What did you expect?

Hello, I’d like to introduce you to your expectations.

Perhaps you’ve met them before. Perhaps others have too, or failed to for that matter.

Maybe Christmas met them, every last one of them and they rolled away deliciously fulfilled.

Or maybe not.

There are so many expectations at Christmas time. Big, small, anxious, wild; even those that are tucked away so incredibly well that it’s easy to forget someone is carrying them at all.

Some are small, or at least we pretend that they are, because if we can just make them small enough maybe they wont matter. They hide so well don’t they? Behind smiles, jokes, wine glasses. They can stretch uncomfortably behind silences, or jump out uninvited between words.

Kids often haven’t learned to hide theirs. Should they? The answer is probably somewhere between manners and truth, and how many people they bowl over when they run into a room expectations first.

Adults handle them dozens of different ways. Sometimes they’re as loud as their owners or downright impossible to meet. Sometimes they’ve been let down so many times they expect the worst, pre emptive disappointment might seem easier.

They tug at heartstrings with the ferocity of a candy cane hungry toddler pulling on a parents sleeve.

We can push them aside over and over again… but they don’t really go away, do they?

So why don’t we just bring them out in the open right now, and really look at them. Yours, not everyone else’s. There are too many to meet all at once so let’s be selfish for a minute.

What did you expect at this intense time of year? Did you get it?

This isn’t about gifts, but it can be, they’re your expectations after all, so they can be about anything you want and that’s perfectly fine. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

There’s no right or wrong – just easy or hard.

So here’s a better question; how did your expectations contribute to your enjoyment of this time of year? Did they make it easier or harder?

 

Did you meet your own expectations?

If not, ask yourself; were they kind, within your abilities and truly important?

Sometimes not meeting our own expectations means we need to make better choices, change habits or give ourselves a push. Sometimes the expectations we have for ourselves are so big they forget to allow for the beautiful mess of being human. So if you need a push, good. If you need to stop pushing and cut your expectations down to size, that’s good too. You’re never going to know if you don’t look at them.

 

Did other people meet your expectations? 

If not, let’s start with the obvious; did they know you had them? Did you tell any of the ridiculously busy people who mean the world to you that you were carrying these expectations around and how much they mattered to you? Or were you so in the habit of pushing your expectations aside that no one could meet them because they didn’t even know that they were there.

It’s ok, you know, to say that you want or need something – even if it’s just a hug or to be really truly heard.

 

Did events meet your expectations? 

This time of year is so fraught with doing things how we think we should because of society, religion or family. If the events you went to met your expectations then I’m so glad – you deserve that. But we get this idea of how things should go and sometimes it’s absolutely fine to shake those expectations up a bit, not lower them, just change what they look like.

Your easier, happier, more joyful holiday season does not have to look like anyone else’s. It shouldn’t feel like fake smiles and disappointment. It should make you feel good.

We’re about to start a brand new year and all the goals in the world wont make it joyful if you don’t bring expectations to the table too. Own them. Play with them. Change them. Be bold with them. Maybe don’t hold onto them so tight.

milan xmas

Less

Consumerism (noun) The preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods.

This Christmas, I’m falling in love with less.

Less clutter. Less distractions. Less tidying up the same things over and over again. Less piles of clothes or books or bags that aren’t truly loved. Less clothes that don’t feel amazing, less makeup that spends its time in drawers. Less kids stories that don’t make them cry “Again!”. Less toys scattered over the floor like booby traps.

Less wasted time.

I will always love things. I don’t apologise for it. But I’ve realised that the key is in keeping the things I love and letting go of the rest, because ultimately I deserve more.

More writing, more art, more laughter, more music. More board games, more hide and seek. More time spent in inspiration. More adventures outside. More ball games and dancing in the kitchen. More spaces in my home that feel like comfort. More romance, more jokes, more movies watched without my mind on the laundry. More quality.

More ideas and inspiration. More rest.

This year I want to be more of me. So I want less stuff.

