Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy--Thankful--Challenge

Lately I have been having a hard time focusing on the “good” in everyday things.  As I mentioned in a previous post, a lot of this comes with the transition to summer.  It is the hardest thing for me.  While the majority of society believes teachers rejoice the moment summer break begins, I always go through a mild depression.  I’m finally, after about a month, starting to feel okay with summer and my time off work.  But it’s been a tough month, and having C with me from wake-up until bedtime is such a gift, it also presents it’s own set of challenges. 

I have no idea what to blame my negativity on---so I’m going to blame it on the fact that ultimately, C is darn near the perfect child…… when he’s happy.  He is stinking cute (obviously, in his mother’s unbiased opinion), he has an amazing vocabulary, he already shows interest in a variety of things (unfortunately, not the TV—which I think would be a nice, quiet, activity for 10 minutes someday), he entertains himself, and he is a total lover/ snuggler/ cuddler.  In these moments, I have to say that I am, probably, the perfect mother.  (ha)  I am patient, loving, nurturing, and have that sweet- preschool teacher voice, even while doing the diaper change battle.  But on those occasions when he acts, well, normal (whines, cries, throws tantrums, wants to be held constantly, refuses to walk, …you get the picture) I just lose it.  I look at him and think, “What’s different about today?  Why can’t you play with your toys that you liked yesterday?”  These thoughts leave me frustrated, and wishing my mom lived 20 minutes away and could baby-sit for an hour here and there. I sink into my negativity, and have trouble climbing out.

So….. in typical counselor fashion, I have developed an intervention for myself.  It is called, “Happy, Thankful, Challenge” and here is how it works: 

At the end of each day, I reflect on the day and write down 3 things that made me happy, 3 things I’m thankful for, and 1 challenge from the day.  I started this almost two weeks ago and read my little journal this morning.  I LOVE this little activity because it forces me to focus on the good…. and honestly, after only a few days, it is interesting to notice that the challenges don’t always involve C!  And, the ones that do are really pretty trivial.

Years from now, when I look back on C’s childhood, I want to remember loving it and cherishing it, not longing for the time when he heads out the door to college.  And this past week, while he spent time at my parents’ house, I started to feel guilty for ever becoming frustrated with him.  I missed him so much and just couldn’t imagine why I would ever be mad at him.  All the bad was seriously forgotten—I saw a glimpse of how people with grown children tend to forget the daily grind.  

Our break was so good for us—I just can’t wait to reconnect with my little guy.  When I saw him today, tears welled up in my eyes because he just seemed so much bigger—so much more grown up!  He is doing things he wasn’t doing before and saying words he hadn’t known.  It’s like I get to discover him all over and I can’t wait.  For the first time in a long time, I’m actually hoping he takes a really short nap so we can hang out ALL day!  (shhh…don’t tell anyone)

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