Don’t be ordinary…

In love. In life. In parenthood. In anything. It’s a good rule – why be ordinary?

The above quote says it all for me as we head towards the big V-day. And I may not be going where you think I’m am with this. It’s not a “To heck with jerks! You go tell him where to stick it girl!” kind of thing.

We are all so incredibly unique. Nope – we’re not all special little snowflakes to be coddled and protected from every bump in the road. But we are unique.

No two people have exactly the same life experience, outlook, talents or challenges.

Valentine’s Day is bittersweet for many, sweet for some and just plain bitter for others.

We’ve heard it all, right?  ‘Love yourself first’ and ‘you can’t love another person until you love yourself’. And these are true.

We get totally sick of hearing them when  we’d rather have an awkward date with Mr. Not-Quite-Right than sit at home alone with take-out and binge-watching GOT one more night. There’s nothing wrong with going on that date if you are just looking for a fun night out, and everyone involved has a realistic expectation of outcomes.

But please routinely put in the effort to make those statements above true.

Don’t waste too much time on Mr. (or Ms!) Not Quite Right – buy yourself a treat instead – a handbag you’ve wanted, a ticket to a sporting event, a dinner out at a lovely restaurant – and it doesn’t have to be expensive – do it on a shoestring – a walk in the park or hiking expedition of your own can be so incredibly gratifying. Take a lesson in something you’ve been dying to learn – rock climbing or painting or whatever tickles your fancy.

Self-care takes a lot of practice – you might not have that rosy “I love me!” feeling. It doesn’t matter – do the thing anyway. Take the moment – if it’s nothing but stopping working on all the other things to read for 30 minutes and have a bath. Your heart, mind and body all three will thank you. (The rosy feelings do sometimes come! I promise!)

Next, let’s consider ‘Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you.’

A mouthful – I know. I’m no Oscar Wilde. But I think the point is important.

Once we remember how to love ourselves, we shouldn’t work so hard to love someone who doesn’t cherish all the parts of us at least as much as we do.

When you truly love someone, you even find ways to cherish the parts of them that drive you crazy.

My SO and I have this piece down. For example – he’s reticent. Completely. HUGELY. And it drives me totally bonkers most of the time. He doesn’t communicate AT ALL when he’s upset. Then I get upset because he’s not communicating – and then he’s upset that I’m upset, and it can get really stupid.

BUT – I’ve learned from his reticence. Running off at the mouth has always been a problem of mine – but being around him has caused me to slow down and consider more carefully the things that come out of my mouth. It has taught me that not everything needs an immediate response and sometimes it doesn’t need a response at all.

Still drives me nuts when he does it sometimes (and funnily enough was the most infuriating part to me about my dad! Wished I’d learned from him instead of waiting this long.) But it’s part of who he is as a person – and it does have value.

I *think* I’m teaching him something about empathy – which drives him bonkers. We have to stop before leaving DQ to say hi to the older fellow sitting alone with his cone. He has to wait for me constantly because I have a need to know EVERYONE’S story. I want them all. He was not previously overly concerned about other’s stories – or with sharing his own.

I think he sees through my crazy eyes that wanting to know about others, because you’re truly interested in their story, can be beautiful thing, and can create some wonderful bonds (and get you some fantastic stories!) He tells me routinely that it’s part of who I am – so he loves it too.

So if you’re going to be with someone, choose a person who is willing to think that you’re a special snowflake and treat you with all the care that should afford – but who’s also willing to push you and inspire you to being bigger, better and more than you were.

No one less is worth it – have many lovely friends and people around you – but don’t sacrifice your time and effort for someone who doesn’t cherish your soul.

Don’t expend energy loving someone who doesn’t love you more than you love you. 🙂

A letter to my daughter when she thinks she’s found “the one”

 

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When my kids were really small, I had journals in which I would write letters to them regularly. I recorded funny things they were saying and doing, and how I felt getting to be their mom. As they grew, and my free time lessened, I haven’t kept it up as I wish I had.

I’ve recently had a spate of friends who are ill and facing saying goodbye to young children too soon, as well as friends who’ve lost parents in an untimely fashion. It got me thinking about what I’d want my kiddos to know – and this was one of the first things I’d want to tell my kids down the road if I’m not here to say it in person.

 

Dear Sweet Pea & Future Beau-

So you guys have been dating a while – and you each think you’ve found ‘the one’ eh? He certainly seems to be considerate and kind (yes – I’m making assumptions here – if he doesn’t seem to be considerate and kind at least to my face I hope we’re not having this conversation.) And I’m fairly disposed to give you my blessing.

I’d just like to give you just a few things to chew on, while we squee and happy dance and get ready to break my bank account for as much of your dream wedding as I can give you. Check in on these things regularly – they matter – a lot.

  1. Make sure you’ve seen one another at your worst.
    Have you seen him lose his temper? Or be really depressed? Over the course of years, hopefully you have more good times than bad. But the hard times will come, rest assured, and you’d rather find out sooner than later how you each handle those situations.
  2. Be open – about everything. 
    You have to be able to talk about everything. Maybe you choose not to sometimes, but don’t marry someone that you feel you have ‘restricted’ topics with. That’s bad news. The more honest you can be with each other about all things, small and big, the better off you’ll be.
  3. Listen.
    Take the time to make sure the other person knows that you’re hearing them when they’re talking to you. Think about what they’re’s saying, and try to understand, whether it’s his golf game, her horrific haircut, work or family concerns, they’re communicating to you because it matters to them. Take it in.
  4. Don’t poor mouth one another.
    No matter how mad you are at him, try to only take it up with him. If it’s a safety concern – different ball of wax – call me and I’ll come kick him in the pants, hard. But if you’re arguing over money or intimacy or any of these other things, for heaven’s sake, don’t go run your mouth to all of your friends about him. If we’re really lucky in this life, we get one or two friends we can vent to who won’t judge on the back end, who support us no matter what. But if you’re not 1000% certain you’re speaking with that person, shut your piehole – bringing others into your marital problems is a recipe for disaster.
  5. Choose one another every day.
    This one is the hardest of all. It takes so much work. Choose one another every day. And I mean every day. Choose one another when you’d rather scream at than kiss them. Take their needs into consideration with every single choice. If you’ll each look out for one another first, you’ll never need to look after your own needs. The very best marriages I’ve seen start and continue in this manner. When you feel like you hate them, stop, breathe, DON’T open your mouth, and force yourself to remember 5 reasons why you love them. Then speak.

I love you, sweet pea, with all of my soul, and can’t wait to see what this amazing life has in store for you!