Please Don’t Forget Me

As much as I’d like to deny it, I harbor a deep fear of being forgotten.

My dad was a pastor, and the ministry always came first. Every Sunday he shined brightly in the pulpit, while mom always played the supporting role. As a child watching the two of them, I preferred Dad’s spotlight to Mom’s backstage work.

Mom had a near-fatal heart attack at 56 (I just turned 57). Over the next 17 years I watched her health decline and her circle of friends grow farther away. She died largely isolated from everyone except her immediate family.

I was determined not to let that happen to me.

Like my mom I married in my early 20s, had kids and chose to stay home and raise them. That was a rarity in my generation, but David and I decided this was the best thing for our family.

When the kids were small, I kept up with writing and photography work on the side. In 1989 I shot the cover photo for the December issue of Alaska Magazine. That led to an offer of a full-time job. I would finally be putting my journalism degree to work. Maybe there would be a byline; I would not be forgotten.

But with a toddler and a baby at home, I ultimately turned the job down to stay home with them.

Do I regret that? No, but I did spend years scrambling to stay entertained, motivated, creative and remembered. A life like June Cleaver on the Leave It To Beaver TV show terrified me. I wanted to be remembered for something!

There are a whole lot of stories crammed between that decision not to work for Alaska Magazine and having grown kids. But the important thing you need to know is that my longing to be remembered, to be needed, drove a lot of my decisions, sometimes to the point of pain.

As my kids turned into adults, they didn’t seem to need me anymore. In fact, all three went through phases where they had little to do with me. It hurt. And out of that pain I poured my creative energies into a tourist destination called Paint A Scarf.

Through trial and error, my husband and I created a fun, entertaining and unique art form that anyone could do. Guests came from around the world and they loved it. They loved me. I was remembered.

Paint a Scarf also made me very, very busy. I now understand why most successful entrepreneurs launch in their 20s – building a business takes an enormous amount of time and energy.

As our family grew and healed and matured, suddenly our children wanted to have us as part of their lives again, and Paint a Scarf stood in the way. Then my dad developed Alzheimer’s and dementia, and he needed care, so he came to live with us. You can read more about that here.

I’ve spent the last seven years creating a very glamorous public persona. My friends look at me with awe as a successful business woman, making the decisions, calling the shots, having my face on the training video. I’ve made lots of friends and they remember me.

But the attention came at a price.

My daughter and daughter-in-law are both expecting, and by this time next year I’ll have six grandkids. They both want me to be there to help. My 9-year-old grandson hugged me tight when I came home for Christmas, but he was crestfallen when he learned it was only for two weeks. My dad is entering hospice, and that’s a whole other level of need for my attention.

I went to the doctor yesterday and learned my stress hormones are off the chart. I’m showing serious signs of pre-heart attack. Just like my mom did.

So I need to make changes – in a hurry. Why is it so tricky to jump off this spinning carousel of busy-ness?

I’m realizing it wasn’t fame and notoriety that I craved over the years, it was having influence. And as I age, I’m realizing influence comes in many forms.

I’m still afraid of being forgotten. But I’m going to begin cutting back on work in small steps. We’re shutting down the national expansion of Paint a Scarf, but we’ll continue to operate in Alaska. By May 2019 you’ll find me once again painting by the creek; feel free to join me.

In the meantime, I’m valuing the influence I have in a smaller circle. I’ll spend more time with family and friends, write more, paint more, create more, encourage more. Most importantly, I’ll be available to love those I love.

 

2019-01-01T10:06:51-08:00

24 Comments

  1. Felicia Desimini January 1, 2019 at 10:33 am - Reply

    Love you, Gina! Wishing you the BEST in 2019. ~Love, Felicia

    • Gina Murrow January 1, 2019 at 10:41 am - Reply

      Thank you, Felicia! Happy new year!

  2. Jeri Templin Green January 1, 2019 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Reading this touches my heart…I’m not so much afraid of being forgotten, I just want to be known… as ME, Jeri Templin Green !
    My father passed away during Korean War in 1951…I was 4 years old…my mother took over as mother and father and I, as a shy, quiet child, became Kate’s daughter…I waited until I was 22 to marry/leave home/start a family…I, too, opted to be a stay at home mom…until my world spun into divorce, I became a single mom with 2 little girls and I had to step out of my “box” and become a breadwinner….but still remained known as Michelle and Shirlee’s mom…in 1981 I married a man I met at church, he had 4 children to add to my 2, for 28 years we were a blended family of six, with all the stress and joy this can bring…adding 14 grands, 8 great-grands, I continued to work, watch over my elderly mother (she passed at age 92, in 2006), watch over my husband as he struggled with heart desease (he passed as age 72 with a massive heart attack in 2008)…but still was mostly known as JC’s wife….after his passing, my retirement in 2012….all the children were grown, raising their own family, need for granny is gone….I sit here starting 2019, alone (except for my dog, Lily)…wondering what happened to Jeri? I pray this is the year I find her and boldly proclaim her identity…

