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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Adventures on the horizon....

There’s excitement flying through the Fletcher household.
As many of you know, our family is headed over to the UK this summer. It marks the international debut of my husband’s life coaching music (although he’s from the UK he’s not started practicing over there), I’ll be promoting my new book and meeting with fellow parents with a number of talks and lectures, and for our children, oh our children are restless with excitement over the adventure of their lives.
I had no idea of the impact this trip would have on our daughters. 4 years ago, after a rather nomadic life of traveling around and living on the road, we bought our run down farm as a stabilizing life for our growing children. Logically I thought it was important for them to have a permanent home where they could play, explore and build childhood memories like the ones you read of in books. And so they have. But life is ever changing and evolving and 4 years later they are ready to try a taste of adventure.
After we bought our flight tickets, our eldest daughter looked white as a ghost. I wondered whether we’d made the wrong decision, but her response was, in a whisper, “I can’t believe my dream is really coming true after all this time.” Sigh, I had to laugh to myself. Had I misjudged the situation so much?!
But, when I said restless excitement, that is actually an understatement. We have 2 months to go, and while their father and I are feeling the time tick quickly, as we make arrangements and book events, our girls are left in a state of pre-trip jitters, which feels like pre-Christmas, only 10 times worse.
“I feel unsatisfied in my present, but satisfied in my future” Our 7 year old sighed the other day. I love hearing them sum up their feelings so well.
I watch them, as they try to wrestle their anxiety to the ground. But old games wear thin when adventures are in the horizon. They get frustrated with each other, and bored in the days. They want to start packing, but sense its too early to start. Distraction, we tell them in key, and to create as happy of NOW as they can. But they are definitely sifting through the contrast, trying to find the thing that makes them feel better.
Some might have thought we should have waited to tell them of the journey until closer to the time. However, as a homeschooling family, we are so close all the time, we knew it would be impossible to keep anything from them. Whispering plans doesn’t work in our house, its upfront and above board all the time. I know our girls like it this way… I also know sometimes it drives them nuts.
Today, our eldest, who’s 8, finally buckled. She’s distracted herself through the day as best as she could, but in the end, I found her lying on the bed, under the covers in frustrated torment. Even her brother jumping joyfully beside her, couldn’t shake the stress she was feeling. The law of attraction being in its place as always, made everything be more frustrating then before. I sat with her, I hugged her, I told her I was there to help if she wanted help. I waited, I comforted some more and then I casted up a personal faith in the fact that at the right time, she would find the relief she needed, but that this was what she needed to feel right now.
Her sister called me for some help. She’d decided to distract herself by focusing on her “satisfying future”, and was researching some of English history online. When I went downstairs, I told my husband about our daughter’s struggle. I knew that with the deep connection they have, and have had since birth, that he could probably help better than I.

He went up, he talked to her, and a few minutes later her chatter could be heard. Soon they had some plans made, and downstairs they both skipped, our daughter ready to help make dinner and a dessert. She was back.
“A bit of distraction” my husband said, with a grin. But it was more then that. Yes distraction works, but it has to be given at the right time, in the right way, and as in this case, often by the right person.
We didn’t talk about it after. I joined in the chatter and made sure the burbling bubbling that was taking place in the kitchen wasn’t popped by any undue stress from a little boy or life in general. In fact, soon the whole family was back to chortling away, the house sound I love the best.
After dinner was made our eldest made up a game with our son, and they laughed together. The only acknowledgement I made to the hour before was a quick kiss on her head and telling her I was proud of her. Although her father had provided the distraction, she’d seized the opportunity and let herself be distracted. She could have banged the drum of her troubles all day long, but rather shifted gears and jumped on board. I for one know how hard that can be sometimes.
Yes, we could have not told our children right away, but I’m so glad we did. They are already on an adventure, a roller coaster. They have the “satisfying” excitement of planning and anticipation, and the downside of stressing and waiting, and preparing. Yet they also have something else, the opportunity of feeling different things, the chance to decide, no matter what, how they are going to feel and what they are going to think about. They are facing their Now’s, which suddenly look different then they did a month ago.
What a life lesson. Life is forever evolving, expanding and changing, by shifting our focus points it can be such a smoother transition. And yes, a little distraction, either by ourselves or through someone else, can be the perfect tool for focus shifting. We just have to be prepared to jump on board at some point.

But then there’s our son, who, totally oblivious to any travel plans or any future, and enjoys the adventures each day offers no matter what.

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