Don’t watch your garden grow!

Sometimes I wonder if I am sending faulty messages about me and the subject matter of this blog.  As in, when you end up finding a blog about the pursuit of a joyful life, amidst the other blogs out there in the blogosphere, one might think it is written by a very positive, happy-go-lucky, Type A personality.  Someone with no troubles and a very privileged life.  How amusing to think anyone might think that about me.  Just ask my husband…

My blog is not written by a perpetually happy person who just finds life a dandy game of Candyland, where everything is pink, fluffy and full of sugary sweetness.  In fact, I have lived most of life quite sadly, joy-less.

The pursuit for me is to find joy amidst the rubble of the everyday grind, within which I often find myself living.  To take that which is potentially a joy killer and turn it into something that generates joy.  It is an irony, of sorts, to find joy in a life that is full of stress and difficulty.  Imperfection is the nature of this messed-up world we live in.  Finding joy in imperfect circumstances is the saving grace, and that is why I strive to find it all along the way.

Joy.  Living life to the fullest.  Finding purpose in the here and now.  Finding acceptance and contentment with what I have been given.  Living life looking for the best, not the worst.  Feeling fully satisfied without always having everything.  “Having it all” is a sad misconception.  Having those things which are of worth is the key.

Joy today was found in planting flowers with the children in KA English, room 103.  I had prepped the students on Monday that we would be planting seeds sometime this week.  We talked about what we might need to grow a flower.  We discussed how long it takes for the seeds to sprout.  We looked at and carefully examined seeds.  We planned a list of items to start collecting.  We read books that would inform and enlighten us on the growing process.  We talked about the weather.

It was a long week.

Every day, the students asked if today was the day.  No, I would answer.  “We have to learn about flowers before we attempt growing them.”

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…the days crawled by.  Thursday and then finally, Friday was upon us.

I had planned to use the afternoon to launch the activity, and no sooner had I laid out the items needed on an old tablecloth, than those little hands were reaching for dirt and seeds.  It was all I could do to hold them back while I explained how it would all unfold. And finally, it was time to sink little fingers into dirt and let the rich soil fill up their cup with goodness.

After planting, we placed our beans and sunflowers on the window sill in the glow of the March sun.  Light streamed in the window, casting shadows through the blinds.  After everyone had found that perfect spot, the children went away and resumed other activities.  The plants were left to do what plants do best: sit and grow.

After ten minutes had passed, the students started asking if any of the seeds had sprouted yet.  A little throng of five-year old gardeners once again had gathered under the window sill.  “Did they grow yet,” little voices questioned one another.  “Maybe if we give them ten more minutes,” came the reply.

We are often in such a rush for the good things to happen that we fail to see that the process is where it is really at.  Life is not a culmination, it is a process.  It is the in-between moments wherein we really live.

We are born, we take first steps, we learn to talk, we go to school, we lose our first tooth, we learn to ride a bike.  We fall in love, we learn to drive, we graduate high school and perhaps university, if we are truly blessed, we find our soul mate.  We get a job, a bank account, a mortgage and a house.  Then, we have a family.  Life continues to unfold, milestone after milestone, as it speeds full-stream ahead.  Time doesn’t wait for us to live out the in-between moments; we must plan for how we live out those moments all by ourselves.

We live those moments best when we start to realize that this moment, just now, has just passed by.  And so has this one.  And this one too.  Moments fade into moments. We cannot waste time living life joy-less because time is too precious for that.  The moment we are in right now has two sides: joy or bitterness.  We embrace one emotion at a time.  We embrace that which we deem to be the best.  Our priorities, worldview, circumstances and mental outlook dictate how we view our given moments.

Like seeds, we grow into our fullest potential in the fullness of time.  But the in-between moments, those wherein we prune and water, nuture and weed the garden of our lives, are by far the longest moments we have in this flowering of life.

No moment is more real  or of greater value than the moment we are living right now. Care for your seeds, but don’t watch them grow. Life is too short for rushing the growing process.

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The Joy of Outdoor Duty…

It is playground duty day, and I am trudging around outside, trying to avoid as much as possible the remaining patches of snow and ice. I am wearing a heavy winter jacket, snow pants, a hat and gloves with a pair of unfashionable black, knee-high riding boots.  I may look like a frump, but I am warding off the chill with this get-up. By the looks of some of the students, many of whom are underdressed, they might be wishing they were as prepared as fashionable Mrs. G..  Last week was unseasonably warm, but after a cold front blew through, the temperatures are back to seasonal norms.  I try to think warm, fuzzy thoughts.  I can’t wait for the bell to ring and end our frigid, outdoor education for the day.

