Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 10: A New Day

I will choose to find a positive perspective under even the most negative circumstances.
I will choose acceptance over resistance.
I will choose to focus on the things I value about my children, not the things that drive me nuts.
I will choose to extend the same grace, love and forgiveness to myself that I try to lavish on my husband and children each day.

What a difference a day makes. Helping him get dressed, I noticed Jackson's skin was beautiful, as beautiful as his demeanor. Instead of struggling, we were dancing and laughing. He was back to his old self - cooperative, cheerful, and genuinely wanting to make everyone else as happy as he was. The mind-body connection is so obvious in him because his skin tells all his body's secrets. I wish I could remember that more often and offer him an extra helping of grace on the bad days, knowing that it's not really him.

Instead of moving through the house like a hurricane, leaving a disaster in his wake, he was sweeping, vacuuming (pretending of course), and putting toys away without prompting - providing for himself the kind of peaceful and orderly environment he wanted to be in. It brought me back my childhood when my own mother, met with "But Whyyyyy!" upon asking me to clean my room, explained that a mess on the outside was a sign of a mess on the inside.

I've seen this play out with Jackson so clearly, so many times. When he feels overwhelmed or out of control, he brings that chaos to his world. I rarely make the connection until we're well into the day and I'm already looking back regretfully at my own failure to manage it in a healthy way. I guess that's because the days I do manage it well, I don't look back. But what a gift if I could grab on to that right away, prep myself, and use it as a tool to get through our tough days peacefully.

I see this in myself too. When I feel overwhelmed and default into negativity, I let it color every interaction and experience in my day. It feels impossible change my perspective because the day has already been logged under "bad" and shall stay that way until we reset overnight...because those are the rules.

I'm learning, as my good friend Brooke pointed out in blogging about her own parenting journey, to see each interaction and experience as fresh and new. Choosing not to get caught up in a bad day, expecting positive things, and allowing for a midstream positive change in myself and my kids will save me from ever having to say, "he wore me down." I can choose to let it wear on me, or I can choose to take a fresh look, even pretend that the previous interactions didn't happen in order to give us all the gift of starting over...and over, and over, and over if need be.

This one will not be an easy lesson to put into practice. I tend to dwell and let things build until screaming about dates is really just the culmination of all the frustration I had been trying (poorly) to manage over the course of the day. Starting over was one of the tools I gave Jackson as a way to work through his own big feelings, and now it's time for Mommy to start modeling it. Wish me luck!

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