Tag Archives: life lesson

Never Say Never (Especially When It Comes To Parenting)

2007

Husband to me: “I will never allow a mini van in my driveway.”

Me: “Thank God. I hate those things.”

Christmas 2007

Husband: “I hate those tacky inflatables that people put on their lawns. My house will always have the classic white lights. We can drive around in the evenings so our kids can see those things.”

Me: “Ok.”

Fast Forward to Today:

Christmas 2014.   Not one, not two, but three inflatables on our lawn, a random assortment of coloured and white lights and of course a mini van in the driveway.

Christmas 2014.
Not one, not two, but three inflatables on our lawn, a random assortment of coloured and white lights and of course a mini van in the driveway.

I swear that our names are not Griswald. Honest!

We hope that maybe one day, when our youngest (now 22 months) is old enough that we can go back to the classic white lights, that I can give up the van and drive anything else again…. before we have grandkids!

That time frame could potentially be very small though as by the time our youngest is a teen the older two will be in their mid-twenties… and the cycle will start all over again 🙂

Just another time where I’ve learned never say never.

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Chance Encounters

Last week when I was driving our daughter to dance we saw this license plate:

Chance Encounters-spreading positivity to strangers. (Disclaimer-I did not take this photo while driving, my passenger took it)

Chance Encounters-spreading positivity to strangers. (Disclaimer-I did not take this photo while driving, my passenger took it)

And it prompted us to talk about the fact that vanity plates are often about being vain, yet this person chose to spread positivity to complete strangers wherever they drive.

And then it got me talking about Chance Encounters which I learned about 11 or 12 years ago when I attended a conference hosted by Toastmasters. Each session was with a person embarking upon a career as a motivational speaker.

The session I remember most vividly (actually the only session I remember) was about Chance Encounters.

The speaker (If you know who he is please contact me as I would like to give credit where it is due) spoke of the concept that every choice we make in life affects someone one else. And he called these choices Chance Encounters.

For example, a driver cuts you off in traffic and you respond with a hand signal and some choice words. You then go on about your day. But this driver knew he made a mistake and tried to say sorry to you. He just got fired today and yesterday his wife left him. No one, not even random strangers (you) can’t stand him. What’s the point in living when no one thinks anything of you? When he’s driving over the bridge, he takes a sharp right and drives into the river.

Take the same circumstance, the same driver with the same crappy day. He cuts you off. And he tries to mouth “sorry” to you. You nod your head, acknowledging that everyone makes mistakes. You continue on your way not realizing that you just showed him that strangers can be kind and that life is worth living.

It’s a pretty dramatic example and of course not every situation will lead to such an awful outcome. The point though is that everything we choose to do from hitting our snooze button to letting a driver in to going to bed early has the potential to have an impact on other people. And most often we will never know the implications of that impact.

Every Chance Encounter/choice we make is an opportunity. We can choose to be positive and forgiving or we can choose to be negative and spread misery.

And this driver ahead of us chose to make our day a little brighter 🙂

Best 2 U

It gets less painful

This past week our eldest needed some blood drawn for the first time. Not sure what to expect with him, I explained why the blood was needed and how they were going to do it. As is typical of him, he asked about several details which I answered to the best of my knowledge.

We sat for a long time in the waiting room, and when it was finally his turn he got a look in his eyes, the one where he looks like a deer caught in headlights, panic just under the surface. I calmly took his hand and talked him through the whole procedure.

Afterwards I bought him a sympathy muffin at Tim’s and took him back to school. As he exited the van and walked inside, I realized that I had gotten through the procedure without one stray flicker of dramatic emotion.

What a long way we’ve come from the awful time that our littlest one had in the hospital last year as a newborn. They’d had to poke him every two days for blood and again every time he blew an IV. Even though he rarely fussed about it, I hated it so much I had to leave the room each time. Seeing him being poked like that made me feel sick, a visceral punch to the gut that made me want to throw myself over him to protect him from those necessary procedures. I would anxiously wait in the hall, and then dash back in, pick him up and cradle him for hours in my arms.

But this week with Mr. Twelve Year Old, I didn’t feel that at all. Not an inkling.

The difference in feelings has nothing to do with how much I love them–my kids are all amazing and special and I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I love each of them for who they are.

