“One of the virtues of being very young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” ~ Sam Levenson
Stress is a funny thing. It moves you out of your comfort zone, ready or not.
The first definition stresses my point — ahem, I mean emphasizes my point. The eighth meaning can seem challenging given it can stretch you to the point of pain.
. . .
Stress (stres) n.
1. “importance of significance attached to a thing.”
8. “physical, mental or emotional strain or tension.”
. . .
Prior to Kiddo I took summers off for over a decade, unplugging, unwinding, and refining.
For the first few years, I resisted. I was stuck in victim mode with a whole lot of drama going on.
The last few years were much more liberating. I birthed my three best-sellers, learned to fall madly in love with silence, and got so in tune with nature I had birds tapping on my window whenever they ran out of seed.
But all that became secondary when Kiddo arrived. I spent so many hours taking care of “them” in fact that last summer was a bit like a triage with one continuous crisis after another.
Looking back, I can see a lot of progress has been made: I have more time to write, no longer feel exhausted the way I once did, and am way more experienced as a parent. You might say we have both graduated pre-school (LOL). I can even tell the difference now between a genuine cry of lamentation and an exaggerated cry used for attention and manipulation.
Yay for me! 🙂
Despite all this though, up until recent, I was so wound tight I was missing out on the wonders of relaxation. And Kiddo must have sensed it . . .
It is dinner time and I have just told Kiddo I need a few minutes of silence as we finish our meal.
Kiddo’s face is stained with spaghetti sauce, and “them” has a piece of paper toweling folded into the collar of a t-shirt with a forkful of noodles hanging out of the mouth.
I, on the other hand, am disengaged with a look of constipation on my face because I am so consumed in thought. I am so serious in fact I barely even notice the radio transitioning to another song until Kiddo starts doing some kind of a chair-twist dance then loudly sings.
“Shhh,” I say seriously, lifting my finger to my lips and feeling perturbed that my minute of silence was disturbed.
As the music picks up the beat, Kiddo starts to lips sync – staying quiet as I asked- and then exaggerates the playing of an air guitar.
I cannot help but stifle a grin.
Kiddo notices and uses this as an opportunity to start mouthing the song lyrics even larger which was very comical given the tucked-in napkin and spaghetti face.
My grin turns to laughter and I join in, moving my fingers across a pretend keyboard on my plate.
“Them” then turns over the microphone-fork so we both can share in the singing.
My summer is fun in a whole new way.
(Note: For confidentiality reasons, “Kiddo” and “them” refers to the child in our foster care at the time of this post.)