My kids have been driving me nuts lately. Truly nuts. I’m tired of telling them to pick up their clothes, to clean their rooms, to find something better to do than argue with each other. I’m tired of yelling. Of questioning why they only seem to hear my voice when it becomes 12 decibels higher and the red seeps into my eyes. It’s so incredibly annoying.
I needed to change my attitude or I needed them to change theirs.
My daughter slept at a friend’s house last night, so my son and I decided to seize the alone time and sit on the porch, drink hot chocolate together and enjoy the cold, rainy fall morning.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but my son is seriously the happiest boy who ever lived. He smiles continuously, laughs often, has a beautiful, sarcastic humor that makes his parents proud and cringe at the same time and is just darn cute. But he’s also tough to manage because he doesn’t follow direction well, makes light of everything and has more energy than we know what to do with.
But this morning, he was my typical, happy boy, loving his time with his mama, his hot chocolate and our conversation. I was soaking in his energy, his laughter, his love of life and the simplicity of the moment. I could have basked in his glow forever. So I decided I would.
I asked him to think of three things he was thankful for. He quickly rattled them off and then had to add in a couple of extras.
“P.S. Thank you for the cat.”
“Oh and P.S. again, sometimes the cat poops a lot.”
That is not the beautiful, sarcastic humor I was referring to. That was my average 6 year old. I do know the difference.
But it was so simple and it felt good to call out what we were thankful for. Why didn’t we do it more? We decided from that point on, our porch would be deemed the place where we acknowledged our gratitude. The new rule was that every time anyone sits on the porch, they must come up with three or more things they are thankful for. Easy, right? And much needed.
We all need a place to regroup, a place to focus on the good. We zone in on the negative so easily and what we want to change, but the good needs a home and a voice to be shared. A place to let go of what we don’t have and focus on what we do have. Why not designate a space to make it a necessity, to make it a rule, to make it a habit. Today, my porch became this space.
We needed a name, so we brainstormed and laughed and he snarfed on my face (that’s stuff blowing out your nose while laughing) and I had to pretend that I was not completely grossed out because I was. And then he kicked over and broke one of my favorite cups that I purposely didn’t give him to use and I had to resist my frustrated urge to call “game over” and head back inside. But I wasn’t ready to give up the moment. The cup could be replaced, the moment could not.
We finally compromised on the name by combining his ideas and mine. The official name of the new location of calling out our joy- The Porch of Thanks and Rainbows and God, born Oct. 14, 2012.
Moment saved forever.
Where do you share your gratitude?