Ups and Downs

I remember times in my life when daily struggles didn’t seem quite so tough to handle. I don’t know if the passing of time just deadens the memory or if life has been more difficult lately.

Today I was so stressed out from caring for my two young grandsons that I thought about what would happen if they went to foster care: could I live with that decision? Would it work out eventually or would it be a terrible nightmare for all of us? In the end, after stressing for an entire day over it, my son came home and we talked about the boys and their recent misbehavior. We came to a conclusion about what might be causing it and we are working to remedy it.

During that time when I was considering foster care, I was thinking of myself and my desperate need for an escape from what has become my daily life. In retrospect, I’m not sure it is all that bad. I am going to set a goal for myself to find a release for this stress, an escape at home where I can step away for a few minutes, get outside, listen to music – something to break away from the routine and the challenges of having two small boys in my home.

The most recent struggles in my life have been financial. A lot has happened to contribute to that, and I state here today these things were not my fault. I have done the best I know how and tomorrow I start working a job at a place where I’ve worked before. This will be a low-stress day for me because I am familiar with this job and I am the boss. It also means a paycheck on Friday – the first one in more than a month.

I know this blog is read by people around the world. I live in the United States and the economy here has really been struggling. Finding work is difficult, not because jobs are not there, but because so many people are out of work, there are 100 applying where there would have been 20 in the past. The competition is stiff because so many people have been out of work.

Not having money used to be a scary prospect for me. For example, this recent tough spot means I don’t have the money to fix the central air conditioning unit at our house, so there are rooms that are hot. We live in Florida and it can be downright dangerous to live without air conditioning or at least fans. It has been a struggle and we don’t have enough air units for each room of the house, so we move one from the bedroom to a living room and then back again at night so the boys can sleep in a cool room. This is one way we have had to work with what we have and keep a good attitude. Now, my oldest daughter is living in Africa, in the Peace Corps. She does not have air conditioning and sometimes she does even have electricity. It is hot there, but she says it is cool at night and the humidity is not as bad as Florida. I think of her whenever life gets tough here and I tell myself to buck up. I can handle this.

We are struggling financially in many ways, but we manage. It will be better soon as another member of this household is also starting work within a week or two. My point in this rambling is about struggles and that two little boys should not stress me out as much as they do.

I have a theory about expectations and perceptions. They affect every aspect of our lives and contribute to our happiness or sadness, good days and bad days. Lower your expectations and loosen your perceptions and you will find life is not as hard to take as it seems. That is what I tell myself and that is what I forgot today.

I am generally a positive person, but I do expect (there’s that word) results in those around me. Not getting those results leaves me feeling like I’m the only one who is trying. If I walked away from all the people in my life except my 9 year old daughter, my life would be so much easier. It is difficult sometimes to know how far I should go in helping others and where does enabling begin? I admit that line becomes very grey when small children who are innocent and did not do one single thing to have the life they’ve been given, are concerned. Especially if those children are my grandchildren.

I forget sometimes how much my presence in their lives affects them. I am the female mother figure in their lives. They come to me for the kisses and sometimes they just lay their little heads on my chest or shoulder and rest. The four year old did that tonight after being away all day with his maternal grandpa. His actions, his open vulnerability and need for my touch truly shook me to the core tonight. After feeling all day like I wanted to run away from my responsibility, I was reminded of why I stepped in, in the first place.

They say God does not give us more than we can handle. Sometimes this notion makes me want to scream, but maybe it is true. We just don’t like being forced out of our comfort zone.


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