Friday, August 17, 2018

There Is A Lot To Learn When You Take A Stay-Cation...

Lisa has been on vacation this week. It's her last day. The week turned out to be busier than we had anticipated, but it's been a great week overall. We worked on a lot of projects together. Some, separately. We did things at our own pace. There wasn't much of a schedule. There were no deadlines. The kids enjoyed having us both home together and all of the extra playtime and family snuggle time.
This afternoon, when Lisa sat down at the kitchen table to eat lunch, she made a comment that inspired this blog post.

"I'm proud of you. I know some of the happenings this week upset you. But, instead of letting it bring you down, you turned that negative energy into something great. Look at all we've accomplished this week."

The conversation continued throughout lunch. When Lisa was finished eating, she spent some time in her woodshop and ran a couple of errands.

As I worked on our 2018 wooden Bodacious Country Pumpkins, I thought long and hard about what she said. Yeah, a few things really upset me over the past week. But, I made the decision to not let them consume me. Instead, I dove into work stuff and projects and creating some great DIY Dog Mom Projects.

At the end of the day, I chose to embrace the lessons that were taught. I became wiser. The past couple of weeks, especially this past week, have taught me a thing or two...

1. Life is short. Very short. This isn't a new lesson for me, but we were both reminded. Our Aunt R was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer a few weeks ago. She was given a year to live. A week later, her condition spiraled downward very quickly. The "one year" decreased to only a few months.

None of us are immune to this devastation. Life can take a nasty turn at the drop of a dime. During times like this, I think about the "what ifs." It's uncomfortable to visit that place, but necessary. Too often we get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget.

This is why Lisa and I don't stay angry with each other or go for days without talking after a spat. This is why we celebrate special occasions frequently. This is why we let the people in our tribe know how much they're loved and appreciated.

2. Not everyone will acknowledge or appreciate the full extent of what you, or others. do for them. Acknowledgment and appreciation go beyond saying thank you or extending a token of gratitude every now and then. It's more about face to face. Eye to eye.

For example, in June of 2015, I volunteered to be the photographer for a senior student. In addition to excelling in her classes and working her butt off at various jobs, she was the founder of a rather large high school alliance group. This particular group welcomed everyone and anyone. Gay. Straight. Transgender. Physically challenged. And, anyone who felt out of place or alienated.

My job was to photograph "the handing over of the torch" party. The senior who founded the group was graduating. She needed to hand over the torch to the person who would be taking over the group. It was a huge party.

The theme was Hawaiian Luau. The kids were dressed in brightly colored clothes, leis around their necks, flowers in their hair, Hawaiian shirts, etc. A Tiki display had been built for the evening's fare of pizza, munchies, fruit salad and beverages. The bonfire burned brightly.

That day, Lisa and I participated at a fundraising pet event that was over an hour away. We were exhausted. But, we had made the commitment. Lisa dropped me off. Headed home. Took care of our kids. Then, she headed back to where the party was being hosted.

Meanwhile, I was snapping photo after photo. All of the high school kids welcomed me. They were great. We had an absolute blast. They shared their food with us and included us in their conversations and activities.

At the end of the evening, the senior student who had asked for me to be their photographer put a lei around my neck. She gave me a hug. Then, she said, "I know you had an event today and the both of you are exhausted. Plus, it's hot and miserable outside. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am that you took the time to do this for me. For us. You have captured photos that truly radiate what this group is all about."

That was probably one of the most genuine thank you's I've ever received.

3. My tolerance for certain things is crumbling rapidly. Excuses. Laziness. Liars. Entitlement. Disrespect. Not following through. Inconsistency. Those who waste our time. The parents who allow their offspring to disrespect their elders.

4. Pulling a no call, no show is not cool. I sent out invitations to Lisa's 50th Birthday Bash over a month in advance. There was an RSVP for July 31st. By that date, I had all of the RSVPs. One of our friends wasn't sure. The light in her jeep went off. She wasn't sure. She'd let me know. Aside from that, we had a head count.

At the end of the evening, jeep lady didn't get back to us. In addition to her, 8 people who had confirmed their attendance pulled a no call, no show. I'm not going to lie. I was pissed.

Do I need to explain why I was pissed? Probably not. What I will say is that the people who confirmed they would be here, but then pulled a no call, no show. How long does it take to send a message or text that you would not be able to make it? Ummm...I'm thinking right around 60 seconds.

With that being said, shame on you. Not only did you miss a great time, you also earned a permanent "no invite" to future events at our home. That. Is. All.

5. We have an amazing neighborhood family tribe. Some of our neighbors have become family to us over the years. When we get together, we always have a great time. Even when we don't get together, we see each other during the week for a quick chat. We share fresh produce, baked goods, fresh made pickles and relishes, etc.

One thing I love the most is we get together to celebrate birthdays and holidays. For Lisa's 50th Backyard Birthday Bash, our neighborhood family tribe pulled together to make it memorable. They lent us canopies, folding chairs, and their time. They brought scrumptious food over to contribute to the buffet. They helped with setting up the food tables.

During the festivities, they sang, danced, cheered Jonny Debit on, sang happy birthday, helped to clean up, and went above and beyond. They made Lisa feel like a million bucks on her 50th Birthday.

We are exceptionally grateful to have our neighborhood family in our lives. We are proud to call them family.

6. There is no excuse. None. When we put time aside to assist others, it's because we want to. It's for the people we love. But, if that time is wasted, and we get an attitude, we're done. We are no longer walking on eggshells and catering to those who claim they have delicate personalities.

Truth is, we see through your smoke and mirror charade. We've made exceptions, let a lot of things roll down our backs, tolerated a lot, and put up with the crap far too long. In the here and now, you're an adult. If you treat people poorly, you'll get the same in return. If you burn bridges, you'll have to put in some effort into rebuilding those bridges. If you continue down the same path, eventually, you'll have no one because you've burnt those bridges.

Let us know how that works out for you, cupcake.

7. Sometimes, you just have to let it go. Some people will never see the depth of a situation. They won't acknowledge their crappy behavior towards you. They won't take responsibility for their actions. They won't take notice to the bridges they're burning. They'll continue playing games. They'll continue to strum the "poor me" strings.

You can't change people. You can't help someone if they don't want to be helped. You can't motivate someone if they don't want to be motivated. You can't shake sense into someone who sees no problems with their current way of life.

All you can do is let it go. Maybe things will change. Maybe they won't. However, by letting it go, you relinquish yourself from the stress and worry and putting in useless efforts. Let. It. Go.

7. At the end of the day, embrace the good. Learn from the not so good. Again, enough said.

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