Posts Tagged With: children

Being a Parent …

Being a parent

 

What is being a parent? Donating sperm or giving birth doesn’t make you a parent.  Not donating sperm or giving birth, also doesn’t make you NOT a parent. Love, kindness, discipline, sacrifice, giving into the well-being of another human being – that’s what makes you a parent.

God has given me many gifts.  Most of all, he has given me the opportunity on several occasions to be a parent. I haven’t always been a good parent. I haven’t always made all the right decisions. I have made some really bad choices and made some really bad mistakes.  There’s no ‘but’ in that, either.  I’ve learned some things along the way, mostly from my mistakes.  I suffer still some of the consequences of those choices and mistakes.

I’ve come a long way.  I’ve come a very long way from being that scared young girl facing the decision of becoming a teen mother.  I was terrified.  I lived in hell and felt I had no one in this world I could trust.  I had no one to take care of me. Yet, there was this life growing inside of me – a defenseless child that I would be responsible to care for, to protect, and to provide simple everyday things. I couldn’t even provide those things for myself.  I had dreams. I had an escape plan to run off to the military that was going to take me away from the abuse I lived under and secure me a future – but if I chose her – I couldn’t escape – not yet.  There were days I hated the choices I had. There were times I wanted to give up, to die, especially when I was ridiculed and called names at school (Yes, I was that popular high-school slut wobbling down the halls everyone felt sorry for, or made fun of, or called names, or glared at with their disapproving eyes.) Yet, every time I felt my daughter move within my stomach, my hands would cradle my big belly and hope would grow – hope for a great life, a good future, a little bit of love in my dark gray world.  I would pay the price to make it happen – no matter what it cost me. I was young (16), scared, and didn’t know ANYTHING about being a parent. Hell, I didn’t even know how to be an adult. So, I made some mistakes.  But, everything I did – I did in love – love for her – love for the hope that she was going to one day bring into this world.  I don’t care how she was made – I’m the one that made the decision to bring her into this world.  EVERYONE I knew wanted me to give her up or abort her.  The religious didn’t want me to have an abortion, but they didn’t want me to raise her either.  The rest told me on a regular basis I was wasting my life, sacrificing my future, giving up my freedom when I had another choice.  I didn’t know much, but I already loved her and I wanted her – so I chose her.  It kills me that as an adult she doesn’t choose me, but I still have hope, and not for a millisecond regret my choice. She’s a beautiful, loving, kind woman and I am so proud of her.

I have two other children, who are also now adults, who make me smile every time I hear their voice, or see their texts, or video chat, or am able to wrap my arms around and hug them.  I also have the most beautiful grand-daughter. I love them with a love that is indescribable.  Not because I gave birth to them or genetically related to them.  Not because they’re good human beings.  But, for love.  The love I feel from them and for them. That love isn’t granted just because of genetics.  I never had that love for or from my parents.  Not ONCE, not EVER did they ever hug me – and if they had, I would have not felt that love.  My parents gave birth to me, but they were not parents – they were manipulative abusers that took a long time for me to escape.

I now have another child, another chance to be a mother to someone who needs a mother.  I look at this kid and see the manipulation and emotional abuse he’s been through and I remember that lost, scared, angry little girl I used to be – and I try to be the mother I needed, the friend I could have used, and the love that was desperately missing in my life.  Maybe he won’t have to face the same hard choices I had to face – and he will make better decisions, and his life will reach even greater opportunities.  Most of all – he is loved. Every day.  I am hard on him, I don’t let him get away with anything, and every day is a constant learning lesson – because I want him to be a good man. I want to teach him the things of this world that is going to make him a descent, caring, productive, and good man.  I find it ironic – He now has the opportunity to escape his abusers and run off to the military and secure himself a future.

Being a parent is hard.  It’s sacrifice. It’s constant love, constant worry, constant energy, constant demand, constant giving of your time, your focus, your life, your space, your money, your peace, and your choices. It’s about providing what is NEEDED, not wanted. It’s providing a place of understanding, communication, and learning – constantly.  I can’t give up.  I want to give up at least once a day – but he’s worth it.  He is worth every little inconsequential sacrifice. Just like my daughter was worth it. Just like my other two children were worth it. Just like my grandbaby was worth it.  Love is worth it. Hope is worth it.

