The Power Of A Kind Word

Sometimes, and by sometimes I mean pretty much everyday, B will say something so incredibly sweet to me for no particular reason. Today, during our after-dinner-cuddle, he looked at me in my sweats with my hair all mussed and told me that I am incredibly beautiful. He’s also been known to call me gorgeous and stunning (<– I love that one.) Sometimes he’ll thank me for working two jobs, or tell me I’m a great mom and tell me how proud he is of me. AND I don’t need to fish for it. EVER! He’s a treasure trove of affirmation that I never expected to find in a significant other. It is a key to the awesomeness of our relationship.

When we first started dating I thought his words of kindness were really cool, but figured they would slow down the longer we were together. I was wrong. If anything they’ve increased. I don’t ever wonder if he’s happy in our relationship because he regularly affirms how he feels. As you can imagine this is all new to me. So much so that I wasn’t able to express how I felt unless I wrote it in an email or text. Written communication has historically been better for me. Maybe because I had time to put my thoughts together and I’m less likely to jumble my words when they are inked on paper. Maybe because there is no distraction or interruption from the other person. But his ability to verbally lift me up drove my desire to do the same for him. Slowly I began expressing my feelings for him, sometimes using the same language he used like a baby learning to speak. It felt foreign to my tongue. The more I told him how I felt, the easier it became. Although I am still not as eloquent as he is, I’m secure in the knowledge that he is equally affirmed on a regular basis and know’s how I feel about him.

With my own relationship experiences and those I witness in the lives around me, it’s surprising how uncommon kindness is. In the one relationship that is supposed to be the safest and of greatest support, there is rarely the regular affirmation necessary to build security and intimacy. Instead people mistake “safety” for having a free pass to say what they want when they want regardless of how it makes the other person feel. They mistake “intimacy” for something that happens after the kids are in bed and before they roll their backs to each other as they fall asleep. I wonder how saying a kind thing about one another once a day (without any ulterior motives) would improve the poor communication and insecurities running rampant in so many relationships today.

It’s common sense really. That’s what makes the fact it took me 36 years to fully understand it absolutely frightening. The idea that he/she has to love me because he’s/she’s my husband/wife, father/mother, brother/sister, son/daughter isn’t enough! They love you because they choose to love you. In the same way you can choose to be kind. Not because you are trying to get them to be kind in return, but because it’s the right thing to do. It’s an action of love. Love is a verb after all. And it can be as simple as telling your loved one what you love about them. Try it today.

I’d love to hear an example of how a kind word affected you. Please share in the comments section below.

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A Moment of Self Reflection

The other morning the boys had a 2 hour delay for a “snow storm” we had the night before here in NC. Seriously! We had less than 2 inches of snow and it was gone in the morning, but who’s counting? They were super excited, as is to be expected with the possibility of snow and no school. I even let them stay up later than usual because I knew they could sleep in and I’m an awesome mom (wink). I was equally excited about not having to wake up at 6 am. So can someone please explain to me why my tween son was mad that I woke him up at 8 am? And before you say because he wanted to sleep in later…ERRR! No! It was because he didn’t wake up early enough. And not only was he mad, but he was extremely grumpy, hardly said two words and growled at us! GROWLED! (You know when people try to console you by saying you’re not alone? Well I really think I am the only mom in the world with this problem.)

As I write about it now I can see the humor, but my immediate response was to get mad back at him. But WHY? This is the question I asked later when I realized how mad I actually was about his grumpiness and couldn’t give myself an acceptable answer. Hence the reflection part of this post.

It occurred to me that yes, I have done a ton of work to lessen the severity of my weaknesses and shortcomings, but it’s been focused on the relational issues specific to a significant other. There is still so much work to do with the other important relationships in my life, namely with my sons. Lest you think  this is the first time this realization is dawning on me, I doubt there is a day that goes by without me feeling inadequate as a mother in one form or another. If you’ve been following me for a while you may recall that one of my greatest fears throughout my separation and divorce was the fear of emotionally screwing up my children. While I don’t think I will completely ruin their lives anymore, I still want to have the healthiest possible relationship with them. Getting mad at someone for his grumpiness is not a healthy response. It wasn’t in marriage and it isn’t in ANY relationship.

Here what I deduced:

1. I got mad because I took his grumpiness as a personal statement that I am “not good enough”. Crazy that I would get that from a 12 year old growl, but I did. It seems to be a recurring theme in the story of my insecurity.

2. There is a stink of co-dependency in this story. It’s slight, but it is there. If my kids are happy, I am happy. If they’re miserable, I’m miserable. The odds are against me. There are 3 of them and the chance that all of them will be happy at the same time are equivalent to me finding a wad of cash in my mailbox. So why am I allowing their demeanor to determine my mood?

3. We should all be allowed to express ourselves when we are feeling emotional. He was obviously having a bad morning for whatever reason. I mean he is pubescent after all. He should have the freedom to be upset without someone else taking it personally and adding to the crumminess of the situation.

So there you have it! I am officially the best mom on the planet now, right? Ha! I wish it were that easy. If I could fix every problem by analyzing it, I would write a book and make millions. Pshh! I know it’s not that easy. Instead I’ll just work at being more aware of my reactions. I will still get mad when they pretend they can’t hear me tell them to clean their room, take a shower, brush their teeth. I will still yell loudly when they are fighting with one another in another room. I will still talk through my gritted teeth at my youngest 10 times a day for…pretty much everything. But if I stay aware and ask myself why I am reacting the way I am, sooner or later it will become easier to not react. Between that and asking my boys for forgiveness when I over do it, there is hope….for that best mom on the planet award!

