List 5 Things You Like About Yourself.

Tonight I was asked (amongst a group of adults) to list 5 things that I liked about myself.

Five.

Just five.

Do you know how hard it was? I did eventually come up with 5 things I like about myself (see end of post), but I got to three and was stumped. How can it be this hard? Is it that difficult to find a handful of things I like about myself? Then we were asked as a group to identify personality traits of our kids that we liked. Do you know how easily and quickly traits were tossed out? That question was soon followed by listing some not so positive traits of our kids. That list was slower and didn’t generate as big a list (a good thing I think, haha).

Once we had identified the good and bad traits, it became clear that some of the things we had tossed out were in fact some of the traits we embody ourselves…and thus, reflected in our kids. This isn’t a new revelation, I know. But it was an excellent exercise to visually see how much easier it is to identify traits in others, and less so in ourselves. Seeing the traits listed on paper made it easier for us all to generate more things we liked about ourselves, or to identify with the ones listed. It also gave me a window into the things I needed to work on – which I was already cognizant about, but was a good reminder to keep it in check.

A few things the pastor* said today had impact:

  • Many of us hide behind a facade and that’s why we don’t get better. I try to be open and I do try to talk about it when needed because I don’t want to be 1, 3, 10 years out still hiding behind the same facade and not really have grown, not just from the hurt and sadness, but also overall, living my life as authentically and wholeheartedly as I can.
  • The childhood rhyme of ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me‘ – words have impact and long-lasting effects (again, it’s not that I didn’t know this, but just a good mental check and reminder to be present and cognizant) – many of us have had things said to us that have hurt us, and some of these words have more long-lasting effects than we realize.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy – Pastor Mike didn’t actually say this, but he pretty much may have. Comparison of a behaviour/trait your child is exuding similar to the other parent, comparison against a sibling, etc. is still comparison. I have this as an on-going motto in my head for my photography to not compare, because all it does is stunt me. This is the same for anything in life.

T seemed to enjoy his first class – with which they ended with a birthday party for everyone, leaving donning party hats and enjoying a mini cupcake. He was a little sad that he didn’t get to take his new markers home (that’s my little crafter!) and that I didn’t stay the entire class with him (#momfail – I told him I would but then told him I couldn’t -sigh), but I think this will be good for him overall. More tools = more support.

So….the 5 things I liked about myself (top of my head, no huge soul-diving)?

  1. Funny (or at least a pretty decent sense of humour) – even if I mostly feel like a one-woman stand-up show
  2. Creative
  3. I like to try new things
  4. Thoughtful
  5. Resilient – I firmly believe that where there is a will, there is a way

And…I couldn’t finish this post without a crazy selfie of my T-monster and I (of which we have plenty!) and a list of Tristan’s unique qualities that make him the little guy that I love so much:

  • Funny/Humorous
  • Creative – loves to craft and build, build and craft
  • His awesome imagination
  • Thoughtful
  • Loving
  • Kind
  • Helpful
  • Empathetic
  • Stubborn
  • Compassionate
  • Soft soul with a gentle heart

We are learning to work through some frustrations, or how to deal with frustrations as they crop up. In time, I have slowly come to realize that this child is so similar to myself and Joe in personality (but still his own little person), and the areas that crop up are the areas that I find hardest to navigate within myself and in dealing with Joe. So the perpetual cycle that we go through is due to running out of tools, not completely having the best tools myself to navigate my own frustrations, and thus, in turn, ‘teaching’ my son (unknowingly – they pay so much attention!) the same way to handle his frustrations. This is not an easy thing to admit and I’d much rather hide behind that of a pretty ok mom! (Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m a pretty awesome mom to my boys…but I have my #momfails).

Anyways, more tools, more self-reflection, more mindfulness, and more staying in the present are things I am working on, and will likely be a lifelong dedication.

