Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Bursting Point

This morning my kids attempted to adjust to a normal school schedule after almost a week of school being delayed each day for 2 hours.  It's been kind of cold around here :)  

As I faced this morning my mind swirled with ideas of how I could help each child kick off a happy morning.  How could I help Maya not feel rushed (because that will send her into a heap of frustration which will then slow her down and make her more rushed...repeat cycle).  How can I get Hayley to choose to get up and get ready instead of laying in bed with her latest good book, waiting to fight with me when I prod her along?  Alice has been obsessed with American Girl audiobooks and coloring her detailed color-by-number pages everyday.  Can I somehow help her feel like it's her choice to get ready before turning on her book and coloring?  

Knowing each child's weak points and struggles is such a privilege and a burden.  I hold such power to influence because I understand the minute details that may derail them.

I chose to hide Hayley's book last night without her knowing.  It worked.  Not seeing it sitting there as she woke up meant she didn't think about reading before getting ready.  Happy morning.  No door slamming.  No running for the bus.  No fights.  Even an "I love you" on the way out the door.  I paused to appreciate that success.  

2 more kids, 1 more hour...

Earlier, after scriptures and family prayer, I had cautiously pointed out that this morning will feel more rushed because there is no delay for school.  I asked Maya and Alice what we needed to do differently so that we aren't frustrated and rushed at the end.  I guided them to feeling like they were choosing to do "first things first".  They even came up with a fun plan to give each other high fives after they each did a chore.  Yes!  They were off...

I moved through the motion of morning always observing where everyone was.  Keeping a pulse on emotions and distractions.  Helping keep people on track when I saw possible squabbles or tempting diversions.  Things seemed so good.  I walked a room away to finish doing my hair and listened to the high fives and bustling going on.  And then I started to hear it...

The intensity of happiness was increasing exponentially and it hit me.  I should be happy--it sounds so good.  But I know something they don't know.  This intensity is too much and there's going to be a bursting point.  (Is this normal?  Does anyone else know what I'm talking about here?!)  I tried to insert myself back in the middle to be the grounding force for all those little excited happy feelings that were getting away.  But they barely even noticed me.  So I waited...

Not even 10 minutes later it came.  One minute over zealous best friend sisters.  The next minute: nemesis's.  I don't even remember what the trigger ended up being but I heard the inevitable screams at each other.  The footsteps rushing to tattle.  The "she always..."  "why can't she ever...".  I knew they'd hit that bursting point. 

I separated kids.  Tried to remain un-emotional.  Waited for the explosions to pass.  Then went about finishing the things that had to happen.  Made lunches.  Reminders.  Backpacks.  Coats.  Kisses.  Done.

Intensity.  It's what family life is.  At least in our home.  The joys are intense.  The sorrows are intense.  I guess I could wish for a less intense existence.  Instead, I probably need to bask in the moments of intense joy and not always brace for the explosion.  I do wish I couldn't see it coming quite so clearly....or that everyone else would gain my perspective (or find my warnings very wise!), so that together, we could divert from the bursting point.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dipping my toes in...

It has been almost 2 years since blogging was a regular part of my life.  So many mundane and memorable things happened in those 2 years--I hope to remember them even without a trusty blog. Lately I have spent a lot of time analyzing what blogging does for me and wondering if I can make it a part of my life again. Time is precious and as my kids grow and life gets continually more busy I am ever so careful about long term commitments that take my time. The decisions I make directly affect my whole family and I feel the weight of that. But the more I consider this option the more I see why I need to blog and why my family will benefit from the record keeping and the outlet that it provides for me.  Life is a trade off so I understand that something else will get sacrificed to make space for this, but I am so excited for how this blogging thing changes me as a mother and a person. I love reading the simple stories that are recorded (and would otherwise be forgotten). I love how I can see my own growth of character as I write about my struggles and triumphs.   Most importantly I love how blogging makes me acutely aware of the good & happy moments in life. It's magical!  

Last month I gathered with a group of friends and we discussed an article written by Catherine Arveseth, a mother of 5 young children.  In it, she talked about how it is so easy to live life in the past and in the future--always troubled about what happened or preparing for what is coming up next. The swirling chaos never seems to halt.  That feeling resonated with me and I knew immediately I would regret being stuck in the midst of that chaos someday.  I knew I was missing something that I need.  For some, finding joy in life comes more easily than others (no matter their role).  Finding joy is not a gift I have, but I know that it is a skill I can get better at.  Motherhood is the primary role that I have chosen to experience these years of my life through, and I am determined to develop this skill so that I don't have to regret merely surviving the demands and chaos.  I want to feel joy and wonder and gratitude at the blessing it is to raise little people and influence their lives.  As I considered how I could make a big change to the way I experience life right now, blogging is the answer I have landed on.  Having a reason to notice the present makes me happier. I slow down. I take pictures. I smile and laugh when I would normally despair and cry!

I know blogging is no longer the "in" thing that everyone does and I have all sorts of doubts...like...will I fail?  While I have decided to keep things public, I have no grand schemes to solicit a large audience.  I blog for myself and my family.  But the possibility of an audience makes me feel accountable.  I have found every excuse for weeks now to not kick things off.  I need to update the header, write a summary of 2 years, find cute pictures of everyone and get them downloaded to the right computer, think of something fun to say.  But then I realized, this isn't about perfection.  So I found 15 minutes of (almost) quiet and that's enough.  Ready or not I'm back!