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Joy and conditioning

Sunday, August 29, 2010

emoticon This is intensely personal & if you don't want to know... you've been warned to stop reading here.

I was married for nearly twenty-two years to a man who for all the good things I saw in him, could not stand me expressing joy. He didn't like it if I sang (my son to this day associates me singing with arguments in the house). This is NOT because I have a bad voice, people. I'm passable. And singing is a way to express the internal joy and happiness that just bubbles over at times!

If I came home bubbly and happy over something that happened at work, I was chastised for it. "How do you think I feel?" He was miserable and wanted me to be down there with him.

For years I conditioned myself to take the happiness I felt and "stuff it" away so I wouldn't make him upset. I pretended to not be happy unless I tested the waters of HIS emotional state first.

I ran away from the misery... my earlids shut down on him... I played video games. I read books. I went to work and was happy there. But when I went home, I shut down the happy.

Even now, with so much joy... I don't particularly want to phone him to rejoice over our son's homecoming because I know what will come next: "how do you think I feel? I haven't seen *son* in X years."

I never said the honest words to him: "Well, sorry. I love you still, despite being divorced for seven years, but I can't live with this attitude. You can sit there and feel sorry for yourself, but I cannot respect an attitude that doesn't TRY to improve your situation. You are alone because you wouldn't let those around you be happy independently of your control."

I wish he was happy. But that's one of the things I cannot change. It took me a very long time to come to that realization.

What I could change is this: I am no longer afraid to be happy myself.

Today, I am full of joy. I hold in my heart the recognition that not everyone in the world shares my joy today... that is the gift of my 22 years with ex. But this I now know: having personal joy does not mean you don't have compassion for others. It does not mean you are unkind. It just means that right now, in this moment, something has come for you that needs to be cherished, because if you ONLY feel the bad emotions, and never the good... you won't like yourself or anyone else. Joy is the reward after working through the pain... if you never accept the reward... where are you?

Today, I choose to feel this joy. Today I pray for the comfort of others who may be feeling sorrow, or pain, grief, or anger, or fear. But for me, today there is joy, and I intend to cherish it.

emoticon And that is a mental / emotional health victory.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDI571 8/30/2010 10:28PM

    I am so glad you have chosen JOY! As I shared on your other blog, we are only in control of our own emotions. As women, I think we try to make everyone happy, and it's not possible.

Thank you for sharing.

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REJ7777 8/30/2010 8:30PM

    First of all, I want to thank you for sharing such a personal part of yourself with us.

I'm so glad your ex was not able to destroy your capacity to be joyful! He wasn't able to pull you into the black hole of his self-imposed misery.

It makes me think of a quote I read that said something like: "We don't see the world as it is, but as we are."

So, rejoice! Why be miserable when you can be happy! Why see the glass as half empty rather than as half full? Don't worry, Be happy! (as the song says)

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KALIGIRL 8/30/2010 1:14PM

    Hooray for your victory! emoticon
I can relate to your feeling of joy as my dad was often not 'happy' unless he was miserable. I too needed relief and would tell him I was going to (and did) hang up the phone if the conversations went 'down'hill. He @ least laughed with us, so I have those wonderful memories.
Sad that you can't share your joy with someone you love, but you are showing him love by respecting who he is.


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PATRISNA 8/30/2010 7:48AM

    I have to agree with Tornado40. My poor MIL was like that. I do believe that we either choose happiness or misery. I am sure that feeling and acknowledging your joy is much healthier than "stuffing it away."

I think you are liberated. Pure Joy Oh what a feeling....




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ICANIKNOW 8/29/2010 9:02PM

  Wow, what an inspirational post. I too dealt with a man who couldn't/wouldn't be happy. I still wish he could find that happiness in life but have long accepted it won't be with me. All I can do is wish and pray for his well being. Nice reminder that I should do that today. (we've been divorced 18 years, and I haven't even seen him in 2+).
Thanks for sharing.


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NELLIEC 8/29/2010 6:34PM

    Yes, a victory.

How sad that he CHOOSES sadness.

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NELLIEC 8/29/2010 6:34PM

    Yes, a victory.

How sad that he CHOOSES sadness.

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KASEYCOFF 8/29/2010 6:06PM

    You said some good stuff there, Barb. People will often tell us we have the 'right' to cry, to feel sad, to get angry. How seldom we hear 'You have the right to be happy.' Even the Constitution only guarantees us we have a right to the PURSUIT of happiness. So you go right ahead and sing - when the cup runneth over with joy, shout it out loud! :-D

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WALKINGANNIE 8/29/2010 3:21PM

    You sound liberated!

You have a great deal of empathy and compassion - as well as a joyful spirit that wants to celebrate.

Enjoy your joy.

