Catholic Life, Marriage, Parenting, Uncategorized

I’m Not Owed Things Being Perfect

+J.M.J.+

Recently I was talking to a friend who is really far from any family – she and her husband raise their children without the help of their parents and siblings. I so resonated with her frustration as we ourselves live hundreds of miles from either of our families. She said something during our conversation this week that struck me.

It was along the lines of, “I’ve come to terms that what I thought I was owed and deserved as far as support and help with my family and having babies just isn’t going to be that way.”

Wow.

See, I’d never thought of it as some sort of entitlement, but I absolutely have felt short changed at times.

Not How I Expected

I never wanted to meet my spouse long distance (which I did) and I never wanted to deal with what that brings.

(Don’t get me wrong, Ethan is amazing. He is the most wonderful husband and I don’t regret marrying him for a moment. But long distance brings challenges…)

With our parents on opposite sides of the country, someone always loses because we can’t be close to everyone. We never get to go on any trips we would like to different locations because visiting family uses most of our extra time and any travel money we have.

It’s sad seeing my parents miss so many milestones with the girls. It’s stressful trying to time my mom arriving from across the country when babies come – especially since she is a really important support for me during labor.

I got to put a lot fewer special details into our wedding because I had moved to Ohio where Ethan was. Planning long distance for our big day in my parish back home meant letting go of lots of things I wanted to do but didn’t get to. It was just too much to tackle with us quickly flying in, getting married, and returning home.

My maid of honor had a beautiful baby girl the other day. Not only have I not met her, but she has a big brother who I still haven’t met either. And my friend hasn’t met Zelie. In fact, in the two years since I’ve been back for a visit, there have been a dozen babies born who I have missed meeting.

I never wanted to enter into my journey of motherhood without my “tribe”. I always imagined that one day I’d be with my girlfriends in Idaho as we had  kids and navigated those first years of marriage and babies… but it just hasn’t worked out that way because life has us in Ohio.

I often have a pang of jealousy when I see people around me who have grown up around here, settled into their hometown with both sets of families nearby and their childhood friends still a part of their daily lives, so comfortable here because it is their home.

I Didn’t Even Know I Felt This Way

When my friend mentioned her resignation to reality, what struck me was how even if I wouldn’t have admitted it to myself, I totally have felt like I missed out on how I would have ideally liked these things to play out, as if I’ve been owed it and it taken from me.

If it sounds petty and selfish… it is, but I didn’t even know I really felt that way until she said it. I have so many abundant blessings, yet sometimes I’ve been bitterly holding on to what I thought should be.

There are people so much worse off than I am. I know people who have really difficult marriages, suffered miscarriages, lost children, have severe health issues, or any variety of crosses. What I am asked to carry is small, indeed.

Anyway, I don’t have some grand moral revelation here, I just wanted to share that I realized this and I want to work on my attitude.

I am NOT owed things being just so.

I’m not somehow missing out on what I deserve because things aren’t just how I wanted or imagined.

I’m going to once again try and thank God more and more fervently for my blessings, and to let go of all of these expectations and I wishes. I am going to enjoy the present and trust all these things have happened for my good, if I’ll only learn from them and try to become better because of them.

9 thoughts on “I’m Not Owed Things Being Perfect”

  1. Ohhhh this is a good one!!! I struggle with this SO much. We don’t live near family AND my husband works odd hours in a ministry job. It’s been tough to find wives/mothers in this same situation that I can relate to and I definitely feel the entitlement/jealousy you mentioned and find it hard to shake off. Yet we ARE blessed with a great Catholic community and health and home, etc…it’s so often what I chose as my perspective! And at least we are “close” to our families in the sense of loving each other and not having any relational riffs…some people live near family but are estranged. Thanks for the conversation!

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  2. I’ve been wrestling within myself over this exact feeling for a few weeks now. Your post came at the perfect moment for me and has made me realise that I should be grateful for what I have and not be upset about things not being how I’d like them to be. Thank you so much!

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  3. I can completely relate to this. I feel that same pang when I see friends we’ve made here with their parents and siblings all within a brief drive. Both of our families live far from here but this is where He has brought us and we do our best to be thankful for the time we do get. I do see that our kids get much more undivided time with their grandparents than I ever remember getting. It’s been nice seeing how much love and relationship has come from these visits over the years. 🙂 I do second what Laura mentioned above, we have been blessed with Catholic community that is just incredible and a gift.

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  4. Definitely! I am often jealous of other mums who get date nights because grandma lives 5 minutes away or have them there in an emergency. When BOTH my hubby and I were ill recently we realised we have no one to help. We functioned but it was hard. He also works shift work and I would love support from my mum or lovely MIL.

    However, I am lucky we live in an age of instant technology where I can ask my mum advice over facebook messanger and send her constant updates.

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  5. Great post! I have realized in so many topics, everyone has crosses. For people with husbands who make less money (teachers are a great example) there is a financial struggle but it also sometimes means dad is around more than in fields like law, etc. That has it benefits, though having less money stress from a higher income does as well. Everyone has burdens, some may have family near by, but the values are so different it doesn’t help. Others might have the benefit of family support for their values even if far away. Some have serious health burdens, some don’t etc. It is so easy to focus on what we wish we had rather than appreciation the benefits of the situation we do have. That being said, I do think we can all agree there is a natural good lost in being away from family, or having family who doesn’t have the same values. These things are challenges more prevelant today it seems to me. Thanks for the thoughtful piece!

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    1. My husband is a teacher, Jackie, so I can completely relate to your scenario. We will likely always have financial stress, but we also have way more family time than most other careers provide. It’s all a trade off, no perfect anything!

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  6. I hear you! We’re either one day or four days’ drive from either set of grandparents, aunts and uncles. It’s rough. But there are so many of us who aren’t from here, that we’ve formed a community ourselves, which is beautiful in its own way. (Not the same, of course, but beautiful nonetheless.) And while I feel shortchanged compared to a lot of my friends in the US, most of my friends in Mexico simply can’t pick up and drive to visit their families like I can, and haven’t been to visit their families in years. (So, in that sense, I’ve got another weird sense of entitlement, being able to go “home” for a month every summer.) And on that note, depending on where you are in Ohio, I can swing by and visit you, too! 😉 Ha–see? Community showing up in the weirdest places!

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