Thursday, August 21, 2008

I'm ba-ack....

Twelve days away for a family vacation. Actually, I am going to stop calling it a vacation, because it was anything but that. It was a family trip.

Seven of those twelve days my step-daughter had a fever, which prompted two trips to the doctor and one trip for a chest x-ray. Ends up that she developed pneumonia. Not fun for her and not fun for us.

We did have many moments of fun throughout the trip, but between a sick kid and at times ten people under one roof, there was a constant current of worry, frustration and tension running through the beach house.

This trip was such a reminder to me about the impact of ones attitude. We had no control over my step-daughter getting sick. And as hard as we tried, we really had very little control over whether she felt good or was getting better. What we did have control over was our attitudes and how we chose to deal with the situation at hand.

Don't get me wrong, there were times when my attitude wasn't even close to the positive end of the spectrum. There was more then once where I felt sorry for myself, felt frustrated with my child, and felt mad at my husband. But the majority of time I chose to take things as they came. My husband and I found a pretty good balance between taking care of one sick child and at the same time being available for our other child and the other family members we were "vacationing" with.

Last night I met up with some mom friends for drinks and catch up. After sharing about my trip--challenges and all--they each in turn shared about their weeks. Interestingly enough, each had their own challenges along the way, some related to traveling, some related to home renovations, and some related to family pets dying. We all spent some time giving words of encouragement and sympathy, and then, we all started laughing.

For this is life. Life is the highs and the lows. Life is challenges and the victories. It's not about doing everything perfect, striving for being happy at all times, or "just getting by". It's about knowing that life happens; that people get sick, home renovations don't always go as planned, and pets die. And it's choosing to be grateful for all you have and are in those moments; choosing an attitude that raises you through the tough times, and then being about to look back and laugh--at yourself and at the situation.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


If you have a three or four year old then you are familiar with the question, "why?" Children this age have a curiosity for why things are the way they are, how things work the way they work or why they do what it is they do. Either that or they just know that the asking the question multiple times to their parent will nearly push them over the edge.

For argument sake, let's assume that the question comes from curiosity. That curiously can drive even the most patient parent nearly crazy partly because we don't always know how to answer the question...or we are answering the question with a pre-programed answer that doesn't really serve us or our child.

As I've heard my daughter ask "why" more frequently these days it has occurred to me that part of what she is doing is questioning the assumptions or beliefs that us adults are living by.

Why can't she have dessert before dinner?

Why can't she jump on the bed, even when I am standing right there?

Why can't she sing in the grocery store?

Why can't she wear her hat, gloves and scarf to school, even when it's 60 degrees outside?

When she asks me these questions, I have found myself stopping and really questioning the why. It is a safety issue? Is it something that will negatively impact someone else? Does it really matter? Is it out of fear of how others will view me or my child?

More often then not I am finding that the 'rules' I am stating or facts that I am teaching (i.e. dessert is for after dinner only) are actually just opinions that I can choose to pass onto my child or not. Unfortunately, usually they are things that I am concerned will reflect poorly on me or her.

Heck, sometimes I like eating dessert before dinner. Is it going to harm her or someone else? Nope. Does it really matter if she eats the Hersey's Kiss at 5:00 p.m. rather then 7:00 p.m.? Probably not.

This leads me to you. Do you ask "why" to the rules, beliefs and facts you tell yourself or others tell you? Are you questioning that which doesn't sit right or feel right for you?

I have a client who is a very successful business woman. In a relatively short period of time she has created a well-respected, financially healthy and interesting business. However, now that she has two young kids she is clear that she can not keep working the way she has been working and have the type of personal life she'd like. When I asked her
why she had started her business in the first place and why she wanted to continue the business into the future, she found herself a bit stumped.

On some level she had lost sight of the "why" behind her choice to start her own business, and in fact when she checked in about it, she realized that why she started it in the first place was different then why she wanted to continue it into the future.

Why are you making the choices you are making?

Why are you holding back from doing work you love, or spending more time with your kids, or reconnecting with your husband?

Why do you want to be a leader, a mother, a wife?

Why do you want to have it all and what does that mean to you?

Asking the question may be the easy part. Answering the question can sometimes be scary. But usually we are scared of that which must be revealed in order for us to grow and align with that which we really, really want.