Contemplating Cancer – Part 1

Is it really happening to me? I won’t know for sure until the end of next week according to the nurse. That is a best case scenario. It could be as long as two more weeks. Although, I’ve already waited that long thus far, what is two MORE weeks. Well, in total it is a month. One month to contemplate whether or not I have cancer.

And I have not reacted exactly as I imaged. Not that I ever before imagined having cancer. But I suppose that if someone were to tell me it was a possibility, I would expect my reaction to be wrapped up in disbelief, tears, fear, anger….

Why me?

It’s not fair.

What am I going to do?

But instead, it’s been more like….

Why not me?  Not in a self-deprecating way, but more so as in a – I’m 43 years old, cancer seems to be a roll of the dice and I just rolled craps – way.

Life is not fair. God never said it would be fair. There is sin in the world and bad things happen to good people.

There is nothing I can do. It is truly out of my hands as to what my final fate will be. God’s plan for my life is just that, His.

I’m am not putting on a brave front or trying to be all stoic about it. And I’m certainly not okay with it. But I don’t have very many tragic feelings swirling around in my head. Maybe I am numb.

Numb is a great, non-committal place to be. It is in the land of numb that I resided when the kids were first born at 27 weeks. Numb allows me to function. It allows me to still laugh with the kids, make dinner, work. Numb helps me take it day by day – step by step.

Step 1: Doctor’s appointment

Step 2: Another Doctor’s appointment

Step 3: Blood test

Step 4: Wait

Step 5: Harass Doctor for lack of response

Step 6: Wait

Step 7: Schedule ultrasound

Step 8: Have ultrasound and watch the screen show chaotic bloodflow to 4 tumors.

Step 9: Wait

Step 10: Harass Doctor for lack of response

Step 11: Schedule biopsy

Step 12: Harass Doctor for earlier appointment

Step 13: Have biopsy on Monday

That is where I am when I write this – Step 13 – oh the irony is laughable. But I don’t, laugh. Because I am numb.

True Beauty: The Weight Of My World

This post has been churning in my head and in my gut for about two weeks now. I don’t want to write it. Yet, I’m compelled to write it. Maybe the writing will be part of the healing.

Reading this passage from A Holy Experience brought me to an all to familiar feeling.

Sometimes when I stand skin nervous, too exposed, before the hangers and the choices, his hands find the waist and finger around the bare that has stretched wrinkle thin six times and I cringe. He says it then in the light, what he whispers in the complete pitch with the door latch hooked close. I doubt that word beautiful from his lips and I shake my head and I regret hurting him, but I can’t help it. To accept it would seem a lie but he says it is his God-honest truth. Why do I argue?

The Feelings

The cringing, the doubt, the voice inside my head telling me it’s all a lie.

I feel it when John puts his hand on my waist leading me in to a restaurant or initiating a spontaneous dance in the kitchen. I feel it when my son tells me I’m beautiful in his most earnest heart-felt 4 year old way. I feel it when my daughter pats my stomach and says, “Mommy, you have a fat tummy, but I love you!”, as only 4 year old honesty will allow.

I feel it more when I am alone. When I have to get dressed, yet again. This never ending torturous process of dressing on a daily basis. The putting on and the taking off, over and over, trying so desperately to find something, anything that will not make me hate the obese image reflected in the mirror.

The disgust and the shame are overwhelming. It’s paralyzing. It’s restricting.

I hate to leave the house for fear of running in to people I know. Embarrassed at what they may think of me. What they may tell their spouses or friends about me.

I rarely socialize, even with my friends. The ones who have known me for years. The ones who know about this battle with my weight. The ones who have seen me gain and lose 40 to 60 pounds three and four times now.

I am so uncomfortable in this skin. I feels like it belongs to someone else.

And the feelings that accompany the weight are just as unbearable. They make me distant. They make me silent. It’s a gentle mix of apathy, hopelessness and nausea.