Triskaidekaphobia Anyone?

As cliché as it may be, since this is the first “real” post for 2013, I thought it would be a good time to discuss resolutions. It’s my understanding that most people abandon their resolutions within the first month as I have done myself year after year. That’s why I stopped making them. At least until about this time last year. That’s when B and I sat down at a coffee shop much like the one we’re in right now, and wrote out our “goals” for 2012. Earlier this month we reviewed the list together.  Maybe it had something to do with us writing one list for the both of us and the accountability that created. Or maybe it was the fact that several of the goals we listed where realistic and attainable. Whatever it was we are quite satisfied with our mostly successful success rate. I absolutely love that our number 1 goal was to stay together. It’s safe to say we accomplished that one effortlessly. Here are some others that we were able to check as complete:

Increase Income: I got a new salaried job this year that was definitely an increase. I also got a second job as a server that provided money for the “extras” that life throws at us.

See Dentist: This was B’s to accomplish and although it was a painful and expensive experience he has an even better smile than before (if that’s even possible).

Visit family in NY: We just barely got that one in. Did I mention IT WAS AWESOME?!!

Watch one new movie from the “list of shame” once every 2 weeks: Can anyone guess whose goal this was? B and his friend started 2 podcast’s this year that have been successful. One of them, My Favorite Year, required him to watch lots of movies that he was able to cross off the “list of shame” so yay B! If you’re a movie lover I suggest checking it out. For those of you horror buffs, you will love Dead On Demand …just sayin.

Write a short story: This one was mine and I’m hanging my head as I say I didn’t even get close to it. What I did do instead, however, is start a blog! That was a pretty huge accomplishment for me. (Thank you B for encouraging me). So in reality I don’t feel too bad for not checking this one off.

Paint the downstairs and get the gutters cleaned were also on the accomplishments list. But the greatest accomplishment this year was that we survived the end of the world! Phew! I was a tinsy bit worried that my sons would never get to see the great stuff they got for Christmas.

That brings us to now. A NEW year. And naturally that means…a NEW list! But before I get to that, let me say that while I ‘m looking forward to all that’s to come in 2013, I know there are those who enter this year with trepidation.   For anyone suffering from Triskaidekaphobia (Thank you Mr. Cole for making that the bonus spelling word several times in 7th grade. I still had to look it up!) I hope you have a fabulous year regardless!

Here are the highlights of the 2013 goal list:

1. Stay together: this will probably be number one for the rest of our existence as a couple :).
2. Complete a new short film: not mine…this has B written all over it.
3. Blog at least once a week: ahem!
4. Reduce work hours: I love my part-time job so I don’t know how I’ll manage this one, but I am beginning to feel the burn out approaching.
5. Travel: we not only have NY on our list again, we’ve added NJ and FL to it. And these are just the family visits. We also want to try to get away for a weekend together. Now I just have to figure out how to do it all.
6. Read at least one book a month: both of us signed up for this one. I’m taking suggestions if you want to leave yours in the comments. I’d actually love that.

This next one gives me the warm fuzzies. B decided that this year he wanted a goal that included my boys since they are such an important part of his life now. Number 7 is regular band practice with B and the kids. This will be a time for him to focus on helping them move toward a bigger goal as a unified team.

And last, but not at all the least, number 8. B has agreed to write a post a month for my blog. It’s a goal you will all be witness to, which makes it harder to stretch the truth about later. It will undoubtedly be film related, but the details are still being worked out. So excited!

Lots to look forward to this year! I would love to hear from you this year too. Got any resolutions you want to share or book suggestions? Leave them in the comments section below. If you have an encouraging story you’d like to share please email me at unforgettablyordinary@gmail.com.

Goodbye Twenty-Twelve!

I know I promised I wouldn’t go this long without writing again. That promise was made to myself as much as it was to anyone who reads my blog and I absolutely hate going back on my word. Writing regularly is not only an outlet for my creative energy, but I’m under the hopefully not disillusioned impression that the more I write the more improved my writing abilities get. With that said the strongest driving force behind my writing is my desire to potentially help others by sharing my experiences. I know for myself personally it was an encouragement when I was told that everything would work out and I was going to be okay. Hearing stories of others’ overcoming adversity instilled a deep hope that no matter what happened I was going to make it.

Here’s what’s kept me away: In the last several weeks I have spent any time I would normally spend on writing on frantically buying Christmas gifts for my boys (including Tall Blonde, or B – whichever you prefer) while trying to maintain a budget; attending an Ugly Sweater Christmas party that ended up being a baby-to-be Gender Reveal party (they’re having a boy!); Planning and celebrating a wonderful Christmas day with my family; packing the boys up for their dads and myself up for a fun packed weekend in NY with B’s family; spending a lot of time on the couch due to a ugly cold/flu thing I picked up along the way…TWICE! Oh, did I mention I also worked two jobs during all this (one of which is a new job)? While I am not trying to make excuses, I want to assure you that it is unlikely a series of events such as these will occur again anytime soon and therefore I should be able to keep up my regular writing schedule.

Here’s a sneak peek at what’s to come in 2013: More guest blogs, Ugly Duckling features and a monthly post from Tall Blonde himself! I hope you will follow along in the journey!