Feeling compelled to write current thoughts after a lunch break comprised of kundalini yoga for the hips & a piece of sea salt caramel dark chocolate.
One of the main themes in my personal evolution is letting go of the need to address change in others. There are things I want our kids to learn (like cleaning up toothpaste on the counter or being considerate of what you leave in the sink) before they turn into college roommates.
Yet, the management of 5 project plans (one per kid) and the coordination of said plans with David layered by the actual household projects and pantry management on top of “work” work, desired creative bandwidth and personal time is just too much.
And… based on recent findings… unnecessary…
On my flight in on Sunday, I had just had one of those glorious crafty moments where I think of a game that is actually a great way to manipulate the kids into doing what I want them to do when I noticed how the plane was turning.
A nice, wide turn.
I felt the control of the plane, the perfect balance of steadiness and direction, and recalled this double stroller I had when Ellen and Lucy were little. It was a high end stroller, a gift from a wealthy aunt on my ex’s side, and it could turn – literally – on a dime.
Crowded zoo? #nobigdeal Packed Saturday market? #bringit The thing was engineered for quick control and change. The plane turned much differently than the stroller.
In my awareness of these two very different calculations of engineering, I realized the fault in my quirky little game that would trick all the kids into doing what I wanted. What I need to bring to this family is not control, it’s indeed a balance of steadiness and direction.
It’s a steady application of everything I am learning by allowing others their life.
Yesterday afternoon, David and I went walking in the park. I had thought a lot during the day of our household and how to set us up for healthy meals and virtual learning. I was excited to share slash just wanted to hear myself talk so I prefaced myself… I said, “Babe, I have been thinking about how I want to manage the household and I am going to tell you about it but don’t worry – you don’t have to have an opinion or feel any pressure to build on or expand the idea.”
He started to laugh. He was so grateful to know I just wanted to talk and he didn’t have to do the whole sharpen my iron thing. I have learned from experience, my zealousness and excitement can put undue pressure on his pscyhe… he ends up problem solving the thing I figured out… we get lost in words… I just wanted to talk to begin with, so this time? I released the valve right away.
After a brisk walk around the lake, pausing only once to social distance / check the view, we stopped by Whole Foods to pick up an order and David was growing hungry. I could tell because, when he is hungry, he exercises his world class ability to be mad at everything and mad at nothing at the exact same time.
I have learned to shoulder him, like how he shoulders me when I am tired and can’t think straight enough to sound anything other than curt.
His hunger also can invoke “hyper management protocol”. (I watch a lot of Avengers.) With the edge of his stomach somehow triggering a survival mindset, he will question whether or not we need X or have Y, whether I have done X or if I know Y.
Historically speaking, I take this personally and feel a lot of pressure to know answers to all these questions. However – a key thing I have learned is “No, babe” is the perfect answer and – most importantly – it is 100% rhetorical when he asks me “Now what, babe?” about things he knows I have never done before or places I have never been.
(PS: This is very much unlike when my children ask me where things are in CVS, like I work there.)
I have learned I do not need to take anything of the energetic imagination on; it is easier to smile, to be equally curious, to be kind, to continue.
I am not perfect at this. But I am prefacing and I am adjusting.
That turn into Sea Tac on the final descent was really fascinating to me. I have a feeling a lot of life is going to be served well by remembering the truth of staying steady and keeping my focus when maneuvering my proverbial plane.
With the kids, this looks like “invitational awareness” and tailored choices.
“Do you want to put away the clean dishes or do you want to wipe the table?”
“Feel this dough – it is so smooth!”
“Would you like to hang out with me and load the dishwasher or come in when I’m done and clean up the pots?”
“Next time you’re in the bathroom will you see how many things on the counter – toothpaste, trash, pants, nerf gun, gum wrapper, small plastic spider – are yours and see if you can count them up and then take care of your mess? Let me know if I can help you.”
Because I would be happy to.
I could tell them to do it, to fix it on a dime, but the nice, wide turn feels a lot more accommodating.
It also seems to make way for a lot more believable story as to how they became such a kind, helpful roommate.