The last month has yielded a few new experiences for me. One of them being asked to participate in the Housewives of Rural America blog which ultimately landed me on the “Freshly Pressed” page of WordPress.com (an exciting moment!). Being involved with this awesome group of gals has also brought back memories of who I was 30 some years ago. You see, I view myself as the “older, wiser woman” in this group. I’m not so sure that I like the hard reality that I’m not as young as my mind has me believing that I am. Jim’s dad once said something that I now understand a whole lot better, “Sometimes I have to stop and remember that I am 80 years old”. I can honestly say, I understand! My mind wants to trick me into thinking that I’m this 30-year-old person rather than nearly 52. Does this make sense? I honestly don’t feel as old as I am (until there’s a little pain here or there).
So, with each story that is posted on the Housewives page, I re-live the memory of the same experiences so many years ago…dating, wedding plans, the BIG event, changing my name, pregnancy, birth, houses, families…life. So, I’ve been thinking about some of my older, wiser thoughts and experiences and have decided to share a few with my new, much younger friends. These are in no order of importance, (except the first one) and are strictly my own as-I-get-older-thoughts and opinions.
Faith in God - This is a truth that has taken all 51 years to understand at the level I do right now. I still have so far to go. I didn’t grow up in the church. I had a few experiences of being in a church but my knowledge of who God is didn’t come until much later in life. As a matter of fact, I remember it was my first Mother’s Day. Jim’s mom gave me a card with $5 in it. I decided I was going to buy a Bible with that $5. I opened that Bible to the Book of John and my life was forever changed. What I’ve found out with this experience is that your walk is not always going to be the same as everyone else’s. And you can’t force anyone to walk beside you on this journey. However, my faith and belief in God has gotten me through so many really tough times. Times that all I could do is throw up my arms and literally beg Him to take care of the problem because I just couldn’t do it anymore. After that point, the peace of knowing I didn’t have to figure things out or try to fix the problem anymore was incredible. And, guess what? Things usually happened the way they were supposed to because it was His will – not mine. Amazing things have happened in my life and I can only give credit to these amazing blessings to God.There is NO OTHER way the doors could have been opened. So, save the trouble of getting to the point where you have to throw up your arms and just give it to Him from the get-go!
Don’t expect change – I have been waiting for 31 years for dishes to load themselves into the dishwasher. Really? How much harder would it be to open the door of the dishwasher and put that dirty coffee cup there instead of in the sink? No amount of “suggesting” has gotten this issue taken care of. The piles of clothing, hats and “stuff” just don’t put themselves away, either. I TRY not to let this pull me down but sometimes those piles get the best of me and I become a little witchy. Best thing to do is not say a word and one day, just throw it all in a box and start stacking boxes in the basement. Eventually (maybe), he’ll be looking for that one particular pair of gloves and you’ll know right where to find them.
Be prepared to have your heart ripped out of your chest and stomped on at least 16,000 times - This may be a tough one to understand until you’ve had teenagers. Growing up is tough – let alone having to have parents there all the time, too. I have said this a thousand times (I know my kids have heard it and hopefully don’t hate me too much). It’s so true! Being a mom is the toughest job you’ll ever have…period. When your kids are babies, you’ve got all those baby issues. Then they grow up and you have toddler issues and baby issues all at the same time. And then, before you’re even aware of it and have become prepared, your kids are teenagers. It’s at this time you just might feel that heart of yours being ripped out of your chest and stomped on. Really? Really! It’s because you’ve put so much time, effort and soul into these miniature humans expecting them to be and do what you’ve taught them and then something happens. They begin to think on their own. But, because they are human and they do some really dumb things sometimes, it’s the mom’s heart that will hurt the most. My advice? Scrape that heart up off the floor, let some time go by and sooner or later they will redeem themselves. And, it may be at this time you’ll want to refer to the first paragraph of this listing (throw your arms up). Would I do it all over again if I had the chance? ABSOLUTELY!
A clean house is overrated - Ok, so this is how backwards I am. When we first got married, we lived in a one-bedroom apartment and worked EVERY day. When Saturday rolled around, whether our apartment needed it or not, I cleaned. Why? Because I guess I thought it was the thing that I should do. Now? Well, this house might get cleaned if the amount of hair on the bathroom floor could make a wig OR if the dirt that finds its way to a corner begins to pile up. Who really cares? We don’t live in filth (even if the mental picture I just painted says so) but we don’t live in a sterile environment either. Life is just too short to be thinking a clean house is a must! When the kids were little, I used to stress myself over the toys that were on the floor at the end of the day. By the time #4 rolled around, we just sort of kicked the toys to a corner and called it good. Again, life is just too short to spend time on cleaning. Besides, I HATE dusting anyways.
