Our Future: Foggy but Hopeful

One of the things that makes me so sad is thinking about my family in the future.

All the dreams and plans we had for our family of 4 were shattered and scattered on the floor the day my husband, Steve, died a year and a half ago.

Just days before, we had celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary and we toasted and asked each other what we hoped for for the next 4 years. We talked of what we wished for each other and for our beautiful young daughters. We dreamed of vacation plans and a trip that Thursday to the local zoo. I couldn’t listen to the song “Mommy’s taking us to the zoo tomorrow” for months.

Despite the ending to our story, our anniversary dinner by the lake was a beautiful moment in time and I’ll treasure it always.

Now, what makes my heart ache the most is what won’t be. The family trips, the walks to the park, the family bike rides or just movie nights all cuddled together. These will never be exactly as I had imagined. My world was turned upside down and for a long time, I couldn’t look more than 2 weeks into the future. It hurt too much and was too scary.

A friend recently brought something to my attention… now I can start to see a future for us again. I can look longer into the distance.

I’m learning that life is not the fairy tale I was lead to believe it was. That there are happy endings to chapters but then a new chapter begins. I didn’t want that chapter with Steve to end..

I also know that many people have lives that aren’t turning out the way they expected. That I’m not the only one who’s had suffering. Illness, divorce, infertility, and death can affect us all and change the way our family looks. It doesn’t matter if we are “good people” or “deserve” happiness.

I’m still saddened by the fact my girls’ Daddy won’t be there every step of the way in the little moments and the big ones.

But I’m not alone as we watch these young girls grow. I have amazing family and friends who love and support us and are thrilled to be there for those moments.

And now, through the fog I can start to dream that I may love again and this new person may walk with me and my girls as we go forward. However, if I love again, it won’t be my “happily ever after.” You need to have “happily now, in this moment, in this chapter.”

So I want to acknowledge all you moms out there who are making it work. Who are making memories with your children with the cards you’ve been dealt. Life may not be turning out exactly as you planned but we can still be hopeful through the fog while we are enjoying our kids right now.

Dr. Whitney

For more about living our lives while raising our kids, join me and other moms as we raise happy, healthy, & hearty kids without the Mommy Guilt in my private group called Guiltless Grace.

9 Choices of Extremely Happy People

IMG_1791I’ve been receiving The Eco Parent magazine which is a fabulous magazines and I highly recommend subscriptions to it. I pulled out an article about “sustainable happiness”  a few months ago and it has been sitting on my desk. I love each point and I think it’s a worthwhile list to revisit every couple of months to make sure you are on your own path to your unique happiness.

Here is how we choose to be happy: The 9 choices of extremely happy people  – by Rick Foster & Greg Hicks. Putnam, New York: 1999.

  1. Intention. The active desire and commitment to be happy, and the fully conscious decision to choose happiness over unhappiness.
  2. Accountability. The choice to create the life you want to live; to assume full personal responsibility for your actions, thoughts, and feelings, and the emphatic refusal to blame others for your unhappiness.
  3. Identification. The ongoing process of looking deeply within yourself to assess what makes you uniquely happy, apart from what you’re told by others should make you happy.
  4. Centrality. The non-negotiable insistence on making that which creates happiness central in your life.
  5. Recasting. The choice to convert problems into opportunities and challenges, and to transform trauma into something meaningful, important, and a source of emotional energy.
  6. Options. The decision to approach life by creating multiple scenarios; to be open to new possibilities and to adopt a flexible approach to life’s journey.
  7. Appreciation. The choice to appreciate deeply your life and the people in it, and to stay in the present by turning each experience into something precious.
  8. Giving. The choice to share yourself with friends and community and to give to the world at large without the expectation of a “return.”
  9. Truthfulness. The choice to be honest with yourself and others in an accountable manner by not allowing societal, corporate, or family demands to violate your internal contract.