Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chill Out Time

Sitting in the car waiting for my son to emerge from his preschool building, I pushed the lock button on the door with a satisfying clunk. I sighed heavily, sank back into my seat and allowed my eyes to close for a few moments.

I usually bring along things to do in the car while I’m waiting for my children at their schools, sometimes a tutu, sometimes a notebook to pen potential blog posts, sometimes supplies for cards that I’m working on. It’s rare these days that I just sit in the car without my hands working on something.

It was nice to let my mind drift a little, at least at first. In my mind’s eye I could see my baby girl tucked securely into her car seat, that baby girl who has such a sunny disposition the majority of the time. The baby girl that I almost stopped dreaming about.

I realized how lucky I am, while sitting there in my warm car with that beautiful baby slumbering behind me.

As soon as I registered the fact of my good fortune, I thought of my other two children. They are just as treasured and I am just as lucky that I have them, yet lately I imagine my children are not feeling as lucky to be my children. If there were a tape recorder (I know, I am a dinosaur) recording my interactions with them what would I hear upon playback?

My tone is often impatient, clearly conveying my displeasure with whatever they are doing. Sometimes all they are doing is giggling together and I find myself shushing them. What is wrong with me? They are obviously cheerful, happy children. Why do I seem to want to stifle that?

When we were kids, my brother and I played messily. We had 436 Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars between us and when we played with them we had every one of them out. Our miniature car cities stretched across the back of the davenport (for my mom), drifted into the hall and spilled into our bedrooms. I don’t remember my mother ever yelling at us to get it cleaned up. In fact, she often let us leave our cities out for days if we were still playing with them.

When my kids get a bunch of toys out I start to get tense and immediately remind them that they’ll have to clean everything up the minute they’re finished playing. I don’t know why I expect them to clean up so much since I have my own crap laying around everywhere. They must be so confused.

Sitting in my car, thinking about these children that I’ve been blessed with, I resolved to change things. Things will not change overnight, but little changes will eventually become big changes.

I’m going to try to get my own crap put away and organized. Perhaps purge some things, difficult as that is for me. I’m going to watch my tone when speaking to my children and let them giggle more. I’m going to let them play with the toys without harping on them before they’ve even begun to play that they’ll need to clean up.

I’m just going to lighten up a little. Life is good. I’m lucky. I should be acting like I know this, because I do.

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Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great idea- more fun for everyone! Amma

Ashlie- Mommycosm said...

Good luck with that! Not saying that you won't be able to do it, but I struggle with the same issues and know how hard it can be to let go.

It's nice to take a pause and shut off your mind for a bit, reminds you what is really important.

cardwear said...

I'm starting to think that we must be twins, separated at birth... :)

for a different kind of girl said...

I've been the same way. I find I can still slip back into that when I'm feeling particularly stressed. However, honestly, it's so worth stepping back and just being part of it all.

Feener said...

i just finally organized our basement playroom and live is so much better !!!

Tracey said...

Awesome resolution. I have been doing more of that lately, too. The toys don't bother me as much, but the messy eating is killing me lately. I have been better about cleaning with a purpose instead of just cleaning when it gets really bad. It's working ok.

chelle said...

We all need these moments to reflect and resolve to do better. I went through the same thing a few weeks ago. I was so tired of hearing myself speak, that I just stopped nagging and started enjoying!

angi said...

*sniff* I could have written this post.

I do let the cities/mess stay, but yell for other things like wrestle mania in the living room, etc. I am tired of yelling, but even more tired of not being heard.

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