My Babies

My Babies

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Reflection

I was doing my daughter’s hair on a weekend morning and like usual, this includes being serenaded by my IPod playlist titled, “My Favs” – one my children have no option but to be exposed on a highly consistent basis.   I went through the process of making my daughter’s hair to her specification; most 8-year-olds still want to feel like a princess, although they will completely deny it at this age.

As we stood there in the mirror, me performing my hair dresser duties and my daughter searching through my make-up bag the song What Love Really Means, began to play.  Without hesitation we both started to sing.  As my little lady sang the words, “Who will love for me, not for what I have or what I will become,” the message became eerily haunting with this pronunciation coming from a sweet young angelic voice of my child.

Here was my daughter who I knew I loved so much I would give my own life to protect hers, and I couldn’t imagine someone not loving her. Someone not seeing her as I did, someone not respecting her, and hoping that every day I showed her as the song is titled, what love really means.

Everyone whether they are 8 or 80-years-old seeks to be loved for who they truly are.  It is human-nature to want to be accepted, nurtured and loved.  As Mother Teresa so rightfully stated, “The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.”  Research shows that in orphanages, children suffer and even die from what is called failure to thrive, the number one cause being simply the lack of touch, stimulation and love.    

Whether it is by a spouse, a family member, or friends love is something every soul on this Earth seeks to obtain. Often times I believe we seek it so much; we are willing to accept illusions of it and provide ourselves rationale to the justification.

I learned this recently from being back in the nightmare of the dating scene, this time in the mid-single stage where we all bring baggage and issues to bear.  I accepted a date with an individual that I soon learned was very disrespectful to women, yet I put up with his behavior longer than necessary.  It was only after a particular bad exchange through a text where the suitor demanded what I wear on our first date that I stopped.

I received this text as I was going through the nightly routine of getting my children ready for bed.  As they ran around; one brushing her teeth, the other helping her brother put the books away we had just read, I realized something profound.  I would never want my daughters to be talked to/treated that way by a man, nor would I want my son to treat a woman that way – why was it okay for me?

It was such a simple answer, yet one I failed to recognize.  The date was cancelled and I have discovered a new gate that I will use in any future courtship.  I will never be with someone who would not treat me with the same respect and admiration I expect for my children.

As the song continued, I looked at our reflection in the mirror and thought back to a year ago, when because of the same small voice of my daughter, I first started this blog –a time when the turmoil I was experiencing first drove me to my keyboard.  It has been nearly a year and a half since I started this journey of separation, divorce and transitioning to a single-parent household.    

In comparison to my world then, my life is so different in a positive way.  Although there are still bumps along the road in my journey, I am happy and at peace with my new life.  I have started to heal, to forgive not only others, but myself as well.  And as this song communicates, I know that there are at least three little hearts and God that love me for me. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day

I knew this holiday weekend was going to be cut short as I needed to fly out today in order to support the last launch of the Space Shuttle. In fact with a launch of another rocket earlier in the week, I was afraid I might miss this weekend with my little trio all together.  Luckily all the technical and weather constraints were within requirements, we launched, and I was able to get home to my babies and plan a fun-filled weekend!

We started the adventure by picking out a line-up of movies to end each night with, ensured we had an adequate stock of popcorn and brain stormed what activities we wanted to do.

The first night we decided to go out to eat. Of course their first restaurant of choice was McDonalds; however, I talked them into going to the “diving place” also known as the Mayan – but due to poor navigation, we drove pass Classic Skate, a place my children were recently introduced to. 

My Trio chimed in with the “pleeeeease,” complete with big glossy cute eyes. My daughter even tried the, I’ll trade for doing extra chores routine.  I held strong. I knew they loved the diving place too, plus Mexican food sounded so good to me – after my 3-year-old started to cry, I broke.  For the first time in decades, I found myself with a pair of roller skates strapped to my feet – laughing right along with my crew as we skated in circles.

The weekend progressed with homemade breakfast every morning, followed by a plan of attack for the day and watching the scheduled movie each night. Hanging with my children without any distraction was incredible – I discover something profound within each of them. 

My oldest daughter is becoming very quick-witted, with most of her sarcasm seems to be directed at me – I found myself laughing at her flood of comments.  As I pulled through a parking spot for ease of leaving, she said, “fake backing again.”  The girl knows I can’t reverse into the parking spot for the life of me. When we were watching one of the movies that had a touching part, she stated to her siblings, “And mom will start crying right….now.”  And they all looked on queue to see me wiping my eyes.

I learned my sweet Belle is very protective of her siblings. I always knew Belle had a big heart, but had no idea she would stand up so bravely to protect her siblings. I watched her put herself between what she thought was an approaching threat to her little brother, shielding him. She even defended her older sister, which was more of a shock since at times they can be best of friends, but they also have mastered the art of sibling civil war.

