, it’s about “WE”.  Every decision made will affect your kids and therefore the weight of every decision you make is 1 million fold.  I’m glad I was in my 30s before having kids…

I remember as the girls were getting older, my husbands ability to tune them out wasn’t developed at all… and to this day, I’m not sure it ever will.   Guys just want to “fix” and move on.  Women are more likely to evaluate situations and find the best course of action.

Over the course of our child-rearing I had many conversations with my husband that if our kid wants a lollipop (so to speak), it doesn’t mean she should always get one.  But if she threw a tantrum, he couldn’t stick the lollipop in their mouth fast enough.  It took many conversations to explain to him that they can’t always get what they want.  The small picture view is, “They shut up”.  The BIG picture view is, eventually, they will learn how long it takes to throw a tantrum to get what they want from him. Because he always gives in…. There were times I had to remove him from the situation and deal with the kids myself, which was totally fine by both of us.  I could sit and listen to my kids scream for hours and not budge.  (I’m literally laughing realizing there is no way he could sit in a similar situation).  We are different for a reason.  The kids have balance between the two of us and that is great!

But now, the kids are older – teenagers to be exact (thank you for the sympathy).  Their issues are different and they are transitioning into adults and as a parent it’s more of a “sit back and see what they know” time of their lives.  Now, they are old enough to get their own lollipops.  Thankfully, they are better about discerning wants from needs as well as consequences for bad decisions.

At this time in parenting we have to set them free more and let them grow from their heart aches as well as be able to communicate with teachers and coaches if they have a problem.  In some ways I think their heartaches are going to be less as time goes on.  I mean, as we grow we learn and get stronger, right?

In theory…yes… In reality… everyone is different.

This past week I wrote about having a bad day.  There was a lovely outpouring of support from friends that meant the world to me.  I still have people sending me messages and checking in on me.  But what happened this week was a simple blind side that I wasn’t expecting and it had to do with feeling left out of something that I found profoundly special in my life.  Literally, I had a 12 yr old moment….And it made me realize…my kids are never out of the woods.  And that sucks….

At times like this, I tend to withdraw.   I have to.  Because I love so deeply that when I’m hurt it goes straight to the core.  I wear every emotion on my sleeve, and anyone who knows me knows this is true.  I’m literally a power user on Facebook and my husband continues to remind me of that.  So yes, if I’m having a bad day, EVERYONE KNOWS!!!  I post my little Fox in a Hole profile and I dismiss myself for a while.

I have realized over time, that I am a slow processor.  Things happen and I have to mull it over in my head 600 times before I can move forward.

The thing that got me this week was I was surprised at how quickly I could be pulled back into my 12 yr old self.  The self that just wants to curl up in a ball and cry.  A victim!   I literally couldn’t even articulate to my husband (the fixer) what my issue was, because I couldn’t put my finger on it.  I was so mad at myself that I let someone make me feel this way.  But then I realized it wasn’t just about this one thing.  It was about a pattern in my life that I can’t totally figure out.  I have been excluded from things because I was “guilty by association”.  Literally, left out because I was friends with someone that someone else judged harshly.  Mind you (and this is the interesting part).  The people with whom I was condemned, had NO idea what they did to deserve that behavior, so we were both excluded for reasons we couldn’t figure out.  This has happened a few times in my life and I find it so interesting that there are such similarities.

But regardless, when I realized my lot in life, so to speak…it put me in a “fox in the hole” moment.  It hurt like a bitch.  Mostly because I had no idea why I was being held accountable for something I had nothing to do with? (yes I ended in a preposition, sue me).

We all have our patterns in life.  Some of us recognize it and some of us don’t.  I’m an over thinker, so I recognize it.  And the reason it hits me so hard is because I can’t fix it.  I have literally said between opposing friends, “I’m Switzerland!  This is your issue, not mine, I abstain from any argument on either side, please don’t hold me accountable.”  Yet….I’m held accountable.

There are people I don’t care for in my life.  People who make choices I would never make.  But it’s not my place to judge.  (although, let’s face it, I’m human, I judge).  But I have found in my life, it’s way better to be cordial than violent about things.  I know I am not perfect.

What I am sad about is that I am always willing to communicate and grow through issues.  And I am shocked when there is no reciprocation in this.  But then I step back and realize that not everyone is me.  I’m told on a regular basis that my ability to share my vulnerability has helped others grow.  I have no shame in who I am.  And I am blessed with a husband who accepts my emotional vomit on Facebook.

My point in all this is, life will continue to come at us.  We have a choice in how we move forward.  As I write, I’m quietly mourning the suicide of a high school classmate who saw no way out and took his own life.  Moments like that make me take pause.  Mostly because this comes in the wake of MULTIPLE teen suicides in our area, to which I have seen many parents say, “If they only knew their pain is temporary and they will grow past it”…. This is actually a false statement.  The truth is they COULD grow past it, IF they acknowledge and seek help.

I’m thankful that I am emotional vomit and that the world knows who I am.  Yes, I had a sad few days this week, but what came out of it was far greater than being left out of a celebration…. I realized that though those people were a special time in my life and they are all still very special to me, that I have a whole group of new people that are on my list of people I love and appreciate.  My village came to my rescue and filled my heart.  I processed that life will never stop coming at us and helping us grow.  I processed that my articulations help people.  I processed that I still have 12 yr old moments, and to be honest…because of the pain I see my kids go through, it was nice to revisit that emotion so I can better communicate with my kids.

Good can come from bad, if you let it.

This week reminded me that compassion is HUGE.  One moment with a person could make or break their day.  Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”  I want to see the good.  If people want to make me guilty by association, that says more about them, than me.  And I have to let that shit go.

Yes, this is a long blog post and to be honest, I’m not done…I’m only getting started…but patience is a virtue.

Be the good you wish to see in the world.  Treat others as you wish to be treated.  A little compassion goes a long way.