Part 6 of the Series “Writing From ‘A to Z'”
I’ve been pretty beaten down by life lately. I am not above whining, although it annoys me when others do it (my son is excellent at it). Without getting into details, I ask you to take my word for it. This is real stuff. While, I’m not above whining, I generally try to avoid it. I focus on being positive and grateful, in the worst circumstances. Still, joy has been zapped out of me the last few days. I know if I let this go on too long, nothing good can come of it.
I also know myself well enough to know if I get in a slump and don’t write, that it will snowball and this little blog I’ve been working on will fizzle out and die. I think it’s okay to show that you’re not up, up, up all the time, but how does someone who focuses on the inspirational write when all she wants to do is complain?
I’ve been working on this “A to Z” series, and I’ve been stuck on the letter “F”. There is the obvious Queen Mother of Dirty Words, but writing a blog about the “F” word really isn’t my style and not what I’m going for. Some positive words come to mind: faith, family, fun . . . I had ideas for all of these, and faith is the focus of my life, but an article just wasn’t coming. I was gravitating toward the more negative: frustration, fear, fake, fight . . . Again, not the stuff inspiration is made of.
Then, the word “fort” came to mind. I thought of the blanket forts (actually most of them are made of sheets, but let’s not get too technical) I’ve made with my kids, especially the first one, and I started to feel some of my joy returning.
It made me realize, it’s when things get complicated that we become emotionally drained. Things at work and in over-scheduling the kids, buying toys, even picking out our clothes, drain our energy. I’m not saying my kids will stop participating in soccer, that I’ll buy seven of the same outfit, or quit buying my kids toys. But, perhaps focusing on and appreciating the simple things will motivate me to make some different decisions, even if I start off with baby steps.
A couple of years ago, I had an unexpected day off of work. The kids and I had nothing to do for a change, and I remembered how my brothers and I used to make forts using chairs and blankets. So silly really, but there was something so fun in sitting inside a makeshift tent in the living room.
When my son was still an only child and we lived in town, he and I would frequently walk along the sidewalks in our neighborhood. It was special time together, and it was such a regular thing, that our neighbors told me they would watch for me and my cute two-year old to walk in front of their house. They commented that he was at such a cute age, and having grown children of their own, they talked about how quickly he would change from that adorable toddler. As I always say, I am biased, but he was the cutest little guy.
On these walks, it was definitely the journey that was important and not the destination. I guess that goes without saying, since our starting point (home) was the same as our destination. He made the journey so much fun at that age, picking up dandelions and sweeping the sidewalk with them. Sometimes he would pick up a rock or a stick and bring it home with such delight. I would laugh that we spent so much money on toys, and his favorites were a rock and a stick.
A couple years later, and the act of simply moving chairs from the dining room the living room delighted my children. Putting a sheet over the top so they could sit inside and run through it about sent them over the edge with excitement.
A couple of months ago, I bought my son a toy to make forts. It looked simple enough. Some poles and little pieces with holes to put the poles together. Then you throw a sheet over it, and what fun, right? Wrong! The pieces don’t fit easily together. Once assembled, it’s flimsy and falls apart easily, and when it’s not assembled, I have to fight with my son to put the pieces back in the box or we’re tripping all over them. Once again, I took the simple and complicated it by buying this “great” toy.
One of the things our children want and love the most is simply for us to spend time with them. While I don’t see my son giving up his complex Lego kits anytime soon, sometimes it’s so nice to take a step away from all of that and appreciate rocks, sticks, chairs and sheets.