Wednesday, January 25, 2012
He is such an amazing kid, said Miss Kim.
I looked at her. She meant it. I know, I said. He really is.
So often the worries and difficulties of parenthood are louder than anything else; they take center stage while all that is going right quietly continues off in the shadows of stage left. Why is that? My diaries from adolescence are filled with woe; I only thought to take them out and write when boys and friends and inchoate aspirations were confusing and/or depressing. I call my mom when I'm sick. I never call her to tell her that I'm healthy. Wouldn't it be nice if I did, though? Hello, Mom? I feel great! Just wanted to let you know!
But watching my dear boy today--capable with a clementine at snack time, exuberant running through the meadow at school--I determined to turn the mental volume down on all that is going wrong and notice all that is going right. I am a practiced worrier. I fear it may even be a default mode sometimes with my children: am I a deficient enforcer of cleaning up? are their diets awful? will that nose ever stop running? do they have enough friends? And when a problem resolves, often I don't even notice. We parents can't take a minute to celebrate the end of sand-throwing on the playground or needing help in the bathroom because we've already moved on to the next thing.
So what is the opposite of worrying? Peaceful reflection? Quiet, joyful contemplation? Whatever it is, today is the day to do it. Here is my list of all that is going right:
*Frances sitting by herself during Gabriel's soccer class yesterday, absorbed by Ramona the Brave
*Gabriel's new confidence and skill in writing his name
*improving health, family-wide
*getting in the car last night after a meeting, the concluding item of a very busy day, and being greeted as soon as I turned the key in the ignition by the opening bars of The Cure's Close to Me on the radio (Oh, those horns! They accompanied me in the dark all the way home.)
*abundant winter sunshine
*discovering the delight that is a massaged kale salad (all of you with raised eyebrows out there: take my word for it. It is seriously, seriously good.)
*finding a delightful hour to make play dough dogs and cats with Gabriel yesterday
*the excitement on Frances' face when a letter arrived yesterday from a friend who has recently become a pen pal
Okay, your turn. What's going right today in your life?
Thimble Summer, written and illustrated by Elizabeth Enright. (That poor girl up top can only feel the weight of what's going wrong, though I am glad she has some sympathetic company to help her bear it.) I was excited to share this one with Frances (I've never read it) and when I showed it to her, she scurried away with it tucked under her arm, explaining that she'd like to read this special book all by herself. Her independent, passionate relationship to books is another thing going right -- though it hurts my heart a little to watch her grow up and away.