Tuesday, March 25, 2014
The Six Words of Life
My kids are growing before my eyes. My kids... My kids -- that just sounds like something MY parents would say and not me. But it's true. I have kidSSSSSSSSSSS. That sentence totally made me smile. When I was single and stupid, my biggest fear in life was that I would have ugly babies. You know those babies... The ones that only a mother could love. I would be afraid that people would tell me that my baby was adorable, but I would know that secretly they were only saying that do to etiquette. Everyone told me about the blinders that mothers put on once they have a baby. Those blinders make those babies the most adorable babies in the world. I have on HUGE blinders...
With Finn, multiple people actual told me that my husband and I needed to have more children because she was so truly beautiful. I totally agreed. But now my fears have changed. I want to make sure that I am my best version of myself so that I can lead by example on being the people that I want them both to become. Let me tell you -- that is hard to do on a daily basis. And I'm not even into the hard sh*t yet. I'm just in the patience zone...
E & I write them yearly letters on their birthdays. The letters are anything that we choose to write about and are not shown to each other. It's a way that our advice can live on forever for them in physical form. It's something that I wished I would have had from both my father & mother. To see them as people (not just Mom & Dad) as I got older and needed more complex advice. I hope they are something that they treasure and return to years after both E & I depart.
But I keep thinking about what is my words in their head going to be... What are the words that I want them to remember when times get tough and they need the voice of their mother to remind them what to do. Whether it be on a tough day in middle school when all their friends decide that it's her turn for them to be mad at (girls can be such bitches). Or when it's his first day of college and he is scared to be away from home. Or when they have hit a rough patch in life and aren't sure what they are doing wrong. I've actual come up with something. Well, I read it and had an "ah-ha!" moment.
My advice to them is only six words... It's words that will hopefully resonate with them when they are struggling and help them make the right decision.
Show up. Be brave. Be kind.
Show up. Sounds simple, right? But sometimes it's the hardest one of the three to do. Showing up is 75% of the battle. When you say that you are going to do something, do it. Or when you say that you are going to participate, participate it. No one likes a flake. And most importantly, no one trusts a flake. And showing up doesn't need to be a physical presence somewhere. It could be a phone call or an e-mail to a friend that might need you. You'll find that in most instances, once you have shown up, you may truly enjoy yourself or be happy that you did. And if you don't want to show up, once you DO show up, you just might get the support that YOU needed that day.
Be brave. Be brave can fit into a multitude of categories. It can mean doing something that makes you afraid. Or doing something that you know is right that the group isn't doing. Remember, just because everyone is jumping off the bridge, doesn't mean that you have to. The best way to grow and learn is to do something that you haven't done before or something that you might not be very good at. The only way to get better is to make mistakes and try. Give it your best try, even if you feel foolish. People can't get angry at someone who is trying their best and if they do, then you don't need to be friends with that person anyways.
Be kind. Probably the most important one. Always be kind. To those around you. To the environment. And also to yourself. Be kind to the kid in class that everyone is making fun of -- you never know the circumstances that kid may be in. Be kind to the environment -- pick up after yourself and leave things they way that you found them or if you don't, make them better. And also be kind to yourself. Don't be too critical of yourself. As I said earlier, everyone makes mistakes -- that's how we grow into better people.
Of course, there are lots of other things that fit into these six words. I'm just skimming the top of the iceberg. This whole raising good people thing is nerve-racking. But a huge piece of advice that I try to give myself on a daily basis (besides the six words of life that I am going mantra for my kids)?
"We’ll only ever be required to handle one day at a time. Thinking about all of the future right now—packing years of challenges into this one present moment when we try and force ourselves to deal with every heartache we’ll ever possibly experience in life—is not only overwhelming, but it’s unrealistic. Whatever the case, when we get there, we’ll wake up any given morning and deal with that one day. And amid the challenges of that day, there will also be lots of good things to cushion the hard moments—both for us and our children. People who make us happy, lovely things to make us smile. Coffee and music and walks outside and delicious food and good books and holding hands and kissing cheeks. And then we get to go to bed every night and wake up again and deal with the next day with maybe the same challenges but new good things too. We’ll never have to deal with thirty years of hardship on one given day, so why do we force ourselves to think about all of it right this second?" -- Enjoying the Small Things