Moving Through Tantrums

Moving Through Tantrums

I sit here at my desk feeling so sad and forlorn because my 2 ½ year old grandson left my home this morning in a full-blown tantrum that I just now learned wasn’t quieted for at least 20 minutes later. All because he wanted both balloons and wouldn’t be satisfied with one over the none that his Daddy and Ampa thought he should take home.  Now I certainly know that it isn’t unusual for a 2 ½ year old to have such a tantrum, but until this morning, Nanna was previously able to quash it within moments merely by distracting or appeasing with a lesser choice. Is it my failure I’m struggling with or the sadness of accepting children can’t and won’t always be happy as this little guy usually is, in a lifetime designed to deflate us regularly during the rhythm of our daily lives?

As parents and grandparents, a common goal and desire we share is to be witness to far more smiles than tears we see coming from our youngsters. Selfishly speaking, it allows me to mislead myself into believing that I can keep it that way for them as they ride this human roller coaster of life. And, when I say them, I mean both my own children as well as my grandson and the others that might bless my life in the future. Yet, we all know intellectually that isn’t possible, nor should it be. So often we rate our parenting success and failure by those tears and weigh our experience down by not recognizing the purpose they serve.

The moments resulting in tears and, sometimes, tantrums aren’t limited to our children’s experiences. They happen to all of us regularly and especially, moms and dads blowing through the daily grind, trying to manage the stress and chaos that can so easily throw us off our balance. What I now know and didn’t realize then is how necessary those breakdowns are for all of us, including the kids. If we don’t take the moments to let it all out and release the pent up frustration, sadness, disappointment, etc, we can’t make room for the rebuilding and restoration; the opportunity to refresh and replenish. Life’s journey is complicated, and being a parent adds layers to the complexity, both physically and emotionally. Not only do we need to regroup for ourselves but for the children as well, trusting that around the bend will be the reasons to smile. Let’s take a breath and find the composure we need to no longer curse the tantrums but, instead, find the strength to endure them and find the purpose they serve. I know this crying Nanna is working on doing just that herself.

A Big Regret...Making Beds

In recent weeks, it’s been pointed out to me that I’m a stickler for how beds are made, with even the harshest of words used to describe my obsession that I’m a little “anal” about my search for perfection. I learned very young from my beloved and exhausted mother of six children, all within the span of eight years, that there is only one way to truly call a bed made and that is when everything is fitting tightly and sheets are tucked in the appropriate places. Specifically, this requires every layer of bedding smoothly situated and straightened with corners skillfully tucked and folded into what are known as hospital corners with no wrinkles evident anywhere. With this obsession for perfectly made beds, it’s no wonder that the only days our beds were made in our household of eight were the days the sheets were washed and we closed our eyes on the lovely smells of Dash detergent. Who has time for this kind of perfection?

Well, you would think that with this inherited compulsion for a bed made so deftly that I would have made it a priority to pass this skill onto my children when they were growing up all those years ago. Unfortunately, I think my need for a perfectly made bed overrode the merits of passing this lost art onto my sons. Instead, and without thinking forward, I made all the beds each morning as I continue to do for my husband and me. But, in hindsight, I now wish I did it differently.

You see, even though my sons slipped into a nicely made bed each night they were growing up, I now see it didn’t really matter that much to them as it did to me. If it did, they would insist on making sure they continued to get into the same well-made bed now as adults and neither of them cares too much about it. And, I’m not really even sure why it meant so much to me other than that it is engrained in me as the only way to call a bed properly made. But looking back now, I see that my need for perfection replaced providing an opportunity for my children to learn something important…the art of making a bed. Actually, and more importantly, I passed up the opportunity for them to learn something about me, their mother, and my story about the obsession I have with a perfectly made bed.  

Sharing our stories always provides us the opportunity to stand more strongly in our truth and to allow others to know us more intimately.  Our stories also have the potential to become lessons for others who might need to hear them at the specific time and place they hear them.  Standing in our truth and sharing our stories are two of the bravest and most courageous acts we can perform with the greatest potential for growth, for both ourselves and others.  Just like the instructions for making a proper bed.