What I Gained and What I Lost at Thanksgiving

This may be a cryptic post.  The names may be changed to protect the innocent.  It is one of those posts that is really for me, as I reflect on a holiday that was down the road, around the bend and up the hill from where I have been in previous years. 

First of all, and happy to say, I did not gain any pounds over the holiday, nor did I lose any,  I just held my own,  which is good considering how much good food was available! I kept it fairly real and tried to be active with walks, hikes and trips to the dock. 

But I gained some amazing perspective this year.  What I have learned, or maybe already knew and decided to accept, is that life is messy.  Relationships are messy.  I am horrible about trying to create these perfect little cells of family life that are perfect.  Smooth. Flawless. Above Reproach.  Maybe its because I walk around in fear of someone finding out my dirty little secret, yeah you guessed it, I'm not perfect.  Ouch, hurts to admit. And - newsflash, my kids aren't perfect either and neither is my husband.  Our little yorkie, Cooper and his schnauzer sidekick, Izzy are the closest to perfect you can find, they are the ones with the pedigrees, but they won't be winning the dog show.

If you see the pictures on facebook you might think, "oh, look at the precious family and all of them smiling."  But when you pull back the wrapping, (the sardine lid) you see the stinky, fishy truth, we are all flawed and our collective flawedness equals the reality of life and relationships.

I think being away from "home" and not seeing any family for months at a time has helped me gain this tremendous perspective.  I don't like everything about any of my family members.  I don't even like everything about myself.  And someone once pointed out that you get to choose your friends but not your family. So it can be tempting to feel victimized by some things that don't exactly go my way, but in truth, its nothing personal against me, its just life being life and people being people. 

Circumstances also can be messy.  We rented a cabin and all the kids made plans to be there for the holiday. At the last minute my daughter informs me she may not come because her boyfriend and traveling companion is ill and she doesn't want to drive 7-8 hours alone and then turn around the next day and drive back.  Yeah - don't blame you - that is not worth it, especially driving from Dallas to northern Arkansas, just a lot of dead space where if you break down, you are at the mercy of the closest cell phone tower or passing Samaritan.

So we talked, I shared photos, we made plans for Christmas and I got over it and tried to help her do the same.  In the past a set back like this would have, well you know, set me back. But I was able to let it go.

It's just perspective. People lose their children, I know many who have, it is heartbreaking and tragic. Compared to missing one holiday, there is no comparison.  I realized this by missing my children so much I was miserable, then realized, at least I get to see them again, and though I'm not guaranteed that nothing will happen to them, I have them now even if I don't see them as much as I would like.

People out in the world don't have any family, none at all. So if someone in my family is unkind to me, unfair to me or even uncaring to me it is worth looking at through some perspective.  Often times peoples' pain drives them to hurt others without even knowing they are.  I'm not saying be a doormat but I can find some balance and overlook some things, realizing I probably hurt others too and never even realize it. 

So what did I gain?  These truths:

Ignore as much of other peoples' crap as you can - it's their crap
Take care of my side of the street - I can't fix "them" up, only myself
Save the drama - there are plenty of opportunities to get upset about truly tragic events, keep perspective
Have patience with others, they may be doing the best they can
Treat others like you want to be treated, with respect

And what did I lose?

I lost a spirit of judgment
I lost a spirit of victimization
I lost the need to be right
I lost the need to prove myself
I lost the competitive spirit

So as I move forward in my 50's I hope I continue to find perspective. It is so nice when you finally get down the road, around the bend and up the hill.  Maturity comes at the price of youth and we grieve the loss.  But maturity brings its own rich reward of perspective. 

That's all ~ Thanks y'all!
My grandson, down at the dock of the cabin we rented.  So blessed to have him!

1 comment:

  1. Through a few clicks I came across your blog and I find it refreshing. This post especially. :) I am a mother of three teenagers now and this teen parenting is a whole new adventure. I have twin girls who will be 17 this month and a 14-year-old son. I'm also continuing to work on being a healthier, happier wife and mother.

    Anyway, my time does not always allow for blog reading, but I will try and check back with you when I can. :)


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