Reflections

There is something about this time of life that causes a lot of self reflection.  I’ve been doing my fair share and it’s no secret that my natural inclination is to think of all the things I wish I had done differently or all the ways I have made mistakes.

Sitting in the car with Abbey the other day she asked me if I would go back to school to be a teacher, that’s what I have the most undergrad credits in, and I automatically said no.   I don’t feel like teacher material. There is no desire for teaching.  I wish I knew what material I was.

Watching Abbey gain more and more momentum in life has brought it’s own share of reflection.   I wasn’t such a hard worker at her age and I certainly wasn’t the kind of top notch student she is.  I sound boastful and I guess I am, but she’s so damn smart and has such potential in life.  Truthfully, it’s easy to be jealous of my own child.   She has much more of a sense of herself as a woman.  She does not see or feel any of the things that kept me from dreaming big.    She dreams big and she studies hard- I can’t imagine she won’t be successful at whatever it is that she pursues.  Why wasn’t I more like that?  I was so caught up in my own emotions until my early twenties, I could barely think straight, let alone decide what to study and what paths to pursue.

Life is saying- let that go.   It was what it was.

I feel like mid life is calling me to really accept myself  for who I am.  Not in a giving up way, but in the way that feels like there is little to hide behind anymore.   I’ve done my share of schooling, traveling, trying and failing at things, succeeding at others, and somehow 15 years of parenting.  I’ve put everything I’ve had into being a mother for so long now, it feels foreign coming out of it all and asking myself, “What do you want?”    What a weird question.   Too hard, don’t want to think about it.   Let me tell you, I know one thing- if anyone has ever held me back in life, it has been me and only ME.

I can’t help but wonder if I’ve done a decent enough job to call myself a good mom.   It hasn’t been easy. It isn’t easy.   But recently when I was sharing with a friend how racially diverse Abbey’s group of friends are, he told me that was no accident.  “Take some credit there,” he said.   “That’s because of you and Drew.”

As Abbey sat with us that day, talking with our friend and sharing all these thoughts about the world around us, I watched her quietly take it all in.  Can I allow myself that credit?    Not sure, but I’m grateful either way.

I’ve grown up in faith and now let most of it go.   Some may look at this as failure, but my own peace  tells me it’s just moving in the direction my life is taking me.  It’s hard for my family and those who put so much time and love into sharing their faith with me, I can see that.    The hardest thing for me is knowing they may feel like they’ve failed.   Please don’t ever think that.   The Love that you shared with me is still present and it guides me.  That Love has shaped my world.  What we believe just may not be the same.

Right now I think the key is to let myself reflect without judgement.   Period.   Don’t jump ahead.  Don’t let it overwhelm me.  Don’t let it keep me from moving one step at a time.    Just reflect.

I’m listening, life.    You’re the only one I’ve got and I have no doubt that no matter how you may appear at one moment or the next- you are deeply beautiful.

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Reflections

  1. Lisa remember you are a product of your parents who loved you and taught you on your best and worst days and it’s a direct reflection of how you parent your children. I went through this phase 3 years ago which led me to where I am now and I am very happy with life for a change instead of trying to impress others and make them happy. You have come to a place in life that too many people miss because they are wrapped up into someone else instead of being comfortable with their own skin. It’s called contentment and you are wearing it well

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  2. As I read this story I was transported back about 25 years ago. Charles had started college and I thought that was the time to finally go back to school. I had had a dream of returning because I always enjoyed school so much. I thought maybe I’d get a Master’s degree in history and teach in a Junior College. I took two great summer school coursesโ€”a history of war class and a English class that was given in conjunction with the war class (so that I might refresh my limited knowledge of writing papers). Both classes were great and I found another history class (World History, which I had never taken even in high school) with the same professor for the fall and a separate class in American history.

    As the weeks went on I loved both the lecture classes and did well but soon realized I’d have to write a lot of those long research papers and actually there were too many people who wanted to teach history at Junior College.

    That was when I realized that I could get software and computer hardware at a reduced price and got desktop publishing software and a scanner and began my “career” as a graphic designer. It involved a lot of self study (which I enjoyed) and my “job” (first volunteer, then actually being paid) at church involved a kind of “teaching”. I was trying to make people aware of events at church which often meant presenting the programs in a variety of ways so people would “listen and hear” about them and respond.

    Over the years the same questions you expressed were ever present. I often wished I had had a serious career and felt guilty because I didn’t. (Sometimes it seemed as though the boys thought I was the only one who should clean because I wasn’t in school and wasn’t bringing home money!) But in reality, I found I was happiest having the freedom to be available for helping others or teaching a Bible study or keeping track of friends or exploring crafts. It meant no “fame” and I still have some doubts about my choices. But the decision (or lack of one) has meant I’ve never been bored and here and there I’ve added to the lives of others.

    At one of our high school reunions many years ago I visited with the smartest woman in our class. She had gone on to get a PhD in mathematics. I expressed my embarrassment at not having a career and she pulled the picture of her 5 children and said she had her greatest joy in life in them. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I always find myself thinking about things more deeply when you write which is not a small thing. You may not have the glory of a large audience, but that doesn’t mean you are without impact in people’s lives.

    My dear friend Marcia Carole (the one with Stage IV breast cancer is at a place where she is having to let go of many things. She wrote this the other day:

    >> So, lots of tears today. Grief is messy, sloppy, yucky, and exhausting, but I sense I am finally grieving the loss of work I loved to do – the travel, the art, the stories and prayer. I’m going to do some grieving with an art project I’ll share as it unfolds. But it is time to face my losses, hug them tight one more time, and then release them, somehow, say goodbye. Because, you know what? I’ve been judging myself by work I used to do and just can’t with cancer, and day after day I come up short. I’m tired of hoping to hold onto what doesn’t exist. Thanks for being on this journey with me! We’ll see what’s around the corner.โค๏ธ๐Ÿ’•๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒธ

    Love,

    Pam Sent from my iPad

    >

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  3. Thank you for this Lisa. A few of my own reflections on your writing. My faith has gone through stages in 20 years which have settled into what I now know as my truth. I knew I was on my path because each stage brought me more and more curiosity and excitement than the last. It made sense to me, answered questions that I could never find answers to. Brought me Joy! I now see all the beauty in life more intensely. I love deeper and am more moved by things that I just took for credit in the past. I don’t fault my parents for they were not brought up themselves by parents who delved into anything different. Neither was i, but they gave me the gift of curiosity
    , which allowed me to open to other possibilities and I followed my heart and became involved with groups of people and individuals that opened my eyes to other ideas and possibilities. I continue to learn and grow and am happy with myself, despite the many ‘mistakes’ i’ve made in the past. I am happy to see your growth, even though it can be quite painful, just asking the questions will bring about change and peace.

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