The Extreme Value of In-Laws

I had a set of in-laws when I married.  Some made me feel loved.  Others made me feel tolerated.  I don’t plan to focus on them.  The idea of this post is more about the family of the men I’m into.

Learning How to Cook New Foods

When I was younger, my boyfriend’s moms always invited me into their kitchens.  This is how I learned to make tamales. There’s something about a girl willing to cook for a son that makes a mom want to give you affection.  The first instinctive act as a mom is to feed her child, and here is someone else willing to do so.  It was a time for me to learn, but a time for them to learn about me.  Do I mind getting my hands dirty? Will I clean up after myself? Will I jump at his every whim and how else will I undo all that she taught him.  Will I treat him poorly?

Someone That Understands and Still Loves Him

My favorite in-law bonus was the built in fan club.  I have a gift for finding men that are more selfish than selfless.  They tend to be stubborn and not easily coached into a shifted perspective. They tend to be dominant and aggressive. Of all the men I dated, not one escaped a moment of me thinking, “seriously? Is this what I want in my life?” At these times, I always knew that their family would get it. No one else would see selfishness or poor hygiene and still love the man I’m into like I would.  Except maybe his mom.

Deeper Understanding of His Past

No one can bring out both the best and the worst in a boyfriend like his family.  Typically, he’s going to behave in a way that usually makes me feel like he wants to keep me.  When his family is around, he’s likely to be at his friendliest and happiest and in the very next phrase uttered from a sibling, turn into an angry person you’ve never seen.

There’s a gift to being the new person in the history of a family dynamic.  I can step in without the past clouding my judgement of the present.  I can see the most benign comments as innocent where my boyfriend would see something said by a sibling or parent as instigating and malicious.  I don’t have history to mar the future like a sibling that has seen you with pimples would.

You Get to Glimpse into the Future

There’s also a bit of fortune telling involved.  You see their kid pictures, but you get a real life experience of nieces and nephews.  You see how their siblings raise their kids and you can see echoes of what your boyfriend was raised like.  Parents learn from their parents, or work really hard to unlearn what their parents taught and it’s so clear when you watch your significant other with their siblings, nieces and nephews.

Will he have a receding hairline? Will he repeat the same jokes? How does he act around his family? Does he treat his mom well? Is he respectful to his Dad? How does he describe his family to you? Is it an accurate description or does he see things entirely differently from the rest of the world and is this a good thing?

Where Do Loyalties Lie?

How honest are they? Will they tell you when you’re too good for the sibling they know, or cover every sin and fault he is capable of.

Looking in the mirror, I can’t deny the ways in which I favor my Dad and my sisters.  I never felt my emotional needs were met, and I’m almost paralyzed as a parent, trying to meet that need for my children.  So much of who we are is reflected in the relationships we have, and the family we’re given is so much more telling than the families we choose.

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FB Live – Let Me Encourage You

I just want to encourage you.

I’m doing collections at work.  It’s a very first world problem and that makes it somewhat superficial.  This day was special.  There was a customer that was in a situation and she needed support.  What we provide supports her business which supports her family. But it’s basically a website and not necessary to run her business.

My gift to her and now to you: You are not your debt.  Who you are is what matters.

No one will rescue you, but you can get up and do it yourself.  You can ask for support, but no one will live this life for you.

There’s a cost to the life we get to live.

When I am low, I have to slow down.  When I can’t slow down, I shift my focus.  Will this matter in 5 hours? Will this matter in 5 years?

Shake it off.  Laugh it off.  Sing it off.

If what is making you happy is making you numb, it’s not the best option. That escape will leave the issue waiting for you to deal with when there is no escape and it will be harder. For me, it’s reading.  For others, it’s drug abuse or a sexual escape.

Having depression is not a life sentence unless you choose for it to be. Get help.  Always get help.

You are not a situation or an action that you have done.  I’m not a suicide attempt or the mom that had the baby blues.  The lesson is as painful and hard as it is, you get help.  You take medication.  You ask for help. You talk to people that want to help you and you accept support.  Don’t face depression alone.

FB Live – You Are Where You Are Meant to Be

I was getting my hair done when a woman walked in and she needed support. She reminded me that we are exactly where we need to be, exactly when we need to be there.

She was facing what most people do when their life is shifted by divorce.

She had to find a job.  She wanted to figure out dating. She was still attacked for moving on by her ex (so very familiar). She had bad credit and needed to find a place to live and she was on the verge of breakdown.

I was in the shop with a man that had the same upheaval I did. We were both able to be present for her.  We were both able to encourage her.  The three of us planned a forever with the people we married and that life was taken from us and it wasn’t a choice we made.  (It’s funny that it takes two to get together, but one can end it.)  We were able to support and encourage her.  It wasn’t about him or me.  It was a moment where we could be there for her.

The way things worked out, it was perfect timing.  We were there for a reason.  We had been through a situation that so carefully followed her own.  She will one day offer that support to someone else in a giving back when someone else needs her the most.

Everything is significant and carries value.  You just get to decide what that value is. That value isn’t always for you.

FB Live – You Can’t Control Anything But Your Reaction

This facebook live was done during the short 12 weeks when I found out I was pregnant with the twins I miscarried in April. I was having a conversation about my surrogate pregnancies because I was talking with a health care provider about all of my pregnancies as part of my medical history being taken.

