If you read my last blog post, you I may recall that I talked all about thinking about and remembering the small and large victorious moments in your child/ren’s life, especially in moments that don’t feel successful.
As I have been off from work for the past few weeks (at least, from one of my jobs!), I decided to go through some photos and just organize them; FYI, with smartphones, this task has become huge! Anyways, as I flipped through each photo, I found myself laughing at some, tearing up at others, and lost in memories that have comprised these past 12 months. Talk about living in small and large successes; yet, at the same time, I saw times captured that were difficult, trying, and stressful. The pictures balanced themselves out. Being mindful of utilizing this practice of focusing on the good moments in life while acknowledging the difficult ones can help you get through some pretty big obstacles; I am saying this as a mom with personal experience in that area.
I thought that it would be fun to share some of these pictures with you, and take you on a mini-journey of what I discovered this afternoon. Hope you enjoy, and see the message that comes across 🙂
Taekwondo was difficult for my son. I advocated for him to stand right up front, but he had trouble copying the complex and relatively quick movements initially. We had many talks about trying your best, and I asked if one of the assistants could stand near him and offer support to any children nearby (obviously including him), to give him tactile and verbal cues to go through the motions. Yosef practiced every day. After a few weeks, he got his first stripe on his belt for “Kicking”. The smile you see above did not leave his face for the rest of the day.
I remember this day so clearly. We went to a parade in the city, and the kids (and us!) were literally wiped after an hour baking in the heat. We returned home, and were pondering what to do. Finally, the OT-part of my brain kicked in and decided to create a “Shaving Cream Slide” connected to a “Shaving Cream Slip and Slide”. The kids had a blast (Lianna looked angry because she was always squished back then during hugs). Everyone cooled down in the sprinklers. That was one of the only times that my husband told me that I WASN’T therapizing my children. 🙂
These are some of those ‘if-I-didn’t-love-you…’ moments captured on film (while, if I recall correctly, I was half laughing, half crying, and half fuming in these moments, while thinking guiltily that it would have been nice to have dogs). The face that Lianna is making in the picture above has been her trademark look literally since she entered the world. A friend of mine recalled, “She didn’t smile until she was almost a year old, Lauren. I’ve never seen a child like that!” Yes, well, she is definitely strong-willed, and I am pleased to say, she smiles often, is extremely loving, yet can make this face at the drop of a hat. Thus, I cannot recall what caused the face situation above; I could have looked at her wrong. The picture of Joel with Yosef is a pretty funny (yes, I can laugh about it now) story. We were on our way home from Sesame Place, after a two-day vacation. The kids were tired, we were tired, and Yosef had a melt-down. The rule in our house is to use strategies that I have taught, and it was clear that he needed to take space; however, we were in a mini-van. Not much space to be had. It escalated to the point that he could not stop screaming. If we were home, and that behavior was occurring, we would give them mandatory taking space time. So, to be consistent, my poor husband pulled off of the New Jersey Turnpike, got out of the car with my cranky and angry son, and did a mandatory taking space. This will be on the list of stories we will tell at his wedding.
A few firsts…Yosef writing his name, and drawing a self-portrait. This hung on our proud board for at least 3 months. The picture on the right is Shayna reading a ‘real book’ to her siblings for the first time before bed. Lianna’s first hot chocolate ever, after playing in the snow. Amazing.
No words needed.
Silly yet simple moments that my kids still talk about. Wearing clown noses at a county fair and being a family of clowns. All of us dressing up (yes, even the grown-ups!). Finding boxes and making them into a giant train that occupied them for hours. Suprising the kids by letting the stay up WAY past their bedtime and see the beautiful holiday lights, listening to their squeals of delight as they pointed out even lit-up stores. They were beyond thrilled to be up ‘in the dark’.
Adult time. Whether it was going on dates with my husband, going to the doctor, or reading a good book with a hot mug of coffee in hand, adult time helped me re-discover myself, my relationships, decompress, and be a better mom and professional in general.
All of this balance has helped me find my zen. I hope that this post can help your own in some way.