Posted by: coachingparents | February 22, 2010

Optimism, Anyone?


Optimism is one of my mother’s sneaky gifts.  I didn’t realize I was learning optimism when I came from school, grumpy over what someone had said or done, and heard my mother say, “Always look at the bright side,” or the classic, “There’s a silver lining in every cloud.”

It’s been challenging for me to find the silver lining this winter.  It’s been a long winter.  Lots of cold, lots of snow.  Snow piled on the boulevard makes it impossible to see cars when I back out of my driveway, so I look for cars when I’m in the middle of the driveway, say a prayer and back out on the street, hoping I hit nothing.  The only humor I’ve seen in that is when a friend encouraged me to back into my garage.  My husband is still recovering from the idea that I would even attempt to back into the garage next to his truck in an already tight space.

In fact, it’s that tight space that began the journey I’ll call house hunting, which led to house staging, which led to now I don’t know where a lot of my stuff is located.  A closet?  A box? The storage space we’ve rented but I have yet to see?

I need to believe there’s a silver lining in every cloud.  I know, deep down inside, that struggles develop character, and character is what makes us able to do our best every day, the process I call making the journey great.    I know all that logically.  I just don’t like it emotionally, especially during a long winter.

While I may not like the process, the outcome is highly desirable.  We become our mothers when we live the gifts of her values.  But we do something even more: we become who we are supposed to be.  Optimism is a value lived everyday by my “other mother,” Bernice, who turns 92 in just a few days.  Most likely she’ll be playing poker or enjoying a casino.  She’s an optimist who enjoys every game, but she plays to win.  My husband still hopes I grow up to be like her.  That’s real optimism.

I’ll be celebrating my own birthday a few days later in Cheyenne with my daughter Jess and family, watching Gavin play hockey.  But first, tomorrow morning I begin another adventure, a 22-hour road trip to Georgia with my daughter, Kelsey, and her 91 lb. retriever who will want to occupy the front seat.  Optimism anyone?

Life is a journey that hands us all kinds of things.  In fact, sometimes they’re thrown at us.  The gift of optimism means finding the good, believing that even when the silver lining is very thin, perhaps nearly invisible, it is still there, and will, with time, widen as we look back and appreciate optimism’s flip side, “This, too, shall pass.”

Winter will end.  Spring will come.  I leave early tomorrow morning and will see 40 degrees for the first time since last fall.  Then I will enjoy temperatures in the 60s and maybe even 70s in Georgia, before flying to Cheyenne where winter delivered another foot of snow yesterday. I’ll arrive home when spring is in the air, and I’ll even be able to find my stuff again.

Optimism, anyone?

My best,

Dee Dee Raap

Dear Mom E-Letter is a free monthly publication that encourages the journey of remembering and celebrating the gifts of a mom, and supports healing from loss. Please pass this on to your family, friends, as well as your pastor or parish nurse in order to help others who share this journey.


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