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Not About Me - Livin' the Good Life

Feb. 2nd, 2009

05:04 pm - Not About Me

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Someone asked me once to describe what I am about. "What makes Darlene tick?" I said I'd get back with them. I never did get back with them, but here, belatedly, is the answer to that question:
My life is not about me. My life is not about "furthering myself". It never has been. Instead, my life has always been about furthering others. My main focus for my entire adult life has been to be an advocate for children. If I can help one mom or dad to be a better parent, I've done my job. If I can help bring one more child into the world without violence, fear, and trama, I feel fulfilled. If I can influence one more mama to happily put her child's needs first, I know that I've just helped let a little more light into the world. If I can help steer a family toward being "functional", I'm ecstatic! But, my primary work has been to raise my own "functional family". This has been the joy of my life. My reason for being. It caused me to constantly question conventional wisdom, challenge authority, stand out in the crowd as somewhat weird, and take paths less traveled. I'm sure that caused my children some discomfort at times, but it seemed like the only way to go. And when someone would ask me how I helped my children "fit in" with the other kids, I said, "I'm not raising my kids to fit in. I'm raising my kids to stand out." and "I'm raising my kids to BE THEMSELVES and to take the high road." Sounds pretty lofty, but that's what makes life worth living in my eyes.
And what about me? Well, what ABOUT me? I feel great! I am always looking to improve, to love more, to learn more, to take better care of this body, to stay true to my conscience and to feel connected to God, SO THAT I can help others. I can't think of anything else worth doing. (It's SO unpolitically correct.) Someone asked me once "What are you doing these days?" I began telling them about what I was doing with my children. And she said, "No. I mean, what are you doing FOR YOURSELF?" Huh? Everything I do with and for others, I do for myself. To me, there's not a particle of difference.


Date:February 3rd, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
Oh how I love this post. I read it yesterday, thought about it through the night, and read it again today. You have put into words what I never have been able to.
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Date:February 4th, 2009 02:14 am (UTC)
Jill, you and I are kindred spirits! I think we are very much the same in our core being. It's nice to feel understood.
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Date:February 4th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Mom, the only discomfort I can remember is wishing we had a TV when middle school friends were reminiscing about last night's Miami Vice episode. Oh, and I remember being embarrassed about eating an egg salad sandwich with alfalfa sprouts on round bread (because Dad baked it in coffee cans) in elementary school, when the people around me had pb&j on white bread. I'm pretty sure I knew even then that my bread was cooler than their bread--I just wanted more people on my team. For the most part, my memories are of thinking of myself as lucky to have you and Dad as parents. That was especially true in high school, when I realized you trusted me so much more than any of my friends' parents trusted them.
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Date:February 12th, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed reading this and the other posts on parenting. I appreciate your example very much. Also I needed to read this part today:

"I'm not raising my kids to fit in. I'm raising my kids to stand out."


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