A Slap of Shame

While driving to work the other day, my mind was busy just thinking of this or that, what to do once there, thoughts of what recently happened, etc., as normal.

Apparently, there was a song that came on to trigger a memory but what it was, I do not know now. What I do remember is how I had to deal with this periodEC3DC5C1-9754-4D5C-B8F1-0E6F3B56699B of driving and stopping at traffic lights as I made my way toward the office.

My oldest son, years ago, was working in Tennessee and was five hours away. This was way too far I loved the location, it was beautiful and he had a nice apartment. This time in his life, he definitely matured and had to deal with matters on his own because his parents were not near and he did it, I was so proud of him. Thankfully, he was back the next school year in Kentucky. This mama was happy.  Letting go is not always easy, as most moms can attest.

A70136AA-0AB2-439A-90CC-323FD8543761It was in the winter that year especially, that his distance from home I found more depressing for me. Those Christmas songs that start way too early did not help matters. The song, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” was the worst, or perhaps it was and is the best. I could not get through it without crying and even remembering that still while sitting at a stop light, I felt those tears well up ready to flow down my face.

This past Christmas, my oldest son and his wife were in Florida visiting her family. I adjusted very well, as I knew that was only right to share them. It was when my youngest son decided not to come home for Christmas. Although, the day before, he told me he would be on time for dinner and seemed excited and, of course, I was so happy that he would be home for Christmas. My son is coming home.

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On Christmas Day others were late arriving, which is typical in this family but it got be very late and my son still was not present or had we heard from him. Of course, concern was trickling within my mind while I was hosting Christmas for my husband’s family. I want my son. I want him here, he is my son, he is my family. Where is he? The questions turned into worry as the time passed.

Finally, we heard from him. Oh to be young and carefree, with a sleep schedule that is all over the place. He overslept so now he has no interest to come home. Seriously?!?  My heart dropped and I was so hurt. I wanted to just sit down and bawl my eyes out. There was no way that I could keep a straight face of how that affected me and I really did not care. While I did not cry, I DF6007CA-2358-4586-B112-0F22CB8BDE3Fdid express to his father that I was not happy of his decision and they all heard me. How could they not know that? I think they heard my heart drop. I was just done. In my mind screaming, just everybody go home, as I want to fall apart and now anger was becoming a part of my emotional turmoil.

Normally, if and when hurt or in this predicament, I would just escape within myself and become quiet, not mentioning my hurt or show emotions. I wore a mask very well through the years and I could have won an Oscar. Thankfully, I am not the same person so I was not going to crawl into a shell. I did express my displeasure calmly. While I did not cry, I had to walk through the house, taking our grand dog that we were watching outside because he needed fresh air. Right? It helped the dog (and me) because when mama is not happy, nobody is happy, which was now a joke somewhat, when I returned, but true. The day continued and was fine although I had AFD3135B-1C35-4C74-8C01-BE1AB96B7E25neither of my sons at home, there was a void on Christmas.

Everyone is gone, what food was not taken by others is now all put away and dishes are done. It’s amazing how quick clean up can be done if upset. I was ahead of the game and I was ready to settle in for a long winter’s nap.

Forget the nap, my son appeared finally. The atmosphere in our living room was a little cold with our visit, at first. I knew he was uncomfortable, as I was and upset. We were all uncomfortable. He is an adult and even when younger and at home, rarely had we had such moments.  Maybe we should have had them.

Finally, the atmosphere was easing. I love my son and I know he loves me. I understand being young and doing such careless things, I really do.  Maybe, I wondered, if this was a payback to me of wrongs I did to my parent. The karma phrase many use, what goes around comes around, although that can be in bad or good but many see it as bad and want the worst, which is a whole other writing. 55D68B9F-327F-4219-BF0D-FD90DE0ADA20

Anyway, after his father went off to bed, my son and I talked. I expressed my hurt calmly and that I felt it was disrespectful of him to do this, especially on Christmas. This was not just for me but his grandparents and whole family, it is a time for all of us to be together. I wanted and needed my son at home. Knowing, too, this might be the last Christmas with the grandparents due to health issues. Also, one day he will regret the decision he made when I am gone, too, wishing he had more time with his mother.

Now that was all over, the new year is upon us and our relationship carries on and while helping him this past weekend at his new house, we had fun. Perhaps, that period and discussion brought us somewhat closer than before. He got to see his mom cry and hear the hurt of my heart, probably something that a son does not want. I was being real.4CDF2457-50F1-48D3-8846-EA6CCCF8B46C

As I mentioned before, and when they were young and at home, I wore a mask even with them, pretending that our home was a happy one between their father and myself. The mask is off more than on nowadays. I am better and happier, as it is quite nice taking care of me for once instead of hiding the sadness.

