Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How I Won by Waving the White Flag

Before the small people came, my canned goods were stacked according to ingredient. Corn stacked on corn, green beans on green beans.  It just seemed right.

When the small people were smaller and did not have nearly so many opinions of their own, their shirts matched their pants and bedtime was 8 PM.  Breakfast was at 7:30 AM because that's what worked for me.

There are three of them.  As differences in height become evident, differences in their natural tendencies become evident as well.  One boy, Nine, would like to stay up late and watch baseball with his Daddy.  The girl, Eight, sleeps more than the other two and prefers water to most other drinks.  These tendencies mesh with my own habits.

I surrendered my system of stacking canned goods sometime in the toddler years.  I gained mental energy previously used on my kitchen cabinet inventory for more important things.

Then there is Robert, Eleven.  If he stays up much past 9:30 PM, he goes into a semi-vegetative state wherever he is.  He just wilts right over in his seat and the light in his eyes slowly dims.  I can handle a sleepy child at 9:30 PM.  I cannot handle an eleven-year-old, 85 pound ball of noise and energy making gun noises, whistling and getting the dog all riled up prior to daybreak.  Did you hear me?  Prior to daybreak!

I surrendered the idea of matching clothes about two years ago to the bliss of having them dress themselves.  I gained freedom from having to make a few trivial decisions and the great gift of knowing my children and their "styles" better instead of growing mini-me's.

He's been this way, lived this early rising lifestyle since the beginning.  At nine months, he would talk loudly to himself in his crib while I tried to raise eyelids made of lead.

I  have tried to explain my way.  "If you just close your eyes and be still, you might fall back asleep.  You are tired because you don't sleep long enough.  You wake everyone else up."

The discussion plays again today.  Eight, herself a less than adaptable personality, has a face of solid intensity as she plays a game on the iPad.

"But Robert, a kid your age needs about ten hours of sleep a night.  If you go to bed late and get up early, no wonder you are tired in the middle of the day."

I surrender a room to their Lego's and their idea of clean and organized.  I gain a tidy living room, and amazing insight into their imaginations.

Then wisdom declares herself and Robert and I are released from our long-standing struggle.

Without looking up or betraying any hint of awareness outside of her game, she simply declares,

"That's just how Robert rolls."

It's over.  I am released from trying to fit him into my ideal mode of operation.  He no longer needs to feel regret at waking early.  It is accepted, this gift of early morning, high gear "get to it" and in return he may accept me and my foggy haze.

 I can see the freedom of this gift as we move through life together.

That's just how Robert rolls.  That's just how Mom rolls.  Isn't it great?  That's just how you roll.  It's a gift.

The early folks, get up and get it done, I kick in with my gifts at a different time doing different things.  They mow in the morning, I do laundry all day.  I pack 50 little things all afternoon into two big boxes, they get up early and move the boxes.  We are different parts of one body.  We have different strengths.

Our family surrenders our individual ideas of perfect to a collaboration of what home might fully be. We gain a life that is more than the sum of its parts.  Instead of spotlighting weaknesses, we gain everyone's strengths.

I surrender my idea of the way things should be and I gain grace for myself as well.

That's just how He rolls.

grace and peace,

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