Well, Bless Your Heart!

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First of all a HUGE thank you to all of my new subscribers and supporters! You guys are the best!

Now, we’re all friends here, right? Because…well…I have a confession to make.

Sometimes I get angry.

I mean really angry. Really quickly.

It usually happens when someone’s not behaving the way I want them to. I’m in a hurry and they’re walking too slowly in front of me. I need to get through the aisle at a store and they’ve jackknifed their cart sideways while they’re trying to figure out which brand of canned peas to buy. I’m trying to read quietly in a waiting room and they’re yammering on their cell phone at top volume three inches from my ear. We all have these moments, don’t we?

Well, a few months ago, I was smack in the middle of one of these moments (hissy fits, tantrums, whatever you wanna call them), I can’t remember all the specifics but if I remember correctly a woman and her brood of kids had darted out of a store directly in front of me while I was driving through a parking lot. But all of a sudden, out of nowhere, I heard my grandma’s voice: “Bless their heart.”

Now let me explain something. My grandma was my hero – an absolute saint in my book. She was the kind of person who rarely said anything bad about someone, and if she did, it was almost immediately followed by something like, “…but she means well” or my favorite, “Bless her heart.” It was like a gentle reminder to herself and to the rest of us that there’s something good in everyone, if you’re willing to look for it. She wasn’t necessarily a highly metaphysical woman, but she was kind, gentle and a lot of fun to be around. Essentially everything I want to be in life.

So there I am, ready to blow a gasket because someone has done something too slowly/quickly/loudly/etc when I hear that voice: “Bless their heart.” And it stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly, I saw myself in that mom’s shoes and I’m seeing what it’s like to try to take a shopping trip with the kids running amok, begging for you to buy them something, needing a drink, a trip to the potty, a nap, a timeout. You’re just trying to get something for dinner, and trying to make it through the store as quickly as possible, hopefully with your sanity intact, and you can’t possibly fit them all in the shopping cart and there’s no one to babysit and…

“Bless her heart.”

I stopped the car and instead of grumbling to myself about the situation or shooting an exasperated look her way, I just smiled and waved the mom and her kids on. She’s having a WAY rougher day than I am. And I remembered a snippet I’d read in “Reader’s Digest” years ago (while in a doctor’s waiting room, no doubt) about a grandmother who was driving in her car with her granddaughter when she noticed herself on the verge of full-on road rage because another driver carelessly blew by her like she was standing still. Remembering that her granddaughter was in the car, not wanting to expose her to any new four-letter words, she simply said, “I wonder why that guy is in such a hurry?”. Her granddaughter laughed and said, “I’ll bet he’s on his way to his wedding and he’s running late!”. And the grandmother realized it was one of those a-ha moments and decided that, instead of losing her cool when someone ticked her off on the road, she’d just assume they had some kind of emergency (like being late for their own wedding) and let it go. And she found she got irritated far less often and enjoyed driving much more.

I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying that I am able to get into “Bless their heart” mode and stay there all the time. I don’t know anyone who’s that chill, except maybe the Dalai Lama and he’s just on a whole other level, really. I’m not saying there aren’t occasionally times that I wish the fleas of a thousand camels infest someone’s armpits when they cut me off in traffic, because sometimes I do. But I find the more often I say it, the more often I try to get myself into that frame of mind, the easier it is to stay there and the easier it is to not sweat the little irritations. And I’m pretty sure it’s probably good for my blood pressure and all that stuff, so it probably means I can eat more bacon, which is a definite bonus in my book.

Bless your heart.

(And here’s a really cute baby sloth because they seem like they know what being chill is all about.)

Have a great fourth of July!

baby sloth

I Don’t Know What I’m Doing Either, But We Might as Well Have Some Fun!

Well, here we are. Don’t you just love that new blog smell?

It’s true what they say – the first step is the hardest. Watching that stupid cursor blink while you’re trying to come up with something pithy and wise to share with the world can be maddening. But I’ll share a little bit about where I am and what I hope to accomplish with this blog.

I’m at a point in my life where I’ve come to a few realizations. One is that nobody knows what they’re doing. Not really. Nobody has their shit together all the time. We don’t like to tell our kids this but we don’t know what we’re doing, we’re scared to death we’re gonna mess it up and we don’t really believe we’re adults anyway so how the hell did we get to this point?!? *Deep breaths* We’re gonna get through this together!

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So here we are all together on the Internet, trying to make it through life without going off the rails and maybe hoping to have a little fun along the way. And as we bump along, we’re going to make mistakes but we’re also going to learn a lot (hopefully). And that’s what this blog is all about – learning and having fun. I’d love this to be a place to share hard-earned wisdom, funny stories, hopes, dreams and failures. I’d love to hear from other people – moms, dads, men, women, kids, anybody who has something positive to add to the conversation(s).

There’s going to be lots of sharing about parenting, about love, about travel, work, kids, relationships, family, and everything else life has to throw at us. I love to hear about what Oprah used to call “Aha Moments” – you know that moment when the light bulb comes on and something finally clicks? I love to hear people’s stories – where they come from, what they’re about, what struggles they’ve overcome and where they’re going. I love people that are living a bit left of center. Or hell, maybe a *lot* left of center! I love people with new ideas and different ways of living and doing their thing. I love it when people throw off expectations and “shoulds” and just do their thang. Like one of my favorite singers, Michael Franti says, “All the freaky people make the beauty of the world”.

I hope to connect with other people who want to share their lives and stories. I hope to share some stuff that I’ve learned along the way and stuff that I’m still learning. I hope to share cool music and positive stories and good advice and stuff that makes me belly laugh. (Also, full disclosure – there will be cursing and real talk, so if that isn’t your thing, consider this your warning.)

So hey, nice to meet you. Check back or subscribe – we’re gonna have some fun!

chris pratt

Peace,

Mama Bear