I’ve always been aware that “change” is a part of life. Life changes and we can either roll with it or not. The gradual change is the different “chapters” in our lives, starting with childhood, young adult, adult, mature adult, and then there’s the elderly that has so much life experience to share. I have noticed my passions have changed with my chapters so far, and its cool to look back and revisit. Continue reading
For most of my life I have been one of those people who says what they mean. Sometimes I considered what other people would think or say and sometimes I did not. It was no secret if I did not like you because I was comfortable letting you know that I didn’t. The truth was you didn’t like me either so why pretend? What is interesting about my demeanor is that I was/am a very kind, open and loving person. I just didn’t like to pretend everything was good when it clearly was not. Unfortunately, an “open” policy is not the best or easiest way to get through life.
After my girls were born I started working on making my internal person become more in line with my exterior shell. I no longer say it like I really want too (oh I do in my head), but instead I make calculated decision about what I say, when I say it and to whom. The “new” me is due to many hours in counseling and the help of some amazing books in addition due to maturity thanks to growing older. I have had to process some ugly things from my past and getting rid of those skeletons has really helped mellow me out.
With my husband I tend to be the voice of reason. I’ll offer him some advice and he’ll be quiet. He will often admit that my perspective or advice is sound, but that he will choose not to follow it. The other night I told him he had a choice, you can do this or you can do that. He admitted that he knew he had a choice. I’m making progress on him, but don’t let him know that. The other day he actually repeated something I said to his father. It was all I could do not to point out that it was the same advice I had given him, nah, better to let him think he came up with them all on his own.
Right now I do not feel like the voice of reason because I am very upset about something and I ranted to my husband; something I have not done in months. He laughed when I noted that I know better than to rant and to let the matter upset me. Yet, he is upset about the same thing too so he thinks my rant is on point and totally funny.
I have an idealistic expectation to always be the voice of reason. I feel like I should not let anything bother me. As we all know, that would be unrealistic because we are all way too emotionally to reason through everything. Truly for the past 6 -12 months have been able to process and let go of issues that might have otherwise upset me. So I ask myself, why does this issue bother me so much? Why can’t I just let it go? We’ll the truth is, I can. I just have to choose to do so.
We all have a choice. I wish other people could see they have choices too. Not everyone wants to accept or embrace the choices in front of them. Staying in victim mode or continuing the conflict does not give you real power, only perceived power. If only they knew the real power is in the choice to let go, they would be so much happier. And I feel better now too since I have made the decision to move on and not let this issue bother me any more.
by Kelly Damron
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Photo graciously provided by SimonDeanMedia, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved
What kind of stories do you tell yourself each day or each week? Right now I am reading a book called Loving What Is by Byron Katie. A friend of mine gave me a copy of the book about 5 years ago and I put it on my shelf where it has been collecting dust. Had I bothered to pick up this book a few years ago it could have saved me a lot of money that was otherwise spent for therapy.
In Loving What Is, Byron Katie has you examine the stories you tell yourself. It has changed the way I think about my decisions, my relationships and my life. For example, one of the stories I have been telling myself for years is that it is my responsibility to make life easy for my husband. Since he allows me to stay at home with our children I felt the least I could do was make sure all of the chores were completed so that he could relax and spend time with our girls when he is home. There were times where I felt like my hubby was bored because there was nothing for him to do. After reading Byron Katie’s book, I have come to realize that I do the chores because it makes me feel worthy, not because it is expected by my husband.
Another realization I had was my story about how my husband wasn’t happy that I didn’t work full-time. For years he has told me that he wants me to do what I want to do and what makes me happy. His story is always the same, but I didn’t believe him and would tell others that he wanted me to work full-time. Instead, it was my story. I was the one who thought I should be making more money. It was my story that kept telling me that I wasn’t contributing enough of the family funds. Before children I defined myself by my career and I have been hanging onto that definition even though it no longer serves me.
