When I broke down this fall and beat my head against the wall and ranted about my feelings to a friend of mine via AIM chat, he told me something that was as obvious, and yet as revelatory as when I interpret the dreams of another chat buddy. He said, "You mother everyone else so much, you forget to take time to do something for yourself."
I do take time each day to do some little thing for myself, like after the kids and hubby go to bed, I sit up and watch hulu or play facebook games to unwind. I listen to my favorite songs while I fold laundry. I write out plans. because I know this simple truth.
But that's not what I needed. I needed a vacation from myself. I needed to break the routine.
The fact is, I'm a giver. If I had the money to give tangible gifts, I would, but as it is, I don't. I give of myself and my time instead. As much as I can.
Here's my Christmas example:
An anonymous person gave me a hundred dollars before Christmas and I used some of it to buy ink for my printer to print off a gift of a letter and copies of my published work for my grandma, who at 92 and living alone in a facility, really appreciated it.
I also bought my mother and hubby's step-mom fuzzy socks, my son's diapers, and a t-shirt and a pair of black dress pants on clearance at WalMart. The rest is still saved up for the next need.
My sister and her husband said "We don't want anything, we aren't buying anyone anything." That's the boat I thought I was going to be in this year myself! I gave her pictures, a christmas card, a pewter visor clip thing of an angel I had, because one time she said she liked that kind of thing. Then I learned she needs shoes and you better believe I desire to help her acquire them!
Hubby and I did not exchange gifts this year between each other, just like last year. We know that when we want something, we will eventually fill that need. We get things all year for ourselves from yard sales, tax season, and auctions. We also cherish just being together.
The biggest thing was to make Christmas great for the boys. At Thanksgiving, we weren't sure how it was going to work out, but it did.
In reflection, I spent half of the year's Sundays volunteering my time in either the nursery or the preschool age children's rooms during church. I enrolled my oldest in soccer to let him try new things. I gave a home to one of the puppies who would have gone homeless. I counseled a friend, encouraging her to get out of an abusive situation and stay in school. I worked on myself to learn to love and not to judge.
I think I have found the right path, the right motivation, and the right direction for me for the New Year. I have found my passion, and within my passion, there is a career. One that will be fruitful, one that will not cause me anguish, and one that will let me give.
I am a giver.
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