Take time - Take every day – every minute – every second – you are given with someone and really soak it up. One day, you’ll look back on these early days and wish you could go back just for even five minutes. I sometimes wish that life hadn’t taken hold of me at the time and would have just allowed me to enjoy those moments. I think back to the days I took for granted that my Grandpa and Grandma were there. I never really thought about them NOT being there. I wish I could go back and hold one of my babies again – just to pick them up and smell that smell and feel the love they so willingly gave. I wish I had listened…REALLY listened to that story that one of my girls felt they needed to tell me about. Listen, rather than being so consumed with what I was doing. I wish I could go back to that particular rock we sat on sharing what we thought our future would be like. And those feelings…oh those feelings of being madly in love!
Moms can’t get sick - Not much I can add to this one. Pretty self-explanatory. God has created some sort of mom resistance to all (or most) of those bugs out there. If you do get sick, call the Grandma to come help with the troops!
Sometimes, you just can’t be Betty Crocker - See these bananas? Well, they’ll probably lay here on the counter until they’re so black you wouldn’t even want to pick them up. Not really, but close. Oh…but don’t throw them away yet – I may want to make some banana bread. Don’t feel like you HAVE to be someone you’re not – even though the Facebook friends and acquaintances make you feel like a failure. Not everyone LOVES to cook. And, believe me, after 31 years of cooking, the ideas of “what’s for supper” just don’t come as readily as they used to. I remember one of my greatest fears as a new bride was, “what if I can’t think of something to make for supper”. Well, I’ve given him, let’s say a good 30 years before I’ve had to worry about that one.
Use moisturizer every day…and don’t forget your neck - My very best friend while growing up had a grandma whose face was wrinkle-free. I remember asking her (my friend) what her grandma used to stay so wrinkle-free. Her grandma said she washed her face with water only and always used the pink moisturizer. And, always make sure to put it on your neck. I hope this piece of advice works! Give me a few more years and we’ll see if it does.
Don’t try to be Super Woman - When we were brand new parents, I was also working full-time. My heart’s desire and what I knew I wanted more than anything in this world was to be a mom – and that’s all. I remember wishing that Jamie just wouldn’t take a bottle when my maternity leave was up and I would HAVE to stay home. Not so. I had the world’s best babysitter but God had placed in my heart a burning desire to be home with my kids. I tried to be that super woman and do everything but ended up getting sick instead. I no longer have a working thyroid because of the amount of stress I put myself through trying to do what the world said I should. After Jenna was born, I was able to stay home with my kids. I will never regret that decision. I’m not saying it’s for everyone but for me, I didn’t belong anywhere but home with my kids. Don’t fight what God intends you to be. He’s created you for a specific purpose and it does you no good to fight it! In the end, He will have his way with you so you may as well resign to it early in life. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing or where you’re at, it’s probably the wrong place to be!
Save some money every month - even if it’s only $25 per month! Put some of that hard-earned money into a savings account for a rainy day. You’ll be glad you did it while you’re young. Believe me, I know now and wish I had. You’ll never miss it.
The negative voices are the loudest – This is one I struggle with yet to this day! Although the word “impossible” is not in my vocabulary, the voices want to make be believe otherwise. Those voices that say I’m not who I should be – not skinny enough, not fast enough, not organized enough, not a good mom, not a good wife, etc. are there. These voices can only be silenced by the The One who created you to be the person you are. You’re here now for a reason and you are who you are because that’s who He intended you to be. You’re perfect just the way you are! When those voices start screaming, I have to remind myself they are only silenced by remembering they don’t speak the truth. The Voice of Truth would never say those things. The Voice of Truth has a much better story to tell me.
The negative voices keep reminding me that I have failed because I didn’t get this garden cleaned this fall. “You just didn’t work hard enough”. Well, Mr. Liar, I did the best I could and with the time I had and it will be ok. So what if it doesn’t get done until next spring? The snow will cover it all up soon anyways”.
I hope my younger friends can take a few of these experiences and learn from them. My older friends used to tell me the years fly by faster as we age. I used to scrunch up my nose and think, “yeah, right”. Well, girlies, they really do! It’s not just an old wives tale. Ten years pass with the blink of an eye!
I will leave you with one final thought. This comes from one of my dearest, older and wiser friend (and I’m sure she would be thrilled to know that I listened when she told me this), “Don’t pray for patience…pray for wisdom”. Most of you will probably understand what I mean by this. If you don’t, let me know and I’ll explain. Please keep sharing those “new love” and “take-on-the-world” experiences! They make me remember what those days used to be like.