The Logic

Logically, my head knows this is not hopeless. It knows that what I am feeling is not to be trusted. It knows that I am beautiful to my son and I am loved by my daughter. It knows that John is telling me the truth, his truth, when he says I am as beautiful as the day he met me. (I am jealous of that 15 year old girl.)

Logically, my head knows that how I look physically is not important. It knows that where I am spiritually is the most important. It knows that regardless of what the scale says, or what anyone else says, God loves me and my heart and thinks I am His beautiful creation. This I know is true.

My head also knows how to fix this, how to change it, how to make it right.

My head knows how to turn around an obese BMI score of 31.5 to a healthy 24. Heck, I’ve done it multiple times. Last summer I was a size 8, the summer before that a size 4, and finally the summer before that a size 16, just like today.

The Struggle

What my head doesn’t know is how to stop letting the feelings control my actions.

At least for today.

How To Raise Homemade Gourmet Kids

mpj042267100001.jpgGrape tomatoes, olives, eggplant parm, feta cheese, Quiche Lorraine, couscous, wild rice & roasted veggies, Thai shrimp & rice noodles, sushi, Starbucks Skinny Vanilla Latte (decaf) and for dessert…….. 2 gummi bear vitamins, 2 graham crackers & a sippy cup of milk?

Confused?  These are foods my twins enjoy eating.  Some in fact, like the grape tomatoes, are actually an obsession.  Surprised? I thought you might be, let me explain.

One of my passions is cooking, or should I say food. But I didn’t learn to cook until I got out on my own. I grew up with the typical 5 to 8 standard meals most everyone did in the 70s.: spaghetti, fried chicken, meatloaf, pot-roast, burgers, tuna casserole, etc.

My goal was to share my passion with my kids and expose them to the culinary delights of the world.  Why should a toddler’s palate be dumbed down to mac ‘n cheese when they can equally enjoy pumpkin ravioli with Gorgonzola sauce? And mine devour it every time I make it. Beyond the exposure that I wanted for them, I also wasn’t about to waste my time in the kitchen every night fixing two separate meals.

So, how do you develop a sophisticated palate in a 2-year-old? Well, you start from day one.  The first day you introduce food.

Continue reading

Starting Over… What Is Possible?

Starting over is not easy.


In fact, I think it’s one of the hardest things we have to do as an adult. Far too often we get stagnant in life. Sometimes even in our own misery. It’s safe. Easy. It’s why people stay in a bad relationship or a bad job. Change is scary for most of us. And as we grow older we tend to resist change. At least some folks do, not all. I suppose it’s the element of risk that rattles us. The unknown is a mystery and the familiar is comfortable.

But sometimes you have no choice. I would not have chosen the last two years of my life, if you talked to me 12 months ago. But ask me now and you will get a different answer. I have come so far in life in what seems to be such a short period of time.

Nashville flood victims would not choose the last two weeks either. Given the devastation of the flood, it is quite possibly the most difficult thing that some have ever faced. Even if you didn’t lose everything, it is still very frustrating to deal with paperwork, insurance adjusters, policies, agencies, and on and on. If you did lose everything, it is even worse. Where will I go? What will I do? When will the assistance come? What if I lose my job? Certainly, with all of this it may not be possible to look at the future with joy and anticipation.

So how do you keep up your spirits and not get sucked in to the exhausting daily struggles?

Ask yourself “What is possible now?”

My journey after the divorce was based on one premise: Who am I beyond Jacob & Emma’s mommy? (Beyond JEMS) What else was there to me besides being a stay at home mom.

  • What was I capable of doing?
  • Where would I go?
  • Who was I as a woman?
  • How would I support my kids?
  • What did I dream of doing?
  • When would I get my life back in order?

Many folks did not understand my journey. Many scowled, visually and verbally, at my choices. But there was only one thing I knew to be true…. I knew that this was my opportunity to start over. I was facing the second half of my life and I wanted to it mean more, be MORE! I had to discover what was possible.