A little girl approaches, her eyes suggest she is in emotional distress of some sort or another of a concerning nature to a seven year old child.  She tells me that one of her friends is not including her, and has further tried to turn her other little female classmates against her in a revolt of sorts.  She tugs around a blue sled as she talks, her eyes dart back and forth to the group of girls now gathered to pay tribute to this calamity.  I listen to the story, and it becomes a web of twisted strands.  “She said…”, and some “then I said…” followed by more, “No, I didn’t…” ’s.  I am lost by the end of it all, and I tell them to try and work it out while I go attend to a little guy playing hockey who just got a hockey puck shot in the face.

By the time I get over to the boys playing road hockey in front of the school, everything is fine with them.  The little guy who was crying seconds before, has jumped full-force back into the game, and does not have time to stop for a minute to let me check things out.  So, I head back over again to the playground where the girls are still sorting through muddy waters for a lost friendship.  We walk and talk, and I lead them over to a sheltered area where they can sit in a circle and get to the bottom of the trouble.  I suggest that each girl tell how she is feeling.  The first suggests that she feels like a little dark cloud, another says she feels like no one notices her and she feels invisible, another says more or less the same.  We go around the circle and share.

We finally get to the instigator of all the trouble, and I ask her to share her feelings.  She says she feels hurt and upset about not being included as well.   So I ask all the girls, “Are you interested in including S. in your group?”  Yes, they all chorus.  I look at the little lady under fire and ask her if she wants to rejoin the group and be friends again.  “No, “ she says sullenly.

I am confused.

This process has taken far too much time, and we seem to be getting “no where fast”.  I tell the girls that I need to move along to keep an eye on the rest of the playground, but I encourage them to continue working at things until they find a solution for this disagreement that has come between them.

Girls fight differently than boys.  We all know this of course, but I was surprised at how deeply these little girls carried their pain, and what great lengths they took to inflict hurt on others.  And how complicated everyone’s story got in the process.  The more I listened, the more I felt helpless to provide a solution.  I have dealt with similar experiences before with other groups of girls, and each time I have felt at a loss to help sort through the issues and bring clarity.  It is a tangled web we females weave.

I have come to the conclusion that although little girls are developmentally more mature in the ways they interact in relationships than are little boys, they are not able to handle the outcomes of those relationships with as much sophistication.  Because the issues are more complex in female friendships, they require more complex understanding.  That understanding is not within the maturity of a little girl until she is far older and wiser, with more life experience and common sense.  In other words, until she is at an age where she is able to analyze and rationalize reason and motives.  Thus, little girls are left with complicated friendships that they are unable to understand and cope with.  Little boys, on the other hand, are developmentally less mature in their interactions, but their understandings of each other and the ways they interact are far more in tune with their developmental growth.  Thus, they are able to adequately deal with problems without the hassles that their female counterparts endure.

Bottom line: when little girls fight, there is no easy solution for the problem.  Whereas, when the boys had a problem, they were able to work through the trouble without the aid of an adult.

Talk about a complex, outdoor education on the intricacies of female relationships.

I lay it all down…

I hate feeling vulnerable, like I feel right now.  I just hit send on an e-mail to a colleague regarding a work issue.  I cannot talk to this person as I have never met her nor do I know where she lives. It is a long-distance working relationship within which time and space are dimensions that work against, rather than bring alongside. The issue of which I write pertains to a misunderstanding, and I have tried my best to explain my side of things through the written word.

The written word.  It lacks the nuances that are afforded with body language.  A smile can soften the blow when words become serious.  A touch, inserted in the heat of the moment can turn an argument into a discussion.  Eye contact means everything.  Body language is a close second.

So it is with great trepidation that I send off that letter.  Vulnerability is not a covering I wear well.

I have been in this place before; the written word has failed me too many times to count.  So, it is to the readers who are privy to this post that I will reveal some things about myself.

I am very insecure.  I hate being misunderstood.  When I think I have been misunderstood, I will move heaven and earth to explain myself. I also want to understand everything.  Everything.  I hate not knowing.  I want to know what, who, how long, how much, how often and where.  And I want to know why.

Because I question and analyze and turn things around, I am easily hurt myself.  I read into things.  I cannot accept simple answers.  I always think things are far more complicated than they really are.  I am often suspicious.  And very, very sceptical.

