My kid makes me laugh…a lot. Not all the time, of course, but more often than not he finds a way to make me chuckle. On Mother’s Day, he gave me a book. I wanted to share this page because it made me laugh so hard I almost wet my pants (something I can certainly attribute to the kid born naturally at 9lbs 8oz). “Sometimes, I forget my shoes.” Well, yes, that has happened. But it was MONTHS ago and it only happened once, or so I tell myself.
We live in New York City, which generally means we live in an apartment (not true for all, but true for most). He has to be at school by 8 a.m., so we need to be out the door by 7:30 a.m. because we take the subway. Sometimes, the morning routine resembles a fire drill because I am still brushing my teeth or trying to put on some makeup at 7:25 a.m. (note to self: get out of bed earlier). On the morning in question, it was such a fire drill. I’d gotten myself out of the bathroom and to the kitchen (which is near the front door), grabbed my lunch, put on my coat and ushered the kid out the door. As I closed the apartment door, I noticed my pink, fuzzy slippers on my feet. I turned to the kid and said, “I don’t think these will do.” We both laughed. I ran in, changed into my shoes, and somehow, we still made it to school on time.
What is the moral of the story? Don’t forget your shoes, or anything else, because kids remember EVERYTHING.
I think I hear you laughing….
When everyone said she should not, my mom went back to law school. She made this choice when I was 7. You can imagine how difficult it was for a 40-year-old woman to break into law in 1980 with three children at home. Through my eyes, she made that transition flawlessly. If I could ask her, she’d probably quietly admit that it was hard. That the juggle of being a mother, wife and a law student was incredibly difficult. And then, without missing a beat, she’d remind me that it was one of the best decisions she’d ever made.
My mom was a warrior. I know she loved me. When I needed her strength, she shared it. When I needed a lesson, she provided it. When I needed a shoulder, she gave me another lesson, and then her shoulder. She was my hero. She died 11 years ago. I miss her every day.
When she died, a tree was planted in her honor. Just this week, it bloomed, and my heart with it. Even though I regularly go to the tree to speak with her, when her tree blooms, I feel just that much closer to her. While I wasn’t looking, my husband caught me speaking to her.
Mother’s Day is about relationships. It runs between you and your mother, and between you and those who you’ve mothered. Celebrate those relationships today, and every day.
Making the decision that you need to implement a change in your life is hurdle by itself. Although change is the only constant in life, generally, we are creatures of habit. Resorting to a known response, to an action that provides some comfort, but ultimately is unhelpful, is certainly easier. When you make the decision to implement a change, to reprogram the way you respond to a situation, be proud of yourself. This is step one.
Step two is a bit more challenging. In the beginning, staying the course can be difficult. Outside and inside influences may cause you to doubt your path. Your own resolve will be tested. In those moments, I suggest you use the 1% rule - - make the change 1% at a time. Small steps towards your goal are still progress. And, those small steps certainly add up.
Consider this. You’ve decided to make a change, and you’ve put in place the tools (whether they be physical or emotional) you need to make this change. You are a few days into this change and someone who is not supportive is critical of your progress. Here is where the 1% rule can help. You’ve already made progress. Don’t give up because of that outside opinion. Instead, celebrate how far you’ve come. Recognize that you’ve made progress. File away the negative opinion under the “unhelpful” category and continue on your path.
If you struggle and you find that you’ve resorted to old ways, don’t give up. Go back to the 1% rule and recognize how far you’ve come. Perhaps you’ve lost a bit of your progress. But, if you look at the fact that you were 5% or 10% or 20%, or maybe even 50% closer to your goal, losing a percentage or two is nothing compared to what you’ve accomplished.
You are beautiful, strong and resilient. You have the ability to choose your own path. Make that change and move forward, 1% at a time.
Holidays have an innate ability to bring out the best, and sometimes the worst, in ourselves and others. Surrounded by family, it is not unusual to relive moments from the past, or to revert to actions and responses thought long banished. In that environment, stories are often told, sometimes to evoke humor, or to embarrass or to intentionally cause pain. It is my hope that your weekend was filled with laughter and joy. If you found your cheeks smarting from proverbial backhands instead of hurting from perpetual laughter, try to remember the blessings that are in your life.
You control you. You know who you are and where you are going. Your boundaries are set so that people (including family) know where they are permitted to go, and where they cannot go. Whomever responds negatively to your boundaries, to your rules, may do so. That does not change who you are or what you’ve decided for yourself. These realities are among those first blessings you should count.
Those who understand you, who understand your boundaries, those who love you and are willing to discuss things truthfully with you are also blessings.
Health is next, in my opinion. With all of the challenges that flow from battling an illness, to be healthy is truly a blessing.
Many more blessings exist that will likely show up on your list. Count and cherish each one. While you do, I hope that your smile makes your own cheeks hurt.
Yesterday, while walking to an afternoon meeting in downtown New York, I came upon this planter. Surrounded by 6 or 7 other planters all full of beautiful, pink tulips, I couldn’t stop the smile from spreading across my face as I looked at this lone, yellow tulip. While taking this picture, I asked the question you likely asked yourself: had the gardener intended to plant this yellow tulip within the bed of pink tulips, or was it a mistake?
Sometimes, you fit in; sometimes, you stand out. Both have their time and place in this world. Both are beautiful choices. Staying the course, keeping an even keel, maintaining the peace and helping others (and yourself) to remain calm and balanced are reasoned choices. Similarly, being brave and trying something new, pushing yourself to walk outside of your comfort zone, setting new boundaries are choices that set you apart, but are also reasoned choices that can help you grow.
Whether you are the pink tulip or the yellow tulip today, your choices are your own. Own each choice and be proud of what you’ve chosen. Have faith in yourself. When the time comes to choose, you’ll know what is best for you.