Dear Moms …

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Dear Moms …

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We are about to celebrate yet another Mother’s Day. For some of us our children will be here to celebrate with us. And for some of us our children will not be. Our adult children make that decision. Each year my adult son takes me out to lunch and a movie to celebrate Mother’s Day. It has become our tradition. Half the fun for me is witnessing his excitement in planning it and making it happen.

My husband always treats me special on Mother’s Day. I think the thought that he could have been left alone to raise newborn infant twins when his first wife unexpectedly died was terrifying for him. He has always appreciated me for stepping up and assuming the mother role and raising his twin children with him. Today we can’t imagine our lives any other way.

My oldest and I were extremely close when she was coming up; so many people thought we had the “ideal” mother – daughter relationship. I have the most vivid memories of her as a toddler and later as a young teenager. She was strikingly beautiful and just as intelligent. Often I sat in amazement at her spunk and spirit. My memories are mine and no one can take them away from me.

For some families the kids will come home to see mom and celebrate together with family. Some will travel to the cemetery and lay flowers in remembrance.

Today there are statistics that show that 1 in every 5 families has an estranged family member, many are the adult children who have mothers that will grieve their loss and the void left behind on Mother’s Day. Through the years and because of my writings I have heard from thousands and thousands of mom’s who suffer a broken heart because “John” or “Jane” decided that mom was just not worthy of any relationship. It is hard not to be angry when I hear such hurtful stories. It seems that many adult children have no love and no respect for the very person that gave them life.

But for all of us mom’s we can share in the knowledge that we were brave and filled with faith and trust in just becoming a mother. There is no greater task in life than the awesome responsibility of bringing another life into the world and then the depth of commitment that it takes to raise one until adulthood. My heart was never so filled with pure joy and genuine love as the day that I first became a mother.

Often we beat ourselves up or second guess ourselves when the truth is that for most all of us we did the best we could with what we had and what we knew at that time. Know that you did the best that you could have with what you had and what you knew at that time. Our parents were not perfect and neither are we nor are our adult children. Flowers, cards and gifts are often a big part of the Mother’s Day celebration.

If you are on the receiving end of acknowledgement this Mother’s Day know that giving is for the giver and although we may be the receiver, relish in knowing that your child thought of you and did so in a way that lets you know that he/she is capable of love and of giving.

If you are feeling the pain and the loss of an adult child who does not acknowledge you or appreciate you, just know that you are not alone. Allow yourself a few minutes alone to grieve it, let it out. Cry it out, shout it out, write it out, whatever it takes just release the grief so that you are freer and can cleanse some of the loss and heartache away. Know that it is normal to feel the grief and that you will always have a soft spot for your child no matter what they have said and done. Say a prayer for them and for yourself.

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Then do your best to pick yourself up and treat yourself with kindness and care. Whether you are acknowledged or not you deserve to be appreciated. Appreciate yourself! Take a walk or a long hot bubble bath. Buy your own flowers or candy. Go to lunch or dinner with a friend. Buy a new book and get lost in a story, treat yourself to a movie. Buy a new dress or new shoes. Take a day trip. Go to an event. Do something outwardly that shows that you are important and that you have value. You do have value, believe it!

We give others too much power over us; we allow their judgement to take center stage. The only person who truly knows you and your heart is you. Try not to get caught up in the negativity that your child has placed upon you. Estrangement is not an act of love or of kindness nor does it come from a caring person. We are not our children. We are not responsible for any of their adult decisions.

We gave them life. We gave them the ultimate gift. Celebrate! You deserve to be happy and you deserve to have peace and love. There are always people that can and will love you. Love yourself. Treat yourself well.

Always remember that you gave your child the greatest gift ever when you gave them life and you raised them, you deserve to be celebrated. If not celebrated by them then with others who can appreciate you and celebrate from within yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day with much love and peace,

Bernadette

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

 

After The Hope is Gone So Often Goes The Love

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After The Hope is Gone So Often Goes The Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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One of my colleagues Renate Dundys-Marrello wrote a piece about losing hope after estrangement takes place. How it happens that by clinging onto hope we only continue to hurt ourselves. Her article chronicled the stage when we finally come to acceptance and are ready to stop hoping. For days I thought about the journey that she has walked and the one that we have shared and shared with far too many mothers and fathers.

