Monthly Archives: May 2015

Boca

Way before baby Theo was born 9 months ago, I was called Gramma.

I was Gramma to Boca, a beautiful black standard poodle girl who on Friday passed on at the age of sixteen and a half.

I took being Gramma to Boca very seriously. It was easy to do. Boca loved a package in the mail with expectations that something in there must be for her.  I relished stories and updates on her experiences, friends and achievements. Boca was a “girl on the go”, privileged to “come along” and be included in most things, including weddings, graduations and work.  She was smart and well-mannered and was always welcomed.

Boca the beauty had become these sixteen years later beautiful in the “Real” sense – like the bunny in the Velveteen Rabbit book.  Some of her hair had been “loved off” and she was “loose in the joints and a bit shabby” but she was “Real” and “these things don’t matter at all – once you are Real”.

We learn about love in so many ways.

Thank you, Boca, for letting me be Gramma – and showing me the way.

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maple seeds

Maple seeds – you know the helicopter ones that are fun to throw up in the air and then watch them whirly twirl down to the ground. Well, this weekend, it was the wind having all the fun with the seeds on the maple trees that surround our yard.

Our lawn and driveway and that of our neighbor’s is literally covered with these seeds.  And what’s so amazing to me is that these seeds flutter down with such purpose and intention. Their job is to embed their nose into the ground (which amazingly they accomplish) with hopes to grow and develop into a maple tree.

Every Spring we expect this cycle will occur and we watch and wait patiently (and very often impatiently) for it to end.  We accept it, acknowledge it, knowing what needs to be done; sweeping at first, raking, and at last resorting to the big blower to finish off the job.

But a few seeds always manage to escape this fate – and instead snuggle into the ground against the fence – and begin to sprout – and become a seedling and develop leaves – with hopes to being like the big maple trees surrounding them.

Hmm – sound familiar?

Development and growth can often be messy.

From babyhood to toddlers to preschoolers to school-age, children go through so many developmental cycles and behaviors, both lovely and challenging. When we realize even the difficult ones are normal – that this is how our children develop and grow on their path to becoming adults, we can learn to expect them, understand them,accept them, work with them and help our children and us ease through them.

And as parents, that’s what we do – mostly.  But sometimes, during our children’s challenging stages, we fret too much, take things too personally, compare, push, distrust – want to resort to the “blower” to stop the behavior immediately.

However, just as we can understand and appreciate the purpose and the promise of the maple seeds (in spite of their messiness) so it is with our children’s development.

We can embrace the challenges and the messiness of parenting as we trust, watch and nurture our children’s sprouting, growing, whirling and twirling, and developing into strong, mature human beings.

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ten seconds

Ask a young child a question – and you may get a blank look or stare. It is very typical of young children and deep thinkers to take up to ten seconds to respond to questions – as they go about processing their thoughts.

So often, though, as adults, we rush through – asking another question on top of the first one – trying for an immediate reply from a child – impatient, as if they didn’t understand the first one.

But there is something to be said  – and something to be learned – for taking our time, for pausing, for collecting our thoughts before answering. This is especially significant when we are reacting to our children’s many requests and endless questions.

It’s all about responding to the issue at hand versus reacting to it.

So often as busy parents, we find ourselves delivering a knee-jerk reply to an issue that had we taken the time to think it through and collected our thoughts, our interaction with our child would come from a more peaceful, positive place – a place of compassion and understanding.

That’s why maybe we can actually learn from our young children who take ten seconds to think about their answers before blurting them out.

Try it the next time your child, of any age, comes to you with a request.  Stop for a second, listen to what the request is, check out how you’re feeling about it.  Do you feel your emotions rising – are you ready to just spout out a spur-of-the-moment, off the top of your head response?

Because it’s not always necessary to give such a quick answer.

Why not request some time – “let me think about it before I decide”, “give me a few minutes”, “I need to think about it and we’ll talk about it after dinner”. Then when you have made your decision, your answer will be more composed,  more sensitive,  more clear, and your child will feel heard and considered.

For even if you have to decline permission or adjust the request in some way, your child may not be thrilled but you will have modeled a more positive way of communicating to your child.

And that’s worth ten seconds at least.

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don’t worry

Sometimes you look up (if you’re like me) from the book you’re reading and actually take notice of a TV commercial – because it works so well.

That’s the way I feel whenever I see the Gundersen Lutheran television commercial (yes – a local commercial) with a young mom standing by her infant in the neonatal unit.  She has her hand extended inside the incubator as she gently touches her baby.  The lights are low – all is quiet as the mom sings softly, over and over again, to her precious treasure – “Don’t worry – cause every little thing’s going to be alright”.

A seasoned nurse stops by unobtrusively to check something without disturbing them and then continues, quietly on her way, humming the very same tune as she goes.

I applaud this serene depiction of universal maternal love, hope, quiet determination and trust.

For as parents, we’ve all been there with our children, at varying degrees.

Whether it’s nursing common childhood sicknesses, more serious illnesses, emotional upsets, struggles, challenges,fears and pain, a parent’s love is palpable, strong, and comforting, even though our hearts may be afraid.

We often see this love come full circle.

I have an old friend now in her very last days of life.  It is her adult children who are there, holding her hand, and perhaps, silently mouthing the very same words, “don’t worry – cause every little thing’s going to be alright”.

The beauty and strength of love.

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