Archive for April, 2013

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finish line.

April 16, 2013

I lived halfway.

Wellesley College sits at the halfway mark of the Boston Marathon. And on Patriot’s Day every spring, we stood.

By the side of the road we stood and cheered from dawn, when the wheelchair athletes flew by, to the hours and hours and hours and hours later when the last runners, often those in their 70’s and 80’s tortoised by. We stood. We gave water. We showered encouragement. And we roared. About a mile before the course reached us, we were heard. The runners would turn the corner, and begin up the long, slow rise and the pain would fade and they would feel with their hearts instead of their feet.

Sweat might not seem sacred, but it sure felt that way to me. Those days in April, on the side of the road, hold some of the deepest moments of connection to humanity, to the masses, that I know. And that is what our children need right now. Because one of my son’s comments after we explained the shooting in Newtown, CT has stayed with me. “No, I don’t have any questions. I’m still processing Super Storm Sandy, Mom. I’m overwhelmed.”

And now, aren’t we all? So here’s how to help our children.

Tread Lightly. It is tempting as the story unfolds to follow every moment on the news and social media. Don’t. Turn it off. If you want, check in at the top of the hour for updates. Older kids are getting fatigued into numbness and youngsters often think the replay images are fresh attacks.

Speak in Sound bites. Just as with Newtown, give children brief facts and information. Then listen. Listen to the nuance of their confusion, questions and comments. Follow their lead. Then (re)assure them. Remind them of all the helpers.

Stay the Course. We all thrive on routine, and this is especially true in times of trauma. Keep children on their regular schedules. Familiarity breeds comfort.

Look at each Step. Yes, the media will focus injury and death. But we can talk about life. And all the days each person had before today. And all the people who loved them, and whom they loved. And how, even after someone is gone, they are not gone. They are within us.

Find the Sacred Sweat. Look for those who need support. It may mean donating resources, time or expertise to Boston. It many mean doing all these same thing in our own backyards. Help your kids find ways to contribute. When we give of ourselves, we learn we are capable. When we realize we can overcome, our resiliency for future events is stronger.

None of us knows the location of our life’s finish line. But we can live each day as half way. And we can roar for all of humanity. Years ago we stood. We stood for Boston. Stand with me?

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This piece stands alone, but is also a companion to what I wrote for parents after the tragedy in Newtown, CT. To read that, click here.

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celebrate good times, come on.

April 13, 2013

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If I had a candle for each year, my cake would appear more like a blowtorch than a sparkling collection of flames.  But no matter.  It is still my birthday.  Or, a better way to say, it is still a mom-birthday.

You know.

A birthday that started at 5:35 a.m. with the wake up of the youngest child, followed by working on her math homework, her news journal, and baking the cookies she’ll take to school on Monday for her own celebration.  Which took us to 7:15 am.  Then there is the class her brother has later on, followed by his rehearsal.  And an unexpected problem cropped up at work for my husband, so he will soon be heading out to deal with that crisis.  And the errands that need to be run in, around, and after this. And it’s easy to look at the day that way.  It’s easy for the child still in us to wonder why the day isn’t ours alone. To revel, to reflect, to celebrate, to relax. To be just us, instead of being all of the roles we play. And it’s easy to be disappointed.

But we don’t have to. We have a choice.

We can look for the Pixie Dust moments. Like the moment this morning when my daughter jumped into my arms and told me she had looked and looked for the very best Mom in the whole world, and decided to be born into our family so she could be with me.  Or the moment a few hours later when my son peeked through the railings of the stairs and, before saying another word, broke into song, singing me birthday wishes. Or the moment when my husband gave me paddle board lessons as my gift.  He’d been listening all along.

In a full life there are all kinds of moments. And we absolutely have a choice as to which ones we collect and which ones we let go. Which ones we focus on, which ones we retell- both to ourselves and others. Choosing Pixie Dust moments isn’t about pretending the rest doesn’t happen, it’s about deciding which ones matter.

So happy birthday to me. Waking up early means I get even more hours to gather all the small joys that add up to a life well lived and well celebrated.  More hours to see and know how much I love, and how much I am loved in returned.

And happy birthday to you, too.  Whether you celebrate tomorrow, next week or next fall, take all the small moments to gather your joy.  And if you’d like a little help along the way?  Click here, sign up and I’ll send you {5 ways to add Pixie Dust to Your Parenting}.

So here’s to us. Every day. Every day parents who work hard and love deeply. Parents who, underneath the shell of obligations and responsibilities of adulthood are still tender-hearted kids. Here’s to the magic of Pixie Dust.

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