Friday, February 24, 2012

The Help

I am trying to teach my kids to do things for themselves.  I believe when you can take care of yourself you gain independence.  Every day that our kids are with us is one day closer to the day they live on their own and I want them ready to succeed. 

The latest iteration of their learning is making their lunches.  Sophia has been doing this for about a year.  I have been making the boys’ lunches.  With Sophia if she doesn’t make her lunch she has to pay for her own hot lunch out of her allowance.  Now that will be the case with the boys too.  They all have plenty of money. 

I put a chart on the wall that has everything that should go into a school lunch.  There   are proteins, fruits, veggies, dairy, snacks, drinks etc.   This way their lunch is not 3 cookies, a Z Bar and chips of some sort or another. 

Our morning routine starts at 7:00.  It starts slowly.  Coulter likes to sit in front of my radiant heater in my bathroom.  He’s really good about getting out of bed but not much good at getting ready for the day.  I have to remind him to get dressed almost every day.  Kees is hard to get out of bed but once he’s up he gets ready on his own.  I still wake Sophia up but she pretty much takes care of herself. 

We head downstairs at about 7:40.  Mind you by now I have told the boys 5 times that they should go start making their sandwiches.  They haven’t….  We all get in the kitchen.  I start making egg sandwiches for breakfast.  (Put toast in toaster. Start the eggs on the griddle.) The boys start their sandwiches.  Today it was peanut butter and jelly.  I have to help them get out the “ingredients,” they get the knives.  I explain that you make the sandwich first and cut the crust off afterwards if that’s how you want it.  Yesterday they used 5 knives to make their sandwiches, today it was down to one each.  They were quite proud of that.  (I flip the eggs. Add cheese and put the ham on the griddle.) Sophia can’t find the cheese in the fridge, I have to find it and get her the proper knife. She needs help cutting the cheese, actual cheese people.  (Pull toast from toaster and add butter. Get plates.)  Next the boys ask if I can help them get yogurt, it’s in a big container.  Sure.  And can I cut a pear and an apple for them?  Sure.  I do all the above, put them in proper containers and then add it to their lunch.   “Mom, can you pour my drink for lunch?”  I do, add that to the lunch. (Check status of the eggs for sandwiches.)  “Mom, can we have popcorn for a snack?” “Yep.”  I make popcorn.   The egg sandwiches are done and on the table for the boys.  I make a smoothie for Sophia and me.  “Boys, does this look like you are done with your part of making your sandwiches?”  Their mess is EVERYWHERE.  They get up and put the “ingredients” away, knives in the sink and bread back.  Coulter says, “We’re making our lunches so you don’t have to do so much.”

Does any part of that experience seem like it was less work for me?  NO!  It takes more time, it is WAY more of a mess, there are little bodies under foot at every turn, there are more dishes, it takes longer and generally creates much more work for me.  BUT….  They are (sort of) making their lunches.  It’s a first step.  It’s the first step in learning how to make their lunch more efficiently and getting it off my plate.  I have to be patient and let a lot of it go.  They do it differently than I do but it’s all good and it’s a little part of their independence.  The boys are proud of their lunches, it’s an accomplishment.

The biggest lesson here is for me.  I have to be willing to work through the mess, crowd and length of time it takes to accomplish their task.  Those issues are why so many of us continue to do things for our kids that they are fully capable of.  It’s our issue, not theirs.  I constantly remind myself of that and that I have almost 40 years of experience over them.   They can’t do it like I do….yet.  I can make lunches and their breakfast in 20 minutes with little to no mess.  But if I do that, they aren’t learning and they don’t get the satisfaction of their accomplishment.  They are participating in their growing up and in our day to day.  It makes them aware of a time line and what it takes to make it through their day.  I have to make sure there is enough time to complete the task without too much stress.  I have to keep my voice tone positive.  This is big.  I am not very patient.  I need to be a guide, not the expert.

So we will be working on efficiency and patience respectively.  I love them all so much and want them to be successful on all levels.  So far they are growing up and shining brightly.  If I could give them a grade they’d all get A++.  Way to go kids….now, let’s pick up the pace.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

You Are Worthy

I was watching the national news last night and listening to a few of the people who eulogized Whitney Houston.  Kevin Costner said that Whitney often asked, “Am I good enough?” When she auditioned for her role in The Body Guard she took note of what was wrong with her.  Her look wasn’t quite right.  She was unsure of her talent.  Could she sing what and how they wanted her to?  And that was Whitney Houston in her prime.   Do you remember how beautiful and full of life she was? Her voice was like nothing I had ever heard before.  Every note…..perfect.  I remember belting out a few of her songs in the 80’s when she was at the height of her career and I too had those feelings of inadequacy.  I think we all do.  And looking back….I was beautiful, talented and smart.  Why in the world would that girl be insecure?

When have you ever been at a funeral when someone said anything less?  People don’t talk about short comings or faults at funerals they always talk about how they loved the person and admired their talents.  That the person was so funny, smart, generous and loving.  They’re never mean, selfish, dumb and ugly. 

So why is it that most of us focus on what we perceive as our short comings?  We all do it and it’s a shame because it makes us feel unworthy, small, less than.  The truth of the matter is we came into this world perfectly who we are.  Yes, we are good enough. 

I think that if someone speaks about me they’d say I am funny….ah, because I am. I am funny, NOT silly, BIG difference.  I believe they’d say I was smart, generous, kind, artistic, creative, a loving parent and a good friend.  They might include a few of the following as well.  I enjoy a challenge.  I love creating.  I like to fix broken things if I can to forgo getting something new.  I am a good cook.  I throw great parties.  I can go with the flow and I am not a perfectionist.  I can handle good enough.  I am the one you want with you in a stressful situation.  I will make a decision when it needs to be made.  I am a good listener.  I believe I give good advice.  I am open to new ideas.  These are only a few of the things that I need to carry around with me and believe. 

I know all those things are true and yet, I focus on other things.  I need to be more organized, exercise more, start yoga and lose weight.  I know these things are important too but they are not what make me….ME.  Those are the things that support me in who I am.  They are “an exercise” in my life that supports my soul, who I really am.  I am all the things in the last paragraph.  I am not “lose weight” and “exercise more” I am kind and loving. 

We all need to focus on who we are not what we aren’t.  I am worthy.  You are worthy.  You know all your friends would say you are and those that wouldn’t are not to be trusted.  They don’t know you.  I know most of the people who read this blog and you are all worthy, kind, smart and generous your selves.  I know this because you are my friends and I only maintain friendships with those who are all those things.  Life is too short to waste my time on people who are not worthy of it.  I have tried to have friendships with people who weren’t as generous and kind and it is an exercise in frustration.  Their negative energy got entangled in my positive energy and it brought me down.  We’ve all had that friend that always has a problem or can pick you apart.  As I said above, we all know what our faults are, we don’t need reminding by a so called, “friend.”

Yes Whitney, you were good enough.  It is very sad that she is gone but I believe it all started with her insecurities.  Those are what will get you, eat at you.  If only there was a way to convey that message to her so that she truly knew it, felt it, owned it.  It may have changed her life and given her more time to shine. 

So please take note of you and I will take note of me.  You are awesome and I don’t mean that in high school vernacular, I mean that as in we were created by an awesome God and in his likeness.  We are to be held up and admired like the jewels we are.  We are beautiful, full of many facets all while we reflect the light all around us and in us.  WE ARE WORTHY!