Not many folks have the choice to start over. It can be a blessing, even if it is forced upon you by circumstances beyond your control. You have a choice to dwell in the negative or try to see what is possible.

Trust me, I’m not suggesting, it’s all wine and roses and happy-go-lucky, cheery, positivity. It can be hard. Very hard. But it can be done. I recall someone saying that if you are not growing, you are dead. And we all know that growing pains hurt.

Take the moments of reprieve to dream.

  • Dream about possibilities.
  • Dream about what if’s.
  • Think about when.
  • Think about how.
  • Think about why not now.

Believe in yourself., believe in God and dream. If only for moments a day. It’s a start.

Nashville Flood: Lives In The Ditch

Franklin flooding brings community to help victims discard the ruins and pick up the pieces.

My Street

My Street in Rebel Meadows

The air was thick with a musty odor that reeked of rot and decay. As it should, given the amount of debris that lay by the road side waiting to be picked up by the city of Franklin.

The Rebel Meadows subdivision, my neighborhood, sits right beside the Harpeth River. It winds around us and ventures on back to the Cottonwood and Fieldstone Farms neighborhoods. We were all in the same boat during the flood, somewhat literally.

I ventured out last week to help my neighbors by offering the use of my home for bathroom breaks, air conditioning, or a general reprieve. I also delivered cleaning supplies, trash bags, towels, etc. It wasn’t much, but I grabbed anything extra under my kitchen sink. I had to reserve a bit for my own cleanup efforts, but what I had to deal with paled in comparison for folks just 2 doors down from me.

Lives Tossed Aside

Lives Tossed Aside

Furniture, clothes, toys, it was all in shambles. Piles upon piles lay in the ditch waiting for pick up. It was overwhelming. I didn’t realize how much it threw me off-balance emotionally until much later in the day. It left me with a feeling of loss and emptiness.

It also shed a whole new light on the disaster that brought New Orleans to its knees. It was one thing to watch news coverage of Katrina on television, but being evacuated from your home is another. During the flood, I had to reassure Emma and Jacob that God was not flooding the world again. But it’s hard to process as a child when you are being carried out in 2 feet of rising water. What a relief for them to come home and see their stuff safe and dry.

Flood Victim Guts House

Flood Victim Guts House

But it was also a good lesson to see the other homes on the street. You have a new perspective when you have to stand next to the destruction and smell it the very moment you step outside. You can teach children empathy by talking about it, but until they see it live, especially the littler ones, I’m not sure much of it really sinks in. This was an exceptional opportunity for them to learn and grow.

In fact, it made such an impact on the kids at their school, they initiated a toy drive for the boys and girls who lost their toys in the flood. Yes, when I say “they” initiated it, I do mean the students. Emma & Jacob voluntarily chose to bring two each. And not just any two, but newer toys they play with today. It makes me so proud to know this is who they are becoming. THEY ARE NASHVILLE!

flood clean up

It Seemed To Never End

And that is the bright light in all of this. The people. The community outpouring of support and generosity is amazing. People are not just donating things, but they are diving in, getting dirty, helping complete strangers dig out. Companies, volunteers, neighbors are all doing their part. Even Atmos Energy, our gas company, set up camp on my street for the week to pass out hot lunches and drinks for victims and volunteers alike.

Everywhere I turned people were coming to help. Just as I delivered cleaning supplies to neighbors on Wednesday, on Friday I arrived home to find two large industrial tubs of cleaning and safety supplies from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The irony. One I used. One I donated again.

This is what stands out to me the most from last week. The positive energy. The willingness of people to help. The countless volunteers driving by asking, “What can I do? Can I get you anything?” It surrounds us. It defines us. It is who we are. WE ARE NASHVILLE!

Taking A Mommy Time Out For Yourself

I’ve often written about being a single mom. Some of the good and probably more of the bad. But the one thing that has been resonating with me so much lately is that I do not devote time to myself. Mind you this is not a “single mom” thing, it’s a mom thing. Moms in general are so many things to so many people. It is easy to forget about yourself as an individual and easier to focus on others.