Being a parent is a privilege, not a right.  There are some really shitty parents out there. I’ve been one at times, but I wouldn’t change one single solitary moment, not even the bad moments – because it was from those moments I learned most.  I didn’t give birth to Anthony, but I am his parent, I am his mother – because I love him and he’s worth everything I do for him. I get the best part of this relationship – his love in return. That is being a parent.  Those who pour love into him …are his mothers and fathers, not genetics. This young man is lucky – because he is now being surrounded by people pouring love, life lessons, instruction, and encouragement into him (thank you Scott).  When he gets into the Navy he is going to be surrounded by new brothers and a new family …and once again I am filled with hope.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Philosophy, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who Can Bear Such Weight?

Atlas

 

The Hollies have a song that I’ve heard most of my life “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” However, I have always felt heavy.

 

That song has meant many things to me over the years. When I first heard it as a child, I thought about my real brothers. I didn’t have that great American childhood, instead I lived a nightmare. Yet, there was nothing I wouldn’t do for my brothers to protect them, to feed them, or to keep them safe. I never felt they were a burden to me because they were my brother’s, and they were mine to carry. I lied, I stole, and I fought for them. Many years I suffered abuses by keeping my mouth shut so I wouldn’t lose them or have them taken away from me. But, I did eventually lose them as we became adults and drifted our separate ways. They didn’t need me anymore.

Then, I had children of my own – and they were not heavy either.  Life was hard, there were difficult decisions and sacrifices to make, along with many mistakes. But, they were never heavy.  I did what needed to be done. There wasn’t a choice, not in my heart or in my mind.  But they too grew up, and didn’t need me anymore.

I’ve been married once, engaged a couple times, and had a few relationships since then – and all of them were heavy, but not too heavy to carry – not for me. I gave everything, gave all of who I was and what I had to give.  But one by one they left me and didn’t need me anymore.

None, in my eyes, were ever too heavy for me.  None with anything I couldn’t bear or any sacrifice I wouldn’t make, and I made many. But, I have ALWAYS felt too heavy for anyone else to carry. I refuse to be carried. I refuse to be a burden. I refuse to be dependent on anyone else because I don’t trust that anyone could carry me. The weight I carry is too heavy, and the things I hold are too deep.  Perhaps it started long ago with parents who blamed their problems on my existence, or brothers who claimed opportunities were lost because I abandoned them, or children who ran away from me because I was too hard and expected too much, or lovers – one after another walk out the doors opened for them and never fought for me.

I am a Lady. I will always hold open the door. I will never capture, or trap, or manipulate someone to stay in my life. Only the really strong and the really deep will ever be able to stay, because I’m not dainty, and I’m sure as Hell not easy.  Like Atlas, I carry the world on my shoulders. Who is my equal? Who can bear such weight? My burden is not light. My truth is not easy. My scars run deep.  I think that’s why I’m fascinated with heroes, warriors, fighters, gods and giants – a hope one of them will be strong enough. But, it’s a faint hope. I’ve seen too many backs of great, strong men, who thought they could carry my weight. I’m just too heavy.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, blogging, Complicated frustrations, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Musing, Musings, Philosophy, Quotes, relationship, Relationships, respect, Romantic, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Family

Family

I’ve written maybe a dozen blog posts in the last week but haven’t posted them and never will because they’re just too painful.  This time of year is really hard for me, especially lately as I’ve had a brush with mortality.  I can’t lie, there are days I miss some of the things I enjoyed in my old life, the holidays are one of them.  The holidays are about family.

Family

What does that mean? Come on, what does it really mean? I learned a long time ago that being related to someone doesn’t make them family.  I’m related to a lot of people, mostly people that have hurt me, lied to me, stole from me, abused me and used me – all in the name of family, as if that word gave them carte blanche to do what they wanted.  I look around me today and laugh, because it hurts too much to even cry about.  I’m done. I’m truly done.

I have no mother or father.  I have no brothers or sisters.  I have no husband, no in-laws,  no aunts, no uncles, no cousins, no nieces, and no nephews.  I have no church family.  All these people told me (or never told me, but were supposed to) they loved me.  They lied.  Empty words mean nothing.  Words lie, but actions speak the truth.

Yes, I’m the one that ran.  I’m the one who opened the door and walked away.  I’m the one who closed the door behind me and invited no one to come along.  I’m the one who finally decided to love herself and realize I didn’t have to take their shit and listen to their lies anymore.

