253 days without yelling, 112 days of loving more to go!
Dear old self,
Oh how I’ve missed you. I liked you! You used to smile more. Have a pep in your step more. You used to believe in yourself more. You used to give more. I know life gets harder as you get older, that it gets more stressful, but please don’t let that squash you AGAIN. You were much more fun to be around and I am so grateful that you are slowly returning.
Your new (old) self,
The Orange Rhino
When I was in elementary school I begged my mom to take me to the Food Pantry JUST BECAUSE I loved filling the shelves with can goods for others.
When I was in junior high school a friend and I dressed up as Santa Claus and handed out little “stocking stuffer” goody bags when kids came through the doors JUST BECAUSE it would be nice.
When I was in high school I spent extra time with a mom who had lost her son in a car accident JUST BECAUSE I knew she needed someone to talk to. In fact, I did a lot of JUST BECAUSE actions in high school. I did a lot of caring and loving and giving of myself to others.
And this just because attitude carried into college to the point where I actually dreamed of starting a business called JUST BECAUSE. I dreamed that I would sell all of sorts of things people could run in and buy on a whim to give to someone just because. Just because they had a bad day. Just because they passed a test. Just because they needed to smile. Just because it would be fun. Just because it feels good to do randomly nice things for people, friends and strangers alike. I went even so far as to bake cookies once a week and package them up nicely in a box labeled JUST BECAUSE and give it to a friend I thought needed a smile.
When I started my first job I bought bagels every Friday to share with my team JUST BECAUSE it was Friday and everyone needed a pick me up (or a hangover cure). I even gave of my time acting as a live auctioneer to raise funds for American Cancer Society.
Yes, I used to give a lot of myself JUST BECAUSE I wanted to. Just because it made me happy to make others happy.
And then somehow, it happened.
I became jaded.
I stopped giving.
I stopped doing random acts of Just Because.
I would like to say I don’t know when it happened. But that’s a lie. The awful truth is it happened when I went from 2 to 3 kids, when my eldest son turned 3. When my life became infinitely harder, more stressful, more chaotic and more busy than I ever imagined.
When my life became surprisingly more lonely than I ever imagined.
When my life became that much more about my children, and less about me. When my life became about giving to my children JUST BECAUSE they were my chosen priority at that time in my life, rightfully so.
But the more ugly truth?
I think I lost my desire to give when I started to yell more frequently. Sad, but I think somewhat true. Because when I yelled I carried an angry, frustrated, chip on my shoulder all the time. It was so big that it consumed me and all my thoughts leaving little room for positive thinking and doing.
And then somehow, it happened.
I became un-jaded.
I started giving.
I would like to say I don’t know what happened but you all know the answer. I STOPPED YELLING. I let go of being angry every day. I let go of taking all my kids bad behavior as a personal attack on me. I let go of some (not all!) mama guilt and negative thinking that I am a bad mom. Do I still have days and moments when I feel angry, ahem, yes, hello 6:45 this morning!! But in general, I truly feel lighter, happier.
I feel like me. The old me. The one who feels more love in her heart and as such naturally wants to share more love with others. JUST BECAUSE it feels right.
Now I can say that I am not the mom I used to be, instead I am the person I used to be.
And I welcome my new (old) self back with welcome arms.
And I want to do something nice to celebrate.
JUST BECAUSE you all have helped me find my old self, JUST BECAUSE I want to share the love, JUST BECAUSE I believe every parent deserves to be patted on the back, to toot his/her rhino horn just for showing up and taking on the challenge of parenting, to be told they are doing a good job, to be given an unexpected smile in the middle of the day, I am going to give a special something to a parent when they least expect it.
Please help me find that person. By the end of day MONDAY, October 22, 2012, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below or on my Facebook page if you know someone deserving of a JUST BECAUSE moment and help me spread some love. I will carry out my JUST BECAUSE moment on Tuesday after randomly selecting someone by the draw of a hat.
This is not a sweepstakes or a give away. It is simply me, The Orange Rhino, doing something because I want to give back.