Thursday, January 17, 2013

Building Relationships

I never knew that time could pass so quickly until I had kids.  Those long days (and nights) of feedings, diaper changes, toddler antics seem like a lifetime ago.  I look at pictures of when the girls were babies and can’t believe how much time I feel I have lost.

One of the reasons that I look back with such disbelief is that for many years I was in a bit of a fog.  Working overnights or working two jobs or both.

Now that I have been out of that fog for many months and can actually experience how quickly life passes, I’ve come to realize a scary fact.

These warm kittens are growing up.

And I want to be a part of that.  Not simply a bystander, looking on from a thick haze.  I want to be part of their lives.

This year, I want to focus on developing those relationships around me.  Strengthening the relationship with my girls is part of that.  Turning off the technology and meeting the girls where they are.  Saying yes.  Saying yes when Katy wants to look at another I-Spy book together.  Saying yes when Katy invites me upstairs to my own bed to read books to her.  Saying yes when Lucy asks for help putting together a craft.

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned a night when the girls and I were sewing together.  Those simple moments, where I have let go of an agenda, are the most meaningful to me.  They warm my heart.

Simplicity is also rooted in building relationships.  This isn’t about spending money on fancy outings.  This goal is about appreciating the every day activities with those people I spend every day with.

Of course, this also includes Billy.  This includes the rest of my family, my friends.

This focus of building relationships is also greater than my friends and family around me.

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I am a social worker.  This business of helping people, you can’t enter it lightly.  It changes you.  It changes how you see the world.  But for me, it feels right. 

Often, I think of what I used to tell others when I was 18 and choosing social work as a major.  I want to help people.  To be honest, that’s probably the answer that I still give people when they ask why I chose social work as a profession.  That response seemed so trivial. 

Until lately.  Last month, I wrote a post using a Mr. Rogers quote that you have probably seen on facebook.  Here’s the quote:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of 'disaster,' I remember my mother's words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world.

I then realized that simple reasons are ok.  I just want to be a helper.  I want to encourage others.  I can’t solve the problems of the world. 

But I can be a helper.

Again, this thread of simplicity emerges.  Being present for other people (family, friends or strangers) and showing that I care, well, this is the goal. 

As with all of my goals, I am trying to base them in reality.  I am trying to set myself up for success.  The reality is that after a week of working with people or dealing with drama from my ladies, I also like quiet.  I also like to be alone.  And that’s ok. 

Moving forward, I have to remember that these goals don’t define who I am.  This is simply a guide for what I want to focus on this year.

Awake.  Being present.  Actively participating in the life around me.

And sometimes that will also mean quiet.  Alone time.  Recharging.

That’s ok too.  2013 is going to be a good year.




This post is part of my focus for 2013 to be awake.


  1. I'm a counselor and I hate it when people act like it's naive or immature to get involved. Just as you said, we cannot fix the world but we can maybe fix one little sidewalk crack, and maybe, somehow, that will make a difference.

    1. Exactly. Those little moments do make a difference.


Be kind, not judgey