Thursday, April 14, 2011

Life Lessons

Life is a lesson, or actually a series of lessons. Some can be easy and fun to learn, others are hard. Some may appear impossible, and other’s will damage you. We all have experiences we’re proud of, ashamed of, even confused about. Yet, those are all lessons that shape us into who we are. They change us, sometimes for the better and other times for the worse.

My family was always very poor and for the first seventeen years of my life we lived on the crime filled streets of Chicago. I would fall asleep to the sound of gun shots. My high school constantly had the police called out, and by the time I was a junior, we had a staff of officers and security manning the hallways. At the start of every school year our graduating class would get smaller and smaller. Some students simply dropped out, some were held back, some became parents, others went to jail, and there were the handful who laid down in the ground.

All of those experiences shaped me. It made me more aware of the dangers out there. More cynical and less na├»ve. It made me street smart and book smart. I don’t imagine life to be filled with rainbows and butterflies, and I didn’t have to wait until my adult years to learn that.

One of the most fun lessons I had to learn was taming a bad boy. My husband’s father died when he was nine and his entire family fell apart. His dad had four children with his first wife and three with my mother-in-law. Before his death, both families co-existed and my husband was the youngest of seven kids. After his death, the other four siblings vanished into their own lives. The hurt of losing not only a parent but half of his siblings, made my husband a bit cold and distant. He doesn’t let people into his heart or life easily. So many women have tried to shape him and mold him, tame him, only to fail. Yet, according to my hubby, I came around and knocked all of the walls down. So many women tried to become his wife (without pregnancy being a factor, as he married his first wife because she was pregnant although neither of them truly loved each other. The marriage was short lived and a disaster from what I’ve been told) yet I’m the one with the ring (without a baby attached). Taming a bad boy is definitely a lesson made for a romance novel.

Now I’m embarking on a new life lesson. My preteen stepdaughter just received her gift from Mother Nature. She went from being a spoiled little brat with a bad temper to a spoiled monster with an even worse temper. Yesterday (we get her every Wednesday and every other weekend) she said her mother threatened to kill her if she didn’t drop the attitude, and her father almost killed her because of her snottiness. Guess who has her this weekend? Yes. So wish me luck in learning this life lesson.

What about you, what life lessons shaped you and which were fun to learn?


  1. Oh wow, greatest of luck to you. There are days I'd love to back hand my son for his attitude, and he's only five!

    Life lesson: Don't stay in a bad marriage just because it's a 'comfort zone'. Getting out may be a risk, and will expose you to new, but sometimes your marriage may be so bad nothing worse than staying in! Because I faced it, I'm now in a GREAT marriage with a man who honestly loves me and the kids.

  2. I've had a very coddled existence compared to the one you describe here. I guess we all have the experiences that shape us into who we are and who we decide to become and these experiences can be turned to good or bad. You sound like you did well with yours.

    Offhand I can't think of any particular life lessons, but over all life for me has been good.

    Tossing It Out

  3. Great post and best of luck with your step-daughter.

    I never thought of my childhood being protected or that I grew up naive but perhaps so compared to what you describe. Off the top of my head I can't come up with a life lesson but we all have experiences that change us.

    You really should write that story!

  4. Oy ... I'm not looking forward to that with my DD -- she's sensitive and emotional during the best of times, so I suspect she'll spend her periods in the fetal position, sobbing.

    Hang in there -- most kids DO eventually grow out of it.

  5. Yikes, I had a really easy time of it compared to you. You've tamed the bad boy though so you can tame the stepdaughter. Good luck! (Rather you than me... :))

  6. Best of luck with your stepdaughter. You can be a real role model for her. Sounds like she's not getting that at home. It can't be easy going from home to home. Poor little thing.

    My biggest life lesson has been learning to slow down. Stopping to smell the roses, so to speak. I have to work at it every day.