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ANONALEE 8/29/2010 10:39AM

    It is a sorrowful thing to try to mold yourself to someone else's moods, ideas and preferences. Sometimes we do that to temporarily soothe another person, but, as you unfortunately discovered, a lifetime of it is intolerable. I am glad for your joy and hope you're singing all week!



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LOVE_2_LAUGH 8/29/2010 10:36AM

    GREAT blog! I have sensed your joy for a long time now. You are such an inspiration.

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TORNADO40 8/29/2010 9:35AM

    There are some people that are going to be unhappy no matter what. Sometimes I think they actually enjoy being miserable. Enjoy your happiness...you deserve it. emoticon

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PEGGYJEAN13 8/29/2010 8:34AM

    I think you should say your honest words to him. What do you have to lose? It may be enough to make him look at things and see what his life of negatism has done to himself. Good for you for gettig past the unhappiness and finding the joy. Life has to be lonely for You have to feel sad for your ex though and you have to imagine of all the "ups" he has missed in his life(including a son and the joy of reunion).

Life is all about the joy after the pain in so many situations and that is what keeps us going.

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SUNNY332 8/29/2010 8:29AM

    Wow - Bless his heart. I can not imagine how it would be not to feel and celebrate JOY. It is one of those gifts from God that get us through the best of times and stays around to see us though the worst of times.

Someone once told me that JOY comes when we put Jesus First, Others Second, and Yourself last. I do believe JOY is what radiates back to us because of this and if people can not feel JOY then their hearts are cold like stone.

I will be praying for you x-husband that he comes to know Jesus and the wonderful love Jesus has for him.

Hugs, Sunny





Comment edited on: 8/29/2010 8:30:22 AM

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Airport hugs and early morning training

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The flight was only about 15 minutes late (says the mom who paced back and forth and fretted over whether daughter in law would make it in time!) The funniest thing that happened was that she DID arrive, right on time... and I went skipping down the stairs in my skinny jeans and polo shirt to greet her. She went right past me, kind of ignoring me or giving me the cold shoulder and I thought, "What have I done? Is she irritated that I horned in on the welcome at the airport? Did she want this moment alone with him?"

Anyway, I backed off... kind of feeling guilty. She ducked into the restroom, and when she came back out she did a double take and gave me a grin and a smile... she had NOT recognized me! Seriously. My own daughter in law didn't know me in skinny jeans at the airport! We had a bit of a giggle over it.

Sorry, no pictures... left the camera home out of privacy for the kids! He was the first passenger down the gate to us! We saw ACU's coming, and then I looked at how he moved... and gave her a little nod... "go get 'im girl" so they did the classic homecoming PDA to the approval of others who were waiting for their own loved ones. Mom got the second hug, as appropriate & it was SO worth it! And it was enough...

Waiting for his bags, he had one arm around his wife, and the other 'round his mom... then we packed his bags into her car and off they went and I floated home, completely at peace. Great sleeping night, then...

Pre-dawn workout one of week 2 of Couch to 5K program. Here's the deal: I wanted to go in a certain direction, thinking the sun would come up while I had some great views. I had barely turned for home when the workout time was over... so I kept on walking home, another 30 minutes! OK, so I kind of overshot the workout, but that's OK... remember, I was still kind of walking on air!

Oh, and I had a "close encounter" with wildlife: a skunk! Not too close, thank goodness, but we startled each other, and he (or she) lifted the tail... but we both were moving in opposite directions. It was right beside the running/biking trail!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDI571 8/30/2010 10:29PM

    Double joy, your son coming home, and not being recognized in skinny jeans. Woo Hoo! emoticon

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REJ7777 8/30/2010 8:08PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Praise God for your son's safe homecoming!!!

I love those mommy hugs too. emoticon

Your daughter-in-love didn't recognize you?!?!
How cool is that!!!
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I'm so happy for you! emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/30/2010 8:15:15 PM

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KALIGIRL 8/30/2010 1:06PM

    I am so glad he's home!

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SLENDERELLA61 8/29/2010 3:27PM

    How joyous! Great description! Love those skinny jeans -- she didn't even recogize you -- how cool?? You are very wise to cherish the moments. So happy for you.

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MNTWINSGAL 8/29/2010 1:50AM

    So happy that the homecoming finally happened today. It's been a long week for all of you! I know how thrilled you must be right about now!

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THIAGRAM 8/28/2010 10:34PM

  Wow! It's so wonderful to have him home and to get that long awaited for hug! Congrats for getting to wear the skinny jeans and surprizing your DIL! So wonderful that the skunk was not closer!

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BESTSUSIEYET 8/28/2010 5:55PM

    WOW -- so glad he's home! And too funny that dil didn't recognize you. ENJOY each and every minute together.

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VALERIEMAHA 8/28/2010 3:27PM

    Funny, Annie, I read this blog earlier and was overcome with joy...and couldn't think of a thing to say (that hadn't already been said well). So, yeah...

