Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's my blog I can cry if I want to!

My mind has been in deep thought lately and I am finding it hard to bring myself out of it.  There is one word that keeps coming to mind, content.  I am finding it nearly impossible to be content.  Not with money or things, those kind of things mean very little to me and would give it all away if it were for the good of my family and others.  I could live in a shoe box house and be fine.  It would take some adjusting but I would be fine.  I have been blessed and am happy with what I have.  I am happy with the husband God gave me, the children he blessed us with, the home we own and the life we live.  Those things are not or are ever in question.  I live a good life and enjoy it to the fullest.

The contentment that I struggle with comes from a very different place.  It involves where we have been placed and the people that are in our lives.  Not only the family(extented) that we were given but the friends that have been in our lives.  I probably spend too much time in my life wondering and contemplating the state of these relationships considering the other parties seem to care less.  See things don't matter to me but people that is a different matter.  I love people, I love to be with people I love to have people in our lives.  Now the people that matter most is my husband and children they are a constant and loving relationship that I value beyond measure.  I feel they are first and foremost in my heart, mind and life, so nothing or no relationship can put those relationships in jeopardy or it will quickly be dismissed.

My first issue of contentment is with family.  These are the people in our lives that we have not choosen.  The ones that God gave us.  We live 3 1/2 hours from our nearest relative so involvement in our lives I guess you can say is limited.  If for no other reason simple distance is the cause.  But with the technology today involvement can take on many different forms.  It could be traveling to be phyiscally present or phone conversations to be involved in the happenings, or facebook to communicate or even skyping.  The options seem limitless on the ways one can be "present" in anothers life.  But it seems that those avenues are rarely utilized and for the most part the occassional monthly or every other month few minute phone call is the extent of involvement.  And with most family members not even that is the case.  The once or twice a year visit is all that exists in the relationship.  I can tell you from the family members perspective that is far away this can be tough to deal with.  You see your children growing up and grandparents seemingly content missing almost the entire process.  Aunts and Uncles that the children don't recognize for lack of involvement.  Cousins that just don't know each other.  In all of this I feel like the odd ball because it seems I am the only one who even gives a rats ass about the situation and lack of relationship.  So for the most part I keep quiet.  I have approached the subject on a few occassions but with little to no acknowledgement or change.  So I attempt to keep in touch but often find myself sucking back from the relationship with the mindset that "if they don't care, then why do I?".  I mean if you are the one always putting in the effort in, any relationship can be tiring and hurtful and I have found I could only sustain that type of relationship for a certain amount of time.  So if I were asked to define most of the relationships between my family and our other family members it would be, distant, uninvolved and hurtful.  Maybe the yearly Christmas letter is enough involvement for them?  It is like they want to veiw our lives from the outside but have no desire to be a part of it.  Then I find myself becoming defensive of our life and feel if you don't want to be involved then why should you get know what goes on in it?  I feel like they enjoy hearing and knowing of us like we are in a fish bowl.  People to be entertained by but not a part of.  This situation at times I have become accustumed too and just cope with it and at others it tears at my heart and I yearn for grandparents to really know my children and interact with them more than the occasional token visit.  For ones that though they may not be present on a daily basis but still find a way to show they care.  I wish that it couldn't be months that go by without as much as a phone call or card or anything.  That they actually had an ongoing relationship with their grandchildren.  Maybe I am asking for too much and I probably am I just have a hard time imagining someday not really knowing or even caring about my children and what goes on in thier lives.  The whole situation just breaks my heart.  I think it is made worse by the fact that I see how the same grandparents interact with other grandchildren.  Knowing that Grandma always makes cupcakes for one to take to her class on her birthday and that another is taking their grandchild to a museum because they just want to see their face as they see the dinasour exhibit.  Why cannot I not just be content without those things?  Why do I wish those same grandparents wanted to see my childrens faces as they light up with excitement or comfort them when they are sad?  Maybe they do care but it is hard to know someone cares when they really have very little to do with your life.  I need to learn to be content without those things and know that we will make it and our kids will be happy, healthy adults without those things/people but sometimes it is easier said than done to just let it go.

