Turn it Around
This morning someone who I was quite close to at one time said something very hurtful to me. I understood that it came from a place of anger but still, the sting was the same, the disappointment and pain were real and deep. I set some very firm boundaries with the person to protect myself and then I retreated after to sit quietly for a short while to meditate on how to get past it. The answer came to me simply and quickly. "What can you do to make someone else happy today?"
I had a day out alone planned, to do some shopping for Halloween and my five year old daughter's birthday party tomorrow. I made it my plan to watch for the opportunity to do something special for someone else. Even the thought of it changed my focus from my own hurt, to something positive to look forward to.
While eating I recieved a text from my oldest daughter. Her dad was suddenly in town and could I get in touch with my second oldest daughter because she hadn't seen him in almost 4 years due to some personal problems that made it impossible for him to be in their lives. Immediately upon finishing my one firm commitment in town I set off to the school to pick her up. She didn't come to the front and I called a second time only to see her walking around the school building. She looked at me, confused. I smiled big(didn't want her to think something was wrong or that she was in trouble) and motioned for her to hurry. Her eyes when I told her where we were going will forever be etched in my brain. If you could bottle pure joy I could have filled cases with it at that moment. She was alight. She said "I'm going to see my daddy?" She's sixteen.
So off we drove..a little too fast because his time was limited..and he was outside when I got to my older daughter's place. She jumped out of the car and landed in his arms. I took the baby from his mommy(my older daughter) and she too went to hug them, the reunion too sweet for her to not be part of it.
I then thought, time to take pictures. As I was taking the pictures my daughter asked me to stop. She said she was crying. Her father said "Don't worry, daddy is crying," and I added "and mommy is crying too."
It was quite an emotional reunion and I left them all there together, alone, my precious girls with the man who had hurt them so much in the past with his absence from their life. As I left, he said to me, "Thank you."
As I was driving it struck me suddenly, what a huge favour he had done me as well as the girls. He had validated that I had done the right thing first of all, by doing the work to make sure it happened before it was too late. It would have been all to easy to justify not doing it. I had to take her out of school, drive to get her, drive back quickly interrupting my own plans for the day and I could have thought, "tough on him."
It also stamped out the negative comment of the morning, one that indicated that I wasn't a person who put her children first. My heart knows that I do yet, I think I almost believed it-for a moment. Then I realised, just because occasionally I do something for myself, make decisions that sometimes benefit me and my life, and just because I don't always do what is "right" in the eyes of others, it doesn't mean I don't put my children first. It means I am human too and I get to be treated with the dignity and respect I deserve. I get to be happy too. A happy woman is a better mother plain and simple. I am raising daughters and I want them to look to me as an example of how to live life on their own terms and how to be strong. The best way I can do this is to set the example by living my own life that way.
A while ago I told someone, I would die for my children but that doesn't mean they get to live my life and I stand by those words. There is a balance to be struck. And I am grateful for the lesson today. I have set boundaries, I have gained strength and I have ended the day with happiness. I turned it around instead of getting bogged down. And it made all the difference and the proof is in the happy tear-filled eyes of my girls above. And in the happiness their dad felt at being given yet another chance. All of it made it worth the small effort I had to make and it also increased my own happiness. Find a place of joy for Joy begets joy. Then go there as often as possible.