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Monday, December 12, 2016

Can I take over?

Sometimes, you just have to take over.
This past week, it turned to winter, and it turned early. My daughter hates the cold and we’ve been talking about going away for some of the winter since... well, since last spring.
But winter came early and travel plans, well, let’s just say I’m barely planning Christmas yet.
It’s been a hectic time and I’m looking forward to some chillin’ in pjs and play. I’m not thrilled about the snow that’s pelting outside, but I also know that everything happens for a reason. We have to trust that all is well and that life is flowing just as it should. For some reason we’re sitting here with our heating on full and our old draughty house fighting it back with all its might. For some reason, we’re as under prepared for winter as ever before.
Because we were planning a trip, you know. And winter is early.
Our son is just happy his cat is in the warm and he has an excuse to play inside and not have to go out. Our one daughter isn’t happy about it, but she’s making the best of it. She’s reading, doing her schoolwork and crafting a lot in her room. She wants an adventure, but she’s remembering how it works... we’re here for some reason, all is well, and the snow melts at some point.
But our eldest is the one who is restless. She wants excitement and travel and exploration and who can blame her. She wants to study on the road, to see things, witness things and live. And with that focus her room was becoming a sea of chaos, and she was becoming upset with it all. Nothing was flowing and apathy was settling in.
It starts with a tone usually, which triggers the idea that something is frustrating her. And then it sparks to later mornings, and too much screens. If I say something she says it makes her feel bad... I get it I do. I remember being in that space and not knowing how to get out.
There’s a line in the Jack Nicholson movie “As Good as it gets.” that I’ve always loved
“I’m drowning here and you’re describing the water!”
I’ve come to the conclusion it’s really easy to describe our children’s water that they feel they are drowning in and it’s that process that can really make them shut down.
Sometimes, we have to just give them a hand up, and offer them a rubber dingy.
Every so often I look at either of my teen daughters and ask “would you like me to take over your life?”
And usually, because I ask when life is obviously too much, they sigh and say “yes please.”
So, like today. I clean their room, warning I’m coming with a garbage bag so they should grab what they want before I get in.
I lay out a to-do list, so they have a clear idea where their time should be spent.
I make their meals, making sure they are eating what they should and drinking enough water.
And then I make sure I’m hanging with them a bit more than usual. I make sure that life lightens up. I take some time to sit and giggle while doing our nails.
Because let’s face it, sometimes it can all seem a little bit baffling and we’re not born with a life instruction manual to tell us how to organise what we need to do. As a child grows we seem to expect them to know more and more, when really, when I look at it, I need a planner and breakdown to figure out what I need to do each week... and I only realised that a couple of years ago.
When you are paving your own path, banging your own drum, you can end up aimless and not knowing what to do next. It’s one of the cons of independence. So when our kids are learning independence, covering tips to recognise overwhelm and deal, simply by showing the example of them... that’s an important tool in their bag.
This can sometimes come at inconvenient times. It can lead to late night talks and even blame being thrown around, or stress out of defending themselves. No one wants to admit to overwhelm, but when its an acceptable thing in a home, when we all admit to sometimes dropping the ball, when things can be openly discussed, it means it's ok to say "yes, please take over for a little bit, so I can gather my thoughts and soul."

And sometimes someone asking if they can pick up the pieces just for a while, means our kids can find their  feet again and they can use those tools next time. Because next time, they will be able to feel where they are just a little bit better, and they'll be able to put it in order because we suggested how.

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