So ... I have an interesting thing that's been on my mind lately, and I'd like to share it with all of my faithful, ummm ... 13ish blog readers. :)
I think that somewhere along the way of coming back to Christ in 2004/2005, and getting married, and moving to Nebraska (a lot of Native Nebraskans are grumpy), and having children, and trying to fit in with a new family (in-laws), and trying to please employers/in-laws/family/friends/whatever ... I think that I lost myself somewhere along the way. And I've been missing myself.
I, by nature, am/was : passionate, energetic, late, outspoken, giggly, upbeat, optimistic, fair, a procrastinator, a night-owl, stubborn, playful, sometimes overly-trusting, an anti-morning person, bubbly, fiery, a bit defiant, opinionated, warm, sarcastic, flirtacious, focused, joyful, sympathetic but not always selfless, I can make friends anywhere - even a gas station, and I get embarrassed and blush easily for people (including myself) in silly situations - I frequently have to hide under covers and put my hands over my eyes when embarrassing things happen to people in MOVIES for crying out loud, and when I get excited I get REALLY excited and tend to jump around and squeal, ... I sometimes speak too quickly without thinking things through and then regret it later because I've hurt people without intending to ... and generally, I'm kind and thoughtful but sometimes have trouble actually making it to places/things on time to show people that I care about them. What most people who knew me in my childhood and high school years would say is that I've always been a happy and outgoing person ... an eternal optimist.
But somewhere along the way, I lost a lot of that spark. (Hah! Didn't seem to lose any of the negative stuff though!) But I really MISS that spark and spunk!! I don't know if it was having kids, or feeling like I needed to be less assertive (my siblings-in-law and mother-in-law, bless their hearts, are very non-agressive and have had to put up with my rather outspoken and opinionated self for the last 4.5 years), or just feeling like since I'm a grown-up and a mom now that I need to be somebody different, somebody "stiffer" and more responsible or something. I'm not really sure what it is ... but I've LOST myself somewhere, and I really miss me!!
As I'm getting back into contact with a lot of old high school friends, I'm realizing just how much of ME I've lost. They remind me of stories, and fun times, and my OLD personality ... how upbeat and silly and light hearted I used to be. Then I think of all the fun times my hubby and I used to have just going out and playing pool or card games or bowling or just sitting around telling stories and jokes -- and I wonder, where did that fun girl go??? I used to be able to smile in nearly any situation, could laugh at the silliest of things, could have fun doing the most mundane things.
I'm realizing that I've made myself into something I'm not ... that life isn't all about stress/money/paying bills/being responsible/being a grown-up ... fitting into the mold of a "calm adult" that I seem to have found myself in. Life is SHORT. You never know how many days you'll have ... we aren't promised tomorrow. I feel like I've been living a fraction of the joy and spark that I should be. And although I promise I'll still pay all our bills (haha) ... I think I've just decided that I need to go back to being ME, even if that "me" isn't your typical church-attending-fashion-savvy-grown-up-adult-parent that I seem to have mistakenly decided I have to be.
When I was a babysitter and nanny, nearly every parent that I babysat for told me that I was their kids' FAVORITE sitter ever. Why? I didn't let the kids get out of control and I made sure they followed all the rules ... I was their favorite because I took the time to be SILLY, and pretend ... to ENJOY the little things, and laugh at the things that don't make any sense ... I spent time getting on the floor and building forts and making up stories and thinking of ways to be more FUN and to help the kids learn, but in different and joyful ways. Nowadays, I'm too busy with facebook and bills and being a "grown up" and dressing to look good to other and trying to sound intelligent when I write things and stress and worries and cooking and cleaning and being a parent (read : "trying to find time to be an ADULT!") and I seem to force my kids to live in an adult world instead of living in the NOW and enjoying them being children ... I don't spend enough time living in the now WITH them and enjoying watching their eyes light up as I waddle across the room pretending to be a duck with them. ... *gasp!* ... I've gotten ... stuffy!
Yes, I'm training my children to be adults someday. But they aren't adults now, and they will have their whole lives to be adults (they're not allowed to start that part before age 15 though, hah!). They are precious, happy, joyous children ... who have no idea what divorce is (I pray they never know first-hand!) ... who don't know what suffering is ... who aren't tainted by materialism and the ugly sinfulness of this world ... who don't worry about tomorrow and who don't regret yesterday ... and they are looking to me to tell them what this world is like. If all I show them is stress ... and all I tell them is "NO, not right now, maybe later" and all I ask of them is to "sit still and behave" ... then what a boring and lifeless world they will think this is.
But it's not. This life is truly what you make of it. All of us have bad things happen, all of us have to "remake" ourselves at some point, all of us deal with tragedy, all of us deal with heartache, and all of us have unfortunate things happen to us. But if you focus on the good things in life, put your trust in Jesus, allow yourself to heal when bad things happen, and allow yourself to be warm and trusting (even though you might get hurt), and just look every day to find the joy in something, even something little ... then every day can hold a smile, and every cloud has a ray of sunshine just waiting to burst through the gray. It all depends on how you look at it. And for my children ... the way that they view life in the future has EVERYTHING to do with how I teach them to deal with things now, how I model "life" for them.
I need to find ME again ... the OLD me ... but I won't be not paying the bills, won't be neglecting (too badly) my housework, will still be going to church, won't become a total slacker ... that's not what I'm saying. I just want to show my kids that it's not normal or healthy to run around mis-trusting everyone, being closed-off, being "stuffy" ... God gave us things (and people) in this life to ENJOY!! So I want to take the time to play pretend, catch butterflies, roll in the grass, and have food fights ... because even though those are ridiculous and time-consuming and messy ... this is the only shot I've got at my kids' childhood. I don't want to miss it just because I was so selfishly consumed with finding "Mommy Time" and being annoyed with them.
The part of me I've locked away somewhere has just got to come back out. I'm going to start looking for her, in earnest. For three reasons :
1. To put more spice and spark back into my marriage. Flirtaciousness isn't something that needs to disappear when you're married - I seem to have lost mine completely - it just needs to be directed toward the only appropriate person. :)
2. To be the mom that learned how to be a mom by babysitting, and having fun! To give my kids an example of JOY and LIGHT-HEARTEDNESS and WARMTH and COMPASSION, so that they can grow up to be joyful creatures themselves.
3. To be who I AM again. To find that inner spark again. To find that driving passion and joyfulness that has always made me ME and enabled me to get up every morning and heal even after some pretty deep wounds. To find the joy and the smiles and the radiant (albeit, energetic/stubborn/outspoken/assertive/annoying) person that made me who I was ... the person who loved fiercely, the girl who was the favorite babysitter, the optimistic and giggly woman my husband initially fell in love with.
That's the spark that I want back. I've got to figure out how to dig that LIFE and JOY back out of myself again. Going "green" and finding a passion for being "crunchy" has really helped me to start the process of finding my real self again, but I'm not done yet.
So I just want you to know that I'm on a journey towards re-discovering my inner firecracker, ad I'll take all the help I can get from any of you reading this. :)