A few days ago, my good friend Marty posted a link to an article about 15 things you should give up to be happy. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it is a great list and all the items listed and reasons for letting them go make complete sense. I was very happy to realize that I've already given up most of the things listed and am already working on letting go of the others. Just reading through the items reminded me of just how lucky I am and how happy my life is on a day-to-day basis.
As a result of reading that article, I've been consciously paying attention to my thoughts and actions, trying to make sure they're as positive as I can make them. I've been feeling blissfully happy that I've got my "ginormous family" around me and that we're all happy and healthy (not counting the allergy issues we're all dealing with right now.)
One of the many things I love about being a mom to my kids is that they've always told me how they never want to leave home. Derrick has been plotting for years to buy one of the houses on our street so that *if* he ever decides to move out, he won't have far to go; Sissy's been on board with that plan from day one. Amanda's planning on joining the Marines, so she will be moving out at some point, but we have plenty of time to prepare for that eventuality. Chris hasn't decided what he wants to do besides be a skater and rap star, and the hobbits, being 5 and 6 at the moment, really don't have any future plans.
Then today, completely out of the blue, Sissy informed me that she has been thinking about and discussing moving away from Knoxville to get away from all the bad memories. (Those memories have nothing to do with her time here with us, but rather her life before she became a part of our family.) I have to be honest, I felt like I'd been sucker punched when I found that out. Not because she wants to be somewhere and be happy, but because we had just had a conversation less than a day before about how there was no way she could move out of state and away from her family and her home. So, to hear that she'd been thinking about moving away and even had a few places in mind, really hurt.
One of the things I pride myself on is not controlling my children, but allowing them to make their own decisions and mistakes. If they want advice, I will happily give it. Don't get me wrong, I won't allow them to do anything illegal or immoral, but if they make a decision that will teach them a life lesson and won't cause harm to themselves or others, they are allowed to live and learn. Being happy about my children wanting to stay close to home is not about controlling them, but rather it's about knowing that we have developed such a loving bond that we are all happy being near each other. Being able to watch them continue to grow and start families of their own one day (say, 10 years down the road) is an added bonus.
When I started to recover from the shock, we talked more and she told me her decision comes from a place of fear, rather than a real desire to move away. There is a particular person here in Knoxville that has caused her great pain and suffering in the past and who can't seem to get it through their head that they are not welcome in her life anymore. For a long time, she has been able to put that experience behind her and move on and be happy, but the thought of that person finding her and trying to be a part of her life again has recently resurfaced and has made her uneasy in her own home. That's why she was thinking about moving away; to try and get away from that person and those feelings, not because she truly wants to get away from her home.
Now that we've established the reasons behind her thinking, we can work on making her feel safe again and giving her the tools she needs to be the guardian of her own safety and happiness. We can work on teaching her to let go of her fears and be the amazing person she truly is.
This has also taught me that while I thought I had no problem accepting change, when it comes to my kids leaving home for distant, or not-so-distant lands, I have a real issue with letting go. That's something I'll have to work on because I know it will happen and when it does, I want to be the mom who loves them enough to let them go and prays every day that they will one day make their way back home.
If you'd like to read the article I mentioned above, click here: 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy.