I always fight to clean, organize, label. It’s inherent in my type A personality; to attempt to control my life and those who inhabit it with me. It seems Saturday is the day I can process my week; this one being particularly busy. Juggling work, home and anything else has really tested my mettle and each evening, even throughout my weekend, I do not have time to decompress. To sit silently; still. Entropy begins the minute I input events on my smartphone’s calendar as I attempt to account for my hours. My internal chi (my thermal energy) cannot convert into productivity; work on organizing, cleaning and labeling my life. This is a work-in-progress; balancing order and disarray. Being present, now amongst the randomness of every day life.
Treasure, that is what you are
Honey, you’re my golden star
You know you can make my wish come true
If you let me treasure you
If you let me treasure you ~ Bruno Mars
I keep the above song on repeat to remind me of the flurry of activity yesterday. Something that both the hubs and I discovered about ourselves is that we both retain information with music in the background. When committing pre-flight procedures to memory the hubs would play classical music through headphones; the background noise helping him to focus and indelibly imprint his oral checklist into his brain. For myself, a song can bring me back to a specific moment in time with all the emotions associated with it. When combined with a visual stimulus such as a picture; the feelings physically wash over me as if I am presently inhabiting that moment in time. And so I want to remember the brief moment that flew by; the media center full of adolescents observing a middle school rally. The Renaissance kids dancing and acting out skits. The band playing as kids marched around; high-fives up in the air. My son feeling the sense of accomplishment that hard work and practice brings. The hubs was amazed at the creativity of these junior high kids and their enthusiasm; their pride in being rewarded. Parents who think adolescents are just raging hormones are sorely mistaken. They have great potential as they attempt to discover who they are apart from Mom and Dad. The fact that this rally was put-on by students, with adult guidance, is a testimony that they can do more than we give them credit for. It’s what we want for our kids; the confidence that they can maneuver life on their own; their presence having worth, creating a better space. Making the world a better place. The days of tantrums, yelling matches and battle of wills disappear. It is this picture that stays in my heart; my inner chi. For all the randomness of my days I will accept the chaos for this one fleeting moment in time. #jr. high rallies.
The hubs and I sat in my coffeehouse adorned in plaid. He knows this is my fabric of choice and as the fashion cycle returns to the more classic tartan-look I revel in glory. I was surprised to find him wearing his shirt as he walked from home to meet me in the coffeehouse parking lot. Upon my arrival at 8:05 AM I was frazzled. I had already dropped the eldest at jr. high and made two trips to the elementary school before the bell rang yesterday; the middle son forgetting items at home after I had dropped him off at school. The weekend will be spent packing for his week long sixth grade camp as he organizes his clothes and looks for last minute items. He is excited to be with his peers learning about science and nature in our local mountains and has hounded me for weeks. When do I go to camp? Now that the week has almost arrived he checks off items on his list with a large grin. Finally! It’s here. The washing machine whirs as the bag waits to be packed. The yarn on this suitcase remains from when the older son left for camp two years prior. Time has flown by. The song repeats and I sing the above lyrics aloud. When the middle son rolls his eyes at me I tell him that I loooooooove this song..that it’s my fave. When it had played at the Renaissance rally yesterday it was all I could to not to jump up and dance with the middle schoolers. This son reminds me that all songs that I play on repeat are my favorite and so I sing the lyrics louder and dance and he laughs. He, too, is my treasure. He flips his hair back and stands next to me, eye-to-eye. I am taller than you Mom. And sadly, I think he may be right. So I tell him to stop growing. Yep. I count my gift that I am still, today, slightly taller than my middle son. I can exert my intimidating Mom-like presence for one more day. #still taller than middle son.
