“Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it’s better to bend a little than to break.” – Jane Wells
As children get older and go on their way to self discovery, parents sometimes get nervous and worried about the paths they are choosing to go down. We hope and trust that we have taught them right and that they will hold true to the principles and knowledge they’ve gained while growing up.
Yet, there is a time when each person asks the question, “who am I and why am I here?” “What’s my purpose?” “What am I going to do with my life?”
Some figure out the answers to these questions early on and hold true to their dreams, growing and learning, constantly reaching for their goals and owning their destiny.
Others of us go through different stages of growth and self discovery, a journey that lasts a lifetime, filled with ups and downs, leaps of faith, grand mistakes and endless opportunities.
No matter the background, whether born into a life of plenty, or growing up with a struggling single parent, we each own our own destiny. It is our response to life, to the challenges that we face and the choices that we are given that make us who we become. Our perspective, our ability to remain open and humble enough to admit when we are wrong so we can learn new ways to do things can make all the difference.
I’ve been a parent now for over 19 years, and I am learning as I go. I am not perfect and don’t profess to be, and neither are my children. Yet God put us together on this journey for a reason. Together we will face the future, learning from each other, facing obstacles in our path and offering hope and encouragement when needed.
Take a moment today to be thankful for the people in your life, whether friends, family or co-workers, we each have a purpose for being in the life of the other.
Cherry Coley (c)
Today I miss my mom. It’s not that I don’t miss her every day, but today the gaping hole in my chest where my parents used to be was hurting more.
I had been doing so much better, I was moving forward, getting things done and looking forward to the future and SLAM, grief strikes again. I hate that.
Grief has a way of popping up at times and turning the world upside down when you least expect it. It’s just the way it works unfortunately. The name of this round of grief is called – “things I wish I’d done differently.” The worst part of this round was not thinking of the things I would have done differently with my parents, (I went thru that part last year).
This was about things I wish I’d done differently in other areas of my life, with my ex-husband, my kids, my school days, and all the time I wasted doing stuff that didn’t really matter or turn out the way I wanted in the end.
My kids are growing up so fast and I still have questions, but no more answers. There are things that they bring up and do that I don’t know how to approach, so I make suggestions and do research. I feel inadequate at times, though I know it’s not true.
If my mom were here she would listen to my worries and insecurities and tell me to “suck it up,” and “karma works,” then smile and even laugh at me because I put her through many of the same issues and how well I remember that.
The things we thought were so fun as kids – like staying out too late, and talking on the phone all night, are not so funny as a parent. Life is a circle, that’s for sure.
I am thankful for the time I had with my mom and my dad. I’m thankful they always had my best interests at heart, even though they didn’t always understand me.
I am thankful I have two daughters, that remind me that life goes on and sometimes you have to look back to appreciate where you came from before you can go forward.
Cherry Coley (c)
Do you know your Bible stories?
So Peter steps out of the boat and as long as he’s focused on Jesus he is doing the miraculous, walking on water and making good progress. Then he starts noticing the sea spray, smelling the salty air, feeling the wind and looking at the waves. Peter starts to sink.
Now all Peter has to do is refocus and get back up. But instead he is focused on the circumstances, scared because he’s not paying attention, and he doesn’t see his salvation standing in front of him with his hand out. Peter is fighting the sea and swallowing a lot of water before Jesus finally takes his hand and puts him back in the boat.
There have been times in my life when I have been like Peter. Losing my focus, letting things distract me, focusing on the circumstances instead of the end result and swallowing a lot of sea water as I thrashed around struggling when I really didn’t need too.
If you follow on this path of not staying focused long enough, it becomes a habit, then grows into a behavior problem that will effectively keep you stuck making the same mistakes and winding up with the same results over and over.
I should know, there have been many times when I set off from point A to go to point B and wound up at point C wondering how I got there, but instead of going forward wound back up at point A repeating the same mistakes over and over.
So how do we change this cycle? For me, I found a coach, an accountability partner to help me refocus when I started getting off track, to help identify choices, options, along the way as well as point out steps or smart goals to help me reach my goal without getting sidetracked.
I am still looking for a good group like this, but may wind up creating one if I can’t find one. I would like a group to be able to share progress, brainstorm, idea’s and goals.
The point is, if you’ve spent any time at all in your life being like Peter, then find what works for you so that going forward you are investing your time wisely, not stuck in and endless cycle repeating the same mistakes, getting distracted and losing focus so that you never reach the place you were meant to be.
Cherry Coley ©
Life has been really interesting these last few months. I never realized how much I turned to my mom and dad, asking their opinion and looking for their approval on things. I didn’t always get their approval, in fact, I can’t really remember when the last time I gained full approval was.
