exerting control

Why is he torturing himself like this? The heat is unbearable, and the walk to the pool is even worse. The pavement seems to act like a sun dish and radiate the hot rays directly to our bodies. And my four year old is walking …..ever ……so ……slowly.

I understand he does not take his usual pace of sprinting in this weather, but why prolong the pain? Once we get to the pool, which is a mere five blocks from our home, relief will wash over us.

I am sure to point this out to him in the most logical way that I can. He seems to move even more lethargically and I realize what I said had the opposite effect I was going for.

The same scenario played out yesterday. He wants to be carried the five blocks in the grueling heat and I tell him that is not possible at the moment.

So he determines to punish us all by walking ….as …..slowly …..as …..he …..possibly ….can. Yesterday his ploy worked. But today I figured out a different strategy of waiting for him at each shady spot I come to, and I am simply not all that worked up about it.

He is clearly causing himself more discomfort than any of the rest of us. I point out how he is punishing himself and the common sense does not seem to get through.

In that moment part of me wants to fly off the handle and scream at him because I just want to get to that cool water so badly. But fortunately today there is another part of me kicking in.

And that part realizes that sometimes, we all have a need to exert what little control we have in this world if for no other reason than to remind ourselves we have it. Even four year olds.

Because let’s face it, we humans are a controlling bunch. And no wonder. We cannot control the weather (don’t I wish!), we cannot control the passage of time, and as I have mentioned before, we cannot control the one thing we want the most in this life: love.

So we grasp at another thing we cannot control. One another. And we live in the illusion we can control the people around us because it gives us comfort. But when it comes down to it, no matter what forms of force or manipulation we implement, we do not get to make other people’s choices for them.

And as I swelter on the way to the pool it occurs to me that I have a choice to make. I can attempt to change my son’s choice to walk at a snail’s pace to the oasis awaiting us. Or I can recognize that he is asserting himself and respect his right to make his own choices.

So I quietly applaud him for recognizing one thing he can control. Himself.


Why am I so drawn in by this young woman writing about budgeting? Let’s face it; budgeting is not the most riveting reading material. But I am completely giddy. And it is not because of the budgeting information.

There are a couple of blogs I read written by young, single girls out chasing their dreams of travel in the big, wide world. I so enjoy reading about their adventures. Sometimes I ask myself……why?

The natural answer would be jealousy. That would fit nicely. They are living the life I am not. Except jealousy is not it. Not because I am so evolved that I never, ever feel jealous of anyone or because jealousy is evil and I am perfect and would deny it even if I did feel jealous. But because I know in my gut when I find the answer to the why I search for behind my sub-conscious choices. And my gut says that’s not it.

Their writing is just as fun as they are, but there is something else that draws me to them. And when I read this post about budgeting for a nomadic life, I figure it out.

Much of life is choosing what I am going to do with what I have. And somehow budgeting makes that all so obvious and black and white when most of the time living it out seems murky and confusing.

I love these girls and their lives and their writing because they are choosing to live their dreams. And so am I. And those dreams are completely opposite of one another. And somehow, that is incredibly clarifying and energizing for me.

Because there are days, like Tuesday’s post, when I need to be reminded that I am home with my kids because I choose to be. Because as far back as I can remember, the one thing I desired most in life, the one thing I longed for was to raise a family with my husband and grow old together. And not just the picture on the Christmas card for other people to see. The real deal. A lifetime of love and life…together.

And sometimes living that out is different than I thought it was going to be. Harder. Trickier. Messier. But no less beautiful. And while I acknowledge living my particular dream requires my husband’s choices as well as my own, it is still the life I choose everyday.

And I remember all of that when seeing someone else making different choices and being just as fulfilled as I am. Their dreams are no more or less valuable. No more or less meaningful. Slightly more glamorous at times (which I think is so fun to read), but no more or less beautiful.

So thank you Kate McClafferty and Hilary Billings! May we all have magnificent adventures whether at home or traveling the world!