It’s such a strange feeling to see your own strengths and weaknesses revealing themselves in your child. As Audrey grows more and more into her own little personality, I can see the great similarities to mine and it takes everything I have to stop myself from wanting to “fix” everything I don’t like about myself by somehow steering her down a different path. I know that’s impossible, but it’s a temptation nonetheless.
I’ve come a long way this past year in accepting my unique brand of neurosis. We all have one, you know, the idiosyncrasies that give others a reason to complain and ourselves a reason to make excuses about what we do, think, and say. I’m working on an entire post about that, but the gist of it is that I’m a people-pleasing, type A achiever. I’m neurotic about tackling new challenges, making things perfect, and not making waves with anyone or anything. A strange mix, I know, but it is what it is.
Since Audrey was born, this need do do more, do it perfectly, and have everyone like me in the process really started raising some red flags for me in the way that I focus those tendancies. The scary thing is that I see some of the same tendencies in Audrey, too. She realy worries about doing things “the right way” and she gets really hung up on things that seem to be wrong. When she sees a picture of a unicorn, she litterally worries for 30 minutes about the horn on its head. “Uh Oh,” she says as she looks like she’s ready to cry. Distracting her is to no avail. On a lovely walk through Creve Coeur park, she couldn’t even enjoy the beautiful scenery because she was so worried about all of the trees that had fallen down.
I want Audrey to enjoy being a kid. To be able to live in a fantasy world of her own making without worrying about whether things are the way they are supposed to be. There’s plenty of time for the weight of reality, that’s not something a 1 1/2 year old or any child should be worrying about. Talk about a wake-up call.
I want to remember how to play as only a child can. Where there’s no end in mind, only what you feel like doing in that moment. I want to remember what it’s like to enjoy a moment without an agenda of a million thoughts running through my head about what I need to be doing. To move just for the sake of moving. I want to remember what it’s like to lay on the ground, look up at the sky and see angels in the clouds. To hear wispers in the wind or feel the touch of a muse on my cheek. I’m tired of being so busy doing, that I’m missing the divine that is occuring all around me and causing my daughter to do the same.
The chaos of my life really struck me one Sunday a few weeks ago during a particularly moving sermon my pastor was giving on the book Making Room for Life. It was 4 week sermon series based on this book by Randy Frazee. The basis of the book is that we are all so busy trying to do all of the things that we think are important that we really aren’t making room for anything that is truly important.
During that sermon, I had a flash back to one particularly hectic week where it seemed Justin and I were running in completely opposite directions with schedules that barely allowed us to say hello to each other. When one of us got home, the other would rush off to leave. At one point, Justin walked in the door as I was playing with Audrey. Audrey took one look at Justin coming home, turned to me, and said “Bye!” It was her expectation that it was now my turn to leave. That’s not the kind of family life I had planned.
The chaos in our lives was confirmed last week when our vet told me that our cat, Mocha, is neurotic. Apparently she has a problem dealing with stress. The other animals, busy toddler and lack of attention is causing her to have stomach problems and even pull her hair out. You know it’s pretty bad when the vet says he can prescribe anti-anxiety pills for your cat.
There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. I’m glad I’m figuring this stuff out at 29 versus 49. I’m learning to say “no” to things. I’m challenging myself to see the world through Audrey’s eyes where following the ant on the ground takes much greater priority than washing the dishes. I’m trying to focus my achiever tendancies on my family rather than external activities. I’m trying to make each moment count, for we don’t know when it will be our last. And most of all, I’m praying that I don’t let life get in the way of my relationships with my family, my friends and my Redeemer.
Here’s to the simple things in life! The things that matter most and cost the least.