Posts Tagged ‘life lessons’

Two moments I will share with you:

A while ago, maybe a couple of months, it was after lunch and I was in a bad mood. It had been a long week in the house, lots of rain which meant not much outside play time and I was feeling cramped and suffocated within these walls. It was no one’s fault, Alice was sleeping, Estelle busy playing in her room. I was hanging clothes inside the house on the airer hoping to finally get some wet laundry dried. For the last 20 mins, Estelle had been running back and forth between the kitchen and her bedroom, I could hear her digging through the jumble in the tupperware drawer but didn’t pay any attention to it. My nerves were on edge, I felt snappy and dark and impatient. I decided I’d had enough, get me out this house and to the shops! Anywhere!

Alice woke up and I quickly got her changed, grabbed a nappy bag and called out, “come on Estelle, let’s get in the car”. I waited. And waited. A hot angry monster started stirring inside my belly. “Come on! I’m waiting!”. She called out to me, “I’m nearly ready mum”. I stood there for another minute letting the flames of anger spark up, take light and engulf me. I don’t know why I was so cranky, I just was. It felt good to be cranky, so I was.

Estelle emerges from her bedroom, a beautiful smile from ear to ear, slowly and ever so carefully balancing in her arms our Tupperware ice block set. She had gone through the drawer and found the tray, every container, stick and lid and put them all together. She says, “Mummy I make us dessert”. She made her way to the fridge, opened the door and put it on the shelf.

My heart melted. I thought, who do I think I am? What was so important that I couldn’t check to see what she was doing first? Why am I behaving so horribly?

If someone was yelling at me down the hallway the way I had, I certainly wouldn’t come out with a smile on my face!


We were leaving soon for playgroup, Estelle was dressed and ready, I was busy dressing the baby and packing up all our stuff to take.

I gave her the countdown, ” 5 minutes until we leave, darling”.

I raced around tidying the house, packing the morning tea, and all those other things that must be done.

“Let’s brush your teeth now please”, waiting….no answer. I could hear her chattering away in her room.

I went in to her room, “Come now please!”

She burst into tears, “I don’t want to go, leave me home!”

I sat down and softened myself. I tried to understand what she would be feeling.

Here she is, sitting in her room with all her dolls lined up in a row and the basket of dolls clothes emptied. She is carefully sorting through it, matching the outfits and dressing her babies.

I asked her which doll she would like to bring with us and what she would like them to wear. She chose her girl Jessie and the ballerina dress. We had a hug and talked about the fun things we would do at playgroup and what friends she was looking forward to seeing. She got up with Jessie in her arms and went into the bathroom. I followed her, feeling grateful that I was able to meet her need in that moment. I got it right for once!

Sometimes I find the huge emotions of a three year old exhausting. It’s hard to keep up. I read this blog the other night and it reminded me of something, that tantrums and outbursts are outward expressions of inner confusion. I knew this, but needed reminding.

What is 5 minutes to a three year old? Why would I tell Estelle we’re leaving in 5 minutes and expect her to come when I tell her to? She has no comprehension of time like this.

What could be so important that I can’t go in and see what she’s doing first? She is completely absorbed in her world of play, every game is so real. How can I pull her from this world without first meeting her there?

I am so grateful for, and always amazed at the unlimited forgiveness from a child. And also hopeful that I can be open and willing to change my attitude when I need to.

No persons work is more important than anothers. Whether it be making imaginary iceblocks or performing brain surgery.

Both just as real and just as meaningful to the people involved.


Read Full Post »

Here are three little stories from my life.

