-- Photo credit Tobie Andrews (2004)
Honestly, I am not a country music fan, but I happened upon this song the other day. Needless to say, 15 minutes later, I wiped my tears and tried to compose myself. It's just absolutely true!
Last night was our Lower School Carnival. I couldn't help but flashback to when my kids were little, excitedly bouncing from room to room -- fishing for prizes, getting their faces painted, or winning the grand prize "Snot Shot" gun (which actually made my, then, 8 year old son break down into tears of joy!) However, lurking alongside those snapshots as a young mom, are memories of being overwhelmed, exhausted, and even irritated! I remember thinking, is there something wrong with me? Why is this so hard?
Looking back, I can see what a gift those years were. Did I enjoy them? I think so, I remember being very busy SURVIVING them, much of the time. Parenting is difficult. Don't get me wrong -- being a mom is the hardest job I ever loved so much! Looking around at our parents at the carnival, many of them volunteering, after they had already put in a full day's work. The students literally bouncing off the walls. The excitement actually crackling in the air as they dragged their parents all the way from the DJ, to the petting zoo. What a precious night! -- I saw my own babies in every one of their faces. I also saw myself 15 years ago trying to locate & corral all three of my kiddos, only to head home for an hour of reading books, singing songs, and rubbing backs till they all fell asleep. I realize now that it is normal to be overwhelmed, sometimes. Being a mom can be flat out exhausting, but it's worth every single minute!
I remember my own mom telling me not to "wish my life away," as I couldn't wait to get to college and "start" living. I, of course, believed her to be bordering on crazy - so why in the world should I listen to her? However, I find myself saying the same things to my kids, as they yearn to be on their own, fantasize about their weddings, or declare their future babies' names. Striving to remind them gently that their life is happening NOW! Please don't miss it! Enjoy it!
These days, I don't hear "sing just one more song, Mommy." My evenings of trying to skip pages so my head could hit the pillow five minutes earlier, are long behind me. So my wish for you is to cherish every single page (they will catch you anyway). Live in the now! Don't get caught up comparing yourself to the carefully contrived virtual life of others on social media. Forgive yourself when you become overwhelmed and your fuse is a little short. Finally, even though she is not around to enjoy this, I have to end this blog with three words that will always be difficult to say out loud: "MOM WAS RIGHT!"
I woke up in Wichita today to below freezing temperatures. The kind of cold where unfurling yourself from the comforter is actually painful! Even my dogs wouldn't go outside without bribery. However, this afternoon I landed in Dallas for a Franklin Covey "Leader in Me" conference. Even though I am no stranger to rush hour traffic, I took my life in my hands walking to a nearby restaurant -- only a four minute walk, but I truly wondered if I was going to make it in one piece. I don't think pedestrians are "a thing" around here, not to mention this silly notion of them having "the right of way."
I ate at a lovely Mediterranean Grill where I asked to sit outside. Although there were several tables filled with patrons, I was the only one enjoying the patio. Before my food arrived, the waiter offered to move me inside because it was "so cold." Seriously -- I checked the temperature = 76 degrees! No way! I was loving it. But this was my unique experience. Everyone else was looking at me as the crazy one, sitting outside on this somewhat overcast, "chilly" evening. Simultaneously, I was wondering what was wrong with all of them!
It just reminded me that sometimes this is how we go through life. We have our unique views, our history of experiences -- and others have a completely different life background -- their perspective on topics (much more important than the weather) may be polar opposite of our own. Or, may I be so bold to say, "wrong" (according to our view). Nonetheless, who are we to judge when we know nothing of their history? And yet we do -- we all do (me included). It's just natural for our history to be "the default." We have to purposefully work to shift our personal perspective to the side in order to make room for others. However, once we do, it broaden's our world -- not to mention, deepens our relationships as we actively work to understand another person.
We are teaching Habit #5 this month to our little ones at school = Seek first to understand, then to be understood. My mom used to say, "God gave you two ears and only one mouth for a reason. Listen!" All relationships are enhanced by this amazing thing called listening! Someday, when I grow up, I will remember this wisdom BEFORE I judge everyone else for not being just like me!
By the way -- the $10 Uber back to the hotel was totally worth it!