Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Today friends are on my mind.

I just found out that my dear friend Lisa, who writes Midwestern Mommy, has cancer. She is 35. She has a little guy--a family. This can't be. I wish I lived closer so I could do something, anything. Please go send her your thoughts. She's much tougher than she thinks she is, but I imagine she's going to need all the support we can muster right now.

I reached out to two friends today in desperate need to talk, and two friends were there for me. I want them to know how much their loving ears meant to me.

Redsy and D, thank you.

D, you let me know that I'm not alone when most people (you know who I mean) wouldn't want to.

Redsy, you gave me a new perspective from which I now see potential rather than just barriers.

These three friends are on my mind today. I love each of you.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

If They're Broke, You Can't Fix Them

My parents divorced when I was 10.

I hesitated on that first sentence for a few seconds, because I have a difficult time referring to my initial father figure as my "parent." I'm pretty sure he fed me and clothed me and loved me to the best of his ability, but his best just didn't hold up. As a matter of fact, he ran dry on parenthood after twelve years or so.

He probably should have just adopted a dog.

My mom and I often discussed her first marriage as I was growing up. She had moved home right after nursing school because she had no money. Without money, she was without a car--and therefore a job. Without a job, she couldn't afford a down payment for an apartment, so she married her high school sweetheart. She knew he wasn't the right guy, but she felt like it was her only option.

My mom's greatest wish for me was to grow up and gain the skills to be independent. She wanted me to fall in love, she wanted me to get married, she wanted me to have children, but not because I had no other choice.

The constant refrain when it came to dating or marriage was: Never commit to someone you want to change, because they never will.

When it comes to your children though things are different. You can't walk away when your child makes awful decisions. You must try, as you have from the time they were small, to teach them the skills to make good choices.

But what if they never learn?

My sister's battle with addiction began when she was an early teen. More than twenty years later, it's still a constant battle. My parents (my whole family) went through all the stages--some taking much longer than others--denial, embarrassment, guilt, enabling, anger, support, grief and begrudgingly after many years and much heartache--acceptance.

There was nothing we could do to change my sister.

We couldn't "fix" her no matter how badly we wanted to.

The choice to get better or let addiction claim her life was hers to make. All we could do was love her. We didn't have to like who she was when she was using, all we could do was love the girl behind the addict.

So how do I reconcile these two messages about relationships? Honestly, until I started writing this post, I had never thought about the ways they contradict each other. Don't love someone you want to change, yet you can still love someone even though you know you have no power to change them.

I guess I'm going to choose to focus on the central theme: love.

It would be tempting to ration the love I'm willing to share knowing how little control I have over the people I choose to give it to, but that's not me. I just have to remember to give it freely --never with any strings attached--because they may just drag me places I don't want to go.

This post was inspired by Julie's Hump Day Hmmm. Check them out.