How does this apply to the single mom? Well, it just takes it a step further. We are not so many things to so many people, we are EVERYTHING to some people, our kids. You are the one who provides for them 24/7/365, deals with nightmares, plans birthday parties, leaves work when someone is sick, plays tag in the yard, supervises TV, and teaches them everything about life. Somewhere along the line we become it – the everything.

There are fortunate single moms who have a great support network of friends and family to help and many ‘non-single’ moms who do these things on their own on a regular basis for various reasons. But for whatever reason, the burden for a single mom is greater mentally and emotionally because there is no spouse to share the responsibility, pick up the slack or give them a break when needed.

Some women I know lose themselves in their family almost intentionally and very happily. Some do it with a bit of martyrdom as if it is biblical to sacrifice everything of yourself for your family. So pardon me if I step on some toes here, but while it may sound all noble and Christianly, it is really a disservice to your family and God.

As a single mom, because we are everything to our kids, we have to be sure that we can fulfill that role. It’s very important to maintain our health – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – and this takes time. It takes an intentional plan to ensure all of these areas of our lives are where they should be.

I’m guilty of it. I don’t always eat right and I never get enough sleep. So I’m constantly working on new strategies, new plans, new drugs (i.e. Ambien) to help improve physically.  But I think it’s harder to address are the areas of our lives that are not so tangible – mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Taking time to attend to these areas may begin to look and even feel selfish. It can involve spending time with your girlfriends, taking a pottery class, going for long walks alone. Enter the guilt. Here’s a starter guilt list and what it looks sounds like.

  • Homemaker Guilt – I shouldn’t do this because I should be doing x, y and z at home.
  • Mommy Guilt – I shouldn’t take the time because the kids really need extra attention from me right now.
  • Money Guilt – I shouldn’t spend the money (i.e. on a girl’s night out) because the kids need x, y or z.
  • Peer Guilt – I shouldn’t do this because I know people won’t understand and will judge me.

It is this combination of things that lead us to put our needs aside and be everything to everyone else.

For me, writing, painting and socializing, were three activities I regularly took part in as my first year as a single mom. It was my sanity. It helped me develop my relationship with God and allowed me to figure out what the second part of my life was going to look like. Now, during the last year I have swung the other way. I have let my pursuits fall by the wayside to be replaced by life.

So if you are like me  and need that extra push or a reason to take some time for yourself, here’s a list to motivate (both of us!)

  • Just like being in a healthy relationship requires one to be whole as an individual, so does being a mom.
  • Giving them the best version of me is one of the best things I can do for them.
  • Developing myself sets a good example for them to be balanced and healthy throughout their life.
  • Taking a few hours a week is not selfish. It is healthy. Start small and work your way up.

Now that Spring has sprung and it has breathed new life in me. I have a new sense of the importance of self and how it impacts my ability to be EVERYTHING to them. I hope this will you as well.

How do you take time for yourself? Do you feel guilty or embrace it? What’s holding you back from making yourself a priority too?

Explaining the Trinity to Children

Explaining the Trinity to my children on the drive to church on Easter morning was not what I expected to be doing. But I found myself in a unique situation.

Earlier in the week we covered the meaning of Good Friday and Easter. Between grandparents and great grandparents, we’ve discussed death since they were 3. When I first told Emma that Jesus died on the cross, she burst in to tears. But the tears soon disappeared as we discussed the resurrection. So although we discussed it all before, it’s still a big concept for them to digest.

Sunday morning John was reviewing the meaning of Easter on the way to church and the kids were quite attentive. But somewhere in the process thoughts went astray and he started getting questions like: Did Jesus grow up to be God? But Jesus is in my heart and He’s also in heaven with God? Etc. John looked at me. I look at John. Hmmm…. I said, “Well, I hadn’t thought we’d be covering the Trinity this morning.”

