Don’t Miss the Magic

As we have all heard and those who live it, parenting is hard.  There are days when you lose your mind and days when you lack sleep and feel half alive (like today).   It’s so easy to harp on the negative, to think about all the things not done… the forever accumulating to do list. The challenges, the exhaustion, the LAUNDRY… ugh.

The key to achieving a more calm state, one I need constant reminding of, is to accept and on top of that… ENJOY.  There is magic to this time, to every age of a child, to every experience in family.  I find myself sometimes rushing the years ahead in my mind… oh I can’t wait until Little Man doesn’t need to get picked up constantly when I’m trying to make dinner, or Little Lady doesn’t need help with homework or endless answers to the constant chatter.   Moments later I think… there will be a day when they don’t need or want me like they do now.  I get glimpses when my daughter is sassy pants and wants to be left alone….   When you think about your own adult self and the independence you have now, it’s crazy to think you ever NEEDED anyone to survive… right?  But we did, we all needed someone.  If we were lucky enough, we had parents that loved and supported us… even amidst yelling and  stress and jobs and LIFE.. they were there.

So I strive for this and to not MISS the magic happening right now.  The sweet way my daughter still believes in the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, and Santa…and adamantly defends them to the older kids at after care that tell her they are fake.  She loves the magic still, the princesses and everything that entails… she’s so innocent and sweet… and even when I was yelling my head off today, she patted my arm and said “It’s OK Mama” with her big blue eyes shining up at me.  I really hope she never loses that, that inclination to lean towards compassion instead of anger.   I pray she passes it onto her little brother who adores her and smiles every time she is near.  The magic between the two of them is already palpable.

So many moments can just pass us by if we don’t take notice to them.. if we don’t allow ourselves to feel them.  Not all of them will be rosy or end well.   I think that’s OK too, life isn’t a fairy tale, but it’s real and amazing and getting hung up on the small stuff is just not worth it.

Take your moment today and flip it around… be appreciative of the hug at the end of the fight, the compassion you extended or that was extended to you… take the good feeling away, don’t hold onto the hurtful one… smile.  Take the approach to the day in which you live, laugh, and love.   I promise I’ll do the same… the world could use it.

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Puzzles

Have you ever faced a challenge that you couldn’t get to the root cause of, no matter how hard tried?  This almost sounds like a foreign concept to me based on my career of choice, which incorporates searching and unveiling hidden causes of stress and waste.  And though I am a strong believer in the “data doesn’t lie” statement that supports that data can tell the story of an issue, I realize that the data alone does not show the complete picture.  Nowadays I see there is another way of looking at things, an emotional, not quantifiable, way of learning the stories.  The anecdotal hints or reasons. These are equally important and should not be ignored.

So, when you are faced with a puzzle or challenge that is not easily solvable, what do you do?  And taking into account that your particular puzzle may be part of something or even of someone you hold dear, where do you go from there?

When it’s really scary and close to the heart, do you run and hide and hope it works itself out?  Or do you go after it head on and push fear aside? In my experience, I have done both.  In facing the challenge head on, there can be a lot of disrupt, lack of comfort, and all around uneasiness.  Who likes that?  So, maybe I have taken to hiding and hope it all works itself out.  Does it usually?  Truthfully no.  I have changed my ways in recent years and realized that most puzzles need to be faced head on and are worth the frustration.   What’s thrilling is when you can solve it and have that wonderful feeling of accomplishment!  On the flip side… when it’s an emotional puzzle, for instance,when the puzzle is a person you care deeply about, and you’re using your empathetic muscle to the MAX and feel like you are continually hitting a wall…OUCH !  The resulting overwhelming feeling of failure can feel like a sucker punch.

In my case, my recent puzzles of question are my kids.  My son who is still an infant took quite a while to figure out in regards to eating and sleeping… and I might note I’m watching him roll around in his crib as I type, even though last night and the night before he didn’t move an inch at this time.  Oh well, I will take the glass half full approach tonight and look forward to the snuggles ♥… I was not mentally able to do that months ago, luckily my brain gave up on fighting that battle and learned to accept what is right now.

As for my daughter, she’s tougher in so many ways.  You would think it gets easier as they get older, rationally they are now able to verbalize what they’re thinking and feeling.  Right?  Nada.  She just turned 7 and for the past several months she has been struggling at school.   It didn’t make any sense to me when she would seem to know her stuff at home and then fail when tested at school.  We’re still working out what’s going on there.

And her behavior has been all over the place at home, yet she remains an angel for her teachers.  I won’t even pretend to have her figured out on this front, but luckily, as in every complex puzzle, I think I am starting to find a few of the key pieces.  For one, when she flips out at home, I FINALLY got her to confide in me that she’s not getting along with a couple of friends from class.  Of course it breaks my heart to hear how she got her feelings hurt when one of her buddies was dismissive at recess.  In her world, that’s devastating to her and she really falls apart inside.   What’s so interesting is that she doesn’t let any of that out at school and promptly takes it out on me, Mama, within minutes of being picked up at the end of school day.

Now I know I am not alone on this one, but it sucks!  To have someone you love more that anything else in this world continually take out all their frustrations on you is rough; however, I gotta tell you… I see glimmers of hope.  I see the edges of the puzzle forming and now figuring out the middle will take some time and with any luck I’ll be able to figure out where most of the pieces fit and it will be worth every second.  I know I’ll never have every piece of this puzzle, I don’t think we really know anyone 100%… but I have faith that as long as she knows I’m trying to understand how she fits together, she’ll know she’s not alone and Mama will always be here, just hopefully not as the punching bag.

Until next time…good luck solving all of your life puzzles!

Photo credit: GT