It’s not just about removing things that aren’t functional; usefulness is important but beauty is important too. Inspiring is more important still. Minimalism doesn’t mean minimizing that. Ask yourself if you use it, but also ask yourself if it makes you happy. It’s about removing things that take from your life rather than give.

It’s not wasteful to get rid of something you don’t need. It’s not ungrateful to pass something on that still has life in it. That t shirt that you might wear? You don’t. That’s ok.

That book, dress, bag, toy; it’s someone else treasure. Keeping what doesn’t add value to our lives perpetuates a feeling of scarcity even as we drown in stuff. We’re worth more than that.

I think for a lot of us the idea of minimalism still feels like loss rather than gain, and too many of us decide that we’ll never be minimalist because we still have clutter. We still have that back room, that walk in robe, those boxes we never got to; not to mention the drawers in the garage. But what I’m learning is that it’s not about immediately having that perfect space, it’s about the conscious editing of our lives.

It’s about what we own but also what we commit our time to, it’s about honestly assessing the value in everything and what our intention is for keeping it.  Even hobbies, habits and friendships. It’s about doing this without guilt.

Minimalism and honesty are tied, because you can’t declutter without really taking a look at your own bullshit.

I’m not quite there yet. I don’t expect to be. I expect that I will always have a cupboard or two to be sorted, and piles of paper that could make a grand squadron of paper planes.

The meditation of constantly looking at my life honestly will take care of that. There will be ebb and flow. I will declutter. I will be kind to myself as I do. I will not aim for perfection.

I will remind myself, as many times as it takes, that less is more.

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What happens next?

I want to tell you a story about a girl, a girl who does something wonderful. I don’t know exactly what she does yet, and besides thats not really the point, the point is that she does it.

She’s short of time and big of ideas, and she finds it easy to get… comfortable. She finds it easy to dig her toes in to where she is and think it’s perfectly ok. But inside she’s burning a bit too brightly for ok.

She doesn’t ask for much, but she should. She should demand it, because it’s all there for her and it suits her.

She has spent a lot of time accepting things that weren’t what she really wanted and talking about tomorrow…. but she’s beginning to realise that tomorrow feels an awful lot like today, and that she doesn’t want to wait anymore. She’s realizing that this is her time and she’s starting to look at things a little more closely.

She’s examining her dreams, the ones she’s carried around neatly for years and looking at them with grown up eyes. She’s deciding if they are what she really wants and if they’re going to feel as good lived as imagined. She’s asking herself what she *wants*, allowing herself to be selfish because she deserves to from time to time, and asking what she wants to give others too.

She realises when unpacking those dreams that her something wonderful can be all of them or none of them. Her something wonderful doesn’t have to be doing anything grand, it can simply be joy. Here, now.

She is done with brushing her shortcomings under the rug and even more done with feeling guilty about them. She knows that a sprinkling of flaws make a character more believable, and she is a very, very believable woman. But she’s taking one of those short comings from time to time and making a project out of it. She’s breaking habits that have been there for years because she CAN. She’s doing it because it’s hard, and because it feels so good to peel off a layer of herself that was just making her feel heavy.

She listens. To the people she cares about, to the things she may not want to hear, and to her own inner voice that had grown silent from not being really listened to. She trusts it. It’s smart. She’s smart, and she knows what to do to get there, or even just to really be here.

She is not going to glorify busy or slow anymore. She doesn’t have to follow the books or magazines. She has her own pace, her own rhythm and she’s going to embrace it.

She is going to fall in love again, every day. She’s going to fall in love with the things her husband (or friend or children) does that make her feel light. The things that make her laugh or that feel like home. She’s going to be driven mad, as always, by the difficult things they do too, and be grateful for that – because the opposite of love is indifference, and those things remind her she’s not indifferent at all. She’s going to say I love you even when she’s angry, and she’s going to reach out when she’s sad. She will let go of relationships that don’t serve her, maybe not today, but when she’s ready, because she can and the empowerment of that choice makes her feel light all over again.

For all the talk of examples for her kids she knows that the best one is being happy. It’s doing this very thing that she’s starting today; this something wonderful.

This is a story about a girl… what happens next?

