Next week is Betty’s birthday. She’s my mother-in-law.
My husband said we will be meeting his brother and his wife for dinner to celebrate.
With my back as vertical as possible and my shoulders squared up, I faced him. Speaking from my center, I said, “No, I’m not going.” His face turned sour. He didn’t like my answer.
In the past, I lived my life around my husband and other people. Always, around October, we have a birthday dinner for his mom. And on Mother’s Day, we take her out to brunch.
I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I have always gone along and tried not to get upset that I wasn’t doing what I wished to do on Mother’s Day.
Once in a great while clarity arrives; you reach a place of truth that belongs only to you. The fog lifts.
I had such a “fog lifting” moment.
To certain people in our lives, you just have to say,
I have honored Betty’s birthday for the last 25 years.
I am using my Get Out of Jail card for this one.
It’s her birthday. She is 84 years old.
She has lived through eight marriages, raised two sons, had cancer and fought it. She was a dynamite restaurant owner and manager and has had her share of the usual miserable lows of life.
She simply plowed through them. She’s a work horse like that.
I admire her strength and tenacity.
I love her ribs and pot roast. I wish I could cook like her, but that will never happen.
The other side of the coin is she that she is a poster child for
passive aggressive-drama queen behavior.
Saying “No, I’m not going” was a huge lesson for me.
It took every ounce of energy I have to say those four words.
I prayed about speaking up with honesty and with integrity in my voice. I had to believe in me . . .
that I have value beyond just being able to fulfill someone else’s expectations.
Betty’s expectation is for me and for everyone else to be there to make her happy. Every time, we fail and she lets us know it.
But, the only person who can make her happy is herself.
Meeting the expectations of other people and pleasing them is not what I was meant to do on this planet.
I know that challenging relationships and setbacks are opportunities to grow–use these opportunities to speak up, stand your ground, and follow your heart.