Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Early Mother's Day Present

*I started this post weeks ago. I guess it is time to hit "publish".

This afternoon I made a phone call to schedule hair cut appointments for my boys. The phone conversation that followed honestly threw me for a bit of a loop. Not in a bad way; it just went in a bit of a different direction than I was expecting. And now I feel I should express my gratitude for kind words offered to me that I hadn't even realized I desperately needed to hear.

I recently read a story about validation. I cannot attribute credit where it is due, because I do not remember the source (probably Facebook; I live there too often, I know). The gist of the story, or at least what I got from it, is that everyone needs to feel appreciated for what we do, to feel validated, to be able to see that our efforts are valued. Even for the seemingly minor things.

Most of you have probably seen the Drops of Awesome story. I can't link to it here; I'm posting from my iPad. Same kind of idea, but essentially validating ourselves, celebrating the things we do right, instead of beating ourselves up for our perceived failures. I will tell you what. I have been in a rut, feeling inadequate, not awesome enough, well just not enough period. I know my own failings; I surround myself with them, I hide behind them, I disappear into them. And then I worry what am I teaching my kids? I want them to believe they can do anything, but sometimes I can't even get myself out of the house.

Well, I have spent the past few weeks being sick, so that hasn't helped.

*Started this over two weeks ago.  I guess it is time to finish the story. . . .

Back to that phone call.  The lady who cuts my boys' hair politely reminded me that I had forgotten to get a check to her the last time the boys got their hair cut.  I had been out of town at the time, and told the boys to let her know I would bring a check later.  But I completely forgot.  Just being my flaky self, I guess.  Of course, all the traveling and then being sick didn't help the situation for me, either.  I am so glad she reminded me, even though I felt like a total idiot, you know.  Anyway, just as I was in the middle of feeling mortified at my ineptness, she starts to say something else.

And this is where my pity train got derailed:

"I just love your boys," she says, and then she goes on to describe how the boys told her we had left them in charge, and they were probably going to take the younger kids out for dinner at Patio that evening.  And she said, isn't it nice when our kids are old enough that we can leave them alone like that?  And how nice when they are responsible enough that we can do so, without stressing about it.  She went on to talk about how much she has enjoyed getting to know them, how polite they are, and well spoken.  She just said so many nice things about those kids of mine, I actually started to get a little embarrassed.  And then, I thought to myself, my boys are pretty awesome.  They are!  Thank you for pointing that out to me.  Not that I didn't already think so; I am a little biased after all, but it is truly nice to hear that from someone else.

And then I wondered to myself, do I let them know how awesome I think they are?  Probably something I could work on a little more.  But the point of this is not to beat myself up, and I wasn't down on myself then, either.  It was just a gentle reminder to me that I need to let my kids know how great they are, in my eyes, and through the eyes of others who see them.

And it couldn't hurt to let other parents know how great I think their kids are, the ones I get to know throug my church callings, volunteer school activities, and their associations with my kids.  Pay it forward, you know.  I think I will.

What an awesome early Mother's Day gift that was.  I am blessed.