I use humour to mask pain.  If I write about it in jest, you can bet your bottom dollar that there is a pile of pain behind that story.  My life is not nearly as funny as I portray it to be, but the humor lifts me to a place where I can accept that life is not perfect.  In the imperfections, we find grace and acceptance.  We find courage to carry on.

I am resilient.  I have a story within a story within a story.  Some layers tell of very painful things.  Other layers tell stories that are light-hearted in spite of the pain.  Some stories are unbelievable, but all are true.  I do not write fiction.  I tried.  I could not find anything of worth to right down.  The only stories I can tell are those that are real.  They are my stories, for better or for worse.

I am tenacious.  I do not tire easily when I am working towards a goal.  Most goals are bigger than myself, and possibly unrealistic.  I have dogged determination that I can do that which my minds sets out to do.  I will make myself finish things even if it kills me.

I believe in truth bigger than myself.  I am not the be all and end all of my life.  There is more for which I live than myself.  I am self-sacrificial to a fault.  I live my life for others, but in doing so I hope to gain it all back.  My purpose.  A deeper reason to live other than that which is self-serving.  God, my family, my friends, myself.  In that order, most of the time.

I’m only human.

When all is said and done, I am simply a girl, not a mother or a wife or a daughter or a friend, teacher or colleague.  At the end of the day, I’m just a girl.  That girl wears her emotions inside out most of the time, but she is honest and real.  I will be that girl until I breathe my dying breath and let her go.  She is the essence of who I really am inside.

That is the best I can really hope for in this life.  This imperfect here and now.

To be human, damaged yet perfect, just the way I am.

When it seems joy eludes me…

I am trying to make sense of myself tonight.  It has been a long day, not conducive to thinking.  I got up late this morning, missed the alarm altogether.  That means I am half an hour behind all day.  In my subconscious, the thoughts linger from our argument last night, but I am able to push them aside with thoughts of bed-making, clothes selections and hair doing.  I am able to push thoughts of our disagreement completely to the back of my mind by the time I rush out the door to the van, shouting at children to get on board as I search for my key.

A long day begins and ends with children.  I am a kindergarten teacher.  I wipe up crumbs, pull on mittens, adjust snow pants, and look for dry socks amongst the clutter of messy lockers.  I am as comfortable discussing bathroom routines with my students, as I am helping my own little one rinse soap suds from her hair in the tub.  I am mother, to one and all.

I am also wife.  I sometimes am confused how one can be both, interchangeably.  These roles are often tapping into an emotional reserve for which I sometimes feel has a limited supply.  I am drained tonight.  The well is dry.  There is seemingly not a drop of feeling left inside the reserve from which I draw my energy and emotion.

I said selfish, cutting remarks to him last night in the heat of the moment, and I want to say I am sorry. I just can’t bring myself to do so. Yet. One must admit they are wrong to say sorry, and I sometimes question how feelings can be wrong.  I feel tired. Is that wrong?  I also feel inadequate.  Many deep hurts begin with feelings of inadequacy.

I know a little boy.  He has anger issues.  He likes to make snide comments about the little girls in our class.  He is physical in his anger, and he has little control over his emotions.  That little boy can make or break my day.  When it is a bad day for him, it is a bad day for me.  On a good day, I see him for whom he really is.  A little boy who knows hurt and can do and say only what he has seen to be real.  He is what he has experienced in his short, five years of life.  I understand him because I know from whence he comes.  He is what he is, and I accept him faults and all.  He comes from a life of pain.

So do we all.

We all feel pain and we can understand suffering.  We can understand ourselves by understanding that which hurts us.  We can help others understand us too by allowing them a view to our deeper selves.  We are more than the obvious stuff that easily floats to the surface.

This I know.  That joy overrides sorrow.  In life, joy is the trump card.  When life throws you an onion, peel it back and expose the juices that flow.  They are the flavouring of life.  They bring rich goodness to season our lives, in spite of the bite with which they present themselves.  We will always have sorrow and pain, but joy comes new in the morning.

Joy is a gift, and it will ever be mine for the choosing.

The Joy of the Public Washroom…and other adventures

MacDonald’s restaurant might just be the last place on earth where anything goes.  If it was up to me, I would never darken the doors of this particular fast-food joint, but with four children in tow, regular visits come with the territory.  I, for one, generally do not leave saying “I’m lovin’ it.” 

