1. If you do not have weights available for your workout videos, use soup cans.
2. Reading is a precious, wonderful time. Read, read, read.
3. Remember people's birthdays, anniversaries, send notes when there is a death in the family. Be kind.
4. Ask people questions. People like to talk about themselves so ask, ask, ask.
5. You are only as pretty as your motives.
6. Going to plays, ballets and concerts will change you a little each time.
7. You do not have to like everyone but you do have to be polite.
8. The house CAN be cleaned in an hour if unexpected company announces they will arrive soon. YOU JUST HAVE TO DO IT FAST AND FURIOUS - no Cinderella singing or Snow White dancing during this time.
9. Be sensitive to people and set your boundaries too. It's okay to know when to step back from friendships that aren't healthy and in our divorced society-- it's very wise to choose your actions and words carefully lest you hurt a new family member (step-parents, etc) or tear at an old one.
10. A good classic movie is a friend... pull it out during holidays and sick days (and our classic movies were usually Gone with the Wind, The Man from Snowy River or The Sound of Music) .
And while all of my mama's little life lessons were important and are cherished now that I am an adult-- the good movie one is an easy one to turn to during bleak winter days, especially since The Sound of Music is going to be on TV tonight. I am nerdy excited about this little rendition NBC is putting on.... if you need me, I won't be available for a few hours tonight. Sorry.... Carrie Underwood and I have a date.
When the Sound of Music play was performed by local darlings, I dragged Avery with me. We sang "Raindrops on Roses" in my car for days afterward and she even told me that she thought Maria and I would be good stepmom friends since we were so "fun" (this is before I started nagging her all the time about brushing her teeth and wearing her seat belt... she may have changed her mind).
Since I have become a step parent, Maria has become more like a beacon of hope to me. She is braving the Nazi's for crying out loud but she is also doing something I wish I could do more of.... she is "rolling" with things and she is SINGING about life a lot but she's also not afraid to stand up and say what she needs to say.
I wish I could sit down with Maria for a cup of tea in the Swiss Alps somewhere and talk about how she is REALLY doing with all those kids. I would like to know how she dealt with the memory of the children's mother who passed away and if she shirks away from pictures of the happy family before she arrived.
Probably not.... I mean Maria was a nun for awhile. She probably isn't that silly right? She couldn't possibly struggle with the second wife things I struggle with could she? Did she resist the idea of having a baby because husband had already been there and done that? Did she feel like a puzzle piece from the wrong puzzle at family gatherings when people would bring up mom or pull out baby pictures? Did she feel like she didn't have a clue what to do in these situations?
It's hard to say. Because all we get is the movie... the singing. The encouragement to "climb every mountain." I guess I'll never know. But I have my mama's wisdom to fall back on and the knowledge that I am beloved by my husband no matter what fears, vulnerabilities or insensitive actions by others may befall us.
Anyway-- all I really wanted to express is my love for my mother and her love for the Sound of Music and you can take this as a little public service announcement from the step-mom community during the holidays.... be careful with us... we're fragile even if we don't let on all the time. We are building a new version of a family and it's hard when holiday traditions have been passed down from a time when we weren't around. Not only are we loving on a family that was pre-created but we're also working on our sweet marriages.
We want our littles to have good memories of their families before we came along but you have to remember that those memories are hurtful to us even if we don't say anything. We're the new kid. We're kind of shiny and clueless and scared out of our minds sometimes. We don't know our place yet. All we know is that we are in love with the world's best man and we love his kids. And our heart hurts for the family that once was-- for them and for us too a little.
So anyway, if you're watching the romance of the Sound of Music unfold tonight... send a little wish out into the world for the stepmamas in your life. We're all fine, you know... but we need a little extra love and light during this season... as do you and yours.
Loves to you.