Spunky, Sassy, even Sexy at Sixty?
Yes! And why not?
A long time ago, someone close to me tried to crush my spirit and conform me in his own image. My ex-husband ruled with an iron fist and belittled me. I was downtrodden for so many years. Thank God I didn’t remain that way!
I thank God for all that He has brought me out of and through! He never promised a bed of roses. Even after being pricked by thorns, there is healing.
You see, God made me to be ME! God has made you to be YOU! Yes, it’s true that He loves us just the way we are. But, I believe He loves us too much to leave us that way. He longs to perfect us to become our better selves.
For those of you who have read my story, “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace” (on Amazon), you know that 25 years ago, God brought me a wonderful and loving help mate; one who embraces my uniqueness and even my sometimes crazy self. I can be ME – the good, the bad and the ugly! Don’t get it twisted, I do strive to being more of the “good.”
Once upon a time, I felt so lonely and neglected, but not anymore. I have a loving close-knit family – my children are all adults and each carry their own strengths and uniqueness. I am surrounded by positive, caring and fun-loving friends who genuinely refreshes my soul!
I don’t care who you are, no man is an island unto himself. We. Need. One. Another.
As I mature in age, may I learn to take things slowly and not count the moments, but make the moments count. Life is a gift and we are planted here on this earth for a purpose. Let’s learn to bloom where we are planted.
Some worthy quotes to remember:
- Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age.
- Age is a case of mind over matter.
- We age not by years, but by stories.
- In youth we learn; in age, we understand.
- Don’t let anyone that doesn’t know your value, determine your worth.
- One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and be understood.
- Youth is a gift of nature, but age is a work of art.
- Lord, teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Birthday celebration with family and a few friends.
This song relates to me! Please listen to the words and may it resonant in you, whoever you are!
Yes, in the scheme of things, I am still fighting a battle. But I am reminded that the battle is not mine but the Lord’s!
Know who your enemy is! The worse emotion that we feel from time to time is fear, which can cripple you if you let it. But don’t allow it to.
Dad: A son’s first hero. A daughter’s first love.
The fathers in my family are called Dad, Daddy, and Papi. Newsflash: None are perfect! But each one represents love, courage, provision, and strength. Their eyes glow with purpose. Their smiles melt hearts. Their chest swells with pride. Their callous hands protect. They stand tall with dignity. And their embraces offer comfort and assurance. Yes, they are the pillars in our households.
It’s said that every man is trying to either live up to his father’s expectations or make up for his father’s mistakes. I don’t know if that’s true. I only know that each man represented in my family strive to being the very best possible. Each hold a mantle and carry a torch for the next generation. Each dad represented in my family lays a solid foundation, even those who have crossed over to the other side. I can’t help but to think about my own grandfathers. They were strong, respected dedicated men with a constant presence. They left behind a legacy. When the tough got going, they didn’t cave under pressure. They persevere with Puerto Rican pride in every fiber of their being.
To the men in my family who are dads (and have yet to be): I love and admire each and every one of you. And to my dear husband who married me with four children, I share this quote: “It takes a strong man to accept somebody else’s children and step up to the plate another man left on the table.” I salute you.
I salute you all.
Remember: Any man can be a father. But it takes a special person to be a dad.
© M.A. Pérez, 2018, All Rights Reserved
Last year, my oldest daughter and I were asked to be a part of a workshop at our church, speaking about adult daughters and their mother’s relationships. We had made a list and examined our strengths as well as our, ahem, weaknesses. I knew from experience that mother-daughter relationships can be both complex and diverse.
There are many ups and downs, no matter how positive, or complicated and trying the relationship. Psychologists say daughter’s primary complaints are that mothers try to baby them being overly critical and demanding. From mom’s perspective, daughters don’t listen to them, make poor choices and have zero time for them.
