The mother and teenager daughter stood a couple feet away. As I sat on the bench watching them wait for the traffic to break so that they could walk across the street, I heard the mother say, “No! I have things to do! The world does not revolve around you!” The girl looked sad, but then there was a lull in traffic and they scurried across the road.
“The world does not revolve around you,” is what she said.
Since I have the experience of being a mother and I have been a teenage girl, I believe I can understand the message the woman was trying to convey to her daughter. I also understand how the young teenage girl felt too. The statement the mother made, however, was inaccurate because the world DOES revolve around each one of us.
As a parent to Alyssa, countless hours have been spent teaching, communicating, playing and caring for her wants, needs and desires. Part of my world revolves around her, but it still revolves around me at the same time. Doing all those things with and for Alyssa filled the aching desire I had to be a mother. I chose and still choose to spend all that time with my child – no one has forced me. Children change people’s lives and becoming a parent changed mine too. I’m happy with my choice to become a mother and I’m happy with my style of mothering Alyssa.
Even though we have to spend lots of time raising our children and caring for other people, it is vitally important to make sure that our world keeps revolving around us. Let me give you a couple personal examples.
My grandparents, Mam-Maw and Gran-Gran were married for a very long time. After my Gran-Gran suffered a stroke that left him half paralyzed and unable to speak, his health continued to decline for several years until he died. During this time, Mam-Maw’s health also took a downward spiral. I believe the thing that catapulted Mam-Maw’s poor health was her lack of the desire to live. Gran-Gran was her whole world for far too many years. She didn’t have hobbies, interests and friends because Gran-Gran was her hobby, interest and only friend. Mam-Maw’s world revolved around Gran-Gran and a few years after his death, she also passed away.
I still remember Mam-Maw’s grief-stricken face as she came up to me after Gran-Gran’s funeral. She put her tiny hands on both sides of my face, looked at me with big brown eyes and said, “Please pray that I will die in my sleep tonight. You are the only one who will do it. Everyone else wants me to just live, but without him, I don’t have a life. He is my life and my life died. Will you do that for me?”
“Yes,” I said. Then I put my arms around Mam-Maw and said, “I can’t imagine the pain you feel and I am so sorry you are hurting.” I knew she wouldn’t live long because Mam-Maw’s whole purpose of living and existing was Gran-Gran. Without a purpose and a desire to live, death usually takes the person away. Our thoughts, emotions and desires are really THAT powerful.
I have made a concerted effort to have a “self” so that when Alyssa moves away some day, I won’t be like Mam-Maw. Watching her deteriorate was a very sad and frightening thing. The mind and heart really do have a whole lot of say over the body. When the mind gives up and the heart has irreparable breaks, the body stops trying too. If your world is very small and too focused on just one person, when that person isn’t in your life any longer, you are left completely empty. That wasn’t your original intention, but it can happen so slowly that you hardly even notice.
Did you notice over the past month that I missed publishing a few posts and didn’t tweet on Twitter or holler in my community? It wasn’t really a conscious choice. I think most of the times that it happened I fell asleep at the desk. For instance, one Wednesday night I started working on the foodie post and I was really excited to share my gourmet marshmallows with you. However, I discovered that the 1940’s Census had been released and I clicked over to the government website to check it out.
An hour passed as I searched for relatives.
Another hour passed.
Before I realized it, I had spent three hours looking through the files of the 1940 Census.
Oh my! So I quickly downloaded the marshmallow photos. The reality of my time limitations didn’t really hit me even though I had 145 marshmallow photos to go through, resize some to fit my blog, post the words between the photos and write the recipe at the bottom of the post. As the night wore on, I kept working to get the post published, but eventually fell asleep at my desk sometime after saving the unfinished post at 2:23 a.m.
I must have sleepwalked to the couch and of course, I slept through my alarms. When I finally woke up, I had very little time to get ready for work which meant that I didn’t finish my post nor schedule any tweets. I felt really bad, but then I thought about it – The world DOES revolve around me. Everyone else’s world doesn’t revolve around me, but my world revolves around me. I can’t do everything all the time. Besides, I REALLY enjoyed going through the 1940 Census AND the next evening I finished the Homemade Gourmet Marshmallows With Ghirardelli Chocolate post which I’m sure made you drool with delight.
So many things have happened to me in the past few years and not once during that time did the world stop spinning. Contrary to the woman who told her teenage daughter that the world doesn’t revolve around her, it really does revolve her and you and you and you and me. It is important that we continue to nurture ourselves and expand our life to include friends, hobbies, vacations and lots of new experiences.
Expansion equals change and change is very hard for me at times. However, I’m changing and slowly expanding aspects of myself and life. I keep trying to think of it as progression and improvement because those words have a very positive sound and feel to them. So in case you were wondering, the world does revolve around me. I guess that makes me a Queen.
Queen Redhead Riter.
Okay, maybe I just took it to the extreme.