a new mantra

Her words sank in and offered me a whole new way of looking at things. Previously I would have seen my shortcomings, my failures as a mother. On top of that I would have inflated the emotions of my son to eclipse anything else.

Now I saw an opportunity to empower him.

I find it so amazing how just one little thing, just one little sentence can turn a light on in a room I didn’t even realize was dark.

But Zachary, you did just the right thing, didn’t you? You called out and mom heard you and you found each other. You took care of yourself.”

This was new.

Not the chatty mom who made a pit-stop on our way out of school. My poor children are quite accustomed to my tendency to find and stop at any opportunity to have a meaningful connection with someone.

But when I make such a pause and my children are young enough to not realize this and they keep going, they loose me. They look around and mom has mysteriously disappeared. Panic may set in to their small little hearts.

Thus what happened to Zachary this day. And when his nervous holler for mom found it’s way to my ears, I responded how I always did. “I’m so sorry, honey! I stopped and didn’t tell you. You must have been scared. I am so sorry.” Because, of course, this is all about me and how terrible I am.

But then she affirmed my son and his ability to find his way out of a sticky situation.

He took care of himself. Wow. That is something that has taken me almost 40 years and a lot of therapy to do. And my then three-year-old did it without even really thinking about it.

Children solve problems. All the time. And I WANT my children to be problem solvers. I want them to know how capable they are. But I realized in this moment that sometimes I take away their natural problem solving skills because I am so wrapped up in my own self.

This became my new mantra. My eyes were opened to how my children solve problems all the time, all over the place. And I could point that out to them. So that then they know they have this very important skill. And hopefully it grows.

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help

I had no idea the help I was about to uncover. I sat down with my husband’s homemade curry (I know right? I am so lucky – thanks Babe!) and my son’s iPod was sitting right there on the couch.

So I turned it on in an attempt to turn myself off. At least a little. Maybe just set myself on autopilot to detox from the post Thanksgiving shopping I braved earlier in the day.

I checked email.

None of my children were bothering me. No one was asking me questions. Sometimes I love technology. I know it is not always the best thing for my boys’ brains. I may simultaneously feel like a bad mom. I may pay the price later with overly-squirrelly boy energy.

But in the moment I feel a profound amount of relief and gratitude.

And because my children were all plugged in for the moment leaving me alone, I had time to chase some rabbit holes on email that mostly I avoid in an effort not to have hours of my time slip away into nothingness in the blink of an eye.

I read an interview that one of my friends did with another friend on their blogs. Leeana (www.gypsyink.com) is a talented author and Tina (www.winsomewren.blogspot.com) is a lifelong artist.

What I found was inspiration. Just enough to help me actually upload my last post. And then sit down to write some more. Sometimes help comes at just the right time, in just the right way.

What I was reminded of is how contagious creativity is. And while part of the reason my posting here has slowed is that life sped up; there is another element at play.

With the speeding up of life, I have found it harder to read my favorite blogs. I feel like I am just barely making enough time to write on my own blog.

And that is no good. Because creativity breeds creativity. If I want to be creative, write creatively, I have to make space to enjoy the creativity of others.

I was so encouraged by Tina’s “about” side bar. She is an advocate for creativity, and I love it. I need reminders of the importance of taking care of myself. Of nurturing the artist within. Of making space in my schedule and my heart for being creative.

I need reminders that it’s okay. That I am better for who I love when I have time doing what I love. And then I need to remind myself not to beat myself up for not having it all figured out.

Because life is often a dance. And when things like this happen – so serendipitous and perfectly timed – I am reminded to trust the dance of life even if I need help remembering the steps.