Think about a break up? The relationship has ended and you just can’t and won’t accept it. You keep hoping for another outcome yet day after day, month after month and year after year it never happens.

Eventually you have to let go and even when it is your child, your own flesh and blood you have to accept it, that it is over and that no amount of hoping will change the outcome. And when you do and not long after you finally give up hope you will lose your ability to love that person the same way again. The heart that you once had for them has changed, maybe one day you can grow a new heart but after the hope leaves and we accept the loss our hearts are forever changed.

It happens in just about every relationship that has ended so why would we think that it wouldn’t happen to us after so much time without any relationship with our own adult child?

Sadly we will lose that loving feeling. We have learned how to live without them and they in turn have learned how to live their lives without including us. Life goes on… it’s a different life. It is a life as a parent that we never envisioned but it now belongs to us, like it or not.

I think the longer estrangement takes root the less likely for any true and meaningful relationship. It would take a miracle, an awful lot of effort, hard work and a true desire for reconciliation and determination to face all facets of it; the good, the bad and the ugly.

Love can be so fragile; it can easily be destroyed and worn away. That is why when we find love we need to cherish it and protect it. We also need to understand that we are only one side of any relationship and if the other side declares that the relationship and that we are unworthy we need to accept it. Hard as that may be at times; the letting go and letting go in love is the ultimate act of grace.

What are we longing for? I don’t believe that any parent that has raised and invested in their children is ever going to easily accept estrangement. For those of us who were present and actually did the work it just feels so wrong. Yet for many of us estrangement forces us to live in a way that we never believed could and would happen.

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Like the quote above, we don’t miss what we have already had and shared what we do miss is the future and the possibilities that will never be realized. There is nothing harder than surviving a broken heart and there is no greater loss than to have lost a child.

Tin Man by Miranda Lambert
Lyrics by songwriters Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram, Jon Randall

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
You shouldn’t spend your whole life wishin
For something bound to fall apart
Every time you’re feeling empty
Better thank your lucky stars
If you ever felt one breaking
You’d never want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
You don’t know how lucky you are
I’ve been on the road that you’re on
It didn’t get me very far
You ain’t missing nothing
‘Cause love is so damn hard
Take it from me darling
You don’t want a heart

Hey there Mr. Tin Man
I’m glad we talked this out
You can take mine if you want it
It’s in pieces now
By the way there Mr. Tin Man
If you don’t mind the scars
You give me your armor
And you can have my heart

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For by Renate Dundys-Marello

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Post Estrangement: Changing What You Hope For
by Renate Dundys-Marello

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(Every once in a while an author speaks to me in a way that I felt I could have written these words myself. This piece by Renate had that impact on me and with her permission I am reposting here on my site. Thanks Renate for sharing! – Bernadette A. Moyer)

In Renate’s words …

During the early days of estrangement you hope and dream that it had never happened. This is the denial stage when you still have the misguided notion that it is all a bad dream and you will just wake up one day and it will be back to family life as usual. That whatever they were upset about will be dealt with and you just go back to being a normal family; a family that goes through difficult times but manages to stick together and work things out. Blood is thicker than water and all those kinds of messages run through your mind as you struggle with the hardship of being shunned.

Then you get to the stage where the estrangement has been going on for long enough that you accept that it is real. Your child really has done this thing called estrangement. They have also cut ties with those members of the family that do not agree with them. You realize that this is a power struggle and they want above all else to be “right”. They drop anyone who suggests that compromise might be in order.

During this stage you start to ask all the harrowing “why” questions, that unfortunately resolve nothing. But you cling to hope. It is a desperate kind of hope.