Not one tried to stop me. NOT ONE.

But I am not without family.  I actually have a beautiful family of my own choosing and its getting bigger every day.

I have my children, Meagan, Johnathan and Kelly.  I love them more than life. I have no doubt they love me.  I don’t get to see them much because they’re adults now and living their lives and making their way in this world and I’m not about to try and control them.  I’m here for them if they ever need me. But I won’t let them use me, nor will I ever use them.  I’ve enough bitter taste in my mouth from my own family to ever subject my children to such selfishness.  I would give them the world, but I know they’d only appreciate it if they gained it by their own strength.  It’s hard sometimes to back away, let them fall, let them make their mistakes, let them run headfirst into disaster.  A mother wants to make their children’s lives easier, to spare them hardships, to protect them from the vultures.  But, it’s the only way they’ll truly learn to stand on their own.  The best thing I can do for them is to let them know that I love them, mistakes and all.   They could never do anything to make me stop loving them.  I know the pain of being unloved.  I also know the strength in being loved.  I may not support everything they do, but I will always support the persons they are… and show them I love them no matter what by being honest with them.  I miss them.  I mostly miss the sound of their laughter, seeing their faces light up on Christmas.  The parts that really tear me up – I miss playing card and board games with them, showing them how to play in the rain, how to slip and slide on the kitchen floor, the clean-up game, the poker matches, the morning cuddles before school, the book debates (Snape is still the hero Johnathan), riding around looking at ‘kismas-ights’, laughing till you can’t breathe at all the Ozzies going ‘moo’, the swimming pool, and all the long talks about everything.

They are my family and I regret nothing I’ve sacrificed for them.

I have other family that have been with me these last couple of years.  One is a crazy-ass writer in Washington who frustrates the hell out of me, but who I admire so much.  No matter what I do, how much I try to run, how much we argue (and we argue all the time), Jeff also makes me laugh like no one in the world, makes me feel safe, and is always there to encourage me in my lowest moments.  He tears me down too and has hurt me more times than I can count, because he’s not perfect and overly opinionated,  but he’s real.  I don’t doubt his love for me, nor my love for him. He is my best friend. I never see him and may never lay eyes on him (except when we Skype), but he is my family and always will be. He showed me what a true friend is like.

Another is a crazy-ass woman in Florida who lives with her crazy-ass cute dog.  Jenna understands me more than anyone in this world.  She knows when to push and when to back away and loves me in the middle of my craziness.  I love her and all her craziness.  She’s my conscious.  I share everything with her because I can trust her with the most delicate part of me – my heart. I don’t share my heart with anyone, because I don’t trust them, but I can trust her.  She knows all my sins, all my faults, all my fears, all my failures… and yet she seems to love me anyway.    I’ve never seen her (except on Skype), but she’s my sister in every way a sister should.  She’s family.

There’s a valiant soldier who has the thickest walls around his heart I’ve ever seen, (maybe even thicker than mine) but for some reason he let me into his circle.  We’re not close, yet very close at the same time.  Emilio touches my soul and I’ve seen a peek at his, and it’s beautiful.  He’s a muse for me.  He’s a hero to me.  I respect him, love him, and want to see him happy.  He’s young with an old soul.  He’s wise well beyond his years.  He’s smart – oh, man, is he smart.  Most see no further than his beautiful smile, but I’ve seen his beautiful mind. He makes me think and see life differently.  He’s family, and so is his little brother, Michael.  I love them both, deeply.

I’ve added a few new members to my family lately.  Though they’re recent adds, they’ve already stolen a huge part of my heart – they’re my clan ‘We Are Immortal Gods’.  They pick on me, haze me, and tease me more than a pack of angry dogs, but they also surround me, include me, and make me feel wanted and a part of the team.  This is MY family, one of my own choosing, not one chosen for me.  Though I’ve felt abandoned by God lately, I believe He sent them to me, because our coming together makes no sense, yet it feels right.  This is a tight group and they don’t let just anyone in, yet they invited me without hesitation. I’m sure I’ve left them often scratching their heads, making them wonder what they’ve done.  They make me think of a pack of wolves – there’s an alpha who leads them, but they move as one, hunt (play) as one, fight with each other on a daily basis, yet defend one another in the blink of an eye.  They look out for one another.  I already think of them as family and they’re mine… my Flop, my Crimm, my Haze, my Phoenix, and my Furrrball.  I’ll fight with them, but I’d also defend them, and will always be there for them however I can.  My door will always be open to them.

