So, obviously this is leading up to one of my A-ha! moments, right?
First, looking back I see that this wasn't all discovered in that one instant. It came to fruition after a lot of thought that kept leading me to the conclusion. I kept feeling myself being torn between things I wanted, things I was trying to do, people I was trying to please and guilt from all angles. It comes from my experiences with social relationships, more personal than anything else. You know they always say you can't make everyone happy? There will always be those people in life that because of their own thought processes choose to react or approach life in a certain way. Without being too enigmatic, I will just say that I feel guilty when I don't make all my family members happy in some form or another. I want to be, and have always tried to be everything to everyone. I never want or intend to let my parents down. I always think of their feelings. Same with my children, my partner, and my closest friends (although with my girlfriends who were the closest people to me for many of my formative years, we have all grown into our own lives and give each other way more slack these days, for sure) I don't know if this quality came about because of the growth my heart experienced after settling into motherhood. Not just having a baby. That was definitely an experience of growth in and of itself (I've got the weight fluctuations to prove it!) but actually growing into a mother who, although I didn't always make the best choices, am definitely trying to live as SELFLESSLY as possible. I have sacrificed so much for my children. I have turned their goals into mine. Instead of the goals I had for myself, theirs have replaced it. And that's the way it should be for me. I wouldn't have it any other way. Yes, I did picture myself on a different path before. I had goals of finishing my last couple of classes and finally taking the LSAT, getting into the Critical Race Studies program at UCLA, and making my family, and myself as proud as we could possibly be. But, I chose this life. I chose to redirect my ambition and self-progress to devote all my time to these children. To spend each day and each year building them up to all be the best they can be. The four of them are way more important than ME. So, these are my goals now. To be there for them while they figure life out and make their own, solid decisions. We can't control our children, we can't assure that they will take everything we say to heart- no matter how much time we dedicate to them and their lives. No, we can't. I can't. I'd be foolish to think so. But I know, in my heart that this is the best possible start for them. This is their best CHANCE. They all deserve a fighting chance.
Well, I sort of got off track. I have known that stuff for quite some time actually. Years, as it so happens. But the point I was trying to make is that the quality of taking everyone into account at all times times is a part of me. I know it is an impossible battle though. I can't please everyone, all the time. None of us can really. If you're like me, you feel forced to pick and choose the lesser of two evils sometimes. Do I upset this person, miss out on this, or do I focus my energy and attention here? Whew, it's exhausting. A lot of people are lucky enough to figure this out early. Maybe it has taken me longer because I have added so many additional people to contend with. It isn't just me and my parents, or my close family. It is an entirely NEW family I have created for myself and then the extension thereof that follows. I have four children and a man that I love to attend to pretty much at all times. That is being a lot of things, to a lot of people, because everyone has different needs and even some of the same, and I am just one person. All I can do is try my best to consciously address everyone, equally, as much as a I can. And let's be real, I have needs. I am a person with some of the same desires. I want to be loved, admired, appreciated, cared for, to be special, you know, all the things we all want. Sometimes parenting and loving children seems to be a one-way street. I know this fluctuates. They are still growing people after all, and we can't depend on the emotional expressions of children to meet our needs all the time. That is why those special moments with them, reveling in their joy and happiness are SO important. I can't miss them.
I recently found myself torn in a few situations. Am I compromising the happiness of those closest to me for other things? Are they selfish ambitions, or are they just misguided energies? It doesn't really matter. The time that we have with our children, as children, is so precious and fleeting. I can not believe I have a 7 yr old. It is mind-blowing. I see how her needs from me are changing and I am trying to adapt. My 3 yr old is following suit, and now I see these age ranges and differences like one big confusing puzzle I have to put together as I go.
A lot of this might not make sense. I don't want it to be an airing of dirty laundry, so to speak. It is just a reflection I had of an A-ha! moment that I had to write down, document, and keep so I could remember it.
YOU CANNOT BUILD YOUR LIFE AROUND PEOPLE. YOU CAN ONLY BUILD IT AROUND LOVE. THOSE THAT ARE MEANT TO BE THERE, WILL BE THERE.
Took extra time to sit and watch this happy child. Every day with them is a gift.