Your hopes change to wishing for your estranging adult child to recognize the damage they are causing to the family and that they will somehow come to their senses and do what is necessary for the family to reconcile. You have these hopes that it is a “personal growth phase” they are going through and when they “grow up” they will realize how silly their behavior is. You hope that this Mother’s Day or this Christmas or this Birthday everything will be resolved. You send letters and then hope they will reply or hope they will open the door to communication.

During this stage you place all your hopes on the adult child that has estranged. You hope their hearts will soften, you hope they will care enough to make amends. You hope they will change.

And as you hope for change; and have your hopes demolished day in and day out by the continuing silence you come to realize that this hope is slowly destroying you. This hope causes you pain every morning and every evening when your hopes are once again unfulfilled. This hope keeps you stuck in wistful thinking and magical make believing. This hope takes power out of your hands and places that power into the hands of the very person(s) causing you to suffer.

This stage, I fear, was the longest and also the hardest part of the grieving journey for me. It kept me stuck in the past. It kept me repeating useless questions like:
• What made her turn out to be the kind of person who can do this?
• Why doesn’t she see that this is not the way to communicate and work things out?
• Why won’t she respond to my letters and my apologies?
• What did I do that was so horrible that deserves this kind of punishment?

Until finally I woke up one day and realized I was losing myself in useless hope. I was giving up my own power by placing all the hope for healing into the hands of the very person who caused the wound in the first place.

That was when I realized I had to change the direction of my hopefulness.

Instead of placing my hope outside myself and giving power to the estranger, I had to place hopefulness on my own shoulders and upon the actions I could take to regain peace in my life.

To live means to hope, but the hope needs to be about what I need and what I want to have a better life. That meant I had to become hopeful that I could and would survive this traumatic event. I had to build and then believe in the hope that regardless what my estranging daughter did or did not do I could create a meaningful life.

• I started to hope that I could heal
• I started to hope that I could create a different life than I expected but a good one none the less
• I started to hope that I could find joy and happiness again
• I started to hope that I could live an exciting and enthusiastic life even though…..
• I started to hope for new and rewarding friendships
• I started to hope that a future without what I had expected can still be good.

And as I started to place my hopes in what I could do for myself, I was able to start the long journey toward healing, toward reclaiming the right of every human, a full and rewarding life here and now in the present.

Hope placed in my abilities to change and transform was essential for me to recognize that just because the life that I dreamed of did not turn out, I still had dreams to pursue and challenges to be met and living to do.

And best of all, I started to realize that I deserved this!

Because I am worth it!

Renate Dundys Marrello
2014 – 04 – 19

Google Renate and read many more of her blogs and writings! or http://lifeisajourneyreflections.blogspot.ca/

Photo credits – as marked or unknown

New Zealand

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New Zealand
By Bernadette A. Moyer

New Zealand, 2006

We never know. We never know when we write who our words will touch. As a writer who writes about life and takes the advice of many famous writers when they state “write about what you know” and I do. Recently I read another bloggers article that touched me deeply; I felt that I could have written every single word myself. Not only did I feel this way but my son and another friend thought it was me too. Thanks Renata! Well said! We are connected because we share a life experience, we are connected because we are mothers, we are connected because we have adult children that have estranged.

A few weeks ago I received a message from a reader who lives in New Zealand and this is what she shared with me; “You’ve become like a spokesperson, an advocate, a voice for us – all over the planet. Just knowing that someone else a mother, a friend, has experienced similar and can articulate those feelings so well … I’ve appreciated very much your openness and honesty …”

We chatted more about the weather and the time difference from where I reside in the United States and where she lives in New Zealand. Our exchange left an impression how nice to be “appreciated” and so great to feel the human connection from so far away.

Given the choice I would never have estrangement in my life but sadly it is a big part of my life story and I am thankful that any good can come from it. We never know when we open up and share just where our connections will take us!

Thanks New Zealand for reading me and for writing to me … you matter to me …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Going Home

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Going Home
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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At first this blog was set to be called “Does your narrative match up to your life?” Then after more thought it seemed this might be a better title simply put going home.