Now, with all that, while at the stop light, fighting back the tears as I could hear the song in my mind, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” a battle began.

It was a period of feeling like a no-good-for-nothing mother, I was wrong to express my feelings to him, he was going to pull away and never come home and that I was worthless and… WOW!!!

I caught all that and felt like25053267-F9F6-47CB-B438-38F24FA2119A a slap of shame was hitting me on one cheek and then the other and back again to make me crawl back into my hole of despair, feeling like a loser. NO, I WILL NOT!!!

All those years in counseling paid off at that point, as I could turn those negative lies around because I knew this was shame being hurled at me. I am a good mother, I have been a good mother and I always will be a good mother to my boys.

I believe that my boys and my husband and others have noticed that I am not the same person, but better. I can be direct and calm if I need to, in respect instead of hiding and them wondering if they need to walk on eggshells. I am not worthless, I am worthy to be their mother. The slap of shame had to stop.4E64CA34-5C75-4730-AD6B-4EF93158684D

Shame can and will erode any and all positive attributes in each of us. It makes us feel less than and the enemy will make sure we take that as a hook line and sinker so that we will not be all that we can be and have joy.

FEDBD51B-3170-40F7-8680-2F217B2EEBE9It felt great to know that I could acknowledge the shame and how I felt slapped from one traffic light to another. Once I grasped what was happening, turning these negative thoughts around. I was told and taught in counseling many times as we discussed such scenarios, the rewiring our brain, etc.  All of which sounded far-fetched, honestly for a long time, but I got it and I did it.

Shame, you are not going to slap me around anymore, not if I can help it.

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Shame is an unpleasant self-conscious emotion typically associated with a negative evaluation of the self, withdrawal motivations, and feelings of distress, exposure, mistrust, powerlessness, and worthlessness.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/intense-emotions-and-strong-feelings/201104/shame-concealed-contagious-and-dangerous-emotion

https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/issues/shame

https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/neuroplasticity

Son Up, Son Down

C0F7572C-8427-49F4-90C1-1FC70020B394Yes, it is just that, son up, son down; not sun up, sun down, in this writing.

As a parent of two adult sons, one is just like me when I was young and conflict is battling between us, at times, as we are both headstrong. I have made my mistakes, and still do, but I have learned many things through the years. I know within myself I am trying to  prevent some heartache for him but knowing also I cannot. He must walk this road himself and experience life, good or bad. It is not to say that my heart does not ache in the process to know and to watch him fumble in areas. Would he listen to me anyway? No. I wouldn’t at his age so I understand but it is so hard.

E635C634-89BF-4693-A4DA-99BE40FACAECBeing a mother, the best role ever and I feel blessed to have this opportunity in life with my sons but sometimes it is the hardest role in life. Sometimes, well many, many times, I am so proud and at times just wanting to throw my hands up in exhaustion but still remain faithful to my child(ren) in love but not enabling; having a balance with each personality, etc. My heart screams out at times, Lord, I do not know what to do or how to help.EB1E6905-6FE6-48D0-A84C-B03E4491AE54

Turning our fear and brokenness over to God is all that we can do. He knows my son(s) better than I do. Of course, He does but that’s my son in our selfish thinking and no doubt He just smiles knowing my child, you also are mine, reminding me I am His. I know your concern, worries and I see your tears over your child at this time. Trust Me!  In that, I have to let go and Trust Him.

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Letting go and letting them stretch their wings but wanting to hold on is so hard. I have given them both space to grow, think independently, make decisions, etc., and they have done well, but I am their mom, I need to step in to help. Right? Again, No!

I read this comment from a mother to another and how perfect. Your parenting in the flesh is over.” “It’s time to parent him in the Spirit. Pray for your son(s) and/or daughter(s) and trust God to do what you cannot do — and He will.”  Just with that, the love I know of the Lord and has for each one of us releases me to trust Him. I do not need to fret and have sleepless nights and worry. I, of course, will always love, care and pray for my children. Yes, the worry and concern will pop back into the picture at times, yet to be reminded of this very wise advice, brings faith in knowing God can take care of our child(ren). To think, He does not need our help. That’s God!C84B3BD5-9AB5-47B3-84ED-C27369A9408B

In knowing that my son has dealt with some depression this past year has made this task a wavering one from fear to faith and back again. My son is up but sometimes my son is down. Aren’t we all like that at times?  As a mother, we do not want to see the down, depressive side but at least he is open with me and I can discern the ups and downs. No matter, son up or son down, I will love and support him from sun up to sun down every day of my life, hoping he will know after my death that his mother loved him.D167416F-69FA-49C4-878A-4EFDECE646B1

Respect your adult children’s need to make their own way, to grapple with the issues, morals, and cultural complexities of their generation. Give them space to learn and grow just as you did.”