 

believable woman Copyright 2015 Nirvana Dawson

 

Father’s Day

To my Husband,

Today is father’s day, and in a lot of ways it will be a day just like any other. You will be woken too early by the wild enthusiasm of a toddler, you will be asked to find Lego pieces as though life depends on it and your baby girl will coo at you in the voice she’s just beginning to find.

This day may not feel different, but I want to tell you why this day, and all the others that you’re in our lives, is exceptional.

Our boys watch you, more than you know. They watch your dedication to your work, they watch you do the dishes and see you dance with me in the kitchen. They see you choose kindness even when you’re angry, and patience even when you feel frayed. Those moments when you make them the centre of your world? That builds them up. The games when they laugh so much they need to catch their breath? That’s more precious than any toy they could own. They’re learning how to be men from every day they spend with you.

Your actions teach them in ways words never could.

Sometimes they act up for you. They shout too loud, they dig their heels in, they argue just because. I know that feels heavy at times, so I want to remind you something. To those two little boys the world seems enormous. There is so much they don’t understand, so much they can’t control. They’re strong boys, your sons, just like their Dad, and they can’t always find a place for their strength in that big world just yet. So they turn to you and they let it out like a breath they’ve been holding. Because you’re their safe place, Daddy, and knowing that you’ll love them no matter what gives them wings.

A lot of things might feel unremarkable now, but those moments are making something. The back scratches before bed, the games of monster trucks on the living room floor and the cuddles that scare away bad dreams. You’re weaving them a childhood from those moments, and that’s remarkable indeed.

They’ll grow up to be men one day and pass on traditions you didn’t even know you shared with them. They’ll tell their children jokes you told them in passing, and remember stories you made up that made them laugh. They’ll remember how comforting your hugs felt, and be determined to give their children the same.

They’re learning family from you.

Your daughter is little now, only eight weeks old. She knows you as warm arms, the gentle smell of cologne and a prickly beard. She knows your smile and funny faces and is just beginning to realize what “Daddy” means. Before you know it her head wont fit in your palm quite so easily and her hand wont wrap so neatly around one finger. Her laugh will be louder, her smile toothy and she’ll run at you like a cyclone when you get home of an afternoon, just like her brothers, her face lighting up just like theirs do.

Yes, in a lot of ways today will feel normal, but I want you to know that fatherhood is anything but. Thank you for giving our kids ‘Daddy’.

You are loved.

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A Birth Story

Two weeks ago today, right about now, I called the hospital.

I had felt well and strong pretty much my whole pregnancy. I had trusted my body to birth my baby, trusted so much that I let go and barely considered the alternative. This time, after two csections, I would birth. I would bring my baby into this world myself and lift her onto my chest, and I would gaze into her eyes and think “I did it.”

I imagined that moment so many times it was almost tangible, and whenever I thought of it I would well up with emotion from two births already lost.

But that night, with that phone call, I had to put it aside.

It was my second day of fever, and I was burning up. I was so unwell that I could barely make it to the bathroom and I shook from head to toe with cold then sweated until I was drenched. Everything was fine, my Ob had said without seeing me, but it wasn’t, I wasn’t, so I arranged to go into the hospital.

We know sometimes, but don’t want to admit it. We don’t want to say things out loud in case our words make them true… and that was the car ride. I knew, even as I rubbed my belly and my head throbbed with fever, both that I needed to be going to the hospital at that moment, and that I would not be birthing my baby. There would be no “I did it.”

We were barely on the monitors for fifteen minutes before they ran in with gowns and phoned the on call Ob. We were going to theatre, and the machines cried out in alarm at my pulse and her sky high heart rate that plummeted with each contraction.

They all say “how are you?” when you’re being rushed in to surgery. That never made much sense to me. I wonder if I’m the only one who answered honestly.

In a brightly lit theatre that night my beautiful baby girl was cut from my belly, just like her brothers had been, by a man wearing gumboots.

I shook from fever and the spinal in my back, and surrounded by strange faces I prayed for it to be over even as my blood stained the screen in front of my face.

