Friends, family, mommies, and writers

This past week has certainly been interesting. I’m sure everyone is sick and tired of hearing about the MomSquawk contest, but I just have a few thoughts about what went down during those seven days, what I learned, and how I felt about it. Please indulge me this one last time!

Along with a bunch of other mommies, last Wednesday night I sat at my computer anticipating the posting of my essay. I was in the midst of No Technology Week, but this was a contest for a job and I figured that warranted an exception! Finally the essays were posted, all 120 of them! As soon as I saw mine, I started promoting . . . and harping on my boyfriend to do the same (he was my first comment, after all). I also started reading some of the other essays. I started connecting with these other moms’ stories (and a couple of dads). Many of them were writing about things I had experienced. Some of them were writing about things that I know I will experience at some point. A few of them wrote about things that I couldn’t relate to at all. The one thing they all had in common was that they were expressions of love . . . a parent’s love.

Immediately, I started to get a ton of support from my friends and family. They followed the wacky directions to comment or like my essay, and they shared the links with their Facebook friends. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for all of their support. It was touching beyond words. Now I already knew that I had the best friends and family ever, but I never take these kinds of reminders for granted.

It became apparent to me a few days before the contest ended that I pretty much had no shot. It’s difficult to compete with someone who has 1200 Facebook friends and the gap between my numbers and the leaders’ numbers just continued to grow. I figured I could deal with this in a two different ways. I could give up and whine about it. Or I could make the best of it and fight till the end. I opted for the latter. I may not have won the job, but I have met some really incredible parents and writers. Socially, I’m always up for more friends.  Professionally, I’ll never turn down networking opportunities. And so there I had it . . . new friends and new writing connections. No complaints from my end.

And that support from my friends and family? It did more than just warm my heart. It helped build my confidence. I’ve been a writer all of my life. At 8 years old, I told everyone that I wanted to be a poet when I grew up. I deviated from this path quite a bit, but I have now found myself back on track. For the first time, I am trying to make a career of writing, a career of doing what I love. There are days when I want to give up (days when I feel like I need to bang my head against a wall because I can barely stay awake to finish writing about golf equipment). There are days when I wonder if I’m good enough. There are days when I’m not sure if I have anything important to say at all. And then things happen like this past week. Friends and family . . . and friends and family of friends and family . . . took a moment to say “good job”, took a moment to tell me that my story touched them, took a moment to reinforce my belief, no my knowledge, that this IS the right path for me.

The moral of the story is this: You can’t always win, and you can’t control the outside circumstances. But you CAN control how you react and what you take from a situation. You choose to benefit or not. You can learn and grow from all experiences, if you choose to.

If you haven’t already read my essay and are interested doing so, here it is:

Kids Are Smarter than We Give Them Credit For

As parents, we all want to shelter our kids from anything that could possibly hurt them, either physically or emotionally. It breaks our hearts to see our kids in any kind of pain. But we don’t give kids enough credit for their intelligence and resiliency.

At 3 years old my daughter started asking me a lot of questions about my mom. My mom passed away when I was 16. We had talked about my mom, and she had seen pictures, but I hadn’t actually said to her, “my mommy died.” I struggled with that. I was afraid to discuss death with my daughter.  I was afraid that because my mommy died when I was young, she would be afraid of me dying. I told her that my mom was in Heaven. I told her that my mom was watching over us. She just didn’t quite understand the concepts. She wanted to know why we couldn’t go visit my mommy.

The day finally came when I told her, when I said those words. She looked at me very seriously and said, “Like the bird we saw on the way to school?”

“Yes,” I told her.

“Do you miss her?” she asked.

“All the time,” I said. “But I know she’s watching over me and watching over you too.”

Abby talking to Mom-Mom Janice

She smiled really big, climbed into my lap, and gave me one of those out-of-this-world hugs that only children seem to be able to give. Shortly after that day, she walked in on me crying. She asked me what was wrong, and I told her. “I heard a song that my mommy used to sing to me. I miss her a lot.”

She held her hands out as if she was holding a box and said, “Put ten kisses in this box, and I’ll send them up to your mommy!”

I realized then that I didn’t need to shelter her from the real things in life, that she was fully capable of dealing with them in her own way.  Since that realization, I have had some of the most incredible conversations with my daughter, conversations that I never would have expected from such a young child. We’ve talked about death, God, discrimination, homelessness, sickness, and so much more. She asks a lot of questions. Sometimes I don’t have all the answers, but I never avoid answering as best as I can and I never, ever lie to her.

I give my daughter credit for her intelligence. I don’t talk down to her. I don’t try to hide the world from her. In turn, she’s not only the most amazing daughter ever; she’s also a really cool little person!

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Dayle, you are amazing! Over this past week, you’ve taught me a lot about having a positive attitude and approaching every situation with a smile. Can you believe I felt your smile over the Interweb? =)

    In reflecting on this contest with you, something that I learned from Tammy is that it may not be solely about the numbers. She was able to achieve hundreds of votes by being determined and persistent, even though she only had 1/6th of the number of Facebook friends that I had. Can you imagine?! =)

    What a crazy and beautiful learning experience this has been for everyone. Thank you for being a part of it and for setting such a great example for me. =) Hug!

    Reply

    • ::Smile:: I did say difficult, not impossible! ::Hugs:: back!

      Complainers irritate me. Not that I don’t have my moments, I most certainly do, but I vent and it passes. I’ve seen (and been through) a lot of F-uped stuff in my life, and if there’s one thing I learned above all else it’s that there really always is a silver lining. It may take awhile to see it, but it’s there and it’s our job not to ignore it!

      I’m reminded often of something a friend said (well wrote) to me a couple years ago. I was going through a particularly rought time. My Facebook status was “I’m sorry to say so, but sadly it’s true that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you.” (from Dr. Seuss) . . . My friend’s response was, “Just remember one of the last lines of that book, ‘And will you succeed? Yes! You will indeed!” That exchange was the spark that lit the flame under my ass to get me to start a freelance career and finally follow my dreams.

      I’m rambling now 🙂

      Reply

      • I admire the way you put it, Dayle: “it’s our job not to ignore the silver lining!”

        What a clever way to respond to your Facebook post! I never knew Dr. Seuss could be so inspiring. =) I hope that we can continue to support each other in following our dreams as well. =) I know that your energy, passion and humility makes me want to support YOU! =)

        Reply

  2. Absolutely Samantha!

    And if you’re interested, this a blog I wrote all about what adults can learn from Dr. Seuss. I’m kind of Dr. Seuss obsessed. I quote his books for almost everything I do! https://ishallbeatoad.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/life-lessons-as-ive-interpreted-from-dr-seuss/

    🙂

    Reply

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