The first one is about a moment I shared with a lady at the nursing home I work at. This lady is very quiet, very serious and often doesn’t even acknowledge that you’ve spoken to her. Sometimes leaving you unsure about whether or not she is comprehending what you’re saying. I went to her room to assist her down to the dining room to have lunch. I asked if she enjoyed her visit with her daughter, no  response. I asked if she was a bit hot with her jacket on, she shook her head. Conversation with her was like sucking blood out of a stone, really. When we got to the table I helped her into her chair and noticed a giant bowl of decorative wooden fruit that the cleaner had just put on the table. I said, “Gee you know times are tough when they serve you wooden fruit for lunch!”. The lady looked at me and started howling with laughter! I was quite startled by her reaction because I had never seen such a response from her. I too started laughing. And not just a giggle. That kind of deep belly laughing that completely consumes you, like you have lost power over your own body. We couldn’t stop. We both had tears streaming down our cheeks. I’m sure the other residents making their way down for lunch thought we had gone off the deep end, but it didn’t matter. In that moment, in that ridiculous moment, we connected.

A couple of weeks ago I took my Nanna to the shops so she could get some things she needed. As we were walking into the supermarket she said to me,

” Emmy, I miss Ernie.” This may have been a strange thing for her to say as we had just left Ernie sitting in his chair at home. A few months ago Ernie was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. One week he was driving, gardening, living his life. The next he is weak and fighting for his life. His diagnosis was a huge shock for our family. This is a man who has never been sick in his life. Nan and I  kept on walking and I took her hand. I thought about her words. I thought through the layers of meanings in those words. She misses him. The conversation he no longer has the breath for. The things he used to do around the house. The afternoons they used to spend looking at boats down by the bay. The life they had which will never be the same. My hand held her hand,  and my heart held her sadness. I shared the load even if just for that moment.

Today Estelle fell asleep in the car on the way home from kindy. I carried her inside and she slept for a while longer on her bed. When she woke up she was in a mess. She was crying hard. Big, shaky, breathless sobs that rattled through her little body. I held her, that didn’t work. I took her outside to cuddle the guinea pigs, that didn’t work. I tried everything. She wasn’t interested. So she sobbed on and on for over an hour. I really had to get dinner started so I stood at the bench, with her wrapped around my legs, quickly trying to chop some vegetables. While I peeled carrots, I took a moment of silence in my mind. I noted the anger that was rising in my belly, and the thoughts that were racing through my head. I wanted to yell at her to stop! I fought my words and bit my tongue. When the vegies were done, I took her hand and walked her into her bedroom where we sat on the floor. Her in my lap, taking deep, frantic gasps as the tears were subsiding. I sang a song to her. She enjoyed this, but the second I finished singing she started wailing again. I took a breath and softened myself and said to her quietly and calmly so that she had to hush to hear my words, ” Estelle we need to find something that will help you to feel better. I’m going to read a book to you to see if that will help you find some peace.” I chose a book off the shelf and started reading. That was all it took, she was there, lost in the story with the little rabbit who was searching for spring.

The most important thing you can offer to another person is connection. Being there with them and ready to meet their need in that moment.

As a mother I do this all the time, every day. Meeting the need as it arises is necessary to maintain a peaceful home. Sometimes this means taking a bucket of soapy water out to the backyard with cups for some splashy fun, if you can feel a tantrum brewing. Or bundling everyone out the front door for an impromptu walk to the park to release some restless energy, or for me to get some fresh air when a long day at home is getting a little suffocating. Or making a cubby and snuggling down inside with a book to have some cuddle time. Often it means resisting the urge to act on my feelings when I know that it’s not what is needed in that situation.

This can be a really hard thing to do. Often I miss the mark. I say things that make a situation worse. I get caught up with my emotions and my peaceful parenting ends up sounding a lot like a harsh, raised voice! Or I get caught up with my emotions and instead of just listening to what my friend has to say I start telling them what they ‘should’ do and say. Or justifying my words and actions to them. But in the end, whatever I have done or said is really unimportant. What is important is their perception of it. If they have felt hurt by my words, there is no need to justify what I have said them. All that is needed is apology.  Seeing what is needed in that moment and meeting that need. Being open and ready to connect. Sometimes  the most difficult, but certainly the most precious thing you can do.

Read Full Post »