Then their is friendships or a connection with where we are and maybe the two things combined is what makes it all the more hard.  When we moved here over 6 years ago we didn't know a soul and it was tough.  We had no one.  We were in a new area with a toddler, a baby on the way, in new house and a new job. All hard things to deal with and adjust to and it was all at one time.  We struggled and went through some of the hardest time in our lives getting through it.  But really that was to be expected.  It is almost like we had a good excuse to why we were struggling.  But now 6 years later we have made "friends" we have attempted to get involved and connected to those people, groups and the area.  But is seems that almost everyone in our lives have come in and left.  We(my husband and I) can say we feel no more connected to where we are than we were 6 years ago.  Maybe we are not the only ones who struggle with this but it feels like we are.  It seems everyone has their family or life long friends that are in their lives and they know will always be there.  I have two people out of everyone in our lives that I know if I called them day or night they would be there to help in any way possible.  I am grateful for those two people and am glad they are a part of our lives but sometimes it hard to not feel guilt about always having to call on those two people.  That those two people are the only ones you can depend on.  To me it seems like a big burden to place on just two people.  But there have been many people that I thought would always be a part of our lives that have for some reason just "disappeared" from it.  I mean they are still there but not in our lives.  The kind of "friends" that you considered to be more like family.  That you invited to kids birthday parties and family gatherings.  Then you stop recieving invites to their birthday parties and gatherings and I soon get the hint that we will be taking on a new place in thier lives.  Maybe it was something I did or something about me that drives people away but I would think that if our realationship was important that I would at least be given chance to make things right.  But that was not the case and pretty much distance was put between us.  Not the physical distance that seems to be the challange with family because we live very close in proximity but emotional distance with little to no involvement.  I have way too many friendships that have happened this way and they can go back all the way to my best friend when I was 19 years old.  You know the kind of friend that you are inseperable.  Then one day you realize they are putting you at a distance.  I go to her to try to see if I had done something or if we could make things right and after the conversation you realize that anything I do will not change the fact that they just don't want you in thier life anymore.  Ouch it hurts and it took me years to get passed that relationship but I have seen it happen over and over again and I have to wonder if I am the common denominator in each relationship?  I don't know but I do know that I never stop caring and I would  be willing to fix the broken relationship but often are not given that chance and the relationship fades to the type that if you happen to bump into eachother at the grocery store you are kind and ask how the family is and then you part ways.  Sad.

Then on a little lighter side it feels like the area we live in is a black hole.  If you meet anyone when you first move here the conversation goes like this, "are you from here?", "no we just moved here".  The response is always the same, "WHY???".  Whether they are people who were born and raised here or are transplants themselves they all say the same thing.  Surely that is not a good sign.  Now I can see what they mean.  The area really has nothing to offer.  The landscape is terribly boring completely flat and all farm land.  The statistic are depressing with the highest droppout rate, teen pregnancy and divorce rates in the state.  The economy is just sad.  No jobs, poverty and poor school systems.  There is just not much to speak of at all.  And you are hard pressed to find an upside.  To make matters worse we moved here for my husbands job which since has changed and now he doesn't even work in the state.  His sales territory starts about 40 miles from here and goes about 150 miles out from there.  I find myself asking daily why we live here and I cannot come up with a good answer.  It is pretty much that picking up and moving doesn't seem easier of the two options with projects in the house needing finished and the housing market the way it is.  We would also need to move farther away from family but really I don't think that is going to make a difference considering how involved they are at this distance.  I mean could it really get worse??

I want to be content with those relationships or I want to be given the chance to make them right or maybe I just want someone else to care.  I don't know but I do know that I wish I had peace about all of it.  Sometimes I want to just start over.  Leave where we are and start again.  If only that was the easy way out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Soaps and Bonbons.

I had my first two days working outside the home in almost 8 years this week.  This is a hard transition for me for my heart is at home.  Doing the work of the home.  Caring for my children, teaching them, gardening, cooking, cleaning, barn work, yard work and even the finances.  I made it my lifes work to keep my home running and hopefully running well.  Perfect?  No, but well.

Funny thing is it took me years to learn to love the job of staying at home.  If you pursue any job you recieve training.  I mean I got a job at a truck stop and they require me to take 10 different courses and not to mention the training I have to recieve on the floor to learn the ropes.  And this is for a job that is well, kind of the bottom of the barrel kinda job.  But staying at home is something you are thrown into and expected to float kinda thing.  It is a career that requires self motivation, organizational skills, management skills, self dicsipline, manual labor, relational skills, financial planning and budgeting.  It is a highly demanding and requires a great amount of abilty.
You get almost no recognition for the work you do.  And there is almost no immediate gratification and definitely no monetary compensation..  You have to juggle about 5 things at all times and with a smile as to not show those little impressionable people that are at your feet that mommy is sad, stressed, frustrated or angry.

Yet it is thought of as lazy and ambitionless to take on the role of a stay at home wife/mother.  Thought that you must spend your hours at home watching soaps and eating bonbons.  Who eats bonbons anyways??  I will admit I spend time thoughout the day online and occasionally will turn on the t.v.  But I do not have the luxury of any other job where you can clock in and clock out.  My lunch break usually consists of grabbing a bite of food here and there while I am making lunch for ever-hungry kids.  There is no time clock or required break times.  You are on duty 7 days a week all day and on call even at night.

There is also no water cooler conversations and rarely interaction with other adults.  And sometimes the loneliness can still get overwhelming.  Though I have learned to cope with it better.  It is lonely, stressful and neverending work load that gets little to no respect or thanks.  But the most important job that exsists.  We are shaping the hearts and minds of the next generation.  One's who will be the next president, CEO's and fill all those "important" jobs that will need filling someday.

I wish that the mentality toward the stay at home parent will change and it will get the much deserved respect it deserves someday but there are advocates for every group or sect out there but the reason you see no advocates out there for this minority group is because we are too busy catching up on soaps and eating our bonbons!!