I had wondered how to explain the Trinity to them before. How does a child grasp this concept? I wasn’t sure how it was explained to me and I haven’t heard anyone else explain it to their kids. So while I was at a loss for a moment, my ‘thinking-fast-on-your-feet’ mommy gene served me well. Here’s how it went.

ME: You know what water is right? It’s liquid.


ME: Ok, so what happens to what when it freezes? It turns in to what?

THEM: Ice!

(Side comment from John: Oh you’re good! It was the boost I needed to know I was on the right track.)

ME: Yes, ice. Very good! Ok and what happens to what when it’s heated? Like when it’s on the stove and it begins to boil. What does it turn in to?

THEM: Ummmm…. (a little prodding on my behalf… ssssttttt) Steam

ME: Yes, it turns in to steam. Ok, so water can be liquid, or ice, or steam. But it’s all still water just in different forms right?  THEM: Yes….

ME: Ok, that’s how God is. God is in three forms. Father God, who is in Heaven. Jesus, who came to Earth as a man. And the Holy Spirit, who lives inside our hearts. They are all God but in different forms. Does that make sense?

THEM: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah……..

I won’t go in to the details of the variety of questions, cross-references and comparisons they made on their own, but suffice it to say it was a very interesting conversation in the next 5 minutes it took us to get to church. They surprised me with their ability to transfer knowledge and give me examples of things that are different but yet the same.

It’s still a very large concept to grasp, but I think we have good starting place.

How did you explain it to your children?

Who Is The Best Father?

Many of you have read my Tweets and my other Post on my daughter’s challenge to process the fact her father is not around. At times it has been more than heartbreaking for me. So I can’t imagine the hurt she feels. I’ve diligently relied on God to take the place of her biological father. It was a stretch for me to grasp this as an adult, let alone a child. But I’ve tried to be consistent in encouraging her in her time of need, sadness, or joy to look to God as her father.

Well…. It’s starting to pay off and I can not be more thrilled!!! Slowly, she has started talking about God more specifically, not just in general terms or on Sundays after church. Here’s what Emma’s shared with me in the last week:

  • While watching some movie on TV (clueless as to what now) she announces,

Mom, I love God for 4 reasons:
1. Because He loves me.
2. Because He sends angels to protect me.
3. Because He gives me hugs.
4. Because He’s always there for me.

  • John, Emma, and I were sitting at the table eating dinner. Jacob was in time out for yelling at me and semi-punching me in the arm. This is not typical behavior for him, but unacceptable nonetheless. John initiated the time out, also very unusual. But he wanted to talk to him about the respect and treatment of women, especially me. At the table I told John, this was an example of why he needed a father-figure in his life. Time out was different coming from John versus me in that particular situation. Surprisingly, Emma jumped in on the conversation.

“Do you guys know who the best father is? [long pause, as John & I stared at her, then each other] God is. He’s the best Father we have.”

  • In another conversation this week, Emma and John were discussing a visit we made to The Carter House. John was giving a tour, so Emma & Jacob walked up on the porch to get his attention. John told Emma he was so happy to see her that day. She leaned in and whispered in his ear,

“Did you see the angel on my shoulder?”

  • Each night when we pray, I ask God to send His angels to help comfort her when she wakes at night. It’s been a struggle for her to stay in her bed at night for a few months. She wakes up frightened and comes to me in the middle of the night wanting to sleep with me. It was happening even when she shared a bed with Jacob. We’ve tried several things to help her sleep through the night, including eating a bit later to make sure she has a full belly. Since praying for the angels, she has stayed in her bed more often than not.However, when I tucked her in last night I was caught off guard as she told me her angel was sitting on her side table. According to Emma, her angel is purple and small. But she is very powerful and can protect her against anything. She likes the same hand lotion as Emma and she goes to sleep when Emma goes to sleep, but she stays all night long. Even better, we all have an angel in our room to protect us. At the end of our prayers, she asked if we could pray to the angels. I said, “No, we don’t pray to angels Emma. We only pray to God.” Her reply….

