Let’s be honest, adulting can be difficult. We have a lot of daily stressors and the rat race seems unending! As adults, we think that we have to guide and teach our children everything that they need to know. The truth is, there are definitely some things we can learn from our children (grandchildren, nieces, nephews etc). As we age, our views become more grim and life appears more difficult. But through the eyes of a child, their innocence and untainted view of the world gives us a fresh way to take on even our most difficult of days.
Yesterday my 10 year old niece, Bella and I were running some errands and we were trying to pull out of a rather ridiculously laid out parking lot and entrance (by Target north for those of you that live here in Rochester). I pulled out and was at a slight angle because the car ahead of me had to stop quickly at the last minute. I was partially blocking the entrance and another car pulled in and couldn’t quite get by me. The driver (a man) honked and preceded to yell at me to stop blocking the entrance (literally he braked, yelled and then the car pulled away that was in front of me and we could pull up, the whole thing was less than 20 seconds, no kidding). I don’t know why it rattled me but it did and immediately and simultaneously I was somehow both embarrassed and irritated myself. I didn’t say anything to Bella as I pulled away and left for our next destination, but I was definitely ruminating about the situation. So funny how one little thing can immediately get you to a negative place. A couple miles down the road, I suddenly hear this from Bella, “it’s okay Carla, that man was just having a bad day but it’s too bad he has to be so mean about his bad day“.
I honestly wasn’t even sure if she caught the whole thing, but she did. Then she said, “I wanted to look at that man and shake my head and say be nice to other people“. Much later, we stopped at Verizon to get Bruce’s father’s day gift and the young man that helped us was very nice and was definitely a great conversationalist. I had a frazzled day and that was our last stop and he made the whole busy afternoon a pleasant end with his great attitude. As we were leaving my niece Bella said, “now that is how you are supposed to treat people. That man was so nice! That other man that yelled at us should learn how to be nice like this guy. But maybe that other man just had a really bad day or maybe he was just really sad about something. Maybe tomorrow he would be a nicer guy”. Don’t you love that optimism? I was ready to take the guy out but Bella was ready to see the best of the situation.
The night previous to that, I was doing some work on our blog and I had some ideas that I wanted to write down so I could write about them later, and I didn’t want to forget. I was looking for a notebook and I grabbed this little journal out of my desk drawer. I had forgotten it was in my desk, it had been shoved way to the back. I recognized it immediately as a gift I had received from Madi (my niece) 4 Christmas’s ago. She was just 8 at the time. It was a coupon book of sorts for tasks and chores that I could have her do. It was one of the sweetest handcrafted gifts I have ever received.
I knew that the first several pages had stuff written on them, so I opened it to where I figured some empty pages would be so I could write down my ideas quick before I forgot them. I opened it to this page…….
And I busted out laughing! First, clearly I have some very long bird like arms as I am telling her about my problems (and clearly I have a lot of them because there are like 2 ‘bubbles’ with a lot of ‘blah, blah’ in them) but I think the best takeaway is her response, “it’s ok”. Perfect and so true!
I had to giggle further as I thought about my last few weeks. I had a rough go of it for a couple weeks where I had experienced some anxiety (I have never struggled with it before). It was enough that I had to see my doctor, get on a medication and I had even missed some work. I also have a counseling session coming up (that will be a great blog post so stay tuned!) where I am sure the psychiatrist will end up on the couch by the end of our session ;-). As I laughed, all I could think of was that if I had remembered my “Christmas coupon book”, I could’ve went to Madi with my “blah blah’s” and she would’ve said, “it’s ok” and life would’ve been fine!
Oh man, kid’s are great! And they teach us so much! First, as adults let’s remember a few things that our children know and remind us of daily.
It’s ok to cry when we are upset and admit that sometimes things aren’t great and we need a little love and support. A good cry is therapeutic! We think it’s a sign of weakness as an adult, that tough is better and stoic is necessary but that kind of thinking is a train waiting to derail.
Still on the ‘sometimes it’s difficult to communicate what we need train’, as adults we need to ask for help. Kid’s do this, why do we think as adults we don’t need it? Our problems are greater, ask for help (and sometimes, drugs are great!).
Remembering to find happiness in the small things is huge. We forget how to do this as adults. Think of a child and the glee they get over the smallest things that are seemingly so insignificant (like a trip to Dairy Queen, wait…maybe that’s me I’m thinking of).
Imagination and creativity are huge. We don’t do this enough as adults. I made the mistake of cleaning up the family room the other day and so I picked up some random items; a pile of pillows, a box of sorts and some other random containers, and then Nolan’s toys. He came home from school and he was crushed that I tore down his “superhero world” that he had built around and under the coffee table. Bad aunt move there! I did that too much when my own kids were small, I felt like my house had to be perfect. What will Nolan remember later, my clean house or the fact that he had a really cool superhero world under my coffee table? Think of where we can go with our imagination? As children it gave us dreams and as adults, we allow life to strip those dreams away. Keeping a creative side is so huge, it gives us room to dream.
I am not a napper, I have never have been but sometimes you just need a good nap! Either that, or a good night’s sleep! It’s so important! Think of our children and the fact that they sleep for a good 10 hours, when they wake they are ready to take on the day with a new adventure! As adults, we think it’s bragging rights if we say we only need 4-5 hours. That’s ridiculous, sleep regenerates us. Also, sleeping on a problem almost always makes it better.
And last but least, a good cuddle may be all you need!
We went to Montana a couple of years ago in July. We woke up to snow! Ok, we traveled for like 2 days to get to Montana for our summer vacation and it snowed. We (the adults) were like WTF (the F is for fudge, of course)? The kids however, were loving it! We didn’t have anything warm with us (it was July) and so seriously, they were in layered sweaters and sweatshirts, and they had socks on for mittens but they went out and had fun in the snow…..we the adults sat with our shoulders slouched watching from the window. SNOW. You would of thought is was the Apocalypse or something. It didn’t last long, within a day it was warm and we had a wonderful time! But again, there in lies the difference of the situation; viewing the snow through the eyes of a adult (the end of the world!) or a child (let’s build a snowman!).
My last point. Yesterday, my sister Ally and I were talking with Bruce about when we went horseback riding on our Montana trip. It was one of the best times and the most stressful times of my life. We still laugh about it! If the whole thing would’ve been videotaped, it would have probably won the “America’s Funniest Home Video’s” award. We are clearly NOT cowgirls at heart! We may be smiling (below) in this picture, but for the majority of the ride, it was a look of tense concentration on our faces as we tried to stay on our horses!I think that the ride was about 2 hours but it felt like 4 hours as Ally and I hung on for dear life. The whole time I kept thinking that I just wanted my feet on the ground! There were times that I was certain my horse was gonna take off for the woods or that I was simply gonna fall off going down a very small hill (as I was propelled forward). The whole time I worried about everyone else (and myself) falling off the horse, broken bones and careening over a cliff (there were none). As I look back on the pictures, the kids look delighted to no end! And they were! They laughed and giggled the whole time! They would laugh as their horses would poop as they were walking, and I remember being almost irritated at it, because I was so worried about things THAT NEVER HAPPENED! They were naturals! There was no fear and no hesitation, it was simply an adventure!
We can learn a lot from children. Cry when you need to. Ask for help. Find the beauty in the small things. Laugh at horses pooping as they are walking. Nap and cuddle when needed. But mostly, look for the good and always believe that something wonderful is about to happen and that life is an adventure!