Forgiving My Father

Forgiving.png

By Veronica

“Forgiveness does not change the past but it does enlarge the future.”

Recently, I was fortunate enough to have some quality time with my Bestie Ryan.  She and I are often busy adulting, so I really cherish the time we have to catch up.  We talked about many things, but one thing stood out.  She brought up the importance of unblocking your chakras.  She’s becoming such a guru with this (and should totally write a blog about it).  In talking more, she connected the thought to one gleaming commonality her and I both share: we were raised by a single parent. 

Ryan spoke on how elements of your past can literally block your potential from being realized. The conversation stayed with me even after we parted.  So often you hear, “Forgiveness is not for the other person, it is for you.” But it is so true! The pain we hold on to affects our present health and relationships.  Another way to think of it is, in not forgiving, you pay the consequence.  Studies have shown that people who don’t forgive often have higher stress, blood pressure, anxiety, and physical pain.  They even live shorter lives!

It made me think about my own relationship with my dad.  Even writing that word “dad” hits me differently today, as it wasn’t a way I referenced him in the past.  Growing up, I knew who my dad was.  I knew where he lived, and had often visited with my (paternal) grandmother, brothers, aunt, uncle, and cousin.  My mother was very open and supportive in that she kept the doors open and the opinions neutral.  However, in thinking about the moments that made up my childhood, my dad wasn’t there.  As I became an adult, our interactions increased.  Looking back on it, it was me that was more standoffish.  I had support at that point, and had gotten over a lot of the hard stuff.  Why would forming and having a relationship NOW be a necessity?  So, the interactions we had at that point were often one-sided.  I’d smile and grin. Never really opening my life or myself.

When I told him I was pregnant with his very first grandchild, he told me she was his opportunity to make it right.  I realized he couldn’t really “make it right” until I unpacked and released my own feelings of resentment.  This process is teaching me a few things:

  •       Forgiving is not forgetting.  Moving on from hurt is not excusing or ignoring the infraction done.  One reason I didn’t fully forgive was because he was wrong, and needed to know it.  Freedom came for me when I realized that my feelings of hurt from his absence are completely separate from the act of forgiving.  Forgiveness is less about justice and more about grace. Grace that I pray my daughter will have for me when (not if) I make mistakes as a parent.

  •       Forgiveness turns a wall into a window.  Now that I am genuinely open, my dad has been present for moments that matter now.  I thought the hard stuff was over…I was wrong.  Forgiveness is truly a gift to my child and me as we both are blessed to have him to survive and thrive.

I am proud of the work that my dad and I have done thus far.  Moreover, I relish (to the point that it makes me emotional) the thought that my daughter has the opportunity to grow knowing him as the person he is now and not who he was.

Dad+and+Bailey.jpg

What are your thoughts on forgiveness?  I would love to hear your stories in the comments below!

 

Love Without Fear,

Veronica

Veronica+Bestie+Bio.jpg

Lessons from a Toddler

Lessons from Toddler.jpg

By Veronica

It has been a while since I’ve written about my little boo, Bailey.  Life comes at you fast, especially as it relates to raising a little person.  The biggest misconception I’ve experience about having a baby is that they aren’t a baby for long!  And by not long, I mean, literally seconds!  Y’all could of told me that my tiny 5-pound 7-ounces newborn baby would morph into a strong willed little person in what feels like the blink of an eye.  Already, she is running around our home and making decisions for herself. 

All in all, however, it has been such a privilege to watch her transition from knowing nothing to mastering various motor skills.  Truly, one of the greatest thrills has been seeing her learn how to walk!  When I tell you, Ms. Bailey has truly been dropping some gems in my adult life!  Gems!  I didn’t know a baby could deliver a sermon (with no words), but she has.  So, as your Bestie, I thought I’d share some of these lessons with you.  

1.     Start where you are.  While I do consider my Bailey Boo a genius, she was not born a walker.  She wasn’t even born a crawler, or roller for that matter.  She came into the world not having any of the skills needed to reach her ultimate goal.  But, she set her sights on achieving it one step at a time.  As I watched her go through each milestone, I could see her determination.  Now, the goal probably wasn’t to walk (as walking is just a means to an end), but she used what she knew to propel her to the next steps. 

2.     Get comfortable with falling.  Talk about getting back up again!?!?!  If a cat has 9 lives, Bailey has 97,000.  While this has wrecked my nerves, she never lets her current ability stop her.  Now that’s a word!  Even when there were tears, and sometimes bruises, she would take a moment, collect her thoughts, and just like the fall never happened, she would try again.  Even as a walker now, she still falls.  And with each fall, fearlessly, she never quits. 

IMG_9253.jpg

3.     Don’t let folks rush you…even your mommy.  So, Bailey started pulling up to walk at 6 months.  We would go on play dates with her baby bestie, and Bailey was mobile!  Moving!!  I was sure she would be an early walker.  She had a walker and several other contraptions to aid her in winning the walking race (the one I had in my competitive mind), and she used them often and effectively.   So, when her bestie started walking before she did, I was a bit shock. Bailey taught me that the journey is hers.  She would walk (or not walk) when she was good and ready, and that’s exactly what she did!

4.     Take the risk, and WALK!  So leading up to the day Bailey took her first several steps in concession, she took tiny steps here and there at daycare and at home.  She would walk along objects, like the table, but never completely by herself.  But one day (December 1st to be exact), she just walked.  The starting, preparations, and focus were important, but it was making a decision that day that made it happen.  Watching her, I could see her mustarding up the courage, and with a huge smile on her little face, she toddled her way to the other side of my bedroom.  Just like that…wow! 

5.   Keep going!  As if learning to walk wasn’t amazing enough, Bailey is on to achieving other goals:  walking up stairs, coming down stairs, learning/speaking words, feeding herself, and countless other things.  If this precocious soul continues in this vain, she will continue to teach mommy to always be working, growing, accomplishing, and trying to be better.  Go Baby Girl!

 

keep going.jpg

What lessons have you learned?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Veronica Bestie Bio.png