“Oh right. I forgot. We don’t put anything in front of God.”

I was shocked and asked her where she learned that. Her reply….

“You taught me Mama.”

Wow! My sweet girl gets it!

Thank you Father.

Memoir Writing – Blissdom 2010 Session Notes

MEMOIR WRITINGSketch of Writers Hand

This Blissdom Blogging Conference Session was Saturday afternoon and taught by Catherine Connors @herbadmother (HBM), Megan Jordan @velveteenmind (VM), Tanis Miller @redneckmommy (RNM) and moderated by Michelle Mitchell @scribbit (SCR).


  • LENGTH – This category is full of diverse opinion. Per SCR short stories “posts” are a must. However, per RNM prefers to write long posts and sees no issue in doing so. One thing all of the panelists agreed on is quality! Poor writing on a short post will be forgettable and passed over. Poor writing on a long post can lose readers.
  • POINT OF VIEW – Memoirs are written in 1st person. Plain and simple.
  • EXPANSE – This will follow along the same lines as length and point of view. Since it is written in 1st person, the natural range of the story will remain close to the person telling it. However, verbosity can expand one’s expanse, so be aware.
  • STRUCTURE & ELEMENTS – Memoir writing has the same elements as other writing. Intro, setup, conflict, debate, confrontation, resolution, conclusion. Regardless of how you label the writing arc, it typically contains three main elements: tell them what your story is about, tell them what happened, tell them how it ended.
  • RESOLUTION – Memoirs needs to have resolution, but it may not always be tied up in a nice, neat package wrapped with a bow on one post. There is an option for ongoing stories that require several posts when the resolution takes place over time.
  • HONESTY – What is the truth? Each story is written from one persons perspective. Thus, the truth, as you see it, may be different than how someone else sees it. We each view life through a different lens. So who is being more honest? Who is being truthful? It is your reality, so the most important element here is being true to you and your story.


VM – I always ask myself, “Can my readers find themselves in the post? Will my audience relate?” If not, don’t write it.

RNM – I don’t think about the readers much. I’m here to bring joy & make you laugh.

HBM – It’s difficult question to answer. More often than not, I craft a post to tell a story versus just puking on the page. My goal is to draw an audience in.

VM – Something interesting to note is people talk to me in person about the posts that no one comments on. They are memorable.

HBM – [I ask]Why is someone gonna want to read this?

SCR – I don’t write to please the reader. I write to give content resolution. It is a structure. The writing arc.

HBM – People ask me to wrap up some ongoing issues, but they are not resolved.

SCR – Conflict resolution doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It’s like a TV series, Lost – they are not getting off that island. Resolution is not always tidy.

VM – I write long posts, not as frequently. But I feel they can’t be any shorter.


HBM – Yes, absolutely, its space to tell my story, no reviews or giveaways.

RNM – I used to feel it is, but since the adoption process came in to play, I haven’t been able to write freely. I’ve had to be careful.  Before that I felt it was really my own. My family wasn’t happy with what I wrote all the time, but it is mine. I remain true to my story.

VM – My husband is an attorney and there are people at his firm that read it.  I can’t write what I want to about him. I have to be guarded in that respect. SCR guest posted on VM to write about her husband, another attorney, getting fired. She wrote about his ex-boss.

SCR – He didn’t want me to post it. I was not able to be free.

HBM – We have to be responsible with what we write personally because it affects others. When it concerns other, like my mother-in-law, I ask permission. I try to remain sensitive.

RNM – I give my kids & husband editorial control. My daughter has pulled some stories, but not my husband or son.

VM – My kids are young. I think about what will impact them later down the road. Successful bloggers can feel trapped by success at times by the expectations of readers or other situations.

HBM – Created Her Bad Mother’s Basement to post anonymously.

RNM – I had 2 different blogs early on because Attack of the Red Neck Mommy was about humor, my other blog was about my son’s death. I couldn’t handle it because it was too much. But I was schooled that I couldn’t combine both. Eventually I quit both & came back with only one. My readers accept her complete story, both sides.