Usually there were a lot of reasons why this or that wouldn’t work, why I shouldn’t do things a certain way on and on it would go. I have gone through half of my life with my mom’s voice in my head reprimanding me for things I hadn’t even thought all the way out yet.
Now I find myself in uncharted waters and it is liberating, intimidating, confusing and scary all at once. Yet I think I am finally getting the hang of things now, or at least I hope I am. I find myself more at peace the last few weeks than I have been in awhile. Oh there are still moments when the grief strikes me and it feels like I’ve been punched again, but at least for now, there seems to be a reprieve.
I have been seriously considering what I want to do next and finding that there are a lot of options open to me in many different directions. I love being a life coach, but am considering combining that with being a school counselor. I like working with kids. I love traveling and writing, and have been also considering doing some of that along the way. Or perhaps it’s finally time to get to the real work of writing and illustrating or painting since both come fairly easy to me.
I am not sure what the future holds and whats more is I am not sure it really matters which direction it goes in. I am ready for the changes life will bring. I can finally see the sunlight beaming down through breaks in the storm clouds and I know that soon the day will be clear and bright again.
I also found some of my mom’s short stories she wrote while taking a class about 20 years ago. There are a couple I am considering working on, perhaps illustrating a bit and making into part of a book. It would be a nice project and a good legacy, something to send to her friends and family as a way to remember and smile.
Life is okay right now, (though the unpacking fairies are lagging a bit behind). Spring is here, the flowers are in bloom, there’s a warm breeze in the air bringing the promise of summer and fun with family and friends. Brighter days are coming, but until then I will just ride the current of these uncharted waters and see where it takes me.
Cherry Coley ©
It’s funny the things you remember right out of the blue. There are some things I would never have told my mom, though technically, I should have apologized because she was right. I just refused to tell her because there are some things that she just didn’t need to know.
I remember when I was fifteen back in high school my mom was determined to take me bra and underwear shopping. Oh joy. Off we would go to Montgomery Wards or Foley’s and she would put me through all manner of humiliation by holding up different items and comparing them on me. I wanted to crawl into a hole. Why on earth mom’s would put their daughters through this I don’t know. I mean, isn’t that what dressing rooms are for?
Then to my surprise I found something new! I found a front clasp bra. I remember begging mom to let me get it.
“That thing would be a pain,” she said, “I bet it would always pop open on you, look at that clasp!” She wrinkled her nose, “you wear that thing one day and you’ll be ready to throw it in the trash!”
Alas, I was bound and determined to prove her wrong and bought it myself. I got up the next morning and wore my brand new, front clasp bra, to high school. It was great! That is until the clasp came undone as I was carrying my books from one class to another. Great. I remember quickly sidestepping into the girl’s bathroom to correct the issue. Then off to class again, a little bit late.
Unfortunately, I was working at the bookstore that night and was going to have to leave school to go directly there. Wouldn’t you know the stupid bra would decide to come undone as I was up on the ladder putting books up in the storage bins above the shelves? Yikes! I went to the backroom as quickly as possible holding books in front of me. Okay, just a few more hours to go and I’d be home free. Fortunately, it didn’t come undone again while I was working the register or sweeping the floor. I was thankful, maybe the stupid thing just had to be snapped the right way.
You’re thinking that’s the end of this story aren’t you? No, of course it’s not.
The grand moment was just as I was about to close the store for the night and I bent down to lock the doors on the bottom, and SNAP, the bra came undone again. It was just me and my friend Becky there, thank God, but by that time I was exasperated with the whole thing. I stood up and turned around and she both pointed and burst out laughing, “OH MY GOD!” she yelled, “You have four boobs!!” Of course she yelled loud enough so that passersby heard and tried to look in the door.
Yes, the stupid bra had come undone and was hiding by my arms. Lovely.
Thank God they have improved on this article of clothing since then, otherwise I’m convinced there would have been a huge bonfire of front clasp bra’s at some point.
Cherry Coley ©
My mom tried on many occasions to teach me things along the way. She taught me how to be polite, how to sit like a lady, how to respect my elders and listen to instruction. She also, God love her, tried to teach me Algebra.
I tried and tried to learn Algebra, but it just didn’t make any sense to me why they were trying to put letters in number equations. Seriously, who thought of that? I somehow managed to get put in honors Algebra in high school and my teacher thoroughly enjoyed tormenting me. He thought it was great fun to give long homework assignments, then give quizzes on a completely different chapter. He said it was his way of making sure the students understood the entire concept and gave us the added incentive of knowing we should read ahead. In a word, Algebra was hell on me.
My mom knew a principal at an elementary school and in desperation called him and obtained the teachers version of the algebra book we were actually using in class. This should have been a huge relief since we now had a book with the answers in it. I would work and work at the homework and check the book and….still be wrong. Frustrating! I would start over and work and work until I got it right, only to go to school tired from being up too late doing homework and have a quiz on a completely different chapter. I begged my teacher and counselor to let me transfer out of the class. My teacher laughed at me and told me I was more than smart enough to figure it out and if not, then I could take it again the next year. I told my mom “Algebra is STUPID!! I will never use it and don’t want to learn it! It’s a waste of my time!”
