Who are these kids?
Every teacher that said my kids were a joy to have in class is a LIAR!
I'm only sort of joking. When the city shut downs began, I innocently thought it would be a two week thing and life would just go back to normal. I never imagined the way it is now. I'm always really proud of my kids and think they hung the moon. But y'all, these children are runnin' me ragged. There is not enough to do in a day and they don't seem to take well to boredom.
I had activities planned at the start of stay at home orders, but then school was canceled for the rest of the year and online learning began. It took some adjusting to find a routine that worked, but I'm happy to say we've figured it out. My little one may be getting the short end of the stick. She is my fiery little Leo and she cannot be tamed. So I try to keep the screen off as much as I can, but inevitably I resort to it so I can just have a minute without someone asking me a question.
I've learned so many things about my kids. I remember when my son started kindergarten, I wrote this heartfelt post about how I would miss him. How he would navigate his day alone and I wouldn't be spending most of my day with him. How naive. Here we are. 3rd grade. 24/7. A day full of questions, arguments, screaming, and tears. OK, it's not that bad, but I think he's definitely going for some kind of world record for questions asked.
It has been an emotional roller coaster the last few months. I've been battling my own anxieties about my business shutting down and the close contact of my field. Some days it spills over and I'm short and frustrated with my kids. One such day happened a few days ago and I yelled at my son. I was impatient and couldn't deal with the questions. I sent him to his room and sat there just vibrating with frustration. I took some deep breaths and felt broken. This wasn't OK. It isn't his fault or responsibility that I'm going through this and he certainly cannot be the one who bares the brunt of my anxiety fallout. My husband offered some loving and supportive words and walked with me to our son's room so I could mend what I'm sure was a broken relationship.
"He doesn't like me. I've failed him."
"Not yet, you can still make it better. He just wants to be happy, that's his baseline."
My husband's maturity and reason are some of the qualities that instantly drew me to him. He was calm and measured, no matter the turmoil under the surface. He's always really good at reigning in his emotions and focusing on the goal. I, on the other hand, am a complete bohemian when it comes to emotions. I wear them on my sleeve and spill them immediately when my cup gets full. No rules, just complete reverence for the raw natural feelings that I struggle to strain through a filter. I often look to him for guidance and tempo when I'm spiraling. He considers these strong emotions my passion. I consider them a fire hazard. Volatile if given the right fuel.
I'll dive into my anxiety in a different post. This one is about my amazing kid, who taught me a really valuable lesson. I sat at his desk and stared at the floor. I was so ashamed, I couldn't find the words. He was working on some lego creations, completely oblivious to my body language.
"I'm really sorry." I started and I began to cry.
I paused. Why? Wasn't it obvious? I just yelled at you and it was completely unreasonable.
"I got really angry and lost my temper and I shouldn't have yelled at you like that. I love you and I wasn't speaking to you in a way that honored that. I'm so so sorry." The tears trailed my cheeks and down my neck. I couldn't even see his face through the blur.
"Oh, it's OK, I already forgot."He hugged me tight.
I let out a shocked breath and raised my eyebrows at my husband. Is this kid serious? It had only been maybe 20 minutes.
In that moment, I was transported to the infinite arguments I had with my parents. Honestly, I could rehash every single one. If they yelled at me the way I did with him, there was NO WAY I would have forgotten. I would have demanded an apology, not gotten one, and then held it against them for years.
I was in total awe of my child. This little boy that I've raised and is half of me. This was certainly not from me. This must be that magical thing my husband has. I thanked God for this blessing. I was really aware that it was a second chance and one that I would not squander.
If you are committed to your happiness, nothing will stop you from being happy.
I learned in that moment, that if you are committed to your happiness, truly a seeker of happiness, nothing will stop you from being happy. Not even a short tempered mother. This is an innate quality for my son, but it isn't for most. It wasn't for me. I have practiced looking on the bright side for decades and I still have moments that my negative emotions consume me.
I was so stunned by his reaction, that now every time I feel my impatience bubbling up, I hear his little voice telling me he's already forgotten and I simmer back down. It's like the wooden spoon on top of the boiling pasta water. (We all know this hack, right?)
Find your wooden spoon.
Wishing you infinite patience,