Do Ducks Fly? I am a 65-year-old grandmother, and I just asked that question today. I've grown so accustomed to seeing ducks on land, waddling about and quacking that I forgot they actually could fly. Of course, I've also seen ducks in the water. Years ago when my three children were small, we'd take bread pieces to the park and feed the ducks. They are so graceful, as they float and dive in the water.
Through the years, I've forgotten that I too can fly. Years of taking care of others, waddling about and quacking, can make you forget the heights that your spirit can take you. When I've thought of death, I've dreamed of coming back as an eagle, or a seagull. Never had I realized that I've lived the life of a duck until this moment. Yes, I've had great moments and many low and sad moments, but mostly just everyday up-and-down moments.
One of my earliest memories is of myself as a five-year old child, crying because I had to take a nap with my baby brother. I've spent a lot of my life crying because of one thing or another. When I was little, my grandmother told me to offer up to Jesus those things that made me sad and unhappy. I don't think I grasped the truth of her statement. It just seemed another silly thing that adults tell children. Throughout my life, I wish I could have realized that in my happy moments I could do anything, but in my low moments everything was a chore. These low moments are when we need to be extra careful and caring of ourselves, and we need to know when to say no to others. I have the tendency to volunteer my time when I'd really rather stay home. It is better to avoid doing too much, then feel resentment for doing more than I was willing to do. Resentment can eat at our souls and destroy our happiness and relationships. We need the caring of someone else when we are at a low ebb. Women need to learn to ask for help. This is the one thing in my life that I would change, if I had it to do over again. "Ask" is a very simple word. It means a mountain of things. Ask for love, help, respect, or time. I always thought that if people loved me, they would help me. Of course, if they were like me, they would automatically know when I needed help. Like a lot of women before me, I just waddled on doing everything, resenting and crying inside, waiting for the light to dawn in someone else's head. Poor me, all that wasted energy when I could have been taking care of myself and enjoying all those times I spent crying and resentful.
When I was young, I didn't know what I believed in. As a young woman, I still didn't know my philosophy of life. Now, as an aging woman, I know what I believe in. I believe in love. Not just to love my children, but also to love myself. I love my country, my town, and the people in my neighborhood. I don't pretend to know all about love. It took me most of my life before I could even say the word. I thought showing love was doing things for my loved ones. I've asked my grown children recently, if they ever doubted I loved them because I never said I did. They told me they took it for granted.
I tell them now that I love them, but I didn't until I recovered from a suicide attempt over ten years ago. This is the story I am going to tell you. Why I think my life molded me into the woman I've become. I am changing every day and learning to accept and to love. The most important lesson that I'm learning is it's okay not to be perfect. It's okay just to please myself and let loved ones and friends do for themselves. It's still hard for me to know what I want. It may take years before I am comfortable just being me.
The story of my life includes several family settings. The early part was mostly spent with my aged grandparents, with my mother flitting in and out, more like a sister than a parent. When my mother married a second time, my brother and I lived with her and her new husband and children. When my stepfather lost his job, I was sent back to my grandparents. My grandmother decided to send me to live with my Aunt and Uncle in Florida when I was ten years old. After two years, my mother wanted me back but my aunt sent me to my father whom I'd not seen since I was a baby. He had since remarried and he and his wife had other children, as well as my younger brother. After two years, and frequent abuse by my "father", I called my aunt and asked if I could return to their home in Florida. There I remained until I married my childhood sweetheart when I was twenty-six, and I became my own person for the first time in my life.
If you had asked me during my marriage if I was happy, I would have said yes. I knew I loved my husband and children, and I enjoyed having them. It was the years of swallowing my own needs that had taken their toll, and I had learned to bury those needs inside myself until the anger and resentments swelled beyond my control. After my husband drowned in an accident, my children left for college and the Military. My foster-parents then became invalids and needed my care and attention. During this time I had a love affair that ended badly. I had the misfortune of falling in love with a man who was unable to really love. He wanted me in his life but kept me at a distance. He was unable to commit and I was unable to let him go. Things went from bad to worse. I didn't see it coming. I only knew that nothing I could do would make life worth living so I wanted to end it. I had good things in my life, but I couldn't see them or enjoy them. All that richness was buried under hopelessness and helplessness.
This is my story...
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