I originally wrote this article yesterday. However, as I was editing, it was accidentally deleted. I was not happy. [understatement!!] For a while, as I wallowed in my frustration, I lost sight of the message in the lesson I learned from the experience I wanted to share in my post.
I am not very good at recapturing the essence of a really well-written post. But thanks to Amy and Alison, I have the first few paragraphs from Google Reader. Thanks to me quoting some of the article on my personal blog when I linked to my MM post, I have a few more paragraphs. And thanks to God who is gracious and kind, I have a closer-than-usual re-creation of my post.
And in the light of a new day, regardless of the wording, cheers to learning lessons and making a difference!
I have been stymied about what to write for MM lately. The ebb and flow of my creative juices are just at low tide right now, and I haven ?t been able to completely figure out why.
Regardless of the reason for my lack of posting, today [yesterday] I had an experience that begs to be written. I share this not to showcase my family in any way, but simply because for me it was an eye-opening experience that can be applied to multiple situations in life. I believe there is wide-spread application that fits within most people ?s circumstances.
This [yesterday] morning started out normally enough – tired mom and tired kids dragging themselves out of bed to teach / attend seminary (in our home) and to get ready for school. Seminary ends; the rush to finish getting ready commences. And suddenly we have a volcano eruption of emotional outbursts on our hands. Four daughters and one mom ? all fighting to maintain control of the hot lava.
Actually, one daughter wisely headed to higher ground to avoid the overflow. And this mama held it together pretty well. (Ahem, this time!)
These moments are just not pretty. Sometimes life is messy. Life becomes complicated. You get upset over little things and just can ?t pinpoint a reason why or find the needle that tipped things over the edge.
Here is how the rest of our morning went: Most of the girls were ready, so Ray took the three girls to school on his way to work. But it seemed nothing was going right for one of my daughters. I did what I could to make things easier for her. But by the time we left, it was obvious she would be late for school. She knew it, and the realization caused more tears.
And it occurred to me: She doesn’t need to rush into school late, rush to her locker, rush to first period, and then try to slow down and take a really big test. She doesn’t need to face a bunch of questions about whether or not she’s all right. She needs time. She needs attention. She needs love.
So I “kidnapped” my daughter. I gave her an escape clause. I called the school. We went for a drive. We came home and played Scattergories. And then I took her to school. She went to school happy and relaxed. She went to school knowing that sometimes it’s okay to throw out the “should’s.” She went to school knowing that her mom loved her and would drop everything to help her.
I do not consider myself a rigid parent, but I am a pretty strong stickler when it comes to things like school attendance and the like. I am also a “checklist” kind of person. On the other hand, we are frequently a flexible and spontaneous family. However, this type of excursion with my daughter is not something we normally do.
The split-second decision to take a right turn instead of a left… heading away from the school instead of toward it… made an impact. Love and time to calm down when everything is going wrong are way more important than a big test at school or being there on time. I find that sometimes in my rush to accomplish everything that needs to be done, I forget to pause and take advantage of these moments. This experience was a reminder to pay closer attention to the various needs of those I love.
Today [yesterday] I made a difference. I made a big difference.
And it matters.
It matters to my daughter. It matters to me. It matters to my family. These few hours changed the course of our day. It contained the lava and calmed the after-shocks of the eruption.
And so I wonder: How often am I too caught up in the daily necessities? How often am I willing to drop the to-do list to meet the needs of others? How often am I taking advantage of these moments to really, truly spend time with my kids? How often would the “kidnap / escape” response fit a situation better than the “checklist” response?
How can we make a difference – doing the little things that inexorably shift a mood, an attitude, a life – every day of our lives?
My daughter can make up the test she missed this [yesterday] morning, but we would not have been able to make up the time we spent together healing hearts.
P.S. The results of yesterday’s intervention continue to be felt. This morning everything was smooth sailing!