So the kiddos are home with me all week for Spring Break. It's been SO nice not having to get up early, rush them to get their uniforms on, eat breakfast, brush their teeth and get in the car to get to school on time.
It's also been SO nice to not have any set plans and to do whatever we want, (like going to the playground, having playdates, driving down to the city to have lunch with D, eating snacks for breakfast, playing outside in the backyard and just doing absolutely nothing at home), whenever we want, without having to worry about homework and/or studying for tests to interrupt us.
It's reminding me of the days when I was home with C all day before she started going to school full-time. I remember those days so well, wishing she was in school so I could a get a break, but, now that she's in school, I miss those days of not having much of agenda and just playing and exploring our backyard together all day. :)
But, with that, I'm also reminded of the intense emotions that come with everyone being home all day and night together.
I had made the kids snow, AKA, Cream of Buckwheat, for breakfast, that they BOTH said they wanted.
When I called them into the kitchen when it was ready, Luca looked at his plate and said, "I don't want snow!!! I want Lucky Charms!!!" and he started crying...LOUDLY!!!!
I asked him, "Do you want me to put them in the heart bowl?"
He said, "NOOOOO!!!!! I want them on the Santa plate!!!!!!!" (Which was the same plate the Cream of Buckwheat was on)
Camille said, "I'll have mine in the heart bowl!"
I gave her the bowl and she put her "snow" into it.
Then the emotions went WILD!!!
Luca flipped and now wanted the heart bowl for his Lucky Charms. The more I reminded him that he had said no to the heart bowl, the louder he cried and screamed.
I've learned many times that when he gets like this, I just have to take a step back and let him cry. It's not easy for me, because my motherly instinct wants to dive in and help him, it's actually what I had to do with Camille to help calm her when she was upset like this at this age, but with him, he's the exact opposite. The more I interfere when he's extremely upset, the more upset he gets.
Oh, and I forgot to mention, we only have one heart bowl. And when you live in a house with two little kiddos and there's not enough for each child....not good...at all. Oh gosh! ;)
So while I was at the kitchen sink, washing all the dishes from breakfast, while he cried and screamed and cried and screamed, I immediately thought, "remember to breathe...remember to breathe...remember to breathe."
Even though his not-so-good emotions feel like the worst feelings in the world, make me want to run away as fast as I can (like to the pantry for a nice, big, chocolate bar that I can eat by myself!!) and have me wanting to figure out ways to help feel calm as fast as I can, I've realized that the best thing for me to do is to just take a step back and let him BE in his angry and upset emotion (as long as he's not hurting himself or anyone or anything else around him).
This is SO hard for me to, but, I've come to learn, that when emotions get VERY intense like this, (which is many times through out the day and night...happy...mad...happy...mad...it's truly like being on rollercoaster ride), they are MY reminder to check-in with myself and breathe.
Because when I do that, I embrace the uncomfortable, give it the loving nourishment that it needs by breathing through it, releasing it and then going back to loving life again.
Motherhood has truly taught me this. If I had never became a mom, I'm not sure if I would have ever been able to embrace emotions that feel so intense in this way.
I know I would still be running very far away from them as fast as I could and continuing to stuff them down with all the chocolate and ice cream I could find in the pantry.
I've learned that life isn't only full of happy and joy. It's also very full of anger and sadness.
And, yes, happy and joy get lots and lots of love, but anger and sadness need lots and lots of love, too.
Gosh, when I look at how I am as a mother to my kids when they're hurt, upset, angry or sad. I squat down to their level, wrap my loving arms around them with a great big hug, and without saying a word to them, I comfort them through those big, intense emotions they're experiencing, until they calm and say, "I feel better now" and they're off again joyfully playing and enjoying life, until five minutes have passed and it's time for another round of comforting hugs again. Ha! :)
So I have to remind myself, every single day, that instead of wanting to run away and trying to always figure out something to say to make things better as fast as I can, that, just like what I do for my kiddos, I have to do the same for myself when times FEEL very, VERY, intense, to embrace those emotions that I've learned to label as "bad" with some nice calming breaths (and a great big hug, too!).
This isn't easy to do, especially when I'm deep in those moments that feel oh, so tense.
But, I'm happy to say, that more and more, I AM reminding myself, when my kiddos cry and fight, even over the smallest things (she won't play with me, he won't give my toy, she said she doesn't like me anymore, he hit me, she won't let me wear her princess dress....) to breathe through it all and not run away as fast as I can.
Hence the kitchen sink moment where I told myself, "remember to breathe!" Ha!
Yes, I still have bumps in the road and I still want to run away as fast as I can when I feel the intense emotions scattering through me. But, just like always, I'm reminded again, that the more I pick up my markers and paints and camera, the more my mind is able to remind me of this.
I'm learning (and still learning...baby steps!) that there IS so much beauty and life lessons that can be found in times that seem to be the most uncomfortable of all.
And if I continue to run away from them and continue to label them as "bad," I'll never learn or see or feel the lesson, the beauty and the love that does comes through.
So, until next time (and for as long as I can remember!)...
I'll be reminding myself "to breathe" through it all (the good and the bad...the comfortable and the uncomfortable...the calm and the tense...the pretty and the ugly...the yum and the yuck...the smiles and the frowns...and so much more!).
Why do I doodle? Because it easily calms my mind and soothes my soul so when life feels tough, I can remind myself to breathe love through it all (something that's hard to do when my mind is running five miles ahead or behind the present moment).