Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Count your blessings

I wish I could be able to to make the people I love as happy as the feeling of love and admiration I have for them. I wish I could give them all they deserve. I wish they could feed off the knowledge of everything they are and never have one sad or boring day again. Just because they deserve to be recognized. And I wish each word of recognition was forever in front of them as an eternal memorial of the great people they are. The more I look at them, and think about them, and the more I compare them to this other person (myself), the more I want to tell them that they are greater than life, they are God's crown of creation, they are God's most amazing work of art. Three people are the ones who today I wish could live life all over again with one difference, everyone should give them the honor they deserve: My grandmother, my mother, my husband.

My grandmother - all too often that is all she ever was in my mind - my grandmother. She is so much more than that. She is a strong woman who one day became a mom and a grandma. I never had the pleasure to know the person she became from a little girl growing up in the late 30's and early 40's. Just as grandma in the 80's. But the more I know about her other life, the more I admire her as the woman she grew up to be one day. She had her youth dreams that I might never be able to hear about. She was married and widowed twice. She knew and dealt with love, disappointment and pain as a woman. She saw her children and grandchildren grow up and give themselves airs of know-it-all. She saw and argued the decisions they took that she felt were not the best. She was a girl watching her offspring develop into grown-ups. And her fears and hopes had to play a part in it, because she did have fears and hopes about those new people that came into her life, in the fullness of her young adult years. And so often, we, her offspring, looked at her as just mom or grandma, never as the person whose life was invaded but those little people she cared for and were running out of her control, making the life she hoped for them not exactly the way she once dreamed. And ignoring even that she was a real person. Ignoring even that she had her own dreams, fulfilled or unfulfilled. She knew by then a lot about her life that none of us knew about ours or hers. We so often forget that she is someone we might never fully know. She was someone we never met, someone she so often pushed aside to meet our needs and demands.

My mother - I can say the same thing about her. I wonder if strength of character is hereditary. My mom is a fighter. Now that I am as old as I remember herself being when I was a child, I can't help but thinking how everything came to be in her life. Life, of which I am just a piece, not, never, its center, even though she made it all about my siblings and me. She had a life before us that included just as many dreams or more than the ones I had, just as many media stars or more than the ones I had, just as many super BFFs or more as I had, as much drama or more than what I had. When she became a mom, her life went on, and all those things that were part of it, might have been overcast by her children. She was still the woman who lived that life, and her character, and her likes and dislikes, and her fears, and her experiences, they were all still there, making up the woman who now also was a mom, worker, ex-wife, daughter. Not, never, perfect. But with a strength of character bigger than the world. Just like her mom. Just like her mom, how often does her offspring recognizes her as a woman and not as mom? As a full person and not as only one social role she took upon herself to fulfill? Mom, a choice she made still as a teenager to be one of her goals in life, is still ONE choice, that SHE made, to be ONE OF her goals in LIFE. And we, as little self-centered kitties, never bother to see beyond that caregiver. We are all too involved in making sure that she gets what we need.

My husband - inevitably I look at what is wrong with him, what he is lacking, why can't he be more the way I think he should be. Inevitably I want him to live up to the standards I chose to be the ones that must be met. Yes, I thnk my standards are imporant. Yes, I am a thinking caring human being who loves that person and wants that person to be the best he can be. Yes, I have his best interest in mind and yes, his best interest is permeated by my ideals of what is good and why. So no, I don't think I am an awful person for setting standards I wish he would meet. But inevitably I learn how wrong I am about his complete inability to do what is right, loving, caring and responsible. Inevitably I see, through little windows that sometimes my brain opens, each and every little thing he does for our house, our family, our well-being, and even for the people we know. Inevitably I see through those windows, the feelings that I usually don't take the time to consider when deciding what I think is best for him. Haven't I always done that? Those windows often make me realize (not often enough) that the man I am so quick to judge in a negative light is the one without whom my life would spin out of control in ways I can't imagine. He is not a mirror image of me, nor should he be. He is not perfect, nor could he be. He and I might disagree in a number of ways what are the top priorities, but if we were just at agreement all the time, some things would just never get done, some subjects would never be talked about, we would not by any means make each other's life better, we would be nothing but shadows of each other, keeping each other company. He is a man that not only tries to make what is right for himself, but who is always looking out for us, and doing so with incessant love.

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