Thirty days of posting! I did it! The posts might not have been of much quality some days, but I am pleased with myself for getting something in writing each day. I had anticipated this being one of my weaker years. I'm in a very weird place right now. Introspection has shown that there are really two big factors contributing to my perpetual funk.
The first is the coming of the empty nest. In less time than it takes to cook a baby, we'll have no kids living at home. I realize that this is part of life and that everyone goes through it; I don't think that I have the market cornered on loving and missing your kids. It's possible that being an only child (of an only child) has shaped me a little differently than many though; I cling to those close to me very tightly because there are so few people close to me. The value that I place on family time is exorbitant. It's made for some wonderful traditions and memories over the years, but it is also making the coming changes very hard.
Similarly, the other big factor is family related as well. I'm having a rather difficult time with the changing dynamic in my family due to my mom's illness. I won't get in to all of the details as some are personal, and some will just sound like me whining. I'll just say that I'm not dealing with it very well and leave it at that.
Both of those things, as well as a few other issues, have kept me in a continuous state of yuck for a while now. That's why I've tried so hard this month to take my eyes off of myself and focus on being thankful. It's harder to wallow in your own junk when you're trying to keep a stream of thanksgiving going. I think I'm on the right track; I was given a great reminder this morning when our Associate Pastor quoted Philippians 2:3-5.
"Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had."
What perfect words to keep me going! As I enter this Christmas season with substantially more baggage than I usually carry around, I was admonished to keep my attitude in check. Instead of thinking about myself and what I'm dealing with and keeping my eyes inward, I am to look at how I can serve others and lift them up! It's such a freeing thought, really. Whether it's serving my family, my friends, or complete strangers, I need to be mindful of opportunities that I have to make a difference for other people. I'm excited!
My final thought, since it relates to my current situation, is a movie quote that I heard the other night. Bonnie Hunt says it at the end of Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (I may have been watching it and crying a little bit the other night). It's a beautiful quote and it helped me put things into perspective, even if for just a little while. I'll leave you with her time-appropriate words, and wish you a wonderful holiday season and a very Merry Christmas! Thank you for taking this journey with me. -xoxo
Letting go is the hardest thing you can do as a parent.
You have to settle with the past, engage in the present, and believe in the future.
That vacation at Lake Winnetka reminded Tom and me that
we're always learning as parents, and that the bond is forever.
Even as the kids grow up and venture out on their own,
we'll always be with them and they'll always be with us...
because life is a voyage that is homeward bound.