To My Babies… The Hardest Letter I will ever write to you

For My Babies, Love

Out of all the things I’ve wanted to say to you during your little lives, this was a letter I never thought I would write to you, nor would I ever, ever want to. Our family is going through such a hard time now. Your father, who we all loved so deeply, died in a motorcycle accident at the young age of 45. I never, ever wanted you (or anyone, for that matter) to experience such tragedy. Most days I still can’t comprehend the idea that he is no longer living with us. How such a beautiful light could just go out so quickly is beyond my comprehension. And his poor, sweet children. Rowan is 3 (going on 16), Dylan is 6, Sebastian is 12, Sarah is 15, and Justin is 26. He loved you all so much. The love that I shared with your father was passionate, deep, strong, and sometimes crazy. But we were most beautiful when we were all together as a family. We truly made such a beautiful family.

I love him and miss him so much. I cry so many times just at the thought of not ever being able to hold him, talk to him, laugh with him, kiss him, and go through with all the crazy plans we had for life with him. But it is really all of his kids that my heart breaks for most. There are so many things that make the situation so tragic. From the idea of my love being injured and hurt so bad that his life was lost in the blink of an eye, to the fact of someone so charismatic, funny, talented, charming, and hard-working no longer living amongst us. To how many people loved him and are truly devastated by this loss. But the worst is for his beautiful children who lost their beautiful father. My heart breaks the most for all of you.

Dylan and Rowan, I know you both hurt so bad over this, and yet, you are so young that I can’t imagine that you really understand what’s going on. I hate the fact that you only had him in your life for such a short time. Dylan, you have always been a happy child. You are just as playfully mischievous as your father. But I know you are hurting right now. You don’t talk about it much. You talk about Daddy in good ways. You’ll talk about random stories about him, but you don’t talk about your pain or even how much you miss him. I’m pretty sure your strong little heart is just trying to be brave and keep going. Rowan, I know you don’t really understand at 3 years old what has happened. You just know that Daddy’s not here and you miss him. You tell me so many times a day how you want Daddy. It breaks my heart that I can’t give him to you. I found one of his t-shirts the other day that he wore frequently. It hadn’t been washed, and it still smelt like him. I rubbed my face in it and clung to it. A while later that day, you were upset about something, and I remembered the t-shirt. I gave it to you and told you to smell it. You stuck your face in it, and all the sudden you lit up. “Daddy’s shirt!” you exclaimed. It made you feel so good, just to smell his scent and hold that old cotton t-shirt. You carried the shirt around for days. I finally put it up, in the hopes it might hold on to his scent a little while longer so that I could give it to you when you start to get sad and missing him.

We were in the car today; Dylan, Rowan, and I. Rowan, you had just gotten an Elsa doll that sings “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen. As you were sitting in the backseat singing along, I had a sudden memory of your dad singing that song with you. He was really the one that got you singing it in the first place, when you were only like 2 years old. You would start to sing it, and then your dad would start singing along with you, loud and proud. You loved it. He used to sing it with you all the time. We all did. But your dad was the one that really started it. As the memory hit me while we were driving in the car, I started to get a little emotional. I turned and asked you, Dylan, if you remembered Daddy always singing that song with Rowan. You smiled sheepishly and sweetly and said yes, and I could tell you really did remember, too. I asked you how you were doing. “I’m good”, you replied, as is a pretty normal response for you. I asked you if you miss Daddy. You said yes. I was thinking how I don’t ever really see you get visibly upset about losing daddy. I see you get upset, much more frequently than normal. I know you miss daddy, but you just don’t normally say that you miss daddy and it hurts. As I was asking you if you missed him and starting to tear up myself, I think you must have known my thoughts because  you simply said “My heart is crying.” It was the most honest, poetic, adult thing I’ve ever heard you say. I know your heart is crying, baby. And I am so sorry that all of you are having to go through this.

