Sunday, 17 February 2013

I can manage my own time

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"Have you got any assignments or homework that need attention this weekend", I asked my four yesterday. "I can manage my own time", came the classic response from Deep Waters {DW}. Said in an astutely responsible tone, rather than the normal defensive one.

I was pretty impressed by his statement actually. Especially having just written a blog about allowing my teens to own their own decisions. This feels like part b) to yesterday's blog. It confirmed again he really is taking ownership of his study and learning and doesn't need my 'paternalistic' input checking up on him. For now. Almost a dare to trust him to it.

Time management seems to confound us all at different phases in life. Particularly teens who have to squeeze school, study, sport, music, dance (Sunshine), part time jobs, the gym (EQ) & facebook (lol!) into their lives. They often need a little encouragement, direction & moderation to get their priorities in order & keep on track. Us adults sometimes do too!

We all know people who you wonder how they even find time to breathe their lives are so ridiculously busy and productive. I am trying to ban the word busy this year. Rather than respond to how life is by using, busy, am replacing it with, rich & full or challenging & rewarding. I am tired of hearing myself say, busy to everything! Not sick of being busy, rather clamouring to find other adjectives to describe life. Busy is a given, tell me something I don't know!

Hearing DW choosing to be so responsible for his time was delightfully heartening. Furthermore when asked if he wanted to go to the library he added that his plate was already full and that he really didn't have time for reading anything else (his plate; study, part time job & practising for his grade 7 piano exam). Again I was touched, he was being realistic & protective of his time.

He seems to have grown up all of a sudden!
Grade 11 has changed him into this very focused, responsible & determined young man. Demonstrating that he carries not by chance his father's middle name, his looks but his character as well, a cool cucumber under pressure. He is even keeping his room tidy without being nagged also!

With the patchy rain yesterday we had fun hanging the washing out, bringing the washing in, alternating loads in the dryer. The rain was about to fall again so I rushed outside to take a line full off  to find DW right beside me, without being asked, he started taking washing off with me. Melting moment. 

As mums, we do treasure these moments & conversations close to our hearts. I am obviously, easily pleased - little acts of random, self initiated kindness & motivation delight my soul no end, especially from my children. Here's to DW managing his own time well!

Cherishing my son
Cherishing positive choices
Cherishing the growing up that happens all of a sudden

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Owning their own decisions

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It's a rainy Saturday morning, 3 of my 4 are still fast asleep, the babe of the family already at dance classes, a bright start at 5.45am. A choice she has made herself as it's the only time in the week her teacher can do solo lessons! She is that keen she jumps out of bed to get ready! Her energy and passion always ever inspiring.

I was also inspired this week by DW's choice & diligence to study and do homework without being prompted. He seems to be loving the challenge of new subjects, understanding the importance of revision each night and focused. A choice he has made of his own accord. I have not pushed or coerced. He has owned it.

Reflecting on the first few weeks of school as I curl up in bed with laptop and coffee. Sunshine and I already had our early morning pot of tea to start the day.......

Chatting with a colleague in the week who has 3 young children, hearing tales of toilet training & sleepless nights, empathetic to every detail having lived this myself, found myself thinking those younger years are so physically demanding, yet teen years so emotionally demanding.

Helping our teens navigate life & the myriad of choices it proposes! We are an options indulged culture. How do we prepare our teens to face the options overload of the real world? School subjects, uni courses, career pathways, phone plans, internet providers, life partners. There's almost too many options for everything!

We all want our kids to make wise choices, right choices, good, positive ones! Do we not?

As we faced a few weeks of mine wanting to swap subjects at school it felt like all of life depended on this! Unrealistically so! After stepping back and weighing up with them all the options, realised that in the end they have to learn to own their own decisions. Even if they realise 6months - 12months down the track perhaps it wasn't the best choice, it has still been an important lesson learnt.

As positive choices can be a teacher so also regret can be a hard but powerful one too.

Letting our teens make their own decisions is sometimes agony, especially when you don't agree or would preference another option. Yet I believe as a mum I have to let them own it for themselves. Even if I can see the risks, the pitfalls and potential disappointment down the track. Alerting them to these is all I can do, the choice then is theirs to make.

