Can you do me a favour?

I am sure that many of you have been asked, “Can you do me a favour?”  Harmless right?  You might have been the person asking this yourself.  In most cases, it is a quicky, easy request that you probably would have done anyway.  However, what if it is something more than you thought?  This is one of the hardest favours to fulfill.  You don’t want anyone to be offended.  You want to please others and make sure there is peace.  The older I get, the more I realize that saying “no” is something that I won’t feel bad about saying.  Why?

I am not sure if you had the same upbringing as I had, but “no” was not in our vocabulary.  We would impinge on our own family time in order to make other people happy.  My mother’s theory was that God would pay us in heaven later.  I still knew that, in many ways, she wanted praise and accolades from others.  That took me a long time to understand.  She seemed to be very helpful, but like many others, we do want to be thanked and appreciated for what we have done.  It makes us feel better as human beings; being helpful to others.   My perspective on this subject has changed dramatically over the years.

I always loved helping people.  It got so bad that I would give up my time and the daily living of my life in order to accommodate the wishes of others.  I dated a hypochondriac that would have me with him in the emergency room at least three times a week for illnesses that never existed.  All he wanted was attention.  It was actually my boss at the time, who pointed it out to me.  I thought I was being helpful and a good girlfriend, where my boss pointed out that he was just using illness as an excuse to keep me from being at work and giving him (the unemployed) more attention.  The relationship ended.  That was in my early 20s.  I dated many “fixer-uppers”, hoping to save the world one person at a time, and then finally realized that I couldn’t fix people.  I could only take care of myself and make myself happy.  Enter Wiseguy.

My hubby of 20 years was (and is) always supportive of me.  I had given up on finding someone to spend the rest of my life with.  One night I finally asked the heavens / God / the universe / all other gods…”I just want to meet someone who can make me laugh.  I want someone to have my weird sense of humour.”  Then, I decided that I would give up.  There was no one on the universe like that.  Again…enter Wiseguy.

I met my funny mate.  I met the man who would make me laugh.  I met the man who never demeaned me or made me feel stupid.  This man always elevated me and backed me in whatever I wanted to do.  Feminism?  Yes…he always wanted me to be me and pushed me to believe in myself.  Now THAT my friends is what a true mate and friend is like.

Now, you many not have found your perfect match, or you may be working on the relationship you are in…but always remember that in order for any relationship to work, you need to love yourself first.  It may sound corny or weird, as we have been taught to love others, but loving yourself and taking time for yourself let’s you be more loving to others.

And…when people ask for favours, remember, in most cases, it is a one way street.  The “favour” you do does not mean that they owe you anything back.  You do it out of the kindness of your heart.  Do NOT expect anything in return.  If you do, you might be disappointed.  This is the old lady of wisdom speaking now.  I have done many favours for many people.  I have received some thanks, but in most cases it ends up becoming “Thanks, but what have you done for me lately.”  In other cases it becomes expected and routine that you will be there so it’s not appreciated.  Be mentally and emotionally prepared for that.  If you feel that you need the accolades and believe you won’t get them, then feel free to take a deep breath in, exhale out, and kindly say, “NO.”  It is one of the hardest things to say, but saying YES all the time and being miserable about it is not good or right for you either.

Old lady lesson (yes, I am considering myself an old lady and I’m fantastically proud of it):

  • YOU CAN SAY NO!  It hurts at first, but it’s not the worst.

P.S.  Hmmmmm, sounds like a good slogan for a t-shirt

IMG_2652

P.P.S.  Double Hmmmm…anyone out there is the t-shirt industry…”Can you do me a favour?”

The Next Generation..

Nope, not talking about Star Trek in case that is what you were thinking this is about.  I have been in the midst of assisting my niece with her wedding which will happen in a couple of weeks.  This weekend I shall be attending another family wedding (second cousin).  Next year will be an exciting time as well as we have two family weddings that will be full of nervousness and adventure as The Debater and The Artist shall have their much awaited nuptuals in the spring…April to be exact.  Then The Wiz and The Baker shall be enjoying their fall wedding in October.  Yesterday, on a long drive home from my niece’s place, I thought about all these beautiful youngsters (ahem…adults) and what the Next Generation is going to be like.

In the eyes of parents, it doesn’t matter how old your child is, that child is always about 5-7 years old in your eyes.  From birth, you watch them, you teach them, you correct them, you encourage them, you praise them, you give them grief and they give you grief back.  It’s the way of the world with parents and children.  Even once they have their own kids, you watch them and encourage them in their parenting and you are so proud as you observe the blossoming growth of your grandchildren.  You watch them nurturing their children, teaching and educating them and having that beaming pride look when their youngsters do something and achieve something on their own. 

This weekend we were watching The Princess and Little Kennie run around and laugh and giggle.  Kennie is going to be two years old in a couple of weeks.  We have noticed over the last little while that, besides imitating and mimicking what we say, she has learned how to vary intonation in her wording.  She came up to a little statue that we have and said, “Hi Princess.”  Where did she come up with that?  Yes, Little Kennie is growing up and getting an identity of her own.

As parents, we get annoyed with OUR parents when they treat us as if we don’t know things.  We will try to do something and suddenly we are doing it wrong.  We are adults with lives of our own and children of our own.  I am now beginning to understand this challenge. Your kids are always your kids no matter how old they are.  If they run into hardships you want to jump in and put a bandage on it by helping out in some way.  You want them to be healthy and happy and you would give your own life to make sure that they would never have to suffer. 

I realize now that sitting back and watching is something that, as a parent, is of one the hardest things to do.  Before I jump in with “the answer” I think about how I would feel if FIL or one of my parents came and pointed out if I was doing something wrong or instructing me on what would be better.  Would I appreciate the interruption and the advice or would I just wish that they let me do things on my own?  Yes, that is how I am learning to become a better parent. 

Being a parent of small, crying babies, older people would always say, “Oh, this is easy, wait until they are older.”  What?  At least then you would be able to sleep all night right?  Wrong…you hit the teenage years and oh my…you just wish that you could jump ahead 5 years and get over that hump in their lives.  Dealing with their right to independent lives while you struggle to keep order and sensibility in their lives.  AAAAGHHH!  You sleep even less then as they are going out with friends and coming home at two in the morning.  You actually get even less sleep than you did when they were newborns.  Really, if you survive that you can survive anything right?  Well, then they become adults…in years only.  They will always be your children.  Now you have to learn patience and have them learn adult things on their own.  Sure, you will be there when they need you, but sometimes the adult growth pains are even harder to watch than the bumps and scratches they got as kids.  There is no magic bandage or salve to fix some things and all you can do is sit back, watch, and hope that things you taught them will help them figure out the trivia of adult life.  If you are really lucky, you can actually sleep and not worry too much about it.

Yes, this may seem like a sad or depressing topic, but it is actually quite heartwarming in my mind.  I have learned much about being a parent of adults (oops…almost said adult children).  There is a wonderful sense of happiness and pride when you see how happy they are in their lives.  They live, they laugh, they love.  Sure, there are bumps in the road, but having those bumps makes them appreciate the repaved roads of life that are smooth and wonderfully happy.  The wonderful homes.  The great nights out full of fun.  The family get togethers where everyone laughs about silly things they used to do because, at this age, you can laugh about the silly childhood things that were done.  They are now adults, those were funny stories.

I am so happy and proud to be able to take a deep breath, sit back, and watch our wonderful future society unfold.  We wll have with such amazing new adults in it.  This is the next generation and it looks beautiful.