Enabling isn’t love

When you love someone you don’t want to see them hurt, you desire to help them.

That “help” is not always the best thing for them. Or you.

Enabling is selfish, it’s not love.

We enable others when we aren’t looking at the big picture. When we compromise our values and morals to save them from themselves. Whether it’s as simple as covering for someone at work or more complicated like giving an addict money to bail them out of some jam…it is absolutely not helping them, or you.

Love means having boundaries, staying true to yourself, seeing the real picture, and keeping the door open for when others want to join you.

We selfishly enable people for a host of reasons….to make them happy, so they don’t get mad, so they don’t get in trouble, to keep the peace.

What peace are you keeping?

In the case of parenting it is super hard sometimes.

We want our children to succeed. We don’t want them to suffer.

We also want them to be functional members of society and that means taking responsibility for their own actions.

Not covering them up.

My oldest son was brought home by the police when he was 15. Caught with a bunch of friends having broken into a community pool and swimming in the middle night….with backpacks of stolen alcohol from home. When the officer showed up at the door, with my son sheepishly behind him, he said that this type of infraction would typically involve a night at the local jail.

I told the officer to take him to jail then. He did the crime, he can do the time.

Both my son and the officer looked at me like I was nuts.

I meant every word.

A night in jail wasn’t going to kill him, it was the price he had to pay for his actions. Saving him from the consequences was teaching him that the rules didn’t apply to him, that he was not responsible for his own behavior, and that other people would bail him out.

Now that night the officer left him with me at home, he didn’t wish to take him into custody, and my son remained at home to wait out his time until court.

It was a rough time for sure.

Saving him from all of it by pulling strings, covering up, asking for favors – would have spared him the uncomfortable gift of growth.

It took a while for his teenage mind to grasp the cause and effect of his choices. The power he had to shape his future, and the reality that it was his to craft.

During that time there was a lot of boundary testing, anxious feelings, hurt, and uncertainty.

The outcome was worth it, 1000 times over.

I see others who have grown up without true love, given instead an enabling & selfish love – they play victim more often than not, responsibly is an afterthought, and instant gratification rules the day. People pleasers to the max, very caught up in appearances over substance.

Perhaps they are victims after all. Being robbed of the experience of growing up by being coddled and praised for outrageous behaviors without any moral guidance, they then pass this culture on, obliviously, to others.

It’s a sad cycle.

True love is honest. It’s raw. You can count on it. Based in reality it is like Miracle Grow for people….turning budding seedlings into mighty oaks.

It’s simple, not easy. It’s important. It’s fundamental.

I wish to love all in my life in this way.

I admit I have a hard time sometimes.

I’ve rationalized, made excuses, and turned a blind eye. All done thinking I was protecting and supporting, when in reality I was enabling while crushing my soul to save my ego.

Drawing boundaries was hard. Having them with grace proved even more difficult. Loving someone and giving them space to be them, when it very well might mean they choose a space you are not in, is scary af.
It’s also necessary for survival.

I’m not being over dramatic here.

Codependency and addiction kill – typically slowly and painfully.

Ignorance is not bliss. Look at all of the school shootings – there are troubled children out there who need guidance – not gadgets.

Spend time with your children, choose wisely those you spend time with, respect yourself and others.

More love, less enabling.

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Hey Amigo! What’s your Tempo?

I was 18 years old. I had held a job since I was old enough to forge working papers.

The moment was finally here – I could buy a car!

My dad agreed to help, I think it was to double what I had squirrelled away, my memory is blurry though.

Making a whopping $3.35 an hour working the Roy Rogers drive thru, I had amassed a small fortune ($1,500)!

That’s over 500 hours in a brown, polyester uniform, no wonder I always smelled like a french fry!

I began my search in the 2-3k range….scouring used car lots, that free magazine from the gas station, and the classifieds literally every free second I had….all to no avail. I loathed everything I could afford.

And then I found it. The car of my teenage, sassy, freedom driven years. The Isuzu Amigo. Holy crap she was perfect. Bright pink with turquoise accents, sitting up high, ready to conquer the world!

So perfect. Except my barbie mobile cost closer to a cool 10 grand than 3.

Ah, no problemo, said the car salesman. You can finance it!

Wait, what? I can have her?

I have visions of my hair whipping out the window driving cross country….yes, please!

There’s a catch though – I need a cosigner.

Evidently my fast food work history wasn’t enough to prove that I could make the payments each month.

So off to Dad I go.

Please, please, please! I beg, cajole, bargain, negotiate and then he agrees to go with me to the dealership.

That night I sleep with a smile, picturing myself riding along in my new, pink, perfect wheels….

We get there and my Dad is skeptical, he’s wavering for sure, although he really doesn’t want to say yes or no.

(As an adult I now know the feeling of wanting to make your child happy in the moment clashing with the opportunity of teaching them something that will make them happier in the long run.)

As a kid, I had already lived quite a long life and my soul was much older and more experienced than my young years.

Without speaking, I knew Dad was right.

I stopped pushing and let the car go.

