7 things I learned from raising 7 children

1. Love multiplies

2.Mistakes will be made

3. Spanking doesn’t work

4. Everyone is unique from birth

5. It’s better to minimize toys and “stuff”

6. Pick your battles

7. You have to let them go.

 

Here’s 7 more:

1. Some children bite, and won’t stop til they grow out of it no matter what you do.

2. Some children will do anything to conquer all obstacles

3. Some children are dreamers

4. Some children ask questions about everything

5. Some children are born comedians.

6. Some children are born with heartache.

7. All children are gifted.

image (16)My oldest is 36, my youngest just turned 20. And there are really 5 in between. While they were small, and my life was busy with their needs, I was often overwhelmed. Now that they are all grown, I look back on the years and they flew by. I am very grateful for each one, and for what I learned from having them in my life.

What have you learned from your children?

What do I have?

The last two years have brought many changes in my life. I got out of an unhealthy relationship,  moved, my two youngest offspring left home, and  I am now sharing daily life with the man of my dreams.  The only thing that didn’t really change during this time has been my job. I have been at it for nearly 5 years, and have been very thankful for the security and regularity it has provided during all these transitions.

I set some intentions relative to how and where I would live, and they have manifested in amazing ways. Yet I find myself continuing to ask myself “What do I really want?” This morning as I found myself pondering, I decided to focus instead on what I already have.

Peace.    I have been on a search for peace for years. I tried to find it through religion, friendships, moving from one relationship to another, but none of this worked.  I finally learned that I was looking outside myself for peace. Even expecting GOD to provide internal peace when I kept looking for people to make me happy didn’t work. While I was still married, I went to Al-anon meetings, and that program was the first place that I learned that I needed to take care of myself. I finally  became strong enough to make healthier decisions for me, as in getting a divorce instead of holding on to a fantasy.  Re-examining my beliefs about God, religion, and spirituality and beginning to meditate daily has led to the most peace I have known in my life – because I have found it within, instead of expecting it from outside myself.

“The world around us will never be peaceful until we ourselves are at PEACE WITHIN. If we are fighting and angry on the inside we will never experience the opposite on the outside.”
Angie Karan Krezos

Love.   The greatest thing in life is to give and receive love. Without doubt, I have always been loved – I had a good upbringing with loving parents, have been in love relationships, and have had the love of my children, which I would have to say is the most special of all. I have generally taken care of myself, but until I began in earnest a quest for enlightenment, didn’t realize that I hadn’t been truly loving myself, which had the effect of an inability to give love unselfishly. Unselfish love doesn’t demand anything in return, yet attracts lovingkindness.

“Love yourself. Forgive yourself. Be true to yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standard for how others will treat you.”  ― Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

Freedom.   When I focused on the chaos around me and in me, I attracted chaos.As I learned that peace and love had to begin with me, I began to attracted peaceful and loving people into my life.  As my life changed, and I disentangled myself from that which didn’t serve me well, I began to experience a buoyancy of spirit. I also did something I’d wanted to do for a long time – divested myself of homeownership along with numerous possessions and embraced a more minimalistic lifestyle. This lightness of spirit plus minimalism has led to a sense of freedom that I’ve never known. I must add here that the fact that my 7 children don’t live with me anymore also contributes to that sense of freedom.

“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” ― Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

As I ponder these ideas, I am thankful for every step of the journey that has brought me to HERE.  A huge life lesson is to learn to live without regrets, whether it be about how I failed my children, or wasn’t able to stay married, or wasted money. All those things were part of what I was supposed to learn. I have no doubt that I have more lessons ahead of me. I plan to meet whatever challenges lie ahead with peace, love, and hope.

 

 

 

 

 

After Thanksgiving

I have had a cold.

I rarely get sick, but when I do, even a little, it puts me in a funk. So I didn’t do the last Photography 101 assignments. I am considering getting a “real” camera, but not sure. I imagine taking award winning photos and becoming famous for my amazing pictures.

I enjoyed Thanksgiving day, partook of a not so traditional meal with a non-traditional family. It was wonderful. Drank a good bit of good red wine. That evening I became feverish with a severe sore throat, but was better by the next morning due to some TLC from Robert and  a long sleep. The rest of the weekend I’ve been congested in my head, have drunk a lot of tea and rested, and am much better. Off to work I go this morning.

I am grateful for my family — scattered grown up children, ghosts of Thanksgivings past, when we’d have small children everywhere, 20+ at the table.

I am grateful for my present day friends – good food, good conversation, laughter and warmth.

I am grateful for my day to day life – the man in my life, the roof over my head, plenty to eat, clothes to wear.

I am grateful for the internet and social media – learning new ways to connect with people all over the world — hearing your thoughts and struggles, hoping to be an encouragement.

May your week after Thanksgiving be a time of renewed connection, mended relationships, and hope.

 

Transitions

The lake called to me this morning. I took my coffee and sat on the bench, drinking in the relative cool of the morning air.

 The surface of the lake is still, interrupted occasionally by a fish jumping or insect skimming the surface. The  light blue cloudless sky foreshadows another hot day – upper 90’s, high humidity. 

As I sat, memories of the last two years crowded my mind. I have lived and loved and learned so much — finally feel like I’m on the verge of adulthood, even though my 58th birthday is just around the corner. I break my life into segments – my childhood and adolescence, my first marriage with all the children, my second marriage with all the chaos, the first year after that of singleness and dating, of working on me like crazy, seeking the wholeness of loving myself first, and being ok with the possibility of living my life on my own, while also going out and having a great deal of fun meeting  a lot of new people.

I think of the times I sat on this bench, wanting to live where I could look out at this view every morning, and moving, just over a year ago, to the third floor apartment making my intention a reality.My heart swelled and I shed some happy tears, thinking about the events of the last year, since I met Robert, and the gradual awareness that this was the person with whom I wanted to spend time with, to share life with, and that this was a mutual experience. We took two trips to California, to the Chopra center, experiencing expansion of happiness. My first grandchild was born, my youngest child left home, my second eldest got married, which facilitated a reunion of all the kids, probably the last for a long time.

Now, another transition is happening, as Robert and I made a decision to share living quarters, both of us tired of the 40 minute drive between us. We are staying here, at my place by the lake, and it is an interesting and challenging endeavor in so many ways. We have been gradually bring his stuff in, working on the blending of our possessions in a way satisfactory to both, and it is a wonder to me that over and through all the decisions and work, there is a strong rope of peace and love connecting us, a healthy love, not emotional dependence.

As I continued pondering these things, gazing out at the beauty of the water and sky, a boat interrupst the silence, sending ripples my way, I find myself asking again – what is my purpose? The answer this morning is strong in my heart. I am a mother, have borne children and loved them as best I can. My continuing purpose is to be love, in whatever form that can take, with whomever I find myself sharing moments with. Everything else is icing.

Don’t worry, my heart tells me, rest in each moment, and don’t be afraid.

“Fate is how your life unfolds when you let fear determine your choices.  A path of destiny reveals itself to you, however, when you confront your fear and make conscious choices. ”     – Carolyn Myss