The last surrogacy one was a set of twin girls that were delivered at 29 weeks after a month-long hospitalization and a week upside down in the Trendelenburg position. As I was explaining my history I was facing my fears of being a single mom with twins. The last pregnancy was unplanned with my current boyfriend that I had only been seeing for 6 weeks when we got pregnant.  Telling her about it all, I was smiling and laughing because my reaction to what life delivers is the only thing in life I can control. We can’t control what happens to our bodies.

Funny thing, you can’t even control your body.  I didn’t plan the pregnancy and I remembered how much I wanted to get pregnant with my ex before we had Kid3.  There was a 9 month stretch of trying before Kid1.  I wanted them.  Then I didn’t want to get pregnant, but was very much acting like an irresponsible teen (says my 15-year-old) when I got pregnant with twins of my own.  While I couldn’t control what my body was doing, I could control my reaction.

When you have an upset stomach, you can’t control your body.  Whether you have diarrhea or need to vomit, your body will force whatever is inside of it, out as quickly as possible.  You can’t time these things.

The next time you have a bender and get so drunk you vomit, you will experience this lack of control.  I remember one night with a bottle of beer and Corralejo tequila in a glass.  I thought I could handle it if I sipped slowly.  That night it all came up.  No matter how determined I was to drink it and sit up with the bartender sharing a drink with me, I couldn’t keep it in me.  What you intentionally put inside of you is forced out by your body.  You have no control.

But you can control your reaction.

Sometimes a situation has to take its course but you get to decide if you want to be happy about it or sad.  You decide if you want to let it stop you or empower you to move forward. You decide what you give power to.

You are not what happened to you.  You are not what you’ve done.  You are not a failed relationship.  You are not a job that fell through.  You are not an irresponsible choice you’ve made.

You can decide how you look at your past and your life.  It’s a choice.  You can let it hold you down or you can let it empower you.

FB Live – The Life You Get to Live Is Created for You

I was pregnant with what I thought was one child at the time and hospitalized with gallstones.  It ended up being an emergency surgery to have my gallbladder removed.  I was on really strong drugs at the time of the video.

When you’re facing something difficult, complicated and scary, you can look back to a time in your life that was similar and kinda guided you to where you are. All we go through is foreshadowed in other experiences.

After having my kids, I was a surrogate mother.  I’ve done seven IVF cycles.  It was an amazing experience, but I had to shoot myself with hormones, for longer than a trimester for each of those pregnancies that succeeded.

When I had pulmonary embolisms in 2014, I had to shoot myself with blood thinners.  I was already familiar with prepping the needles and had already faced injections.

You never know what you’re going to face until you get through it.  But you will. You never know the lesson you need to learn until you’ve finished the trial.  In the end, you’re prepared for the next thing.  You are absolutely designed for your existence.

You can take your life and try to align it with someone else’s but it won’t match.  They were created for their life just as you were created for yours. Your situation will be something that only you can fully relate to.  Your road to your destiny is unique to you.

Whatever it is you are facing was designed for you to grow.  You’ve been prepared for this.  It gives you strength, perspective and a launch pad.

It doesn’t have to be scary.  It can be.  It can be a stretch. For me, it started with Facebook Live.  My stretch was to be in front of the camera.  This video was done at a time when I was not looking my best.  In sharing who I am, I hope to offer support and show that you are more resilient than you think you are.  At the end of the day you get to live your life and be your own cheering section.  Everyone else is busy living their lives.

At the end of the video I gave a lecture on love.  I challenge you to not be narrow minded and bigoted.  The world is at our fingertips.  Love it.  Be kind and compassionate.

I also talked about the fact that we are not bigger than our destinies.  You can’t screw up the plan of your life.  You are not that powerful.  Don’t let a setback set you back when you are bigger than a situation if you choose to be as amazing as you were created to be.

FB Live – Why You Should Dream Big

A dream is the idea that what you want isn’t in your hand.  Dream big and plan with it.

I was at my desk and hungry.  The idea of eating sounded good.  So I got up to get my lunch.  There are steps involved.  You dream, then make it happen.

My dreaming big is a trip to Canada.  My Kid1 wants to go to Canada.  For Christmas he wasn’t dreaming big.  He was stuck in the frame of scarcity I have raised him in.  He was afraid to ask for something I couldn’t afford.

When you think you can’t have something because it’s too big, you limit yourself.  Dream bigger than the limits you are placing on yourself. When you dream big and think of it as a possibility, it is given the opportunity to happen.

Make your dreams bigger than what is easily attained and you’ll see the efforts you make become strong enough to meet your goals. You will create your own miracles when you don’t limit your belief in yourself.  Be optimistic.

Look at the opportunities in front of you and know they are a great step toward the future.  Know what you’ve been given in the past and acknowledge that as well.  It’ll help you spot the moments and gifts you are offered.

You don’t need the help of others. You accept it, but know that the source of your vision is within you, and not at the complete mercy of someone else.

FB Live – Do Whatever It Takes or Take Whatever Excuse You’re Handed

My son was making many excuses for not calling me.  I explained that when you want to do something, you’ll do whatever it takes.  When you don’t want to do something, you take any excuse you can.

It’s a great barometer to see if you are where you want to be. Are you taking the excuse or making things happen?

Decide what matters to you.  What is valuable to you? The moment you decide something is an obstacle or an excuse is the moment you realize what you want.  Are you doing something you want to do or is it for someone else?

I don’t want my son to make excuses.  I wanted him to own the voice telling him he wasn’t ready to talk to me.  If he’s making excuses, he’s lying about choosing to do something he really doesn’t want to do.  I want him to own that.  I want my son to grow up knowing that what he knows, thinks and feels has value to me.