Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wait, I'm Still Learning

We had one of those days yesterday.

One of those crappy, crappy days where both parent and child fail to make the best choices.  One of those days where a teachable moment is squandered and instead becomes a lesson for the parent.  One where I whisper at bedtime that I am sorry I am still learning, sorry that they have to endure the days when my on-the-job training is not going very well.

But then those days turn into evenings spent googling parenting advice on how to properly handle our particular challenge.  And as happens when I do this post-parenting-fail-analysis, yesterday I discovered a wealth of wisdom that confirms I had made a list of mistakes while mishandling the situation.  But then - then! - I  found this nugget of brilliance from Anne Lamott called WAIT.

It stands for Why Am I Talking?

Anne's son is a young adult, and a father himself- and her point seemed to be about letting him live his life without imposing her opinions.  But I think it holds true even for the still-little ones.  Even though there is so much to teach, and so much to tell - what sometimes gets lost in our house is listening and understanding, and just as egregiously, leading by example.  As someone genetically-wired to bang on and on when making a point, I love this acronym.

So I am attempting less saying more showing, and less lecturing more listening.  And hopefully the next time adversity strikes, we'll come at it in a better way.

How do you regroup after a tough moment?  Do you apologize to your kids for mishandling a situation?

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My favorite season

There must be something in the air besides spring time.  Because this three-year-old essay by Kelly Corrigan keeps popping into my head, and it has nothing to do with the weather.

But I am realizing it has a lot to do with seasons.

The essay is about female friendships, and how large they loom in a life.  But it is also about middle age, which as much as my husband denies it, is the season we are entering.  Suddenly all the anecdotes that sounded good a few years ago are actually part of my ecosystem - the bake sales, the charities, the home improvements, work outs, and laugh lines.  But with them comes the Other List:  divorces, diagnoses, and most unbearably, death.  As the plots of our lives take unexpected turns, I find there's nothing quite like adversity to bring friendships to full bloom.    I am aware of this friendship so much now as I give it and receive it.  How funny that at a time in our lives when we are so immersed in family and our own dramas, I feel so connected to friends.

I have always loved the energy created when seasons shift - and the days, the wardrobe, the diet -  all transform into something at once new and completely familiar.  And this, Winter into Spring, is my favorite, despite the fact that March and April are restless torture for me, until Spring itself explodes in the month of May.

If life is lived through seasons - middle age is our Autumn.  How lovely that suddenly it's feeling like Spring.  Restless torture as we anticipate it - glorious, in it's own way, when it gets here.