Wednesday, October 9, 2013


So lately Ethan's had this saying -- I'll call it a caveat -- he adds on to everything.

He'll be telling me about his day at school, and will tack on: "There's only one problem..."

We didn't get to go on the playground.
Mrs. B. forgot to talk about weather during morning meeting.
Mrs. C. wasn't there in gym today.

We'll be in a store, and he'll chime in, "The only problem is, I can't find the exit sign"...or the fire alarms...or the bathrooms.

I hear this nearly every day, about there being some kind of problem, about there being "bad news." The good things about the day come first, tempered by the bad, by the one thing that sticks out as being out of order, not right, missing. Where did this come from? I wondered, curious. For someone who is at times excessively introspective, I don't know how I have been so thick-headed.

The other day I was talking with Dan and heard it. I don't even remember what we were talking about. I just know those four little words came out of my mouth and the truth hit me like a thunderclap.

There's only one problem...the problem is...

I say it when I talk about my day, brushing over the good to give a gory description of the bad.

I bring it up when planning, quickly finding the reason why something won't work.

I even (how I hate to admit this) go there sometimes when Dan or the kids are helping me out around the house or with chores, and they don't do things the way I would have.

It's never been a secret that I wasn't born an optimist and have never been one of those people with a naturally sunny disposition. But darn, I thought I was working on that. I thought I was getting better. In the past several years I've been making a conscious effort to live with a more thankful attitude.

Yet in this moment I can only think of that anti-drug commercial from the 80's. You know, with the kid yelling at his dad: "YOU, all right? I learned it by watching you!"

Man, it's sobering when our kids parrot us.

I know I can't stay in this place, beating myself up. That would be, you could say, focusing on the problem. We're all works in progress. I'm still a pretty good mom.

But right now for a moment, to borrow from the 80's again, I'm thinking of Ethan and all that comes to mind is: Oh, schmack.



Anonymous said...

Aw. :}
Such a good reminder to guard our tongues.
And you're way more than a pretty good mom.

truthinlove said...

Deb, I've been there. It is just your refining gift getting a little out of control. You can come up with ideas and then tell people why they won't work, right? You are probably a creator/refiner like me. (: It's okay. You are doing a good job. The best part is, you know he is listening. Now what will you start to say and do so he can begin to parrot that????

Floortime Lite Mama said...

I hear you !!
I do the same sometimes shift focus to the bad