We are in some small town off the I-81 S in West Virginia, and it is decided that we need a bathroom break and a bite of lunch.  Although we have been rationing the liquids, we do have to pull over for a washroom break every few hours.  Since McDonald’s offerings include Wi-Fi and French fries, it is the place chosen for our pit stop.

I am still wearing winter boots, not exactly what the locals are sporting in these parts due to the double digit temperatures.  My husband maneuvers my suitcase out of the car carrier, while my son makes smart comments about me always needing the right pair of shoes.   Turns out I am not the only one changing outfits at McD.’s, as I will soon come to find out.

You could learn a lot about a person just by hanging out in a McDonald’s restaurant, and in particular, by spending any length of time in the washrooms.  I need to use the restroom but make a wrong turn, and find myself face-to-face with a tall man wearing a white shirt.  Turns out in this McDonald’s, the urinals are right next to the door.  How convenient.  I slink back to my seat in the dining area, and watch as the man walks out and stands within close proximity to my table while he waits for his wife.  I pretend to look out the window, while my husband laughs at me for my disregard of the gender signs. 

Let’s try this again.  I head back towards the women’s room , this time with my three daughters along to act as a safeguard, and we wait patiently for a young lady to finish taking care of business in the wheelchair accessible washroom.  She not only is without a wheelchair, but she has been using her fully able-bodied self to change outfits in this bathroom stall cum makeshift changing room.  Realizing that there is a line-up outside, she proceeds to leave and then finish the process of dressing herself in the open area, all while holding a pair of jeans turned inside out over her right arm.  In the adjacent stall to the one she has just vacated, there is another woman who has apparently decided that life is too short, and sometimes you need to take multi-tasking to a whole new level.  She is doing her business whilst talking on her cellular phone, and it appears that she is in conversation with a university about an upcoming semester of schooling.  I’m sure they would not have minded the heads up that the gurgling noise they hear in the background is not a waterfall of the outdoor nature.  She patiently discusses her options, all the while decreasing our own odds of getting in and out of this restroom in the next hour.

I have had bathroom adventures before, so I should say that nothing really shocks me anymore when it comes to happenings inside the four walls of any given washroom.  I was once at a beautiful beach in Prince Edward Island, when I needed to have a bathroom break.  Hoping for a quick in-and-outer, I was just about to open the door to wash my hands then head for the sand, when I heard a small cry in the stall next to mine.  Normally, I don’t like to pry when it comes to noises I hear in the echelons of a public washroom, but this time, the sounds actually sounded desperate.  Not natural.  And those sounds I heard were certainly, unmistakably needy of another human being’s assistance.  I did what anyone would do.  I looked around to see if there was anyone else who could come to the aid of this poor soul crying for help.   And there was not another person inside that bathroom.

I am one of those people who was gifted with a strong constitution, but not a strong stomach.  Smells make me shiver.  Bath and Body Works Wallflowers are my best friends.  Getting used to changing my own children’s dirty diapers was a learning curve for me, if not a lesson in how to talk to babies while holding one’s nose.  So, when I opened that door to the toilet, wherein I heard the cry for help, I was not prepared for the sights and sounds and indeed the smells that would await me. 

She was a very large woman. With all due respect, I have never had to unplug a person from a toilet before, and with good luck, I will never have this stroke of misfortune again.  She was as stuck as an over-sized beach ball thrown into a basketball net, and without me, she might still be there.  It took a few good pulls, but we finally unlodged her from her perch on that porcelain throne. I say we, because she was pushing as hard as I was pulling.  I am no weakling, but I should make clear that I weigh about 120 pounds dripping wet.  How I ever manage to set her free is beyond understanding.  After it was all said and done, and she had been popped from that toilet like a corkscrew on a good bottle of wine, I did a complete 180 degree turn and closed the door behind me.  As I was walking away, she thanked me graciously.  The very least I could do was give her the dignity of not a backwards glance.  I never did see her again.

These kinds of experiences just seem to follow me, from washroom to washroom, like a bad dream.  It makes me wonder how I am still able to use a public facility and vacate the premises without emotional scarring.  And in more ways than one, it has given me new reason to be discriminating about what room I take a rest in.  So, when I happened upon this McDonald’s washroom today, it was like a flash of memories in one long string of bad luck encounters.  I now understand why some wise and discerning inventor dreamed up the Port-a-Potty, bringing new meaning to the catch phrase, I’m lovin’ it.