    Gina having known your family since the early 1970’s, admired and loved all of y’all…your parents were such an influence in my spiritual growth, it grieved me when Jane passed, it grieves me to see the spiritual giant that Bro. Gene is reduced to his world of confusion and it grieves me to read how your health is affected by the stress of your world…all I can say is my prayers in 2019 will be for both of us to achieve what the Lord has had planned for us since the foundation of time…🙏🙏💕🙏🙏

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:06 pm - Reply

      Wise words, Jeri. I’ll be praying for you especially this year to find out all who God made you to be! Thank you for including me in your journey. I look forward to seeing you face-to-face again someday! —Gina

  3. Kay Peace January 1, 2019 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life. It was beautiful to read, and to – if only for a moment – remember that there are other women who struggle behind the facade they have built. I am blessed to have read this today. I wish you great happiness and success in every endeavor….. because making homemade playdough and washing your aging parent’s feet are both life changing experiences.

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      Agreed, Kay! Thank you for your encouragement.

  4. Bonnie Milan (Your Deck, July 2018) January 1, 2019 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    Delighted you opened your Gift of Wisdom Gina. Looks good on you. Wear it well and enjoy it every day.
    Abundant blessings to you and your family. Happy New Year❣️

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Bonnie 🙂

  5. Liz January 1, 2019 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    I admire the work you do and relate to what you shared here about motivation. Being a sah mom has often caused me to feel forgotten. I hope you’re able to “work from your rest” in the coming years so that the beauty can continue to impact people.

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Liz!

  6. Kristy Tracy January 1, 2019 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Gina, you have always been the sum of all your family, friends and talent. And God has used everythhing in your life to make you into a beautiful tapestry that portrays His glory. May you shine strong and bright in this season of your blessed life. I wish you JOY inall your endeavors. Happy 2019!

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Kristy!

  7. Diane powers January 1, 2019 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    You won’t be forgotten. I love painting scarves. I too am dealing with my mothers health and she to is isolating herself from all of her friends. Sounds like you you know what is most important. Hope to see you in the future

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:03 pm - Reply

      I’ll keep you and your mom in my prayers, Diane.

  8. lynn brautigam boots January 1, 2019 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    Love this and totally understand. I would love to go paint with you sometime.

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Anytime, Lynn; I look forward to it!

  9. Deb Cobbett January 1, 2019 at 7:30 pm - Reply

    That was so beautiful. I’m touched and will take your wisdom shared, with me. And, although you are far away in Alaska, I will never forget you. I’m glad I met you. Blessings to you, your family and your circle of family, friends and nearby ventures. 🌺

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      I’m glad we met, too, Deb!

  10. Stephanie Bass January 1, 2019 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Good for you Miss Gina! I so enjoyed meeting you and am pleased to see you taking care of yourself. Also happy to hear of the healing that’s happening in your family and though it is difficult, the eventual healing of your Dad through graduation to Heaven. Continuing in prayer for you all.

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Stephanie 🙂

  11. Gigi Campbell January 1, 2019 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Such an encouragement. You are living the life God planned for you before you were born and thank God with His direction and guidance you found “ it “ at every stage of your life. . I am blessed by your life and thanks for sharing that to us… what a gift.❤️🙏

    • Gina Murrow January 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Gigi!

  12. Cherie Blankenship January 2, 2019 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Gina,
    I know God is always in control and has planned everything in our lives. He had us meet and I truly feel that we clicked immediately! I know given time, we would become close, forever friends. While I am sad that you will no longer be spending much time in AZ and that your further expansion of Paint a Scarf is on hold. I truly relate to your story of losing oneself while trying our best to take care of the ones we love. Your story in many ways is also my story and also that of many women I know, love and admire! Trust me, you will never be forgotten! Yes, you have titles- daughter, wife, mom, gramma, friend, entrepreneur, business owner, photographer, writer, artist and more. All those titles add up to Gina! Think of the titles as your gifts from God, we think of you as a gift to each of us! You are a child of God, a Godly woman, an amazing, fabulous, loving woman, you are loved and unforgettable! May God bless you in 2019 and beyond! I pray our paths will cross again and that I can join you next to that beautiful creek to paint and enjoy making more wonderful memories!
    Thank you for being you!

    • Gina Murrow January 5, 2019 at 7:38 am - Reply

      Thank you for such wise words, Cherie! Yes, we will be friends for a very long time! And I look forward to painting with you again sometime, especially if it’s by the creek 🙂

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