In life there will be some people who just don’t like you.
Doesn’t matter who you are…
Doesn’t matter what you’ve done…or NOT done.
Doesn’t matter what kind of clothes you wear or job you have.
Some people will just not like you.
Everyone of us has our own perception of reality. We can argue about our differences and try to convince the other person that our perception is correct, however it will be futile. With some people, their minds are made up and it makes no difference if their perception is based upon facts.
Because perception is reality.
However, as I get older (and wiser) I have learned that often those perceptions are based upon personal insecurities. Often what we don’t like in others are the very things that we don’t like in ourselves. It becomes so much easier to point fingers at someone else, than to look within ourselves and try to make those changes.
So where does that put us?
Not everyone is going to like you. And you know what? That’s okay. When we allow external forces to direct how we feel about ourselves, we will always come up short. We will never live up to other people’s expectations, nor should we try to.
One of my favorite quotes is: “always be kinder than necessary; everyone you know is fighting a battle you know nothing about”. We don’t know what happens inside another person’s home, their relationships, or in their head.
God made each of us as individuals. How we feel about ourselves should be based on knowing that we were made by God, just as we were meant to be. So let’s open the boundaries around our perceptions and recognize that not everything is as it seems. Remember, your perception of someone may not be their reality, and that’s between them and God.
To the harried mom with two small children. I see you are tired. I see you trying to redirect your child from putting everything in your cart. I see you rolling your eyes while counting to ten. I see you wanting to ask the cashier to please hurry up so you can just check out.
I see your struggle and trust me, I am not judging you because I have been there.
I have been the mom with two small children trying to check out at the store. I know how rambunctious littles can be. I know how exhausting it is to keep telling them “NO” over and over and over without screaming at the top of your lungs and having people stare at you like you are a complete lunatic. Or having someone threaten to call CPS on you because because your children are “out of control”and you apparently cannot handle them.
Even worse are the looks of pity. Those looks where you just know people are thinking “that poor woman”. When you can see them roll their eyes at the behavior of your child and you can almost feel them judging your family. Those are the days when I would either cringe in embarrassment or simply want to provide a one finger wave in their direction with a wicked little smile.
I have carried my youngest out of the store as he perfected his dramatics with a crying fit of rage. I have marched my kids back into the store when I discovered they put extra bags of M& M’s in our cart. I have counted to ten multiple times; I have pushed the cart faster, in hopes of getting through the grocery store quicker. I have felt embarrassed, angry and incompetent all in one “quick” trip to the store.
So you see, mama? I know you and I see you. Please read my thoughts as I let you know that you are doing just fine. You are a great mom. It’s OK to be tired. I know it’s exhausting to repeat the same phrase 50 times within a five minute time period, but keep on doing it. You got this and to you I give a warm hug, rather than a one finger salute.
It comes in waves and affects every person differently.
11 years ago today, my husband and I learned that our daughter had died at 24 weeks and three days. She was still in the womb and I had to be induced for her to enter this world and wait over 24 hours for her to be born. After her birth, I remember the nurse bringing this tine, one pound little girl to me, wrapped tightly in a blanket. .
Chaney Renee was stillborn. I remember looking at her and her little nose turned up, just like mine. I cried as I held her close to my heart and I remember my father in law telling me that when you lose a baby on Earth, you have a baby to rock in Heaven. All I knew was that I hurt desperately and I was going home without my little girl. I didn’t realize until that experience that the hospital put a rose outside my door to signify that we had lost our child. This was their cue to not ask about our baby.
4 1/2 hours after giving birth,my husband and I walked out of the hospital. I had never felt so empty in my life and I remember thinking I would never be happy again. I remember wondering how I could be in the throws of grief while the world went on with their lives. Even walking through Target with my husband was so emotionally difficult, as all I could see were the baby girl clothes that we would never buy. Truthfully, I thought the crying would never stop.
I remember when my husband went back to work, I felt alone and terrified. My anxiety was incredibly high and my grief was overwhelming. I was mourning the loss of our baby, but as my husband explained, it was so much more. We were mourning the death of the dreams we had for her. Our little girl would never grow up and experience everything we, as parents, dreamed for her.
I vividly remember a few weeks later, working with my dad in our basement and painting the walls. My father hated to paint, but he wanted to keep me company, so together we painted. Out of the blue, I began singing, which is something I never thought I would do again. It was at that point, I knew I would be OK…I would never be the same, but I would be OK. God was with us through our journey and I knew our little girl was safely in His kingdom.