In my opinion and experience there are four big reasons that adult children do not return home after an estrangement and they are;

1) The narrative that they have run with is “I am good and they are bad” good kids don’t leave a good home and a good family so “mom and dad” must be bad. Because it can’t be me.

2) The stories that they told to secure a new support system do not align with the possibilities of going home. For survival they need people that will support them. They become the “anti” family group of people.

3) Failure – they are not succeeding and the last thing they want is for mom and dad to be right and that they were wrong.

4) Not worth fixing – It is just too hard after so much time and so much hurt, it hurts to go home and it hurts to stay away so let’s just leave it as it is because staying away, this is a hurt that I can control.

The narrative – Mom and dad can’t possibly be good people if you decided to cut them out of your life. Right, we don’t abandon good people we leave the “bad” ones. Truth is sometimes we leave because it is time to grow up. Sometimes we leave because we want our independence and sometimes we leave because the rules our parents have set are rules that we don’t want to adhere to.

(Some kids do grow up and they leave because “home” truly is an abusive place and/or a place where they don’t feel good about themselves or feel loved.)

The stories – I have heard many stories that adult children tell to justify the estrangement. Some seem normal and easy to believe and some seem like a convenient narrative to justify their own actions and behavior. But once a negative narrative is declared that becomes the story.

Failure – A grown adult that estranges and is failing is a lot less likely to rejoin the family than the one that is happy and successful. Successful and happy kids typically want to share their success and happiness. Kids that know their parents won’t approve of their choices in life or kids who are ashamed by the things they did will often continue in shame and continue to hide and remain estranged.

Not worth fixing – The damage has been done and it may be too hard to fix it. If you blow up your parents, called them horrible people and even worse, how do you then come back to them? It takes a lot of growing up and a lot of maturity and being honest to face parents after lodging hatred and anger and insults at them.

Parents need to remember “Don’t take it personally, it isn’t about you, nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.” Don Miguel Ruiz – The Four Agreements book.

The road back home, there is always a road back home if you want it and are willing to work at it. Parents aren’t perfect people and neither are their children. To come back means that forgiveness has to be a big part of the equation and so does love and acceptance. Parents also need to take heart and remember you did the best with what you had and what you knew at that time. Forgive yourself.

Relationships that work are built on trust and mutual respect. If a relationship isn’t working on one side it isn’t working on the other side either. Both parties contribute to the success just as both parties contribute to the failure. Sometimes we grow together with people and sometimes we grow apart.

If a relationship has been strained and been difficult we may have to lower expectations. There are also relationships that are best left to die their own natural death. Below one of my favorite quotes from Bishop T.D. Jakes.

“There are people who can walk away from you … let them walk. I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you … Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left. And I don’t mean that they are a bad person, it just means that their part in your story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over …”

After an estrangement going home will be different, it is not going to be the same and that should be expected. Time changes people and it changes things. We grow and we learn and hopefully we want to do what is necessary to create and maintain healthy relationships and if not, then being away from home is probably a better choice.

The House That Built Me by Miranda Lambert

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
The brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here it’s like I’m someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself

songwriters Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin

Time and life experiences and maturity have a way of ferreting out the truth and what relationships should last and stand the test of time … Breathe and let being home and going home unfold naturally and in its own way and own timetable.

If it is meant to be, it will be …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Reunited After a 7 Year Estrangement

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Reunited After a 7 Year Estrangement
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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I thought it would be much more awkward but it wasn’t. I thought maybe she wouldn’t show up, she says she thought maybe I wouldn’t show. I thought we would struggle to keep the conversation going, we didn’t. I can’t say we picked up where we left off because she was different and so was I.

There was a long heartfelt hug as we met one another after a long seven year estrangement. I never thought she would have done it, leave home and not look back. I still don’t believe she would have done it if not for her half-sister my daughter who was already estranged for over ten years when daughter #2 chose the same path. They teamed up together which often happens with estranged adult children, they try and take others with them. And at 18 years of age and with some normal teen/parents growing up clashes she was easy to sway and an easy target.

