Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Me - Then and Now

Ever notice how certain relationships can bring out just how much a person has changed, evolved, and grown up over the years?

It makes me want to ask - of others and myself - who are you TODAY?

Without a doubt, the very first thing I'd happily admit to being today is a Mother. I once took a writing course, right after high school, at which the start of each student (we were all different ages and stages of life) had to NOT reveal their profession so that at the end of the week we could all make a guess as to what each person did for a job. At the time, I was working at a bookstore. The first words out of my mouth during my Big Reveal were, "I do not define myself by the job I do, but, if you have to know, I work as a bookseller." Nowadays, I still would not define myself by what I do for professional work. But a Mother? Absolutely! Dec. 20, 2002 was THE date to change my life. From that day on, for the rest of my life, I am most definitely and oh so proudly my Sweetie's Mama!

I could also today tell you that I now work part time as an Admin. Assistant for a spiritual center. And I'm proud to be there as well. But I actually think I'd leave that definer as one of the last I'd mention in true conversation with someone.

I am a wife, daughter, sister, friend. I am, and have been for the last year and a half, a church goer. At a church, and especially with a church community, that my little family has come to completely love. I am a Unitarian Universalist. I am a spiritual person with an open mind who loves the variety of opinions the people of the world offer up - in all regards. I am concerned about the health status of the world and am interested in learning how we as a people of the planet can make it better for our kids, grandkids and future generations. At the same time, I am in no way a fanatic about it, or anything else. I don't want to be. Like I said - differing opinions is what this world is all about. So many issues, so many ideas. It's what makes everything happen!

I am not particularly funny, but I absolutely love a good sense of humor. Hubby and Sweetie make me laugh every day and I love them for that. I'm definitely not very outgoing. I am often times scared to try something new - whatever that may be. So often I'd much rather just stay in my status quo little world. Not make waves. Don't do anything because I may do it wrong and besides, others are taking care of me and taking care of things with already such wonderfully proven results. I don't need to rock the boat.

But I also know that I am much smarter and more talented than even I allow myself to realize at first blush. I'm a smart cookie, if only I let myself remember that important little bit of self realization. Okay, okay - so maybe math is really never going to be terribly clear to me. But so far I have been able to help Sweetie develop an interest in learning multiplication and division at her young age. So at least there's that.

I'm a reader, a writer, a person who loves to play board and other games. I love many different types of music. I'm a wine lover. And a (mostly) non-red meat eater who will still definitely indulge in steak and cheese subs and filet mignon if given the opportunity. Yum!

I don't swear. At all. My dad has never been a swearer and my mom only uses the more mild oaths on occasion. But I don't hold it against anyone who does choose to swear. Please - do not feel like you must control your words in front of me! Be who you are, and express yourself however you wish. I only ask that you refrain from at least the more severe swear words when you're around my daughter. Hubby swears! There's no shame about that! But he's awfully, awfully good about NOT swearing - even a little bit - in front of Sweetie. He's a good Daddy, for that and innumerable other reasons.

And even though I don't have deeply seated opinions about the ways of the world, I do feel, without a doubt, that I am a woman of substance. A woman who, I am the first to admit, really started to come into my own since becoming a mother. NOW I not only have strong opinions but am able to expess them - at least where my child is concerned! NOW I can see what a firm disciplinarian I am. I can punish hard, but I can love even harder. NOW I can see just how very strong a person I can be and, in fact, I am everyday.

Yes, I feel I do still let others take care of me. And, yes, I feel that is one thing that prevents me from fully feeling like the grown woman I truly am. But being taken care of is a wonderful thing. I love how protected and safe I feel in the world because of everyone who cares for me.

I used to put incredible stock in the opinions of others - especially concerning my self worth. And to an extent - I know I still do this even today. That person hasn't done this, so that must mean they feel this way about me. That person did do that, so obviously they don't care about my feelings about the subject at all! However, now, I truly feel that I can, at the very least, get over myself a lot quicker than what used to be. At the end of the day, no matter what happened, I can at least rest assured that my husband, my daughter and my parents love me - loves that will not dissolve no matter what. I am confident in these relationships and they are the people that help me through the occasional tough feelings of self doubt.

I used to be, and still am to an extent, a real drama queen, especially when it came to relationships (see above.) Back then I would have said that I loved hard and got hurt harder. Now I see that I obsessed hard and, thus, got hurt that much harder. I was very fragile back in the day. Today - like I said - I know who the few essential people are in my life, the ones who love me no matter what. I still get worked up when supposedly "important" relationships take a much different path than I expected or wanted them to. But then I get over it and appreciate that person and our existing relationship for the wonderful, unique experience that it truly is.

That fragile thing. I didn't see it then. I don't recall that, at the time, I felt particularly fragile. In fact, I felt downright righteous! But now I've been able to see how I used to be. I see that my powerful obsession-based feelings made me one that others had to constantly reassure. I no longer need that reassurance from everybody. I am completely confident in what I have and who I am now. I may not like all of me - goodness knows I have a ton that could be better! But in the words of Popeye, I am what I am. And that's good enough, no matter what anyone else says. I know it now. I don't need reassurance. An occasional reminder - yes. But not reassurance.

I don't need anyone to be happy for me. Nor do I need anyone to be happy for me. I am happy with my life and confident in my important relationships all on my own. That has nothing to do with others approving my happiness. Thank you, but I don't need approval.

And my Sweetie. She's a good, good girl. I was just telling Hubby the other night that I really can't even remember the last time Sweetie got herself all worked up about the way things are "supposed to be." That has always been one of her biggest "things." She's always had different self-imposed "rules" for the different places she finds herself. But now I don't see that so much in her anymore. She's still opinionated and dramatic, don't get me wrong! She dances like no one is watching, that's for sure. But she's gotten much, much better at accepting others' opinions while expressing her own. That's a big improvement. She's a good, good girl.

She's very helpful - anything I or her Daddy ask her to do, even if it involves climbing the stairs 6 times in a row, she does it with no complaint. I am forever impressed with that.

She doesn't complain. Really - she doesn't. We had a new dinner to try a couple weeks ago, one during which Hubby and I looked at each other with that knowing look of "this tastes pretty awful." Sweetie ate on. I asked her if she liked it and admitted that Daddy and I really didn't, so she could stop if she wanted and I'd find her something else. She answered, "No, I don't really like it, but it's what we're having for dinner so I thought I had to eat it." She was happy to not have to continue. But - wow. She doesn't complain.

Sweetie is polite. Other parents have told us so. She went out to the movies and dinner with one of her aunts for the first time recently. Her aunt told me so. She knows how to say please and thank you. She's grateful for what she has and what she's given. She's a good girl.

Sweetie loves school. She's such a bright reader and loves to sit down, by herself or with us, to read her books. But ask her if she prefers Reading or Math at school and she'll probably answer Math. Wow. Yup. She's a smartie, and a well-rounded one at that.

My daughter is such a bright, well behaved, good girl. She's a really good person. What better reflection of who I am today - who I've become - than to look at this wonderful little girl I'm helping to raise along with my Hubby?

Yes, first and foremost, I am a mother. I am so proud to say that being a mom - being Sweetie's mom - has really turned me into the person I am today more than any other contributing factor. I am more sure of myself, more opinionated, and stronger than I've ever been. I'm a good, good Mom. A good person.

Thank you to Sweetie and other relationships for reminding me of who I was and how far I've really come.

No comments: