Don’t Punch a Gift Horse in the Mouth   Leave a comment

We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it. – John Lennon

Thanks to my mother, not a single cardboard box has found its way back into society. We receive gifts in boxes from stores that went out of business twenty years ago. Erma Bombeck

What greater gift than the love of a cat. ― Charles Dickens

It’s that time of year again. Time for one of those pesky anniversaries I can’t for the life of me make myself forget. This year, for a nice change, I didn’t re-experience the trauma I felt on that first day when the foundation of my life disappeared. (Yay me!)

To be honest, while I have been aware of the date, I really hadn’t been thinking about it at all. I’ve been a little too busy focusing on the good things in my life right now.

Like the trip my son and I will be taking this summer. And the recent uptick in his completed knitting projects. (I got a gorgeous hat for Mother’s Day; yes, I had to purchase the wool for it, but wow… I couldn’t even hope to match the quality of his work. He is much better than I am.) And the fact that his grades – cough… English… cough… – have improved enough that I am not going to have to maim him at the end of the school year.

And the relationship. Which is still going swimmingly.

So, given that is has now been four years, my therapist informed me I should asked if I was planning on writing about the gifts I have received from working through my divorce. I gave him a cock-eyed look, and said no.

Here’s why: I don’t view the things I have gained from my divorce as gifts.

To me, a gift is something given from the heart, something that you give knowing – or at least hoping – the recipient will want or enjoy. And while I have gotten things from my marriage ending – a better sense of self and self-image, the ability to travel places I want to go, time to focus on things I want to do – they were in no way, shape, or form given to me. They weren’t even thrust upon me like some kind of consolation prize for surviving the implosion of my world and personal life.

I fought for them. Hard. And I’m still working on some of them.

Yes, my self-image is better than it has been in years. Probably better than it has ever been. I like how I look, white-hair-with-its-trendy-blue-streak, cuddly parts that would be slightly less cuddly if I laid off the cookies, and all. (As an aside, pop culture really needs to stop telling teenage girls they need to be tall, thin, and part of a couple. And laying off the cookies? Not going to happen. Cookies are life.)

The time I spend at the gym – slightly less lately after the trip to the ER a few weeks back and the absolutely terrible weather we have been having – is for me, not because I am trying to mold myself into someone else’s ideal of how I should look. I like being stronger and relatively in shape. It feels good.

The trips? This has been one of the more difficult ones. Mainly because it honestly took me a while to realize I was now in charge of my vacations and could take my son places my ex wasn’t interested in going. Like Disneyland or the Harry Potter Park at Universal Studios, which was truly awesome. It’s actually been kind of cool. I mean, I did most of the planning when we went away as a family before, but now the plans are exciting rather than work. How far can we travel? What kind of cool, off-the-beaten-path places can I find for us to see? Can I get really cheap airfare so we don’t have to spend two days of our vacation trapped in car trying to get through New York City in the middle of the day? (DC, a fountain pen show, and yes. Score!)

The hardest one has been figuring out what I want to do. Obviously, writing is one of these things. While I wrote before, I was never able to dedicate the time to it that I can now. This was partially because the boy was younger, and as the preferred parent I was on call for him more, but it was also because my attention was focused on what I thought I needed to do for my marriage. That, and I didn’t know what to say. Or how what I needed to say would be received. It was easier not to express myself.

So, while I am doing pretty well with the first couple definitely-not-gifts, this last one is still a work in progress. But I’m having fun figuring it out.

And that’s the point of a gift, right?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go gift myself a cookie.

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Posted June 7, 2017 by wordsaremylife in random thoughts

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