I thought, when I had imagined my birth, that I would feel so strong bringing this baby into the world. I didn’t feel that at all. But as the weeks have passed I’ve realized that I was strong, perhaps stronger than if I had pushed her out myself.

I was so strong that I said no to gas, because I didn’t want to miss her for a moment, even though I was feeling pain of the cesarean from a spinal that hadn’t quite worked. I was so strong that I breathed through it and didn’t take my eyes off her even as she was whisked away.

Sometimes, I’ve realized, strong doesn’t feel like it at the time. It feels like scared. It feels like sad. But it also feels like digging your heels in and doing it regardless because there’s something bigger than you at stake. That’s birth, no matter how it happens. It’s being faced by something so overwhelming that you realize that you can, no matter what.

Just as fear and strength can be unlikely roommates, so can grief and celebration. Over the days that followed I grieved the birth I’d wanted, even as I celebrated the daughter I had.

I wondered why my body couldn’t do this natural, primal thing. Why not one of my three beautiful babies could have been born without theatre lights and gumboots and that awful needle in my hand. Why I had birth pictures that were best zoomed out, because if you looked too close you could see the cut.

I regretted hoping and trying and every moment of trust, as though the outcome could have been any different without the calm before the storm.

Then the storm eased… because I realized some things.

I’ll never know. I’ll never know what could have happened otherwise. I’ll never know “why”. That’s hard for me to accept, but I can do hard things, and just as I could spend those months trusting my body, I can still do that. I can trust that maybe that messily imperfect birth was the birth my body and baby needed. I can accept that I’ll never know, and that’s ok.

My body does things well – a lot of things. It grows beautiful healthy children, and nurtures them with milk and cuddles. It heals beautifully. It knows how to calm impossible meltdowns and turn bad dreams sweet.

And as I accept that I can’t control how birth happens for my babies, and let go of that “I did it” that I craved, I can plan some truly wonderful things that I can experience. Things I can look forward to with my family. Adventures in life after birth with gumboots.

Like exploring Las Ramblas in Barcelona one day, under the hot Spanish sun. Like buying my kids enormous ripe cherries from European fruit markets, the kind that pop up on street corners, and watching them giggle as the juice stains their chins and shirts.

Like laying in the back yard on a blanket in summer and pretending to find UFOs in amongst the impossibly infinite stars.

Like sipping a hot cup of tea after a long day with a happy heart.

Like high fiving my sons or daughter when they achieve a milestone and I have been blessed enough to witness it.

Like driving through Tuscany with my family, or walking over smooth stones of the pebbled beaches of the south of France.

Like watching my children hold hands as they explore rockpools in summer.

There are so many. So many exquisite moments to come. So many that will surprise me, delight me and make me laugh from the bottom of my soul. And whenever I miss that “I did it” moment that I’d dreamt of, I’m going to dream of them instead, and allow myself to imagine all the adventures ahead, that will be so much sweeter with my babies by my side.

So on that note, I’d like you to meet Aria. Isn’t she beautiful? :)

Aria

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2014

Your Book

I love you and I’m proud of you.          

I try to show you how special you are to me whenever I can and slip little I love you’s into everything. But some days the other stuff is louder. The “come here”, “listen”, “we have to”, “stop” or “just a minute”.  It’s part of growing up, along with climbing trees and silly jokes and those times when you’re scared of the dark… but the I love you’s should always feel bigger. Bigger than the reminders, the trips and falls, and far bigger than the meltdowns or tears that sometimes find you along the way.

So this is your book, little one. And every night, once your eyes finally close, Daddy and I will write in it for you. We’ll write a different thing each night that we have loved about you that day, a different thing that we’re proud of. There are so many, I doubt we’ll ever run out. When we fall asleep we’ll have that memory on the tips of our minds, ready to dream about.

In the morning when you wake you’ll find this book beside your bed and every day the story of you will slowly fill these lucky pages.

Growing up is one of the most amazing adventures you will ever have. There are twists and turns and ups and downs and moments of laughter and tears. But this is your adventure, and it’s you that makes it special. I hope that opening this book every morning reminds you just how special you are and that nothing is more important than the good bits.