My new found insight to my little man came yesterday morning when he came into my room to inform me that the sun was awake.  He crawled into bed with me and asked, “are you staying home today.”  When I answered “yes!,”’ he replied excitedly, “Oh thank you Mom!” As I was a getting ready to leave today he started to unpack my suitcase and begged me not to go.  I realized he recognizes when I am gone and longs for me to be home, something I thought was not as noticeable to someone so young.

So with this weekend filled with roller skating, a fake barbeque (I don’t have a grill), swimming, picnic, jumping on the tramp to music, chalk drawings on the patio, amusement park, and fireworks I learned something about me – I am happy.

I thought back to a year ago, and how dramatically different my life was then – in fact, I find it ironic the drastic comparison.  So many negative memories and emotions are fading now, hearts are healing, and a once tense relationship between my ex and I has began to soften. The effects of these changes are also noticeable in my Trio, they are more at ease and back experiencing life as they should, as children unburden by adult cares.

As I watched my children’s faces light-up under the glow of our fireworks, I realized Independence Day has a new meaning in my life.  One of peace, love, joy and especially hope for an amazing future with the most incredible children God has entrusted to me.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Broken not Defeated

Thanks to a faulty switchbox in Space Shuttle Endeavour that scrubbed Friday’s launch, I had a work-free day in Florida where I was able to get in another round of reflection; this time on Mother Nature’s front porch of Cocoa Beach overlooking the ocean.   

So in a rare moment of complete alone time I sat on the beach and began my self-evaluation. I found that being surrounded by the sounds of the ocean waves, children playing, even the festive Spanish music coming from a family’s boom-box nearby was the perfect setting to reflect.

As I looked at the calm sea with it shallow waves, I knew that given the right conditions that can change. Those innocent waves can become one of the most powerful forms of destruction on this planet, in fact scars and remnants from past hurricanes can still be seen when you look around this area.  I thought about past storms that have hit the country with deadly results, such as Katrina, and I wondered why some people chose not to heed the warnings.  

I started making a mental list of maybe why some people did not flee when they had the chance.  Maybe they were too proud, they thought they were wiser than those predicting the storm, or they felt they could protect themselves.  They might have been physically unable, didn’t feel they had anywhere to go, they chose not to listen to their instincts or even worst they were afraid.  I could not imagine the justification when it is dealing with your life – or can I?

Like a swelling wave I turned those judgments inward, why do I struggle with listening to my instincts – one of my biggest faults.  There have been so many occasions in my life when I presented similar rational as I was making major life decisions – I can overcome, it’s not that bad, I don’t need to run, I am smarter than those who have informed me of the potential dangers, I am the one in charge.   

The problem is when I do not listen and override those instincts with justifications, I get hurt and I now have the potential of also hurting three little hearts who do not deserve that pain.  Like hurricane scars on the coastline, those storms have the potential to do permanent damage, although it may not be noticeable to the novice.  The hardest scars to heal are ones you can’t see or worst the ones we try to hide.

I know I am not alone in this painful self-wounding process of ignoring what needs to be done versus what is we know is right.  I have many friends who struggle down the same path only to watch them succumb to becoming a victim of their choices.  Unfortunately this happens often with women; we guide our choices by our heart and are often willing to overlook our instincts in hopes of finding that happy ending we all seek. 

These beautiful bright women make choices to be with people just to fill a void. Some enable themselves to be at the mercy and control of another out of pure fear, while I know some dear friends trade their happiness for not wanting to hurt another.  These women, like me at one time, hide in the shadows, afraid others may see their failures and learn they are truly broken. 

During the one of darkest time in my divorce last summer, when I could no longer hide what was happening in my house, a major thunderstorm hit.  My sister and I were woken by the sounds of the wind, rain, lighting and resulting thunder.  We watched out the window trying what to decide to do, when we saw it – the tree in my front yard had been broke in half from the fierceness of the storm. 

The next morning when the sun rose and I surveyed damage, the tree was so broken, I thought it was a total loss – the tears fell.  Because of the turmoil I was going through, I felt like that tree was a reflection of myself and I questioned if I would emotional survive the storm – I was broken and had almost lost all hope.

A few weeks later I noticed the tiny thin limb growing from the tall brown stump with buds of leaves, and by the last fall five or six branches and leaves adorned the scared tree – hope started to fill my soul. Now every time I sit on my front porch and looked at the tree it is a reminder of that I can overcome.

I am learning to listen to my instincts, to listen those friends and family who see the storm approaching and to learn how to control fear instead of letting it control me. I have made decisions I knew were right; and felt empowered when later they were later validated, but I still have a long way to go.

So although I know I am broken and I cannot hide it; I also know I can overcome and be stronger – even if it means growing one small branch at a time.