This wonder of an invention is the traveller with children’s salvation from a McDonald’s (or some other public bathroom) inflicted nightmare, so long as you don’t forget to bring the toilet paper.

 And a generously over-sized bottle of handsanitizer for good measure.

 

 

 

 

 

Is there joy to be found in grief?

I am pushing a cart with my three noisy daughters through the grocery section of Walmart.  I bend down to adjust the box of grape canned pop on the bottom wire rack, when I straighten and see her.  She is pushing past me with her own teenage daughter in tow, looking in a hurry and not appearing at all interested in chatting.  I duck again to check on things below my cart then catch her eye just as she passes me on the end of another aisle.

“Hey there,” I call out, trying to catch her attention, yet still hoping for a quick getaway.  “How are things?”

“Oh, um…well; we’re just, er…we’re getting a few things,” she says.

She wants to avoid me.  I can tell this is so, yet I am surprised that she is so uncomfortable seeing me.  Truth be told, I want to avoid her too, as this is a delay in the shopping schedule.  It’s been a long day, and I’m tired and pushing a cart with two in it, and one beside.  The three of them are hungry, thirsty and weighing my cart down with the sheer heaviness of their spastic energy.  I try to avoid looking at my children, while I smile widely at her.  I hope for a quick response from her, and then I’ll be on my way.

“How are the kids?” I ask.  She gives an answer.  Or two.  Both are short and vague.  I know she wants this conversation to be over, but I just can’t help myself.  I pointedly ask her one other:

“How are you doing?”

For the first time, she looks into my eyes, and I can now see the pain that lies in pools behind the trite answers and abrupt responses of moments ago.  She looks with eyes that are pleading for me to stop now and run, or prepare for the worst.

I stand my ground.  A river pours out.

Her little boy would have been almost two.  The anniversary of his birthday is Sunday, she says.  The loss is still all too real.  The pain has only subsided enough that she can talk about it in short spurts without crying.  She has so many questions, and there are so many unknowns.  He was a full term baby.  He should never have died.  Not in this day and age, with the advances in medicine.

As I listen, I feel a loss of control over my own sense of reason.  I have no answers, no responses that befit the magnitude of her grief.  I can only listen, and even then I feel inadequate.  How can I, a mother of four healthy, vibrant children, help another mother deal with the death of a full-term baby boy?  And do so in the grocery aisle of Walmart, nonetheless.

As she talks, I think about my purpose and that God must have planned for me to be right here right now in this very spot, because I can see that she is clinging to this conversation we are having as if it were a lifeline.  We were meant to speak.  I have no answers, and I certainly have never been through this private hell; and yet, I can offer her an empathic ear to listen and give my own mother’s heart over to share her pain, if for but a moment.

And so we talk.  She cries, and I listen.  We stand in the canned pop section, and while she leans against the shelf, she shares her soul.  I want to say something that will take away the sting.  What can one say to all of this?

I will never know what purposes the mind of God might have for me in each day and each moment.  Truly, I have no answers for her tonight, in this quiet moment.  I am at a loss for words.  How can a good God allow pain and death to one so precious as a newborn baby?  Why does God allow evil in this world?  How can we reconcile our faith and our reality?  How do we ever move on?  How can we keep our faith from crumbling?  Can we ever regain the faith we lose when life rips our heart from our chest?  These are questions for which I have no immediate answers.

We part with an embrace, but then meet again as we both go through the same cash register.  As I walk out beside her to the parking lot, she gives me a warm hug.

“Thanks for listening, and not trying to explain anything,” she says.  “Most people try to give me answers.”

I am wondering right now if part of the purpose of pain is to reveal our fragility, but still teach others about empathy in spite of those experiences.  Perhaps pain in life is less about us, and more about others, for our pain is a channel by which we are able to connect our experiences with those of others.  In doing so, we are able to make sense of our world.  Or, at the very least accept the reality of here and now.  And the response to pain is perhaps to accept it, not always try to explain it.

I get in bed with my own two daughters tonight, and snuggle under the covers.  They giggle as if this is a great joke.  I put my arms around their warm little bodies and draw them close.  I listen to their stories, their little girl voices full of laughter.  I am aware that this is a gift.  It may not always be mine to hold, but it will always be in my heart.  They are mine for now, these precious treasures, and for tonight I will bring them close to me so as to not let them slip away.

I have been reminded tonight that life is a gift; we should never take it for granted.