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Christmas Slump

It’s that time of the year and for days and weeks, maybe months now, we have all been gearing up for Christmas. There is a sense of joy as we celebrate the holiday season, decorating, a time of gift-giving, paying forward is a common occurrence, cooking delicious recipes as well as making batches of cookies and candies, families and friends coming together plus seeing the colorful lights and decorations strung around wherever we go. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Right?

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It really is wonderful to experience the joy mention but sadly many do not. Many do not know the true meaning of Christmas, representing the birth of Christ.

In myself, I do enjoy the season and everything about it, wishing I had more time to experience the lights, shows, etc., and while I have done so more this year, there is also a dread underlying within me because I know how it affects me after Christmas.

Christmas Ornaments on Wood BackgroundIn the holiday season, the vivid colors of red and green while other colors are splashed around, the decorations that adorn homes inside and out for all to admire, the ornaments that are hung with care while many have a memory or a story attached to share and perhaps a tear or two wiped, smelling the cookies and desserts baked plus enjoyed. There are so many joyous moments and then it all goes away, quicker than it came. Months of building hope, joy and love and then poof, it’s over.

Soon after Christmas Day or maybe after the new year, everything is taken down and put away until next year. Now everything seems bleak and dull. I find it is sad. I know with me, it takes me a couple of weeks to get back in the swing of things and adapt to the norm, awaiting for the next holiday but nothing compares to Christmas of the beauty and happiness all around.6F5E347F-259A-436B-967C-F476AC1B1D78

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) exists in many whether it be for the holidays or winter months moreso than the rest of the year perhaps due to less daylight and sunshine.

Depression hits more in the holiday season as we miss those no longer with us, our emotions are touched and memories seem to be heightened of the past and being unsure of the future. Hope is lost somewhat in the hustle and bustle within many.

Remember to notice and know yourself enough and to get medical help if needed. This happens for many and normal to feel the blues at times but not all the time. Take care of you through the most wonderful time of the year but also all year long.  The holiday blues happen.

0F88B310-D4DF-41E3-93D7-8B1242901DE9While most of us are going through the season with joy and excitement, let’s pay attention to those around us that may not be. Whether it be now or throughout the year, too; sometimes just a kind word, a pat on the arm or even a smile is a gift to some.  Feel free to share, it costs nothing.

Merry Christmas and may the year 2020 be the best ever.

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https://www.verywellmind.com/holiday-blues-4771716

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder

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Norma Jean

17F6EAA8-D249-4619-AE6C-269AC42D6CA3Last week was the last straw. My emotions had been on overload due to my training and basically stuffing the emotional turmoil within while on the job. No doubt we have all had to do this at times, otherwise we might get fired. It is hard to maintain a smile when tears are on the verge of breaking lose but you do what you have to do and I had to just that.

Discussing my training and what I endured with the co-workers, their moods, attitudes, etc., with my oldest sister on Messenger one evening, I felt rejected to the core.3F26103C-9C54-4B51-A860-4378850BF8DA

Not only did I feel rejection while training, my own sister did the same with me, I felt. I love her and we are closer than I am with my other siblings. I believe I will need to discuss with her of how this affected me. My sister is very involved at her church and there is an older woman that contacts her daily, if not more, which is fine. I am glad my sister is there for this woman and vice-versa. What is not fine is that over and over again when we are talking or messaging one another, if Norma Jean calls, she 2982E916-AEB2-4CB9-AE79-729854D8820Dimmediately says she needs to go, leaving me hanging.  I hate that. If I am in a middle of a message to her and this happens, I just go ahead and delete my message of whatever was on my mind, thinking what’s the use.  Typical of me as I have experienced this many times in life. What is the use, is usually my thought so I backoff, as this person or another just proved to me that I am not important to them.

41736280-3776-4A78-8F90-C7CC863CE47EWhile her rush to end our conversation has bothered me more than once but last week, more so. It triggered the rejection within me and I just cried, as again my emotions were raw.  I needed my sister. All I wrote was “goodbye.” No emojis or anything like normal. I needed her to hear me or read my woes and encourage me, which was non-existent. Norma Jean was more important, I felt. While I do know that is not one-hundred percent true, it sure felt like it.

