Thursday, November 24, 2011

With Thanksgiving...

This Thanksgiving Day brings with it some reflection.  As I sit and think about Thanksgivings past I think of my mother.  I think of Thanksgivings gone by with a family that no longer is around to get together and I think of all the Thanksgivings I missed.  You see I chose not to attend many family get togethers in order to attend the ones with the family I had married in to.  I think at first I believed that my family wouldn't miss me.  I also truly thought I was going towards a family that was like what I always thought a family should look like.  In my family someone was always drinking, everyone was always smoking, and we all sort of waited to see what my aunt would bring to the table.  She would either bring some guy or she would be using and either yelling at everyone or catatonic.  When I looked at that I saw what I didn't want my children to see.  When I saw the other option I thought that was what they should be.  I was wrong.  Do not get me wrong I still believe that I was right to protect my children from the bad things that came with going to my mother's side of the family but I also protected them from how to handle those situations. 

Far from perfect, they knew how to love each other and they knew how to stand up to one another.  They made very difficult decisions regarding their own over the years.  They tried to get my aunt help and they took her children away from her when it was evident that she would be unable to care for them.  While they still smoked, it was that they would eventually only go outside to smoke at grandma's house because of what it was eventually doing to her.  While ideally they would have quit, they did attempt to do what they were capable of. 

As I sit here reflecting with my mom, my grandma, my two aunts all gone, I am sad for the years I missed.  Not knowing how quickly time runs out and how once those moments are gone they are gone for good.  I think of all the get togethers with my dad's side of the family I have missed.  How I really only see all of them a couple times a year and it makes me sad.  Sad that as adults my cousins and I don't really know each other or our kids very well at all. 

I do not have siblings.  As a child I dreamed of having a big brother and a little sister.  I needed a big brother to stick up for me and a little sister so I could do her hair.  In my imagination we wouldn't fight because we would  be so thankful to have one another.  Because in my house it was me, my mom, a dog, and a man that was not kind, but abusive.  As I watched television and looked at all the family shows I looked at those families and wished to have one of my own.  My father remarried when I was 25 I was given two brothers and a sister.  I was excited by the prospect and for several years tried all I knew to do to make us one big happy family.  I have given up that dream.  You cannot make a family with unwilling participants.  After all they have each other they do not need me. 

I am far from perfect.  I can do nothing on my own.  God has given me a beautiful family.  My husband and I have the family that I always hoped to have.  For that I am thankful. 

This year will be the first that my children and I will get to spend with my father's side of the family.  I am so blessed to get to spend time with them today.  I am sad however, that because of one we will not be spending time with my husband's side.  If I was taught anything by my broken family I was taught to say no.  I was taught that when one's behavior was unacceptable you say it.  And for nothing else I am also thankful that I was taught not to try and place blame on others for my own mistakes.  Your mistakes are your own, ultimately you choose to do what you do, no one makes that decision for you.  You do that all by yourself.  I was also taught you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.  You cannot help those who are unwilling to help themselves.  At some point you have to say while you are making the decision to act this way I am unable to support you.  You are going to have to learn to get by on your own.  And while I am being singled out for not supporting  or getting caught up in others drama, I think maybe no.  No I will not get involved because it is evident to me that they do not know how to stand up to their own and it is not my place to do so. 

I have lived through and seen countless things all drama filled.  But here in my home with these people that God has blessed me with, I am saying no.  I am saying no because we are happy.  We are happy and we are thankful on this day and every other day for the blessings we have received.  We are not perfect.  But we are learning to look past the circus of drama around us and see our blessings, for they are many.  We are healthy, we are loved, and we are serving our God, all the while begging for forgiveness from Him and doing our best to do His will.  My wish for you is that you will be able to do the same. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Christmas List for People Without a List

The annual Christmas shopping trip with our Sunday school class is this week.  I am so excited I'm about to burst.  I love the opportunity to get together with these wonderful women.  Plus it is great to get a jump on shopping for the holidays.   I even had a dream that I had forgotten and went to work.  I was at work when it occurred to me that it was 9:30 a.m. and I wasn't supposed to be there I was supposed to be in a car with my friends.  I woke up so distraught until I realized what day it was.

I put in a post on facebook to tell friends and family that I needed their Christmas lists by Thursday as the first round of shopping was to take place this week.  I informed them that if I didn't have a list I would buy what I thought they needed.  This got all sorts of ideas flowing through my head for gifts I could give people that they may or may not want.  So I thought I would share some ideas that may be good and may be bad with you.

1.  I could order M&M's in Christmas colors with the person's name on them and make a collage of their face on cardboard.  Who doesn't love a homemade gift?

2.  I could have a star named for them.  Sure to my knowledge none of them have a telescope to find the star in the night sky but they would have a cool piece of paper to frame with where to find said star. 

3.  I could buy nail polish in various colors and make a chart for which color to wear for each of their moods.  Pink for perky, blue for sad or blue, black for mad, red for feisty, that way the general public would know what they were dealing with.  They could pass out pocket charts for their friends and family.

4.  I could get them a notepad so they could write the script for what they want people to say to them.  That way they always hear what they want instead of the truth or in some cases what they think they hear.  They make out the script for the conversations they want to have.  Give a copy to the person they are having the conversation with and everyone walks away without getting mad.  (You know people like this, right?)

5.  I could make a donation to a worthy cause in your name.  (I love this for the person who has everything)

6.  I could buy days of the week underwear.  That way you are sure to never wear the same pair twice in a row.  (This is especially good for kids. Plus they learn the days of the week and how to read them.)

7.  I could get you frog socks.  Not just any frog socks but I might find them that make your legs look like frog legs.

8.  I could could pull what my kids sometimes do to me.  I could get you what I want then ask to borrow it, then just take over said item leaving me with just what I wanted and you with nothing.

9.  I could buy you cleaning items.  Laundry soap, dusting supplies, dish soap, etc.  Because what everyone wants are things they can actually use right?  Or (this is where a script comes in handy) you could take it not as intended that I think you need to clean your house.

10.  I could rescue an animal at the pound and put a big red bow around it's neck and a card saying this animal told me it wanted to come live with you.  Enjoy!

As you can see if you have specific things you want for Christmas, it's a good idea to give me a list.  You have no idea what I might come up with.  I could get your kid a drum set and you ear plugs.  But whatever I get for anyone I will be sticking to my budget.  I will not go into debt for anyone on my list.  Which makes me think maybe I will just get everyone a Dave Ramsey book... or maybe...