Monday, August 27, 2012

small choices...big impact

"Our job is to prepare our kids for a life beyond us." What an empowering task." Kelle Hampton

Is it the time of year?
Is there a full moon?
A shift of seasons perhaps?

A reoccurring theme keeps coming up in conversations, with coworkers, friends, family, well
seems to be about everyone, whether it's about the first day of kindergarten or dropping your first born off at college......over and over I hear (or I say)
What did I do wrong? 
I don't know what to do.
Did I do enough?
What else can/should I do?
Surely I can do more....

Parenting.......well since it is mostly moms that I run into.....being a mom.
It is rewarding yes,
but no reward comes without effort
and by all means being a mom takes effort...all hands on deck 24 hours a day.

It just so happens that one of by favorite blogs posted similar thoughts today...

"Self reflection is so very much a part of these motherhood moments. I have thought about why this is so hard, what I could have done to make it better. We chose not to do daycare or preschool for Lainey, and I don't regret that decision at all, even though it may have made this transition a little easier. I wonder what things we can do to help smooth out these first few weeks. The thing is, there are a hundred billion ways to raise a child--to nourish them, to teach them to think on their own, to instill confidence, to show them kindness, to challenge them to be respectful, to educate them, to show them the world. And when you choose a way to do these things--a way that fits and feels good for your family and your child--I think it's only natural to wonder if maybe one of the 99,999,999,999 other ways might have worked better."

That last comment got me because even when things are going "good". When things seem to be working..I am always left wondering if one of the 99,999,999,999  ways would have been better.

On one level I know that we are making small decisions every day and that not every "small" decision requires hours of self reflection (and hours on google) but then at the same time I can't help but wonder the impact of all those little decisions over the years and when the times comes will I have laid a foundation for my kids that allows them to step out on their own, define their happiness and create their own lives?  Will they have the skills they need to take on this big ole world with its ups and downs and twists and turns?  Will they be able to separate and prioritize what really matters in life?  It seems a daunting task.

There are days that I am confident that we are brick by brick laying that foundation
and then
there are the other days.......
full of self reflection and well honestly....doubt. 
Days that leaving you pondering those 99,999,999,999 other ways.....

Last week was a pondering week for me and then on the same day I picked up kadence from daycare
there was note:

.......and when I read my emails later that night a note from Cohen's teacher:
 " * He is so helpful at school---holding the door open etc."

"Small" decisions made by "small" children.........
and maybe to some, just "small"notes but not to this mama.
These were Big
These small notes said to this mama, that maybe, just maybe,
along the way some bigger "bricks" of that
foundation are forming...that maybe
just maybe the combination of 26,747,341 and 87,561,292 of the 99,999,999,999 ways
to parent a child, worked in our favor.
Stealing the words of a friend....
Growing up is hard to do...
and I'm not talking about my kids.
.....with all the focus on academic performance I fear we sometimes lose sight of
shaping the "small" notes about the person my child is growing into
are invaluable to me.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

How does one teach that?

The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better
than those who try to do nothing and succeed. ~Lloyd Jones

A new school year starts tomorrow,
which makes Cohen a 2nd grader and
puts Kadence into Pre-K.

I have been reflecting on this beginning for a few weeks now or maybe...
perhaps since the last day of school.

A year older.
A year that will bring new opportunities.
Growth and learning.
Inevitably the year will also bring new challenges
Obstacles to overcome.

A year that will have its share of successes and I'm sure
its fair share of failures. Most of my contemplation lies here......

How do you teach your children the real lessons of growing up?
How do you teach them that it isn't really about succeeding or failing,
but about the effort that goes into it? 
How do you teach them that when society's clear message is you either succeed or fail?
Meet society's standards or else...
When you want more than anything for your child to "succeed"
and when it hurts more than anything to watch them "fail."

How do you teach them that failing is only a failure when you choose not to learn from it?
When society says succeed at all costs.
...and when the definition of success today is completely distorted.

In real life sometimes we win sometimes we lose.
Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail miserably but ultimately a successful person is someone who is willing to try,
so many times in life the fear of failure keeps us from trying.

I want to teach them to try.
To put fear of failure aside and try.

In the end not letting society drive what they should do,
but creating their own definition of success for their lives.

How does one teach that?

change is in the air

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly. ~Henri Bergson

Change is in the air.....figuratively and literally.

This morning when we woke up there was a crispness in the air, that smelled of fall, and required you to pull your covers up just a little tighter.
I must admit.
I Love it.

The first day of school is just hours away really,
which is exciting for both kids and full of change for all of us
as we adjust to new schedules and new expectations.

There is always a tinge of sadness with new transitions
but it does not take long for the excitement that comes along
with change to win us over.

We took advantage of the day to say good bye to "summer" or
 perhaps to say hello to "fall" by making an impromptu trip to
the zoo after getting the devastating call that the first soccer game of the year was

I am not sure I have counted to 5 so many times in one day before!

I smell of fall in the air this morning had me dreaming of...
candy corn and peanuts,
oversized sweat shirts
and crunchy leaves (instead of our current crunchy grass).

Does the smell of fall conjure up any excitement for you?

Lately I've been pondering my ole bucket list and have officially added:
Be Like My Aunt Carolee when I turn 80
to the list.
*these aren't photo shopped...she posed for them to help create a card!
If I recall her Christmas card this year
was of her riding a camel at the state fair! * smile

She has the fun spirit of a 20 something mixed with the wisdom and grace of someone who has
lived, learned, and loved for 80 years, what a great mix.

Big week next week.
B-I-G Week!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

rhythm & harmony

We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony. ~Thomas Merton, 1955

This quote caught my attention and was a dire reminder that
is a process.

One would never understand the value and glory of happiness
if one never experienced, loss, hurt, pain.

So although we, or I, strive for the ever elusive
always happy life,
it is good to stop sometimes during the madness,
the chaos,
the tears,
to remember that this time is an intricate part of a happy life.

It seems that when life "has you down"
is when I tend to dream up
some of my best hopes and dreams.

Does that make sense?

I mean, when you are happy, you are satisfied with how things are.
You aren't pushing forward you are thinking..."wow if life just stayed like this forever that would be great."
I have decided that we have to come down off of the high on life ledge
to swirl around for awhile before we push ourselves onto even
grander things.

Maybe I am just mentally trying to prepare myself for the craziness that lies ahead in our lives.
I am not exactly sure.
I am sure though,that it will be a chaotic process striking a new balance. (as usual)

.....hmmm plenty of time to ponder on that subject
moving on.

Maybe we should ponder baby names instead?
Or perhaps on my 7 year old boy who sounds like a 35 year old husband, when he stated (while school shopping)"we have everything we need. Now you are just wasting time. Let's go home."