Friday, June 5, 2015

What We Are Reading: The Help

Like most moms, I spend a fair amount of time worrying about lots of things. Some important, but mostly, like most of moms, about the little things. 

I started this section on my blog because I feel I have some insights in this area, that can help other moms. Just as importantly however because I have questions of my own.

Books have always been some of my best friends. Sadly, since becoming a mommy I find that they are  some of my most neglected friends. 

Sure I read, a chapter hear, a book cover there. Blogs galore, articles on various topics of interest; What to feed my toddler. How to know if your child loves you. How to stop aggressive behavior. How to stay connected as a couple. Things that could be secretly ruining my relationship. You get the picture.

I also take a lot of quizzes. Mostly from Buzzfeed and BabyCenter. A few weeks ago, I took one: Are you doing everything you can to build a love of reading in your child. I took it, because even though I'm pretty sure I'm nailing it, I'm a sucker for anything that can cause self doubt. 

I did pretty well. Except on one question. Does your child see you reading. I read daily. (See above) The thing is, the articles, blogs, quizzes, they are ALL on my phone. So for all Animal knows I'm just playing with my phone. I have picked up all of three books since my sons birth. Three books in three years and I've read zero. 

That's right, I said Zero.

What a pitiful example I make. Sure I read to Animal, books by the dozen. But how often can he say mommy reads a story to herself, because she loves to read too? None.

I had to change that immediately. 

I started with (drumroll please). The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I wanted to read it after reading an interview with the author just before the movie came out. I watched it with a friend and really enjoyed it. She happened to mention that she had been waiting for some story lines she thought important,  but overall she still enjoyed. I was still pregnant when I watched, but at the time I was busy reading books about pregnancy and labor & delivery. No just because books, I was a busy girl then, with a strong agenda.

Well three and a half years later. I finally read it. Verdict? As usual the book was better than the movie.  All the same, the best part was curling up on the couch.  On Animals bedroom floor while he played. On the picnic table while he looked for bugs in the yard. Maybe especially nostalgic,  in bed way past my bedtime with my lamp on. I finished over a weekend, and Animal got to see mommy read for fun. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

What Does Forgiveness Mean?

We've all been there right?

When some transgression, grievance, or betrayal, real or perceived, big or small happens and we have to decide whether to forgive and forget or not. 

I don't believe I'm a petty person at least I've never been accused. Passive aggressive, selfish, bitchy those I've heard. and am quick to let go of ill will.  I will mull over what happened. Think about whether it matters enough to warrant airing or to suck it up, because in the long run it doesn't really matter. That equation has worked well for me in the past.

Like everyone else, I'm not perfect. Occasionally I make the mistake of letting a friendship go or getting my panties in a bunch over something rather trivial that feels big at the time. Unfortunately for me, more often than not, I continue the relationship long past a healthy point. I guess you could say I'm a bit of a doormat. I'm just not confrontational. Fortunately I almost always surround myself with wonderful people. My circle of friends is small. Not interconnected for the most part. But they are real friends, and those are hard to come by.

A year ago something happened. Something big. Something not imagined. It was not the first thing, but it was the worst. It made me feel something I have never truly felt, and wish things I had never, ever wished. I was crushed. Devastated. Hurt. Enraged. Worried for my family. 

I thought things I'm certain I have never thought before. 

I also prayed a lot, because the thing about when you are holding on to ill will I learned, is it makes you sick. Physically. Emotionally. It rots you.

I asked God to take that feeling away. 

I promised to forgive if he would just remove the malice that was taking root in my soul. Rotting me at my core. Then I thanked him for making a way for my family to move forward. For getting us through this tough time and putting us in the right situation. For giving me the ability to forgive. Even before it happened, because I had believed that ultimately of course we would move forward, we would be stronger and I would of course forgive.

I believe it was at the moment I thanked Him AND started thinking about forgiveness, that the decay started to heal. I had faith that things would get better, and they did. As soon as things were in motion I spent a day researching what forgiveness was. Because I wasn't ready to forgive. The resentment was just to deep. My rage so fresh.

I was happily surprised to learn that in both the psychological and Biblical definitions of forgiveness, didn't mean I had to have a relationship with that person. I didn't even have to talk to them about any of my feelings. I only had to let go of my ill will, let go of expectations relating to that person, and let go of the hurt. 

This was a revelation to me. One I needed to receive. Maybe you do too. I'm not going to say it was easy, or even that it's done. I will say that I'm almost there.