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Maha

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WALKINGANNIE 8/28/2010 3:15PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Sometimes there just aren't the words!

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Comment edited on: 8/28/2010 3:16:22 PM

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GOHUSKERS2 8/28/2010 12:24PM

    What a awesome experience!! And to think she didn't know you had to be the frosting on the cake....skinny jeans!!! You go Barb! Good for you!!!!

I hope every walk you take makes you as happy as that one did...minus the skunk, of course!! LOL

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PEGGYJEAN13 8/28/2010 11:56AM

    You had an exciting morning. I bet the skunk was as suprised as you were. I have learned on my runs to watch the time because you always have to go back! Good job.

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DHENDLER 8/28/2010 11:48AM

    Wonderful Barb ... Glad he's home safe ... and that you, in skinny jeans, are almost invisble to those who know you - in a good way !! emoticon

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ANONALEE 8/28/2010 10:55AM

    Enjoy your homecoming celebration tomorrow too! It sounds like a wonderful family moment.

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TRUE-NESS 8/28/2010 10:54AM

    That must have felt so great to be so completely transformed that your own daughter-in-law didn't recognize you emoticon. What a thrill! LOL Congrats on having your son home. Enjoy the days to come.

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DEBRITA01 8/28/2010 9:58AM

    Glad your homecoming was so sweet. Kudos to you for respecting the couple and their need for some privacy...you're a thoughtful and loving mom.

Your son is home safe and sound...God really does answer prayers...

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SUNNY332 8/28/2010 9:18AM

    Awesome. So glad he is home.

What a wonderful day!!!!

Enjoy every minute.

Sunny

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 8/28/2010 9:11AM

    Your account of the homecoming made me feel warm and mushy all over. SO very happy for you and your DIL and son and their children. God didn't bless us with families to have them split apart. But when duty calls, it's nice to know there are a lot of stand-up men and women who will make the sacrifice. Please thank him for me.


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PENNYAN45 8/28/2010 8:49AM

    Thanks for sharing this scene with us. I was delighted to be there and experience it with you.

How TERRIFIC that your daughter-in-law didn't recognize you!! I'll bet your son also had comments about how great you look.

So, Mom, I am so very happy for you.

Hugs,

PennyAn

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JHADZHIA 8/28/2010 8:30AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I LOVE this feel good blog!! Just happy, happy, happy news all around!!
Well done with your weight loss, and enjoy this fabulous weekend you will have!!

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I was worthless at work and took the rest of the day off!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The phone rang, per my co-worker, at 8:02 a.m. Son was in a great mood. His flight gets in to the LOCAL airport (don't have to drive even the hour to the next nearest one) after the work day... BUT I was bouncing off the walls. So I sent an "outage" note and came home, where I hopped on the treadmill to work off some of the springs.

Oh, and in the background, I heard another "Hi, mom!" Apparently some of his buddies have adopted me, too. How cute is that!?

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY332 8/27/2010 9:20PM

    Awesome. I am so happy for all of you. I can't wait to see the reunion photos.

Where does he go from here?

Sunny

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 8/27/2010 7:54PM

    I am so happy for you. Have a great reunion with your son!

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MSLZZY 8/27/2010 3:14PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonHow exciting!

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PEGGYJEAN13 8/27/2010 2:07PM

    I'm excited for you just reading about it! I love the "hi,mom" too when you hear it. All of them are happy to have some "family" contact.

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NELLIEC 8/27/2010 1:44PM

    emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 8/27/2010 1:23PM

    Are you ONEKIDANDHISBUDDIESMOM now?

Great news Barb!

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KALIGIRL 8/27/2010 1:05PM

    Way cute!
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THIAGRAM 8/27/2010 12:24PM

  Now that's a wonderful reason to take the rest of the day off! Hooray!

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PATRISNA 8/27/2010 12:15PM

    That is cute and very cool.

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Insomnia - this is THE day! I hope.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Got a phone call from my son last night as I was getting ready for bed. He says if all goes well, he'll be out of that base by 10 a.m. today. He promises he WILL get home today, whatever airport he has to fly to. I told him and his wife the same thing: I won't horn in on their homecoming but I'm anxious for that mom hug. He got real quiet and said "gotta go"... methinks there is a lot of emotion attached to coming home.

So I woke up at 3:09 a.m. and tried laying back down but to no avail. The mind is running. I'm up, I'm dressed. I really want that first hug. No reason to neglect self-care... can't will it to happen faster.