I did not find this teaching comfortable or an easy topic. There are many challenges in parenting and this thing called “motherhood” hit me between the eyes at an early age. My mom raised me pretty much as a single mom, as she never married after she and my dad split. She had common law relationships–I can think of three–and I was pretty much left on my own. So yeah, I was neglected and raised myself. Matter of fact, our roles were reversed and so, I’ve always felt that my childhood was taken from me!
I left home early and married very young. I had my first child at the age of 17, and by the time I was 22, I had my 4th. Ironically enough, I did a lot of the same mistakes in parenting as my own mother. I wrote about my personal journey as a daughter, wife and mother. You can say I was a real hot mess back then. In retrospect, I thank God that He rescued me from myself! Now that my children are adults – I can think of a lot of things that I did wrong and regret in my own role. But nothing worthwhile comes easy; at least it never did for me!
In every challenge there are defeats and triumphs – and all of us have some scars along the way.
Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
I am familiar with the power struggles, the pet peeves, and the miscommunications.
What I see in my daughter(s), the good, the bad, and the ugly – I sometimes see a reflection of myself. Oh! Those flaws! Clearly, I may not always liked what I see … or hear. But you know what? We’re on the same team – we love each other, and we are there for one another.
Jer 31:16: Thus says the LORD, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD, “And they will return from the land of the enemy.”
I can’t stress how I prayed, interceded and wept for my wayward child (children). But as a mother – that’s what we do! We don’t give up and we don’t let up until we have God’s peace. Know that it’ll be in His time frame, not necessarily in ours. And when God does it, it’ll be a sure work. He’ll leave nothing undone.
HOW CAN WE BE STRONGER TOGETHER?
Here are a few golden nuggets from my own firstborn’s perspective:
Everybody knows that TWO heads are better than ONE. In Girl scouts and in the 4H Club, you learn that three strands of string make a strong rope. To play harmony on a piano, you play with two or more notes. And as you know, you won’t find a giant redwood tree standing alone!
- Teaching by example, learning by experience, in values and in skills – all help us become stronger together.
- Spending quality time with one another binds us stronger together as a family; i.e., meal times and outings.
- Appreciating each other – showing love and affection.
- Sharing a laugh builds us up – laughter is good medicine.
- Sharing in responsibilities, accomplishing tasks together.
- Stand by each other in times of trouble, uniting and pulling together when things get tough… when we encourage each other, we are stronger together.
Most importantly … when we learn to forgive each other, being opened and honest, yet KIND, we become stronger. Remember: attack the problem, not each other.
We encourage each other, consult with each other, spend time with each other, learn and grow from each other. No matter what the circumstances, despite feelings, perspectives, weaknesses and “bumps” along the way, when we face life together, find God together, pray together … all of these acts and then some, we can get through it and be stronger together!
My daughter(s) and I have come a long way.
Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.
Here are my own acronyms for MOTHER & DAUGHTER:
M ake the first move
O mit malice
T hink before responding
H ave realistic expectations
E xtend grace
R epair damage quickly
D are to forgive offenses
A gree to disagree
U nity is better than division
G ather your words with prayer
H old unto hope
T alk about ways to communicate
E mbrace change for the better
R espect each other
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
And by the way, I also have an adorable son close to my hip! God is good!
Missing my loved ones in Florida, and thankful for the beautiful memories.
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”
He is the one for me. He is the man who has stuck by my side since day one as my loving confidant, helpmate and best friend. He is the man who loves me, cherishes me, and tells me that I am beautiful. He loves me on my best days and he loves me on my worse days. He knows my past and has never belittled me nor made me feel inadequate. He is faithful, a man true to his word. I can count on his constant love and remain secure in his arms. He praises me in my accomplishments and encourages me in my failures. When I’m happy, his warm laughter melts my heart. When I’m sad or fearful, his gentle touch wipes away my tears.
I love you my husband. And I am proud to be your wife. I am truly grateful to the Lord for joining us together to share the remainder of our days. As we celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, may our constant love nourish and sustain each other until the end of time.
You can read about him in Chapter 42 of my book: “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace”