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  • Writer's pictureMj Pettengill

If All Else Fails, Send Cookies


Where is the love? When we are wrapped up in whatever we are doing, it may appear as if everything stays the same. As time passes, one becomes profoundly aware that this is a myth. Yes, we may feel stuck or possibly afraid of the unknown or what we imagine when filling in the blanks. This may be especially true now as we navigate new terrain. Your focal point may be blurred, hard to grasp, or completely lost. Okay, I will not go any further—writing in riddles. At times, this can be an effective tool, but there are situations when it’s just not fair. I write this lightheartedly, but it is real. Do you remember that feeling when you stay with a book or a movie, waiting for the payoff, and when you reach the ending, in your head you scream, What? Did I invest my time in this? I try to avoid that. So, let’s begin with the children. One of my major life lessons is that it is vital to savor the time you have as a parent when your kids are young. Yes, they do grow up quickly and, in most cases, will go out into the world.

I realize that anything we once considered normal has been fading into faraway dreams. Chaos has replaced what we thought of as normal, and that’s okay. Remember, before we can fix something, it has to break. Before rebirth, death must occur. For healing to take place, we must know and recognize our wounds. While raising and educating my children, I had a hunch that my role as a mother was probably the greatest gift that I would have in this lifetime. In my view, it is a privilege, an opportunity to see the world through a fresh lens that I may have missed during my own childhood. I will gladly say, and with one hundred percent conviction, I was absolutely correct. Was it perfect? Of course not. There will always be mistakes made along the way, being human with infinite possibilities wrapped up in a bow for self-growth and earned wisdom. We created and shared a rich experience—learning, farming, performing music, playing… the list is much too extensive to continue. I loved the learning. People used to ask me about a lack of social skills. Sigh. That is a general misunderstanding that could not have been further from the truth. But I am not here to climb up on my soapbox, especially now, when education, raising children, and daily life in general, has become so wildly unpredictable. My daughter was a traveler, a gypsy, busking—playing music on the streets—exploring our vast country. As daughters often do, she has found her way back home. Both of my sons—successful in careers that they pursued because of the perfect recipe for self-discovery—are far away. I have learned how to trust. In time, missing them has reinforced the value of not just living in the present moment but also the art of practicing grace and gratitude. This awareness is not only applicable to parents and their children. It is a factor in most relationships and situations. For example, both of my parents are no longer walking on the Earth plane. I did not wring my hands and worry about how I would deal with their deaths, but instead, I was aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy relationship during our lifetime.

Yes, the grieving and ungrieving is real. However, I was aware of when healing was necessary during our lives, and I set out to do so. I made sure that I would not have regrets. This healing process is ongoing. It is never too late to heal ancestral wounds. (It's what I do.) If you are struggling in a relationship, ask yourself, if that person died tomorrow, how would you feel? Have you taken care to express yourself in truth? Do you have words unspoken that will swirl around in your head for the remainder of your life?

When you tend to your inner garden, you and others will flourish beautifully. That being noted, there are times when leaving things unsaid is the best course of action. If this pertains to you, then accept it and embrace peace. With my sons being far away now, I have been thinking of creative ways to connect. Lately, memories of us baking together bring about a smile. I decided to bake some of their favorite cookies and ship them. If you are missing someone, unable to partake in a personal visit that you have had in the past—perhaps an elderly relative or one who lives far away, and traveling is not an option—consider creating a care package. To me, sending a handwritten letter, homemade cookies, an assortment of sweets, and a few other trinkets, is an expression of love. Imagine the joy and sense of being loved when a package lands on the doorstep of a special person in your life. And, a little inside tip for those who feel frustrated or on edge with their child(ren) or aged parents at home, they will not be underfoot forever. If you feel like screaming, please do so. Go to a private place, and let out a primal scream. Take a few cleansing breaths, and before returning, give a prayer of thanks. If need be, ask for guidance.

But do remember that your children, parents, friends, and siblings will not be here forever. This is life. So, even in the midst of many crumbling ruins, keep in mind that we will rise from the ashes. We will not merely survive; we will thrive. Choose that.

If you have to reach out, please find your safe person and do it. If you need to be there for others in your circle, return the favor, but not to the point of emptying your well. It is only when you practice self-care that you can pass it along. You may believe that you love others, but it is not wholly possible until you love yourself. So, here and now, I send light and caring thoughts. To my children, I send cookies, holding future hopes and dreams in my heart.

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