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.

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discovering hope in the cold

What is your favorite season? I am always curious to hear what people have to say in response to that question. To me it is so obvious that spring is the best season of all. The sun is warm but not hot, the land is waking up out of the slumber of winter, leaves are turning green again, the hours of light are increasing, and the air holds the aroma of hope and potential and that is why I love it so.

But some people love winter. Perhaps you are one of them. It seems a little bizarre to me, but then again, I choose to live in San Diego where it can be argued there is no winter.

Even in San Diego, my winters are a constant attempt to get warm. I have a bag of rice that I heat in the microwave at night to snuggle my toes against. I shake my fist at the sky when it pours rain during school drop off or pick up. I have even begun to dress as strategically as possible with my under shirts and scarves and socks and boots and jackets and it seems like such a bother. I hate to be cold.

So of course I wonder why anyone would like winter. But lately I have been thinking metaphorically about seasons, and I am beginning to have a new respect for the winters of my life.

I am hoping against all hope that the snow is melting and light is over taking dark at the end of what seems like a much too long season of winter for me and my family. A few years ago I incurred a trauma that lead me to deal with some nice items of baggage I had collected in my journey through life. That took its toll on our little family of five.

We made it through that just in time to have the economy and some investments catch up to us, thus giving my husband his turn with the bags he has collected along his way through life. Add to that my oldest son starting middle school, throwing our family dynamic on its ear and leaving us groping around in search of a new normal.

And it has felt very dark. But just in the last few days I have seen some glimmers of hope that spring will in fact come and bring life to my weary soul once again. And I just want to stand in front of that rising ball of light and weep with exhaustion from enduring such a lengthy time in the cold.

Winter Snow - Landscape

I realize with this dawning hope that we are making it through this difficult season. And our family will be stronger for it. We will be deeper. More bonded for having weathered the storms of a bad winter together.

Things happen under that mysterious layer of cold. Often I can’t see what it is until the snow melts, but I am beginning to realize that the season of winter has depth, beauty, and value all its own. Even if it means months of cold feet.

What beauty do you find in winter?