Happiest Holidays to you and your family,
may they be light filled and memorable times to smile back upon
This holiday season I was ambitious and planned a road trip to visit my niece who moved with her family to Washington State. Road trips aren’t new to our family; we just visited a friend in Arizona this past spring. And when we lived in Sacramento we visited Los Angeles three times a month. What was different was that this trip was going to be our longest one yet in a short amount of time. My oldest son bailed right after he heard the plans. LOL. I gave into the idea it was because he was eighteen. And he told me he wanted to stay in town to spend time with his girlfriend and friend. Later, he said he didn’t want to ride with his family for such a long distance and so many hours.
What I discovered on our trip:
*90% of my iTunes library was filled with music I grew up with in the 80’s and 90’s
*It’s easy to get lost in the beauty of nature with ooos and ahhs
*AND how easy it is to fall into parenting from guilt
I almost fell into parenting from guilt when we were more than half way to our destination with six hours left to go. The sun was setting and we were leaving the last rest stop and more determined to drive straight through till we arrived. I had said to my youngest son that I wouldn’t be offering any movies or games on electronics and he tried again to negotiate a new deal with me.
“Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy” –Robert Heinlein
His six-year-old self pointed out that it was going to be too dark to play with the toys he packed, too dark to look at the books we packed too, and that he was bored.
He had me. I was wondering if I should change my mind, wondering if I should let him use my phone as a light to play with toys or look at a book, wondering if I should let him play games or watch movies to pass the time. I didn’t say anything, as I doubted myself. I waited. I reminded him I was not offering electronics.
He ended up falling asleep. I breathed a sigh of relief. And THEN my mind spun through all other times recently that I had fell into guilt and wondered to if I had waited out the guilt or fear of what might have happened or how those times might have turned out. When he woke up hours later he again tried to negotiate a new deal. Feeling more confident from our last attempt at negotiations, I didn’t waver. And then he slept another three hours waking just thirty minutes from our destination.
“Don’t handicap your children by making your life easier” Andrew Baker
Allowing ourselves more space to make conscious choices, allows us more room to breathe, in all ways.