Thursday, May 18, 2017
Assholery, Mindfulness and Giggles
My kids need sleep - lots of it. When there is not enough, my kind, funny children become unrecognizable. The challenge is in not reacting. That seems to be one of my biggest ongoing parenting challenges.
This morning, I had one crying that he couldn't go to school because he felt like he was going to throw up, and the other wouldn't get out of bed. When #2 did finally get out of bed and get dressed, I was sure that his body had been snatched in the night by some evil, word-weapon throwing ninja. It was a morning of opportunity for mama - opportunity to practice all the patience I could muster, opportunity to enlist the help of my breath and my many mornings of quiet meditation. Proud that I didn't raise my voice, or use the self-righteous 'mom tone,' I decided in the car that we all might need a short meditation on the way to school.
I envisioned us riding quietly in the car, inhaling and exhaling together and my brightly shining, centered, focused children would thank their dear mother for her brilliance, tell me how much they needed that self check-in, and step lithely from the car, into their day with mindfulness and intent. (Are you laughing yet?)
Here's what really happened. I fumbled with the phone/car connection for about 5 minutes while they fought over fidget spinners in the back seat. When I finally decided to give up and get going so they wouldn't be late for school, Mr. Attitude had to have the last word and uttered a nasty 'yay' as I informed them with false brightness that we'd just have to meditate tomorrow.
I pushed the button to switch back to radio and out of the speakers slurred a too airy voice, like the voice of Girl God, 'This is a guided meditation for anger.' There was a surprised silence for a moment as I lowered the volume. Then the giggles began. Every time she said something, the long pause before her next words was filled with giggles. Each thing she said was more hilarious than the last. But -- they were giggling together!
Mr. "I'm Gonna Pull Out All The Stops To Stay Home Today" and Mr. "I'm Gonna Be A Big Fat Ass And Try To Get You To Yell At Me So I Can Be A Victim", forgot about their agendas and were sharing a joke. I started to turn it off and let them listen to music, but they were repeating nearly everything she said and dissolving into piles of giggles over and over again. The thing was, even tho they were turning it into a big joke, they were hearing her.
"Give the anger space?" "Here, Anger, here's some space."
"Let the anger be with you?" "OK, come on, Anger. Let's go."
Maybe it didn't turn out quite the way I envisioned, but they took what they needed from what I offered and turned it into what worked for them. And I was able to sit back and let them. Now isn't THAT really one of the biggest challenges of parenting?
Yes, this is a shameless self pat on the back for mama, but we all need those much more often than we get them!