VM – No, I like writing, but I like the readers responses. I tried journalling but no one commented. Let’s face it we write to get comments, to interact.

HBM – No, I wouldn’t. I mean this is my story. I’m writing about motherhood and that involves my kids, but I’m not writing their story, it’s mine.

VM – I use a lot of metaphors when I write. Like, I wrote about baking pies, but my mom had to tell my dad that the post was NOT about actually “baking pies”. (chuckle, chuckle)

SCR – I have a hard time sharing things. I’m more reserved. But it’s me. It’s my story.


Writing about Your Life by William Zinsser

Invention the Truth: The Art & Craft of Memoir by William Zinsser.


I was the mic wrangler for this session which made for interesting note taking. And while some dialogue is missing, the main points are captured. There was a lot of Q&A during this session. Many of those questions revolved around the same main topics:

  • Voice
  • Audience

Many of the answers came back around and boiled down simply:

  • Voice – Find yours, be true to it, don’t fear it or its creativity, respect its power.
  • Audience – Give them quality, tell them your story, be real, but be sensitive.

Parenting with Fear or Forgiveness

playing in snowToday I was blessed by a sermon on how Matthew 5:7 specifically relates to our relationships.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

It is difficult for us to forgive each other because we love poorly. (Ouch, that struck a nerve.) We do not love unconditionally as Christ does. I wrote a post about that here. But diffing deeper and taking it a step further is even more difficult.

Loving unconditionally includes forgiving. It certainly has its challenges. My empathy for another adult is easier to find sometimes. Maybe because I’ve been there… failed, flawed, sinful & shamed. For my children is does not seem to come as easy at times. Surprised? I guess I am.

When they were younger is was easier to be patient, but as they grow up, it seems my patience fades. I tell myself it is because they are old enough to know better. But it that the truth? It certainly is a handy excuse, but I don’t think so. So why?

Is it harder for me to remember being that age? To remember my need for unconditional love and approval. My desire for forgiveness. The kind of forgiveness that Our Father gives us.

I think about this deeply today. I guess the only thing I can grasp is that it is born of fear. Fear that they will make the same mistakes I did. That the error of their ways will bring them pain and shame as it did me. Fear that their mistakes will become their legacy, thus my legacy.

It is not pride that gets me. After things I have been a part of, there is no pride here. But it is a fear that their lives will bring pain to them that is not necessary. A continuation of a vicious cycle that is hard to break. That is the fear of legacy.

But, isn’t it this same fear that caused my mother to find it difficult to show me unconditional love and forgiveness. And isn’t it odd that the feelings of shame and being unlovable caused me to act out, seeking love in other, unhealthy, ways. I know that she loved me, that she felt accountable, and guilty that she caused my hardships. But it just part of an unhealthy pattern that we tend to perpetuate in our families. It is no one’s fault. It just is. We tend to do what we know. Thus the cycle continues. But is there a way to stop it?

Being a single mother, has an incredible, overbearing level of GUILT and FEAR. You try to do twice as much to make up for the lack of a “normal family” environment with a mom and a dad. Parenting out of fear seems to be a natural state. So I have seen the above cycle played out in my own family, by me.

I am harder on my daughter than I am my son. I have known this for a while. I rationalized it because she is more mature, more intuitive and more like me. My guilt and fear of her following in my footsteps is incomprehensible. So I am harder on her to try to make her more aware, make her better. (Wow, seeing it in black and white, makes me laugh. It is preposterous!) But if I love her or discipline her out of fear, will I not being doing the same thing and continuing the cycle?

However, is it possible I can put fear aside, put my faith in God, and begin to love and forgive as He does? Won’t that be better? Surely, it must! It just may give them less of a reason to run away from the love and safety of home to someone or something else.

I am not naive. I realize it won’t be perfect. But isn’t it worth a try to parent with forgiveness. I think so.