My search began again…

And this time I begrudgingly bought a car I could afford.

It wasn’t sexy, it wasn’t pink, hell it didn’t even have air conditioning. But it was all mine from minute one.

I earned it. I owned it. I named her Bessie.

A dull grey, 4 door, Ford Tempo – with a red racing stripe that wasn’t fooling anyone. My friends made fun of it, called it grandpa’s car.

I loved her and her slipping transmission.

Bessie took me places I only dreamt of.

My hair still whipped in the wind.

My thirst for travel was quenched as we crossed into Canada, South of the Border, and all the way to the West Coast and back.

Together we saw Niagara Falls frozen over, Old Faithful erupt, Car Henge in the middle of no where, Las Vegas on and off strip, mist rise in the Smokey Mountains, and so many more beautiful places.

Ma nature didn’t care that I wasn’t driving a hot pink jeep wannabe.

In retrospect I never would have been able to go on those trips if I had a car payment.

I carry the lesson of Bessie with me still today. Following the old school way of paying for my life as I go, avoiding debt, saving my pennies, and travelling the world.

Thanks Dad. XO

When your body attacks

Auto immune – my least favorite words.

I left the doctor in tears yesterday, like full on sobbing. I’ve been dealing with my body wagging war on itself through allergies, eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, or multiple sclerosis since I was in FIRST grade.

Stress, she said.

I laughed, slightly maniacally.

Then the tears came. I began blubbering about everything from my first 20 year marriage falling apart to my current one that didn’t make it 6 days before he stepped out.

She had baby d escorted from the room to be distracted by some stickers from the nurses.

My sobbing continued.

Covered in new rashes, I feel like a leper. Pain is my normal and I simply cannot take it anymore.

“I’m sorry, I can’t help you.” – she said.

Words I’ve heard before.

Why did I choose this life? What are my lessons to learn and why the fuck is it taking so long?

I’m hanging on by a thread.

I waffle between verbal emotional vomit – where I share every piece of me I have hidden in the shadows and complete isolation – where even I don’t have to look at it.

My big girl panties are worn out. I don’t want to put them on anymore.

I contemplate taking a leave of absence. Handing over my daily stresses and getting my shit together.

Then instead, I fight with my ex, shut my phone off, drink some wine, and go to sleep in Dylan’s bed.

Exhausted, I made it through another day. Sleep is my respite.

I used to have fun. Or did I?

This self pity thing blows and is so counterproductive to any positive changes.

Something has got to give. I ask the universe to show me what it is I am supposed to do today….besides show up. I’ve been doing that to no avail.

For shits and giggles I pull a card.

It’s the card that falls from the pile while shuffling. Fucking universe has an evil sense of humor.

Ok. So we show up and focus on the good.

Take my damn vitamins, sit in the PTA meeting, do the laundry, attend settlement, host a broker’s open, go on the listing appointment, pick the lad up from school, do homework, soccer, dinner….and then crawl back under the covers having survived another day.

Or did I? Did another little piece of me chip away or is this growth? Do I call my current husband back and believe his lies? Do I mark time of death and release him instead?

It is in this space that my body rebels and chooses to attack me.

Lack of a decision is in itself a decision.

And so it goes.

Being a mama is a wild wild ride

My eyes are overflowing as I look at my Facebook “on this day” and hear my baby boy’s voice….

There are times as a mama that I am certain that I am f*cking everything up. That I could be better, read more, teach more, have more patience, be present more often, hug more, laugh more, live more….Was I too hard on the oldest? Am I too lenient with the youngest? Not present enough with the middle? Should I have stayed married to their dad? Fed them more veggies? Brought them that extra glass of water at bedtime?

Hell, tears are literally streaming down my face as I flash back over the last two decades of parenting….I’ve been a mama longer than I haven’t at this point in my life and my youngest is only in Kindergarten…my parenting road is long and never-ending. It’s full of gifts I couldn’t even have imagined. It’s the hardest damn job I’ve ever had and the best at the same exact time. Having children means exposing your heart to the world, watching them grow, setting the best example possible, and holding your breath as you witness their learning in progress.

Could I have done better?  I ask myself this frequently. Am I being the best human  I can possibly be in this very moment to set a positive example for my babies? Yes. Though some times I don’t have much available at that nanosecond in time.

I was just a baby myself when  I got pregnant. 21, single, trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up – or more often – what to wear on a Friday night…. My first instinct was that having a baby was NOT a good idea. I didn’t tell their dad, instead I told my BFF and made my clinic appointment. I walked in that day and changed my life forever. I walked out scared, elated, determined and for the first time in my short life – thinking not about what I wanted to do – instead I had a new priority – my child. That was it – from that very moment on – I have not been guided by my wants/needs but those of my children. Every decision, from work to grocery shopping to schools to trips, is made with them in mind. How will this impact their wiring, their future, the world?

And then I hear Andrew’s song, or see Jace play with Dyl and I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I did something right. I always wanted to make the world a better place, and lookie there – I did – through them.

Shine on baby boys – mama loves you more than you know. Thank you for, everything. ❤