This child had a father and a twin brother too that she left at home, a father who was angry and crushed by her actions and behaviors. It didn’t seem that she could ever come back from the things that she said and the things that she did. But that was seven years ago.

Then one day she e-mailed, a long lengthy e-mail stating, “I was young and stupid, I’m not 18 anymore, I am soon to be 25 and newly married and I don’t want to carry this around anymore. I am in therapy and I have grown up, I am working on myself and on my life.”

It was hard to hear some of her stories, her half-sister just got up and left her one day. She moved clear across the country and more than a thousand miles away. They are no longer in communication. She said she was in an abusive relationship that lasted for five years before it ended. She worked two jobs, and at times slept on friend’s floors. She had an accident and had rolled a car and injured her head. She talked and she talked and before I could respond she said, “I know that I brought much of it on myself.”

But there was much success and accomplishments too. She went to school and she became a Certified Nurses Aid. She maintained her independence and learned how to multi-task and hold down the responsibilities of a full time job. She survived.

She said that she goes to church and reads the bible she said some things made her think and she shakes her head at all the untruths she told as a teenager. In her words she was a “defiant daughter.” She seemed happy but different. She talked with a slight lisp that I don’t remember her having. I took it all in. At times I held her hand. She made me cry. They weren’t sad tears but tears of relief. I was just so happy to see her. I was genuinely happy that she was doing well and okay.

After two hours at our local coffee shop I was surprised that she didn’t want to leave me yet and I said, “Why don’t you come home with me and see your father?” I text messaged him that I was on my way and bringing her home with me. He can be more intimidating than I am and I told her not to worry I would help ease any awkwardness but it turned out that it wasn’t necessary. By the time I arrived home she was already there and out of her car and they were chatting. He said the first thing she said to him was, “I was young and I was dumb and I am sorry” he hugged her.

She came inside the house, this was her childhood home where she lived for 18 years and 10 months, and she recited the exact date that she left home. She said she always remembered it and it was October 2, 2010. Today we have a new date, a date of reconciliation, February 25, 2017.

Her dad asked her if she wanted to see her old bedroom. She did. I could see and feel her checking out the house. We chatted before sitting down at the kitchen table to chat even more and take some pictures. I was amused in a good way by her. She was definitely grown up and matured, she was also confident and really chatty and at ease within herself and with us. There was no game. It was all real.

In the past and for many years, almost two decades now, I have shared my stories and written much about estrangement. I wrote articles for parents of estranged adult children and for the adult estranged children. I have been interviewed on this subject and I have talked with thousands of estranged mothers and fathers across the country and beyond. For many years I have belonged and participated in several estranged support groups for parents of estranged adult children. I have seen and I have heard it all. As much as I have written on this subject I have read so much more.

The stories may be different and some are amazingly the same the emotional journey is often quite similar, it starts with shock, hurt, anger, shame, denial and sadness. There is a whole lot of hurt and anger and sadness that comes when an adult child decides to estrange themselves. Then comes the hardest part that seems to arrive after anger, and that is the acceptance. There is a new normal in learning how to live without your child. It feels wrong it feels awkward, it just doesn’t feel right.

A large majority of adult children never return home to mom and dad, they just don’t. I give our daughter a lot of credit, it took courage it took guts and it took maturity to face us again. She has grown up and she has proven to be a survivor. It had to be when she was ready; it had to be on her terms.

Today I feel like I received a huge gift from her and from God and so did her dad, I hope that she feels that way too. Her dad was hurt and he was angry but there wasn’t a single day that he didn’t pray for her.

She says that she is sorry but also acknowledges that she wouldn’t be where she is today, the person that she has become if not for the road that she chose. Today she is newly married and in love with her new husband and a home owner with a job and a dog called Bailey. She is happy. Sweet, what more could any parent want for their adult child?

