I was reminded of a valuable lesson today. If I feel unappreciated for something I’ve done, I’ve done it for the wrong reason. True giving, whether it be of time, treasure, or talent, comes without any strings attached. If I give with any expectation, I am not giving from the heart.
When I give because I want to do it, it gives me great joy. The irony is that if I give from the heart, without any expectation, I am given all sorts of gestures of appreciation. I give because it makes me happy, not because I want something in return. Because I do this, I get so much more in return than I could have ever imagined. Sometimes it comes from where I least expect it. And I feel very appreciated.
On May 22, 1965, I got the best gift ever. It fit perfectly (and still does). It still works. In fact, the more I use it, the stronger it gets. I almost lost it last year, so now it is even more precious. Forty-nine years ago, my mom and dad gave me life in the human form. (Granted, they purchased the gift nine months earlier… but I don’t want to get technical.)
Several years ago, a wise man taught me that the people who should be getting the card on my birthday were my parents. Since then I have acknowledged my parents every year at this time… sometimes with a card or letter, sometimes with a phone call or a shout out on Facebook. My dad isn’t on this plane anymore, so I have to believe that he “knows” I am grateful when I put it out there. My mom is still vibrant and healthy, so this year my birthday card to her is this blog post.
Mom, I am so grateful that you gave birth to me and raised me to become the person I am today. I am quite happy with my life, so you must have done a good job. I know that I was placed in this family because you had things to teach me. As I have in the past, I will continue to strive to become all I am meant to be. In the meantime, know that I love you and I a grateful for everything you have given me.
A friend who attends my spiritual center brought her mother with her for the first time today. At the end of our service, we all hold hands and sing It’s In Every One Of Us, and many folks get the whole Kum Ba Yah sway going. My daughter and her husband also brought a friend today, and he had the typical reaction that I’ve seen many have to holding hands and singing with strangers… it weirded him out a little. But back to my friend…
As we were leaving, I saw my friend and her mother. She was beaming. I asked her what she thought and she gave an atypical response to the one I often hear. She said it had been so long since she had held someone’s hand and she talked about how good it felt. She even talked about holding her daughter’s hand, which made me realize how fortunate I am that I have a “touchy-feely” family. My parents always hugged us and kissed us, as I do my children. Even my youngest son with mild Autism likes hugs and kisses from people he loves.
At the end of my arthritis class at the YMCA, the instructor has participants hold hands for a prayer. For arthritis sufferers, some of those folks (many of which are 20 years my senior) have a serious grip!
My in-laws are huggers and kissers, as is my husband. It is one of the good things he attributes to his ex-wife. My husband still holds my hand when we are in the car, or out in public… or when we’ve just watched a touching scene in a movie.
We know that babies can die from lack of physical attention. Our skin is our largest organ and full of nerve endings whose stimulation can give us a sense of well being. Have you ever been to a nursing home where many of the elderly have few visitors? The first thing many of them do is reach out and grab your hand.
Human touch is critically important. I encourage you to grab your spouse’s hand, hug your kids, or give your mom and dad a kiss. Obviously, you have to be discerning, but there are people out there in the world that could use a hug or a hand on their shoulder too.
The wide spectrum of mothering
To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food
stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we
mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and
disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t
mean to make this harder than it is
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of
motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who have aborted children – we remember them and you on this day
To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn
that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren, yet that dream is not to be – we
grieve with you
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
To those who placed children up for adoption – we commend you for your selflessness and
remember how you hold that child in your heart
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have
real warriors in our midst. We remember you.
By Amy Young (http://messymiddle.com)
A few months ago I posted about Why I Walk in the Fight for Air Walk. Here we are, one week away from the walk, and I am not as “ready” as I hoped I would be. My physical therapy has been discontinued, even though walking is still painful and sometimes quite difficult. This evening I went for a leisurely walk after dinner and now I am on the couch after taking 2 Ibuprofen, nursing a painful hip. I am determined not to let this keep me from the fundraiser to which I am committed. So rain or shine, whether I complete the walk or not (or whether I am even able to begin), I will be there to support my team. If you would like support me in raising money for the American Lung Association in the Fight for Air Walk click here.
Although I do say thank you to my husband, I don’t say it nearly enough. And it’s the little things for which I need to thank him. Tonight he put these lights up for me. It really wasn’t a little thing, but he made it seem like it was no big deal. The thing about it is that all I had to do was mention it and he was right on it.
I don’t give my husband “honey do” lists and he doesn’t expect dinner on the table at a certain time… or at all for that matter. My husband does what needs to be done, when it needs to be done. I love to cook and when I feel well enough, I do it. When I can’t, he does it. I am such a fortunate woman.
What prompted me to write this particular post is the fact that my husband has really had to do so much to help me for the past several months, and I haven’t felt like much of a partner. This weekend, we have had time together like we did before my accident. He did help me with some physical activity to help me strengthen my legs, but he sang my praises and made me feel like it was enjoyable for him… even though I know he could have done much more without me holding him back. For this, and many other reasons, I love him more than the day I married him.
He supports me in my writing… and creeps my blog. He picks up a drink for me when he stops at the convenience store. If he takes the car I drive somewhere, he fills up the gas tank before he brings it home. He notices when the air is low in my tires and fills them. My husband looks out for me.
