Have a Heart…

 Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

 

If you want your dreams to come true, you mustn’t oversleep.

Of all the things you wear, your expression is the most important.

The best vitamin for making friends……. B1.

The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.

The heaviest thing you can carry is a grudge.

One thing you can give and still keep…is your word.

You lie the loudest when you lie to yourself…

If you lack the courage to start, you have already finished.

Ideas won’t work unless ‘ You’ do.

Your mind is like a parachute….it functions only when open.

The 10 commandments are not a multiple choice.

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!

It is never too late to become what you might have been.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets… So love the people who treat you right… Forget about the ones who don’t. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.

Friends are like balloons; once you let them go, you might not get them back. Sometimes we get so busy with our own lives and problems that we may not even notice that we’ve let them fly away. Sometimes we are so caught up in who’s right and who’s wrong that we forget what’s right and wrong. Sometimes we just don’t realize what real friendship means until it is too late. Don’t let that happen! Share this message with those you want to hold close to your heart…

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted in Infants, Marriage, Parenting, Relationships, Self-Care, Toddlers & Preschoolers, Warm Fuzzies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Sandwich Generation

I wrote this blog post back in February of 2011. The “sandwich generation” is ongoing!

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Who would have thought I would ever be a grandmother?! Sure, I fantasized about this season of life, but that it is actually real is continues to amaze me. Needless to say, I am thrilled and delighted to have a healthy, content, and adorable new grand-daughter, with parents who love her and do much to care for their “little one.”  As a mother I feel proud and validated in my own role as parent. My children are living their lives in productive and meaningful ways. Must have done some things right along the way, thanks to all that my own parents did for me…. As I reflect on the beautiful and incredible miracles that have unfolded during the past several months I consider myself extremely fortunate… Tonight our eldest daughter, son-in-law and I sit down with calendars to determine the best plan for child care for the next several weeks…  It has been a privilege being a “hands on” nana as this young family adjusts to a new baby requiring different routines and priorities.

And, then the phone rings. It is my 80-something year old mother calling to check in. A nice chat, as always, but she slips in her latest decision — to schedule knee-replacement surgery. My siblings and I have been working closely together to assist our mother, more than ever since dad died of Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago. Mom is a very social, active, and independent woman, yet we are aware that her mobility is more and more compromised, particularly this past year which has been filled with both weddings and funerals. There has been excitement and joy, but also grief and loss. We are all weary, trying to heal and regroup from the untimely death of one of our brothers, and mom’s body has been affected by the stress. She lives alone and has kind and helpful neighbors, but my sister and brother each live 45 minutes away in opposite directions. I am five states away and feeling pulled in many directions, sometimes filled with guilt. How can I be all things to all people?

Then my sister-in-law calls from the west coast to update us on the selling of my father-in-law’s home and plans for moving into assisted living. At 85 he is battling multiple health problems, doesn’t hear, and grows more and more depressed with time, particularly after losing his wife 18 months ago from a tough battle with cancer. Again, loss, and more guilt…. There is much to be done, we live far away, my husband doesn’t have a second to spare, and those who live near my father-in-law are at times overwhelmed with the burden of care. What to do? We help in ways we can, but the demands and responsibilities are great. More guilt… Guilt is not a productive emotion, however.

Another phone call comes from our youngest daughter facing another set of projects and exams in graduate school. She is a strong student, but has a tendency to doubt herself until she figures out a new set of expectations. I listen, knowing that she will relax about academic and self-imposed expectations in the coming weeks, until final exams, when I sit and listen once again.  All part of the parenting task…

As this month of February draws to a close I discover in my e-mail inbox two more family messages. The first comes from my sister, whose 8th grade daughter dislikes school because of middle-school “girl” drama and whose mother-in-law lands in the hospital requiring surgery. The second comes from another sister-in-law, whose 9th grade son is adjusting to high school and all the expected changes and unexpected piles of homework that go along with such a major life transition. Both of these caring mothers ask if I have any words of wisdom, knowing I have been through those stages with my own daughters. They are both talented and capable women who feel frazzled and frustrated, at times unable to make better circumstances that impact their children and family life. I encourage them to listen and coach their teens in problem-solving skills and to seek help from others.

Most of us can definitely relate to all the pull and tug on our time and energy when children and parents turn to us for advice, guidance, assistance, and hands-on care. At the time in our lives when we are beginning to feel our own energy levels sagging, when we long for time to ourselves and with our partners, not only do our own children continue to turn to us for help, but our parents begin to do so as well. We find we are officially inducted into the “sandwich generation,” forced to make hard choices on a regular basis — having to choose between helping our daughter with a new baby as she integrates back into her professional role and helping our sister who asks for assistance with our mother as she goes through knee-replacement surgery and flying across the country to spend time with a frail father-in-law. The list is long and ever-changing.

What helps me in making such difficult choices is keeping in focus important lessons that my mother and father taught me and my siblings over the years.

1)      Make a list of all the resources available to you. Resources include things like your time, health, physical and emotional supports, finances, knowledge, and skills, to name just a few. Use this list wisely and efficiently.  Ask who can do “what” “where” “when” and “how.”

2)      Communicate your thoughts and feelings with others who are also affected by the situation. Share resources. Help each other. Don’t fight.

3)      Do your part. Take turns. Don’t go it alone.  Ask for relief when you need it.

4)      Practice healthy self-care. (I dare not miss any of my regularly scheduled dance classes!)

5)      Maintain your sense of humor while looking for the good in a challenging circumstance. Laugh when you can. Be grateful for what is running smoothly.

Posted in Adolescence, Aging, Anxiety & Stress, Behavior Challenges, Chronic Illness, Death & Dying, Elementary School Child, Grief & Loss, It's All Bubba's Fault, Learning Difficulties, Marriage, Middle Age, Middle Childhood, Parenting, Relationships, Retirement, Self-Care, Work & Family | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Snow Days with Best Friends

Today is one of those sweet snow days that I associate with special connection to family and friends. This one started by taking hubby to work (car in the shop again…), quiet time to read and write, a phone call to my uncle who recently lost his lifelong “girl,” several energizing phone chats, and a note in the mailbox from my brother. Life is good…

How have you spent your snow day?

These two buddies have the right idea about snow days!

Deer-Snowman-copy copy

Posted in Marriage, Parenting, Relationships, Self-Care, Warm Fuzzies | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment