Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I Hope You Don't Fit In

As parents, I feel as though we worry about our children not fitting in with the crowd.  We worry that they will be isolated or feel sad or have their little feelings hurt at some point or another.  Well, I think we all know this is inevitable and we can't always avoid it... nor should we.  I know we want to protect their hearts.  We can't help it.  But, in the world of shaping and molding our children into good people... they must learn.  Sometimes that means letting them fall, just so they know how to get back up again.

As a parent of a child with physical differences (and I can imagine this stretches across the board and it is safe for me to say that with parents of children with any kind of special challenge), this worry only intensifies.  Sometimes differences aren't so obvious, and sometimes, when a child has obvious differences, it can be a source for an easy target.  And to tell you the truth, my heart fears this... so much.  But my head... it tells me that my little one will be stronger and better because of it.  It will be hard.  Learning always is.

She is three months old.  And I admit, I am getting ahead of myself.  But I am a woman and that's what we do.  We picture our babies going off to kindergarten, off to middle school & high school and off to college.  And with bittersweet tears in our eyes, we picture her wedding day and the smile she wears so big and so happily.  We try to anticipate the bumps along the way and we attempt to hammer them out to create a smooth ride.  After all-- all we ever want for our children is happiness and we will go to leaps and bounds to help them achieve this.

But for now, I am going to focus on teaching.  Teaching my little one and her big brother that it is ok to be different-- and someday, this is what I am going to say:

When everyone is stomping and marching and going to the right.  "This way!" they are shouting with all of their might.  And you feel like you could, you would, you should, even if it means you are misunderstood...

I hope you don't fit in.

I hope you dance in circles around and around, twirling and jumping with your feet off the ground.  I hope you sing a song that's different from theirs, and break out a game of musical chairs.

I'm glad you don't fit in.

When everyone is yellow from head to their toes-- neon yellow, mustard yellow and on so it goes.  They want you to be yellow and look all the same, but you are blue and red and you feel the shame.

I hope you don't fit in. 

I hope you take your blue and your red and add purple too and green and orange and every other hue.  I hope you paint your world with colors every which way, putting hearts and rainbows and love on display.

I'm glad you don't fit in.

When everyone jumps in without thinking twice, they turn to you and say, "Here's some advice.  Do what we are doing because it's the "in" thing to do.  What's there to think about?  You know you want to."

I hope you don't fit in.

I hope you go your own way blazing your own trail.   Not afraid to move on and let your dreams set sail.  Lead with your heart and keep your eyes open wide.  Let love and compassionate and joy be your guide.

I'm glad you don't fit in.

When everyone uses words that should have remained unsaid and you feel the negativity start to spread.  When ignorances and prejudices come out to play and the feeling of hate begins to give way.

I hope you don't fit in.

I hope you shine like the light that I see in your eyes and know that you don't have to compromise.  Integrity and character are things to hold dear.  As well as a pure heart and a consciouss that's clear.

I'm glad you don't fit in.

When everyone feels entitled and demands become great.  And gratitude is lost and nothing's worth the wait.  When others are stepping stones to get to the top. And they turn around only to see your big flop.

I hope you don't fit in.  

I hope you treat others with kindness and respect and know how your actions can directly affect.  Lift others up and up and you will soar too.  And to yourself... always be true.   

I'm glad you don't fit in.

Yes, this world will tell you which way to go.  Who to be, what to think and what you should know.  It will want you to take the easy route, but then you wouldn't know what life's all about.

I hope you don't fit in.

As you fly through the sky on your very own cloud, know that it's ok not to follow the crowd.  Different is good; different is allowed.  You should know your mama is already proud.

I'm so glad you don't fit in.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Wishing Well

I don't know why, but I happened to glance into the tall, metal vase (that serves as an umbrella stand) next to the front door in our entryway.  I found seven shiny, 'pretend' coins from Clay's cash register.  I thought about it... and then... it all made perfect sense.  It wasn't just a toddler throwing things into anywhere for whatever reason or no reason at all.  This was his wishing well and those shiny, 'pretend' coins... those were his seven wishes.

We spent several afternoons at a wishing well last summer.  It was at a historical site, the home of an author, in this tucked away/sleepy and yet perfect forest.  If you can imagine a place where little fairies would live, fluttering around the flower garden down by the lake through the trellis made of vines hopping from lilly pad to lilly pad in the tiny pond... that place exists.  We found it--it is magical.  And yet, it is a place forgotten by many, appreciated only by a few.

And the wishing well... I think Clay and I are among the only ones that have active wishes in there.  Clay would dig his coins out of the organza bag and throw each one in as fast as he could.  "Wish.  Wish.  Wish," he would say as they would sink to the bottom.  And I always stole one from him when he wasn't looking.  I already knew my wish... and I closed my eyes and tossed the coin into the well.  "Wish."

And now, I am knee-deep in my own craziness of life as a mama-of-two.  In the midst of... (deep breath)... seasonal cold catching, temper-tantruming, sleep training, diaper changing, monitors beeping, picky eating, laundry forgetting, schedule creating, grocery shopping, nose wiping, carpet sweeping, doctor visiting, bottle cleaning, shoe tying, story reading, car seat fastening, supper making, question answering, boo boo kissing, snack preparing, choo choo playing, medicine giving... sleep-not-getting...
where I find myself doing it-- wishing my life away.

I can hear my own thoughts running through my head, "I need to just get through this."  I wish for the future to be here now.  I wish for easier times when I will have more time, more sleep, more, more, more.  And then... I stop.  I look around.  And I see through the chaos of the big picture and into the little moment that is right in front of me.

I see Clay going over to Lilah, shaking her hand and saying, "Nice to meet cha."  I see Lilah's face break out in a huge smile every time Corey says, "Ahhhhh, man," in his best motor voice.  I see my boy's smiling face when he wakes up from nap and says, "Hi mommy.  I'm all done napping."  I see tiny little baby toes peeking out from the bubbles in her bath.  I see Corey drop to the floor in .2 seconds ready for a quick game of hide-and-seek.  I see Clay with his face a foot away from Lilah's saying, "She is just so adorable."  I see a tiny little hand grasp onto my finger.  I see the happiness, the love, the present time.  And I wouldn't wish it away for anything.

My neighbor came over for a visit today... and she told me about a conversation with a stranger that took place twenty years ago.  A conversation that has stuck with her all this time.  She said her little one was acting up and she remembers feeling angry with him.  That's when a stranger came up to her and told her not to be so mad at him.  She said, "Someday, you will look back on this precious time and give anything to have it back."  She told me this story with tears in her eyes and a cough in her throat and I knew... she agreed.  I was now the girl she was passing this little secret along to.  And I feel happy to know this secret now before it's too late and I wished my time away.

This is life.  This is living.  But me... I am loving.  And I will no-longer-ever-again wish my life away.  Life is not, "Let's just get through this."  Life is so much more than that.

For these little moments... they melt me.  They make me gush and gush.  They make my heart full.  And now, I look for them in each day.  And each day, I find more and more and more.  I find those moments that may seem ordinary-- but there is some magic there.  I capture them in my mind and tie them up with string only to be reopened later.  And each night, I can't help but relive these moments like a filmstrip of my day before my thoughts finally drift off into dreams.  And as for those moments... I will remember them... always.

And I promise you, if you look really hard, you will find them too in the most unexpected places and in the most unexpected ways.        

And someday when the kids are grown, and I go back to that wishing well, I will still be making a wish.  But I already know, my wish will be to turn back the hands of time and do it all over again.  I told you this was a magical place... with perhaps a magical wishing well.  My wish from last summer?  It came true... and isn't she lovely?