My son is 20 years old today. I can’t believe it. It really doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that he was a little boy.
He is coming home from his sophomore year at college at the end of this week. They sure weren’t kidding when they say that time goes by fast. I feel like it was just yesterday he was still in high school and we were helping him decide what school to go to.
He is really turning out to be a nice young man. I have all kinds of feelings about this. Guilt for things I could have done better. Relief that he got through the angst of those earlier years. Pride that he grew up well balanced, despite all our family’s (my) shortcomings… And tremendous Hope for his bright future…
I also have so much Gratitude that Bob and I stuck together through thick and thin. We had some pretty tumultuous years when our son was younger. He grew up witnessing a lot of tension and negativity between his parents- we were both addicted to negativity and drama. When I think about it, I see a story of how I should be so sad for him and should fret for his well being still.
I am so grateful that I have been learning from spiritual teachers like Eckhart Tolle and Byron Katie. I know – truly– that I did the best I could with what I knew at the time. I also know if I knew better I would have done better.
I know that even though I hear the story in my head of how I should feel bad for being prone to lots of emotional drama over the years, and for scarring him, I can forgive myself today.
Even while I was creating it, I knew that drama and negativity was bad for my son and our family. The trouble was, I didn’t know how to stop it. It was almost as if I didn’t have an OFF button.
I did lots of soul-searching in my 30’s and early 40’s. I went to Al-Anon, yoga, therapy, and read tons of self- help books.
The simple thing that helped me the most was learning that I could actually control my reactions to the world around me- and by extension, I could learn to control my emotions. I used to think I was at the mercy of others, as well as events, and life circumstances.
Although I didn’t know it at the time, I lived much of life as a victim.
I am so grateful that it’s never too late to make things better…
By the grace of God, I eventually learned that I could actually choose to not fight if my husband provoked me. What a foreign but completely new and welcome change!
I remember hearing once in an Al-Anon meeting, “Be the type of person you would like to come home to” At the time I remember saying, I definitely would NOT want to come home to me. I’m such a bitch!
I could also learned about the power of self forgiveness. Namely, that I could make mistakes and be accountable for them. For example, by apologizing when I do lash out verbally to my son or husband, and then sincerely trying to do better. They can accept the apology or not. But my actions through living amends show them that I am sincere.
By learning self acceptance and by learning to be at peace with myself and the world around me, I am learning to be a better mother and wife. Every day is a new opportunity to be happy and grateful. Every day is a gift.
It only takes one person to make a happy family. I am so thankful that I am learning how to be that person today 🙂
Since I learned about living in the NOW and mindfulness, and not believing those old stressful stories in my head, I am in such a better space mentally.
Happy Birthday my son. I love you so very much and am so proud of the young man you’ve become. I love being your Mom, and I love our family.
xo, Lisa Arcelia
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