Wednesday, June 18, 2008

I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more: The Hump Day Hmm for June 18, 2008

How far would I go for the people I love? Pretty far.

I'll go to Disneyland for my kids. I promise you, even as a child I had no big driving desire to go there.

I'll go to the Zoo in Houston in the summer for my kids. This one hits so many of my things I don't prefer it stands on its own.

I'll fly or drive to different places and wear different corporately-prescribed outfits and chat up potential clients in order to help my husband's business.

I'll bite my tongue bloody when my dad compares David Axelrod to Rove on Father's Day. I'll bite it bloody again when one more time we rehash the Time Flavia and I Double Dog Dared The Boys that we could jump in a mud puddle and they couldn't and let's just say the girls won that round. I bite it because I fully intend to rehash every single parenting merit badge I'll have on my sash when my kids are grown.

I'll count to 8000 and hold my temper and not confront someone who just insulted my husband and offended me, because my husband doesn't prefer to confront.

I'll move to Texas from the amazing Gold Coast of Marvelous Massachusetts, because it's the best thing for the family, even though it means leaving behind my job, my career, my career contacts and network, and the adult life I built there. Even though I am unsure what I will find in Texas and how I will build a life here. I will struggle for a few years, trying to find new and different footing, and then, will begin to find something grand and wonderful.

But those are just things, events, happenings.

What about what it takes to do these things? In the end, it's about what matters most, and in the end, in my life, it seems that my relationships with my family are what matters most. That's not easy, and it runs against a variety of conflicting messages about who I should be as a professional, a woman, a modern woman, myself, a mom, a wife, a friend, and so forth.

What's extraordinary about it is that it happens at all...that we can find within ourselves any degree of selflessness and do for others. What's extraordinary about it is that it happens out of love.

What is this capacity and how often do we truly appreciate the amazing compromise to self that it is to be in a long-term relationship of any type?

Tell us your story, either in comments here, or on your own site (in your post, link to here and then add your link below so everyone can track over and read):

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thailandchani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
thailandchani said...

I am cause-driven. I have my mission. That is the driving force in my life. If I can have a small part in changing thinking, making people happier and more fulfilled in the long run, I will have fulfilled that mission. If I can be a thorn in the side of those who want to oppress, commoditize and take the joy of life away from the majority, I will have done a little bit.

At the end of the day, it's what I care about the most.

If intent is measured by sacrifice (which I do not believe since internal passion is a force all its own and there's nothing inherently sacrificial about it), I suppose I sacrificed. I sacrificed acceptance by the majority of people who subscribe to a different way of life. I sacrificed the householder life because there are so few who share my passion. This is what gets me out of bed each day. Would I give this up for one person? Absolutely not.

But it's all okay. As a friend of mine used to say years ago, "we all do the work our own way."

Robert said...

I find it interesting how your post and Ellie's seem to mirror each other. Not exactly disagree, but you're looking at similar actions from two different perspectives. Sure, you do those things that someone you love wants, but do you do it for them or do you do it because your love helps you want to do it for yourself? Such contrasting perspectives. Interesting topic.

Andrea said...

I guess it all depends on where that decision is coming from. If it's a person who has a fairly strong sense of self, that's one thing; but if the decision to self-sacrifice comes from someone less well-defined or more depleted, it can edge over into codependence and all kinds of unhealthy things.

One of the things I liked learning from the happiness experts is that happy people are more altruistic and more generous. If we take care of ourselves we really are better able to take care of other people, and we'll enjoy it more too. This has been a tough one for me because my entire life, I've been trained to believe that thinking bout myself took away from what I could give to other people. It's a weird place to be, now, thinking so much about myself.

MommyTime said...

I am looking forward to reading the others next. You make me realize that mine perhaps reads as somewhat selfish, though I hope not. I think the self-sacrifice that is part of being a mother, and of being in a family, where everyone's (often competing) desires have to be reconciled and one has to compromise is the hardest and most interesting work we have to do sometimes. It is a tricky balancing act, figuring out whose needs to prioritize in any given situation, and figuring out how to make a strong family unit while not sacrificing strong individuals. Great topic.

