Posts Tagged ‘hindsight’

23
Dec

In Too Deep

Adrion poolYesterday I visited a podiatrist to address pain that I’d been experiencing in my foot since the summer. After 5 months of pain, I’d finally decided that I needed a professional opinion to confirm what I already knew. My foot was broken.

This all happened during a summer trip to my aunt’s backyard pool. My five-year old daughter had decided to test out her newfound swimming skills by playing swim instructor, and I was volun-told that I’d be the student. Obediently I watched as she first demonstrated each skill before commanding me to follow suit, one drill after another.

Plunging below the water’s surface, she popped up sputtering, Mommy, put your face in the water!

Her arms and legs splashing furiously, she ordered, Mommy, kick your legs!

Now, cannonball!

In she went. Splash!

Dutifully I lined up, happily poised in her fast-drying footprints.

Wait…what?!…Cannonball???

I glanced at the markings along the pool’s edge – No Diving  3’8”.

My not-so-common sense was loudly whispering – You know this might not be a good idea, right? Uh…maybe not. Yet, I closed my eyes and jumped anyway.

So many times in life, we make decisions in spite of the warning signs right before our eyes. If we’re lucky, we’re able to walk away from those choices with just a few emotional bumps and bruises, but sometimes we find ourselves hobbling away – broken – having to live with the pain of our decision.

If you’re anything like me, it might take you a while to even admit that there is a problem. You’ll ignore, hide, deny, and even make excuses for the pain. You’ll convince yourself that it doesn’t hurt that bad or you can live with it, trying to ignore that constant voice whispering inside. But, there’s a lesson even in our pain.

We all have made, are making, or will make mistakes in our lives. We’ll ignore the warning signs, jump, and sometimes come up broken. But, the healing begins when we admit that no one pushed us into the deep end or, in my case, the shallow end. It is a choice. I guess the lesson I learned in all of this was that I need to heed the signs that warn of dangers ahead as it could save me from a moment or a lifetime of pain and to listen to that voice inside when it cautions me to pause…slow down…don’t jump. Well, of course, that and to be smarter than a 5-year old.

 

21
Nov

Carrot Parenting

carrotMost times I feel I’ve done a relatively good job parenting, but then comes those moments of self-doubt when I question where I could have gone wrong and what I could have done differently. I mean, my children are always polite, well-mannered, respectful…and if I dangle the right carrot, they can add honor roll student to their credentials. But, it’s that last point that continues to nag me. If I dangle the right carrot.

Why should I have to dangle anything to get you to strive towards excellence? What ever happened to having a little bit of self-motivation and initiative?

Listen, I get that they are children, but I don’t recall my mother having to incentivize me or my siblings to take a bath, clean our rooms, or get good grades in school. (Now, don’t get me wrong, we all understood that failing to do so could possibly result in a beat down, but that is beside the point. That’s just how it was back in the day.) There were EXPECTATIONS, and whether those expectations were communicated out-loud or burned into our psyche from our mother’s occasional glare, we understood what our role was and what we needed to do. And, there were no damn carrots!

So, why do I find myself having to dangle some sort of reward in front of my children to get them to do the most basic things for themselves?

If you shower before noon then…

If you do your homework then…

If you clean your room then…

Behind each of those pleas (because it is truly a plea for my sanity), I find myself offering either a simple attaboy or something more tangible just to get them to do. And, it is driving me insane.

I feel like I’m a broken record that can’t skip past the scratch on the CD (or the LP for you old heads), and I’m saying the same thing over, and over, and over again. And, quite frankly, I’m tired of listening to myself.

Like many parents, I find myself stuck in this groove where I can’t move forward because I think that deep down, I’m afraid that if I stop, I will discover that my children might actually be okay with body odor, dirty rooms, and average or below-average grades. However, if I’m being honest, I’ll admit that I believe that my children’s failures are a direct reflection of my parenting (with the occasional exception). So, I continue to dangle a carrot, a dollar bill, a threat of punishment, anything to get them to do whatever it is that needs to be done.

Yet for the sake of my own sanity, I feel like I need to cut the umbilical cord on this foolishness and pray that they’ll find a nugget of self-initiative to do what they need to do for themselves. But, in case that doesn’t happen, I might need to look into booking an extended stay at the local psychiatric hospital.

 

06
Dec

Responsibility Ain’t Sexy

Earlier today I ran across a picture of my husband and I when we’d first started dating. Smiles lit our faces. Eyes sparkled with the promise of new love. Years later, those same eyes can barely stay awake long enough most days to share an intimate conversation. It’s not that we love each other any less. No, in fact, I’d say we love each other more than we did that day because now we understand the impact of “us” in this grand universe.

It’s just that we wake each morning before dawn to hustle kids out the door for school before we climb onto the hamster wheel of life to run around…and around…and around again in the same daily routine.

