Right now, my best buddies are my family. Which I am definitely fine with because they are the first people in my life that I really chose to be with. I didn’t choose my parents or my siblings, and I didn’t choose my classmates or peers (but, to be fair, I did choose my friends. Although, I think that was still a little less choosing than I have done with my husband and children.) I love my family. It’s not like any sort of special or perfect situation. As I write this, my toddler son is trying a hundred different ways to convince me to let him “watch a show.” I am pretty close to giving in, again. But I think that in spite of all of my current pursuits, I could never let go of the relationship and happiness that I feel when I am with my family.
About a year ago, I decided that I wanted to be a better friend. I still suck at it, but I feel like my intentions are at least improving. I think that if I could build on each little thing that I am doing right, maybe I will get to that point where I feel like it’s not difficult to serve my friends to the best of my capacity.
“Maybe next time, you’ll estimate me!” -Michael Scott, The Office
As I lay in my bed at the end of the week, I think about my aching legs and newly-discovered diastasis recti, which now explains the dull but insistent backache. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, this time I feel powerful. By many standards, my day was not necessarily busy or stressful. Compared to my former life, my life sans children, it was particularly taxing. I have long forgotten that life, and I wonder frequently if I will ever know it again. My every day is stressful.
My problem isn’t in the situation. It never is. My childhood was riddled with the words, “You create your own experience.” I used to think my mom was just continuously in denial about my dad’s severe drug addiction, but I have long since learned that it is as true as the golden rule. There are some situations that we have no control over, so making the best of it is the only control we should relish.
You see, when I wake up in the morning to a cooing baby and a persistent 2-year old, I have to tell myself that I can do it. That I have done it up to this point, and I can do it again and again and again. I chose this life and I will continue to choose it, but that shouldn’t stop me from making the best of it. Just getting by isn’t a choice, anymore.
I recently starting writing articles for a drug rehab facility all the way across the country, a museum in my current town, and a marriage website started by a friend of mine. A year or two ago, I would have thought that wasn’t possible- particularly with two children and a husband whom I only get to see a few hours a week. But I make it happen’ cap’n and I am so glad I chose not to underestimate myself. My mothering hasn’t changed, unless you count the computer being open more often (which, honestly, only replaced my phone apps being open). At least now I am doing something productive for other people (other than my children, of course) and, therefore, myself.
I will continue to tell myself that I can do it, but now I will remember to not underestimate what I can do.
During college, Adrian and I decided to do internships at a resort in Surfside, South Carolina. If you’ve never heard of it, that’s probably because it’s a very small town that is shadowed by the (mind-bogglingly) consistent summer revival of Myrtle Beach just 4 miles north. I say mind-bogglingly because I still cannot bring myself to appreciate what is Myrtle Beach. It’s a strip of bars, mini-golf courses, and beach spots that are home to bikers and tourists. There are a few other very expensive “family” environments (aquarium, Ripley’s, etc.) but unless you are going for the Carolina-style southern food, then it’s just another beach.
Driving down King’s Highway, you will see many blinding store fronts. The lights are eternally blazing and difficult to comprehend. The cheap apparel on the inside is even worse. But, you go inside. You don’t know why. You just do.
The next thing you will notice is the numerous mini-golf courses. They adorn a number of theme: pirates, under the sea, etc. But the real kicker is the fact that you will almost always see large families there, day or night. They are never empty, even though you know it may seem ridiculous that you are passing yet ANOTHER course.
The beach in Surfside is nice, I will give it that. And maybe that is because it is considered the “family” beach spot, but there is always a place to lay out and enjoy the waves or sun. Since we were working at a resort with odd hours, we often went to the beach at night after all of the tourists left. We particularly loved going when it was stormy out since it was guaranteed to be vacant and the waves would be enormous and crashing against the shore like it was the end of the world.
Another surprisingly pleasant thing about South Carolina is the history. We discovered a number of settings that had preserved canons and forts. It was beautiful and rich with discovery. Drive about 3 hours south and you will get to Charleston, SC where the Gullah women will make you something pretty with dried reeds and rubber bands; the restaurants serve Carolina bbq; and the street vendors sell unique specialty items. Take a walking tour if you must, but even just a walk around the town will satisfy your thirst for some deep religious history. I know I sound like I’m blogging for a tourism site, but that’s how much I enjoyed Charleston.
The people. The people of South Carolina (well, I can’t speak for all of it, but I can for our little niche) are about what you would expect from most southern states. They love sweet tea and will be highly offended if you choose not to dance to the country music with them. However, they are also forgiving. I met a lot of people of many races and nationalities, and enjoyed learning about all of them. They will treat you like family, good and bad, and I learned very much from those people.