Melissa said...

I almost titled my post the same as yours. That would have been awkward. :)

I totally agree that when it matters the most, you find yourself capable of doing some pretty amazing things for those people around you.

Thanks for this topic.

Gina Pintar said...

I fought for the love of my kids before they were even here. I thought infertility wiped me out. I did not think I had anything left. I thought it was all over. Then autism hit me like a tornado. It continues to pick me up, slam me around a little and drop me in a heap of crap to clean up.

We drive a 100 miles once a week to specialists. We do extra school work everyday. I now read about education and biology. Subjects I have never been interested in. My husband and I have not bought new clothes for more years than I can count. No trendy purses, shoes, jewelry. This was not a good month and we spent $1200 on prescriptions, vitamins and suppliments. I collect poo and urine samples. Some days I don't think I can go any further and then I wake up the next day and just keep going. I keep hearing that fighting autism is a marathon not a sprint and we are all walking our 500 miles for love.

Bon said...

i realized, reading through the comments, that the happiness and strength that others mentioned as being necessary to doing the types of things you've mentioned here without losing some sense of self at all read as implicit in most of your writing...

i think it does take strength to be the mother your kids need, and to compromise. :)

Caroline said...

A great topic. Its interesting. While I know I have very low expectations for "me" time these days, I almost don't even think about it that much anymore. Time in the bathroom, trying to read a book, cook a meal, go on a walk, talk on the phone, blog - I always expect interruption. And when I DO have some real time to myself where someone ELSE actually has the kids? It just seems like such a big deal. I feel desperate to enjoy every second and then overly grateful when I get back (always early) feeling as if I just put that person way out. My kids are my responsibility. My time is not my own. Until they get older, it is what it is. And this may sound pathetic but I am not used to my own time so I am not sure I miss it as much as I should. But one day, when that time is all mine again, I need to relearn how to fill it. A funny concept, huh? These days are fleeting in the grand scheme of it all. After a day like today where my youngest was in 7 time-outs before noon (insert explative here), I dig and remind myself to ENJOY it before I am only left with endless endless "me" time and not a child's laugh (or scream b/c I actually said "no") for miles. I just hope I can refind the old me, you know? Wow, I sound a bit pathetic but thats where I'm at right now, take it or leave it. Now, I think I am going to go pour myself a glass of wine - sheesh! Again, great topic.

le35 said...


I just realized that I read this at 5:30 this morning, but I didn't comment. So here goes. I think that there are really times we do something simply in the hopes that we make someone happy. In reality though, we do it because we want to see that person happy. Whether or not that person truly becomes happy or not is all up to them. I think that there is some cause and effect, and kindness really is the way to be, but I think that if you really hated Disneyland and couldn't enjoy it at all, you would find other things to do with your kids. Instead, you do it because you want happy kids more than you hate Disneyland. Really you do it because you like happy kids. I read a book called "How to behave so your Children will too," and it really made me think about motive for doing things. We only do things when we truly have a motive. Your motive for moving to Texas was that you want happy kids. If you didn't care whether or not your kids were happy, then it wouldn't matter to you if you moved "for them."

flutter said...

This is an oddly difficult topic for me...

jeanie said...

Darn - international date line tripped me up this week.

I will cook, clean and possibly kill for them. Considering I do grocery shopping I figure amusement parks shouldn't be too hard?

niobe said...

How far would you go for your loved ones?

Much farther than I should have gone.

womaninawindow said...

I'll do the hardest thing...I've done it. Swallowed my pride. I work a job that is steps down from what I did in highschool even though since then I've finished University, travelled the world and run a company. I do it to be with them, to not be stressed, to be free. And I think, I do it a lot for myself, when I really stop to think about it. It's all good. It all comes to good in the end.

painted maypole said...

i love that song. ;)

great list.

Kyla said...

Dude, Houston Zoo? In summer? You've got me beat. Luckily KayTar is still young enough to buy that Petsmart is the "indoor zoo" and BubTar hates the heat enough to play along with me.