“The gloom of the world is but a shadow; behind it, yet within our reach, is joy. Take joy.” Fra Giovanni Giocondo
I’m learning, mostly from my children, about how we can control how we look at things, whether we see possibities, joy, hope and love, or only the deficites. I’m becoming more and more aware of how other people’s moods effect us. I comprehend now that good hydration and deep breaths can change a moment of anxiety to peace. And I’m desperate to hold onto that learning, not just for myself, but a I parent my wee ones. I want not only to be the calm and reassuring mother that my chidren need, but I also want to help them, not just now but in the future, as they come to terms with their past.
I am more aware than ever of how our mood changes depending on who we are around. That is not to say that we can’t accept people’s struggles, or offer sympathy, or commiseration, because the reality is we all go through rough seasons, times where we need extra support, a more gentle approach. But there is a difference between situations and continually wanting more, not being content, struggling to see joy. And I’m determined that my children see me strive (strive because I still have so far to go) to cope with stress with a healthy response, to see choosing joy modelled, as well as communication about feelings and apologies as often as needed. I’m trying to set a good example to my mum, because this has always been her challenge, though sadly she doesn’t see it. And though I have always felt empathy for her, it has opened the door to some good conversations with my children about choosing happiness, being thankful and seeing good.
This week I quietly parted ways with a music teacher who came highly recommended; I realized accolades and accomplishments mean nothing to me, what means something, what I want my children exposed to, is a gentle-spirit: calmness, kindness, compassion and understanding. And it felt so right to say “no” to those upcoming lessons. My children have already experienced pain, they have many disappointments to come, because life has them in abundance, they don’t need that now.
When I look at the above photo, our back-to-school dinner, I don’t see the paint stain on the table cloth, nor the flowers which won’t stand (they are propped). I don’t see the fact dinner was a little late (I was an over ambitious mama in the kitchen ). Nor do I see mix-matched pajamas. What I do see is love, colour, happiness and laughter. I take the joy from it all, thankfully my children do to!