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Now that I’ve left you my traits, do you see other traits that I embody? What top 5 traits do you like about yourself? What traits of yourself do you see in your kids?

xM

I leave you with this beautiful song by Passenger – Home.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAYZmIfHEiU&index=4&list=PLWlTX25IDqIy_HeO8BsOyt0wAhE9No3Nt

*Tristan and I are attending the Rainbows program run out of the North Pointe Community Church. There is a secular and religious stream, but the adult class is led by Pastor Mike.

rainbows

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Influence of a Good Teacher.

Thursday, June 29, 2017.

A day I thought I would be wrought with tears, and by tears, I mean ugly cry (ok, by now you are probably aware that the propensity of me reaching ugly cry is pretty high). It was my firstborn’s LAST. DAY. OF. KINDERGARTEN.

How did we get here? (Rhetorical, don’t answer). I wasn’t going to take the day off – GASP. I have limited vacation days as I used a decent chunk for my move back in February, so I’m been pinching days here and there, and trying to save it for the Christmas week when I have my boys (which….might not pan out so well, but we will see). The few weeks leading up to the last day of K, T kept making side comments on it and whether I was going to attend or not.

 

So the week leading up to, I made a decision to take the day off, because really, in hindsight, I wanted to be there. Joe took the time off as well, so it was nice to be there as his parents to celebrate the past year as well as his last day…and the journey beyond.

I’m so glad I did. I’ve always enjoyed the rare times when I took time off to volunteer in his class. I like to think (for now) there is some sort of pride and comfort for a child when their parent is in their class helping, experiencing and seeing the sorts of things they are learning. So to be there helping and participating on his last day just seemed super important…and it made a huge difference for him.

I remember that first day – the first week so vividly. His hesitation, apprehension, fear of the unknown. How he held my hand, and needed me to walk him to the Kinder line-up, to stand next to him. My heart bursting with pride (and my own apprehension) and my wings not quite ready to open up and outward. Then the growth slowly came. Within a few weeks, he was confidently walking to the line, sometimes even running around with some new friends. The kisses and hugs were quick and hurried, sometimes missed in haste. My heart expanded and cracked with each little change; my first baby was growing up, and it really was happening too fast (ok…I know he is ONLY 6, but still…where did the last 6 years go? Did I enjoy it enough? Did he? Is he happy?). It was only about a couple months into school, I made a side comment on how he was growing and missed his constant hugs and kisses before class…only to find out that it distressed him because he didn’t want to be late, and we always made it at the cusp of the bell. Touche.

Kinder

Life of a working parent. But since then, I made a point of trying to get him to school with at least a good handful of minutes to spare, so we could hang out and say our ‘goodbye’s for now’ properly…even if that meant sacrificing a little more in the work arena and running behind on my lunch ‘break’.

My other big lesson of the year was that I didn’t need to ‘one-up’ my own child. Ok….wait, that sounds worse than it is. What I meant was that he was always SO SO excited to show me or tell me about what he was learning, only to be disappointed when he found out I already knew about various topics they covered. It took me a little while to check myself and to understand that while I obviously knew about and received the same (or similar) education, he didn’t need to know that per se. He just wanted me to SHARE in the excitement, wonderment and discovery through his learning.

Parenting. Just as much learning for us as it is for them.

Anyways, so goes the year, and he learned so many amazing things. Which brings me back to the why of this post…his growth and excitement for learning, while it would exist, is impacted by who he is taught under. His Kindergarten teacher, Miss Peshev, was quite simply, amazing. The way she spoke with the class and each student, her tonality and patience (even if it was tested on more than several occasions, I’m sure), and all the wonderful activities, centres and field trips her class(es) went on.

Letter to Miss Peshev

I didn’t expect anything back, but a short week after, we received this in the mail. I read it to Tristan, and I know it made him feel so great to know that his teacher cared enough to write a thank you card to him.

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A great teacher makes ALL the difference.

Sending much love and respect out for Miss Ashley Peshev.

I loved you first.

After enduring a lot of hiccups and rib-kicking through my last trimester, my (first) little man finally entered the world and into my arms on May 6, 2011. It was a sunny spring Friday afternoon (from what I recall), and as soon as I laid eyes on him, everything else fell away.

