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Thursday, 4 April 2013

"I feel brave today, Mom."

So, the last two months have been hard. Not in real life, just in my brain. I'm way more sensitive to criticism (3-star reviews? Really? Weren't just content to give the book 3 stars and move on? Had to say something too?). And I'm way quicker to take everything personally with friends and family and people I don't even know. It's not my usual MO - I'm basically too lazy to be so annoyed all the time - but lately it's been easier to be annoyed than not, and that's just... well, annoying.

I've been working on getting out of my head since the moody blues came to visit, especially with my kids. Because what could be worse than a moody mom? Pretty much nothing good can come from it, so I'm taking extra care to listen, hear things beyond the words, and mostly just breathe a couple times before reacting to whatever it is they didn't do the first two times I said to.

And the thing about kids is they're about the most generous beings on the planet. My boys would still rather snuggle in and listen to me read Harry Potter than play a video game, and talking about Lord of the Rings with their parents on a long drive gets more votes than watching Tom and Jerry. Which goes a long way toward giving Moody Mom perfectly administered doses of perspective when she needs it most.

Like this morning, when a straightforward comment about a Christmas toy that had been laughed at by a friend brought tears, and it was 8am and the small boy was still in pajamas, not even close to being ready for school that starts at 8:30, perspective kicked in and I pulled him into my lap. We talked about what had happened then, about what it felt like when his friend made fun of him for loving Sophie the Giraffe, and what he had made it mean about himself and about the favorite toy. We talked about kids who laugh, and getting "hooked" into anger or frustration, and what it might feel like to shake off the hook, shrug your shoulders, and decide the laughter doesn't change anything about who you are and what you love. And when the tears dried and we raced around like banshees doing all the getting-ready things that sometimes make me yell but didn't today, we raced off to school. On the way, the small boy held my hand and told me he felt brave today.

Let me just say, a five-year-old's bravery isn't just a dose of perspective to Moody Mom, it's an effing cure. Thank you, small boy, for reminding me what's real.