Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Stepping Back, Moving Forward

Today I attended a scripture study class I've been looking forward to: One morning a week, 1.5 hours, children welcome.  Sounds good, right?  I packed up some graham crackers, a drink, crayons, and other items to keep Kate busy, and cheerfully headed out the door this morning.

 A few minutes into the class, Kate decided that my gel highlighter was WAY more interesting than her crayons.  Pretty soon, she was covered in pink fluorescent gel and then grabbed my white shirt, leaving a pink handprint right on my chest.  Then it became more fun to break the crayons and throw them on the floor than color with them.  Then the cabinets across the room looked interesting.  Long story short, after about 45 minutes, I realized that an hour and a half of sitting still and quiet is too much to ask of a 1 year old.  I picked up my sweet little daughter, who was in tears at this point, and whispered in her ear, "Do you want to go home and rest?"  She said "Yep" and laid her head on my shoulder.  Message received. 

As we drove home, she chatted happily in the back seat.  It started to rain - hard- right as we pulled in the driveway, and she laughed as we got all wet running into the house.  As I watched her play with her toys inside, I realized that this was where she needed to be right now, and I was glad that I had decided to take a step back for her sake.  I will have plenty of years to attend classes. 

A few years ago, I would have plowed ahead, and most likely, we both would have been in tears at the end of class.  I felt very grateful for that bit of compassion I was granted that enabled me to put her interests first.

After Kate was down for a nap, I got an unexpected phone call from Ashley.  This has been a tough school year so far.  As usual, she signed up for a heavy class load, and it had been taking a toll on her.  Too many demands, not enough time or sleep, and a longing to spend time with her friends before everyone heads their separate ways at the end of the school year had her tied up in knots. 

I was pleased to hear that she had gone and talked to her counselor today, and that they had jointly decided to change some things in her schedule to make things a bit more manageable.  She was stepping back a little, and I was SO proud of her.

A year ago, she would have plowed ahead, continuing to be miserable for the sake of not backing down, to prove to herself that she could do it all.  I was so pleased with the maturity it took to put more important matters first. 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf said,

"What do you suppose pilots do when they encounter turbulence? A student pilot may think that increasing speed is a good strategy because it will get them through the turbulence faster. But that may be the wrong thing to do. Professional pilots understand that there is an optimum turbulence penetration speed that will minimize the negative effects of turbulence. And most of the time that would mean to reduce your speed. The same principle applies also to speed bumps on a road.

Therefore, it is good advice to slow down a little, steady the course, and focus on the essentials when experiencing adverse conditions."
 (For full text of this message, click here.)

Yesterday, after taking Ashley to the dentist, I received a text message from a friend of mine, offering to bring me dinner tonight.  I accepted, grateful for the help, since my hubby has been traveling heavily (during football season of all times) and I have been feeling spread a little thin.  I'm sure I could have come up with something for dinner tonight, but it was so nice to not have to think about it.  After my experiences with Kate and Ashley, with the house quiet and the knowledge that a kind friend cared enough to reach out, I felt a deep-down happiness and relief.  With a few burdens lifted, I decided to get ahead.  I did some advanced meal prep to make the rest of the week easier, cleaned the house, and took care of a few tasks that had been falling between the cracks.  

Tonight I am content, my daughters are smiling, the rest of my family is happy and well-fed, and I feel better prepared to take on the rest of my demanding week -  all because we had the chance to slow down a bit today.   

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