Thursday, November 4, 2010

Silver Lining (A Post from my previous column)

  To fill in a little back-story regarding Thursday's post, 
             while ending on a positive note;
We’ve all heard about clouds with silver linings.  We get handed a lot of these every day.  Sometimes our paths are altered in minor ways, sometimes major.  When this happens, we have a choice; we can view it as either positive or negative. 
          In my case I was eight years old my parents got divorced.  My father chose to raise me.  I never saw my mother again until I was twenty.  I was extremely resentful that she was not a part of my childhood and I was teased relentlessly by the kids in elementary school about not having a mother. 
            As you can imagine, it took me a long time to find something positive about this situation.
            Once I became a mother myself and was more mature, I felt that there were several good reasons why my mother had not been a large part of my life growing up.
            My mother is the type of person who says yes to anything and everything.  She doesn’t know how to say no.  Had she stuck around, my life would have been quite different.   I can see now how her leniency and her extra sweet, eager to please personality would have deprived me some of the life lessons that I needed to learn.
          My father was the one who knew how to set boundaries for me and who was a thorough disciplinarian.  And although I despised the rules and punishments as a kid, I look back now and appreciate them.
            The best of all about my mother not being around when I was growing up was that I got the opportunity to have several women in my lives as mother figures.   They included my Nanny, (my father’s mother), my father’s two sisters, his long term girlfriend and my step-mother.  Each of these women taught me different things about life, and as I reflect upon who I am, I find within myself, many of these women's qualities. 
For example, I have my Nanny’s old fashioned values, her tenacity and her humor.   From my eldest Aunt I have a deep love of people, family, emotions and the psyche.  From my younger aunt I have the love of architecture, art, photography, and music.   From my Dad’s old girlfriend from way back, I learned to cook and decorate the house to celebrate the holidays.  From my step-mom I have learned how to believe in myself and accept myself. She was the one who was most understanding and supportive while I was going through my divorce.
As my marriage had come to an end, I was frustrated about not being able to come up with even one good reason why I was getting divorced.  Maybe it had been too soon after the divorce to think positively, but as time passed, I finally found many good reasons that my marriage didn’t work out.
One reason being, I am finding more of myself, the same person I used to be before I got married, just better. I have more self-confidence. I‘ve made many more friends, and have found within me, strengths and abilities that I didn’t know I possessed or just forgot I had.  Best of all, the bond that I have with my children is much stronger now that I am a happier, healthier person. 
While going through these two unfortunate events wasn’t easy, I feel that because of them I became better prepared to teach my three children about what’s really important in life.  Like how to look within themselves for true love and happiness prior to loving someone else.   That sometimes things aren’t going to go their way so they need to learn good coping skills. 
Beeing a child of divorce, I also wanted to be sure not to repeat the same mistakes with my kids as my parents did with me. 
 I wanted to reduce the amount of trauma on my children, as much as possible.  So, unlike my parents, who never explained to me what was happening to our family, I’ve offered constant, open communication with my children.
 In the case where I was moved around from place to place for much of my childhood, I’ve provided my kids with as much stability as possible by keeping them in their family home for as long as I could and keeping much of their routines the same.We waited to make major changes, and made them slowly and only when we all felt that we could handle them.
 Life is not without mistakes or misfortune and without these things we would miss opportunities to grow and become better people.  My oldest child is happy it worked out this way, she knows we have all grown since the divorce.
There are lessons to be learned with each obstacle and hardship in life, and while we hope they never happen and when they do happen we instantly want to wish them away, they're happening for a reason.  
 If we can learn the lesson, than we will pass the test.  We’ll be stronger for next test and we might even be able to help someone else along the way.
I went without a mother for most of my life, I endured a ton of sorrow and pain, but it was not in vain..It prepared me for raising healthy children in the turmoil of divorce.

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