The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Kids …

ImageI have always told my over-worked husband that the greatest gift you can give your kids in your time.  I can completely understand his desire to relax, watch TV or work in the yard when he isn’t working but I always tell him that he has to make time to just be with the girls.  He agrees but often times there is very little follow through on his part.  This past week, I really don’t know what got him to this point, but he has finally starting drinking the Kool-aid.

He came home a few days ago and told me that he was going to cut his hours and add another evening off during the week to just be here with us.  While I am thrilled with his change of heart, that means I have another night where I have to be good! LOL

In all honesty, I really am over the moon with his realization.  I have a close friend from high school who learned this lesson too late and his two oldest children tolerate his presence at best.  Yet, he does get kudos for making more of an effort with their youngest and being more involved in her life.  Unfortunately, I don’t think he will ever be able to fix the damage with the older two but, he does deserve applause for what he is attempting to do with his youngest.

Thankfully The Hub is making this move before the girls are too old and turn their backs on him.  He still needs guidance but he is realizing that he needs to connect more with his kids.  It can be something as simple as having a TV show that they are both into or taking them out on a date to get ice cream.  Maybe take one of them to the store with you or something as simple as that.  All they want is to be included – Your time is all kids really want.

Last night, Bella was having a rough time with some friends so I picked her up and without saying a word, instead of heading home, we went to a family restaurant and had an appetizer and just talked.  I didn’t say much, I just listened to her and let her talk it out.  I could see in her eyes that this was all she really wanted and needed, just some time with me, away from the house, the phone, the rest of the family to just talk.  It was actually quite entertaining to watch her talk her way through the situation, rationalize it and come to a conclusion about how to handle herself.  As I mentioned, I said next to nothing but at the end, she said, “Thank you, Momma for talking through this with me.  I feel much better.”

All I did was eat onion rings … but I gave her what she needed my time.

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The Aftermath …

ImageSo, here’s the deal.  If you read yesterday’s post, Family Funeral Etiquette, I am sure you sensed there was much more emotion there than just venting about a daughter who could and should have done more to help her parents during the last few months of her father’s life.  There was family history busting out all over the place and while I will not get into the gory details of the family drama, I will share with you the aftermath of an entire series of very thoughtless events – I’m done.

Literally, for decades I have watched one faction of my extended family run roughshod over the rest of the family that certainly didn’t deserve it.  Yet, the victims of these callous people, myself being one of them, all tried to be the bigger person, rise above it, etc.  Well, you can only turn you cheek so many times before you simply say, enough.

After letting things fester and churn inside me, I had what can only be described as a moment of silent lucidity Saturday night at the Wendy’s drive-thru, of all place.  My daughters wanted Frosties so I caved and headed to the near-by fast food mecca, the entire time with all of this anger, disappointment, frustration and hurt inside me.  There were a few cars ahead of me so I sat there in the quiet and, while I have no way of knowing where any of you are with you faith, what I can tell you is that in that moment God spoke to me loud and clear and I realized in a split second that I had had enough.

I called my mom in tears once I got home and told her that I came to the realization that there were no words that needed to be said, no explanation or justification for my feelings or why I was so hurt and upset.  The bottom line is this, they knowingly made a choice to not just invite but intricately include someone in the funeral service who, for the past 40 years, has been nothing but toxic to her immediate and extended family.  She had left a wake of harsh words, insults and negativity that had hurt every single member of my extended family.  Yet, because there was a show to put on, someone decided that this toxic person should be included.  I was even given a phone call to warn me that that person was going to be there and to please be on my best behavior.  I was the toxic one’s most recent target and the wounds, as everyone knew, were still fresh.

In the end, this one faction chose the toxic one over me.  So, as I told my mom, they can have each other.  I am just walking away and leaving them with the one they chose.  I have watched them do the same thing to my dad, over and over again for over 50 years when Dad did nothing but help them all out when they needed it.  Why?  Because that is what family is supposed to do – help each other.

I regularly tell my daughters that decisions need to be made with great care because there are some decisions that you cannot fix, you cannot come back from them.  I have used this family situation as an example of a conscience decision that cannot be undone.  Thankfully, knowing what they know and having seen (and heard) quite a bit, they get it.

So with my head held high, my moral compass in tact and a tinge of self-satisfaction, I am walking away from it all … and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.