Several years ago I often heard a song on the radio and the lyrics went like this, “This is your life. Are you who you want to be?” Honestly, I do not remember much more of the song than that. And yet, those words have stuck with me and run through my mind (in perfect tune) on a semi regular basis. It is almost like my subconscious is checking in with me to see if I am in fact who I want to be. Or maybe it was gently nudging me on this journey that I am finally embarking on to discover who I am.
It seems every time I think those lyrics and take a few moments to contemplate my answer the answer is always that for the most part I am. I’m not unhappy with who I am. I don’t dread getting up each day and doing the things that I need to do that day. I remember a time in my past when that was actually the case. Unlike most people I dreaded Friday with a vengeance and couldn’t wait for Monday to get here. Friday meant that my husband (not the man I am currently married to) would be home for approximately 60 hours straight. And every single one of those hours I would spend tip toeing lightly through the mine field we called home. I would expend pain staking effort to think and re think every comment or question I was about to speak in order to play out in my mind what his anticipated response might be in order to avoid setting off an explosion if at all possible. I would navigate through each hour checking the clock repeatedly trying to determine when he might be getting hungry or thirsty, bored or ready for a sweet treat. Anything to keep him on the upswing and avoid the down swing that would lead to him turning on me with a verbal rage that would put most drill sergeants and interrogators to shame. Each night I would crawl into bed and will myself to sleep. My hope would be that the hours throughout the night would somehow defy time and slow down. I would pray that morning would not come too soon. I have wondered if I had asked myself back then if I was who I wanted to be if my answer would still have been yes, only wishing the me I was were living a different life.
Today as I contemplate the question I find myself thinking of the character qualities I see in myself. I could simplify the question or separate it into categories if you will. Am I the wife I want to be. For the most part yes, I think. However, there are some heart issues and character qualities that I definitely need to work on. I am learning that I do not always fight fairly. Not that my husband and I fight often, but we do tend to disagree or not see eye to eye on how some things should be handled whether that be with the children, finances or the rental properties that we own and manage. It is in those moments when I am pleading my case as to what I think should be happening that I tend to throw a low blow in now and then. No sooner have I struck the man I love with some unexpected verbal assault that inwardly I feel horrible. Why am I hurting the one person that I love more than any other in the whole entire world? The one person that I run to at any given moment if I am in need. The one that if my heart is breaking I want him to comfort me, even when he is the one who has broken my heart. The one that I enjoying walking hand in hand with at any give moment of every single day even if we just did it yesterday. And so, if I am an honest, no I am not the wife that I want to be. I want to be the wife whose joy runneth over and sustains her in times of weakness such as a disagreement with her husband. The wife who respects her husband and shows him that she does in the way she speaks to him in good times and bad times.
Am I the Mother that I want to be? Hmmm…. in so many ways yes. In fact this year I have made it an even greater priority to be present in our son’s life. I already was that parent who advocated for our son’s education at school, volunteered in the classroom, drove him to soccer or baseball practice unless Tom could and walked him to and from school. I enjoy watching our son in all that he does. There have been times in the past when work appointments would come up and cause me to choose between helping a client or going to one of Michael’s soccer matches or baseball games. This year I laid all work aside after being diagnosed with breast cancer in January. I can see the day so clearly. On January 11th, 2016 Tom and I entered the nurses office where we were to hear my results. I had a gut feeling the results would say I did in fact have cancer. Still standing, I heard the nurse say that my results were positive for breast cancer. As I put my hands on either arm of the chair that I was about to sit in I asked her which breast as they had tested both. My next thought was that I would not be working for the rest of the year but that I would take the time I needed to fight cancer and be present in my families lives. After the appointment Tom and I went to lunch and that is what I shared with him. Sticking with that commitment to myself hasn’t been easy. Work has tried to squeeze its way back in and I relented and began to give of myself to clients. It wasn’t long before the effects of the stress began to manifest in a physical way as my body, mind and emotions became overwhelmed. The time that I have spent with Michael has been priceless. Not perfect, but priceless. I have had my moments where I have become inpatient with him when he was not doing as he was told or when he was acting out. In some of those times I have become angry and hollered at him only to regret it as soon as the words left my mouth. I have been impatient with him. And other times I have given in to his requests for more electronics time solely to give myself some peace and quiet. I know, some of you are sitting there reading this and thinking, who is she kidding? We have all done that! I know, I know. And yet, if I am honest with myself these are the things I want to be better at. Patient in stressful times. Loving and kind yet firm in our standards of how our kids should behave at home and in public. I want to be that mom that not only advocates for my son’s needs but also stands firm on healthy boundaries around TV time, electronics time, content of YouTube videos, etc to help mold and shape the person that our son becomes. All in all my answer to this one would be yes, as long as I continue to work hard to tweak and fine tune the parts of being a mother that I feel I could do better in.
More questions I would ask myself are:
Am I the woman of God that I want to be?
Am I the friend that I want to be?
I will have to resume this in Day 3 of the 31 Days of Writing as I am out of time for today.