My Choice

What a week. And it's not over! I sat down three different times this week to write and my mind was a fuzzy mess. One day I had nothing in me to do anything (I think my mind was on overload) and there was no wind in my sails. I felt hopeless and frustrated - why do I try so hard? Does it matter? It doesn't seem to. Another day I felt downright angry; sometimes I feel like I am the only force for good in this house! The kids are always bickering, baiting fights, and I got a call from the school psychologist (the principal wasn't available). And to cap it off no one listens to a word I say! Grrr.

Then I sat down and thumbed through a catalog and noticed the title of a book: The Mother's Mite, Why Even Our Smallest Efforts Matter. Just that simple phrase really broke through to me. The tough thing about this parenting business is that most of the time, the results of what we do are not measurable - at least not in the short term. Who knows, we may not really see the fruits of our labors until way down the road or maybe not even until we get to the other side. I have read, researched, and read some more, taken classes, turned my kitchen upside down, and altered the foundation of holidays all for the well being of my family - namely my little Preston and his invisible metal disorder. But the kids still fight, there is still tension amidst the blended-family setting, bad grades still come home, think-times at school still happen and principal phone calls are still made. Is anything changing? Is anything sinking in?

I have to believe it is. And once in awhile off-the-cuff comments that are made catch my attention and let me know that I what I say and do does sink in (and unfortunately that goes for the bad too). There are days (even weeks) that not much good is going on, but then there are days that are almost calm and pleasant (and moments where they'll actually share a chair at the dentist's). At the bottom of all this, my little Preston has a good heart and wants to do the right thing even though brain befuddles for him what that means in any given moment; from pre-action to action to consequence. The bigger lesson that I've learning is that if I'm going to survive my life with this crazy and wonderful critter in it, I've got two choices: to be happy and learn to let a lot of things go or be miserable and focus on all the horrid, confusing acts of life that happen under my roof and elsewhere.

I know I've said this many a post, but this is the choice I have to make today. Raising kids is a messy, scary, horribly imperfect business. But I can look back in 20 years and know I did all that I could and that I gave him all of the love I could muster, or I could look back over my life and wish that I had just chosen to be happy in that moment. When my kids do something naughty, it's not the end of the world it's an opportunity. And it is possible to parent with empathy, encouragement and consequences without anger and condescension. Everyday I have the opportunity to create good, even when there is nowhere to pull it from. I've got what it takes. I just have to remind myself of that. Often. Even when they make me want to jump off a cliff.

And in the end despite it all, I love them all to bits and remind myself that it IS worth it.


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