“Reconciliation means doing away with anger, bitterness and resentment.” Healing.com

So the takeaway is never stop praying and always be open and receptive and if and when the chance comes for a reunion and a reconciliation just have those arm open and be ready to listen and to embrace and love your child. Just love that child!

And in the meantime don’t stop living and loving and learning because life with or without your child is a gift and it is a gift that should never be squandered and always be appreciated.

Here is to the future … however much or however little let it be grounded in love and in acceptance. We pray. Amen.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Bye

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Bye
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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It was the middle of summer 2016 and our adult son was acting out, it was one episode after another and one lengthy hospital stay after another. No matter what we did or what we said our son was determined to end up at our local hospital. He always had “issues” we all have “issues” but this summer he was full blown acting out in ways that not only weren’t helping him but they were in fact hurting him.

I raised him from the time he was just an infant although he was not my biological child, he was his father’s son. We were at wits end and really uncertain as what we should do next, nothing was working. We literally were on standby mode, our son was in charge, it was his life and as an adult he was making all his own decisions.

We felt completely helpless as we witnessed him doing things that were not going to help him and definitely were hurting us too. During the midst of the crisis my husband woke up one morning and said, “I had a bad dream last night. I dreamt there was a note left on the kitchen table. It was from you and it said “bye” just one word “bye!” We both laughed really hard.

They say behind every joke there is a hint of truth. I knew right away what he was saying. No one needed to be put through some of the stuff our adult kids put us through. Some marriages don’t survive it. After everything we had been through together with our kids he knew that someone else might have said that is it, I’ve had it, “Bye!”

Until you are a parent yourself and until or unless you have raised children to maturity you have no way of truly knowing just how much work and effort and love and determination go into raising kids. There is just no way to know until you do the job yourself.

“A simple bye can make us cry, a simple joke can make us laugh and a simple care can make us fall in love.” Author Unknown

What would “bye” have done for him or for me or for our family? Yes I wanted out of this situation with our son but I didn’t want to leave my husband or my marriage over it.

Some relationship need a healthy “bye” when it is over and time to move on. Today after everything we have shared in our marriage we can laugh and say “bye” but what we really mean is we don’t want that issue or that thing to be creating any harm or hurt or upsets between us.

And now that some time has passed and we all survived the drama and recent episodes our son created and survived it together, our marriage is stronger and better and healthier and we hope and pray that adult son takes the good and the lessons and leaves the rest behind with a big healthy “bye” of his own.

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Parental Love

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Parental Love
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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There is no greater opportunity for love like the love a parent has for their child.

“Parental love is a limited reflection of a limited love. In the experience of parental love I was wounded as were you, and every other human being. Most parents are the best and the greatest, but in the human experience, parents are also very broken people.” Henri J.M. Nouwen

I am always intrigued by how parents speak about their children and equally intrigued about how children speak about their parents. Parents aren’t perfect and neither are their offspring.

The kids that profess to come from the “perfect family” alarm me as much as the ones who declare they are a product of the “worst family” I suspect neither to be 100% true.

In a recent news story three tiger cubs band together as their mother’s maternal instincts fail. It was a first time mother in a zoo and the staff there is tasked with nurturing the baby cubs. The vet says that they won’t re-introduce the mother because she won’t recognize them. There was no bonding that took place. Most mothers could never imagine this and yet it happens, it also happens that offspring reject their parents.

Most parents would literally kill for their children, hurt the child and suffer the parental consequences.

John has a grown daughter that he once loved dearly and would have killed for, today they are estranged. His feelings have changed. Now he states, “she is not a good person, I don’t like her and how she acts” it is hard to imagine how he could feel one way and then the exact opposite way.

He says, “I have feelings too” in reference to the things that she has said about him and done to him.

We all witness the Trump family and the adult children that seem to have such a close and loving relationship with their father. Whether you like him or not, he maintains close, loving and supportive relations with all his kids.

When my own daughter became a teenager and started acting out like so many teenagers do, it was the first time that I saw her through different lenses. In her behaviors I witnessed her father who was deceased before her third birthday and although not around she had many of his traits and characteristics.