I shake my head when I hear tales about married men and women who get caught up fantasizing about someone other than their spouse. It could be that woman on the job who hangs onto his every word or the old acquaintance who compliments her on how beautiful she still is. That other person appears to have the Midas touch and says just the right thing to brush off the dregs of monotony. But, that’s because he/she is not down in the trenches with you on a daily basis, and things are never glamorous in the trenches. As a matter of fact, it can get downright dirty when you’re laboring through hard decisions and heartache.

Simple truth: responsibility just ain’t sexy.

But, just for a brief moment I found myself humming that old tune by Minnie Ripperton – I stumbled on this photograph, it kinda made me laugh. It took me way back, back down memory lane – and it was so nice to remember the days when all we had to share were our thoughts, dreams, and beds.

01
Nov

Candy Love

The other day I overheard one of my teenage sons on his cell phone whispering words of love. I didn’t panic. I simply switched into mommy-stealth mode, lingering nearby to discern the extent of this tomfoolery.

 As he nonchalantly slid his phone back into his pocket, I pounced.

 So, who is this you’re saying “I love you” to?

 Short response: A friend.

 Soooo….what kind of friend is this? A girlfriend?

 Yet another typically short teenage response: No.

 Soooo….why are you telling her “I love you”?

 Uhh (or perhaps he said duh!)…we always say that.

 And… cut! Conversation concluded.

 Perhaps I should have been content to have gotten that snippet of information out of him, because most times it feels as if the Jaws of Life are needed to pry information from these teenagers. However, days later my husband and I both remain confused and find ourselves muttering aloud what the heck is wrong with these kids?! Then we stumble into discussions like a bunch of ol’ timers about how we just didn’t do that back in the day.

 I mean, just when was love downgraded?

 Turn on the television and love (or some Hollywood version of it) is pouring out like cheap, boxed wine.  In a world that has become so desensitized to everything from A to Z, how do we teach our children to embrace the value of love when it’s being handed out as freely as candy?

 

28
Sep

Love Tug of War

Relationships can be so darn complicated sometimes…who am I kidding, most times. Things can be going so smoothly, then bam! all of a sudden you’re flailing your arms and trying to untangle yourself from the cobwebs of life that you unsuspectingly walked into.

Just yesterday, a friend of mine was sharing her woes about a tangled romantic web that she’s caught in. For years, she’d be in a quiet, unassuming, unspoken, committed relationship with a man. Sounds complicated already, right? You see, although they live in separate homes and live separate lives, they share responsibilities and a very intimate bond. Not intimate in the romantic sense, but a connection that will never be torn. They have a child.

Sure, she loves him but not in the I-can’t-sleep-I-can’t-eat kind of way. More like in the way that happens to people who put love on auto-pilot. She’d put thoughts of love up on a shelf because she was too busy raising her daughter, building her business, and being a “friend.” She didn’t need romance; she had reliable. And, she was content with that…or, at least that was what she said.  

Until she walked smack dab into love.

All of a sudden she was glowing. Entering from stage left is the new guy – Prince Charming. He was attentive, caring, protective, and romantic. He looked, smelled, and acted like looooooove.

(Umph, umph, umph. Don’t you remember the feeling?)

He stirred things up in her that she didn’t realize she was missing, and all of a sudden that old Saltines cracker didn’t taste so good anymore. She wanted the Ritz.

Problem is that even the Ritz is just a cracker. Although Prince Charming had all of the qualities that appealed to her as a woman, he also brought a few unsavory elements to the equation. Jealousy. Control. Insecurity. That’s when a woman wants to just fall to her knees and say “Dayum, dayum, dayum!!! Where was this part in the Happily Ever After tales that momma used to read?!”

So now she finds herself in a love tug of war, mentally trying to weigh the pros and cons of each relationship. Should she stick with the ol’ reliable man who perhaps isn’t the most romantic but who she shares history and a child with? Or, should she go out on a limb and follow Prince Charming who might just be a Saltines in disguise?

16
Aug

What if…?

Someone once asked me, if given a choice, would I turn back the clock to erase portions of my past?

 Sure, I wish I would have been a little wiser about whom I called friend, and maybe I spent too many seconds, minutes, hours in relationships that would clearly lead to a dead end. But, every joy I’ve experienced, every pain suffered, every accomplishment achieved, and every hurt caused has made me who I am today. If I were to tinker with time to right one wrong or to delay one day, who’s to say that I would be where I am today?

 Sitting here wondering…

11
Jun

If only LASIK could fix hindsight

If only LASIK could fix hindsight…

I would have finished college in my 20s.

I would have been more focused.

I would have been less reckless with my finances.

I would have been more patient.

I would have hugged those I love more.

I would have been less naïve.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have sought God first before making decisions.

I would have been…who knows.

But I’m just thankful that I finally see.