Today, 6 years later, my firstborn, Tristan, turns 6. SIX. It’s incredible how fast the time has flown, the amount of experiences we have shared, the moments I have been blessed to witness and be privy to, and the places we have wandered.

I recall our first year together, all the rough spots of being a new parent, to balancing who you are to the parent you want to be, and all the amazing times together. It was a lot of Mommy & T. It’s how I referred to us. From difficult bedtimes (that hasn’t changed, haha) to exploring, seeing and learning the world again through his eyes, through the evolution and development of his personality, to learning just how big your heart can grow (and how badass of a momma bear you can be). I recall how difficult and sad I was when I had to return to work. Such a big change when this little human of mine was just starting to turn into a little person and we were really taking in our time together.

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Tristan. 1.

I remember how hard it was for me when I realized that the first few years of his life, he would have little recollection of – all our experiences together, our moments, our times, the love, laughter, and all the in-between. But then I realized that while he may not remember it, it becomes a part of his foundation, and that’s also if I continue to build on it. It’s silly what you think of, sometimes. I read ‘Me Before You’ about a year ago, and when I came across the chapter where the Mom was talking through her experience/perspective, it just hit home, summing what I felt in a matter of sentences. It moved me to tears when I read that (I’m a pretty emotional human being – a feeler, if you will).

“It’s just that the thing you never understand about being a mother, until you are one, is that it is not the grown man…you see before you. You see all the other people he has ever been all rolled up into one.

I looked at [him] and I saw the baby I held in my arms, dewily besotted, unable to believe I had created another human being. I saw the toddler, reaching for my hand, the schoolboy weeping tears of fury after being bullied by some other child. I saw the love, the vulnerabilities, the history.”

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Tristan. 2.
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Mommy & T
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Tristan. 3.

Tristan – I have no shortage of love and admiration for you. While we have our challenges, the not-quite-little, not-quite-big boy that stands before me has a huge heart, is compassionate, helpful, loving, strong and brave. You have a sense of wonder that I hope never ceases. You err on the side of caution – but I hope you remember that sometimes it is also good to take a leap of faith. May you understand that mistakes can and will happen, and I hope I have the grace and tenderness to teach, learn and sit with you. You have a wonderful way of seeing your world, of building things, of questioning things around you.

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Tristan. 4.
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Our last adventure together before lil’ bro arrives

My little T-monster. You are my sunshine, a bright spark in my day, and you take care of me more than you need to. You have grown into such an amazing young boy, with an adventurous spirit (you LOVE our ‘adventures’ together), a calm demeanour (with a little spitfire when pushed the wrong way), and you absolutely love to tell jokes and tall tales (just don’t let that get out of control) – and you gravitate towards other kids who are ‘jokesters’. You like structure but you like to sing your own song. You’re funny, and my heart lights up when we have moments where we laugh uncontrollably together (and we have a few of those).  You love hard and are loyal.

An incredible big brother – if you put aside the fighting and bickering (all of which are inevitable with siblings), I couldn’t have asked for two sons as loving as you two are together. Watching you love each other, learn and laugh together, and push each other has made my heart expand to a capacity that I didn’t know was possible. You are the light in Jade’s life – the first person he asks for when he wakes up and the last person he asks about before bed.

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Tristan (4) and Jade (2 wks)
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Tristan (4.5) and Jade (6 months)

These two photos below are from our ‘adventure’ today, of which we try to do as many when we are together. He ran off and discovered some plastic from pop cans, and before he put it into the garbage, he said he had to make it so he could “help save the fishies and ducks.” Days and moments like this remind me to breathe, and although we have rough moments (and likely many more over the years ahead of us), that the lessons I teach do sink in.

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Tristan. 6.

Overall, you are amazing. Without your growth, your learning, and our challenges, I couldn’t grow into a better person, a better mommy. You not only learn from me, but I from you. I couldn’t be prouder of who you are becoming and who you have become so far.

Happy 6th Birthday, handsome!

I love you. I loved you first, and I’ll love you always.

xx