Single Mom Thriving

I was talking to a friend the other day and she complimented me on raising my three children as a single mom.  This friend has carried me through many dark times as I navigated single motherhood and has been one of my best cheerleaders. Her compliment meant the world to me and we started reminiscing of days gone by.

Our conversation got me thinking of who I was when this journey of single mother hood began.   I remember the nightmares with the same theme; I am trying to get all three of my children to safety all by myself and am not succeeding. Those nightmares made falling back to sleep impossible. I remember the 'punch in the gut' feeling every time some single motherhood statistic came my way. I remember the constant fear and the fetal position cry I did after I put them to bed. All of that remembering made me want to go back to that Virginia and hug her, reassure her and tell her these five things.

1. Life loves you. This too shall pass. The joyful days ahead will astound you!

1, YES! Your intuitive decision to stay present for your children is spot on. Stop second guessing it. Stay at home /work from home moms do not need a marriage license.

2. YES! playing outside with your children is the best way to spend your time. Neighbors will think you are crazy, yet the memories will create many dinner table laughs years from now.

3. A mustard seed of faith is truly all you need. Help will show up in a million ways. You will be the recipient of Christmas presents for your children, more groceries than you can imagine, tanks of oil, help with your flooded basement, and many rides for your children.. just to name a few.

4. It won't be easy. There will be storms. However, your children are going to be just fine. Actually they will be better than fine. They will soar and your heart will burst with pride when you witness their dreams coming true.

5. Yes right now you are scared and feeling alone. Just beneath that smile are buckets of tears. However, one day you will look back. You will wonder how you did it and you will realize you were never ever alone. God always had and still has your back.

Perfect Timing

When the first greens started popping in my  perennial  garden, I frantically searched for the pointy heads of my lillies of the valley. I had planted them in honor of my mom as they were her favorite. Everyday I looked for their little buds and everyday I was disappointed. I thought for sure my over zealous black eyed susans had choked them out. So I stopped looking and focused on the many emerging perennials.

               Today I came across these.

Once again my garden has taught me that life happens in perfect timing, not my timing.

Monday's Course in Miracles

My daily spiritual practice includes studying  The Course in Miracles. Each Monday I share a quote from the text.

My happiness and my function are one. ACIM

Empty Spaces

Ten years back, just a few years in to single parenting, I decided to make a fresh start. On a wing and a prayer, I moved from New Hampshire to Maine. One of the reasons I bought this home was the amazingly kid friendly back yard. I knew the gigantic swing set, the play hut and the acre of woods would be the perfect place for my children to play, explore, create and grow.

Time passes. Those cuties are now bigger than me.  The hours of back yard games and watching kids play in the woods and swings and in the back yard hut have somehow passed. The many dinners in the car between games and practices  and  the ping ponging from field to field have passed as well. Those were crazy and exhausting days.  I made many sacrifices to be present for my children and  I wouldn't  change any of it.

As those years passed ,the swing set deteriorated and the back yard hut became a sagging collector of crap. So those 'bigger than me' cuties and I embarked on a demolition project. The swing set, the hut and years of collected stuff  now lie in here.

The emptying has created a vacant spot. A vacancy similar to the one I feel in myself , as single mothering has become more vague.  My day to day life is no longer overflowing with single mom responsibilities. I feel both a sadness and an excitement.  That dumpster symbolizes the new space I am creating for myself.  As each of my children take steps into their futures, away from me, I get to take a journey  filling the new spaces in my life.

Spring Miracles

My beloved lilac bush that sits adjacent to my home got pummeled this past winter.  More than six feet of snow landed on it. Plus  the snow that needed to be shoveled off of the roof fell on it.  Many branches snapped and the ones that remained intact arched to the ground with icicles dangling. I was so overwhelmed with the shoveling, the roof raking, and the endless ice dams I pretty much gave up on the lilac bush's survival.

Evidently once again I underestimated the power of  solid roots and the miracles of spring. My lilac bush has never looked more beautiful or smelled more lovely in the years I have been here.

That lilac bush is the perfect metaphor of life. We have all lived through snapped branches, and the piling and piling of life on top of us. People have given up on us and we may have given up on ourselves. Then spring comes and somehow we are more vital, more joyous and stronger both in spite of life's storms and because of life's storms.

Tuesdays Tips: The Voices in Your Head

We all have them and often they are not kind.  Thoughts that say you that you are not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, clever enough, or 'fill in the blank' enough can easily take over and eradicate all of the goodness that is YOU.

I have a few tricks to tame those thoughts.

1. Louise Hay's mirror work.
       Every time I look at my reflection in the mirror I say some version of" I love you Virginia." First thing in the morning I add, "Today is going to be the best day ever." When I am feeling vulnerable and scared I change Virginia to Gin Gin. My Dad called me Gin Gin. Referring to myself as Gin Gin  reminds me that, although in heaven, my dad is still with me.

2. Take yourself lightly.
     Each day,sometimes more than once you will find me dancing like a goof nut. If you are breathing you can dance. When you are done dancing, laugh at yourself.  On prom day my daughter asked if I would run out to get her hairspray. I had just gotten out of the shower and had slathered Nivea all over my face. Without even looking in a mirror, I tossed on clothes and sped off to CVS.  I saw four people I know, the store was packed and the handsome man who looked at me received a flirtatious comment. When I got into he car I happened to catch a glance of myself. The right side of my face had white blotches of Nivea cream that I hadn't rubbed in. I laughed until I almost peed.

3. Name the pesky voice and talk to it.
      I call mine Negative Nellie. I have written numerous letters to Negative Nellie and I talk back to her. Naming and conversing with that pesky voice reminds me that I am NOT my thoughts.

4. Talk to precious, adorable little you.
     I keep an adorable picture of myself at 7 right next to my computer. I look at that picture as I write, pay bills, or peek at social media. If that pesky "not enough" thought pops up all I have to do is look at adorable me.

I am more than enough . You are more than enough .


Monday's Course in Miracles

My daily spiritual practice includes studying the Course in Miracles. Each Monday I share a quote from the text.

Let me recognize my problems have been solved. ACIM

Monday's Course in Miracles

My daily spiritual practice includes studying the Course in Miracles. Each Monday I share a quote from the text.

I am entitled to miracles . ACIM