Until afterward, I knew this has always bothered me but to add and feel the rejection, it made sense. It brought up rejection of her lack of interest in me, my training which was terrible with those employed and back to my childhood. To acknowledge and realize what was happening, it can bring a healing by being aware of it so it does not trigger the alarms within to make matters worse. This has been discussed numerous times in counseling and in my session the other night, it became more evident as tears poured from my eyes, the ugly cry, and realizing of past rejection, as I could not handle anymore.

While I do not want to cause an issue with my sister, I do plan to request that she talk to Norma Jean first and then message me due to the feeling of being rejected. Knowing ahead of time that she may not understand fully or may think I am being too sensitive or whatever, I have my boundaries and that is taking care of me.

F43B9C6F-EC66-48C5-BA63-97C03BF606A4Rejection after awhile builds a wall within relationships. It would be easy for me to just pull away from my sister and not say anything. This would prevent that I do not get hurt again but that’s not good.  If I did just that, as I have done in my past avoiding conflict, that is not fair to her, not knowing why.  I know I can politely express and request that she talk to Norma Jean first and then we can have our time of conversing and remain close since we live hours 21183E9E-DF51-474D-846C-431ABE842705away from one another, which is what I know we both would want. Plus, it is not fair for me to remain getting frustrated with her and Norma Jean. Neither of us are getting younger.

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Young and Stupid

109AFED2-EACF-4123-A491-4DAFC3FF4F62I definitely remember being just that… young and stupid. A lot of things could be said, but I got through and learned some major lessons, some the hard way. So I try to remember my youth and the rebelliousness and my ways when listening to my son with his thoughts and plans recently.

I am sure each one of us could admit that, too, of making crazy decisions. This one thing that came to mind when talking to him and growing irritable with him 897E95B7-AE85-48FB-AFB8-49BE3FCE5C83within, while trying my best to remain calm, was when I withdrew my retirement.

I did not listen to anyone, ask for direction or do any research of what happens if I took out my retirement of almost twelve years working. At that time in my life, being newly married and expecting a baby, we did not feel that old age would be an issue or come so quickly. How crazy is that? It did! While it was a nice down payment on our first house, I lost out. I find myself still having regret over this but there again, young and stupid. I could have retired many years ago, remain working at my present job to accumulate more for a second retirement. Now, I will work longer in life but thankfully I enjoy my job. I learned my lesson and will advise others to not do what I did.  83C51930-D5F0-4ACF-BB1C-242F4E6701C6

No doubt years from now, my son will have some regrets. He is so much like me. Somewhat scary. Still he will learn, the hard way. E6246A32-09B3-4C05-8DD3-3A3B90CE9804

He is a full-grown adult now, I have no say really in his life anymore or the decisions he will make. As his mother, it gives me great joy and pride in how well he has done but in other areas, I want to scream, please listen to me or someone. While the control and panic is felt within my body and my mind is swirling of how it would be better if he would listen, I still have to let go and realize he has to walk his own path. All I can do is pray.F0C03789-7C93-4E10-8546-7AABEFC5690C

Being a parent is wonderful but it is hard. No matter how old they get, there is still that motherly instinct to oversee them. Letting go was hard years ago when my boys attended college, knowing home would never be the same, for them or for us. I feel as though it is letting go once again.

594E5D97-9828-4048-9114-D852E3644F95One day, the roles will be reversed by them taking care of me and making decisions on my behalf and odds are, I will not listen to them or be happy with some decisions made or worse. Guess I better keep my mouth shut now.BA016A88-5F6D-4BE7-A682-4D876C84F3F1

Oh to be young and stupid. I would definitely do things a lot differently in so many ways. I have heard that from so many through the years.

So I will continue and will to my dying day, pray for my boys, love them and support them in all they do. I may not like some things but they will never have to doubt my love for them.17CDC782-B2B7-4571-9385-0DD5C62B8848

The Lord knows and sees each one of us and we all make and will make  some not-so-good decisions at times and mistakes, etc. Still, He loves us like no other and He will always be there for us. May we never doubt His Love for us. Trust Him.

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A Thanksgiving Production

DF277E5B-F9B8-42AF-9532-9C1260DA1F91It’s about time! Time for family and friends to gather at my home and I am sure yours also or the home you are hopefully going to and celebrate Thanksgiving.

As I was getting my last-minute items, I was thinking while driving home that this is like getting ready for a production. The spotlight is on me, my home, my food, my welcoming each one that comes through the door. There was a slight panic but I have no time to panic, as I must continue on and keep my thoughts together and get everything done.  Somehow, someway, it always falls together.

