Karen and I:
Rei snuggling up to me:
I didnt know that Karen had even taken this picture- all of us lined up on the front row watching the speaker, and Rei laying down and being a good girl on her blanket. :)
So- what this weekend meant to me...
This weekend was a time of some deep soul searching. While I thought I'd dealt with many of the things from my past and having Usher Syndrome, this weekend brought out a whole gamut of things that I didn't even realize were still there anymore.
I have to say Patsy Clairmont is just a ball of fire that is such an awesome lady. Her stories touched deep to the heart and honestly, all of these ladies that spoke this weekend as what seemed to be extremely successful women who had issues too. Even though they look like they have it all together, they also have problems with things which was really BIG for me.
I think I struggle with the idea that so many people seem to think and portray our family as being the ideal Christian family and having it "all together" in terms of raising our kids and our faith. Now while I like to think we have it "all together" I honestly struggle with my role as a mom to my kids and as a wife to my hubby. I also reluctantly admit that I think I may have an addiction to the interactions on the computer- in various forms of networks to fulfill the adult interactions that I crave, but have great difficulty achieving with both my hearing and vision loss.
This brings me to the speaker of the WOF weekend that left the biggest impact on me for the weekend. This was Lisa Whelchel, who talked about how as a child, she was a firstborn and her mother insisted that she would not have a "spoiled" child. In translation, it equated to having a very high set of expectations to live by and from her mom and very little fun or "normal" childhood activities. Lisa and her family all lived in Arizona, she applied for the 1970's Mickey Mouse Club and landed the part. Lisa explained that they hadn't thought it through well when she got this job, as both of her parents lived in Arizona with her siblings and the job required that she not a resident of California.
As a result, Lisa was sent to live in Cali on her own at the age of 12. She explained that there were several hired "guardians" to take her places, but she was the one that got her groceries, balanced the checkbook, found her apartment to live in and all. Lisa was then took the role as Blair on the show "Facts of Life", in which she played a skinny, preppy, boarding school girl. She went on to talk about how as her parents went through a divorce and with the rigors of acting, how she began to eat to cope with her stress, which lead to the weight gain. Then the result of this was the producers of the show demanding that she lose the weight to maintain the characters appearance. With the losing battle against weight, the producers became more and more demanding and started giving threats of losing her job on the show if she didn't lose the weight. They ultimately resorted to placing a scale in the filming studio, of which every morning before they started filming, the producers would circle around the scale and Lisa would have to step on the scale for them to record how much she'd lost or gained.
Of course all of this resulted in her eating more and gaining even more weight. The "Facts of Life" soon went off the air and she attended college, met her husband and they soon married, had three children one right after the other and she was determined to have the perfect household, marriage, family, and to be the perfect mother by homeschooling, making all their clothes, and so forth.
She wrote multiple books in a couple of years and did everything sh could to strive for that perfect household. She explained too that she had taken up scrap booking and took lots and lots of pictures to document and have memories of the things she did for her family and so forth. She didn't realize how much she was spending on doing the scrapbooking until the one winter that she was at a scrapping crop session that was pretty close to her home, when her daughter called in a panic that she needed to come home, her husband had fallen off the ladder while taking the christmas lights down. The ambulance was there and tending to him.
Lisa said she rushed home and ran up to the EMT to find out what was happening and the EMT got up and said re-reassuringly that he was going to be OK, while he had some injuries, he had no brain injuries or spinal injuries. Lisa then comically said that was enough for her to take off for the house to run for the camera. She then runs back outside and is snapping pictures of the lights dangling from the roof, the ambulance, the EMT cutting the pants leg off of her husband, of which the EMT looked up at her and simply asked: "Scrapbooker?" And with that, her daughter cried out "Mom! what are you doing???" This is when she realized that she had a problem with the relationships with her family, that she should have been supporting her husband and her distraught daughter, or even kneeling with her husband and praying to God.
Then a few months after this event and revelation, she mentioned that she had a gathering with several college girlfriends where they had rented a cabin and was goign to go and spend the weekend talking and catching up on life since college. She realized that while she could talk about life and her kids, that she was unable to really connect and relate to her friends, her family, and most of all her kids. She knew that she needed help because she had many walls up that had protected her throughout her youth from the troubling times that she'd been through, but now that she was through these times she didn't' know how to take these walls down to be the nurturing parent that she wanted to be. Once receiving help, she was able to free herself of these walls and bonds that shielded her from showing or being hurt by things and keeping her emotions locked inside.
This testimony really hit the nail on the head for me as I feel like I keep myself busy to keep from playing with the kids. I have a really difficult time connecting with people in general and especially with the kids in play, as I really don't feel I know how to play with them at this point. I have kept myself busy with activities- all for good things and with good intentions, but it has allowed me to avoid having to deal with the inner demons that I think I am needing to face.
With this painful realization, I have begun to pare back the things in my life that are taking up my time, to dedicate more spending time with God and to my family and to be at their different functions they are involved in. As I know the kids will only be little once and they need me most now and not when grown and gone. I have stepped down as the VP of the Indiana Deaf Blind Association- which I think this was probably the most painful part for me, having put soooo much time and effort into it for the past five years. I will be seeking some counseling services to work through things and see where I need to go from here.
As I've told a couple of people- It is time to advocate for *ME* for a change.... but I admit, it doesn't mean it's easy and it hasn't been without tears or frustration at it all.
We'll see what the good Lord has in store for us in the upcoming days :)