Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Ramblings and Reflections...

Today, AK, Roo, and I had the opportunity to spend a few hours in the waiting room of the auto shop while the brake system was getting looked at/repaired. Fun times. Seriously. While the girls entertained themselves sorting through a couple of tubs of kid's meal toys and wooden puzzles, I picked up an old copy of John Steinbeck's novel, The Winter of Our Discontent, and started reading.

It has been a while since I've sat down and read a book just for reading's sake - it was wonderful. I remember that as a child, I would read all the time...I think everyone in my family did. In our house reading was not looked at as boring or was an opportunity to escape into another world - one of mystery, or romance, or adventure, or fiction. I read all types of books, and I loved going to the library. This love for reading continued into my college years, and even after Doug and I were first married. Envision the two of us sitting on the couch in our 450 sq. ft basement apartment - Doug would flip hopelessly through the TV channels (all 17 of them), while I half-sat/half-sprawled across the couch, snuggled in blanket, engrossed in my latest find from the Murray City Library. He often teased me about being such a nerd, but I didn't mind - reading was such a big part of me; it was relaxing and invigorating both at the same time.

The last time I can remember being able to sit and read without interruption was during my pregnancy. In the 13 long weeks of doctor-ordered bedrest, I think I went through 10-12 books. And then the girls were born, and my reading opportunities went quickly out the door. Instead of being able to read into the wee hours of the morning anytime I wanted, I found myself juggling bottle feedings, burpings, and diaper changes. The library cards in my wallet were eventually taken out and lost, and my collection of books started collecting dust on the neglected bookcase. After a couple of moves, many of the books simply remained in boxes - no sense in unpacking something you don't have time for anymore, right?

So, why am I sharing all this right now (to be honest, this has come out entirely different than the post I intended to type)? Why am I up at 12:45 a.m., lamenting about missed reading opportunities? I believe that as I read the first few chapters in Steinbeck's novel, an old flame was rekindled. I found myself getting lost in the wonder of the intricate characters he so marvelously creates. I envisioned the the tiny whaling town, the centuries-old Hawley home, and the organized grocery store where Ethan Allen Hawley was kept prisoner to his circumstances. I remembered why I used to love reading so much; I didn't want to put the book down, I wanted to read page after page about Mr. Hawley's plan to make his life satisfactory.

Eventually, reality set in and I had to put the book down to resolve a conflict over a much-coveted toy. But, after reading that book today and experiencing the forgotten feelings that I did, I realized that I need to start doing more of the things that I love. I need to make more of an effort to read, to go running, to paint and draw, and to write - all of the things I used to do regularly that made me who I am today. Yes, I am a mother, wife, and student...but I need to learn to better manage my time so that I will be able to do the things that I personally enjoy.

One of my biggest struggles with accepting my role as a mother, is that I often feel I have lost my identity and individuality along the way. Through no fault of anyone else, this has led to a personal feeling of resentment, anger, and, well...discontent. I am then bombarded with guilt for feeling such anger and resentment, because it truly isn't warranted or justifiable....but it remains just the same, harbored deep inside me, which has created a great deal of personal unhappiness. Doug has been very patient and understanding, and to his credit, he has tried to help me as best as he can. The problem in dealing with this unhappiness, as I had to accept earlier this week, is that no one can make me happy except myself. I am solely responsible for my happiness; I, and I alone, will decide how to respond and react to life's events. I want to be happy, I do...but for so long I have felt that I didn't truly deserve it; that I hadn't done anything remarkable or extraordinary, and that this is the life I have created for myself.

But as I think of my two daughters, of their sweet innocence and pure love of life, I ask myself what reason do I have to not be happy? I have a wonderful husband who is patient, loving, forgiving, hard-working, and who accepts me for who I am. I have two beautiful and healthy daughters who hold no judgements or grudges against me, even though they know my imperfections better than anyone. I have supportive parents, siblings, and friends, who also accept me despite my weaknesses and shortcomings. I live in a country that encourages free thought and action, that provides so many opportunities and possibilities. I have faith. I believe in a religion that teaches love, hope, charity, and eternal happiness. I have a good life. I realize now that any unhappiness I experience is merely of my own doing.

So, here's to a more fervent attempt at enjoying what my life has to offer, of seeing the blessing in the small and simple things I experience, to accepting who I am and what I have to give others, to re-learning how to be truly happy...and to reading more books.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, except for the book/reading part , I have been going through that same struggle of trying to "find myself again" and realizing that nobody is making me unhappy but mysef, & trying to figure out just how to be the new, old me. I teared up reading this, thanks, it's nice to know I'm not the only one.