Monday, May 31, 2010

Granny's Treasures

When my oldest daughter told me that she would have to adopt children, my heart ached for her, but I knew that everything would somehow be okay. As I had more time to think about it, I wondered if I could love an adopted grandchild the same way I love my other grandchildren. It sounds silly now, but those are the thoughts that went through my mind.

The day Molly and Jim brought Michael home from the hospital, he was one day old. They picked me up at the airport, and we went to breakfast. I needn't have worried. The minute I laid eyes on Michael, I knew he was my grandson.

Last Thanksgiving, I made the mistake of calling Michael "a little poop," when he was teasing his Granny. Little did I know that potty humor had been a topic of conversation prior to our arrival, and Michael decided that Granny and Grandpa were pretty cool because we could say poop. Michael still calls Grandpa "poophead," but he does it with respect and a grin, and at 3 1/2 that's okay.

Michael has a little sister now, Jocelyn. Ironically, the thought crossed my mind again -- could I love her? Were my feelings for Michael just a fluke? Again, I needn't have worried. Molly and Jim sent the pictures above, and I was in love. It took me a few days to get down to see her, but when I finally got there and held her, I didn't want to let go. We got there after midnight, and I held her sleeping in my arms all night. I look forward to teaching Jocelyn a few things to drive her mother crazy too.

Adoption is a wonderful thing. We love our two birth mothers for the unselfish gift they have given us. They have also given these beautiful children great opportunities. I'm so grateful to have these two beautiful children in my family. I'm grateful that Heavenly Father has provided a way for my daughter to have children. I'm grateful for two incredibly wonderful women who gave so unselfishly to their babies and to my family. My heart is full!

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Choice

"Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times." -- Aeschylus

A couple of months ago I saw the quote above on Twitter. I was in a really bad mood, which had been building for a couple of months. There had been days on end when I just kept putting one foot in front of the other just to make it through the week. I don't remember who posted that quote, but if I did, I would certain express my gratitude. I wrote it down on a yellow "sticky" note, and taped it to the bottom of my computer screen at work. In the days that followed, I developed a plan to "make myself happy." It turned out that I was not really "unhappy" at all; I just had a bad attitude.

God gave us "agency" to make choices. We generally think about those choices as being between good and evil, but we also have the choice to be happy or unhappy. We've all heard stories about incredibly disadvantaged or disabled people who are joyful and lead productive lives. Their lives are productive because they choose to be happy.

Everyone has a bad day now and then, and that's to be expected. Life is full of peaks and valleys. It's what we do with our lives when we are in the deepest valleys that determine who we are, and where we are going -- maybe even how fast we get to the next mountain peak.

My plan to make myself happy was simple enough. All I had to do was to stop dwelling on a situation that I perceived to be unfair to me. A funny thing happened: as soon as I stopped dwelling on it, the situation evaporated. I realize now that the situation only existed because others were walking on egg shells around me trying to avoid my increasingly bad attitude.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mom's Day--NOT

Being a woman sometimes stinks. Don't stop reading; bear with me here. Women are taught from the time they are born to be the strong ones. Women are supposed to bear the burdens of the world--and do so willingly and without complaint. Men are allowed to complain all they want, but women have to be strong. We have to be the glue that holds our husbands together, the glue that holds our children together, and the glue that holds our families together.

For the most part, learning to be strong for our families is good. We are the nurturers. We are there for the tender moments when our husband and children are hurt, and we can be the one who helps them through the trials in their lives. That can be an extremely rewarding experience.

On the flip side, the inner strength of a mother can become a burden. It may seem as if there isn't enough of Mom to go around. It may feel as if no one understands that Mom is hurting too. Who is there to buoy up Mom? Who is there when Mom is at her wits end or hurt? Oh, Moms don't get hurt, you say? No, Mom's feelings never get hurt. Mom is a rock. Mom has broad shoulders. You can say anything to Mom! Sometimes even Dad forgets that Mom has feelings.

I really hate Mother's Day. It's wrong on so many levels. I used to tell my kids, "If you love me, clean your room and don't fight today." Occasionally, they would clean their rooms for Mother's Day, but the fighting didn't stop until they left home. Correction: I didn't have to listen to them fight anymore after they left home. So the one day of the year that mothers are to be "honored," we spend trying to graciously accept trinkets and tokens of "love" in between sorting out who did what to whom.

Kids: Take a look at your lives and realize that whether you like it or not, what you are is because your parents never gave up. Then look at your own kids and realize that all the nasty things you've thought (and said) about your parents will rest on your own children's lips in just a few short years about you. There's no need to send me a card, or flowers, or a gift. Just stiffle your thoughts the next time you think your mother has done something evil--like maybe given you the advice you asked for, but didn't really want to hear. In 20 years, feel free to steal this post and give it to your kids. It will take that long before you understand.

It's taken years for me to get through Mother's Day without wanting to curl up in the fetal position and stay in bed all day. Maybe that's because I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. While I still have one at home, all my kids are now adults. The last one will be gone when the economy stops tanking. This Mother's Day, maybe I can actually smile--and mean it. I do love my kids; I just hate Mother's Day.