I have a similar theory about negativity as I do about guilt.
. There have been some sleepless nights, kids with tummy troubles combined with other added stressors, all layered onto of the fact that we’ve gone ahead and taken our home apart in order to swap our tv room and our art room…voluntarily swapping furniture, repairing drywall, changing mouldings, and painting, you know, in our spare time.
Anyone who knows me, knows that my love of order and my incapability of maintaining it are my largest struggles. I’m a woman on a mission of self-sabotage. I’ll organize any given room only to leave a stack of things to sort ‘later’, which of course never comes. “Why is there so much S&*! laying around! I’ll curse.”
I drive myself crazy.
I love to collect treasures for making projects, shiny rocks and shells from trips, fabrics from old clothing to repurpose, buttons and metal beads, small boxes and containers to sort and organize all of these beautiful bits into.
But clutter suffocates me. Ugh.
So you can imagine, how much I love having the entire contents of our Tv room in the main, open concept part of the house. It’s something that I can’t put into words, the heaviness it brings me. I suspect it’s partly because of how dark a room feels with too much furniture in it. I mean, I value some of the concepts of fengshui– I like my chi to flow, but it’s also just that life is trickier with three guitars in the main part of the house and a toddler who is delighted to find a hammer on the kitchen table at breakfast.
All in all, these are insignificant problems, and I’m aware of this. Last night I finally had a chance to unload all of this stuff, bouncing around in my brain, threatening to explode like fiery, hot lava. I felt a release, and a deep sense of gratitude for my husband’s unacknowledged suggestions.I was there, I heard them, likely shot them down, only to wake up this morning, feeling as though they were my own.
I put a plan into place and took action this morning.
The thing about negativity is that it spreads like wildfire. It’s as contagious as the flu. Anyone within listening distance is the next victim. With six people under one roof, that’s a hard cycle to break, so I reminded myself that these unhappy feelings have the power to push me forward, that I have to do something about them.
Sure, I could sit in my misery (pass me that tub of ice cream!), as I have now for several days, or I could put on my big girl pants, grab a ball peen hammer, laugh like a twelve year old when I learn its name, and begin working on the drywall.
So that’s exactly what I did.
Our house is quiet now, with the kiddos off to bed. It’s peaceful, and I can hear the purr of the wood stove’s fan….a most comforting sound in the winter. It reminds me that I’m warm and safe.
I’m left to reflect on the bits of energy and thought left swirling in my mind after a chat with a lovely friend. Here’s what I’ve discovered…I remember when I was new at this game and the whole world warned me to soak it all up because it would go by so quickly. This phrase, although well-intended, felt as though it was on repeat in my life, and I lived in fear of missing a moment. It suffocated me. I had truly given into the fear that if I was not there for the little things, if I didn’t hear all of the things the kids said all of the time, they would shut me out. I would have lost the parenting game….
I am relieved to see that I took these ideas too literally. There is room for ebb and flow in everything. As long as I am connected to our children, there is room for me to be imperfect; in fact, it’s a valuable lesson.
Packing away my egotistical perspective of being the perfect parent creates room for being a purposeful parent, and I’m so thankful to have reached this phase in the game. And you know what? I was there for all of the moments….but they still passed. Time slipped through my fingers despite my tightened grasp.Children grow. They develop their own ideas and eventually, they flee the nest. It’s inevitable…It’s beautiful.
I may as well let go and enjoy the ride, after all, I’m still growing too……..
When Wildflower was small, we showed her every opportunity to believe in magic.
We crept through wooded areas and dreamed of tiny faeries who lived amongst the cedar grove. We told her elaborate tales of dragons and little mouse families and of Santa’s elves, with hopes that these stories, would help her to weave belief and depth into her world, to save her from slipping into cynicism and sadness as she awoke from her childhood.
These stories always included her own insights and imagination.
As she grows older, we’ve begun to notice that she is simply transitioning into playing along with our game, and helping us share the tales with her younger siblings. These stories connect us.
We’ve never felt that this was considered lying to our children.
For as long as people have been able to communicate, story has been the singular most valuable way to teach children about life. Indigenous people are famous for their beautiful legends while fables and folklore colour the history of the Celts. Even the oldest books are filled with stories for the purpose of teaching.
We, all people, learn best when we are connected with the purpose of the teaching, when it paints a vivid picture for us, and as a body of relatively educated humans, we eventually can choose for ourselves what is tangible and what is for the purpose of entertainment (hence why you can’t remember much about quadratic equations, unless you were passionate about that stuff).
Now, as my baby girl is no longer such, I’ve begun to realize that she brought back the magic to my own eyes. A world that once felt dreary, as though there could be no more Christmases, were coloured a new hue as we shared in this journey together.
Though I’m fortunate enough to have two more souls to share stories of elves and dragons and magical flowers with, I know that this, too, shall pass.
Someday, I’ll take a walk in the woods, and I’ll spy a special knothole where a tiny faerie resides. I’ll turn to share the story with my smaller companion only to realize that the dog isn’t interested. And then I’ll remind myself that magic doesn’t just exist through the eyes of children.
Words of wisdom shared with me this summer have been echoing through my mind reminding me to keep ahold of my own sense of wonder, and I hope to do just that.