Parents are people with the same wide range of feelings as all others and kids can make their parents proud as easily as they can disappoint them. Parents find joy in their children and they also suffer sadness and grief because of them too. It is no different than any other relationship.

Maybe we expect too much from our kids and therefore can be disappointed. I think the best place to be is where I am today. My children are all adults aged 25 to 36 and I no longer view them as a reflection of myself or my parenting but rather as their own unique individuals.

There is such freedom in having adult children that you are no longer responsible for and you can do as much as you want with them and for them or as little as you choose.

Today I view parenting as though the gift is and was in the giving and like any gift if it was well received all the better but my part was solely as the parent that gave the gift of parenting.

Parenting is an awesome responsibility and it is not an exact science. Most all of us go into it wanting and doing our very best. Where the outcomes may be different the tasks, responsibilities, love, commitment and efforts involved in parenting are all so similar.

“There is nothing wrong with the pleasure that comes from a big meal, a sexy night, or victory on the playing field — but it is fleeting. Raising kids, working through marriage troubles, and volunteering at a soup kitchen may be less pleasurable, but these pursuits provide fulfillment – a sense that you’re the best person you can be.”

From LOVE THAT BOY by Ron Fournier

Happy parenting and happy being the best that you can be …

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
Books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Raising Someone Else’s Children

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Raising Someone Else’s Children
By Bernadette A. Moyer

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“Did you ever think of adoption?” I asked

“I’m not going to raise a kid for 18 years and then have them at age 18 turn around and say, YOU ARE NOT MY MOTHER!” she said.

This was a conversation I had with a female friend who was having difficulty conceiving a child. It hit home in a big way. I had already raised twins that were not my biological children and almost as soon as the daughter became legal age she declared “you are not my mother!” This was the same daughter that years earlier and when her friends asked, “Is that your step-mom?” Her response then was “no that is my mom, the only mom I have ever known.” Her birth mother died not long after she was born and I started mothering them at just 87 days old.

Raising kids is a challenge. It is a tremendous commitment and a whole lot of work. And when they are babies and really little it is so much easier than any teenage daughter ever would be. I raised the twins with their natural father. We became involved the same year that his wife died. I too had been widowed. We had an instant connection. It has lasted and is coming up on 25 years now.

Early on friends said to me, “that really is asking a lot of you from him, to raise his kids.” I shrugged it off. The same way I shrugged off the child care director who on her own stated, “He fell into a rose garden when he met you.” I shrugged that comment off as well. I loved him and I loved his children. We took two heartbroken families and tried to mend them together to form one traditional family.

It was never easy. In the beginning it would be my then 11 year old daughter that would declare with conviction “I think I want it even more than you!” She was onboard and at that time it meant the world to me. My husband and the twin’s father did everything he could to make sure that we were one united family. I think he was more hurt and upset to have his daughter become so unappreciative and so unloving and unkind in her very hurtful declarations. I knew it wasn’t me. I had already done the work. I had already raised her. Her narrative needed to go along with the choices she was making in her life.

Another friend was raised by devoted parents a loving mother and father, his birth mother gave him up at age 16 and never looked back. In his early thirties he started having problems with alcohol, he was addicted and just before seeking treatment he went on a quest to find his “real mother.” Those were his words. All his life he wondered about her. Did she ever think of him? Wonder how he was doing?

He finally tracked her down and with much anticipation he met her. The meeting went well. They agreed to continue with a relationship. He tried, his mother never tried to see him again. Now he lives with what he calls “twice rejected” it happens. Not all efforts to reconnect last and grow. Some never take root.

My son gets upset when his twin sister calls me “Bernadette” it doesn’t bother me, that’s my name and I know that we don’t get to rewrite history, well maybe in our own minds. I didn’t mother and parent someone else’s children for any awards or special acknowledgements; I did it because I could. They were children in need of a mother; I was in a position to be their mother. I loved their father and by extension I loved his children too.

