It has been a couple of months since I last posted on my blog. At first I felt guilty not adhering to my self-imposed goal of writing something for the Extraordinary Parent Coaching blog at least once or twice a month. Then, I decided to not beat myself up over this. I simply needed to regroup, recoup and recover from some personal challenges that had been plaguing me for quite some time. Although the challenges are not over, my attitude is shifting. I cannot always be there for everyone else. I cannot twist myself into something I am not, deplete my own inner being, in order to “make” others be happy. It it truly not possible.
During the recent months, I have revved up my ongoing personal journey to discover my lost (or more nicely stated, “misplaced”) self. Yes, this is a common affliction among many moms, but I think especially so for those moms who have a child with special needs. Somehow in the frenzy of helping our child find a place in this world, we lose our own sense of self. The roles begin to define us, rather than us defining ourselves. And yet, at some point the roles may no longer fit us. We find we are no longer comfortable with the labels we and others have put on ourselves. The clothes may still fit but it is the wrong style. What determines our sense of self? It is a combination of values, attitudes, our perceptions and our emotions. When we look in the mirror, is the person looking back really our WHO?
While dissecting the pieces and parts, and looking to rediscover my sense of self, I got stuck on the emotions. I was trying to determine if my emotions were more happy than sad (or somewhere else along the continuum). Was I really happy? How do I define happiness? And, probably the biggest question of all….
How do I “get” happy?
True confession- I have an obsession about making the bed. And, not just pulling up the covers and fluffing the pillows. Corners must be perfectly square, everything tightly tucked, the top sheet folded down over the blankets, the comforter smooth, and the various pillows all neatly placed at the headboard. My kids have heard me talk about making their beds more times than they can count! Even when we stay at vacation homes I make the bed. There have been some “bed making vacations” over the years; however with just a few exceptions, every day, including weekends, I make my bed.
How often do you hear a song and it immediately takes you to another place and time? Although the event may have taken place years ago, hearing a song associated with that time transports you to the event as if it happened just moments ago. The memory is stored in your body as well as your brain and the emotions now are as real as they were when you first heard the song. I think of my life in songs. Odd songs, sometimes, and memories that are sprinkled with simple events in my life. Growing up it was anything on the local AM radio station- WABC- with the DJ of the time, Cousin Brucie. Yes, he is still alive and has his own show on Sirius. And, yes, I still listen to him 🙂
Today is the 30th anniversary of the loss of the Challenger space shuttle, in which 6 NASA astronauts and the first teacher to go to space- Christa McAuliffe- perished 73 seconds after take off. It is one of those “Where were you when…?” moments for me. I recall looking at the footage of the crowds gathered to watch the launch. The shuttle ascended into the sky and as it rose higher and higher, the audience looked up in excitement and wonderment. Then, huge streams of white smoke marred the otherwise beautiful blue sky. The excitement turned to confusion, to shock, and then to despair as the crowds realized something had gone horribly, horribly wrong. All of this was seen by people around the world, including the students whose beloved teacher had been on the shuttle. We all mourned the loss of not only the individuals on the doomed spaceship but also the loss of a dream. This was the worst disaster in the history of the space program.
Yet, our nation regrouped and recovered. We learned from the mistakes of the Challenger and continued our quest to explore the unknown. Safeguards, precautions and new procedures were put into place. We did not forget those who died, but we did move on.
When choosing your own path, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you set yourself up for great success and achievements. Yet, at the same time, you risk failure, defeat and a lost sense of purpose. Without hate you cannot know love. Without sadness you cannot know joy. Without loneliness you cannot know intimacy. It is the shifts in your emotions that determine whether you stay stuck or move forward- sometimes it is just a slight course adjustment, other times it may be a completely new direction. Allow yourself to grieve a loss, the shattering of a dream, but don’t let it stop you from finding that next rainbow. Learn from the pain, the loss, the devastation. Question what went wrong but reliving the past does not move you to your future.
Reach for the sky. Set your sights on what truly is the right path of life for you. When the proverbial clouds get in your way, look to see the rays of light behind the clouds. It is there. It is waiting for you.
Learn more about how coaching can help you be a more effective parent. Visit my website at www.extraordinaryparentcoaching.com
In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, runner Roger Bannister set a British record in the 1500 meters race. Although he finished fourth in the event, this achievement motivated him to do what no person in history had done…… and what everyone said could NOT be done.”It is impossible to run a mile in under 4 minutes.”
On May 6, 1954 he accomplished just that- his official time was 3 min 59.4 seconds. A mere 46 days later, an Australian runner, John Landy broke that record with a time of 3:57.9 seconds.
Nearly 17 years ago- 1999- the fastest mile ever was run by by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco . 3:43.13!! Over 16 seconds had been shaved from Bannister’s original record. And “they” said it couldn’t be done!
Roger, John and Hicham all did the impossible. They chose not to let the prevailing limiting beliefs stop them from achieving their dream. Nothing stood in their way of achieving what others said could not be achieved. Persistence, tenacity, laser focus. And a belief that they COULD do what they set out to do. The proof is in the results.
I am now at a certain age where losses seem to be coming faster and in different areas of my life. Friends and family members have died, I have been terminated from jobs, relationships have ended, and people who I cared about have let me down or left me. I will admit, it has shifted my balance and ability- at times- to recover. Most recently, a close friend of mine unexpectedly and suddenly lost her college- aged daughter. It truly was a tragedy and something no parent can ever imagine will happen to them. The death of her daughter came on the heels of the official ending of her 25+ year marriage after several years of battling out the terms of the divorce. There are no words to comfort her, to put a real smile on her face, to accelerate the healing process. Nothing she does will bring back her daughter or her marriage. She really has no choice but to go on. To put one foot forward and try to define her new normal.
With the start of the new year, there seems to be list-fever. It must be because so many people choose to have new year’s resolutions. I thought I would contribute, too.
Here is a list, (not the definitive list) on why NOT to adopt. Yup, there are some very valid issues and reasons that might indicate to you that adoption, or the aftermath of adoptive parenting might not be the best choice for you.
But first, let’s look at the what I believe is the singular best reason to bring a child into your home through adoption- You WANT to, you don’t NEED to. There is a huge difference between the 2 words and it will require some searching on your part to decide if you are in the “want camp” or the “need camp”.
What is the difference?
Many years ago, I fell at an airport and shattered my elbow. I am not sure what hurt more- the fall itself or the fact that the EMS workers had to cut off my finally-broken-in- soft -as-butter denim jacket. I think I cried for both. Then, came the really hard part: they had to transport me in an ambulance to the hospital. Thankfully, to this point I had never been in an ambulance so I did not know how incredibly bumpy the ride could be. I was in excruciating pain and until they were able to get me to the hospital for x-rays, I was not allowed any pain medication.
So, I tried positive visual imagery.
I was on my what-should-be my daily walk the other day when a song called, “You Get What you Give” by the New Radicals began to play. (Hey, this is another “Radical” word!). For some reason I find this song so inspiring. Great music beat and great lyrics. Every time I hear it, I think about what the words mean to me. We only get what we give. Do we?? Is that what we should expect? Never give up. Is there any time we SHOULD give up? We have the dreamer’s disease. Why is dreaming considered a disease?