It goes against the grain of protecting them, wanting to shield them from all life's harm, yet it seems to be the only way to grow emotionally, build resilience, independence and mature........

Cherishing the choices my children make
Cherishing life's little dilemmas for what they teach us
Cherishing opportunities to learn tolerance to ambiguity 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

noticing beauty

Signposts, exploring everyday spirituality

Noticing beauty. Finding beauty. Chasing butterflies. Star gazing. Cloud watching. Smelling the roses.

These are considered 'normal' things attached to beauty.

Ever find yourself so wound up racing here and there that you have to deliberately stop to notice beauty? Sometimes when responsibilities crowd in find myself wanting to chase butterflies like a child, stare at the ocean, wander in the botanical gardens or just watch the sunset.

Is that avoiding responsibility? Or seeking solace in the midst of the tide pull of 'too busy schedule' over balance?

This week found myself seeing & feeling people's pain in an acute way. Yet in the midst of existential pain noticing incredible beauty & resilience.

We all carry a cross of some description.

Caring for a disabled child, struggling with depression, anxiety disorders, death of a child, death of a spouse, challenging work situations, challenging family situations, divorce, single parenting, dementia diagnosis, cancer diagnosis, financial crisis, infertility, the ageing process, dying process, not getting into Uni, betrayal of a partner, relationship breakdowns, unwanted singleness, child abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, redundancy.....

None of us are immune to pain, suffering or struggle, potential job loss or diagnosis of a life limiting illness.

But what I have seen alongside suffering is remarkable resilience, courage, hope & beauty.

This week have been inspired afresh by people I work with, people I care for & clients who teach me how to notice beauty in the most unconventional places.

Though I long for chasing butterflies & watching sunsets, I have seen incredible beauty in the amazing colours & diversity of the human spirit; in the dedication of loving relatives caring for a mother with dementia, in a brother's love sitting by his bed as he breathes his last breath,  in colleagues who juggle caring for disabled spouses & children yet are solutions focused in the midst of crisis, news articles of flood recovery stories, in the tears of a friend struggling post redundancy.

Noticing beauty in the crosses people bear
Cherishing what others teach me in their pain
Grateful for inspiration in troubled times

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A week of firsts and lasts

Sunshine's first pair of pointe ballet shoes

Last week was a week of milestones, firsts & lasts for many families, including ours. First day back to school. First of my four to hit grade 12, last year of school for him. Last of my four to farewell primary school and start middle school. First of my four to get their license and last time dropping him somewhere as he can now drive himself!

First time I could ask my son to pick up his siblings. First time to drive up the coast on his own with a car load of friends. First time driving solo at night. But certainly not the first or last time worrying if he'll be alright!

First pair of pointe ballet shoes bought & pointe class attended for our budding ballerina. First time DW tackled physics & chemistry & played keyboard @ church,  first medical scan and exposure to demonic activity (not at the same time) for Thoughtful Princess.

What a week!

I often write about milestone moments as a part of cherishing everything parenthood brings. Savouring significant moments in their lives, starting school is most definitely one of them. Facebook was flooded with photos of everyone's little ones starting school. The joy & tears! Both parent & child! 

With the opening of a new chapter brings the closing of another. With a first usually comes a last.

A work colleague and I had lunch together yesterday reminiscing about the changes in our children's lives and how it seems to impact us more than it does them. Attachment and letting go is often a bigger deal for us parents than it is for our child or teen. They are filled with pure excitement & thrill of something new as we muse & mull over the way it was & will never be the same again. 

The wonder & adventure of life fills our children as we realise we will never walk this road again with them. That is why I chose to write this blog, to simply cherish every little moment, to capture, to enjoy, an attempt to make the most of opportunities & time given us, rather than in complaint of how hard it all is.

Last week was wonderful & hard all rolled into one.

Cherishing firsts and lasts in my children's lives
Cherishing the wonder & joy they bring
Cherishing even the tears