Look To the Western Sky

A blog about single life as a parent & the dreams of a writer by Margo L. Dill

Tag: friendship

Parents: Taking Time For Yourself

I just returned from a three-night, four-day girls’ trip to Breckenridge, CO. We had a lot of fun, from sightseeing on Mt. Evans to dog sledding with a golf cart, from Oktoberfest to a winery with an incredible view–we laughed and relaxed; and each one of us took time for ourselves. We are all moms. Some of us are single; some of us are married. I am the only one with a young child; one mom has a special needs son, and others have teenagers, college students, and young adults. All of us have busy lives and jobs, but we made it happen. We took the time for ourselves.

The dog sled adventure

I’m not going to tell you it was easy or without guilt. I had a bit of guilt before I left about how I was taking this trip as a single parent, and two of the nights were my nights with my daughter. The guilt grew worse when KT had a meltdown on the phone with me the second night; and when I called her from the airport on my way home, she was teary eyed and wanted me home right now. My mom’s commentary on how miserable KT was also didn’t help. Grandmas hate to see their grandchildren teary-eyed.

I’m still glad I did it, though; but for a while, I doubted myself. Luckily, my friends are amazing.

One said: You have to let her figure out how to navigate life without you always there. You have to prepare her for the tough stuff. If you don’t, and life gets tough, she will have no idea what to do. (How about that for a smart, great friend?)

Another said: Everybody has to refuel. Everyone does it. There’s nothing wrong with taking care of yourself, mentally and physically, so you are stronger and better for your daughter. (Exactly!)

And there was a handsome police officer…

I mean–this is free advice I got, and I am now sharing it with you. ­čÖé

KT and I both survived, and the next day when we were together, it was even more special. We appreciated each other more. We hugged a lot, and we told each other how much we loved and missed each other. That is very special and just an extra bonus of going on a fun trip with my friends and also having a beautiful daughter!

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The Worst Feeling As A Parent

Some things in life are very difficult. I’m sure every adult you know has some kind of difficulty whether it’s a relationship problem, financial concerns or health scares–problems and issues are all around us. I’ve had my share, but they don’t compare to what many of you have experienced or may be experiencing now. But the hardest thing for me is when my daughter has a problem and I can’t solve it.

Disclaimer: Before any of you get up in arms about this–I know I shouldn’t solve all her problems. She is only 6, but she has to learn to work through things and figure it out for herself (in a lot of cases), so she will learn to do this as she grows up.┬á

The problem my daughter and I are now facing is that the little girl who she considers to be her best friend, her grandparents’ neighbor, her playmate three or more times a week has MOVED TO FLORIDA. Naturally, KT is very upset. She has been crying off and on, and I have been encouraging her to talk about it. I’ve been trying to use skills I’ve learned at Kids in the Middle, where feelings need to be validated and worked through–not ignored and pushed under the rug.

I told her there is nothing she can do about this but feel the sadness and talk about it if she feels like it. I’ve left out the part that she will probably never see this little girl again. She might not even remember her very well in a couple of years because right now, this missing her friend already feels all consuming to KT. I think that “wisdom” would actually make it worse. We’ve talked about the things KT could do at Grandma’s house to pass the time and how sometimes, when you feel sad, it really is okay just to sit and watch TV and relax for a while. ┬áThat was the end of my wisdom. My heart breaks for her because she is so sad, and there really is nothing to fix this.

Of course, this made me reflect on my own friendships throughout the years. Social media makes it easy to “keep in touch” with people nowadays, but there are some people who I loved dearly that I am not in touch with anymore (whether it’s because they aren’t on social media or I haven’t found them or they don’t want to be in touch) or who have actually passed away. And there is nothing I can do. There is nothing I can do but feel the sadness and work through it, maybe write about it, maybe just sit and watch TV and relax for a while.

The worst to me as an adult is when you have a good friend and you are having a conflict and you are out of touch, whether it’s agreed upon or not. It’s sad. And you miss this person, but what can you do? You just have to work through the sadness and hope one day you both can figure it out.

So for now, that’s what KT and I are going to do. The good thing is KT is busy at cheerleading camp this week, and she told me that she doesn’t even think about it when she is there, and I see that as a positive life lesson she’s learning. And I will follow in her footsteps.

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Life Is Full Of Things We Can Not Control: What Do We Do?

In our lives, we make connections with all kinds of people. Some are like us. Some are definitely not. Some stick around for a long time. Some just touch our lives for a bit. Some people positively affect us and bring us great comfort, joy, peace, and support. Unfortunately, some people bring us down to a level that maybe we didn’t know was possible. Maybe we are faced with regret over decisions we made when this person was in our lives. Life is so hard. So many things are beyond our control. But the one thing I do know, the one thing that I can control, and the one thing that I need to do more of is nurture the relationships that bring me comfort, joy, peace and support, and let the other ones go.

This is a very, very hard concept for me. It sounds so simple. I summed it up in one paragraph above, so how can it not be simple? But it’s difficult because we get into patterns. We form loyalties. We have little time each day, and when we are in the middle of a storm, it is very hard to fight through and come out the other side.

But I have to fight. I have to look at my life every single day; and if something isn’t going well, I am the only person who can change it. When I reflect on myself and my behavior at the end of the day, can I say that I was kind, supportive, positive, and nurtured the relationships with people who really care about me? I hope so.

I have a very good friend, who is very ill. And this post is inspired somewhat by her and somewhat by friends who are going through a hard time. I’ve said this several times today: every life is so precious. It is also so hard, but the best part of it, the very very best part of it, is the relationships we have. I am a very lucky girl to have so many wonderful relationships in my life. I haven’t always been the best about nurturing each one the way I should. Time gets away from us. Life becomes busy. My spirit grows tired.

In the conversations I’ve had over the past few days, one of the most poignant things someone said to me is: There is no sense worrying about something beyond one’s control.

It’s not like I don’t know this. And still I sit here in a Panera Bread, just full of grief and regret and worrying about things I can’t control.

The best thing I can do from this is be a more gracious and understanding friend to the people in my life now. This is the only thing I can control.

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