Strictly My Opinion

Three Cheers and Dammit, C’est La Vie – Reparations vs Resolutions, Round 2

One year ago today I wrote a blog post for the end of the year about how I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions. They seem, to me, to be just a recipe for failure and disappointment if you set unattainable goals for yourself.

In my ‘work life’ I learned to set ‘SMART’ goals for myself each year – SMART goals are:

-Specific
-Measurable
-Attainable
-Realistic
-Timely

I also hear on a regular basis that life is to be experienced one day at a time.

I gave up long ago spending the last day of the year thinking about things I’d like to accomplish in the coming year. I have two heightened needs children who can prompt my goals to change on a dime, and I have to be ready to go with the flow there. I have been ‘criticized’ in recent weeks of being too strict at times. My only rebuttal to that is to say that I have always been taught and felt that children thrive predominantly on routine and structure and stability. Consistency is a major, major factor in successful parenting. Some days I don’t feel terribly successful. Some days I just feel like I ‘get by’. But I always try to be consistent, as consistent as I can be, in the face of an ever changing world.

This year I have a few reparations I feel the need to make based upon the events of the past year. I will make them now, although the intended audience will not be reading them. Nevertheless, to get them out of my head and into black and white helps me in a way…making them ‘real’.

1. To my boys – You are the lights of my life. You are my strength….your happiness and well-being are the only ‘higher power’ I truly believe in and work to fulfill my promises to. I know there are days when you feel like the rules are unfair and unreasonable, but they are there for a reason. I promise you that one day you will understand them, even if now you cannot. One day, hopefully, you will hold responsibility for a life, 100% responsibility, in your hands and you will then know what a parent goes through in order to keep their child safe and protect their well-being. I hope you will reflect back to your own childhood and remember these things being taught to you when you were young, and finally see why they are so important.

2. To my mom – this year has brought so much change for you – change that is so very difficult for you. You say to me, often, that I ‘don’t understand’…which makes me sad in ways, because I do understand and I wish you could see that. I understand who you are and what your makeup is, and though I wouldn’t be so egotistical as to say I know with absolute certainty what is right for you always – I want you to know that I have listened…for years…and heard the things you’ve said that have disappointed you, or been difficult for you, and I am doing everything in my power to make that less difficult for you now that you live here. You told me a long time ago that I had to have faith that all things happen for a reason, though not in the way we’d like them to always, and we have to believe that it’s for the best. Now is the time for you to have faith in me, Mom…faith that I have your best interests at heart…faith that I know how difficult it is for you to ‘give up control’ to another person – and faith that although I won’t always do things ‘the way you would’ – I won’t let you down.

3. To my husband – I told you within two months of our meeting that I don’t know that anyone will ever understand how and the depth to which I love when I love someone. We’ve been together for nearly 15 years now. We’ve both gone from young men to men approaching middle age (me closer than you). I didn’t choose you to spend my life with because I thought you’d always be the person you were then – I figured you were someone that I could sail the ocean of change with together, and at the core of it we’d still love one another for who each other was, or became. Goodness knows we’ve had our share of rough waters with all that’s been thrown at us. And goodness knows I have a very fortified wall of self-protection that I’ve built over time as a means of survival in the years before I met you. Sometimes I just don’t even know where the door and the key to let others in are any longer. I don’t know that, fifteen years later, you have come any closer to understanding how I love. I can’t say I’ve gotten any better at explaining it. Sometimes words fail even the writers and poets and we have to rely on the intuition of another to interpret what we mean. Let’s hope the next fifteen years bring us both closer to that understanding.

4. To my friends – Once again I find myself saying I wish there were more hours in the day to keep up with you all. It’s not for lack of caring.

5. And finally, to myself – One day you will find the switch to turn off the voices in your head telling you how things are not good enough and you simply have to find a way to do better and do more. One day you’ll find the lullaby to sooth the savage beasts that rattle around in cages inside your mind. You’ve come far enough to not let the words of others impact your self-worth; but behind that mask of strength the truth lingers there close to the surface that nothing anyone else can say to you is any worse or any more harsh than the things you already tell yourself in the silent war your head wages with your heart every day. I hope you learn to tame that inner voice a little more in the coming year.

2014 has brought both gain and loss to my life – great highs and great lows – and as I sit here at my keyboard, as if I have anything of any value at all to say to anyone else…I am reminded of the lyrics of one of my favorite songs. It’s my parting gift to everyone as a reminder that the only strength you ever need to find – already exists within you.

Good times and bum times, I’ve seen them all
And, my dear, I’m still here
Plush velvet sometimes
Sometimes just pretzels and beer, but I’m here

I’ve stuffed the dailies in my shoes
Strummed ukuleles, sung the blues
Seen all my dreams disappear but I’m here.
I’ve slept in shanties, guest of the W.P.A., but I’m here
Danced in my scanties
Three bucks a night was the pay, but I’m here

I’ve stood on bread lines with the best
Watched while the headlines did the rest
In the depression was I depressed?
Nowhere near, I met a big financier and I’m here

I’ve been through Gandhi, Windsor and Wally’s affair, and I’m here
Amos ‘n’ Andy, Mah-jongg and platinum hair, and I’m here
I got through Abie’s, Irish Rose, Five Dionne babies, Major Bowes
Had heebie-jeebies for Beebe’s, Bathysphere
I got through Brenda Frazier, and I’m here

I’ve gotten through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoover
Gee, that was fun and a half
When you’ve been through Herbert and J. Edgar Hoover
Anything else is a laugh

I’ve been through Reno, I’ve been through Beverly Hills, and I’m here.
Reefers and vino, rest cures, religion and pills, and I’m here
Been called a ‘Pinko’, commie tool, got through it stinko by my pool
I should’ve gone to an acting school, that seems clear
Still someone said, “She’s sincere”, so I’m here

Black sable one day, next day it goes into hock, but I’m here
Top billing Monday, Tuesday, you’re touring in stock, but I’m here
First you’re another sloe-eyed vamp
Then someone’s mother, then you’re camp
Then you career from career to career
I’m almost through my memoirs, and I’m here

I’ve gotten through, “Hey, lady, aren’t you whoozis?
Wow, what a looker you were”
Or better yet, “Sorry, I thought you were whoozis
Whatever happened to her?”

Good times and bum times, I’ve seen ’em all
And, my dear, I’m still here
Plush velvet sometimes
Sometimes just pretzels and beer, but I’m here

I’ve run the gamut, A to Z
Three cheers and dammit, C’est la vie
I got through all of last year, and I’m here
Lord knows, at least I was there, and I’m here
Look who’s here, I’m still here

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