Yesterday I had one of those moments, you know, when you realize that you have really, truly become an adult. Fifteen years, 1 college degree, 1 husband, 3 kids, and 1 dog (miss you Bells)after I legally acquired the rights and responsibilities of that title, I finally feel like I've earned it.
Why, you may ask, did it take so long? Well, although I've gone through all the experiences that are assigned to the "mature" phases of human development- becoming a parent, buying a house and car(s), acquiring furniture that wasn't donated to the DI or should have been given to the DI, corrupting the children through hypocrisy, regretting lots of earlier decisions and realizing just how smart my parents were- it wasn't until about four years ago that I realized what was holding up my mental/emotional progression, and I've been steadily trying to overcome it since.
My Achilles heel has always been that I care way too much about what people think about me. Most of my actions and decisions have been dictated by what I determined would gain me the most approval by family/friends/peers/etc... The same thought process would apply in expressing my opinions and feelings in social situations. I abhor confrontation and shy away from it at all costs. Honestly, I realize that I feel/think/react differently than most of the people I've been surrounded by, and for that reason I've always felt like there was something essential missing from my makeup, something that makes me not quite, but almost, fit in with everyone else. But I've worked hard over the past few years to ignore the little voice in my head that whispers "you're weird- why can't you just be like everyone else??". It's not to say that I have become more vocal and outspoken in this process- in fact, I feel like I've learned to pick my battles and make then count, and that no amount of arguing or debate is going to make people change the way they think. Rather, I've come to care less and less what people think of me and be secure in who I am- flawed, imperfect, slightly left of center me.
Yesterday I was faced with a situation that, by my not allowing it to become a "situation", revealed to both my hubby and I just how far I've been able to come. In the past, when I knew that someone didn't like me or something about me I would react first in anger then wallow in self-pity (the anger part I'm going to blame on genetics- I am Spanish after all and we're not exactly know for being even tempered). Since childhood, I've naively held on to the belief that everyone that I ever met would like me. But that is not and has not been the case. I'm finally okay with that. I can't convince people that I'm a good person, or friend, or mother, or wife. I can just be the best me and let the cards fall where they may after that.
So the person that comes out in this blog- the sarcastic, warped, and borderline insane lady- is the REAL me. Hopefully from reading between the lines you'll also find the woman that lives for her children and thinks they are unique, creative, brilliant and wonderful. That same woman loves her husband and very best friend of 12 years and 11 months more than she can ever express in words. She loves that they have "grown up" together from the early days as struggling students with a baby just trying to finish school to struggling thirty-somethings trying to juggle work/church/preteen dramas/over sized two year old/life. She escapes into the world of 18th and 19th century England through her precious and beloved books, and dreams of making her home look like it was transplanted from Devonshire or Herefordshire. She dreams of traveling through Europe with her sweetie, and though they've good naturedly bickered hundreds of times over where to go first- London, Paris, Rome- they still haven't decided, but she loves that it's not a theoretical "if we go" but "when we go". This lady loves her mom and dad, and brothers and sisters, and lives for the weekends to get here so that she can be with them. She thinks the greatest title outside of Mom is Aunt. This woman is blessed far beyond her deserving.
That's me, take it or leave it. Since it's come up a few time, I thought I'd better take this opportunity to explain the reasoning behind my use of nicknames for my family. There's actually two reasons for this. First, my family has always called each other by our nicknames more than our given names. My parents were not so unkind as to names us Henry, Fancy, Golden Child, Mariesy, and Rella. As the family has expanded we've added Delilah, Wednesday's child, flip-flop, elbow......well, you get the picture. The Tween Queen as gone through many names in her (almost) 12 year old life. One of the cutest home videos I have was recorded when she was almost two and she was listing off all her "names" and who called her by that name. In her little squeaky voice she said she was "Mommy's angel", "Daddy's special girl", "Grandpa's tater bug" and "Grandma's sweetie". I still call her "Bug" most of the time. Before he was born, Fox was dubbed "Hatcher" because we were having such a hard time deciding on a name (we seriously considered this as a "real" name for a time because we were so frustrated. Sad, I know. He'll have to thank us some day). My sister bequeathed the name "Don Miguel" to the Man Child when I was pregnant because she and I were both holding out hope that I'd finally give birth to a child that looked like he was related to me. All these names were and are continued to be given in good fun. They're only given to those I love.
The second reason for nicknames is that while I wanted to keep this blog open to any/all who cared to read it, for safety sake I wanted to keep my family's identity as anonymous as possible. I realize that most who read it are family/friends/friends of family/ friends of friends of friends, so you know who we are anyway, but I LOVE that it is open to everyone, and that people all over the country and world (a big hello to Ireland, Germany, France and Canada!!!!) have visited it as well. Isn't it amazing how small and accessible the Internet has made this world? I invite all to keep reading (well, assuming you want to) and commenting. As long as you do, I'll keep writing about my crazy life and experiences. It'll be raw and uncensored, so if you don't like the person you're coming to know, well, I'm sure there's much better ways to spend your time. I'd recommend reading then re-reading all of Jane Austen's works, but maybe that's just my cup of tea.