Thinking about it, our little guy was a newborn, helpless to speak to us and suffering from a very deadly infection. Add a hospital setting and I was way beyond my comfort zone. Of course my instinct was to throw myself over him to protect him at all costs. My older guy though is rather like me in that it’s hard to get him to stop talking. He is capable of telling us when it’s too much and he wasn’t at risk. Almost a teen, it’s my job to point him in the right direction, hold his hand if he needs it, and let him experience life without me throwing myself bodily in the way.

While I know there will be other things to come that are emotional red flags, I’ve realized that as they grow up, the pain will be more about nostalgia than a need to protect. It will diminish as they grow.

For now, I can comfort myself in knowing that I can parent without panic or pain, and all my kids know is love.

The reason I don’t win anything

This past weekend I was doing what all competitive team parents must do at some point:
The Pub Night.
I know some people really enjoy it, and honestly it wasn’t bad at all–the company was fun!

It was also the first snowfall of the season that day and it kept a lot of people home. (Why do the forecasters always create so much drama over the potential maybe’s of a storm and basically shut the town down for a couple of cm?)

So it was quieter than we had expected and the bids on our silent auction items weren’t quite as vigorous as we’d hoped.

We were joking that with the lack of bids we would all end up going home with something, and I turned to my friend beside me and said that it wouldn’t matter, because I never really win anything.

She said to me that she never did either and that was ok. Because we have everything that we need in our lives, so we don’t need to win anything

Well. Um. Yeah.

So instead of complaining any further about it, I changed my view. I have everything I could possibly want. Three awesome children, an incredible husband, a silly dog, a four bedroom home, a van (yes I’m even grateful for the van!), and wonderful in-laws. Who could honestly ask for anything more?

Thank you to my fantastic friend for pointing out the obvious when I obviously needed it.

Life’s Lessons

Although my recent posts have all been about autism and the challenges we are facing, we do have two other children as well. Our daughter at who 10 years old is a competitive dancer who is more graceful than I will ever be. When I say grace I do mean physical grace (I’m clumsy enough to fall into a half empty pool in winter, but that’s a story for another day 🙂 but I also mean that she has an emotional grace, handling peer-to-peer situations with grace and respect in a manner that I never could have achieved at her age.

A couple of weeks ago she showed her emotional grace in a way I hadn’t foreseen.

This is her third year of dancing competitively. Her first year, she was in two group routines. Last year she was invited to three group routines. This year we were thrilled for her to be invited to be in five group routines. Our pocketbooks didn’t share much of that joy, but that is a choice we made.

Before I go any further, anyone who thinks that I am a “dance mom” aka the horrible show on lifetime, please get over that. Our daughter chose dance (frankly I always pictured myself as a soccer mom) and chose to do competitive. We do not push her, though maybe we should have a bit.

You see, the envelopes indicating the small group, duets and solos that dancers were invited to came out a few weeks ago.

Our daughter was devastated to not receive one. She expected that this would be her year for a duet. I thought she was on track for it too, though I wasn’t positive.

Our studio is adamant that they won’t push a dancer beyond their abilities. Judges at competitions can be downright mean, and there is no point subjecting a young dancer to that nastiness.

So, when I walked my sobbing daughter to the owner of the studio to talk about it, she was met with a gentle yet firm answer: Watch your posture and be consistent.

That night there was lots of talking about it and why it had to happen to her. I felt awful for her that night. My poor baby. I of course had mommy guilt for not pushing her harder, though hubby did point out that had I tried, she would have pushed back and likely not done it. This way, he said, she would really learn her lesson about hard work. Sigh. What a way to learn that lesson.

The next morning she was quiet, so I didn’t ask her much. In fact it wasn’t until we were in the van after school heading to dance that she told me she had made up her mind. Oh? I asked wondering, as parents are known to do, just what I was about to hear.

“I’m going to make them realize that they made a mistake!” she said with determination. That’s my girl! She had her cry, thought about how to fix the issue and realized that she will have to prove herself. I’m proud that it’s her choice and not something I’ve pushed her to do. By giving her that space, I think and hope, that she will have learned the value of work ethic and not have to keep learning it over and over.

And by choosing not to wallow in her sadness, but to turn it into a positive effort to change, at ten she has shown an emotional grace that many adults are incapable of.

That’s my girl.