Thursday, June 3, 2010
Life's Little Teachers
I know its been a week since I blogged last. I blame the sinus infection that decided to take over my brain cavity (seriously, it had to have been in my brain, I swear...it was no fun). While I have been in my infirmed state, I've had a lot of time to lay back and watch life pass me by. Usually, when I'm ill, I'm trying to deny it with every fiber of my being and rush on to the next big task at hand. However, I think I'm learning that sometimes we get sick for a reason. Sometimes we get sick because we need to slow down and watch so we can learn. As I have gradually started to speed back up thanks to the miracle of antibiotics, I have realized a very important truth:
and I have been learning a lot so far this summer, and my best teachers are the people that some would least expect.
The weight of this hit me tonight when I held my little sister's sweet 5 month old baby in my arms. She had been crying and wouldn't stop. I pride myself in the fact that I have a freakish magic touch with infants. They just stop crying when I hold them. Kiersten, flustered, handed Brianna over to my arms while saying, "I just don't know what to do. She can't still be hungry, she doesn't need a diaper change, and I can't give her any more gas drops for another 2 hours." Of course, as soon as she has said this and hands her over to me Brianna stops crying. I felt Bri's little body start to relax. She moved her little head and laid it on my chest. I can't prove this, but I swear when she does this she is listening to my heart beat. She looked up at me with her big blye eyes smiled and reached out for her pacifier and helped me put it in her mouth. The rest of her muscles went limp as she held her little head to my chest, listening to my heart...I swear listening to my heart... I remember how I used to love to do that with my dad. He'd get home from work, start dinner, turn on his soaps (he was addicted to General Hospital, my mom taped it for him every day, I swear its a true story...) and I would snuggle up in his lap, put my head on his chest and listen to his heart. I would feel so safe, I would relax and just let myself slip away into the moment.
As I think of this, the silly thought dawns on me. How much love must be in her little heart as she rests her head on my chest and relaxes in my arms? How much must she trust me to go completely limp and just...be.... This little person can sense that I love her, that I will protect her, she listens to my heart, and she trusts me enough to relax, go limp and give in to the power of sleep...Why can't I be more like that. Why can't I just have faith in the heart of the person who watches me and protects me, why can't I sense it better, and listen to it? Why can't I love and trust with such abandon?
I need to let go. I need to have faith. I need to rest my head and believe that I can hear God's heart. I need to believe that He will protect me and make sure that I end up where I need to be. I need to trust, "go limp", and let the chips fall where they may. Sometimes, when you've done all you can do, all that's left is for you to relax and wait...all you can do is give in to the power that resting can have.
This got me thinking about kids in general and what other lessons I have learned this week.
I was at the grocery store with my two year old niece Raylee. She is way too smart for her own good. Not only does she look like she's 5 (she's a tall kid) she probably has the cognitive skills of a 5 year old too. On this particular trip to the grocery store, we were going to get her a cookie for he success in potty training. Smith's has these giant sugar cookies that are frosted and decorated beautifully. A confectionary work of art, its almost a shame to eat it...and Raylee loves them, they are a better bribery tool than you could ever imagine. (Yes, I bribe my niece, I have no shame) Raylee has been waiting for a new bike that was promised to her if she could potty train in a certain amount of time, but at this moment she didn't care about her pink Barbie tricycle, all she wanted was a cheap sugar cookie and could hardly contain herself. We walked into the store, and Raylee proceeds to go find a little old lady sitting all by herself by the apples...She walks up to said little old lady and says proudly, "I'm a big girl, I went poo poo in the potty, and now my Aunt B. is going to get me a cookie." This little old lady was slightly stunned but smiled and said, "good for you sweetie." I grabbed Raylee's hand, smiled and we walked away. As we walked Raylee shouted, "Goodbye!" This kid has NO FEAR... There are two lessons I learned from this experience.
1) You should never be afraid of a new experience and 2) Well, lesson 2 is a little deeper. Have you ever watched a little kid get excited over something that seems so trivial and simple? I watch it every day, but I never really pay attention. On this particular day, however, I find myself thinking and wondering when I lost that. When did I lose this childlike excitement over something so small? When did I start forgetting to be grateful for the little blessings. There are little blessings in our lives every day, but I think as adults we get so bogged down by the trials and errors in our lives, or the lack of big things that we want, we forget to recognize how awesome it is to have the small things. Raylee was so excited that she had succeeded, she was so excited that as a consequence of that success she was going to get a cookie she had to tell the first person she met. How often do we snub our small daily successes and forget to be excited about the "cookies" that we get in return? I need to get better at remembering...I need to get better at being excited for the "cookies" while I wait for the "bicycles" of life. I need to stop focusing on the "bicycles." Like Raylee, I need to believe in the promise of the "bicycles" and enjoy the cookies that come to reward me while I wait.
My next lesson. While I was dog sick, I was still nannying for my sister. On one particular day, I wanted to die. I felt like my head was going to explode and that I was going to die...( I know, I already said that, but I really did just want to die...) I opted to spend the afternoon lying in my sister's big cozy bed with my nieces. (My nephew was at school still) We watched a Barbie movie. I will admit, without shame, that I was excited when the girls picked Barbie and the Nutcracker. Its one of my favorites. I have always loved the E.T.A. Hoffman story of the Nutcracker on which the ballet is based, and this movie, while computer animated, has amazing ballet routines that were choreographed by the San Francisco Ballet...I just get wrapped up in it.:) NO SHAME, I'm seriously, admitting that. I was lying on the bed, watching sugar plum fairies dance across the television screen when Addie's little voice broke my concentration (or lack thereof, I was sick after all) "Aunt B....?" I looked into Addie's big Precious Moments eyes and she asked the question I knew was coming, "Can I have a drink?" I got up out of bed, got Addie a sippie of juice and brought it back to the room. I got back in the bed, buried myself in the covers and started zoning out watching the movie again as the mouse king was battling Barbie and the Nutcracker in the living room. Addie then starts to tickle my arm and whispers, "Aunt B. does that feel good?" Of course it did, I smiled at her and nodded my head. Addie continued to tickle my arm, she leaned over and whispered again, "Aunt B., you're the best." It was so random! I giggled, turned back to my little dolly and said, "Why am I the best?" She giggled and said, "You just are Aunt B. You just are! Why? Don't you know why you're the best?" At the time I giggled, buried her under the covers and had a pillow fight with her...but her question was actually a lesson that I rushed past..
"Why? Don't you know that you're the best?" How about we rephrase that: Why don't you know that you're the best? How often do we let ourselves get bogged down because we don't feel we meet some standard that is imposed upon us by the world? Why do we even care what the world thinks? I hate to state the obvious, but the world isn't exactly the best place...should we really care? I think not. Why don't I know that I'm the best? Again, this is something I'm working on, but it seems like Addie doesn't mind reminding me that I'm "the best" she tells me every time I come over to nanny and always at the most random of times when I'm not expecting to hear it.
I am the best...why don't I think so...well, I look at the reasons why I don't think so and I think...."hmmm, that's pretty dumb...I really am the best!"
I'm so blessed to have these little teachers in my life. From this moment on, I vow to make more of an effort to listen to the lessons they teach.