Picture courtesy of http://www.bryancallen.com
Wow! And here we are, another year has passed by and it is time to reflect on the life lessons that I have learned this past year. I would be lying if I did not admit that this was one of the hardest years of my life. My husband had a triple bypass, I lost my father, I had two surgeries just a couple of months apart and my marriage was constantly under attack. I believe the biggest lesson I learned is that no matter what is thrown my way, I am resilient and I will prevail. I can overcome the deepest pains, the hardest tests and the longest trials with the grace of God’s love for me. There were times I felt like I just wasn’t going to make it since none of these hardships came with any warning. It was one gut punch after another but I am still here! I am going to keep with my yearly tradition and define who I am now at 37.
Well, my two babies are not babies anymore. We have entered the chaotic, frustrating world of Preteenism. And let me tell you, it is a doozy. All the emotions, the bickering, the pouting, the sassiness that my two children exude on a daily basis is about to have me on CNN as the mother who went postal on her beloved children. Please believe me when I say you reap what you sow. My daughter and son are both displaying a lot of characteristics of the spoiled brat I was at their age and I am here to tell you Momma is not having it. I am learning I have less and less tolerance, that I need to pray and read the bible a lot more than ever before and I put myself in time out to keep from going off on these children that I so dearly love. And this too shall pass, but let’s just hope it passes quickly.
Despite that chaos, I love to spend time with my family more than ever before. The loss of my father has made me cherish my relations with family and stop taking my time with them for granted. Petty differences and spats amongst ourselves, is just that, Petty. I have no desire to lose time with anyone in my family anymore over nonsense that at the end of the day, won’t matter a year from now. I have trips planned with not only my family but with friends who I also consider as family. I remain in constant contact with those I love. We all have heard the saying that tomorrow is not promised to you. However, until you experience a sudden and unexpected loss as I have, you never fully grasp the true meaning of that statement. Life is truly short, treasure the days that you have left and do not allow PETTY PETTY differences to come between you and those you love.
This past year hubby and I had to truly work at maintaining our marriage. Work, life, stress, children, family and other outside factors kept pulling us in so many directions away from each other that it was causing tension in our marriage. Instead of turning to my husband when I lost my father, I turned inward and tried to handle the grief on my own. It took some really great friends whose constant persistence would not allow me to wallow in depression. My church surrounded me with love, prayers and unconditional support and our pastor wrote letters of encouragement to me every couple of months in an effort to help me through this difficult time. I had a wake up call when my husband addressed how hurt he was that I was turning to friends and not him. I came home every day to my best friend and lifelong supporter, yet I avoided burdening him with my issues.
Each year my vows become clearer and their meanings are often played out in different life scenarios that we endure as a couple. Twenty three years is nothing to sneeze at and you would think at this point we would have it all together, but we continue to grow, change and develop as each year passes. The key is to grow together, communicate and treasure the life you have built together. If you take it for granted, you leave room for the enemy to step in and cause strife. People still ask me what our secret is and until this past year, I have never been able to provide an answer. That is no longer the case. There is no real secret to our longevity. It is simply that we cannot live without one another.
Generally, I try to avoid anything that will set off my temper or cause unnecessary conflict. However, internalizing my emotions I have found is more damaging than simply addressing the matter as it occurs. Trying to avoid conflict is impossible, but if handled correctly, you can address issues in a sane and rational manner. I had to learn that there are going to be things I do not like to hear about myself and that it will always be a gamble as to how the other person responds. Yet, I’d rather be true to myself and have everything out in the open as opposed to quietly building resentment and exploding on someone who was completely unaware that I was even harboring ill feelings towards them. This has been another uncomfortable but necessary change for me. I value my friendships and my family, and I do not want these relationships suffering needlessly behind PETTY disputes.
So for now, it is all about eliminating the PETTY. I am focused on new goals, building/rebuilding my relationships, communicating more effectively and cherishing each day as if it is my last. I have a new perspective on life since my father’s passing and while I know he would not want me to change who I am, I find it necessary in order to move forward and heal.
Until next time, love the ones you are with and cherish each day!
~ Mara Prose