Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The greener grass theory

This was the Daily OM I received on Monday and thought I would post it today with the Healthy Reflections I received today from Spark People because the two messages are basically about the same thing.

January 29, 2007
The Impossible Dream

Right In Front Of You

When it comes to the things we want, there always seems to be an endless list. No matter how many times we get something off that list, we add new things to replace it. In life, this drama of wanting and getting and wanting is all part of the dance. The things we want motivate us to get up and get them.

And yet, at the same time, we can torment ourselves with our wanting, especially when we want something we can't have or can't find. It is in cases like these that it might be fruitful to entertain the idea that maybe what you really want is right in front of you. Maybe you are using this desire you can't fulfill to distract you from truly engaging the blessings you already have. It may seem like that doesn't make sense, yet we do it all the time. It may be easier to see in other people than to see it in ourselves. We have all heard our friends wishing they were more this or less that, and looking at them we see clearly that they are everything they are wishing they were. We know people who have wonderful partners and yet envy you yours. We wish we could give these people a look at their situations from our perspective so that they could see that what they want really is right in front of them.

It's not too far-fetched to consider that we might be victims of the same folly. It can be scary to have what we want. We get caught up in the chase and forget to enjoy the beauty right in front of us-like a child who never wants the toy she has in her hand but always the one just out of her reach. Take a moment today to consider the many things you are holding in the palm of your hand and how you might best play with them.

The following is the Healthy Reflections message from Spark People.

Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men. It then appears that we are among the privileged. - Helen Keller

Is the grass truly greener on the other side?

Do you ever feel that you're always getting the short end of the stick? Or do you constantly compare your life to others'? We are bombarded with daily images of the posh lifestyles of celebrities. Their pampering, expensive wardrobes, and status can entice even the happiest of people to drool over such luxury. But by thinking about the world as a whole, you'll find that your own life is wealthy beyond compare. Make a short list of some of your overlooked privileges. Owning a car (or two!), having access to television, computers, drinkable water, a respectable wage at your job, and all of the freedoms you enjoy that are a foreign idea to many people around the world. Be grateful for your life and over time maybe you will see that your plot in life is someone else's "greener grass".

I just love that quote from Helen Keller, don't you?  I mean, it is so true.  We see all these images on tv all the time about celebrities and the lifestyle that they have been blessed with.  Blessed?  We don't know all the headaches that come with that.

Really, think about it.  Are they all just trying to live up to the same standards as their peers?  Like all of us and the proverbial "Jones".  Perhaps they are living on the edge of bankruptcy just the same as the average joe.  The only difference being, the size of the house, the value of the jewelry, the type of car(s).

Yeah, it would be nice to live in a bigger and nicer house, but at least we have a roof over our heads.  That is more than many, many people can say.  How many Amercians are living on the streets?  How many children are constantly packing their few belongings into trash bags and being shipped from one foster home to the next?

Sure, it would be awesome to own a brand new, shiny, all decked out convertible.  (Or my dream '65 red Mustang convertible)  On the other hand, I have been living without a car for about 5 years.  I now have a used Pontiac Bonneville.  It is in pretty decent shape and most RUNS! 

I don't own a bunch of diamond jewelry, but where would I wear stuff like that?  I'd like to have a few nice pieces, but it really isn't me.  I LOVE silver & turquoise jewelry, and I own several nice pieces.  If I see something I really, really like and we can afford to, Ray will get it for me. 

Of course, I don't have millions, or even thousands...heck not even hundreds of admiring fans.  But I have kids who love me and a wonderful man by my side.  It may not be the same as millions of admiring fans, but I do have a beautiful little two year daughter that  will often hang on every word I say and follow me around, much like the papparazzi.  Not always, remember she is 2 and tempermental, but when she does it is really cool.

Heck the celebrities think they have it bad?  I haven't been able to pee by myself in 2 years!  LMBO!  Now that is a dedicated fan!  Let's see what would I rather have...a bunch of admiring fans?  Or a daughter that admires me?  Me?  I'd prefer the daughter.  But wait!  I'm doubly blessed because although it may not be the same level of adoration and awe that my 2 year has, but I think Samantha admires me and some of the things I've done or do. 

Even better than that, Sammi and I are great friends.  Oh, believe me, we went through some turbulent times in her teens.  But I was blessed with the fact that it was a short lived "angry" stage.  I think the fact that there was an "evil step-mom" helped me out on that one.  She was able to direct so much of her anger in that direction and I was her sounding board on that subject.  I think we grew a lot closer during our chats about her father and his new wife.  We still have great chat sessions, I hopethose never end.

Don't be too jealous though.  LMBO!  On the other hand, I was also the "evil step-mom" to Ray's two daughters.  So I also know what that feels like.  No matter what you do, it is wrong.  No matter what you say, it will be twisted this way or that.  I've learned that there is no winning position as the step-mom.  Unless you are willing to throw all you standards out the window. 

Just try to treat the two sets of kids (yours and his) the same.  It doesn't work.  His kids aren't used to your parenting style and there will be explosions of record size.  So then you try to "come down" a little in your expectations or standards, call it what you will.   Suddenly you find that in your effort not to play favorites with your own kids, you find that you are, in a way, playing favorites to his.  It's a delicate and dangerous balancing act. 

