My birthday has never been much in our family. I am the Mom, I am the one that makes birthdays "happen". Cakes, cards, dinner, gifts, parties.... I've always been the one that organizes all that and "made" a birthday celebration for the birthday boy or girl or husband. I love doing it. It's always made me feel good making my family feel special. My family has never forgotten my birthday and I've always received very genuine wishes of "Happy Birthday" faithfully from them. There's just never been any "fan fare" so to speak. They don't "DO" birthdays, they have birthdays "DONE" for them. And that truthfully is my own doings. I can't blame my family for never "doing" what they've always had "done" for them.
To be honest, that's ok. I really don't necessarily need or want anything for my birthday. I love them remembering, and I love them being, well, a little sweeter than usual to themselves, each other and me as they usually are on my birthday. My birthdays have always been an harmonious day, and when you are the Mom of the family, usually the one that receives all the strife, well....being honoured with a day of blissful harmony is probably the best birthday gift ever. I have absolutely no complaints about my birthdays over the years. As a matter of fact I am very contented with them.
However this year's birthday, today, was actually one that ended up being very special, in very simple ways. It started with my husband waking me up at about 5am with a kiss and the words "Happy Birthday". Very nice but it was 5am and I rolled over and went back to sleep for 2 hours. After all it was my birthday.
My Mother-in-Law dropped in with a card. A beautiful one with a verse in it about how dearly cherished I am. Gosh I do love my MIL. She is a wonderful woman and has always adored and been good to me. There was a $50 bill in it! I don't know what was up with her... if she does put money in a card, for even the kid's birthdays, it's never more than a $20. She has 12 children and in-laws, 22 grandchildren and grand-in-laws, and 13 great-grandchildren!
I then received an email from my Dad & step-mother wishing me a happy birthday and included the words "We love you". My Dad wrote it, my step-mother doesn't do email.... This is the first time in my life my father has ever told me "I love you". I'm 48 for gosh sakes! Wow. Not that I've haven't always known that he loves me and very much so, it's just that he CAN'T say that kind of stuff.
I then got a beautiful, upbeat card in the mail from my Aunt. I love the last line, "Celebrate being you! You make this world a better place" and she signed it "Thank you"!
I was beginning to think, OMG! Am I dying or something and they're all afraid to tell me! I went to work feeling very wonderful but a little strange. Like I was in the twilight zone maybe? Great day at work.
When I got home my 23 year old daughter was there and her Dad had asked her to pick up some "take out" and a birthday cake for me. My daughter looked after things but it was my husband's plan and idea. My family took care of dinner for me and I realized.... this was the first birthday cake I've had in probably over 30 years when my step-mother would have gotten one for me for my birthday when I was a teenager! Wow!
Things have settled in for the evening and my family have all dispersed off to other commitments and I'm left with some wonderful alone time to reflect....
As with every day of my life since this infidelity nightmare began in July 2007, I did have intrusive, invading, uninvited A thoughts at times. Something that I've learned how to live with, I guess. We're 4.5 years into real R. They are no longer "consuming" but they still do exist on a daily basis. My husband & I are not healed, our marriage is not R'd. We are a work in progress, key word being "progress".
What I've learned today, which is my reason for posting, is how the "weight" we choose to allocate to the thoughts that enter our minds is the sole determination of not just what kind of day we have (happy/sad, good/bad, confident/insecure, comfort/fear) it's also the sole determinant of what we are actually able to observe! I started off this morning in a very contented, feel good mood. I had been shown some wonderful gestures of appreciation from not just my husband with his 5am Happy Birthday, but from other, very important, non-A related people, my MIL, my Dad & step-mother and Aunt. But my brain went into auto pilot in the long drive to work and I found myself thinking of the A and the AP and having imaginary conversations with whom? I don't know, FWH I guess, I was making my point like I was trying to debate, make defending arguments, proving myself right..... Like my brain has done a million times before over this A garbage. Not all consuming, but momentary, daily occurrences. When I became aware of the "conversation" I was having in my brain I made a conscious choice to stop. For several reasons. One, it was my birthday. I could do this tomorrow if I wished, but why give any of my birthday to this garbage? Two, I am actually starting to get bored with it. What am I arguing about? Who am I arguing to? There isn't a soul on this earth, including the unfaithful that will say that infidelity is good, wonderful, fulfilling, right.... And third and final...... I almost missed a beautiful sun-beam cutting through the clouds on the crest of a hill with 4 beef cows lined up like they were posed there for a picture! And moments before, I almost missed a doe and two fawns on the side of the road. Thankfully, she was being cautious about the road and wasn't crossing. Had she chosen to cross, I probably would have hit her or her fawns. I DIDN'T see her till the last minute. My brain was off to other places having stupid debates with NO ONE about how sneaking, hiding, deceiving, cheating is wrong. I was lost in my mind, driving in "auto pilot" and not registering sights, sounds.... and well life. It was passing me by, unnoticed, not lived, because my mind was somewhere else focusing on garbage and unable to see or live it. It hit me like a ton of bricks... I had just received some wonderful gestures of appreciation, love and regard within the last couple of hours from some people who mean an incredible amount to me and here I am wasting my thoughts, energy and time on a person (AP) and events (the A) that are nothing but garbage and have little or nothing to do with me. What an injustice to my MIL, Aunt, Dad and step-mother who have extended something loving, genuine and real in gestures of goodwill to me. What an injustice to me! Why aren't they and their gestures getting the real estate in my brain instead of the selfish garbage of the A? Without beating myself up, I chose to refocus my thoughts on the good that I had experienced that morning rather than the "bad" I have experienced with the A.
A good day at work.
Left work in a good mood, looking forward to going home. Loving me, loving my life. Feeling blessed and glad to be me. Driving home, my mind drifting back to thoughts of the A and back into arguments with NO ONE. Driving does have a tendency to do this to me.... Much quicker this time though, I became aware and quickly made a conscious choice about what I wanted to think about during my oh too familiar daily drive.... I thought about goals, dreams, things I wanted. I thought about things I'm grateful for, people and things that I appreciate and feel so lucky to have. I thought about how great it is to be 48! Hell my Mother and sister never made it out of their 20's and teens respectively. I though about how good it was to be me.
When I got home my husband, eldest daughter and son were waiting for me. Our middle daughter is away to University. There was supper on the table and a birthday cake. I am truly blessed and a very lucky woman who is loved, valued and appreciated. And I have permission to feel that way.
I think what I'm realizing and what I'm trying to share is that time does heal wounds. Healing does happen on it's own without any need of our conscious intervention and sometimes even despite our unconscious interference..... But sometimes, healing needs permission. I think what I've learned today and what I'm trying to share is that it's ok to give yourself, your marriage, your family and your spouse permission to heal. It's not like blindly saying "All is right now" or "I'm/we're safe now". I don't know if that kind of "safety" actually does exist. Infidelity has taught me that. But it's not just ok to heal, it's in the best interest of the well being of all. Even if I'm ALL WRONG in this R and the A or AP rears their ugly heads again or another one.... I will be better able to face that in a "healed" stable state than I would be in a "wounded" troubled state. It doesn't matter how I look at this, me, our kids, our family, our marriage and my husband are better served "healed" than "wounded". No matter what the future brings.
Sorry for the ramble. Hope it makes sense to someone.
Feeling contented today and wishing healing for myself and all of you.