When I start to feel disconnected from the present either because I’m overwhelmed or stressed or distracted, I try and put away my phone, take a few deep breaths and sort of shake everything off while reminding myself that life is too short for ____. Some days it’s just a matter of telling myself that life is too short to worry about messy floors, laundry, and whether or not the kids get dressed. Other days it’s bigger worries, but if I remind myself to stay in the moment and be (annoyingly) optimistic, I start to feel better. And you know what? Generally everything does get better. I don’t think I’ve ever told myself that things will be okay and they haven’t been.
Kids are actually a great example of staying present and living in the moment. They have so few worries and can find such joy in simple things. While I may hate cleaning up the sticky mess, bubbles are one of those things that bring the biggest smiles and giggles and happy dances. Why would I deny that? Why is it that as we age we often forget what it’s like to be a child and lose some of the joy we once knew? There are times when I catch us saying “No” too often and I have to stop myself because I want them to know joy when it is experienced with great abandon. Isn’t that what I loved about childhood, after all? A little recklessness isn’t the worst thing, and a few scrapes and bruises aren’t the end of the world. They’re a badge of a well-lived childhood, in my mind. Some of my fondest memories involve somewhat reckless behavior whether it was steering a red wagon down our steep driveway and crashing into the fence or tumbling out and ending up with gravel in our knees and elbows or some other dangerous game. There’s nothing more frustrating than hearing “No” all the time, though, so who can blame a child for getting angry when they keep running into roadblocks. While I want to protect them, I also want to make sure they have their independence, so… balance.
Life is just one big balancing act… although sometimes it’s juggling, and sometimes it’s definitely acrobatic. The point is, life (and parenting especially) is just one big circus. I’m beginning to realize that so many things are really out of my hands and it’s up to me to make the best of any situation. Sometimes I fail at doing this and I let the emotions and actions of others affect my mood and it can be quite an effort to ground myself, take breaths and find my joy again, but it’s always worth the energy it takes to do so. It is my hope that I can one day teach Enzo how to “deal” with his highly sensitive nature, since he is so like me, which was once again very apparent during this busy holiday weekend. We’re very sensitive to the moods of everyone around us and we can be having a great time, but all it takes is a few negative interactions and we find ourselves getting irritable and “off.” When I can ground myself, I can positively deal with a tantrum and it’s over so much more quickly than when I have a bunch of emotions bottled up and I’m trying to contain them and they just explode all at once. Oh yeah, he’s definitely like me. We are very emotional people.
Emotions are good, though, and while our highly sensitive nature may mean we struggle at times, we can still also find great joy in the little things, like watching bubbles reflect light in the sun. There’s also no greater joy than listening to tiny feet dance around hundreds of falling bubbles. That, my friends, is magic.