I love you. I love you all so much. And your Daddy does, too. He is watching over us, with a soul that is at peace, loving us, wanting us to be happy. But it still hurts so much. I pray for strength to be a good mama to you throughout all of your lives. I want you to know how many people have loved and supported us through this awful time. I want you to know that there is still so much beauty in the world and that we can still have beautiful lives, no matter the pain we feel from not being able to physically live it and share it with him. I want you to know that his beauty and everything about him still lives on in all of you and in every life that he touched, which was so many. And I pray that I may let him live on through me, all of his quirkiness and love of life, so that you can still grow up with that piece of him in your life.

I love you all so much. Out of all the amazing and beautiful things your dad did in life, the most precious are the beautiful children that he gave us. I am grateful for you that are mine by birth, and for my stepkids (who already have beautiful mamas that love them). You are all wonderful gifts to us from your father.

I love you always and forever.

To the moon and back. That’s what your dad always said.

Sincerely,

Your Mama

 

Dealing with Role Conflict

Happiness, Mind

It’s something everyone will probably experience at some point in their life. It is likely that you are currently experiencing it right now. Yet it seems that we hardly ever talk about it.

What is role conflict?

The emotional conflict arising when competing demands are made on an individual in the fulfillment of his or her multiple social roles.

Juggling work and being a parent. Going to college while struggling to work and make money. Doing something with your family versus taking some much needed time to yourself. Spending time with your lover versus making time for friends… With so many things going on in our busy lives, some amount of role conflict is pretty much impossible to avoid.

For me, I have all things listed above: children, work, school, family, friends, a home to take care of, et cetera. Role conflict is probably the biggest stressor of my everyday life. I can accomplish most anything, but trying to take care of them all at once is what makes it so difficult.

So, what to do to avoid and relieve the stress that comes from playing so many different roles in life?

Here are just a few tips and ideas:

(1) Most important of all…. Take care of yourself: mind, body, and spirit.

I cannot take care of anyone else if I don’t take care of myself. Eat healthy, exercise, get enough sleep. Use de-stressing techniques like meditation and yoga. Feed the spirit with such things as prayer or communing with nature. Practice being “mindful” in the little moments so as not to find myself caught up in the hectic ongoings of everyday life.

(2) Plan.

It does not have to be a tight schedule to adhere to, but at least a simple list of the days expectations and what needs to be accomplished. And don’t set yourself up for failure by planning too much (probably my biggest pitfall). Be realistic in what you can do in the time you have and be proud of yourself when you are able to do so.

(3) Simplify.

Decrease the amount of “stuff” that we have so I don’t have so much cleaning and caring-for to do. This includes things like decreasing the amount of clothing and other “stuff” that I own. It also means making sure to not take on or plan more than I can handle. For example, I am only taking one college course this semester  because I didn’t know if I could handle more than that.

(4) Share.

Talk to your friends and family when you are stressed. That’s what they are there for. And they may be going through the same thing.

(5) Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Whether it’s getting a babysitter for the night so you can have a break, asking for help with a project at work, or making a chore list for the kids at home. Sometimes any amount of help can make a huge difference.

(6) Be gentle with yourself.

We can only accomplish and do so much. Be proud of successes and learn from mistakes. Let go of what you can’t change or control. And go on.

(7) Always remember to be grateful.

I am a mother, daughter, sister, lover, friend, aunt, niece, nurse, writer, student, child of God (just to name a few). And I am so blessed to be on this Earth with so many roles I get to play. 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Thanksgiving Poem

Poetry

Family and friends gather round

With laughter and memories

Card games and jokes

Or just snuggling, watching movies

The women cackle in the kitchen

Making fun of the men

But really we’re all quite happy

To be together again

Mothers, sisters, fathers, brothers,

Cousins, nieces, and nephews, too

Grandparents spoil the kids

While the dog chews on our shoes

The smell of delicious food fills the air

We have more than enough, as always

We’ll spend all day eating and playing

And we’ll have leftovers for days

There are many reasons why we do this

On this national holiday

We do it to relax and rejoice

In our own special way

We do it to help us remember

All the blessings that we share

And to share those blessings with others

To show our love and care

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We do it to celebrate family, love, life

