Saturday, January 03, 2009

New Year's Success

What a great surprise I had this New Year's Eve. My younger sister, Casey, called me on Wednesday morning about 11am and said she and her husband, Glenn, and her children were coming to visit! I am originally from Springfield, MO (aka "The Ozarks"). My Mom, Dad, 2 of my brothers (Colby & Creason), and my sister, Casey, all still live there. It's in the southwest corner of Missouri and only about a 6-7 hour drive to Frisco.

Casey said that Glenn and she had driven to Ada, Oklahoma to check out a hospital there and the Ada community. Glenn is finishing up his doctorate as a physical therapist and wants to go into public health upon his graduation. Apparently, one of the opportunities to work for the government would be in Ada (the closest opportunity to both Missouri and Texas.) Ergo, the trek to Ada (why else would anyone choose it as a "vacation destination"?) Ada is just a couple hours north of Frisco, TX so they said they'd go ahead and head on down to see me.

I got on the phone with my brother, Chad, who agreed that he and his new family (Kenda the wife and Deacon the cutest most adorable and hilarious 3 year-old son) would join us! I called one of my scrapbooking friends, Donna Garcia (who has become one of my best friends over the last couple of years), to see if she'd come over, too!

We had the BEST time playing games and hanging out. I love board games, but since it's just me and Lloyd, we don't get to play them often (except our cut-throat Boggle competitions.) I can't think of more fun people to play Balderdash with (a game of lying and conniving) than my siblings. No one makes me laugh more or feel more understood than they do. There's the rare occassion that someone else really gets the "Carey" humor, and those are the people we let come over to play (ie: Donna.)

It's not really profound, and not too terribly intersting I guess, but I just had to post about how grateful I am for my siblings. As the third of seven children, growing up it was hard to get along with so many other kids all vying for Mom's limited amount of attention. But now, as adults, they are my best friends and I always look forward to our visits. I know "only children" get a lot of perks, and I often wished I was an "only child" while growing up. But now, I wouldn't trade my siblings for anything (well, except for Colby, but he wouldn't fetch much at market anyway! J/K.) My siblings are some of the most intelligent, acheiving, independent thinking, talented, and verbose people I know. Sometimes it's annoying because we all seem to think we know everything and the other person is always wrong. All in all, though, the interchange of thoughts and ideas and even the occasional "feeling" or two is a delight to take part in.

My siblings probably don't realize how wonderful they make my life, even though I don't see them as much as I'd like to. I'm one of those people who needs to "belong", to have a sense of "connectedness". While I enjoy that feeling regularly with my husband (who, incidentally, is an only child and can be overwhelmed by the chaos when all the "Carey Clan" gets together), I also like being part of a large family and the foundation that it affords me. On top of that, these are people who have seen me at the worst and lowest points in my life, but have also seen me achieve and conquer some of my most difficult challenges. Their understanding of who I really am and what I'm capable of, inspires me to want to be a better person: more loving, kind, and generous.

Incidentally, I've been working on my craft room overhaul today. It's frustrating because I don't have much handyman experience. I have to learn as I go, which can be both time consuming and dangerous! I'm working on building shelves so I have more space for all my excessive scrapbook paraphenelia. Lloyd is totally on board with this idea, just so long as I don't make him "help". After several attempts to drill a screw into a "stud", I sat down and started crying because I couldn't understand why it wasn't working. I went through the whole "woe is me; no one will ever help me with anything; I'm a loser 'cause I can't figure out how this works" pity party in my head. After crying it out for a few minutes (which is just the way I do things), I went to my computer to try to Google information about screwing into studs.

That's when my Dad called. Today is my oldest brother's, Connon, birthday. I guess Dad called me trying to get ahold of Connon. Connon rents a room from us (but is out of town right now on a ski trip to Colorado--lucky!) After explaining that Connon is out of town, I was ready to get off the phone and back to my Googling. For those of you who know me, I detest talking on the phone. But, if you know my Dad, you know he's a talker and once he's got your ear, there's no easy way out. He went on and on for a few minutes about the weather and how the neighbors' dogs are rotten and they just don't make this or that the way they used to, etc. You know, standard old people stuff.

Then he asked me how I was doing. I don't know what got into me. What I should've said to try to speed up the call and increase my chances of getting off the phone within the next 5 minutes was, "Fine." But no, for some odd reason, I decided to just tell him that I was frustrated as heck because of this stupid screw and the studs and how I couldn't get my drill to drill it in properly and I didn't know what was wrong and how miserable I was because I had to do it all by myself, blah, blah, blah. Dad kind of chuckled and said he thought it was pretty cool, though, that I was making the attempt, as most gals wouldn't even try. He then went through a series of questions to check what tools and hardware I was using, etc. After affirming that I had all the necessary equipment and I was on the right track, he concluded that I must've inadvertently picked the wrong part of the stud to drill in and I should try a new location. Dumbfounded, I said, "Could that really be it? I should just try a new spot?" Dad said, "Sure. I mean, I know you don't want extra holes all over the wall, but there's a small chance that your screw wouldn't go all the way in because you hit another nail or screw." I thought, "Hmmm. That never occurred to me. I guess I could try another spot. Wouldn't hurt."

After finally getting off the phone with Dad (and I mean that in the nicest way possible), I went back to my craft room to give his suggestion a whirl. Would you believe he was right? I had no problem the next time! Dumb "Carey" luck dictates that if there's a way to get something wrong by rare and unknown factors, a Carey will find it every time. I was near gleeful at having found a solution and being able to continue on to the next step of my project!

My Dad and I aren't close and really don't see eye to eye on much. We usually end up getting into some kind of disagreement or misunderstanding if we're around each other too long. Mostly, I've just "written him off" as an old, troubled man. How refreshing it was, though, to be reminded today that everyone has something to offer. How can I, someone who prides herself on trying to be an open and loving person, so easily forget that everyone has value? Sure, my Dad has made a lot of mistakes in his lifetime. Those aren't easily forgotten. But, that doesn't mean he's totally useless as a person. My Dad spent many, many years working as a roofer, a janitor, a lumberjack, whatever he could to earn a living. He has tons of experience to offer, if but given the chance. I wish I could be better at remembering that. And, not just about my Dad, either. I wish I could more often look at those around me and instead of being annoyed or bothered, look for the good in them, their experience and wisdom, or what they have to offer. After all, maybe others look at me and wonder what it is I have to offer? How horrible it would be if they never bothered to look deep enough to find out who I am and what valuable experience I have to share. How lonely and forgotten that must feel.

I'm not making New Year's Resolutions. I don't do that. But, I am trying to be mroe thankful that I feel so connected in my family. I'm also trying to look for ways to be more inclusive of others. I want to love better and stronger. I want to be more consistently aware that every person is SOMEBODY. One of my favorite quotes was written in 1905 by Bessie Stanley of Lincoln, NE:

"He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction."