A simple little realization that has deepened my calm and contentment:
There is not one right way to do anything.
There is not a one right way to clean the house.
There is not a one right way to knit.
There is not a one right way learn.
There is not a one right way to rear children.
There is not a one right way to love.
There is not a one right way to believe.
There is not a one right way to enjoy my days.
This realization, simple as it seems, is revolutionary.
It comes with the ability to pick and choose and be discerning even while endeavoring to be non-judgmental.
It comes with humility and compassion and openness and a great and enduring sense of excitement and passion.
This day spreads out before me.
I don’t have a preconceived plan of how to live it.
I will make those decisions as the day unfolds.
It is within *letting go* that I find my motivation to say
Bring. It. On.
Again reading from The Art of Non-Conformity (link in yesterday’s post):
Gatekeeper, n. 1. A person or group with a vested interest in limiting the choices of other people. 2. An obstacle that must be overcome to achieve unconventional success.
Gatekeepers are especially effective at telling you which choices you have, thus giving you the illusion of freedom while simultaneously blocking access to what really matters. (p54)
It is very easy as a parent to fall into gatekeeping.
Sometimes we limit our children’s choices truly believing that it is best for their safety and well-being. Sometimes it is.
Often, though (and I am speaking of my own imperfections) we gatekeep because we are simply too tired to allow or even tolerate the unconventional.
Gatekeeping is all about a belief in a ‘zero sum game’ — that there have to be winners and losers. The idea that if we do not zealously guard that which we have it will be gone.
So I must endeavor, as the mama to these curious children, to NOT tell them that they can choose between A or B.
And then I have to have the courage, energy, imagination and lack-of-apathy to follow them wherever they would like to lead.
‘Lifted’ from this book:
11 Ways to be Unremarkably Average
1. Accept what people tell you at face value.
2. Don’t question authority.
3. Go to college because you’re supposed to, not because you want to learn something.
4. Go overseas once or twice in your life, to somewhere safe like England.
5. Don’t try to learn another language; everyone else will eventually learn English.
6. Think about starting your own business, but never do it.
7. Think about writing a book, but never do it.
8. Get the largest mortgage you qualify for and spend 30 years paying for it.
9. Sit at a desk 40 hours a week for an average of 10 hours of productive work.
10. Don’t stand out or draw attention to yourself.
11. Jump through hoops. Check off boxes.
Finally, a relief from the cold, freezing rain and snow. So we headed out to the children’s museum.
The new ‘Dora & Diego: Let’s Explore’ exhibit is open now.
Review? Fun, very colorful, quite true to the shows on which it is based; and….
Whinnie at newly 4 is quite nearly too old for this exhibit.
She’ll have fun if we visit, of course, but with two older brothers, that might not be very often.
BUT, the children continue to adore the exhibit about Egypt. We’ve only visited it about three times, but I am always struck by how much they love this space. I do to. It is engaging and lovely and very nearly a full-sensory experience. And it is probably boring to most children looking for a wilder-sort-of-fun. It is a quieter kind of exploration and fun…they kind the attachlings do seem to adore. 😀
Before Theo I never gave Valentine’s Day much notice.
I have always (harshly, I know) judged the day to be a made-up holiday designed to sell stuff and manipulate men into buying, doing and saying things they might not wish to.
That boy loves everything about Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate, candy, love and secrets.
So for multiple years now we’ve gotten out the paper and scissors and such and made lots and lots of Valentine’s stuff.
The easiest project of all involves each child making ‘pockets’ that they hang and then cutting out gobs of little pieces of colorful construction paper. These are the cards. And Theo loves sneaking cards into everyone’s pockets.
And all our activities are supervised by (and truly enhanced by) our lovely, sweet cat.
The school next door has been still and quiet. The ice and snow and winter storm predictions have led to cancellations all around.
We’ve been inside, warm and well-fed. The children are happy with this ebb and flow life. They like staying home.
Whinnie alternates between watching Busy Town (on netflix) and playing (currently setting up wooden train tracks all over the living room.)
Theo and Nic continue to be occupied and fascinated by the Wii.
Chris continues to work in another room while we try to not be to loud or disruptive.
I continue to knit and cook and bake and read and referee and just Be.