I remember a little girl who adored me. I have the pictures and her journal entries to prove it. I have my memories of taking her to all her pediatrician appointments and being there for all the first and last days of school. I sat in the counselor’s office when it was time to decide what kind of course for her education. Years later I sat in the different guidance counselor’s office fighting for her and why she shouldn’t have to take the same algebra class for the fourth time! We won that argument too!

We had our nails done together and I helped her pick her dress for prom and gave my advice on dating etc. For years we watched back-to-back episodes of the Gilmore Girls from my bed. We told the boys, her brother and my husband that it was “our time” and we enjoyed every moment and every single episode.

Years ago I wrote an article titled “Perfect Parents” it is about parents that died and went to heaven and ultimately became “perfect parents” because we don’t speak ill of the dead. I suspect that is how she looks at her “real” mother now.

Raising children is a huge challenge! Some days are great and far exceed any expectations and other days you know what wearing your heart outside your body feels like, in the end I wouldn’t change anything. Everything is an experience and a learning opportunity. You learn that you really can love someone else’s child as though they were your very own child.

At the end of my life I can say, I raised twins! I raised someone else’s children! And regardless of the outcome, I am so proud of the many efforts that both my husband and I afforded them. In our care and with our love and guidance they did well. They went from pre-mature twins with a variety of health issues to functioning young adults. Our work is done. They are soon to be 25 years old and we know that we gave it all we had to give and did our very best. What more could you expect from any parent?

Here it to all parents out there, the ones who actually do the work whether it is for a biological child or someone else’s child … it is noble and truly an act of love and often an adventure!

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer
All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Home

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Home
By Bernadette A. Moyer

home

“There is no place like home.” From The 1939 Wizard of Oz is probably one of the most famous movie quotes. But did Dorothy always appreciate her “home” or did it take the loss of her “home” for her to truly appreciate it and all that came along with her home including all the special people, her family.

“The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back.” Wendy Wunder

This past holiday season was so special and so calm and so peaceful and the truth is unlike many previous Christmas holiday seasons because we purposefully chose to do very little. For the first time in over 10 years we did not travel but rather we stayed home and enjoyed that entire experience of just being at home. It was also the first Christmas in our 25 years together that my husband and I did not have any of our children with us at home. They are all adults now and out in the world doing what they want to do. Living their adult lives the way that they have chosen to live them.

We didn’t know what to expect living with just ourselves, two adults and our two precious pooches. We decided not to go anywhere but rather to enjoy our “home” we bought very few gifts and made our own food and drink. It was a pretty paired down holiday from so many that we experienced before and yet it was truly special. We appreciate everything so much more as we age. Our next big birthday will arrive in just a few short years when we both turn 60. We’ve never known “home” with just us.

During the holidays several celebrities died that were younger than us and others who were really close to our age, it drives home for us that each and every holiday is a gift and that we have no way of knowing when our time here will end too. How many more Christmas holidays will we share together? And how many more will be shared here in our home?

What made this year so special? It was the combination of complete gratitude and appreciation for all that we have and the peace that we share in the “home” that we created together. There was no family drama, no pressures and just pure bliss. We cooked together, we cleaned up together, we watched movies together, we ate together, we drank together and we prayed together.

Home can be anything that we want it to be just like life; it can be a place of peace and of rest or a place of drama and upsets. Being at peace means that we didn’t need many gifts or big yahoo type celebrations, we had everything we ever needed right here at home. We were together.

And like many kids with their toys, we did have fun playing with our new electronic gifts. It was fun, it was simple, it was peaceful and above all it was Christ centered and filled with love and that special feeling we all know as “home.”

Of course our two precious pooches Happy and Chipper were right there with us and a part of our “home” experience too because with them and for us, there really is “no place like home!”

Oh and because it’s always good to change it up each holiday season, we see you again next year Nashville, Tennessee! We did miss you this year but we were just as happy to be home.”

Bernadette on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/bernadetteamoyer

All books by Bernadette A. Moyer on Amazon and Barnes & Noble