This experience helped me in my career as a social worker. I became more empathetic and I understood how a parent would do anything in their power to protect their children. You see, we knew from 12 weeks that Chaney had a genetic disorder. Testing showed she had Turners Syndrome in addition to some other anomalies. We knew she had a small chance for survival. We researched her condition and were given the option to terminate the pregnancy. We chose to let God guide us. Guaranteed that she would not suffer, we let her dictate her path and that allowed me to be as close to her as possible for her short life.
Weekly ultrasounds provided us with pictures of this sweet girl. She continued to be active until the week she was still. At some point within the week, she had passed away and as a mother I was unable to tell. I remember the doctor letting us know that she was gone and we were instantly put on the ward and labor was induced. I called my good friend and chaplain at the hospital I worked with to come and bless her, which he did. She was in God’s arms now and I needed to let her go.
Tomorrow marks the 11th anniversary of her birth. July 22nd will always be a difficult day for me and I rarely talk about this event in our lives, although it was one of the most traumatic times we have experienced.
This little girl taught me grace and empathy. She provided me with the ability to see my boys as gifts and I know she is watching over us as we grow older. When God calls me home, I will have a baby to rock and she will be whole and healthy, waiting with open arms for another hug from her mama.
Recently she was joined by my brother. He was 53 years old and passed away unexpectedly. My husband took the call and I will never forget the look on his face when he told me the news. I was in denial as I asked “Mike who”? My brother was my hero and had been since I was a child. We may not have had much communication, but we didn’t need to. We were five and 1/2 years apart and we were like oil and water. He was a trail blazer and made things happen. I often took and hard paths and walked the line between right and wrong. He never once shunned me and he was always there to support me, even if he didn’t agree with my decisions.
This grief is different. I feel as though I have been kicked in the gut as I look back over the years. My brother was the one who cared for me while my parents worked. He was the one who taught me to ride a motorcycle. He was the one that taught me that I could do anything if I worked hard enough.
He attended my basketball and softball games. He attended my graduations from high school and college. He was there for me to vent. We had plans to meet the day after he died, and through this experience, I have learned that sometimes tomorrow never comes.
This grief is different from the loss of our baby. I have memories with my brother and I watched him grow up and become an amazing husband and father. This loss carries the memories of a lifetime with him and a sadness for what we won’t experience together. He was one of my “rocks” and I hope that I can take what he taught me and help his wife and children through their lives.
To him, I was always the little sister who never grew up, or at least I always felt like that. I watched his children when they were little and I came to love his wife as a sister. She also taught me so much about family and what it means to accept one another. Her parents extended their home and love to me and treated me as family.
This loss was so unexpected. I know that God has a plan that we are not able to understand, and while I struggle with it, I know to trust in Him. While I hurt and sometimes experience waves of uncontrollable grief, I know that we will move forward and learn to live our “new normal” as my friend eloquently explained it.
So, my friends, remember that sometimes tomorrow never comes. Live your life and step out of your comfort zones. Allow yourself to laugh and be silly, as you go through your life. Let yourself impact others and let God work His Grace through you.
I owe you an apology.
I am sorry for my selfishness.
I am sorry for not being able to see past myself.
You were hurting and I should have been there for you. I sent words, but I didn’t send myself.
“I don’t do funerals.”
I don’t know one person who enjoys them.
I didn’t realize the enormity of your loss, of your pain.
Please forgive me and understand that you were often in my thoughts and my prayers. I still think of your loss and I wonder how you are doing.
I should have picked up the phone.
I should have come to mourn with you.
I have a confession. I am cheap. I will save $100 and buy a smaller version of the Refrigerator (I am no longer allowed to choose the appliances in our kitchen, rightly so). I will go for the lowest premium payment for insurance. I shop for the least expensive products as possible.
So, when my husband told me he wanted to buy a commercial grade water slide, I vetoed it. NOPE…
WE DON”T NEED THAT, blah blah, blah.
We have always had water slides. My husband is a master at purchasing them used and patching them up for the season. Last year was the first one we were “water slide-less” and while it was a bummer, we made it through.
This year was different.
Our youngest will be going into 1st grade and our oldest will be going into 3rd. They still love to play in the water and they especially love having their friends over to play on a water slide.
I still didn’t want to spend the money. And than my husband said this:” how many summers will we have them home and WANT to slide?” And than he said “it’s only money.”
WOW!!! stopped me in my tracks…right there.
So we bought the slide. I was the first one down and it was a blast! The kids played on it for hours with their friends. Our neighbors gathered in our yard and we sat around and shared some food and drink while the kids laughed and the adults took pictures.
After all, it’s only money.
We can always make more. Our boys will never be this little again.
Thank you, honey for buying the slide.