Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Roller Coaster

This life is a roller coaster. It really is. Your worst day can be followed by your best. Your hardest hour can be followed by the easiest.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

These three girls of mine have taken me for quite a ride. They have filled me to overflowing and drained me of everything all in a trip to the grocery store.

It happens fast and in the beginning I never can tell which way we're heading.

It's like being on a roller coaster blindfolded.

Last night Amy sat with me on the couch describing in detail the swashbuckling adventure she had in the yard earlier that evening. She told of sword making and horse riding and fighting foes.

Her imagination wows me every day.

Earlier that afternoon she wouldn't have done that. Her attitudes and emotions ran the gauntlet yesterday from angry and cunning to joy and gratitude. All within the span of about four hours.

The beginning of the afternoon found her heart hardened toward me. The end of the evening found her much softer and willing to share.

It's a daily occurrence that drove me nuts with Hannah, my oldest.

But not so much anymore. At least most of the time.

About 18 months into raising Hannah I discovered something. I discovered that just because she was riding a roller coaster everyday didn't mean I had to ride too.

Boarding was optional. I just hadn't realized it up until then.

So I stopped getting on. Instead I just waited on the other side for her to disembark.

Our house became much quieter and I became much more pleasant.

It's hard to spend your days on a ride like that.

Eventually Hannah stopped riding as well, although we all take a spin on it every now and again.

Staying off the ride was difficult in the beginning. Not riding meant I wasn't always going to be heard immediately. It meant sometimes I was going to have to let a few things go in order to tackle a bigger, more immediate issue. It meant sometimes she might get away with something.


Did I just say that???

Yes. I did. It was hard. The words did not want to come.

I am a detail person. It's just the way I am made. Part of my roller coaster problem was I wanted to tackle every issue she threw my way immediately.

But after a year and a half, that was not working.

So I focused on three things. I picked the three I thought were most immediate.  Anything that did not fall into the scope of those three things did not get addressed.


They eventually did. As we worked through each issue, we'd be able to drop one and add another.

If I was working on honesty, listening and not screaming, I let everything else go. That meant for a while my kid was probably rude, didn't share and pushed to be first. I'm sure there were a few people in our path that thought I was nuts.

I would talk about those things, I just wouldn't camp there.

That's when I started seeing the real progress come. Without having everything on her plate, Hannah was able to make improvements in some pretty key areas. Like not screaming. Thankfully.

Progress came but before it did I had to stay off the roller coaster, focus on the most immediate problems and learn to let some other things go.

I'm better at the first two than I am at that third.

Just ask around...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find myself climbing on the coaster with my kiddo all the time and never even knowing how I get on!! I have worked so hard on not making her issues my issues and staying separated from it, but it isn't always easy not taking things personally. I love the idea of not tackling everything at once. Little by little... One thing at a time...

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