The things we hold so dear

We do it to give thanks

For being blessed with another year

God Bless A Good Dad

writing

Both of my parents made such an influence in my life, though they really had quite different personalities. Dad was very kind, dependable, and responsible.  Mom was fun loving and spontaneous. Their different personalities caused marital problems, and they divorced when I was only a year old.  While their contrasting characteristics made their own personal relationship difficult, I always felt that these differences were a blessing to me.  They were two pieces to the puzzle that completed me. I believe that having two people so different love me so dearly and be  such a large part of my life helped to give me a dynamic character and an open mind, able to see things from many different point of views. I cannot imagine that I would have had nearly as much happiness in my life had one of them not been in it.  This is not to say that my parents were perfect.  They made plenty of mistakes, same as everyone else.  But they did their best, and I know they loved me unconditionally.

Historically, mothers have been considered the most important parental figure.  The old school view of the woman being the homemaker and rearing the children while the man works has reinforced this in our culture and in many others.  I would like to bring to light, though, the importance of a father in a child’s life.  This is a personal topic for everyone.   Everyone has some feeling or view on it because we all have a father.  We are all affected by the relationship with this person, be it for good or for bad.

Fathers have an important role in developing a child’s social and psychological development. According to a study conducted by University of Maryland researchers in 2000 and reported on the Medical Center website, children with supportive and nurturing fathers or father-figures in their lives are more assertive, enjoy more social acceptance, have higher self-esteem and are less likely to exhibit signs of depression.  These findings were constant for both boys and girls, and with both black and white children.

Dr. Kyle D. Pruett reports other interesting research findings in his book Fatherneed: Why Father Care Is As Essential As Mother Care for Your Child.  For example, a father’s involvement in a child’s life is the strongest parent-related predictor of empathy. It is also associated with the development of problem-solving behavior and reduced sibling conflict and aggression.  Children of involved fathers are much more successful academically and are more likely to go to college.  Even if the father does not live with the child, if they are actively involved in their lives, a child will tend to have less behavioral problems.

Some dads may worry that by giving high priority to their family, they will lose their edge in the workplace and not be considered for higher positions as much as those who lack family ties or neglect them. Research does not support this fear.  It is beneficial to both the man’s health and happiness and also to his children’s well being to put his family first. It is okay to plan your work around your family.  It is a good thing to consider father-child time more important than work time.

In the sad situation that a child is unable to have their own father there to connect with and share a nurturing relationship with, studies show that having other positive male figures in a child’s life can help decrease the risk of this having negative affects on them.  With this in mind, every positive interaction between a child and a man can help to ensure a child’s healthy development.  This fact in itself speaks of how important a father’s role is.  If a man can make a difference to the well being of ANY child, imagine the difference they can make in the lives of their own children.

As a mother, I know it is important for my kids to have a good relationship with their dad, but I also tend to view my relationship with them as more important. While I believe there’s nothing wrong with being a little possessive of your children, the truth is their relationship with their dad is one that Imageeffects them greatly.  I would love to believe that I can give them everything they need on my own.  If ever that sad situation occurred, I know I would try my best to do so, and they would still be much loved and well cared for children.  I wish love and support unto every parent who is forced to do it alone.  As stated by Dr. Pruett, those children with TWO loving, involved parents benefit from the wealth of each parent’s life experiences, different parenting styles, and approaches to dealing with life.  Though my parents divorced long ago, they both remained a large part of my life.  I know that this fact had many positive affects on my own happiness.

My hope for this writing is to inspire us all to respect and embrace the importance of fathers in our children’s lives so as to help ensure the happiness and overall positive development of those children.  I know that I am extremely grateful for having a father that loved and cared for me.  I hope that all of you fathers and mothers realize how important you are to your own children.