hope

Thoughtful Thursday

 Have you ever considered the way your children view your commitment to your community? I do now more than ever. Let’s be honest, kids can be very egocentric developmentally. This isn’t a product of poor parenting or being spoiled. It’s life. 
I’m feeling a bigger sense of responsibility the more involved I become in community service projects. I’m not sure if it’s coming from volunteering just being in my life all of the time or my true self awareness to the world around me. Would the feeling go away if I stopped leading projects to better our community? The truth is that I don’t know. 

A Letter to Myself: July Sucks

I know July will be a mixture of feelings you don’t quite understand. You may feel like you should be prepared. After all, you have 11 months to prepare and it’s been happening for the last 6 years. 

When his dad arrives to pick him up, you’ll be engulfed with a feeling of panic. That lump in your throat and pit in your stomach you seldom feel, it’ll be larger than life. 

You will feel sad. Hurt. Maybe angry at times. You’ll walk around his room just looking for tiny messes to pick up. The granola bar wrapper you find under his bed won’t upset you this time. You’ll wish he were around to exclaim, “Don’t pull the cats tail!” or “Go back and actually brush your teeth this time.”

You’ll have all the time in the world to sleep. That’s something you often dream of! Yet, it’ll be a struggle to shut your mind off because you’re wondering if he’s okay. Is he safe? Is he feeling loved? Where is he? Does he need you? Does he miss you? Save yourself the sleepless nights and know he loves you, he misses you, he’s having fun yet he needs you. Forever.

You may feel a little more free than usual. It will be fleeting, but you are allowed to feel that way. Don’t feel guilty. Isn’t it you that has always described being a parent as, “The hardest job you will ever love.” This also sounds familiar, “You never know what it means to say you’d literally die for someone until you’re a parent.” You deserve the break. After all, there’s only one of you and he is coming back. 

You know there are pros to this time of the year. He gets to spend uninterrupted time with his dad and your son deserves that. All children deserve to feel that their daddy sports a red cape just like their favorite superhero. You’ve done all you can to preserve that image for as long as he will believe it. You will have hit that reset button you reference. You’ll be the best version of yourself when you see him again and you both deserve that. 

Enjoy July. It’s not sad. It’s a time for both of you to renew the love of your everyday simple life together. 

Thoughtful Thursday

Summer is here and I love it! More than anything I enjoy being more relaxed in the evenings with my son. I’m not stressed out with the hustle from work to pick him up only to rush home to realize I have nothing to cook for dinner. On a school night, this is when I realize we’re now an hour behind schedule if we expect to get homework done, play, shower, prepare for tomorrow and read a book all before waking up to do the same thing all over again.

Our evenings during the summer leave me feeling much more like the mom I dream of being. A mom who always lives in the moment. A mom who seems to exude joy while picking the few weeds in her immaculate yard and waving lovingly to each passerby.

I seem to hear his giggles more clearly and the hugs are a bit sweeter. There are games on the patio, hanging out with neighbors, swimming, biking, ice cream and staying up too late. Summer is filled with all of the moments we hope our children will replay in their minds as they remember their childhood.

I’m guilty of filling my plate too full more often than I’d probably like to admit. And I’m certain I’ve missed an extra hug here and there with my son. However, others in our lives that are incredibly important need us to slow down for them too. It may be a friend, a neighbor, or a co-worker who is stressed out from the daily happenings that can wear us down. You never know when slowing down for someone and simply asking how they are could really change the momentum in their life.

XO
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My Visit to Jonathan’s Place:Break the Cycle, Not Her Heart.

Some of you may know I’m involved with the Dallas Junior Chamber of Commerce. I honestly had no idea what I was signing up for. My life recently has had some serious stress that I can’t control. What I did know is that I needed something positive to put my energy into. (Cue Beyonce’s “I’m a Survivor” anthem.) Along with the position came a lot of responsibility. Philanthropy is something our community needs. But what I think about most is who won’t be helped if I fail or don’t try hard enough. 

This feeling was intensified when I paid a visit to Jonathan’s Place. Our organization has worked with them many times but being a new face I felt I needed to really absorb what they did first hand. I got more than a brief tour and a counselor telling me they need construction paper and bed sheets.

The first building we entered was the home of 7 young girls. The girls who live there have endured traumatizing sexual abuse. Stories I can’t repeat. Stories that shook me to my core and gave me chills. We all know this is happening, even in our backyard. What I wasn’t prepared for was to be standing in this beautiful girls bedroom and to stare at her precious face in photos as I heard how her innocence had been taken from her repeatedly. 

She’s beautiful. Her smile is bright. I could almost hear her laughter. Yet I know the pain she’s hiding from the world. She wakes up every morning and attends public school. She sits next to a “normal” girl who has a “real” home to go to when the bell rings. That “normal” girl doesn’t fear being an object to a monster that should love and protect her. She goes home to a house full of other girls who share her same tragic story.

So often this story repeats itself. I witnessed this during my visit. I walked through the emergency shelter. I saw two children. A boy and a girl. The little girl was probably about 2. I asked about their stories. I was told about the boy’s life. He was beautiful and reminded me of my own son. The little girl was just as wonderful. I heard her story shortly before her mother walked in. I was told the little girl’s mother was a 16 year old who lives in the house I had just toured. A mother at 14. She had been raped repeatedly by a family member. She sought love in all the wrong places and became pregnant. This is the cycle Jonathon’s Place is dedicated to breaking.

I’m so glad I visited Jonathan’s Place. I’m hopeful as I make plans this year for our organization that I remember those stories. After all, that’s what it’s about. Being a voice for those can’t speak for themselves. Making a difference by pulling together as a community. It’s so convenient for many of us to fly through life without realizing the pain some people face. I’ve been guilty myself. 

For more information about Jonathan’s Place and how you can help, check out: http://www.jpkids.org