Choosing My Choices
I was just reading a great post by Earthmama Lisa, about choosing how we react to life. This is something I’ve thought on a lot over this summer, but a reminder is always helpful. As my stress levels rise and the impending move begins to weigh heavily on my consciousness, I find it difficult to keep a level head and heart. I feel panicky, stressed, nervous and quite shouty. It is taking little to tip me over the edge and a lot of energy to remind myself that this was my choice.
No one, least of all the boys, forced me to embark upon this building project. Yes, I can argue that we are doing this to give them the kind of life we feel is most healthy and beneficial, but really this was our decision. I hope (and really do know) that this new life will be so much better for them, that they will enjoy the freedom of space to run in, trees to climb, sky to live under; I hope that this will pay back the stress and lack of focus of the last few months.
But it really does take a lot of conscious effort to remind myself that despite the exhaustion, worry, anxiety and did I mention exhaustion? I get to choose how I react to things. Not every time, sometimes I am swept away by my emotions or anger, usually when I am tired, but much of the time. Example. On Saturday we spent the day at the house, I left Stephen there around 6, brought the boys home for dinner, bath and bedtime. Just as they were finishing supper Stephen called to ask me where his car keys were; of course they were in my car. Up ahead was another hour of driving with two boys who should, by rights, be heading to bed. I accepted the situation with reasonably ill grace and dragged on my shoes, herding the boys toward the door.
Huwyl’s reaction? “This is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me! What a great adventure!” I couldn’t help but laugh and be cheered by his outlook on life. As it was we had a pleasant drive through the twilight and on the return journey both boys fell asleep, remaining so when I carried them up to their beds. I wish I could embrace all challenges as potential adventures, I admit I’m just not quite up to it, but sometimes I can put the mental brakes on and say ‘look at things differently’; it works wonders every time.
I have had some prior training in this area, so really I should be better at it. A few days after Huwyl was born (he was 11 weeks premature) we were told he had a brain hemorrhage. The stress of his birth had caused bleeding in his brain and there was no way of knowing if it had caused any damage or not. Over the two months that he was in the NICU he had ultrasounds to determine if there had been any harm done and subsequently he was followed up by the children’s hospital for 4 years to be sure. This hung over us for the whole of his time in hospital and beyond as we wondered, could there be something lurking in our little boy’s brain that could take him from us?
Every time I would think about getting results from the doctor my fears would rush in, terrifying me with thoughts of the very worst. But I was determined that fear would not win, so every time one of these horror movies got going I would mentally stop it, rewind and force the replay to conform to my own wishes. Over and over again the doctor would say all was well, the bleed had resolved and no damage had been done. It was too important that our beloved bean be well, I wouldn’t allow even a thought that entertained the worst.
When I think on those days, the fear we felt, the agony of being parted from our little boy, I know that the day to day struggles I face can be met with much more grace. I know I am only human and so grouchiness and tiredness do their inevitable work on me, but sometimes I have one of those out of body moments when I look at my life, my two healthy boys, and remember how lucky I am. I can choose to be grateful for them instead of resenting the work they create, I can choose to see what amazing, loving people they are instead of being irritated when they trip me over mid task for a cuddle. I can remember that if I’m having a hard time, they certainly must be and they didn’t choose any of this.
Today I choose to see the never ending laundry pile as evidence of my two country boys in the making, my tiredness as a job well done and my impending move…well, as the fulfillment of 10 years of dreaming and working. Maybe this will be a good day after all.