In today’s daily reflection I read, “Before entering this program of Alcoholics Anonymous I was never able to give without demanding something in return. Little did I know that, once I began to give freely of myself, I would begin to receive, without ever expecting or demanding anything at all.” Now, I know I’ve learned that over and over throughout my life, but this morning I stopped to really think about it.
I never thought of myself as selfish. But I’m not a big giver either. Lately, I’ve been wallowing in some self-pity. My two beautiful daughters are grown and living adult lives in other states, hours away from me. They don’t call me on any regular basis (I don’t call them regularly either), but they are a text or facebook post away at any given time.
I turned 60 years old while we were in Italy. It was my very favorite birthday. Not because I was in Italy, but because I turned 60 and I still feel 30. I love being 60. I think of it as my half-way point. I hope to live to be 100. Okay, I know the math, but I feel like the first 20 years of my life were just “learning years.” Learning to breathe, walk, talk, color inside the lines, stand in line, follow directions, balance a checkbook, drive, be responsible, etc. So I figure my adult life began at 20. That was 40 years ago and I have another 40 to go – so I’m at the half-way point.
Anyway – back to my selfish story. It was a big birthday for me. I got a couple “happy birthday” facebook posts while I was away…and that is always nice. But I returned home to a stack of mail and not a single birthday card. No card from my daughters, my grandchildren, my out-of-town friends. I guess they all figured that FB was enough. The only card I got was from my mother-in-law about a week before we left for our trip. It was one of those flowery cards that she gets in bulk and keeps in her desk to send each year. (That was mean – sorry).
I kept thinking – gee, I was a good mom. I stayed home to raise them, took them to the park, played games, made homemade ice cream with them, blah, blah, blah. Why didn’t they gush all over my favorite birthday?
So, maybe I’m not giving freely of myself. Maybe I give just enough to expect something in return. I started to read tomorrow’s reflection and it continues the lessons of relying on other people’s attention for my happiness. I must learn to give freely. I’ve got some work to do.