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Home

To My Boys,

I heard a Mumma talking today as she cradled her little ones on her lap. “I can’t wait until they move out.” she said, full of enthusiasm. “I’m going to make sure they leave home as soon as they possibly physically can.”

She wasn’t having a hard week or feeling tired or overwhelmed, she just wanted them gone, she explained, and couldn’t wait to have her home back.

All of us love differently, and none of us perfectly. This Mumma loved her kids her way, and that’s alright, but it made me realize how much I’m looking forward to the future – a very different one than she has planned.

Home to me is not just a place, it’s a feeling. It’s the breath you let out when you walk in the door on tired legs at the end of a long day. It’s where you wear comfy track pants and savor moments of silence surrounded by the treasures you’ve collected along the way.

It’s the pencil marks that measure height on the kitchen wall. It’s the dints on the floor from dropped toys and secret spots used over and over again for hide and seek.

It’s noisy games of chasey and giggling kids jumping between fresh sheets as the bed is made. It’s toys in a pile on the couch right where I want to sit every single night.

It’s a kitchen bench full of flowers picked by little hands from the garden, and that mysterious orange juice stain on the ceiling.

It’s love. Messy, beautiful perfect love.

Home, for me, is family.

And I want you to know that life is going to give you so many adventures. It might take you around the world, or to your dream job in our own neighbourhood. Maybe you’ll be social butterflies or crave solitude. You might move into an apartment with friends or choose to live at home longer and save your money for a car or a house or a trip around Australia.  Perhaps you’ll study, here or abroad. Maybe you’ll fall madly in love with someone as a teenager and follow them… or maybe you’ll wait a while and take the time to fall in love with yourselves first.

The thing is boys, it’s your adventure, not mine. And I have no right to tell you how it’s going to go. I’ll dream with you, plan with you, listen to you and be excited for it every step along the way, but I am not going to plan out your future for you.

I just want you to know that no matter where your adventures take you – you have this place, wherever we are. I want you to know that you always have a home with us, no matter what.

You’re going to make a lot of places special in your lives, but this place, this family – you’ve brought it to life – and you are always welcome here. There’s no expiry date, no caveat, just a space to call your own for as long as you want it, and a home that will evolve, change, and grow along with you.

One day the orange juice stain will be long forgotten, the pencil marks on the wall faded, and the enormous piles of lego packed away. I wont be woken in the middle of the night by little arms wrapping around my neck for a hug, or called in at bedtime to check under the bed for monsters. The games of hide and seek will be replaced with board games, and I’ll get to put those sheets on the bed without anyone jumping in between them.

A lot is going to change around here over time, and as you grow into men I’ll grow older and my grey hairs will be a little harder to pluck out without going bald ;)

But you have a home here, whenever, however and for whatever reason you need. We built this home out of family together, and it’s yours as long as you want it.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2014

Thoughts on child safety from a ‘Helicopter Mum’

I hate that term, but I’m going to use it here anyway. I’m going to use it because it’s become the supposed antitheses of everything we want to be as parents. The idea of sheltering our kids is frowned on, as if this shelter – which is our very job as parents to provide for this short time – is automatically synonymous with suffocating them. I call bullshit. Our parenting styles – just like our children’s development – is a spectrum of possibilities. A good parent worries less about the labels and more about reading their child and their needs at that time.

This isn’t about not hovering, or even hovering at all, it’s about responding to your child and the situation.

First of all let’s deal with the negative associations with being protective. You’re meant to be. That’s kind of the point of this parenting gig. Your child is, and should be, innocent and vulnerable (to a degree) when they’re young. It’s the age of rose coloured glasses and seeing the adventure in everything. It isn’t, and shouldn’t be, about seeing the danger in every situation, the monster in every stranger.

A lot of growing up is about becoming responsible, and as children grow it makes sense to make them aware of their own safety. From spatial awareness to observing their surroundings, to following their feelings about new people they meet (or those they’ve known for years), but we need to be careful not to put that full responsibility on shoulders too young to carry it.