So, slow down, have a good breakfast, walk a bit before work, and wait for the news about flights, which will come some time after 8 a.m. emoticon

Edited to add:
So, what to do while waiting: I chopped veggies. And my mind started doing this little thing it does sometimes (as some of you already know):

"When the going gets tough..." my Mother's Day card starts out. My brain took it to ... "the tough chop onions!" This spun from my son's quick phone exit last night. The tough can't show their emotions, or they'll crack. If you chop onions, the tears can be blamed on chemistry! emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 8/27/2010 3:15PM

    It is understandable not to be able to sleep for all the excitement! I am so happy for you. Have a great and glorious
homecoming! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PEGGYJEAN13 8/27/2010 2:09PM

    Don't be ashamed of the tears! They are tears of joy and okay for anyone at anytime. I am so happy for you all.

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LADYBIRD82 8/27/2010 8:58AM

    Theres no hug like a mom's hug. emoticon

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DHENDLER 8/27/2010 8:50AM

    HUG AWAY!!!!! emoticon

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WISEONE68 8/27/2010 8:44AM

    I would be the same with the "mom hug" and I probably would never let go!!!!!!!! emoticon
Have a wonderful day!!

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SUNNY332 8/27/2010 8:34AM

    Awe - onion chopping to cover the tears.

Barb, it is quiet ok to shed some tears. We all do when it comes to our kids. This time they are tears of joy.

Do keep us posted. I will be thinking of you today.

Sunny emoticon Hooah!

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KALIGIRL 8/27/2010 8:12AM

    Wonderful news and what a SUPERB way to handle the tension - here's to the tough chopping onions!

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APRILLSCOTT 8/27/2010 7:12AM

    emoticon I know you are happy! Hope you enjoy that hug! Wish I was a fly on the wall emoticon Have a great time!

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CONCHA77 8/27/2010 7:00AM

    Will be thinking of you today. Give him a big hug for us also,
Happy he will be home, Connie emoticon

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JHADZHIA 8/27/2010 6:53AM

    So glad your son is coming home. Good for you taking care of yourself in spite of the anxiety.. Hope you get those hugs soon.

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PATRISNA 8/27/2010 6:04AM

    Wonderful news! I am so happy he is back. I got tears in my eyes reading this. Give him two hugs. One is for me.

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Do one thing

Thursday, August 26, 2010

emoticon All right, I just put workout 3 of week one of Couch to 5K "in the bag" this morning. I feel fantastic. Those endorphins are a-bubbling! I'm making this commitment as publicly as I can: my work-out tick-marks are being posted in my office, on my FaceBook status, and of course here where I have my Spark buddies to cheer me along.

Keeping a promise to yourself in incredibly energizing! I feel it when I do my little ten minute Spark strength sessions... two sets of crunches. Not much time... but I DID IT! emoticon And then I'm energized for the next challenge.

One of my sisters is a naturally neat person (I'm a messie). She tells me she gets her house and yard in order using a "do one thing" philosophy. This works for nutrition and exercise, too. If I do ONE thing, like drinking my water... emoticon it energizes me to make healthier choices in my food... emoticon which in turn energizes me to take that walk on my break instead of skipping it emoticon. A chain reaction that is featured in the book The Spark... the cross over effect.

So here's to living our lives TODAY (one day), in the PRESENT (mindfully), doing ONE THING, to KEEP A PROMISE to ourselves. We are worth it!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRITA01 8/26/2010 11:18PM

    Great blog and reminder...we can all do "one thing". Breaking it down in small steps makes it seem more manageable. You've got me thinking now...thanks!

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REJ7777 8/26/2010 9:16PM

    emoticon One choice and one action at a time! emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 8/26/2010 11:58AM

    And this blog is just one more example of why you've been chosen to be a SP Motivator. Great blog, Barb!

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SROUS1340 8/26/2010 9:43AM

    emoticon
The "do one thing" rule is what I use when I'm feeling overwhelmed. In fact, I am starting with "one thing" today in my job search. Good blog!

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ANDI571 8/26/2010 9:34AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUDITHANNIE 8/26/2010 9:24AM

    emoticon emoticon

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LIBRATAH 8/26/2010 8:47AM

    Great advice. emoticon

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KALIGIRL 8/26/2010 8:28AM

    " living our lives TODAY (one day), in the PRESENT (mindfully), doing ONE THING, to KEEP A PROMISE to ourselves"
PERFECT!!!!
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PS - soon you'll be the energy bunny!
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SUNNY332 8/26/2010 8:26AM

    emoticon you are doing GREAT!

Hugs, Sunny

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SLENDERELLA61 8/26/2010 7:59AM

    Congrats on your progress toward your goal! The C25K is a worthy goal, indeed. Your determination is admirable.

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DTCATSPARK 8/26/2010 7:32AM

    Good blog, very visual!

Keep it up!

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ANASONIC 8/26/2010 7:31AM

    I like this mantra "Do one thing"! You're right it will work for all aspects in life. Thanks for passing it on!! emoticon

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