Joy is a sense of humor!

We are all, more or less, standing around the kitchen trying to decide how to spend a rare free night.  My eleven year-old son wants to watch a movie, and is very vocal about his choice.  I think it would be quite nice to play a family game, despite the varied ages of our four children.  In my mind, I picture us all sitting around the kitchen table, slurping smoothies and eating pretzels, while enthusiastically cheering one another on regardless of who wins or loses.  The stuff Disney movies are made of.  Who needs to sit down and watch it when there is potential to live it out, right here and now?  From past experience, I can vouch for the fact that this little pipe dream is certainly no reality.  Nonetheless, the idea of playing a rousing game of  Apples to Apples  or Uno Spin beats laying around watching yet another prescriptive kid’s movie, while my husband falls asleep on the couch.  I suggest several more games, and my oldest doesn’t bite on any of them.  He is quite sour that the movie idea has been nixed, and he lets it be known in no uncertain terms.

“You know, in a few years I won’t be around to watch movies with you guys,” he says using every ounce of persuasive energy he can muster.

“Why?” fires back my husband.  “Where are you going when you’re thirteen?”

Score one for hubby.

We who are parents have probably experienced it in greater or lesser degrees.  And if not as parents, we have most certainly used it in the past on our own parents throughout our growing years:  the power of kid-pressure, cousin to the better known peer-pressure, an agent of guilt infliction with the purpose of bringing about selfish gain.

It started when he was in kindergarten.  My son wanted a John Deere Gator.  When his teacher asked him what it was that he wanted more than anything else, it was a Gator.  He poured over John Deere catalogues, and visited the dealership any opportunity he could get his doting parents to drive him there.  That part was easy, and we even left each visit with free reading material, complements of the store.  But as time wore on, I almost had myself convinced that to not buy one might bring about permanent psychological damage in the form of repressed desires sometime when he hit the age of forty.  With the best of intentions, we found and purchased a used pedal tractor at a yard sale that sufficed for a while.  Not good enough; it always came back to the Gator.

The years flew by, and the year he turned six, we finally had the money to buy a brand new Gator for him as a birthday gift.  The box was delivered and set on the lawn.  We waited expectantly for the expression that would cement in our minds that this ludicrously over-priced child’s toy would be worth the wait, but alas.  Six was too old.  He rode it around the yard a few times, and quickly lost interest.  The highs and lows of kid-pressure gone awry.

Or perhaps it was not kid-pressure.

Sometimes kid-pressure is just misinterpreted mommy-guilt or daddy-guilt.  I think I am doing my child a disservice to not keep up with the others cool parents who are ravenously buying up all the Aididas, Abercrombie, Aeropostale or some other brand for which I cannot find a way to show alliteration, at outlet stores all over North America.  Not to say I won’t buy, of course I will: I just don’t want to be “guilted” into it by kid-pressure.  Of course, we all know that peer-pressure is often times directly proportional to kid-pressure.  What is a parent to do?  When in doubt, don’t.  Kids get over it.  So, whether it be an activity, a brand name, an event or a destination of desire, do not be “guilted” into making hasty decisions influenced by your child’s need to have or do.  There will be a new trend next week anyway, and you can catch that one instead.

Long ago, back in the Ice Ages when my children think I was born now that they have watched the movie, I wanted to go to that never land of dreams, Disney World.  I am sure I used every trick in the book to kid-pressure my parents into taking me there.  They tried the old distraction trick on me a few times, and then used the “cheaper and lesser known” theme park second option card, as well as just plain told me straight up, we would not be going there because it was too expensive.  End of story.

But wait for it…

The other night, I announced to our own little family that although we are not going far south this winter, next year we will be going on a family vacation to Disney.  My girls got excited.  My son told me that if we didn’t hurry up and get on it, he would be too old to care.

My point is this: I wanted to go to Disney as a child, and that dream was never accomplished.  Now, as a parent of my own little brood, I am living out vicariously through them the unrealized dreams I had as a child.

So parents, take heart.  When you say no, understand that you are paving the way for your offspring to one day live out their dreams of whatever it is that you are refusing, and they will do so when they have their own children and their own bank account.  It’s a win-win situation, and eases up the parent guilt load.  Parents win and kids eventually win, although it may take a few years.

And who knows, one day you just might find yourself on a plane headed for that balmy Floridian park of all parks, sitting in economy with your grandchildren, courtesy of your children.

Score one for you.