Your three year old, six year old, nine year old or twelve year old is not an adult, and nor should they be taking on the world of adult dangers alone.  Watch them, listen to them, be there – even if you’re watching from a distance. The time when you’re needed like this will be so brief, but the more you support their freedom by protecting their innocent adventures will give them wings as they grow rather than baggage that might take a lifetime trying to unpack.

One of the most important things we can do for our child’s safety is to encourage them to listen to their feelings – and to do the same. You don’t want to give Mummy a kiss before bed? That’s ok. You don’t want to go out and play with the neighbour’s kids? That’s alright. The man chatting to us in the park makes you feel uneasy? We’ll move away. You don’t want daddy to tickle you today? He won’t. Encourage your kids to stay in touch with their gut and teach them how to listen to it by listening to them. Even if it’s not logical to you, even if it’s inconvenient, even if it doesn’t make sense a thousand times over. The more you trust them, the more they’ll trust themselves.

More often than not the monsters we’re protecting our kids from aren’t the men asking them to get into cars by the side of the road or lurking in shadows. They’re the ones at BBQ’s that we never would have suspected. They’re the friends of the family that push the boundaries but are oh so likeable.

What bothers me most about cases of child abuse is that often the child said something early on. They talked about having a feeling about the person, they told someone that they’d been touched or hurt and their protectors didn’t listen.

The more we respect “I don’t want to be tickled” etc the more our children will feel strong to tell us what makes them worried or scared, and the more familiar we’ll be with listening and responding.

That’s the responsibility we should be giving our kids – far more than the ‘don’t talk to strangers’ speech. Strangers, more often than not, are friends we haven’t met yet, and they piece together the social world for our kids.

I’m a protective mother, but I also respond to my kids. I stand back if they’re climbing the ladder safely – but I step in if it’s not safe for them. I love the chats my kids have with the neighbours or people at the shops – but I’m never far away either.

Maybe you’re fiercely independent. Maybe your child is too. That’s great. But still keep an eye on them Mumma. Listen to your gut as you listen to your kids, and make sure you’re responding to them rather than the people around or the media you who tell you what you should be doing.

You might be accused of sheltering them – don’t worry, there’s plenty of storms to deal with in life, this will just help keep the rain outside them. You might get accused of being over protective – don’t worry, you can find your balance in this and your kids will naturally reach for space when they don’t need your safety quite so much.

I’m going to give my kids a childhood rich with experience, adventure, and inadvertently a little scattering of life’s stresses too. But in doing so I will respect that they are children, and let them keep their impulsiveness and innocence as long as they can. I am determined that they will go into adolescence and adulthood with no more angst than necessary. And if that means I’m the crazy Mumma who’s keeping an eye on her kids while everyone else is enjoying a latte so be it. They deserve that, and their strength will come from not having to carry any burdens that shouldn’t be theirs.

thoughts onCopyright Nirvana Dawson 2014

The gift of misplaced words

To my Son,

You gave me a gift today, little one, and I almost didn’t notice.

We had been grocery shopping, a necessity despite you not being yourself due to a headcold… or the wind… or your teeth coming through… or maybe just getting up on the wrong side of the bed.

And I asked you to be good and to focus at a time when those ideas made as much sense to you as saving fish from drowning. So you tried, with your mind elsewhere and your hands all over your brother who was NOT in the mood to be your human stress ball. I asked you calmly to give him space, once, twice, probably five or six times before I announced the loss of a privilege for not listening. I’d handled all this pretty well so far, I was calm and in control and explained things peacefully enough for you to completely ignore.

Then you lost it, and so did I.

We all have challenges, and one of yours is magnifying life’s stresses when you’re not at your best. So this loss of privilege, which really wasn’t so bad, seemed ENORMOUS to you in that moment. You melted down, and as you did you said some really awful things.

I should be used to your use of words as weapons, and remember how quickly they fall when the moment passes. I should remember that your attempts to hurt with them just mean that you’re hurting and you need to get it outside of you as quickly as you can to lessen the burn.

