Thursday, January 22, 2015

Enjoying Life From My Perspective

Well folks, the holiday season is upon us! Super Bowl Sunday, Groundhog Day, and Valentine's Day, all wrapped neatly into Black History Month! When we were homeschoolers, this time of the year was primetime for F-U-N! Winter doldrums? No way! It was time to get out the scissors and red construction paper, rustle up some pizza rolls and wings, take a road trip to Punxsutawney, and read about heroes like Sojourner Truth and Booker T. Washington. Trust me, there was plenty of time in there for education and all that, but life was about relationships -- mine with my children, brother with sister, ours with the folks we met along the way -- and how to get along with this big orb, Earth. Our life was one big road trip, learning and laughing along the way. I miss those days. (Can you tell?)

Adults are always talking about how quickly time flies, and kids are always talking about how they're going to die if their birthday doesn't get here. I guess perspective is everything. Well, I'm on the dying end of perspective -- Deal with it! This year I will be the Fabulous Five-O. It's all down hill from here. So, here is my advice to those who can't wait to grow up (or can't wait until their children grow up):

  • The dishes can wait. Don't stress about tomorrow. Hop on the tire swing, get sent back to Start, Go Fish, lick the spoon and be a kid again. Don't just let your children have fun, have fun with them. (Anyone who really knows me knows what a big deal it is to suggest dishes remain unwashed for longer than five minutes, but I have grandchildren now.)
  • It does go by -- very quickly. So turn the camera around; forget about the "selfie" and document all that's going on around you. Minus the eyebrows -- you'll still look the same twenty years from now. The folks on the other side of the lens may not stick around to see it.
  • I'm having some great times with my children now! A) It's never too late to start, and B) life doesn't stop until you do. With every stage, I wish I could say, I lived in that moment. I can't. But if you -- yes, you -- the mother with the bags under her eyes, the essence of Butt Paste lingering in her nostrils, and the crusty sweet potatoes on her shoulder choose now, you still have lots of time.
  • You're doing it right. When your children cry, it is not because you have severely, irreparably damaged them. When they fight with one another, it is not because you have created some Freudian sibling blah, blah, blah. When they are sick, it is not because they contracted some life-threatening disease from the window latch you failed to scrub with bleach and an old toothbrush. (I did this. Weekly. I am not kidding. I wish I was.) At the age of one, my son ate a fly he snatched from the floor behind a toilet. He is still alive. See...

  • Children remember less of what we tell them and more of what we show them. I'd like to believe my children will grow up to be involved parents; parents who hang construction paper snowflakes from the Living Room ceiling to ward off cabin fever in the dead of winter; parents who wake their children up at 2 AM to look at meteor showers; parents who play the pot rack in a Calphalon cacophony, go wading in the creek in their Sunday best, and serve dessert before dinner (at least once). I'd like to know that because of my interest in them, they will demonstrate a deep interest in their children. Develop a genuine interest in the people that matter to you.
  • Volunteer for something. You might be looking to reduce your carbon footprint, reduce your debt, or reduce your waistline; think about growing your legacy. Everybody should have one, so why not help somebody while you're forming it?
  • "Wag more. Bark less." (I saw this on a bumper sticker and thought it was poignant. I think it means we should be a little happier.)
  • Love. The verb.
And if none of this makes much sense to you, there's one last thing you can do:
  • Grab a spoon from the silverware drawer. Go ahead, I'll wait while you do it. Now stick it under your pillow. Turn your PJ's inside out. Sleep like that for the next couple of nights, and when the Big Snow hits, head outside to catch snowflakes on your tongue, or build the world's best snow fort, or barrage the plow with snowballs, or make snow angels. If you can't stop the hands of time for a few minutes in a snow storm, you just might want to consider calling the coroner and calling it a wrap.
If you need me I'll be tuning my saucepans.
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