Tag Archives: kindness

What Are You Grieving?

Standard

92423AB4-92CD-46BA-BC35-F29338DB7AC7In the midst of the general death and destruction wrought by Covid-19, a grown woman took the time to complain on social media that she would not have a birthday party this year. She was devastated there would be no restaurant, no margaritas, no tapas, no cake, no friends to make her feel special and celebrated.

My first thought? What a selfish brat! 

This is a grown up we are talking about, not an eight year old who already picked out unicorn party favors. Has she not read the posts written by traumatized, sweaty ICU staff who are actually risking life and limb to care for victims of this pandemic?

I was angry, but not just with Birthday Girl. I was angry with our country and all the interlocking systems that have failed in keeping us safe, in working cooperatively, and in providing resources to treat us humanely. The more I thought about it, the more depressed I felt. Then, like many have already observed, I realized I was bouncing around in the cycle of grief.

We are all grieving different things right now.

Some of us are grieving celebrations in which we cannot partake. Others are grieving loss of employment, or income needed to stay afloat. Some bear the palpable loss of a loved one to this pernicious disease, while others suffer isolation, and the grief of loneliness.

It made me stop and realize what a judgey twat I was being.

It also made me question what I was grieving.

I’m certainly wandering around in a haze of sad uncertainty that feels a lot like grief. I miss simple structure, routine, consistency. I’ve lost all the ways I typically “do” life. I’ve lost being able to see and embrace my friends and family. I bear witness to my children’s pain at separation from their grandparents (who they typically see daily), their friends, and routines of school and activities.

I definitely miss leaving the house and listening to music really loud in the car on my way to work. Who’d have thunk it? And I miss sitting with my clients, face to face. I miss the things you see on people’s face that you can’t experience in their disembodied voices, or in pics, or in ticktoc vids.

So, maybe it’s a bunch of things? Maybe I really just miss being able to race out to the market to fetch that one thing I’ve forgotten without it being a big HAZMAT issue that puts all our lives at risk?

Maybe I miss when life wasn’t such a hyperbole and I could use hyperboles in fun and actual hyperbolic ways?

Yeah, I guess, I’m not grieving anything greater than a birthday party either. We all know the horrors that are right outside our doors (or at least the ones of us choosing to stay in and socially distance do).

I’d like to tell you that the nice thing about this grief is that it will be impermanent. A vaccine will be developed, treatment will come, and we will be free to roam about the world again. Things will get better. Those are all facts.

But will we go back to normal?

If I’ve learned one thing about grief, it is that grief, when traumatic enough, has the potential to change us, to alter us right down at our DNA level. Don’t believe me? Google the epigenetics of trauma. I swear to you it is an actual thing.

So, the good news is if we stay kind, supportive, and connected, we have a far better chance of surviving and getting back to our baselines. If this situation has taught us anything, it is how much we need one another, how essential the embrace of humanity is to our health and existence.

I’m so sorry I forgot that, even for a moment.

What are you grieving? Please feel free to share in the comments below. I try to respond to any and all who take the time to share their time and thoughts with me. Thank you for being here. 

Update to “The Kindness Games”– Keeping Your Cool With Kids During Summer

Standard

Momaste, y’all!

A few weeks back, I posted about something I was trying with my children to help us all get along during the beastly dog days of summer.

On our first day home together, after Jack finished his second grade year at school, the kids were at each other’s throats and I was at my wit’s end.  I just wanted everyone to get along and play nice in the sand box.  So, I invented a reward program to encourage them to be kinder to one another.

Everytime I “catch” them in the act of being kind/polite/generous/supportive to one another, they are rewarded with a point.  When they get 50 points I will take them to a bouncy place like Chuck e Cheese, or they can pick out a cake, or earn some other desired reinforcer.

It took off like gang busters.  My kids were bending over backwards to be nice to one another.  And in general, our days off together on Mondays, when it is just me home with them, are going really well.  We have been able to enjoy a series of fun outings that required cooperation and getting along.

They have earned about 35 “points”.  Not too shabby…

But our weekends have been hellacious.

For whatever reason, when both my husband and I are home with the kids on Saturday and Sunday, the children are “off”.  They bicker, scream, insult, and tantrum with one another.

It is a very weird dynamic that I can’t quite figure out.

The children both ADORE their father, so I wonder if they are doing some major attention seeking with him and if there is a sense of competition between them when he is around. . .

It may have to do with the fact I’ve been really scheduling almost every minute of our Mondays so that they know what to expect and when, but our weekends are a bit more free-flowing.

Transitions during the weekends have been particularly hard for Jack, which really sucks for everyone in the house because he totally flips the switch and the proverbial apple cart with his antics.  There have been a couple occasions where Em and I have just left the house to escape the tirades, leaving my spouse home with Jack until he cools off.

So, it is a work in progress and a mixed bag, but you can bet I will keep you “posted”!!

How is your summer going?  How are you keeping your cool with your cherubs this summer?  

Random Kindness To A Mother’s Heart

Standard

20130503-160427.jpgOur neighbor is a college professor in early childhood education.  We don’t know her well, but all signs point to her being a lovely individual.  She lives in the second floor apartment of the house next door to us, and her office windows open onto our yard.

When Jack was a toddler, she made a point, on more than one occasion, of stopping to talk to us for a moment over the fence.  “I love to hear the two of you play,” she would say.  “You always have the nicest conversations.”

Her words touched me.  Jack was very verbal from an early age, and I loved my chats with him over the sandbox or flowerbed about nature, trucks, or animals.  Both my husband and I had infinite patience for Jack’s endless curiosity and chatter.

Flash forward four years.

We had Emily and in our constant state of emotional and physical exhaustion, things started to disintegrate at home.  Jack became a big brother after ruling our roost for four years by himself, and he did not like it one bit.

Our backyard banter turned into backyard battle as Jack bucked every rule and I balanced a baby on my hip.

I am sure this quiet, scholarly neighbor heard some conversations and confrontations quite different than the lovely idyll of Jack’s solo days.  I’m sure she heard me struggle with him, and him rage at me not only in our backyard, but also from our home, especially in the warmer months when our windows were all open.

There were times (oh there were times!) when I raced frantically though the house to close all the windows while Jack had one of his tantrums, praying no one would think I was hurting him and call the cops on me.

Our neighbor lady caught us at the bus stop one morning, as we waited for Jack’s big, yellow chariot to swoop him up.  She asked him where he was going to school and who his teacher was, etc.  She mentioned she had always loved hearing him play in the yard.

I scoffed awkwardly at this.  “Well, ” I said, “I’m sure you hear many interesting things.”

She looked me straight in the eye and smiled at me.

“Jack just has a really good sense of himself,” she said.

Huh.  Well that was one way to look at my son’s challenging demeanor.

I think of this brief exchange once in a while, and it strikes me as a very great kindness this neighbor, barely more than an acquaintance, offered me that morning.  She could have been really snarky about our noise interrupting her studies, or dug out some child development fact to imply we were doing it all wrong.  But she didn’t.

Instead, she offered me nine of the kindest words ever to meet my mother heart.

What is something kind someone has done for you as a mom when you least expected it?  Have you ever done/said anything to show kindness to another mom you saw struggling?