Parenting is an awesome and challenging experience. I doubt anyone, including the experts, have it all figured out. However, the joys are in the experience, the learning that takes place everyday, as you learn about your child, yourself and inevitably have your life turned upside down until it is right side up again. As parents, we worry about so many things. Some of them really matter to us eg their health and wellbeing. Others we simply inherit from the pressures of society. We watch and track milestones as though the quality of our lives and that of our kids depend on it. And in this state, we sometimes miss out on the beauty of life all around us.
My eldest son and I had a conversation a while ago about his gym track record. I had been to their school and had seen the name of the fastest runner in his class and was talking with him about his own pace as I know he really likes to run. His response was pretty amazing and completely changed my focus for good and just in time for the New year
He: mom, I am not the fastest runner YET.”
Me: Sure. I saw it on the board. XYZ is the fastest runner
He: No you are not getting my point. I said I am not the fastest runner yet
Me: (Obviously confused) I heard that. and I know. That’s exactly what I am saying
He: No mum, you do not understand the Power of YET. I am not the fastest runner YET but I am training and will keep beating my record until I am the best runner I can be
Now I was humbled. My 10 year just explained the Growth Mindset thinking with such amazing perspective that I could not have done it better myself. And since then I’ve been thinking of the many times we err (I err) by making milestones millstones for our children. We place ourselves and our children under the pressure of a checklist provided by society and take for granted the ordinary things that fill our days while we pursue the extraordinary.
As the year comes to an end, I reflect on my journey so far and give thanks for the many “extra” ordinary things in my life. The simple things I have hitherto taken for granted eg
…. a baby’s ability to babble and coo, cos that means she’s ok and probably would not have a speech delay”
….. a baby’s ability to pick up a cup when hungry or thirty ….cos it means they have good motor skills and the brain and other body organs communicate just fine”
……Scribbles on my precious book that make quite a mess…. cos it means that I wont have to teach my child how to hold a pencil or a spoon or other fine motor skills”
I would have never thought that a child could be scared of the sound of his own fart, or find the sensation of passing out poop strange and startling. But having a son who had to struggle through and overcome some of these challenges has made me realize that a baby who smiles while pooping all over you deserves a responding smile and perhaps a kiss from a parent who knows that they have been blessed with the most precious gift of all. Just the other day, he showed us a neat trick he had mastered on how to get his jacket on by himself. He lies his jacket face up on the floor with the collar/ hoodie just against his feet. He slips his hands right into the sleeves and flips it perfectly over his head and viola… jacket is all worn!! You should have heard the shouts of victory erupting from his elder brothers and I as I scooped him up, celebrating this victory. We had reached the summit of one of our many Mount Everests!! I would never have thought that seeing a jacket being worn would have brought me so much happiness and joy. It certainly would not have made my “Blessings List” a while ago. But now I am more mindful of the extra-ordinariness of ordinary things. I am more mindful of not making milestones millstones and conscious to celebrate every little victory and not take anything for granted. We will take a minute to savour our ordinary victory and then we will move on to conquer more lands 🙂
As the year draws to a close, I can think of a thousand things I had wanted to achieve this year but didn’t. And then again, there are a million others I took for granted that happened anyway, without any effort from me. I choose to embrace the stark colours of winter as I remember the amazing brilliance of Autumn understanding that each season adds its colour to make the landscape of my life that much more ‘extra’ ordinary. I am grateful for my ordinary life and look forward to many more ‘extra’ ordinary days!!!! What are you grateful for in 2016?