Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sticks and Stones

I have this aunt. She's great. She visits often and loves on the boys as much as she can while she's here. Every time she leaves she hugs me and says, "You are doing a great job with those boys. I'm so proud of you." Now, I know it's silly, but I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to hear those words every time she comes to town. I'm like a puppy waiting for the atta-boy pat on the head, and once I get it, I feel satisfied.

Parenting is hard. I don't think I was prepared for how hard it was going to be. Mentally, physically, emotionally--it's exhausting. I have to admit that I was nearing a low point in my parenting life recently. I am frustrated with my youngest and don't ever seem to have enough time for my older two. I am grumpy all the time and stress over little details. How many more months until I can restart my Prozac??? The point is, I was feeling really down about my abilities to handle three kids and a job and whatever scraps of a social life I'm managing to hold together. That is, until I got my praise fix. She has no idea how important it is to me. I casually shrug and thank her each time she offers the compliment, but inside I beam. She thinks I'm doing a good job! I haven't totally screwed my kids up for life (yet)! Yay for me. I take a bow.

A few months ago I was in a minor accident. I was turned around to check out the commotion in the backseat and didn't stop in time at a red light. I bumped the car in front of me. Thankfully, there was no damage to either car, and everyone was okay. The driver of the other car did not seem to see the blessing in that. He was irate and let me know what an irresponsible fool he thought I was and made sure that all the passing cars knew it too. Although I admitted that the accident was my fault and apologized, he felt the need to continue his tirade until I finally cowered into my car to wait for the police to arrive. He didn't lay a hand on me or even threaten to. He's probably forgotten the event occurred. (Actually, I know that he has because my husband later called him up to let him know how unhappy he was that he was mean to his wife, and the man said that he had no idea what Mike was talking about). I just couldn't shake his meanness for days. I really internalized what he said and felt very nervous about driving for the longest time.

So, the point is that you never know what effect your words will have on someone else. You might innocently say something that stings and have no idea that your words will echo in that person's head for days. You might casually drop a compliment that makes it possible for that person to pick herself up and do one more day. Robert Fulghum said, "Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts."

So, this being my personal therapy, I will now offer myself a compliment. I make really good chicken pot pie. There. I am a success. Try it. It feels good. Better yet, compliment someone else and let it come back to you. I have to go. I have to go tell my kids how great they are.

1 comment:

Becca73180 said...

Heck yes you make really good chicken pot pie!!!

And, you're a really great mom too. :) I'm actually taking notes so that I have some clue when I have children...make that if. If I have children