I handed the book I am currently reading, Masterminds & Wingmen by Rosalind Wiseman to my eldest, to choose my parenting profile. He looked a bit dubious but quickly became absorbed in the descriptions. Which one do you think describes me? I had just begun reading the Your Parenting Profile chapter and read the first description called the believer and within the first minute the son tells me that I am this profile. I cringe. It is not very flattering. I urge him to continue to read but he already has, quickly turning the pages as his eyes scan over the words. A few minutes later he hands the book back, informing me that I am a combination of two profiles: the believer and the rock. He gives me one last long look and shakes his head to affirm his choices. Mom, you are the believer. Remember the incident when (blah, blah, blah). But the other half of you is the rock. I shouldn’t have been surprised at his brutal honesty but I had to sit on this for a moment. I continued to read in the chapter; more unflattering parenting profiles emerging. Oh boy. By the time I arrived at the rock I wondered what parenting profile could be left. Ms. Wiseman nailed a lot of things on the head to make us, parents, check our baggage. I was surprised after reading the description of the rock. It is what we should aspire to be and a tear rolled down my face. I am grateful that this son can articulate these things to me. This book is a continuing conversation between the older boys and I, of the infrastructure of social heirarchies in pre-teen and teenage boys. He and I had both arrived, independently, at his social role in his group of friends. If you are a parent of an adolescent I highly encourage you to have this conversation. It gives our children the opportunity to call us out; to tell us how they see us and what they really want and need. But, you, the parent, need to be willing to hear these things.
We sat at bookclub, last evening, discussing the book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day. Nine of the ten members of our group were present with various quotes highlighted. We pondered in-depth questions about change. Do we resist it? Seek it? A few of us are in the season of parenting that the author, Katrina Kenison, was in when she penned her memoir; parenting adolescent boys. It is no surprise that this book struck a chord with all of us; giving us a sneak peek of possible challenges we now face or will be facing with our own children. As parents we do not have a lot of time to be introspective; to dwell on the whys as we shuttle children, to and fro and hustle them through their day. Homework assignments, projects, sports, performances all fill our calendar boxes; creating havoc with the search for simplicity. We all think we want to know what kind of parent we are; how we are perceived. But in our discussion we came to the realization that some people really don’t want to know. In the Mastermind book, Ms. Wiseman talks of parents getting to know the parents of their kids’ friends to glean information about the pieces of their children’s lives we really don’t see; when they exist solely amongst peers. One of the girls shared about a Mom that told her she always wanted to know if there were any issues with her daughter. My girlfriend discovered what she really meant was she only wanted to hear the positive things. When confronted with negative feedback their relationship changed; the parent not acknowledging the issues.
We considered our definitions of success and our agendas for our kids. Is it the child’s desire to be involved in the activities he/she is involved with or is it the parent’s hidden agenda to add these activities for transcripts to put on the college application? If left to their own devices, our children would choose the lowest energy state, entropy…the randomness and unscheduled days to be lost in video gaming and social networking bliss. If not practicing for sports or in dance rehearsals what would our children choose to do? Should they be allowed to be couch potatoes in finger-flying text mode on Kik? To read literature books versus posting on Facebook? To draw pictures versus taking pictures on Instagram? What magical concoction is the recipe for success for our children? How, as the parent, am I supposed to find the balance when each and every day I fight the chaos to create structure? I have the big “S” on my forehead…the symbol used in physics for entropy. The struggle between simplicity and organization versus productivity and chaos is ongoing. Maybe I should just mix myself a drink and let the buzz bring me there, BIG LOL? #black currant juice and whipped cream Smirnoff. Yum.
The youngest sits across my lap, begging to be scratched. He wiggles to the beat claiming he does not know how to dance as “Treasure” continues to play. I’ve decided to take a break from the computer, unable to contain myself as I dance around while my son wiggles his scrawny behind. These are the moments I love best; unscheduled time. The papers are still strewn across my desk as the buzzer to my dryer goes off downstairs. My house is in total disarray and I continually work on letting go of my compulsive desire to have things clean and put in its place. I have to learn to live in the chaos, to stop trying to make it conform and instead, put myself in its flow and let go. That’s really what life is all about…learning to gracefully let go. To give up the control to something higher (aka God), to birth kids, guide them and allow them to leave us. To forget the definitions of success and material trappings and to finally leave this Earth knowing that our presence here had purpose. To love, expecting nothing in return. I am appreciating the treasures in my messy, ordinary day, unscheduled moments. #Treasure- Bruno Mars.