I failed that Freshman year of Algebra with flying colors. My first class I had ever failed. I had to attend summer school and take two unrelated classes to make up the credits. Algebra I had to repeat the next year. I vowed I would skip class every day if I had the same teacher.
I had a coach for my Algebra teacher the next year. He gave analogies for the equations and made everything seem so simple! What was a horrible struggle the previous year was a breeze! I got all A’s and B’s in his class and understood every equation and concept. I did so well that my mom accused me of just not liking the teacher and blowing off the class the previous year. That was not the case, it was all in the teaching method and the fact that quizzes were over the actual subject matter we had been studying about!
So where does the apology to my mom come from? It comes from me stating that I would never use Algebra, saying it was stupid, and for me just becoming increasingly hard to get along with because I was so frustrated.
I did apologize because throughout the years of working in various offices, the one thing I have had to use in almost every job I have held so far is Algebra. I also apologized for the long nights of fighting to do homework when I knew then and know now that we could have been done with minimal headaches and gone on to enjoy something else, if I had shown less frustration and more willingness to learn. Then again, since going through a second and third round of homework struggles with my own children, I suppose it’s all payback.
Cherry Coley ©
This is the offending table. It sits there just staring at me and grinning in table like manner while it contemplates how it will offend yet again. I swear to you, when other people are glancing away it moves in my way! It’s taken out my knee and spread my toes on many occasions leading to repealing laughter from the kids, friends and even (I’m convinced) the dog.
I think back to how many nights my mom would try to make it across the dark living room without turning on the light to retrieve a book from the table beside the couch and you’d hear, CRUNCH! “AAHHHH!!!” and you knew in an instant that toes would not be the same for days.
Then there were the many times my brother and I would have jack wars on the kitchen floor. We would put the balls aside and spin the jacks until they would hit each other and go winging off to different sides of the kitchen.
Mom would warn us every single time, “you kids make sure you pick up every single jack!”
“Yes, mam,” we’d reply. Every single time we would count and search and search and there would be one jack missing. We’d look and look all over the floor until finally we would give up and think, “okay, so if we can’t find it then it’s safe because we can’t find it.” Except it wasn’t, because every single time my dad would find it walking in socks, usually either early in the morning or on a midnight trip to the refrigerator. We learned all kinds of words that we didn’t know dad would say that way.
Cherry Coley ©
I’m starting a new series of posts called “Things I’ve Apologized to My Mom For.”
I think it’s pretty safe to say that almost every woman who has grown up and had children of her own eventually finds herself thinking back to when she was the child and what she must have put her mom through in similar circumstances.
I can remember so many things that I have wound up apologizing to my mom for along the way. The first came with my oldest daughter, Casey; she had asthma as an infant. So many nights I would wind up sleeping while sitting up and holding her to my chest. It was the only way I knew to regulate her breathing and keep her propped up enough where she wouldn’t wake up choking or worse, stop breathing. There wasn’t much time that would go by where it didn’t cross my mind how much my mom had to have worried over me as a child with asthma.
Back when I was a child the instructions from the doctor were to keep a really clean house, keep stuffed animals at a minimum as they carried dust, and use vaporizer tents. I hated those vaporizer tents. The tents were made of broomsticks and bed sheets tied to the corners of the bed with a vaporizer pumping fog into the tent so that I could breathe. Looking back now, I am not sure this was the best treatment, but it seemed to work for me, though there were many days, nights, and weeks I spent in those tents coughing and wheezing and wishing I was anywhere else.
It took me nine long months before I could convince the doctor that my daughter had asthma. The doctor just simply refused to believe an infant could have asthma that young. She kept on telling me that it must be something else, an allergy, my imagination, something, anything but asthma. Excuse me, but as an asthma survivor I recognized the symptoms. Finally, Casey was diagnosed by a new doctor that had come on with the group she was going to see. He immediately diagnosed her as having asthma and got her a nebulizer and Albuterol. Finally, there was relief in sight!
Yes, I apologized to my mom for fighting her and hating to go in the vaporizer tents. I sympathized with her for having to hold me in the warm steam of the bathroom even as I rocked my infant the same way. I thanked her for all the nights she stayed up just to watch me breathe and hold me as I did later with my daughter. So many things you just don’t think about until you experience them for yourself. It’s not like my mom would have remembered to tell me all she experienced when we were growing up, no, it’s a passing down of knowledge thing that happens when your child ceases to be a child and becomes a parent instead.
Thanks again, Mom.
Cherry Coley ©