I think if more people did little things for their spouses, there would be more happy couples and maybe even less divorce. I know my husband loves me when he brings me a piece of dark chocolate from his stash, pops popcorn for me (because I have tendency to burn it), and reminds the server “no croutons” on the salad.
I guess this post is a little reminder to myself to do more of those little things for my awesome husband. (He’ll agree he’s awesome, but that’s another post.) But for now, I am going to see if he’ll pop us some popcorn and watch a movie with me. My guess is, he will.
This is the post that I was so Frustrated about the other day. I have recreated it as best I could four days after I wrote it.
Yesterday, I accidentally hit the trunk button on my key fob when I stopped at the gas station. I didn’t realize what I had done until my trunk was flapping in the wind. As I pulled onto the shoulder of the busy road, a white work van pulled over more than 100 feet ahead of me. Then a tractor-trailer made a right-hand turn around me and whipped into the driveway just in front of me that I had not noticed until that moment. I was more than a little nervous.
Having been hit by a bus in November (on foot), I had no desire to now be hit by a car or truck. Because of my injuries, I don’t move very quickly so I was afraid to get out of the car on this two lane road without much of a shoulder. So I waited until there were no cars as far as the eye could see before I got out of my car, went around to the back, and shut the trunk. My heart was pounding the whole time, but no cars or trucks drove past until I was back in the driver’s seat of the car. Relief.
I turned on my left turn signal and then I noticed the van. It was still sitting there. As I prepared to get back onto the road, the white van made a u-turn back onto the road heading back in the direction from which we had both come. In that moment, I realized the man in the van had been looking out for me. I’m guessing he saw my trunk open near the gas station and was trying to let me know. He pulled over and watched to be sure I was okay. When he saw that I was, he went on his way.
I will probably never know who the man in the white van was. I will never be able to thank him personally. But I am grateful nonetheless. And I will thank him by looking out for someone else. And I encourage you to look out for each other. Help the woman in the grocery store who can’t reach the top shelf (that would be me), be sure the child between the clothing racks know where his mom is before you go on your way, and if you see a Taurus with the trunk open… I’ve hit the button on the key fob again!
I mentioned earlier this week, that I was hiring someone to help me with some clearing. Well today she started working on my son’s room. Ironically, the person that was helping me was someone I had met a few years ago and only today did I remember it. When I became reacquainted with this woman a few weeks ago, I kept saying that I knew her from somewhere but couldn’t place where. She was a teacher, but I knew we had never taught together, so I kept searching my memory banks but to no avail.
Today, I realized that I had been to her home for a Buddhist gathering with a mutual friend. It was such a relief to have finally solved the mystery and then I was able to enjoy getting to know her better. She shared her knowledge of Buddhism. I told her about my seeking. We talked about teaching and tutoring. And we cleared my son’s space.
It was fun to have someone nearly twenty years my senior, singing Elvis tunes, enthusiastically cleaning out a closet. She helped not only get a room in order, but she lifted my spirits as well. I love the way it feels when a transaction produces mutual benefit, like paying someone to do a job I cannot do. But I love it even more when I connect with another person and both of our lives are enriched in a variety of ways.
The primary focus of my blog is support. The support we get from others is what makes navigating our paths easier, if not more enjoyable. Today I want to acknowledge some of the help I’ve had this week as I travel my path. I am grateful that these people have helped me this week. By no means is this an all-inclusive list. It is simply a representation of how blessed I am.
To Karen, thank you for helping me get more connected with my spiritual community. To Laura, thank you for sharing your trials and triumphs with me, as well as breakfast. To Kimberly, thank you for sharing your daughter with us, and for taking the time to find out we have so much in common. To Laurie, thank you for your gift of music and your smiling face (and for helping me find what I needed a couple of weeks ago). To Antoinette, thank you for helping me find a piano teacher for Taylor. To Bailey, thank you for putting together my raised bed and planting my veggies. To Colette, thank you for helping me rephrase my self talk. To John, thank you for helping me find my inner warrior again. To Todd, thank you for lifting me up in prayer daily. To Aunt Andrea, thank you for your love… you’ll never know how much I admire you. To Kelly, thank you for your endless love and support… without you, life would be much harder and much less fun.
Today I encourage you to express gratitude for the help in your life. Express it to them, and express it here if you like.
On October 6, 2011, my father lost his battle with lung cancer. Soon after, my sister’s best friend lost her father to lung cancer as well. The following spring my sister and her friend suggested that we walk in the Fight for Air Walk to raise money for the American Lung Association. My step-father had also been living with COPD for some time so lung disease was profoundly affecting all of us “girls” (all in our 30’s & 40’s). I thought participating in the walk would help my healing process, so I volunteered to captain the team that we named “Daddies’ Girls.”
My step-father continues his struggle with lung disease and Daddies’ Girls continue to walk. This year will be especially important for me. Not only will I be raising money for a good cause and supporting family and friends affected by lung disease, but I will be walking after being in an accident last fall which left me unable to walk on my own for 2 1/2 months due to multiple fractures in my pelvis and a fractured hip. I also had 9 fractured ribs which made breathing difficult.
I am currently receiving physical therapy to regain the strength in my legs, and the mobility in my hip and knee (which was also broken and lacerated). I also had several other injuries that didn’t affect my ability to walk, but have required rest for the healing process. I began walking on my own a couple of weeks ago, and started focusing on this year’s Fight for Air Walk. I am looking forward to being out in the May sunshine, with my “girls” beside me, as I continue doing something that makes a difference.