Well, almost everything. I have learned through the years that if it is not perfect, it is okay. It does not need to be A73AB2C1-2C78-4EE2-9DD7-89399A60B732perfect, I do not have to expect perfection out of myself. What a relief. Actually, I forgot salad dressing. Before, I would stress and push myself to go get, adding onto my to-do list. This time, I contacted my daughter-in-law asking her to take care of this for me. My goodness have I changed, counseling has definitely paid off. For that, I am thankful. It’s okay to ask for help.

This time tomorrow night, everyone will probably be gone and another Thanksgiving is over. It is not worth being stressed although there are moments, of course, but to be in the moment and enjoy those present, that is what I want and need to do.  We all do!

Take time to enjoy and the others will also. My saying always is to make yourself at home. I hope they all feel welcome to help themselves and I think they do.

May the ones that walk through my door, feel the love and joy being thankful for all that we each have, as we are blessed. May the Love of God and His Peace cover each one that they know Him, to place C26128AA-8021-4D13-AA1D-56E2CC00CCBBChristians in their pathway to lead them and help where perhaps I can’t; put Angels all around each one as they leave and protect them. That would be my simple but heartfelt prayer.

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🍂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family/friends. 🍂

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I Cancelled Thanksgiving

5C2A1F8F-F0E8-4B04-B87F-AC23C8C8CD13This time last year, my life was going in all directions, feeling lost, abandoned, grieving, overwhelmed and well, you get the picture.

There was an excitement just months prior of me enrolling in a medical class, which was a big step for this old girl.  I finally felt empowered enough to move forward after many years of feeling hopeless.  Counseling for years was helping me cope and understand myself plus my faith knowing I could do this and my dreams and desires were coming alive. Wonderful.  Life was good.

It was in September though as classes started and my counselor of almost four years decided to close her office due to medical issues, of course, unexpectedly. While I understood and was concerned, I could not help but feel abandoned by her.  My heart was hurting and my emotions were everywhere.

I would work full-time, go to class in the evenings and when I left, I sat in my car and cried, the grief was too much.  This class was too much.  My life was too much. 6315B5C0-B00E-4882-B65D-6B42AD8F745AHow can I do this? Overwhelmed was an understatement.

Through all of this turmoil within, I also knew I had to put a Thanksgiving dinner together for my husband’s family and our own, although my oldest son, now married would be with his wife’s family several states away.  The month of November was one with my nose in the medical book, studying for finals the week before Thanksgiving, my house not ready and no desire to go forward, just managing the best I could. My surprise was to get a 94 on my final, which shocked me completely. The joy of the results disappeared soon after, as I was still falling apart within and now no counselor to counsel me, left totally in the dark.  Now the anger was more prevalent due to it all.

Being so overwhelmed and grieving, I cancelled  Thanksgiving.  I did. I was done.

Thanksgiving Day was lonely in my home, just like any other day.  My youngest son, living an hour away, decided to stay at his home.  I offered for him, me and his father to go out and eat but he had no interest. Loneliness all around with depression raining down on each of us.

Finally, it was late that night when I spoke to my son, instead of texting.  In the voice, a lot can be heard and discerned.  I knew he was sad over no Thanksgiving.  He probably thought that since his older brother was not present, he was not worth it.  Still, that thought brings 4BD339ED-93A0-4EE6-BECF-84F34CD16FEDsadness all over me.  I will NEVER cancel Thanksgiving or a family gathering again.  He did not know my circumstance and the struggle I was dealing with but I was wrong.

In our telephone call, with my motherly instinct, thank God, I told him to get ready as I am coming down to his house.  It was dark and late but off I went to be with him, I apologized and told him I will never do that again.  We went to eat, get groceries, do all of his laundry and went bowling at midnight.  We both had fun and I put a pot of chili in his crock pot to enjoy the next few days.  In the end, he received my undivided attention and his mother’s love. He needed me and I needed him.

This year we will have the family in for Thanksgiving and if I get the house clean, fine and if not, fine.  I learned my lesson.959C31B5-EC01-444A-AF14-044F96E476B1

Thanksgiving is the holiday where people come together. At least, that’s what most of us are conditioned to believe. While Thanksgiving has the potential to be the most inclusive and unifying holiday on the calendar — particularly for families — it also has the potential to generate the most loneliness.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-art-closeness/201511/4-reasons-thanksgiving-is-the-loneliest-holiday

Holiday Depression, it happens! 

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/holidays#1

Self-Care During the Holidays, it’s needed!

https://psychcentral.com/lib/the-importance-of-self-care-during-the-holidays/