I am torn today as I see all of the posts about Father’s Day. On one hand I have this amazing man in my life, my husband, the father of my 3 beautiful children. He is a brilliant, kind, caring, consistent, amazing, loving father. He is always there for us and always working hard to provide for us. He doesn’t really believe in celebrating Father’s Day. He would rather just have a normal day where we spend time together and I cook an amazing meal for us, while we watch Die Hard.
On the other hand is my Dad. He wasn’t always the most patient or gentle man, but he did try to be a good dad and do what he could to love us and care for us, while he was fighting with depression and anger, and the things that help someone cover those up. He took us camping and to family gatherings and for long Sunday drives-although those were mostly scary for me on winding roads while he held his brown beer bottle. He tried.
I remember when I was in high school, every summer I would go to this beautiful Oregon summer camp for at least a couple of different weeks. That place became my happy place for many years. My sisters and I would almost always go to White Water Rafting Camp, which happened to always start on Father’s Day. Which, in the Pacific Northwest, meant it was raining and cold, but we didn’t care.
My sisters and I would feel a little bad that we were leaving our dad for the week, starting on that day. But he always looked a little happy. I think he was happy that we were going to go have a great week, but also grateful that his 3 teenage daughters were going to be out of the house for 6 whole days. We might have been a little emotional, unpredictably moody, and loud in those years.
A couple of days ago I was feeling so sad and irritated all day. My very observant, intuitive husband, who knows me better than I know myself some days, kept asking what was wrong and holding me. I kept saying, “I don’t know what’s wrong, I’m just really sad and I don’t why.” Around 10 o’clock that night it finally hit me.
I had been subconsciously seeing everywhere that it was Father’s Day weekend. Many people online were writing about it, the radio ads were about it, people I saw in person were talking about it. I didn’t even know that it would bother me anymore. But somewhere inside I was hurting and sad that I don’t have my Dad around to joke with or hug and wish Happy Father's Day. It’s been 8 years since he lost his fight with liver disease, in that kind and peaceful hospice home on the hill. I think about him often, just missing his presence.
It is so weird to me how grief is so sneaky, especially after all these years. It comes in when you're least expecting it and punches you right in the heart. That sneaky grief jerk. I guess that will never change. I’m okay with that though. It is part of who I am now. I love who I am and I have my father to thank for some of that.
He taught me to be stubborn and take what you want from life. He taught me to have fun and tell dumb jokes. He taught me to love the Portland Trail Blazers no matter what happens. He taught me that it’s okay to fight with the ones you love, as long as in the end they know that love is stronger than any other thing. He wasn’t the perfect dad. He was though, a perfect reminder that there is a real and lasting part in each one of us that holds onto pain and love all in the same place. It is all together sad and beautiful.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey. If you need a place to talk about life and love and healing and relationships and more, you are welcome to join The Mama Bear Tribe private Facebook group.
Some days I need to pause and consciously think about what I am grateful for. I need to remind myself of all that I have, of all that I am and of all the things that I am surrounded by that are good. Right now I am grateful to be a part time nanny for a kind and generous family. Today, as I snuggled my little 20 month old best friend, while he quieted down for a much needed nap, I was comforted by the simple act of his arm around my neck. He is such a busy little one that he often doesn’t have time to slow down long enough to get in a good snuggle. Except for when he is really tired and ready. So today, as he nestled his sweet, warm little boy head into my neck and put his arm around me, I knew that my world was still good.
Sometimes this world feels so dark and unbelievably scary, with bombings and shootings and other hate filled crimes, that our hearts hurt so badly even catching a glimpse of it. I can’t even come close to putting myself in the place of someone involved in something like that, it is too much for my soul to even process. I can barely force myself to listen to everyone else talk about it. It is so easy to focus on the bad things that happen in the world. Those are the things that spread like wildfire over the media. It is so easy to believe that there are more horrible people in the world than there are good. It is so easy to listen to the world and think, the love is gone.
So, Instead of obsessing over the negative I want to put out a challenge to be a light in this world today. Shine your kindness so brightly that others might be able to break through the fog of tragedy and hate filled news and see that a little piece of it is still okay. Share your compassion so freely today that those around you will have no choice but to desire to work for the good of those they encounter. Spread your love so generously today that it will change the world, one little arm at a time.
Choose today to move forward with your heart a little more exposed and open to the universe. Move forward today with your eyes a little more open to those in need. Be that someone that makes another person see that there is still so much beauty and light in their world. Go out today looking for the rainbow instead of the clouds. Be the sunshine to someone’s dark gray day. You can’t take back what has been done, but you can continue to put positive, beautiful, amazing, wonderful things into the world, one lovely moment at a time.
Next time you log on to facebook or twitter, be an encouragement. Next time you see someone doing something kind, find something that you can do to match their kindness. Next time you hear of someone’s loss, ask what you can do to help them hurt a little less. Find ways every day to have a bigger purpose than just getting through that day. Find ways every day to make the world directly around you a little more full of hope and a little less full of hurt.
For ideas on practical ways to help in your community, think about homeless shelters, women’s and children’s homes, food banks, community outreach programs that cloth and give resources to those in need right in your city. I am going to be calling my local community activists to find out what I can be doing right now to help make the sun shine a little brighter today for someone else.
I hope you will continue to join me on this journey of love, self-discovery, wholeness and purpose.
The last few weeks I’ve been working so hard on all of the pieces that make up MamaBear. I am really excited about this. I am pretty proud of it. It has the potential to help a lot of women to see their worth and to start working on believing in themselves more and to be able to change some of the negative mindsets we all get in. It has taken a lot of time and emotional energy to do this, but it has been worth it.
Sometimes I get scared though. I start doubting myself. Wondering if I even know how to do what I need to do. Wondering if what I'm working on will turn out good enough. I get scared that no one will like it, which means that no one will like me. I know that is not realistic, but that is how my mind works.
I care so deeply about empowering others, especially women, especially you, my tribe. I care so much about helping you to see how amazing your lives could be, if you just believe in yourselves more. I was so worried about all of this that I forgot for a minute to care about myself. I forgot to take a moment and realize that I am brave and that I can do hard things. I forgot to think about what an incredible journey this life has been and that I am in an amazing place in my life now. I want to share this beautiful place in my life with you.
Through this journey I’ve been able to try so many new things, which is so scary but at the same time refreshing. Before starting MamaBear, I hadn't really done any writing since I was in school and had to do it for assignments. I actually don’t remember ever doing any writing for fun, since becoming a grown up :). I never realized how therapeutic blogging could be. It feels like writing in my diary and sharing my heart out to my world and at the same time discovering new things about myself. I guess that’s why this whole process has been scary for me. It’s all so personal. It’s all real.
So, I’m figuring out how to push myself to be braver. I’m figuring out how to push myself to try harder. I’m figuring out how to keep going even when things seem impossible. I’m pushing myself to try new things, even if that means sometimes failing. I’m pushing myself to continue to believe in myself even though the excitement will wear off.
I continue to say my MamaBear Mantra (I am strong, I am confident, I am brave) almost every day. I continue to find things to tell myself that I am proud of. I continue to reach out to friends (old and new) for sources of encouragement when I’m feeling insecure. I continue to think about all of you, reading this, at a moment that you might really need to hear what I’m saying. I am overwhelmed with appreciation and love for all of you, who are supporting me on this beautiful journey that is a big part of my life.
I love you my tribe.
I hope you will continue to join me on the journey. I would love it if you’d like to join the Mama Bear Tribe on Facebook , we will be having more personal and interactive discussions there.
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