Friday, February 27, 2015

Who They Are...Not What We Want

The morning had just about done me in. Again.

You non-morning people, I don't know how you manage. I consider myself someone who jumps out of bed bright-eyed and bushy-tailed by 6am or before, yet still, still, mornings seem to slam us around here.

Somebody's mad that they don't have the right clothes to wear.

Somebody's upset about breakfast.

Somebody forgot to do their homework...doesn't want to go to taking 43 minutes to get dressed.

Yesterday, I managed to break off my passenger side mirror on our trash can while pulling into the driveway. Don't ask.

Usually I return home after dropping first Anna, then Ethan off at school, and the kitchen looks like a bomb hit. And this is with me trying to clean as I go!

This morning the issues of the day were that I needed to drop off books at the library before they opened, so they wouldn't be overdue, and Ethan needed to do reading for school he'd forgotten to do the night before, in the car.

All he had to do was take out the book and read. Only first his gloves were on, so he had to take them off. Then a song that he liked came on the radio. Then he couldn't find his glove. Never mind there was no way he could have lost it in the last four minutes in the car, he HAD to find it before he could read.

And then we were already almost to school, and I threw my hands up in the air (well, not literally, as I was driving) and said "Forget it! Forget reading!" Darned Common Core, making little first graders read every night. In first grade, I read my first sentence. Ethan was reading biographies, for goodness' sake. Whether or not he was truly understanding was another thing.

Then it was off to drop off library books (We had them all! We had them all!) and off to a meeting for my mom's group (MOPS).

I wasn't feeling particularly defeated but the morning hadn't been sparkling, either. In retrospect, I think it was the nagging that bothered me most...having to do it...trying to bite my up and getting louder and louder the closer we became to being late. Is this what I wanted to be remembered for...a constant, nagging, droning, Charlie Brown teacheresque voice in the background?

At the meeting they put on a video. This guy was talking about loving your kids, about loving people extravagantly. He was telling all of these stories. He told about, after 9/11, talking to his kids about the world and how they wanted to write to a bunch of different world leaders and ask them to talk. And he let them. He didn't blow off the idea. Only, somehow, a bunch of these leaders wrote back. And somehow (this guy obviously had the means the way most of us don't), he took the kids out of school and took them to some of these countries, and they met and dined with actual presidents.

This wasn't the whole point. The theme of the video ended up being: we need to spend more time telling people who they are, what we see in them, what they're doing right, and less time telling them what we want them to do.

It's so easy to see everyone, particularly our spouse and kids, as projects we need to work on. We think -- if only we could just shape them into this mold that I've got ready over here, instead of letting God do that.

Yes, there's a time for discipline and instruction and structure and all of that good stuff.

But then there's a time for celebrating. My kid can read! Maybe he forgot to read last night, but he can read and read well, when there was a time I wondered when in the world he would talk. And my daughter may have her emotional moments...and she puts them to darned good use up on the stage.

Maybe I can't fly them around the world and do something crazy exotic, but I could laugh with them. Maybe I could say yes to something I'm always nixing. Maybe I could stop saying "be careful" and instead come out with, "I trust you."

Maybe I could just take the smallest of breaks from all the do's and don'ts and remember to tell the people in my life how awesome they are right now. Works in progress. As we all are.

I left that meeting not feeling the weight of trying to be a better mom but inspired. It's time to make some memories, even if they don't involve a trek to Bulgaria. It's time to love extravagantly.


Annie said...

Ooh. I love it when a post hits home. This is me. I need to do better at this. Thank you for the reminder!

Linda Gould said...

Deb - while you are remembering to love extravagantly, also try to remember that you are perfect exactly the way you are. <3