Last night, I gathered my anxious little family for a sweet, post-supper read aloud.
With this crew, in these pandemic times, any and every formal family moment (from dinner to game night to waiting a turn for the bathroom) is ... hm how to put this ... tricky?fraught? pulsing with an undercurrent of imminent destruction? (and by that I do NOT mean our family life has turned into the emotional Hurt Locker because we are certainly NOT an explosion waiting to happen because we are TOTALLY stable sane people who never feel feelings at the maximum amount allotted to human beings nor do we experience equal but opposite feelings at the same time creating a combustible rip in the space time continuum).
Nope. These are not the droids you’re looking for.
So when I commenced reading, one child did not start moaning that this stuff is for babies and then fake guffaw every two seconds and the other child did not interrupt with non-sequiturs and or personal / parenting criticisms.
Because WE ARE NORMAL.
Follow along. 😉
*IF* this had happened, I would’ve stared a serious glare that reflected my disapproval and kept right on reading, because this ain’t my first rodeo and I know connected moments sometimes need to be cultivated with the righteous focus of making a desert bloom into a rose.
Luckily, there are no intense personalities in my charge and I never have to resort to deep inner wells of spiritual strength just to eat dinner and read a story.
I did! read slowly (because the very best teachers speak at half speed and this is a trick they keep from us so that our children behave better for them than us!)
I pretended everyone was totally rapt.
Soon, they were not totally quiet but they were (pretending not to be) rapt.
I asked everyone to think of a grumpy, lumpy scary “what if” they have now, or remember from another time in their life and consider sharing.
We went around the circle sharing our grumpiest, clingiest worries and what ifs... and it was quiet(er) as we all listened to that person wonder aloud about what the flip side of that worry might look like.
Being real and vulnerable and honest with my children was the pixie dust that made this whole thing take flight.I was age appropriate but I was real and I kinda think sharing deeply let them turn on that light in themselves.
We heard some deep and frightening What Ifs and some bold, courageous expressions of Hope when we turned them on their head.
I don’t know how normal families function, ok? Just gonna say it. But I’m never more grateful or awed or connected to this little anxious family of feelers then when we face down the scary things of life together.
So yeah. Recommend this book! 🙂 But also? I love seeing your courageous acts of connection that remind me to just keep reading 🙂 keep swimming 🙂 keep going.
What if the kids scream and this is a failure?
What if the kids scream and this is a success?