I have lots of other friends that I consider extended family, cousins perhaps, and I love them too.

I may be alone during the holidays, but I’m not without family.  I will toast to them on Thanksgiving because I’m thankful they’re in my life, whether through writing, skype, or video game.  My Christmas wish is for their dreams to come true.  My New Year’s Resolution is that they find happiness.  My Prayer is that they each know they’re much loved.

Happy Holidays,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Inspirational, Musing, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What You Tell Yourself

What You Tell Yourself

I’ve read some inspiring articles lately about how, as the poster above states, what you tell yourself every day will either lift you up or tear you down.  I know this to be a deep existential truth. It’s what’s holding me together at this particular and scary moment in my life.

The world is a harsh place filled with disappointments, broken dreams and heart aches, but it’s also full of accomplishments, adventurous successes, and great love stories.  I’ve asked myself a million times how one gets from one end of the spectrum to the next, from dreaming to the realization of those dreams, from surviving to enjoying life, and I’m learning the key is attitude and having a positive mindset.

According to both of the articles listed at the end of this post, we should remind ourselves of three unique and positive things about ourselves, and list what three things for which we are grateful. No, the world won’t just magically align itself and every wish comes true at the onset of this positive turn, but it’s a beginning, and one I’d like to do today.  According to my faith, I should write my vision down and keep it before me, because if I can see it in my mind, I can achieve it.  So, here I go.

 Three positive things about myself:

  1. I’m honest. Honestly is a rare today.  The world is full of lies and liars. My honesty often costs me.  I’ve lost nothing to honesty that wasn’t worth losing in the first place.  I make mistakes, but I have no regrets because they’ve been honest mistakes.  I’ve seen what dishonesty does to families, relationships, and self esteem.  Deception destroys a person from within, and liars always get caught.  Nothing good comes from a lie.
  2. I’m beautiful.  I’m not a supermodel, an actress, or have a body that would stop traffic or make men drool, but I love the hard work I’ve put into my body. I’m healthy, I’m active, and being that way makes me happy.  Being happy puts a smile on my face, and that smile makes me attractive.  But, my heart, though having been broken, abused, and abandoned many times -yet still chooses to love and not become bitter in spite of it all – makes me beautiful.
  3. I’m a dream chaser.  I don’t let the world dictate to me who I am or what I do, or what I should be. I have dreams and hopes, and no matter what anyone else thinks or says, I do my best, sacrifice what I must, and pay whatever cost, in order to chase my dreams. Believe me, it’s cost me dearly.

And now for the three things for which I’m thankful:

  1. I’m thankful for my children.  They are the treasure of my heart. I love each of them in their own way, and being their mother has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done.  I’m not the perfect mother, but I love my children with a perfect love, and they love me.
  2. I’m thankful for the opportunity to chase my dreams.  I love writing.  I can’t imagine my life without it.  I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to pursue my dream of publication and have had that dream realized now several times, and know there will be so much more to come. I’m so thankful for the friends I’ve made in this industry.  Writers are unique people, a peculiar lot, and only they can truly understand my passions, my sacrifices, my frustrations, my goals, and my dreams in this area.
  3. I’m thankful for my friends.  I know they love me and without them I would be completely lonely.  Someone recently told me that I should become completely independent and get to the point where I don’t need anyone. I’m already there.  I depend on no person for anything – financially, emotionally, physically, or spiritually.  However, I choose my friends. I choose to love them and to want them in my life. I don’t need them and would be just fine without them, but without them I would be lonely and I would miss them greatly. I love them and want them, and am so thankful they have chosen me to share their life.

So, what three positive things can you think about yourself, and for what three things are you thankful?  Come on, I’m sure it won’t take you long to figure those out.  Then, once you do, remind yourself daily of those things every day and watch your world begin to transform into a happier, more successful life.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Re:

Changing Your Attitude by Tanee at From Fat to Fit Chick – http://fromfattofitchick.blogspot.com/2013/12/changing-your-attitude.html

Three Good Things by Jeff Suwak at The Prague Revue – http://www.praguerevue.com/ViewArticle?articleId=4120

Categories: Blog Post, Health & Fitness, Inspirational, Musing, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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