Archive for January, 2013

2012: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

There’s really no other way to describe it.

I’ve already blocked half of it from my memory and it surprises me now and then by surfacing in ways and at moments I’m completely caught off guard by.

When did we get old enough to have parents in crisis? Sometime between getting married and having babies and being in a fog of exhaustion and diapers and teaching kids to read and ride bikes, kissing owwies and saying bedtime prayers, our parents grew older while we weren’t looking.

Some things you expect to change, like the little ones in your arms. Some things you expect to stay the same, like the stability of your parents.

Three sets of parents, all in the throws of some crisis or other. One set in the middle of a deep, abysmal personal/spiritual/relational crisis. One in the middle of a physical/financial crisis. And one on the verge of a personal crisis that has yet to fully show itself.

The full fallout of each crisis still remains to be seen in all of our lives. To say it all hasn’t taken its toll on us would be lying. Sometimes I am terrified when I think of the eventual repercussions in my own life.

I won’t comment on the individual situations or steps that led each set of parents down the path they’re on. I haven’t processed it all yet, likely a process that will take years.

This year I’ve seen violence, pain, lying, tears, priorities so messed up you need a maze to find your way through. I’ve seen strong people bowed to the ground with the weight of things they can’t control.

And in return I’ve seen disillusionment rise up in my soul, cynicism take hold, and self-preservation take the wheel.

Yeah, I’m no better than any of them. I didn’t let Jesus take the wheel, of that I’m sure. And maybe self-preservation is just a righteous picture pasted over selfishness. I don’t know. I’m not going to pretend I know.

But it wasn’t all ugly, I think. Some of the ways I’ve reacted have been good…ish. Depends on your point of view, I guess. So this is my list. This is what I’ve allowed myself to do this year. This is my record of how I kept my head above water.

This year I:

* allowed myself to cut my hair. I cut it short. And I take the time to do it every day instead of just putting it up in a pony tail.

* allowed myself to get my nails done. And I’ve kept them up. They’re pretty.

* allowed myself to lose weight. By any means possible. Regardless of the sacrifice needed to make it happen. Forgiving myself for the lack of energy, the afternoon nap some days, and the difficult explanations to my kids that might scar them for life. “No, mommy’s not eating today…again…for the 8th day in a row…”

* allowed myself to drink. I’m not even going to explain that one now. 

* allowed myself to write an entire 50,000 word novel in a month. I wrote. And I wrote. And I wrote some more. And it felt SO good.

* allowed myself to travel across the country…ALONE. No husband, no kids, five days. It was not for a vacation, but it was such a huge step for me. Since the moment I conceived my first child nearly ten years ago, I have never been away from all of them for more than a single night at a time, and that only twice before that trip! I was so far away I wasn’t just a quick drive away to be there in a moment of crisis. I was gone, completely dependent on others to care for every need of my babies for 5 whole days. It was agony and it was heaven. It reminded me that I am still an individual. I am still a daughter, a sister, a friend. 

* I allowed myself a hobby. And then I allowed that hobby to become an obsession. And then I allowed myself to dream of that obsession becoming a business. I invested time, energy, passion.. things I’d forgotten I still possessed in any form outside of the four walls of this house and the four children who reside here. 

I love them. I love investing in their lives, their hearts, their minds. But for the past 10 years, despite my best intentions to not be just like my mother, I’ve believed in my soul that to invest in myself is doing them an injustice. That all of my time, energy, and passion must be spent on their growth and happiness or I’m being unforgivably selfish. 

Something changed in 2012. And I’m not sure exactly what it was. And I’m not entirely convinced that I’m not being unforgivably selfish. 

Maybe what I’ve learned is that parents do make mistakes. And that children do forgive them. That we’re all human. That maybe I can still be loved even when I screw up, because the illusion of perfection is more harmful than just trying to do your best and living out loud.

All I can do is wonder what 2013 will bring and keep moving forward. Where we’re all going God only knows.

Advertisements