Month: February 2016

Listen to me!

We all want to be heard.  Am I right?

I find myself taking the less than mature adult approach to being heard.  Even if it’s a short story, damnit I want to tell it with all the deets!  I seriously don’t know any other way of telling anything.  So when I’m interrupted every 2 seconds, I just don’t want to tell it anymore.  I throw my hands in the air and say, “oh, just forget it.”  Then, when I receive the inevitable, “sorry, please finish, tell your story,” I give the pouting response, “the story was over anyway” which is a total lie and then I have the nerve to be irritated because I really wanted to tell the story.

Image Courtesy of musiccityschoolcounselor.wordpress.com

Image Courtesy of musiccityschoolcounselor.wordpress.com

I’ve been in a few relationships where I’ve been interrupted time and time again.  Why do they torture me like this?!  I tried to analyze where I’m going wrong because I MUST be doing something wrong here, right?  Maybe it’s me.  (I just made myself laugh.)  I could very well be a poor listener, myself.  I don’t think that’s possible, but I decided to humor myself and really look deep.

I have a bit of social anxiety and I’m self conscious about my ability to hold a conversation, as it is.  I realized that, because I was always thinking, thinking, thinking of the next thing that was supposed to come out of my mouth when the other person was done talking, I can’t possibly be listening to them.  I mean seriously – God forbid I have no response!  How will I endure the possibility of the awkward silence that may or may not come when they are finished talking?  Argh!  It really takes a conscious effort on the listener’s behalf to be a good listener.  Once I put two and two together, I decided to make a change.  I’m not a big interrupter when others are talking, but I could still change how I listen to people; I could give my full attention which is basically what I want.  I want your attention.  (I’m feeling needy all of a sudden.)

No lie, it was hard at first.  My brain wanted to do what it wanted to do but, ironically, I realized that listening to what the person had to say actually made conversations flow much easier.  Mind. Blown.  With my new-found information, I really wanted to share it with everybody who ever felt the need to interrupt me.  JUST STOP AND LISTEN!  I’m a storyteller for pete’s sake.  If you can’t listen to me tell stories, we are never going to work out.  Friendship or otherwise.

Ultimately, some people are just plain selfish when they interrupt.  What they have to say is more important than what you or I have to say.  That’s all there is to it.  Makes you wonder why they stick around if they don’t care what you have to say; if your thoughts aren’t important.

(Even worse, are those who think they can finish your sentence and totally suck at it – but that’s another blog post for another day.)

Appreciating Time

As my birthday was approaching my kids were either, (a) very secretive about what they wanted to do or give me; or (b) flat out telling me what they are making me (my youngest can’t keep a secret to save her life).  As they are getting older they want to buy me things and, while I absolutely appreciate that they want to do that for me, I would rather they didn’t spend their money on me.

This is all my Papa’s fault.  😉

Growing up, I remember that my dad never wanted any gifts; not for Christmas, not his birthday and not for Father’s Day.  The way I saw it, I had a job and I wanted to get him a gift.  To me, it was almost showing appreciation for him being the best dad he could be.  A couple of times I even asked him what he wanted and he said “I don’t want anything.”  I’d still get him something but, being the man of few words that he is, it’s not like he got excited about it.  It was almost anticlimactic to watch him open the gift.  I got over it.

Eventually, as I matured into a “real” adult, my siblings and I would have parties and get everyone together whether it was for a special occasion or “just because” and he really enjoyed those.  If someone was missing, he’d ask where they were.  We realized that it truly made him happy to simply have us together; to BE together and enjoy our TIME together.  Today, that’s how I feel.

My oldest wants to take me to dinner and it will be very nice to spend more time with her, but a part of me doesn’t want to have a fancy dinner; I’d rather she didn’t spend her money that way.  We can have a nice dinner and enjoy each other’s company without the expensive bill at the end of the night.  I don’t want to crush her plans so I’ll make a light suggestion that we go somewhere else and see if she takes the bait.  I will appreciate whatever it is (like the manicure and PAINFUL eyebrow threading that I endured already as part of her gift to me).  Ultimately, my hope is that I instill the same appreciation for time that my dad did for me and my siblings.  We don’t “stress” about gifts like we used to because the most important part is that we all take the time out to spend together.  God blessed me with a wonderful family that I love to spend time with.  I can’t ask for anything more for my birthday.

Thank you, Papa.  🙂

Sharing my goals and receiving inspiration.

It’s February 5, 2016 already, and for a lot of people who make resolutions, they’re starting to fall apart, if not all but forgotten by now.  I, too, had a list of resolutions for the year.  I’ve started most of my resolutions: gain weight, spend more, keep a messy room, stop working out…you know, the usual.  I managed to add a few serious ones in there, too.

One in particular – learn sign language.

It’s not the first time but, over the busy holiday shopping season, there were more than a couple of situations where I wish I had known sign language so that I could help someone who was struggling with a store employee.  I can’t even begin to attempt to be helpful in that particular situation and that’s frustrating for me; imagine how they feel.  😦

So, I shared this particular “resolution” with my kids and my youngest princess was super excited.  So much so that she decided she wanted to do it, too.  Like most things, it was exciting at first; the thought was exciting.  Then came the part where I try and figure out where to begin.  There are so many resources online and, as we all know, everything on the internet can‘t be trusted so I really had to do some research.  Then life happened and the momentum was gone.

2 weeks later my princess had her dad send me a video.  The video was of her saying “good night” to me in sign language.  I absolutely loved it and it sparked a new excitement in me.  A few days later, she was at my house again.  I came home from work and when I walked in the door she didn’t speak like she normally would, she signed “Hi Mom.  Finally, you are home.”  #proudmamamoment  It was so sweet.  Of course I had to ask her what she said, but still, it was so encouraging to see that she was trying to learn.

It inspired me, but not enough.  Not yet.

The next morning she signed that she loved me.  That evening we were sitting at the dinner table and she has a piece of paper out with a long list of words on it and she said, “quiz me.”  After I was done quizzing her, she signed “thank you.”  I asked what that meant.  She told me.  Then she finally says, “Mommy, who’s resolution is this, anyway?”  That’s when I finally put aside my excitement about HER learning it and decided to do what I said I was going to do.  How embarrassing for me to have my daughter remind me that it was me who said I wanted to learn so that I could help others.

The rest of that evening was spent learning the alphabet alone – it’s hard to teach this old dog new tricks. 😉  The next morning, she comes into my bedroom, half awake, and says, “Come on Mommy, let’s go over the alphabet again.”  She curled up in bed with me and we went over the alphabet, again.  When it was time for me to leave, I ask if she knows how to say “have a good day,” but she doesn’t.  Lesson number 1.  I learn it during the day at work and when I come home I show her.  She, in turn, taught me some new phrases and that’s how it’s been all week.

She inspired me to start and keep the momentum going.  I am truly blessed to have received the gift of my children.  They keep me on my toes.  Where would I be without them?  🙂  I’m no ASL pro, but with their inspiration and motivation, what was once a simple new year’s resolution on a piece of paper will become my second (or third if you count broken Spanish) language.