But we all have challenges, and one of mine is taking what is said at face value. So I got hurt along with you. I got loud along with you. And as you fought to get all your anger out I fought right on back. Not in the same way, of course, and to an outsider I probably handled it just fine… but the truth was I lost myself in those words of yours, and that wasn’t fine at all.

We drove home with both of us fuming and not much talking going on. After a while calm returned and we talked about the reasons why what you said wasn’t ok. That was true, it wasn’t, but neither was my response.

Most of us go around as adults thinking we’re doing pretty alright. We learn to play to our strengths and push our weaknesses aside or justify them. We make beautiful masks to wear for the world and they hide a myriad of faults.

And you, little boy, are particularly skilled at making my mask slip.

Taking words at face value is fine, it’s not a fault as such, but it misses a LOT. A lot that you deserve and that I do too. It reaches to other relationships and to my marriage. Responding to someone losing their cool and over reacting by losing my cool and over reacting… well, that doesn’t work.

Your gift to me today was reminding me of something I could do better. Reminding me that sad doesn’t always have tears, and hurt doesn’t always shrink back. Reminding me that small things to me can be huge things to someone else, and that grown up concepts and instructions sometimes don’t fit little people whose minds are in the clouds that day. You showed me that anger is not always about the one who receives it, but sometimes about just getting something out before it hurts you more, and that a moment and a deep breath can change everything.

I snuggled you in bed shortly before you went to sleep tonight and we talked about today. I reminded you that just as Dad and I talk to you about things you could do better you have every right to do the same to us, because we’re all learning no matter how old we are. I acknowledged your feelings from earlier than you’d hidden behind your anger, and asked you how I could have handled it better. I reminded you that just as you owe others respect they absolutely owe it right back. Your lip trembled as you told me how I could have handled it better, and I promised you I would try my hardest next time.

Growing up isn’t easy, and the truth is we never really stop. We will get it right together so much of the time and we will get it wrong an awful lot too. It’s all part of pulling off the mask I guess. And each time we’ll get to know ourselves a little more, become more patient, more kind, more humbled by this huge life thing we’re doing together. It’s just about being honest, really, and the trust that goes with it.

So thank you for your gift of misplaced words today little one, they made my mask slip perfectly.

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Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013

Spending Habits

Not long ago a friend of mine posted an image on Facebook. It was a screenshot of a spreadsheet her husband was working on to ensure that the way they were spending their time was in alignment with their core values. It was late, I scrolled past it, my brain registering a quiet grumble of protest that that sounded way too structured for me.

But my mind keeps coming back to it.

We talk to our children a lot about the spending of money. About the value we place on things. As a society we focus on a lot on those numbers, those figures we associate with value and happiness, security, intelligence. There’s a huge focus on dollars, which is interesting, because you can earn more.

You can’t earn more time, you can’t even borrow it.

We enjoy the luxury of believing we have a certain amount of it, but the truth is we don’t know. No one does. What we have with certainty is now – this day. The sad person, happy person, unfit person, healthy person, rich person and poor person, the bored person and busy person – they all have this. Their experience of it differs greatly, but we all build what we have from these moments.

We get caught up in the idea that we are what we think, that we’re our ideas, concepts and wants. It’s true, in part, but in a bigger part: we are this day. 

We’re what we do with the time we have.

How we spend it is our truth. The rest is words, assurances or excuses we use to build ourselves up or tear our dreams down. I’m talking about you, about me, about all of us.

Our time doesn’t lie, what we do with it is the most honest reflection of what matters to us.

When I was growing up my mother used to say “Whatever you’re doing, do it well. If you’re working, work hard, if you’re relaxing, relax fully.” I’m still getting the hang of this, most of us are.

I’ve admitted to myself in the past couple of weeks that I need to work on my spending habits, and not the wallet kind. I spend the most part of my days joyfully focused on my children, and I wouldn’t change that for the world, but there are still wonderful little pockets of time that I don’t use to lift myself up – and I can. There will always been housework, study or work, but in every day time exists that’s yours. How are you spending it?

That spreadsheet doesn’t seem like a bad idea after all….

wearethisday

 

 

Copyright Nirvana Dawson 2013