This book has me thinking about many different stories in my life. Just this weekend my hubby asked me if I had talked to my mom lately. I updated him on her busy life and our recent conversations. I went on to explain to him that just 6 months ago I might have taken offense to my mom needing to get off the phone, but today I realize she is busy and short conversations are more about time and not about the state of our relationship. I am actually very confident in my current relationship with my mother, which is wonderful.
And I am amazed how evolved I have become. A large part of my personal growth is due to lots of hours in counseling, but recently a good portion of how I process my relationships is due to this book. Don’t have a copy? Find it at Amazon.com: Loving What Is.
by Kelly Damron
Photo graciously provided through the Fair Use Doctrine, some rights reserved
Last week we traveled to Durango, CO to spend a week in the mountains with my husband’s family. This is the fourth year we have vacationed with the in-laws for 1 week during the summer. It is a good opportunity for our children to spend some quality time with the grandparents. We travel to a neutral place and it feels more vacation like than our normal visits to each others houses.
Both of my parents live in Colorado and Dave’s parents were gracious enough to allow them to come visit for a couple of days. My father-in-law really likes my Dad so my Dad’s visit went okay. My Dad was only with us for about 24 hours, but at least he was there even though it was for a short time. My mom and the in-laws have a bit of a history so it is often tense when everyone is together, especially because she has a close relationship with the grandkids. I have to admit I like holidays and birthdays better when they are with one set of grandparents; much less stressful.
Since this was one of the few times that all four grandparents were all together I took the opportunity to take a few photos. I also got a few good shots of my parents with the grandkids, both together and separately since they are no longer married. I don’t recall my husband getting pictures of his parent’s with the grandchildren. I’m hoping he did, but I haven’t reviewed the vacation pictures yet.
Sometimes the family vacations are as stressful as they are fun. My mom and I decided to spend some time together – just the two of us – which is something we have not done in a long time. We had a blast. We both agreed we want to do more of this in the future. So, when we travel to Colorado to see my parents this fall I am going to leave the kids at home with their dad and spend some time with my mom. He leaves me all of the time with his family to go on bike rides during our family vacations, so it is payback time!
While the all family vacation is a good opportunity for everyone to spend quality time together , it may have been a little too much for us, or maybe just me, this year. Having my parents join us for a couple of days may have changed the dynamics as well as the atmosphere. And the bike ride by my husband when my parent’s were there wasn’t such a great idea either.
I’m still recovering from the vacation this year. I’m not so sure I want to do it again. Yet, I know it is a good thing to do for my children and for the grandparents…
by Kelly Damron
Photo graciously provided by Old Shoe Woman, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved
If I drank, Father’s Day is definitely a day I would spend in a bar, drowning my every emotion. You see, I’m a stepfather. And being the stepdad on Father’s Day is like being the Vice President on Inauguration Day – They say nice things about you, but really, everyone’s there to see the other guy.
I’m glad the kids know their father and that they are part of his life and he is part of theirs. He’s certainly a fine father, and while he makes choices that I find distressing, he’s not a felon or anything. Their father is just not overly-focused on the things I care about, like the kids’ feelings or their education or their morality or their self-image.
So I end up the primary caregiver. I’m the one who hassles them about studying. I’m the one who pleads with them to be nice. I’m the one who listens to their stories about their friends or their hobbies or their dreams.
There’s nothing else I’d rather do, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.
And they dig me, no question. They love me. They care about me. They respect me. And every day I’m with them is a treasure.
And then there’s Father’s Day. *His* day.
And what can I do but support him. I feel morally obligated to talk him up, to remind the kids that *his* day is soon approaching and let’s go get him a present and let’s stop here and pick out a card and maybe this year you should write him a nice note, telling him how much you love him.
But it’s only one day, and it’s ceremonial, and it’s fair. So I look at their pictures and I remember their laughter and I thank my wife for having the babies. And I remember that I’ll see them tomorrow.
by Stu Mark
Photo graciously provided by Cali2Okie, through a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved