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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's The Small Things

From the moment we are born and we take our first breath we are running out of the gates to begin our journey of life. Our parents do what they can to guide us in the right direction. They take pride in the small things, our first smile, our first time sleeping through the night, our first steps and our first words. Before they know it we are out the door and on our own, making new chapters in our lives from college to marriage to children of our own. Sometimes things don’t happen in that order and we may choose a path that our parents or society don’t agree with, but it’s our own path to take and that is a right of passage we can all celebrate in.

Of course not all parents have been as great as mine, and there were times through my teenage years when “I knew EVERYTHING!”, that my parents didn’t think I was very grateful. But they let me be who I was and make my mistakes and were proud of me regardless of my attitude. Life hasn’t always been chocolate and roses but as a family we made it through the tough times together, and in the end we know that we are always there when we are needed.

For the past five years I’ve been struggling with the decision that God made to take my dad home at such an early age. We weren’t done with him yet, how could He possibly need him more than we did? There were grandchildren to be with and one that had yet to be born. For me in particular, I still need my Daddy even though I am all grown up, nothing replaces a hug from him or the words, “I love you Kid.” How could God take such a great man and leave the not so great ones here? A question that I will never know the answer to until it’s my time to go home. Through the years, I’ve become somewhat at peace with the fact that he is no longer here and am thankful that he didn’t suffer as long as I’ve seen some suffer. It’s the small things that help me get through the day.

I started working at the Senior’s lodge and in the few shifts I’ve had, I’ve realized that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. Time is all we have and it can go by fast or it can go by very slow. It’s what we do with that time that makes our lives worth living and sharing. My heart is finally softening towards others that still have their Dad in their lives. I was a jealous person watching others enjoy their time when mine was cut short. And I pray for those that are taking their time with their aging parents for granted. We all get busy and we all forget, I am just as guilty for having time slip by so quickly. (Don’t worry mom, I will be there to look after you!)

It’s great to be able to help the people at the lodge and even more rewarding that with a simple smile and a soft touch I know I’ve made a moment of their day a good one. The small things in life are what we remember most, and when they are taken away they are the moments we miss the most. A hug, hearing I love you or just sitting in silence with the ones you love. We have a lot to be thankful for in our lives and sometimes we tend not to remember that. As bad as your day may seem to be going someone out there could be having a worse day than you. Remember the small things and life could be a little easier to get through.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Are You Being Heard?

Have you ever felt as though you are speaking yet no one is listening?  Besides your spouses and your children of course, that goes without saying, I’m talking about conversations you have with co-workers, friends, family that leave you wondering, what just happened there?  In honor of International Women’s Day I thought it would be great to do some reflecting on how I conduct myself.  I question how one sided I can make a conversation, how self centered do I come across?  I know there are times where I really want to just blurt out my news or my rant before I hear the other person’s news, but for the most part I do listen least that’s how I see it!
We’re all going through good times and bad times and really crazy stressful times, and sometimes listening to another person’s woes are just not of interest to us.  But if you think about it, that person called you for a reason, was it to hear all about you?  Or was it because they needed an ear?  Do they have something to celebrate?  Do they really want your advice?  Or was it so you BOTH could just talk and you BOTH could listen.    
Our “stuff” sometimes feels like it is more important than other people’s “stuff”, and it can be really annoying, when you feel like you’re not being heard.  Or you’re made to feel like your problems are not as bad as you think they are.  Who are we to determine what is a bad problem and what is not?  
I find when I actually listen, whatever I am going through can wait, and it takes my mind off a bad situation for a least a little while.  Not that my situations are not worthy of discussion, but I’ve found that listening and waiting for the right time and place give me time to reflect.  Like am I really that mad that my kids can’t find their socks?  Or am I really that stressed out that Desperate Housewives has been repeats for weeks?
I treasure all the people in my life that trust me with their problems, ask me for advice and they can take it or leave it.  I love being an ear for others, I don’t always have the right words, although I do wish I can make their heartache go away.  Though I don’t have that power, I feel like there is nothing better than the comfort of an old friend that will listen and cry with me.  Laugh with me until we cry, agree to disagree or just get mad at me because I’m being stupid.  
A good friend and with a good ear is like warm stew on a cold winter day, with a great big piece of garlic toast on the side.  There are many people in my life that make up my great stew, and I hope to be that same big piece of garlic toast on the side for them.  I take the time now to apologize for times when I was self centered and didn’t listen to all you had to say, or didn’t give much praise where it should have been.  I promise I was just distracted by missing socks and repeats on TV! 
All kidding aside, thanks to all that have been there for me and inspired me to be a better friend, wife, mother and daughter.  Without you I’d be really really empty!