I met Amy at Blissdom and once I read her Finer Things Friday, I was eager to participate. I had ideas floating around in my head of all the cute, silly stories I’d share of me, my husband, and my kids. Maybe next week, because something else has been on my mind lately. Maybe it was taking my first trip alone away from my husband and children, not as a mommy or wife, but as a business woman representing something I built myself. That was something I hadn’t experienced, since I left the world of Pharmaceutical Marketing and had children. It was familiar, but odd. Maybe it was returning to 3 little kids who had changed. Not dramatically in four days, of course, but enough I knew I’d missed moments.
When we think of getting older, we don’t often think of it as a “Finer Thing”. We pluck gray hairs (thanks Mom, for those genes!) and cover our faces with creams in attempt to smooth away the inevitable wrinkles. Our bodies soften and sag in all the wrong places. But with age, comes a knowledge and new perspective that you just can’t gain any other way.
Thinks keep popping into my mind and I think, “I wish I’d known this when I was younger.” But, in truth, I’m sure someone tried to tell me. I knew everything though, so I didn’t listen. Or I just didn’t understand. Or more likely, I couldn’t understand. And while I keep wishing, I know that it just wasn’t possible. But, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try to teach my children, though they too won’t understand until they grow up.
I am beautiful. No, I’m not a size 0. My hips are wide, my thighs are thick, and my face breaks out once a month. Yes, my hair is so thick that it needs it’s own zip code and hairdressers complain when I come in for just a simple cut. But all of my insecurities, the ones that made me cover myself in baggy clothes and walk through hallways with my head down all through high school, were mine alone. If I embrace my crazy hair, instead of fighting it and wear clothes that fit instead of trying to squeeze into sizes too small, I’ll be me. I am unique. I’m not perfect, but I am beautiful.
It’s not about you. It’s about me. I love to sing, but I have the voice of a frog. I love to dance and probably still have the same moves I did in the 80’s. I laugh and talk way too much. I’m rarely serious. I can’t get into an elevator without talking to the people inside. And then I suddenly go illogically shy at the most inopportune times. That’s who I am. I use to walk into rooms and try to act exactly as I thought I should or I’d just keep quiet. But, I have so much more fun when I sing, dance, talk, laugh nonstop, and joke. Life is too short to care what others think, so it should be all about having fun.
Growing up, doesn’t mean you have to grow up. I love to read, but most of my favorite books are teeny bopper books like Twilight and anything written by Meg Cabot. I can hold conversations with my 13 year old cousin for hours about books, because we have the same taste. I listen to Radio Disney, even when my kids aren’t in the car, because I really like Selina Gomez, Demi Lovato, and all those other Disney singers. I get so excited about movies like Princess and the Frog, High School Musical and Hannah Montana The Movie that I mark their release dates on my calendar. I like to go to the bounce play areas to play, not just to watch. I like tickle fights, ice cream for dinner, and playing Twister. And while I do have to be the grown up, I don’t always have to act grown up.
Stepparents should get a break. No, I’m not a stepparent and I’m sure if I was, I’d understand even more. But, I am a stepdaughter. And I hated my stepmom, like so many stepkids do. It’s so hard to be a mom. You have a tiny life in your arms that is 100% dependent on you. You are going to mold the person they’ll become. But, each day you learn. You make mistakes, but you get better. Stepparents don’t have that start. Mine suddenly had an 8 year old thrust upon her. She thought she knew about parenting and how she would raise her own children. But, until you’re a parent, you can’t know. I can only imagine how hard it was to go from being single to being a Mom instantly. Stepparents need a bit of a learning curve early on. They probably need a ten-year transition period. It’s too bad stepkids will never give it to them.
I don’t have to win every fight. You stand your ground. You know you’re right. You argue and argue. You scream and yell. But all you’re really doing is separating you and the one you love. It’s okay to say, “You’re right.” It’s okay to just let it go. It’s okay to climb into your husbands lap and kiss away the anger, instead of coming to a compromise. Or to stop arguing with a little kid who is insisting cows are purple and the sky is pink. Because usually, whatever it is you’re fighting about, isn’t more important than your relationship. Usually it’s silly, when you really think about it.
My mom doesn’t just love me. She loves me. You can’t really understand that love, until you hold your own baby in your arms. It’s a love like no other. It’s unconditional, immediate, and overwhelming. It’s comforting and scary at the same time. But when you know that love, you understand and realize so many things. When we walked through stores and I asked for everything I saw, it hurt her to say, “no”. She struggled between not having enough money, wanting to raise an unspoiled child, and wanting to give me the world. When she punished me, it really did hurt her way more than it ever hurt me. Every time I said, “I hate you”, it struck her right to the heart. She worries about me constantly. She really does have my best intentions in mind. She loves me in a way only a mom can understand.
I am my father’s daughter. My parents divorced when I was 3, so I saw only my Dad on Wednesdays and every other weekend. It wasn’t enough time for us, but it was enough that so many of the best parts of him are embedded in me. He’s the reason I’m rarely serious and talk to those people in the elevator. He’s the one I call immediately when I have a problem, because I still think my daddy knows everything. And, when I’m hurt or scare, to this day, he’s still the one I want nearby. I never wanted to be like my dad, because he was a boy and I was a girl. I should be like my mom. But everyday, I hear myself saying the exact same things my dad said to me and pulling the exact same silly things on my children. And, you know what, I’m proud to be too much like my dad. He loves life and never takes it for granted.
Oh, there is so much more. I could go on and on, but the truth is, we can’t go back. We can only move forward with our new knowledge and make sure those who need to know, understand that even if we didn’t get it back then, we do now. And embrace ourselves. After all, in the end, the I won’t care about what others thought. All that will matter is that I loved who I was and made the most of my life.
What has growing up taught you?
This post is part of Amy’s Finer Things Friday.