Me?  I never got it down just right.  I made mistakes.  I did and said things I regret.  But boy, oh boy, I'll tell you it is awfully hard when your standing in the middle of, what feels like a battle field, to make the "right" decision. 

Ahh, I've gotten off topic again.  Green grass Jill Marie!  LOL  But it is an important topic and I want other people with step-children to know that (almost) everyone goes through taht period of time where you feel like the proverbial "evil step-parent".  I say almost everyone, because I am sure there are families out there, somewhere, that are able to just "click" together.  But I don't think there are that many really.

I mean, you are taking these people, who up to this point have all grown in different environments, with different standards of life, different expectations and rules.  Now suddenly you throw them all into one house and expect them to live peacefully together.  Can that really be possible?  Perhaps in Utopia, or one of those know the one I'm talking about...where everything is "perfect".  As a matter of fact, I think that is what the town if called, Perfect. That's what I had hoped for, and wanted for all of us.  To live in Perfect.  But again, I digress. 

I think the age of the kids probably has a lot to do with it too.  At the time that Ray's girls came into our lives, I had been with Ray for 3 years.  Our family, Ray, me and my kids all interacted in a certain way.  Then when Stephanie was 15 and Aimee was 14, they suddenly came into our life.  David was 15, Sammi was 12 and Christopher was 9.  Can you just imagine throwing that many teenagers, who previously didn't know each other, together? 

Oh Lord, the things we would do differently if we had a chance.  But things are what they are.  We are all very different people and how boring would it be if we were all the same?  Peaceful perhaps, but awfully boring.  You certainly would not be able to refer to our house, over the past 6 years, as boring.  LOL

Now the kids are growing up.  They are each so different and going in so many directions.  Things have calmed down, thank the Lord, and I am able to appreciate the kids for who they are and what each one brings to my life. 

Frankly, after Stephanie lived here for a few years, and we butted heads again and again, I wondered if we would ever be able to get along.  I am thankful for the fact that we do now.  I appreciate our relationship and I am so proud of the progress she has made in her life.  It has been such a joy to be able to see her grow up and do so much.  She has a really good job which she has kept for a few years now, and most importantly she is proving to be a very loving and caring mother to little Miss Aubreigh.  I wish nothing but joy and happiness to Stephanie and her sister, Aimee.

Mistakes and regrets?  Yes, definately on my part.  Some mistakes on Ray's part too.  I guess I couldn't say mistakes on the part of the girls, they were teenage girls and just behaving like teen girls.  The fact of the matter is that Ray didn't want to have to be the disciplinarian when it came to the girls.  I understand that, I mean they were out of his life for so long and he just wanted to be the good guy.  But that put me in a very difficult position. 

He wanted me to make sure Stephanine went to school and got her homework done, and kept her room clean and followed the rules.  Yet, when it came down to it, he just couldn't back me up.  He was trying too hard to be the good guy, the cool dad.  He was afraid if he wasn't that to them, that they would get mad at him and not love him. Where did that leave me?  Ahhh, back to the "evil step-mom". 

Believe me, I would have loved to been the good guy too.  I wanted to be friends with the girls, to be the "cool" step-mom.  But how could I expect less of them than I expected of my own kids and still hold onto my principles.  I couldn't...and that made things so hard for all of us.  I was angry and frustrated, as I'm sure Stephanie was.  Not to mention, a bit resentful of Ray for putting me in that position and not even seeming to realize it. 

It was a very difficult time for me.  Not only was I dealing with the anger and frustration, but I think it began to make me a little depressed too.  There seemed to be no end to the tension.  I'm so sorry that things were that way for all of us.  They didn't have to be...if just I had done this or that differenty, if just Ray had stepped up to the plate a little bit, if just Stephanie could have understood things a little more.  If just, if many things!

Yes, I could sit here and go over all the things I did wrong, all the regrets, all the resentments, all the "what if's"...but that won't change anything.  Looking back and thinking about everything that went wrong won't make it any better.  I guess I just have to look at it as a lesson of life and be grateful that things turned out as well as they did.  I have to hope that one day the girls will understand the difficult position I was in and understand that we learn as we go.  I hope they know that I care about them and love them.

How off subject I got...yet once again.  Look how long this is, and I didn't even go into the mistakes and regrets about myown kids.  LOL  Believe me, there are plenty of those too.  In the end, I love all our kids.  I know that it looks as though I am biased with Rylie right now because I write about her all the time.  However, if I had had a journal when the kids were little, it would probably have been much the same.  The other kids are so much older, practically adults. 

LMBO!  What am I saying?  Four of them are 18 or older!  They are adults!  So basically, Rylie is almost growing up like an only child, only better...she has older siblings to give her what we won't or can't.  Lucky kid.  Better?  LOL  What could be worse than a spoiled only child?  Rylie...not an only child, 12 years younger or more, than all her siblings who spoil her when we won't.  You can't get anymore spoiled than that.  Except for Paris Hilton perhaps, well...that takes us back to rich people...LOL  See I connected it all!  In my own strange, blonde, going around the block to go next door, long way...I connected it all.

If you actually read this long winded, going here and there entry, Congratulations.  If you actually understood it and see how I connected the end to the beginning...are you blonde too?  Just kidding. 

Have a great day.

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