Every time I look in the mirror I search for what is wrong with me. Do I look tired? Is my hair weird? Do I have any new pimples to pop or hairs to pluck?
I wonder how much my life would change if I use my reflection to look into my own eyes and search for beauty instead of flaws. How would the world change if I turn the loving gaze outward?
“One more tug, Mama.”
I braced her in a headlock against my belly while reaching in between her jaws with enough trust to know I wouldn’t loose a finger. With a washcloth for friction, I yanked with all my might, attempting to persuade her top front tooth to release from the stubborn roots on the right side. I halted before distorting her face, the panic stricken look in her eyes paired with her stop signal hand were enough for me to get the message.
The next day and thousands of little wiggles later, our seven year old flashed her toothless grin.
So often, we get to the next phase through little wiggles rather than a big, passionate tug.
Today was the kind of snow day where people start closing and cancelling things the night before. All of a sudden I went from a day filled with appointments to absolutely nothing on my schedule. Instead of rushing from one doctor to the next, I snuggled and read with our kids. We made art together and shoveled. The do nothing day our kids hoped for had arrived and I got to join in.
In the world we’ve created, everything seems so urgent and essential. Then once in a while, through snow or illness or head injury, the Universe lets me know that what is essential is breathing and hope. Everything else is optional.
Sometimes I feel a bit silly saying happy birthday to my young children over the Facebook platform. They don’t even have accounts and two of them can’t read yet. Is it attention seeking? Am I bragging about my beautiful children and flaunting their amazing qualities? Perhaps.
However, when I read my children their well wishes and see their faces radiate with joy, I am reminded that this act is a gift. It is a connection to of all of the beautiful grown ups in their lives that love them and support them from India, Uruguay, across the street and countless places in between. It is a reminder of the human net that is there to catch them when they trip and fall.
Facebook has its shadow sides but creating moments like these are precious.
I live near a school zone so multiple times a day when I am driving to or from home there are bright red flashing letters reminding me to SLOW DOWN. In the midst of recovery, I need this reminder more than ever.
I had no idea it was possible to overdo “recovery” but where there’s a will, there’s a way. So as I zoom from one kind of therapy appointment to the next, making sure to get in quality time with the kids, help with household tasks and (on a good day) squeeze in my exercise regimen, the last thing I’m remembering to do is to slow down enough for the red to stop flashing.
Ironically with concussion recovery, slowing down is exactly what my brain needs for healing. And in the end, SLOW DOWN is probably an appropriate message for most of us in this world.
While our daughter and I share many attributes, our shared foot width was apparent from her birth. So when she got a pair of shoes in the mail she said, ” oh I love them and they do squeeze a little bit but my feet are too wide so I’ll just have to deal.”
After living through many years of squeezy shoes (and uncomfortable feet), I cringed at the comment and couldn’t help but turn it into a conversation.
“Hey kiddo!” I said, “You don’t need to squeeze into shoes that are too tight. Your feet are just the right size. We just need to find shoes that match your feet.”
“Really?” She replied. “OK, I would like that.”
What if we gave ourselves permission to find the right fit, from shoes and clothes to friends, careers, vacations and religious practice?
I keep going to the physical therapist to get the adhesions broken down holding down the nerves in my leg each time the physical therapist breaks down some of the same adhesions he worked on last time.
As teachers and parents we are also held down in familiar patterns by adhesions. We often know it would be beneficial to approach fractions or bedtime routines in a new way. We succeed in trying something new. It is establishing that new pattern that gets painful.
My body is trying to heal but habits have been formed and starting a new pattern takes time, pain and courage.